Video Interview With Dorothy
When did you realize you were really in labor?
I had been having sporadic, mild contractions for days. But when I was 40+1 around 1 pm I noticed they were more regular and I thought I should time them. They were 7 minutes apart and one minute each. I thought this was the beginning of a few days of labor — like my first two births.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
Deciding when to go to the hospital is always challenging for me. I want to labor at home “as long as possible” but don’t like the idea of traveling in transition or anything like that. I did end up traveling in transition, though, and it wasn’t as bad as I expected.
Another big challenge for me was pushing. It was more painful than I expected, but I literally recalled birth stories while pushing in which the moms said the *only* way to get through this is to push! That helped. For me, pushing was not a relief, other than reminding me I was almost done.
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
Oh man, this is hard to say. Staying fairly active (yoga daily and walking as much as possible), eating tons of dates, drinking red raspberry leaf tea religiously from 20 weeks on (by the end I was up to 16 teabags a day), seeing a chiropractor weekly during my last trimester, spinning babies fantastic four, and hiring an amazing doula who I felt truly comfortable with.
What surprised you about your birth?
How. Fast. It. Was. My first two labors were so long! My first ended in a c-section after three days of labor and my second was a VBAC with epidural after three days of labor. This labor picked up around 1 pm and I delivered her at 4:47 pm. It was unreal. When I got to the hospital at 4:24 there wasn’t time for anything (no IV, barely had time to tell them my name) and I hopped on the bed and started pushing.
It also surprised me how panicked I felt during pushing. I was yelling the F-word repeatedly and asking everyone if I was dying! Not the picture of strength and beauty everyone hopes for, but it worked for me! I also did not expect to push and deliver on hands and knees, but it felt the best and most natural.
Do everything you can to help with your body’s alignment during pregnancy.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
Until I was in transition, it was really helpful to visualize body surfing on a big tidal wave. I never practiced that and it came out of nowhere. And for my entire labor, it helped me to lean over the bed, sway, and moan while my husband or doula pushed on my low back. Keeping my vocalizations low-pitched helped a lot.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
I loved her and wanted to hold her and see her, but I was mainly relieved labor was over!
What did you name your baby, and why?
A name I’ve loved since I was a little girl :)
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Do everything you can to help with your body’s alignment during pregnancy. Spinning baby's parent class has some good exercises and tips. Try a chiropractor. Yoga, good posture, walking, etc.
Second, hire a doula with whom you feel very comfortable.
I think all those were key to my amazing natural birth.