When did you realize you were really in labor?
On my due date, after my mid-morning shower, I began to feel really dull menstrual-like cramps. The contractions weren’t at all painful, but they did progress into somewhat uncomfortable, rather annoyingly but a similar period type of discomfort. Within about 9 hours it was time to head to the birthing center where I checked in at 5cm dilated.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
The midwife and staff at the birthing center really wanted me to be active and moving around while I labored but honestly, I was feeling particularly
lazy and just wanted to lay down on my side while breathing through the contractions. Laying on my side with a peanut ball between my legs to keep my hips open seemed to have worked for me because I wasn’t in labor for 2.5 more hours and it was time to “push”. I had really wanted a water birth but because I didn’t experience painful contractions, and hardly any transition, I couldn’t gauge when it was time to hit the water. It had become too late to even get up and I had to deliver baby on my back which I really wanted to try to avoid. Pushing, while on my back, against gravity, was exceedingly painful! I was fortunate enough to not tear but I did end up with what the Midwife referred to as “skid marks”. While it wasn’t my “dream birth” I was blessed to have experienced limited pain and a healthy baby with zero complications of
any kind. Above all, the physical delivering of baby was the hardest as it was the most intense pain I’ve ever felt. The whole 20 minutes of pushing seemed like an eternity! I believe I may have kicked my midwife a time or two trying to writhe the pain away. (I’m so very sorry Shari! I cannot Apologize Enough!)
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
I poured over my Mama Natural bookMama Natural book, some birthing videos, the mama Natural Articles, drank the red raspberry leaf tea, among other things. Besides the grace of God, I firmly believe drinking the RRL tea, and religiously eating both types of dates, as indicated in Genevieve’s article, helped, (the dates were probably the most important). I had utilized the surge breathing technique from hypnobirthing, but found I didn’t really need it that much (It definitely does help though). I feel having multiple plans helped. I had researched local hospital policies, and made multiple plans, with additional backup plans, all in the name of obtaining as close to a natural birth as possible, should stuff hit the fan. Preparations to the best of your ability does wonders!
What surprised you about your birth?
What surprised me the most was that the entire labor, until it was time to push, wasn’t at all, the least bit painful and how incredibly fast everything moved (Thanks to eating all those dates)! Start to finish was 12 hours, including only 20 minutes of noticeable pain in pushing. For a first timer, I count that a huge win!
Have a second voice. A partner, parent, sibling, midwife, whoever! Someone that can be your voice and strength when you are down, to be able to say NO to any possible Medical bullying, or otherwise make smart medical decisions for you, with you, etc.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
I didn’t feel any real pain until it was time to push. At that point nothing helped, but I did utilized the surge breathing technique during transition, which helped considerably.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
I feel a little bad, as I didn’t have that gushy, lovey, happy feeling. My hormones were so all over the map, that I was in shock! Holding baby, I was in such disbelief, and mildly exhausted from the whopping 20 minutes of pushing, that I was indeed, actually holding my baby. I had done this! Was this real, or a dream?! I kept looking at my midwife to confirm that this was indeed real life, and not a dream. Of course within a few minutes, poured out the happy, gushy, lovey feelings. Here we are 12 weeks postpartum and I’m still saying “I can’t believe I did this”- particularly the way I wanted to do it! Amazing!
What did you name your baby, and why?
We chose Morgan Rae Ann. My husband and I have never met a “Morgan” before so it’s not overly common, at least for the time being. We liked that it wasn’t too girly of a name, and we chose Rae Ann for her middle name as tribute to his and my, mothers middle names.
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Eat those dates! Both kinds that are mentioned in Mama Naturals article. Drink your RRL tea, and prepare as much as possible. Research your hospital choices, and their policies. Build a birthing team that have you and baby in everyone’s best interest. Make a plan, and make Backup plans. Have backup plans for your backup plans in case things get hairy. Have a second voice. A partner, parent, sibling, midwife, whoever! Someone that can be your voice and strength when you are down, to be able to say NO to any possible Medical bullying, or otherwise make smart medical decisions for you, with you, etc.