When did you realize you were really in labor?
We had one false alarm, and I should have known by the admitting nurses faces when we walked in the first time -ha! They were kind to admit me even though my labor hadn't truly begun yet. I was still walking straight and talking just fine. So after walking the halls through the night and not progressing, I was told either I get pitocin or go home at 2:30 PM, I hightailed it home. I was able to grab lunch and head home for a nap and was awoken about every twenty minutes with what I thought at the time was an intense contraction. Told my hubby to continue to rest, but my mother was there to help me into the tub, where my contractions really revved up. It was such a wonderful way to begin labor, my mom poured water over my back and belly, and we listened to a premade worship/labor track.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
Crowning and pushing!! The crowning was definitely the hardest part. We all hear the stories that when you feel like you can't take it anymore that's the sign that your baby is near... but when you go through it, it can be hard to remember. The ring of fire in accurately dubbed, I immediately felt like I was going to tear (which I did). Not that every woman does tear, my OB worked very hard to ensure that I didn't (massaging me with mineral oil) but she also pulled my card. My OB looked at me and told me that I was giving up. That I get so close and then quit. Well, I was determined to not be that mama that gives up on their baby and the next push she was out and I was torn. Total elation!!! I was soooo overwhelmed with joy to have my baby girl put on my chest! We worked together and we did it, her and I.
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
Taking Mama Natural's child birthing course was hands down the most helpful thing we could have done to prepare for our birth! Genevieve and Maura really helped to educate and assure my husband and I that no matter how unique our labor and delivery would be, we were convinced that we were prepared and determined. Along with making my own labor playlist of songs that reminded me that God is with me and has never left me, I had a very good devotional/time with the Lord the day before our little girl came.
What surprised you about your birth?
The only suggestion I would have to the Mama Natural team is to do a segment on pushing... I seriously got to the point of pushing and was so baffled that I had to learn how to push in real time. No one explained or modeled anything to me about delivering my baby. All of my studying had been about labor. It really hit me that I have no idea what to do. So in the most intense point of my life, I have people yelling at me to put my head down and pull my legs in... which I seriously could NOT do until it was explained to me that arching my head back and straightening my legs was counter intuitive and pulling her back in. Wow!
She helped me keep my anxieties and tension at bay, one breath and contraction at a time. What better way to become a mother, than with your mother! It did a miracle for our relationship.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
I was so blessed to have both my husband and my mother there with me. I'll admit I was initially anti-mom, I thought she would break my concentration, distract me, and honestly, annoy me. Boy was I wrong! At some point when I stopped being able to handle my contractions by moaning and counter pressure on my hips, I seriously thought I was going to lose it. Like I was going to lose my grip on my body and get swept up by the pain, but my mom and I just locked eyes, and she coached me without saying a word to breathe. It's difficult to explain but breathing ahead and through my contractions literally made me feel like I was on top of this massive wave, instead of drowning in it. She helped me keep my anxieties and tension at bay, one breath and contraction at a time. What better way to become a mother, than with your mother! It did a miracle for our relationship.
What position did you end up delivering in?
On my back!! To my surprise I could not leave the bed during labor. I just couldn't. The one time I tried to get up and use the restroom I collapsed mid contraction and just let it out on the floor! I didn't want to lie back when it was time to push, I seriously wanted to deliver on my side; it just felt right to me. Looking back that probably would have been better for me too but in the intensity, I caved and ended up reclined on my back.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
To hold my baby girl, all slippery and wet, felt so surreal. The moment was so pure, so freeing, it was true elation! She smelled so sweet, she was perfect. I'd do it all over again for that precious moment of receiving my sweet girl.
How did the Mama Natural Birth Class help you in your childbirth?
You got this Mama! Make up your mind beforehand and when the time comes, find your zone! Whatever that is for you -humming, moaning, rocking or soaking in the tub. Find your place and stay there and remember to breathe! Tensing -as tempting as it is- only in-TENSE-ifies it all. Breathe that contraction in, breathe it through. and breathe it out.