When did you realize you were really in labor?
When I woke up at 2:15 AM and I felt period like cramps. I went downstairs to sit on my birth ball and started timing them on my contractions app while watching House Hunters. I couldn't go back to sleep I was very excited. It was the day after Mother's Day and 4 days past my guess date so I was really ready for baby to come!
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
This time it was trusting that my body "knew what to do". With my daughter, I was induced after my water broke so I doubted that my body knew how to go into labor on its own. Sounds silly now, but I felt that way a lot during my pregnancy and talked about it with my midwives at my appointments.
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
Affirmations!!! I used mama natural affirmation cards and used them during my pregnancy and had my favorites memorized and used them during labor near the end. Also talking to friends who had previously had home births. I have a friend who had 2 previous home births and she was an amazing and encouraging resource!
What surprised you about your birth?
I was surprised how fast this labor went! Everyone --- especially my midwives--- warned me that second labors tend to go really fast. I didn't fully believe it and so I waited a long time to have my husband ask our doula and midwives to come. From first contraction (2:15 am) to a baby boy being in my arms (9:19 am) it was 7 hours!
You have to have a plan because labor will be painful and at the moment you could change your mind. Make sure you have a team that supports you as well! Get a doula!
What pain relief strategies worked best?
Saying affirmations out loud! Holding my doula's hand. Being in a squatting position over the toilet. I'll be honest nothing really made the pain lessen that much. It hurt but I call labor pain with a purpose. At the end, I get to hold my baby and the pain has an endpoint, it doesn't last forever.
What position did you end up delivering in?
Squatting in the bathroom with my doula and midwife supporting me on either side while my husband caught our son.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
I'll be honest I was distracted for a while because he was crying and had a really short umbilical cord so it was hard for us to be close and I was focused on that. Once we cut the cord (I got to do the honors this time!) and he latched on it felt like pure heaven! Having him on my chest was the best feeling.
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Don't go to the hospital haha... I mean really, but also Believe in yourself! You have to have a plan because labor will be painful and at the moment you could change your mind. Make sure you have a team that supports you as well! Get a doula!