Natural childbirth? Are you crazy?!
When I would share with people that I was leaning towards going natural and un-medicated, I would get all kinds of responses… “Umm, WHY? You know they have these things called epidurals right?”, “Are you stupid?”, “Ha! Yea right, until you feel that pain, you’re going to be begging for one!”, “So what does that mean? you’re going to have your baby at home?”, and the list goes on.
Even with all of the feedback, I kept reminding myself that women going back as far as women have been having babies, have done so naturally, like all over the world. I would tell myself, why can’t I? I consider myself strong, typically have always had a high pain tolerance, shouldn’t that be my choice and without judgement?
I knew that if I was taking the natural route, we had to hire help. A doula was a must. I wasn’t sure where to start, but good ole google helped me out. So after finding a few doulas in the San Francisco Bay Area, with great references, I started reaching out for next steps. Needless to say it was an interesting interviewing process. Side Note: I’m a crazy person, so I started this process of finding a doula before my 1st trimester even ended. But, it was good that I started early because when I found our Doula she was in demand and booking up quickly.
While interviewing, I was able to get a feel for the right or wrong fit, experience, vibe, etc. It wasn’t until we were meeting with Jennifer Darwin of now Golden Gate Doula Associates that I knew we had found our doula! She was a wealth of knowledge, comforting, incredibly professional, and was receptive and open to what WE wanted throughout the pregnancy and the delivery process. Thank god for Jen, because I know without a doubt that I never would have been able to have my ideal natural birth experience without her!
The most important thought that I kept consistent throughout my entire pregnancy was, have an open mind! When my husband and I met with Jen for our baby bootcamp class (p.s. genius idea! A class not only about labor and delivery, but focused on ‘you’ve had your baby, and baby is coming home…what to do now’, it was the best!). At the end, she pulled out a paper to write down our birth wishes. I LOVED that, why? Because that is exactly what it is. What you wish to happen, not a birth plan. None of us can predict or ensure that our delivery will go as “planned” and let’s be clear, more times than not, it doesn’t.
I also want to say, I am stubborn. When I get my mind set on something, that’s it. But, when you’re pregnant just about every conversation with people is about your pregnancy. How you are feeling, when you are due, what gender you are having, what’s the name, and of course are you getting an epidural? In being completely transparent, the idea and horror stories I had heard about epidurals actually scared me more than delivering without medication, but still I wanted to keep an open mind, that I may end up getting an epidural. (p.s. If you are a mother reading this who had an epidural without the horror story, I know, my dramatics are unnecessary. I too know that women every day have epidurals successfully and without issue).
We can make plans all day long, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. So, I wrote down all of my wishes and made it a point to keep an open mind. If he wasn’t in head down position or if there was medical risk and I then needed an emergency c-section, then that is what is meant to be and I would do what ever ensured the health of my child and myself, of course!
Additionally, I did plenty of Research. It’s important to explore your options. Where do you wish to deliver? What kind of birthing methods are there? Does Lamaze still exists? What exactly IS a natural child birth? Does that mean zero medication or can I get some? What are the risks on both sides? etc. Educate yourself Mama.
Laboring at home. This was a big one for me. I kept coming across information about the importance of not disrupting your bodies natural process of labor. Sometimes women go to the hospital too early, and either are sent home which again can prevent you from progressing, or even be admitted and given an epidural too early so much so that it’s worn off by the time it’s even time for the hard stuff. But, in order to labor at home, that also meant I wanted doula support to know WHEN it was time to go, not too early and definitely not too late. Reflecting back on that day, I was in a laboring fog, so I am glad that we had Jen there to help guide us on when to hop in the car. My thought at the time was “I ain’t tryna have this baby in the bath tub with my husband playing receiver!”.
Accepting the pain. Woo! this is a hard one. When we’re in pain, our bodies natural reaction is to resist, to fight it. Simply put, you can’t. Now, one thing that I had taken from our baby bootcamp class was our affirmation cards. Flash cards that have motivating and quotes of strength. It may sound like, girl, that isn’t going to help with pain, I know. My point is, to go through a childbirth and naturally, you need to connect to your WHY, and go inside yourself to find strength (because lord knows your body is like, aww hell no!). While laboring at home, and when I started active labor, I had my husband read me those cards. I needed it and for me, it helped stay in the zone. I needed to hear it, and believe that I was capable. I had to accept that my son was coming and that was beautiful and exciting, not scary. I wanted to let go of fear and accept love.
Did I take any meds? About an hour before my son arrived, the nurses offered me Nitrous Oxide aka Laughing Gas. Of what my husband has shared with me, I took a few long inhales and tossed it in frustration stating that it wasn’t helping lol. I laugh every time he tells me the story. Let me be clear, it wasn’t meant to help or take pain away. It’s purpose during labor is to help “take the edge off”. Apparently, I didn’t feel it was taking any edges off. But, I guess it was nice to know I had something to try.
Chiropractic Work. I will soon be sharing a “Why I saw a chiropractor my entire pregnancy” blog post. But, I will say as it is related to my natural childbirth, I strongly feel that my consistency with chiropractic work from end of my first trimester up until two weeks before I delivered that it helped my body to stay aligned, especially my hips. When I began researching, I kept reading how beneficial it is for pregnant women to see a chiropractor. It scared me at first, but when while at my first appointment (during pregnancy), the amazing Dr. Mark of Hills Plaza Sport & Spine in San Francisco told me that the practice was averaging 4-6 hours of labor! That sounded so short to me, especially when you hear about women being in labor for a day or two. It felt like an incredibly bold statement to make. But, he was actually right, I labored at home for 6 hours, and once I started to transition to active labor within six hours my son arrived.
Lastly, Mama. Your body, your baby…your choice. My birth wishes and experience are not for everyone. But, if you are thinking of similar path, then I hope this has helped in some way. I am such a supporter of women and a believer that you should be able to make your own decisions without judgement or questioning. If natural childbirth isn’t for you, that’s 100% ok. If you don’t know what path you want to take, that’s 100% ok, if you are like I want vaginal but with an epidural and all the meds they got, that’s 100% ok! Do you mama. What is the MOST important in this entire process is brining home that baby! You know why? because noody cares how they got here, they are here!
6 TIPS FOR A NATURAL CHILDBIRTH
- HIRE A DOULA
- HAVE AN OPEN MIND
- DO YOUR RESEARCH
- LABOR AT HOME
- ACCEPT THE PAIN
- CONSIDER CHIROPRATIC WORK
- YOUR BODY, YOUR BABY, YOUR CHOICE
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments, drop them below. I would love to hear from you.