When did you realize you were really in labor?
When my water broke at 11:30pm on a Saturday. I called my doula and my midwife to confirm that it was my water breaking. I had just started to time contractions around 10:30pm because they felt a bit stronger than Braxton Hicks and the few that I managed to time were about 15-20 minutes apart. I was sitting on my bed and started to feel another one and then a small burst of what felt like urine, but u couldn't stop the flow so I was almost positive it was my water breaking. I ran to the toilet and called for my husband. We were both kind of in shock since I wasn't expecting to be early. No one in my family was early with any of their children.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
The most challenging thing about going natural is getting in all the research you can so that when you encounter negativity from others, you have a plethora of knowledge to come back with at them! So many people said "you are going to be asking for an epidural, trust me" and I would respond with, well even if that were something I wanted it is not available at the birth center and that is why I chose it! They looked at me like I was crazy, but I didn't care. I knew what I wanted and that was an all natural birth!
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
There isn't just one specific thing, so here is my list:
Research, research, research!!
Hired a doula.
Switched from an OBGYN at 30 weeks to a birth center.
Took the Mama Natural Birth Course.
Have a supportive husband.
Took my herbal supplements and used essential oils! Red raspberry leaf tea, Dr. Christopher's birth prep, clary sage, jasmine, and prenatals.
What surprised you about your birth?
The delivery! Three hours of pushing! The head got stuck halfway out (she was a super cone head). And then the shoulder got stuck after the head finally came out. She was blue and not breathing and was given rescue breaths to bring her back. All of this was done with the umbilical cord still attached!!! And I was completely out of it from all the pushing, I guess the hormones that are natural pain killers kicked in and I don't remember the traumatic part from after she finally came out to when they put her on my stomach after reviving her.
The midwife was very impressed with all the knowledge we had gained from the class and she said we were already doing everything she would have told us to do.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
My contractions were about 3 minutes apart when I arrived at the birth center and they had the tub ready for me, which was a nice pressure relief. What really helped the most was concentrating on breathing and taking each contraction one at a time and not dreading the next one, but welcoming it as it brought me closer to seeing my baby! As the contractions got super close and strong, moaning with them really helped. My husband was right there with each one putting pressure on my back and hips to help relieve pain!
What position did you end up delivering in?
The most effective positions for me were the squatting stool and hands and knees. Baby liked those positions as well, the heartbeat stayed more regular. I ended up on squatting still when her head came out and then moved to hands n knees and then flat on the bed to have the midwife assist in getting her shoulder out.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
Unbelievable!! I'm still wondering some days how I created this beautiful girl.
How did the Mama Natural Birth Class help you in your childbirth?
My husband and I watched them together and it was empowering to watch the birth videos and know that I was capable of doing that too. The midwife was very impressed with all the knowledge we had gained from the class and she said we were already doing everything she would have told us to do.