When did you realize you were really in labor?
Waters broke at 9:20pm when hanging up some washed clothes to dry! Was taken by surprise by the sudden gush, especially since I had my waters artifically broken with my first childbirth, only one year before.
I called the midwife who told me to put a pad on and lie on my left side for 20 minutes and to then call back to tell her what I saw on the pad.
As I was "overdue" and 42-weeks-3-days I knew there was a concern for any meconium passing in utero.
After 20 minutes the pad was clear.
I continued with nesting tasks around the house, keeping busy and being slowly aware of period-like cramps.
A few hours later the cramps had got stronger and I just knew then that this was it - baby was finally going to make an appearance!
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
Having to cope myself and for myself by just releasing and surrendering to my own body's biological design. It is strange and mysterious in a way because usually we feel always in control of our own bodies and having to let go is almost unusual. Of course we let go when going to the toilet or when having sex, but there is still a strong element of self-control and of being in control.
Yet with giving birth I had to let myself go completely to the contractions and surges and ride out the very strong waves...
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
I used a TENS machine to help cope with my contractions. I also read the book "Orgasmic Birth."
With my last birth had spent a small fortune on hypnobirthing classes but later found that the method didn't cover everything I needed. With the Orgasmic Birth book I faced my fears, not hide from them. I faced my previous miscarriage losses face on and really accepted my fears. During labor I told myself to not have shame and that even though I was scared I could do it. It worked! Just a 5 and a half hour natural labor compared to my 36-hour labor using drug pain relief!
What surprised you about your birth?
I was genuinely so so surprised by how quickly my labor was and by how much my body was capable of in such a short space of time. Midwife arrived at our home 2:30am and baby born 3:15am. I remembered during labor the times I had met her at the prenatal clinic and it was so civilized. Yet here I was on all fours in my hall on a Saturday night right in front of her, making primal noises, butt-naked and thinking I was pooing everywhere! "I need the toilet!" I told her. "Darlin" she said "that's not the toilet you're needing, that's your baby coming!"
So in a nutshell giving birth felt like doing a huge poo - what a feeling of euphoric relief once labor is over!
Go easy on yourself. Find beauty in the unseen. Trust your gut instinct and do what's right for you.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
TENS machine by using the burst mode during a contraction. Also being in the dark with no lights nearby except just in distance helps enormously with the natural, primal and mammal urge to labor without adrenalin.
What position did you end up delivering in?
On all fours and during the ring of fire stage by sitting on my knees then back to being on all fours.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
I felt the need to get him close to my breasts for skin to skin and had to firstly maneuver him from the midwife's hands up from under my legs! It felt like a huge relief to meet my baby at last.
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Go easy on yourself. Find beauty in the unseen. Trust your gut instinct and do what's right for you. Environment and support are important so choose them wisely. All in all, know that women around the world are birthing with you and as life bearers we truly are special - you can do it if you trust your body!