When did you realize you were really in labor?
Honestly, I didn't believe I was in labor until I got to the hospital for the second time (you read that right!) and they put the band on my wrist and the nurse said, "You'll be meeting your baby tonight!" Prior to that, I'd been having prodromal labor on and off for weeks. I was over a week overdue, and my OB and I decided that an induction would be the safest route, so I was scheduled to have one. However, baby had other ideas and decided to come on his own!
I went into the hospital on the morning that he was born to get some pre-induction blood work done, and while there, on a hunch, they checked me and I was already 7cm dilated and having sporadic contractions! I asked to go home so I could eat lunch and labor in my house as long as possible - but I also just didn't believe that I was really in labor. It wasn't until my doula and my mom convinced me to go back to the hospital in the late afternoon that I really believed it!
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
Overcoming panic when I was in the final stage of labor. Prior to that, I handled the contractions very well. I was talking and laughing in between them and generally felt really in control. However, just before pushing/during pushing, the sensations were incredibly intense and I fought to not give into panic.
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
Prayed and hired a doula! Truly, my doula was the reason I think my birth went so well.
What surprised you about your birth?
How much I enjoyed it. So many people I know talked about labor and delivery very negatively, and I for sure thought that I would hate it, and would think of it as something to just "get through." But I surprisingly actually liked it, in the same way, that marathon runners like marathons. It was hard, and intense, but a good challenge and very fulfilling.
Surprisingly actually liked it, in the same way, that marathon runners like marathons. It was hard, and intense, but a good challenge and very fulfilling.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
Moving and vocalizing. I would sit up on my knees and sway and moan during contractions and while pushing. After I would lay down and rest on my side or on a birth ball.
What position did you end up delivering in?
Surprisingly, my back. I did much of the pushing upright on my knees in a "prayer" position, and a bit on my hands and knees, but ultimately wanted to lay down to finish.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
Strange! He came out very quickly in the final stage so I wasn't prepared. I couldn't believe he was my baby!
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Exercise, hire a doula, educate yourself, pray, and believe that you can! The mind is so powerful, if you think that your birth experience will be good and something you can do without trouble, it will help.