When did you realize you were really in labor?
In the middle of the night! I was having contractions fifteen minutes a part the night before, beginning around 7pm, but because I was two weeks early I was totally in denial that it was actual labor! I kept telling my husband they were just "practice contractions." Well, those "practice" ones lasted through the night and by 3 am they were already 5-10 minutes a part.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
Pushing! Getting those shoulders out was definitely the hardest part. My husband was my rock during labor, so he helped me get through the contractions, but pushing was definitely more challenging than I thought it would be. I used a mirror so I could see my progress and that really helped motivate me.
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
Having in depth discussions with my husband, about how we invisioned labor going, helped prepare me the best mentally. We were such a strong team and I know that I wouldn't have been able to do 23 hours of labor, without medication, without that bond. We prepped ahead of time with what positions and what massage techniques worked best on me, so during each of the contractions, he knew exactly what to do to help me get through. It was vital to our success. I also followed Mama Natural's third trimester techniques, like stretching and body positions to ensure baby was in the most ideal position. That on top of prenatal chiropractor visits prepped my body the best and helped make laboring so much easier.
What surprised you about your birth?
What surprised me was how long a 90 second contraction can feel when you're in the thick of it. I told myself during each contraction that there was an end in sight and that at least helped me get through. But man, sometimes they felt like they were so much longer then they actually were. Having my husband watch the monitor, so he could tell me when I was over the peak really helped with that!
Just remember to tell yourself that "This Too Shall Pass."
What pain relief strategies worked best?
I needed strong and direct massage to help counteract the pain of the contractions. At one point, I had my husband pushing so hard on my tailbone that it ended up getting bruised. That, and pushing in on both of my hips helped alleviate some of the pain I had during contractions. Also, watching my husband breathe and mimicking his breaths really helped me get my own breathing under control.
What position did you end up delivering in?
I ended up delivering in the bed, sitting up. I was on my feet walking around for the other 22 hours I'd delivery, but when it came time to push, my body wanted to be sitting.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
It was surreal. I don't think I wrapped my brain around what was happening until 2 minutes into holding him! I looked over at my husband who was in tears, and it finally hit me that this little man was ours and that we did it!
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Just remember to tell yourself that "this too shall pass." Nobody can be in labor forever, and every contraction has an ending; knowing that, helped me get through every contraction until it was time to push. Just trust yourself, and trust your body, and know that it can do miraculous things.