When did you realize you were really in labor?
I knew the contractions felt different when I woke up Friday morning.. these were different than the Braxton Hicks I'd been having for the last couple weeks. As the day went on the contractions changes from 30 mins apart, to 20, to 10. Once they hit every 5 mins I sent a text to my midwife. This was not slowing down! 7 pm was the first text to the midwife.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
The contractions were intense.. but crowning and the actual delivery of the baby was the hardest. My baby came out with his arm up and his hand on his face. The midwives thought his cord was around his neck, but it was just his arm! Stopping my body's impulse to get that baby out was HARD. I had trouble stopping the baby from coming out, which lead to 2nd degree tearing. Ow ow ow ow OWWWW!
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
Meditation, working out at the end of the pregnancy and staying stress-free. I became certified to teach yoga during the first two trimesters of my pregnancy. So naturally, yoga and meditation became part of my daily routine. Meditation kept my anxiety about giving birth to a minimum. In the last two weeks before my due date, I started upping my workouts. Climbing hills, more squats, and lots of steps. I didn't feel worried when labor started and as it picked up. I was able to stay calm throughout my birth.
What surprised you about your birth?
Just how HARD it was! I didn't expect it to be easy, but holy moly!! It was the hardest thing I've ever done. If I ever do it again, I'll wait longer to start pushing... I felt the urge pretty early on and I think it made things harder for me and baby, rather than if I 'rode out the waves of contractions' for longer.
Anticipate it to be hard and know that you can do it. Have 100% faith that your body can do it.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
Two things: counter pressure with the rebozo scarf and the tub! The counter pressure surprised me that it helped me get through the pain so well. Laboring in the tub made me feel so much more able to relax through contractions.
What position did you end up delivering in?
Standing up in the tub bent forward with my head on the side if the tub. The last final pushes I ended up bending my knees into a squat so the baby was born into the water.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
It was so surreal. The pain was gone and he was here. He came out a little floppy and kinda blue, so I was worried that he wasn't ok. My midwives were very reassuring that he was perfect and healthy. He came around and it felt like a dream.
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Anticipate it to be hard and know that you can do it. Have 100% faith that your body can do it. I feel my decision to go natural and unmedicated was the right decision for me and my baby. Also, choose a midwife/health care professional that you can trust completely.