Giving birth to my son (naturally) was the single most beautiful, empowering and greatest moment in my life...hands down. I had a long labor...but I wouldn't take back or change any of the 37 hours that brought my baby closer to my arms. The pushing part was the most exciting part...I remember saying...Alright...I can DO this!!! I never felt more like a woman...I've never felt more beautiful and capable than when I allowed my body to do what it was meant to do. I'm so glad that I was "present" for my birth. I get chills and smiles everytime I think about it.
I had a natural birth partly out of curiosity; I wanted to see if it could be done, and I wanted to see if it could be done by me. The "Yes, apparently I CAN!" aspect of it felt really good, and of course it was important to me to give my tiny little stockbroker of a daughter (now 3) the best possible start. I wouldn't go back and change anything, even if I could, but I do have one regret about natural birth. By the time DD actually popped out, I was so spent and so wiped out and so focused on the sweet, sweet absence of pain, that when my husband said "It's a girl!", for a second I had absolutely no idea who he was talking about.
I am a mommy to 2 boys, the first had an unmedicated hospital birth, and the second had an unmedicated, birthing home waterbirth. I'm just 3 weeks post-partum and can't wait to have another! Birth is an awesome thing...it is both exhausting and empowering! My labors were 12 and 11 hours, respectively. There's nothing embarrassing about giving birth...everything about it is natural and powerful and wonderful! Going to the birthing home, I loved the fact that I could do whatever I wanted! If I wanted to be dressed or naked, that was my call. If I wanted to lay down, stand up, rock, sit on the birthing ball, or go for a walk in the garden, I could. If I wanted to eat or drink, I was welcomed to. If I wanted to be silent, that was fine...but if I wanted to moan or hum or even growl, that was fine too! The sensations you feel are amazing! If you can think about what your body and baby are doing, it takes your mind off of the pain. With each surge, imagine your body hugging your baby and pushing him down, closer and closer to your arms! When your body is telling you that it's almost done, it's O.K. to help your body push your baby out, try to focus on the feeling, the sensations. They are amazing...feeling your baby moving down, stretching and opening your body, breathe and relax as you feel the burn of your baby's head moving out of your body, then out comes his head! Reach down and touch your sweet child's head, feel his hair, then feel the resistance of the final surge pushing his shoulders closer and closer, then suddenly the release as your baby is birthed into the world by his mommy's wonderful, beautiful, miraculous body!!! How AWESOME is that?!? I can't wait to do it again! Then to be able to look back and realize what your body did, not just in the last hours, but the last 9 months! It grew and nourished this child that you're now holding in your arms. Need I say more?
Thank you to everyone for contributing to this forum! This was my first time visiting, and I had to join after seeing all the positivity here! You mama's ROCK!!! I feel so much more encouraged to have a natural birth because of what I have read. I'm due in May and I feel ready! Thanks ladies!
I love this thread. I wish I'd read it before my labor! LOL
I gave birth to my son 6 weeks ago at home. My labor was 23 hours and I had hip pain with each contraction from the start. For the first 14 hours I moved around a lot and tried different positions, even relaxing in the birthing pool. I vocalized a lot to help focus and, even with the hip pain, it was all very manageable. After the birthing pool, I was so relaxed my labor really slowed down so we tried stripping the membranes to speed things up again.
After that it was like swimming in the ocean. Each wave swallowed me up, just barely this side of being completely overwhelming. Then I would pop out the other side and everything would be smooth and peaceful before the next wave overcame me. A lot of labor prep stuff I read talked about visualizing and distancing yourself from the pain, but I felt intensely inside myself and inside the pain. That probably sounds worse that it was. Even when the pain was everywhere, I didn't have to do anything except be and then it was gone. I never reached an "I can't take this anymore" moment though I think I did say "I don't know how much longer I can do this" for a couple of hours. I did wonder for a while if Rowan would actually ever come out, though!
When the pushing did finally come, I was in an altered state of consciousness. I don't really remember the time between when he started to descend and when his head came out--just a lot of pushing. My husband said it was like I was possessed. I just remember my body needed to push, so I pushed. It hurt a lot but in a very distant kind of way. Then I felt Rowan's body slip out of me and the midwife laid him on my belly. He scrunched up his little face and cried for a few seconds, then he opened his eyes and looked up at me. That moment is just indescribable. My body brought this little person into the world.
It took me about two days to want to do it again. I wish child care didn't cost so much so I could do it sooner! If nothing else, I'd like to experience birth while I'm more grounded instead of so overcome by the power of it I hardly remember anything. I hope I don't have hip pain again, though.
I had my first baby in December and it was a totally unmedicated, intervention-free birth in a birthing center with a midwife and doula. It lasted 25 hours from the time my water broke until he was born, and it was definately painful, but it was also truely the most incredible experience. I found strength within myself that I never dreamed I had and felt such a sense of acomplishment afterwards. I did it! And the best reward of all was seeing my perfect little boy come out healthy and so alert...looking around, listening to my voice, and ready to nurse.
