When did you realize you were really in labor?
After having my membranes swept in the office at my 40 week appointment. I chose this plan because my midwife was leaving town and I was already at 4 cm in the office. Later that evening, I tried going to sleep, but the cramping I had experienced earlier turned into rhythmic and stronger contractions. I was so excited!
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
I labored naturally at home from 10 pm to about 2 am. Arrived at the hospital at 7 cm, but labored at 7 cm without medicine for 12 long hours...and no progress. I was bleeding consistently after my water broke and had to undergo an amnioinfusion to no avail. Baby's heart rate was plummeting, and are still wouldn't come down. At 10:30 am we opted for the epidural to try any last efforts to get her to move, but the day ended in a repeat cesarean (after my previous successful VBAC!). It was so difficult surrendering to a new plan after so much work and preparation, but everything was still beautiful and myself and baby girl were fine.
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
I hired an amazing doula, committed to going natural and remembered that I wasn't in control of everything. I ate healthy, stayed active and prepared myself mentally as much as possible. My faith and my support system was ultimately what got me through the tough moments of pain and disappointment.
What surprised you about your birth?
That so much was going wrong that I had no control over yet it was still so peaceful and an overall good experience. The cesarean was gentle and the nurses were angels.
Hope for the best, yet prepare for the worst. We can be our own worst enemy in our minds when we fail to surrender to things beyond our control.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
Laying in bed rocking with the peanut ball, hot shower all over me, and breathing deep belly breaths.
What position did you end up delivering in?
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
So rewarding. We got to have skin to skin and began nursing during surgery! It was amazing to have so much freedom this time.
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Hope for the best, yet prepare for the worst. We can be our own worst enemy in our minds when we fail to surrender to things beyond our control. Do what's best for you and your baby because at the end of the day, it only matters that you had options, you were heard and you were supported and your baby and you are healthy. There's a healing process no matter what and even if you commit to going it natural, you can be disappointed if things go wrong. Forgive yourself and move on. We're blessed to have the options we have now and don't feel guilty for using them.