When did you realize you were really in labor?
My water broke in the morning, but of course, you wonder, "Was that really my water?" The answer came pretty quickly as sweet, little contractions started. I found myself rocking back and forth, tears in my eyes and peace in my heart as I realized our moment had come.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
The most challenging thing about going natural was letting go of going natural. I walked into that room with full intentions of avoiding pitocin and pain medication. I ended up having a small amount of pitocin to encourage my contractions, and in the throes of labor I was offered an epidural and I accepted. I feel some amount of shame that I wasn't "strong enough" to do it all natural-- but this is our birth story. So instead of feeling ashamed I choose to feel strong enough to surrender.
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
Throughout my pregnancy, I worked hard to let go of expectations. Nothing went how I imagined it would. We almost had to have an emergency c-section as my little babe's heart rate dropped, and in the moments of being wheeled back to the operating room, all I could do was cry and surrender every single expectation I had. Don't walk into that room with a plan-- most likely it will go anything but accordingly.
What surprised you about your birth?
Every bit about it. The power of my body, the delicacy of his body, the way we worked together, the magic of prayer, the extreme familiarity of contractions, the ease of mothering, the intensity of faith, the need to surrender, and the magnitude of Love felt so suddenly, so deeply, so immediately and so unconditionally. Our story didn't go according to my plan, but it did go according to the Divine plan. I am forever grateful for the humbling experience, even if it wasn't my ideal imagined experience.
Our story didn't go according to my plan, but it did go according to the Divine plan.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
The tub was incredible. The hot water instantly soothed me and relaxed me to a point where contractions could quickly intensify. Within minutes I was contracting much faster and much stronger than I was before entering the tub.
What position did you end up delivering in?
Since I ended up getting an epidural, I was on my back!
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
Natural. Familiar. Like breathing. I thought it would be this intensely magical moment, but instead, it felt intensely ordinary, which I think is even lovelier. He was placed in my arms and I thought. "Yeah. This feels right."
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Let yourself have the birth you, your body, and your child need. Let yourself go off plan. Let yourself go with the flow instead, even if that flow means taking pitocin or getting a c-section. Your child is what matters-- labor is just the way we all get to that same special moment of meeting face to face.