I love being in labor and delivering without medication! It is so exciting. It is painful, but completely manageable if you are prepared. I have given birth to four babies, and have felt completely ready to do it again, right afterward, each time!
It is also such an incredible bonding experience with DH....each time. I will be sad when I know that there will not be another time for me to birth a child.
I haven't read all the responses, but what I have read resonates with my experience... I felt an awesome amount of power and felt the most 'authentic' ever!!!! I just W A S. Having the wonderful support of DH and my doula could never be replaced and IMO is essential (having the support of whomever you feel comfortable with).... yes, there are things that are not so pretty, but my birth experience is still something (OK, it's only 3 months ago) that I look back on with awe (reading and rereading the birth story I wrote in the first weeks when it was all still fresh)... It was such a celebration of life and my love for DH. So, the "embaressing" stuff pales in comparison to the experience itself. Go for it
Having a baby naturally is so amazing. Yes it hurts, but you don't care- I am not speaking to people that have been confined to a hospital bed on their backs.. because I don't think that would be fun at all. With freedom of movement- Laboring is awesome. I delivered in a birthing center with 2 midwives attending. I am a post-partum and nursery R.N. and did not want a hospital birth b/c I felt that medical interventions weren't what I wanted.
First time pregnancy- natural delivery.
After one false labor start on a Saturday that only lasted a couple hours with some mild-moderate contractions. Sunday we woke up and took an epic walk around a lake... I was really full of adrenaline all day- we then had some veggie tacos for lunch - named "The Birth Tacos" to help bring the baby. By the evening I started contracting and just before midnight... It was on! Real contractions every 5 minutes that didn't stop with activity.. JOY!
The first thing I did was get into the shower. We bought a shower chair halfway through my pregnancy that was a life saver. The warm water was very soothing. I put it on a low setting so it would last longer... not a trickle just like half of what you would normally shower with. I sat down between contractions and visualized my baby being born safely- when I felt one coming on I would stand and do thrusts with the contraction- when I say thrusts, I mean mini thrusts- hands against wall of shower, one foot forward with knee slightly bent, other foot back- only definately have a good nonskid shower mat. After about an hour or so in the shower, I got out... contractions were coming more frequently...every 2-3 minutes. It seemed like labor was really progressing and I started having intense back pain with every contraction. We relieved it with having my husband do counterpressure on my lower back- which got really entertaining when he needed to load the car with our stuff. "GET BACK HERE AND PRESS ON MY BACK NOW"
I can't even stress how important the position I was in was... If I laid down on my side in this stage of labor... I seriously felt like I was being disemboweled... It was sheer agony.. but if I got on my hands and knees or did thrusts using the wall- it was such a managable kind of pain. I completely understand why women who admit to the hospital and have to lay in the bed strapped to a monitor want an epidural. I totally understand. The pain I was having in the "wrong position" whatever that was at the time... was horrific and I can't imagine laying there and feeling that over and over again. So to someone going to the hospital, know that you can still have some freedom of movement even though you are on a monitor! You can stand at the bedside and do thrusts using the bed- don't just lay in bed in agony.. find the position that relieves your pain
So back to the story- I labored from around midnight to 5am at home. We called the midwife at 2am to tell her our progress and agreed to meet at the birthing center around 5am. A 45 minute trip to the birthing center... (owie) If you are in back labor try this trick if you have to take a car ride- put a water bottle or anything similiar between your lower back and the car seat and with the contraction.. push against the water bottle for counterpressure... helped me survive.
Ok.. arrived at the birthing center- got into the room and after a pelvic exam- I was at 6 cm. I was so happy! I think all the moving definately helped my body progress. At 6cm... I started to really move into Labor Land... my endorphins were flowing freely and I just allowed my instinct to take over- I think its hard for some people to give into this mode of labor. To me it felt very primal and intense... like going on a vision quest or something. Continued changing positions all through the labor with suggestions and support from the midwives- we did more thrusts, birthing ball, hands and knees, sat on the toilet. I actually went through transition on the toilet... My little guy was in OP position- so he turned while coming down the canal which relieved the back labor. Sitting on the toilet between contractions, with each one- I would involuntarily come to a standing position- it was incredible how intense they felt. Soon after it was time to push... my water broke around 8am and my little boy was born at 10:25am. The pushing was hard work but felt good- and by that time I was so exhausted I ended up delivering on my back.. something I didn't really want to do but my wrists were so tired from doing hands and knees too long. Something so awesome during this phase of labor was that between each contraction, my midwife would put a drink with a strawn near my mouth and I would take a little sip. It was the BEST thing... like a little reward for pushing. So small but made a big difference. I think next time I will have some cool honey sweetened green tea at the ready for that little boost at the end. Delivering the head did burn... the only pain in labor that you really can't control or change.. but it doesn't last too long and the way to get through it is to really get tough about pushing. Just know that you are at the end and the only way to make that burning stop is to suck it up and push that head out. I remember in my delerium thinking to myself, "Hahahahaha... thats right it hurts, so I'm going to push harder!" Funny the things that go through your mind at that time. Anyhow, once the head was delivered it was all weird to feel the body... so I was really eager to push the rest of him out... I remember saying, "Ahhh get it out" Well there you have it... baby on the belly and "Where have you been all my life"
Some of this might sound scary to people reading but really it was incredible to me. Key things that really made it awesome:
