Enjoying Birth Without An Epidural
Nothing went wrong with my epidural. Despite the known risks of an epidural, I didn’t experience any side effects except that I couldn’t feel to push. Once we got it turned down a bit, I pushed like a champ and delivered my first baby. (It’s really not all that simple as I had a long, exhausting labor that had to be augmented with Pitocin. That’s another story for another day.)
I enjoyed my second birth because I got to feel everything. It was an unbelievable experience. It was hard and it was painful. But it was AMAZING. I have replayed my second son’s birth over and over and over since he was born in September of 2009. The memories have given me power to get through some rough spots in the last year as I mothered a baby and a two-year-old. Being a mom is hard. I am so thankful I have such a powerful experience to draw on for strength. I really believe that God intended it to be that way.
For those that have never had a natural birth, you’ve got to be wondering how on earth all that pain could be enjoyable. It’s a state of mind. Once you embrace (and I mean FULLY embrace) the idea that natural unmedicated birth is right for you, it’s easy for the experience to be enjoyable. So how do you embrace it?
For me it meant reading all I could on natural birth. I spent time educating myself about pregnancy and birth. I’d say there isn’t much I don’t know about those subjects. Knowledge = power when you’re talking about birth. The more you know, the less fear you can have, because you understand what’s normal. I found it very helpful to hire a doula. I was able to relax because I knew I had someone with me at all times who knows as much (or more) than I do about birth.
“The knowledge you gain by understanding the process of birth and your options surrounding birth allow you to be prepared mentally to let go.”
~William Sears, M.D. in The Birth Book
I read hundreds of natural birth stories. I took notes from them. I wanted to take what worked for other women and incorporate it into my experience. So when something resonated with me I would get out my pen and paper and literally take notes. I then read and re-read my notes before I went into labor. I talked about the things that worked to help keep me relaxed and enjoying the experience in my post about Preston’s birth.
If you are at all intrigued by natural birth, I HIGHLY encourage you to just start by reading some stories of natural birth. When you first start reading them they will seem so foreign to you. It just doesn’t seem possible that women could actually enjoy a birth experience.
You don’t have to be a hero to have a natural birth. You just have to be a woman. A woman who is knowledgeable about birth. Who has taken steps to learn a few relaxation techniques. Who has chosen a care provider carefully (and even switched care providers if necessary). And hopefully has a support person or two that will work with you toward your endeavor to feel birth as it was meant to be.