My Take on Preston’s Birth
I’m procrastinating. I should be . . . oh, there are too many things I should be doing. That’s probably why I’m not doing any of them. I should be getting my house ready to sell but my mind can’t quit thinking about this blog and jewelry (I’m a SAHM but I also sell a line of beautiful and affordable jewelry – the new fall line just came out). I’ve been trying to decide which direction I’m going to go with the blog and I think I’m going to stay with the childbirth side of things for today. I want to move on to cloth-diapering soon, hopefully in the next day or two. So, here goes.
I posted Preston’s Birth Story, from my doula’s perspective. I want to add some of my commentary now. Emmett’s Birth Story (my firstborn) is somewhere around here and when I locate it, I’ll post it as well. So, a little background . . . As mentioned in earlier posts (here and here), I planned AND prepared for a natural birth with Emmett as well. I had the same pro-NCB (that’s short for Natural Childbirth) OB/GYN, delivered at the same hospital, used the same doula but I didn’t have a natural birth with Emmett.
From the time he was born until the time Preston was born (nearly 2 years later) I played the scenario over and over in my head. I did more research. I tried to figure out why it didn’t work like I had planned and what I could have done differently – over and over. For two years. I told you I am analytical by nature – this proves it, right?
I couldn’t tell you exactly why I was able to have a natural birth with Preston but chose an epidural with Emmett. I really don’t care now. I know that I truly enjoyed Preston’s labor and delivery (and can’t wait to do it again – no, this is not an announcement).
These are the things that I think contributed to my amazing experience.
1. My relationship with God was in a really good place. I felt very, how do I say this? While I was pregnant I really felt moved by the fact that God was creating another life inside me. I worshiped and praised Him for it often. Every song we sang in church and every song I heard on Christian radio rang true to me. I was very attune to the fact that God created my body to birth children. I felt His presence and I knew He’d be there with me when I was birthing this new baby. In essence, I truly put all my trust in God.
2. I re-read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and I took notes this time. I wrote two pages worth of things that inspired me from the birth stories in her book. I had the opportunity to read my notes after my water had broken and before contractions had begun.
3. I let my body do what it needed to do. Believe it or not, I embraced every contraction because I knew it was bringing me closer to seeing my baby. I remember being AMAZED at how much pressure there was during each contraction. It was painful (though I can’t remember the pain now) but the pressure was unbelievable. Toward the end it was like someone was pushing down with a brick as hard as they could on the top of my belly. I kept thinking the pressure couldn’t get any greater and it would!
4. There is one thing I learned from all my reading that REALLY served me well. During those really intense contractions toward the end I focused on keeping my face relaxed, mouth open and shoulders relaxed. I also took a deep breath at the beginning of each contraction. With keeping my mouth open I also was able to vocalize and make low groans – this kind of vocalization has been proven to help you open up.
5. I stayed positive ON PURPOSE. I could have easily been disappointed that I was only 5cm when I got to the hospital. I was sure I would be further along than that based on what was going on with my body and mind. I was 5cm when I chose an epidural with Emmett (after I had been hooked up to Pitocin for 8 hours). I CHOSE to say, “I made it to 5cm and 100% on my own.” I CHOSE to smile between contractions throughout my entire labor, even at the very end. I knew that only I could set the tone for my birth. I wanted it to be positive, so I stayed positive.
I’m sure there were other factors that helped . . . these are the 5 that I felt were most important. I really hope that they can help someone else who may be thinking about or who has chosen to have a natural birth.
As a disclaimer, I never thought I’d “get a medal” for choosing to birth a child without the use of drugs (not that anyone has ever accused me of that, but it’s a common argument against choosing a natural birth). As I stated in my first post, “I didn’t want to be a martyr. I just wanted to feel things as they were intended. I didn’t want the pain. But I wanted the benefits of a natural birth, both for me and my unborn child. The thought that the pain of childbirth serves a purpose – that there is value in feeling everything (and embracing it) was completely contrary to everything I’d ever heard about giving birth.” I never want anyone to feel alienated by any of my posts, specifically those who have chosen a different way of doing things. What I desire is that my posts be thought-provoking. I know everyone isn’t analytical by nature but I think we all have the responsibility to do our own research when it comes to things like giving birth and all the choices we *get* to make as parents.
Question for you . . . If you chose a natural birth, what factors do you think were instrumental in giving you the birth you desired?