I've known for about ten years that I wanted natural, intervention free childbirths. I've wanted to be a midwife for almost the same amount of time. I've read all the books- Ina May, Sheila Kitzinger, Dr. Sears, Birthing From Within. When I found out I was pregnant I did everything I could to ensure I got the birth I wanted- childbirth classes that were very natural childbirth oriented, hired (2!) doulas, made sure the midwives were not going to try to stop me from doing anything I wanted to do or force me into doing anything I didn't want to do. I drank the red raspberry leaf tea, I visualized my birth, I walked several times a week.
I did ok through a lot of my labor. It was really once transition hit that I just HATED it. It was not a beautiful, empowering experience. It was terrible! I wanted to claw away at myself until I could escape my body and the hell I was going through. Pushing was not a relief, as I had been told it would be. It didn't feel good, it wasn't "the easiest part"...I think that's where I really feel that I was lied to. Pushing hurt like nothing else I have ever been through in my life. People kept telling me to reach down and touch my baby...I did, but mostly I was checking to see how much head I could feel and how much further I still had to go. I thought I was going to die. In the end she actually came out because I decided and accepted that it may kill me and I was just going to go for it. I screamed and just did it. Tore in two spots (relatively minor tears in good spots, though, I am relieved about that still), and when baby came out, and they told me to take a look at her, I didn't want to for several seconds. I was still screaming with my head buried. My body was in shock.
The next several hours were terrible and I think that's partly what made it all so bad- my body felt like it was in shock for a long time. I was so scared to push the placenta out. About an hour after she was born I went to the bathroom and fainted and came to in a pool of blood. When they finally got me back in bed I was freezing and shaking and they had to bring heated blankets. I needed sleep and I needed food, badly. The nurse kept checking my uterus and it hurt SO bad. A few hours after the birth I had to get my stitches (it took a while because they got bombarded with births in the couple of hours after she was born), and I just wanted to cry the whole time. It was like rubbing salt in my wounds.
There wasn't anything that physically traumatizing about my birth. Nothing terrible, no lasting injuries or anything devastating. The midwives and nurses all said I was amazingly "zen" and that I did great. My doula said it was the most amazing birth she's ever been to, that it's exactly what birth is supposed to be like, with the mother knowing exactly what she needs to do. In some ways I feel proud of myself- I did something a lot of people can't do. The only interventions I had during my birth were some fetal monitoring at the beginning and two cervical checks. In a lot of ways just looking at the technical details, my labor and birth seem very easy and good. But when I think about it, a lot of the time I feel scared and still kind of in shock and maybe a little traumatized. I had no idea it was going to be like that. I'm a little afraid to have more children. I hope it will be easier in the future knowing what to expect.