Birth Stories

Reading Birth Stories, Yoga And Taking Mama Natural Birth Classes Helped Rachael During Her Hospital Birth

  • When did you realize you were really in labor?

    When I was at 39+4, I thought I had been losing my mucus plug throughout the day, then at 11:30 PM, about a half hour after I tried to go to bed, I woke up feeling contractions. I didn't time them at that point, but they seemed to be coming 7-10 minutes apart, so I hopped in the shower to see if they'd spread out, but they actually got closer together. That's when I knew for sure. By the time we arrived at the hospital around 7 AM, I was 4-5 cm dilated and 90% effaced.

  • What was the most challenging thing about going natural?

    Back labor was pretty brutal, but even so, I couldn't imagine having my baby any other way. I also had to deal with a lot of my friends and family telling me I was crazy for attempting a natural birth and even claiming that I was a wimp and would never be able to do it. Showed them 🙂

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  • What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?

    I did a TON of research and read hundreds of these birth stories, so I knew what to expect and how to cope. I wasn't as active as I intended to be throughout pregnancy, but I did some yoga and tried to walk. I drank red raspberry leaf tea religiously starting at 34 weeks (as recommended by my midwife). Hot tip: brew a pitcher with lemon and honey and then let it sit in the fridge over night with half a lemon and some frozen strawberries. So good. I tried to eat dates, but they made me gag. I also used the Mama Natural birth classes and would highly recommend them!

  • What surprised you about your birth?

    I was pleasantly surprised that she came early. Since this was my first birth, I had prepared myself for her to be late. I was surprised that my contractions started out and stayed so strong and close together. I was surprised I had back labor the whole time and that I felt nauseous at the peak of my contractions. I was surprised I got the shakes during labor. I thought that usually happened when people got epidurals, not when they labor naturally. I was surprised that she was crowning for so long. I only pushed for an hour, but her head was visible for about 40 minutes of that. Apparently my skin down there is not very stretchy. I was surprised at how much I bled immediately after she was born, but thankfully, pitocin stopped the bleeding. These were all minor surprises though.

  • Just knowing what to expect and how to cope and how your body works through labor and delivery was invaluable.
  • What pain relief strategies worked best?

    I thought I'd want to walk, but I ended up sitting on the bed cross-legged, hugging my pillow almost the whole time. I had also requested a tub room in the hospital so I could use hydrotherapy, but in the moment, getting all wet was incredibly unappealing. I just sat with my eyes closed and breathed/hummed through my contractions while a wonderful aspiring doula friend of mine massaged my back through each contraction and kept me hydrated. Heat packs on my lower back were also amazing. Massage and heat were my best friends through back labor.

  • What position did you end up delivering in?

    I went into labor with an open mind as to how I would push and deliver. I started out with the squat bar, but my legs went numb, and I ended up delivering on my back, holding my legs. It worked well for me because I was so tired from being awake all night and all day. It was 16 hours from the first contraction to her birth.

  • How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?

    It was amazing. As the midwives were trying to stop me from bleeding, I kept thinking "you better not take my baby away from me," and thankfully they didn't have to! She was a little grunty after they placed her on my chest, so the NICU team had to check her lungs about 20 minutes after she was born, but once they cleared her, I got to do skin to skin for over an hour and admire her pretty hair and bright eyes and super long fingernails. It was so great.

  • How did the Mama Natural Birth Class help you in your childbirth?

    Just knowing what to expect and how to cope and how your body works through labor and delivery was invaluable.