When did you realize you were really in labor?
At 42 weeks I finally gave in and was induced. Within two hours of the induction I started having cramps. I thought they were just cramps. It was a sunny day and my husband was outside gardening. Then I realized the "cramps" were about two minutes apart and lasting a minute. Hmm...called the midwife and went straight to the hospital.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
I tried to go natural. I had done everything naturally throughout my pregnancy. We'd done Hypnobirthing classes and I'd been doing the hypnosis every day. I'd declined the Group B Strep test. I'd avoided being induced for two weeks despite the pressure from doctors. The most challenging thing was being confident in my choice to delay induction. My midwife and doula offered amazing support and helped me feel good about my decision to delay as long as I could. Being knowledgable beforehand also made a huge difference.
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
Hypnobirthing classes gave us a wealth of information. I read loads of books as well and found learning about birth. Ina May's guides were incredible. Knowledge sure is power!
I also stayed incredibly active. I was hiking and swimming until 41 weeks. I never got sick of being pregnant I think because I felt so healthy.
What surprised you about your birth?
That it ended up being a cesarean and that I didn't want that but in the end like one of my friends told me "you're having a baby, not a birth" and that was the most important thing - to get our little guy out safely. The caesarean was absolutely fine. I recovered well and was happy we did it when we did. My son's heart rate was dropping after each contraction and the OB was worried. In the end he had the cord wrapped around his neck three times. So although I wanted it to be natural I was grateful for modern medicine. It has its place.
Although I wanted it to be natural, I was grateful for modern medicine. It has its place.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
Hypnobirthing! Seriously - helped me a lot.
Getting in the bath made a massive difference. Walking around the hospital and talking and telling stories - taking my mind off it.
What position did you end up delivering in?
I had a cesarean.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
Cannot put it into words. It had taken us three years to fall pregnant which we ended up doing naturally :). I had been waiting a long time to meet our little guy. I knew I'd be having a baby but I just couldn't fathom he would be a real little person when he came out - it was the most precious moment of my life. It felt like I knew him already.
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Go for it! Learn as much as you can. Be prepared and knowledgable so you understand what doctors are suggesting - know the risks and benefits of interventions. Go with your gut feeling and you'll be fine. Enjoy it - it's an amazing experience.