When did you realize you were really in labor?
After I asked my husband to start timing my contractions. With my first labor, I was induced and I think that played a part in my questioning if I was really in labor. Upon asking my husband to time the contractions things moved quickly and within 3 hours my contractions were already 5 minutes apart. We called the midwife who encouraged us to call our doula as she had a longer drive to our house. Within 20 minutes, my contractions were 4 minutes apart and lasting 1 minutes.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
Transition-I felt I had been handling the waves of contractions well until that point. In looking back, at the time of transition I started to verbalize my fear of having to be transferred to the hospital or things not going as planned. Once I realized those fears and was validated by my birth team, I was able to continue to handle the contractions and meet my baby boy soon thereafter!
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
Throughout my pregnancy, I took part in prenatal yoga as well as worked through hypnobabies workbook and complete daily mediations and positive birth affirmations. I felt that both helped me prepare mentally and physically to handle the emotions and physical feelings that come with a natural childbirth.
What surprised you about your birth?
How fast it was! I was in active labor for just under 2 hours and only pushed for 6 minutes before my 10 lb 2 oz little man arrived earthside. Despite how fast things were, the experience was so peaceful and calming, thanks to large in part to my amazing birth team!
Take time daily to affirm your ability to do this and know your body was created to do this!
What pain relief strategies worked best?
Counter-pressure on my lower back, breathing through the waves as well as having my team remind me to relax my whole body.
What position did you end up delivering in?
Laying on my side. I was hopeful to deliver squatting but found that just before pushing my legs felt very shaky and I felt more comfortable laying down.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
I don't know if I can put it into words. Every ache and tinge or moment of doubt throughout my pregnancy was absolutely gone from my mind. I felt so empowered and capable. It was the greatest mixture of emotion, pride and love that I have ever experienced.
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Surround yourself with people who support your birth plans and uplift you. You and your body are capable of doing this. Take time daily to affirm your ability to do this and know your body was created to do this!