Birth Stories

Shannon's Fast Birth Center Birth

  • When did you realize you were really in labor?

    I was 4 days "overdue" and had had absolutely ZERO signs of labor until that morning at 2AM when I started right in with regular, intense contractions, so I figured chances were pretty good it was the real thing!

  • What was the most challenging thing about going natural?

    There wasn't anything truly challenging about having a drug-free birth. There was a lot of education and preparation, and I did have to prepare myself mentally to committing to whatever came my way during labor, but since we were so prepared, actually being in labor wasn't that challenging (although my labor did proceed pretty quickly, which made it kind of scary or confusing for a bit).

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  • What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?

    Taking a class with my partner was a huge help. We also read a few books and talked to lots of people. We had great education and prenatal care at our birth center and were really ready by the time the big day came. Also, I made a great effort to take care of myself physically, both with staying active (as much as I was able) and thinking about nutrition.

  • What surprised you about your birth?

    It was so fast! I was expecting at least 12-24 hours, since that's what they prepare you for as a first time mom, but from absolute start to finish, it was a little over four hours. This mad everything very intense, but since I was prepared, I knew a bit about what to expect to come next. Pushing was also a little more difficult than I expected, but actually, I'm not sure what I expected because it's going to be hard to push out anything bigger than, well, you know.

  • Don't worry about "psyching yourself out" or any of that. Education and preparation will only help you.
  • What pain relief strategies worked best?

    Making sound through contractions was a big help. Warm water also helped (in the form of a shower for me, there wasn't time to fill a tub). Probably the biggest help was having my partner there for me-- he is a huge comfort for me any day, and was great with just the right amount of encouragement and touch to help me through. The whole process of pregnancy and birth was us working together, and I really loved that.

  • What position did you end up delivering in?

    I started on hands and knees, and was hoping to deliver that way, but a combination of "the baby doesn't seem to like that position" (after checking with a Doppler) and me being exhausted from how quickly and intensely everything went, I ended up having to deliver in a side-lying position with an oxygen mask on. It all worked out though, and I didn't tear as much as I was worried I would if I were lying down.

  • How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?

    Honestly, it was pretty weird! I didn't have the magical automatic connection a lot of moms apparently get, and I was so tired I kind of wanted to have a minute to myself and just catch my breath. They laughed when I asked if my husband could hold her-- she was still attached to the placenta, which had not been delivered yet! So after that I tried to focus more on her, and that felt better.

  • What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?

    Absolutely PREPARE!! I've heard numerous times that childbirth is an athletic event, which is totally true. You wouldn't not train if you were going to run a marathon, and you wouldn't not learn how to swim if you knew you had to do laps in a pool or whatever. Don't worry about "psyching yourself out" or any of that. Education and preparation will only help you. And take care of yourself physically! I know pregnancy can be obnoxious and uncomfortable, but don't use that as an excuse! Do what you can to help your body, and you'll be repaid during labor and recovery.

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