1. Thrusts with contractions. Freedom of movement- period
3. Amazing support.
5. Trusting my body to do what it was meant to do.
6. Visualizing a normal/natural delivery... visualizing my baby in the correct position for birth. I used this tool for months leading up to delivery.
i loved giving birth - and was unmedicated. everyone still thinks i'm crazy because it took 37 hours and was really hard. it took me a long time to dilate. once i was far enough along i spent a couple hours in the tub, but wanted to get out when i started pushing. i was just so tired and the tub wasn't working for me at that point. i pushed for two hours. and the pushing was the BEST part. because i finally felt like the contractions were accomplishing something (in truth every contraction is meaningful, each contraction gets you that much closer to your baby), but they felt different while pushing and i could feel my baby moving down and out. i remember putting my hand between my legs and feeling DS's head, and i remember the point where i felt his head push through and out. that was the best part. and then his body flopped out. we didn't know the sex, so it was really special when my partner, announced boy and i fell in love when he was placed on my chest.
some key ingredients for making this birth possible:
1. i believed in my body. i would repeat "my body was made to do this. i can do this."
2. my partner was on board with the way i wanted to birth and supported me through it all.
3. we had a wonderful doula that supported both of us.
4. an amazing midewife and great nurses.
took me a while, but i just finished reading this entire thread. it is SO good to read such inspiring, positive comments by women who have gone through it...i have a feeling some of these stories will be re-playing in my mind as i am experiencing labor for the first time.
i'll be having a HB in 2 months. i'm so glad i've finally come across a mothering forum that includes lots of women who believe in the body's natural ability to give birth without drugs. (i've left Baby-Gaga because i was overwhelmed with the negativity and bitterness that has surrounded any HB, UC, or natural birth posts...)
I just wanted to thank everyone who posted in this thread. I read it while I was in early labor and it kept me very excited and motivated throughout. Thank you!
I think the best part of labor was losing my inhibitions and just letting myself get in touch with the primal, animal thing deep inside that most of us normally try to suppress and control. I was groaning, moaning, growling, swaying, kneeling, and stripping off my clothes with total abandon. It was awe-inspiring and beautiful.
I've had three children, and absolutely loved every moment of their births. My one regret is that we are unlikely to have any more, so I won't get to feel the astounding feeling of power, life and intimacy as the baby, my husband and I work together to bring our family together.
I use Hypnobabies self-hypnosis for my births, so I never felt any pain. It was far more intense and powerful than anything else I have every experienced, but since it wasn't painful I was able to easily embrace and cherish every sensation and really allow my intuition to tell me what my body was telling me. I had so much confidence in myself and my body that even when my third child dropped right past the cervix an brought on an intense birthing wave that moved him right down the birth canal, I welcomed the power of it because I knew that was MY power, and not something that was being done *to* me.
I describe giving birth as feeling like the intensity of 1000 simultaneous orgasms - and the afterglow is equally grand! In fact, the natural "high" I felt after my first birth was so strong that I honestly never came down. My "baseline" level of happiness and physical comfort is actually much higher than it was before giving birth naturally, and the subsequent births just brought it that much higher.
I've never experienced anything emotionally or physically more enjoyable than giving birth.
Awesome thread! I loved how primal I became. It's like nothing else mattered but the contractions flowing through me, the life coming out of me in numerous ways. I labored in a dark room in a hospital completely naturally thanks to my wonderful midwife. The sun was just beginning to rise and I felt closer to God than I could have if I had gone to church for 20 years. It was so instinctive, powerful, and wonderfully painful. I wasn't thinking about baby, to be honest, just birth and life and God and how thankful I was. There is nothing more full of raw emotion than birth... I hit the full spectrum of emotion in a mere 30 minutes. Then stayed on the happy end of things after a beautiful slimy baby was put on my belly.
Labor was cool! Um, no, it was fun! Well, I guess "exciting" is the right word - those other two just don't sound right. It was great that I knew what should be happening - if I hadn't read "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" and a Bradley book (among others) beforehand, I would've been clueless. I feel a little sorry for all those women on "Baby Story" who are induced just because they don't have any idea what's going on. Educate yourself & it'll make labor go a lot better than the horror stories you hear in the mainstream US.