When did you realize you were really in labor?
I had had a few hard Braxton Hicks in the morning. We went to our town parade with the kids and came back and went for a walk. After we got back I bounced on the stability ball and started having regular Braxton hicks that felt little stronger. I checked the clock after they kept coming and realized I had had quite a few in 20 minutes.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
This was my sixth baby. I had never had medication with anterior birth. It had been six years since my last birth. I was nervous because I couldn't remember the sensations. And I had a new SO. So I knew that meant it could be completely different. I had back labor twice. So I was nervous about that. This baby was stuck posterior. So I was hoping labor wouldn't be exhausting and a bad experience for my SO.
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
I prepared myself mentally. Reading. I walked almost every day and did hip exercises and stretches. I stayed focused on one day at a time.
What surprised you about your birth?
The intensity after and during transition. I was surprised pushing did not alleviate the pain. I was surprised I had the ring of fire. Never had before. I was surprised how little I bled. There was no blood at all during the birth. I was surprised how hard it was to push out the placenta. After the placenta was out there was still hardly any bleeding during recovery. I was surprised my body was so sore afterward.
Patience. The whole process of pregnancy and childbirth and raising a child is a lesson in patience. To wait and trust. To hope and believe.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
My SO squeezed my hip bones. That was intensely relieving. It almost felt like cheating. Then once transition hit, changing positions to be semi-reclined in the tub.
What position did you end up delivering in?
Semi-reclined in the tub. I have a very posterior cervix. So all my babies try to come out my butt, at least that's what it feels like.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
Relieving. He was two weeks exactly "overdue". This is normal for me. And that makes labor welcome and that much more bearable.
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Patience. The whole process of pregnancy and childbirth and raising a child is a lesson in patience. To wait and trust. To hope and believe. Everything will work out best when you give it time and take one moment at a time.