Reassure me about natural birth, please - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 01:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have just been having on and off doubts about my ability to have a natural birth. I know so few people in real life who have done so, and I feel like I should have been exercising more, or reading more, or taken some kind of organized class other than the very basic hospital childbirth class...

On the other hand, I have a fairly low-key family practice doctor, I'm very healthy and feeling great, and I have done some reading (book on Bradley method, plenty of internet articles, "Your Best Birth", etc.). I plan to stay home from the hospital as long as possible.

I keep trying to tell myself that I've done physically tough (thought not necessarily analagous to childbirth) things before like climbing mountains etc., and though I felt like giving up 3/4 of the way through, I really didn't have a choice and I got to the top with some friendly prodding from DH.

Anyone else in the same boat with me? Any advice or encouragement would be appreciated! Thanks!

I have one wonderful husband and one wonderful little toddler boy!
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#2 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 01:59 AM
 
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Well....childbirth is the ultimate "I had no choice" activity so that might help you Honestly, it's tough but the odds very much say that you will live through it and the moment its over you feel so relieved and happy (generalizing).
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#3 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 02:04 AM
 
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You can do it mama!!!!!!!
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#4 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 02:15 AM
 
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It's what we were MADE to do and it's such an empowering thing. Just take it one contraction at a time. Don't even think about the end and before you know it baby will be in your arms. Oh, and get a birthing ball if you don't have one!

Proud Mama of M (11/6/06), wife to T (7/31/04) and teacher of 23 first graders
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#5 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 02:32 AM
 
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You body was designed to give birth. As pp said, it's definitely not something you can stop and finish next week, though I sure considered it!

If you've still got the Bradley book around, take a good look at the section on emotional signposts. I have found in my own experience and in talking with others that they are a lot more useful than, for example, how many cms you are dilated, or how far apart the contractions are.

And, I didn't get it until I was in the middle of hard labor (and it was hard), but just take one contraction at a time. Don't focus on how much longer you might have to go, you just have to get through one at a time.

Best wishes on a wonderful birth!

Amy loving DH 5/04, raising DD 2/05 and DS 11/09; missing my mom& my babies 6/07, 12/07; and on the side
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#6 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 02:48 AM
 
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i didn't plan to have a natural, drug free delivery... i was going to get the epidural. but the hospital told me to stay home as my labor progressed. they didn't think i was in real labor. it hurt like heck, but i labored at home. i had my husband drive me to the hospital when i felt the baby "pushing down". turns out i was already 10 cm when i got to the hospital. this was transition time. and it was the most painful part. but too late for an epidural.

a few years earlier i had biked the alaska aids ride. the mountains were extremely steep. yes, i believe getting through that painful experience helped me endure the labor.

i felt inhibited to push. someone told me that was the most painful part. don't listen to what others tell you about labor. (even as i tell you about mine.) laying there *not* pushing was extremely painful.

eventually my body pushed for me. it was spontaneous, like if you really don't want to throw up, but it just comes.

the pushes that got her out, were only two pushes. the pushing was easy!

alas, i am pregnant again. this time *hoping* for a drug free natural birth. in some ways scared b/c i know what it's like, but in other ways, much more confident b/c i did get through it, even as i was unprepared for it.

i will add that right after the baby was born, the pain of labor was over. it's a little uncomfortable delivering the placenta, and i did tear so had to get stitched up a bit, also slightly uncomfortable.

but my very first thought after it was over was that "i could do that again. it wasn't so bad."

hope that helps! i think you can do it!!

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#7 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 03:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nameisrio View Post
Just take it one contraction at a time. Don't even think about the end and before you know it baby will be in your arms.
This is great advise! My best friend said something similar to me right in the middle of my labor with my first and it was such a tremendous help. Right after a contraction had ended she said, "Ok, that one's over and you never have to do that one again. One less contraction to go." It kind of helped me realize and focus on the fact each contraction will be different and brings you closer to the end and that labor will not last forever.

Also, if you really want to go drug free then try to stay at home as long as you can. I know at some point with both of my labors had I been in the hospital and someone offered me drugs I would have gladly taken them in that moment! People say I must have a high tolerance to pain to have two unmedicated home births-I say no, it's because there were no drugs available for me to take!

You can do it! Just remember that your body was made to birth your baby and it may be the hardest thing you ever do but it will not be any harder than you can handle.

Trish~mama to Kaelie 5/03 and Amelia 12/13, surro mama to Aidan 2/08 & Ellyss 6/09, 

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#8 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 09:42 AM
 
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You can definitely do it!

It will be intense and probably one of the hardest things you've ever done... but look at how many women throughout history have done it If they can, you can too. And the moment you see your sweet baby will be worth it all.

Amanda , mama to my two boys: N (10/06) and : A (7/09)
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#9 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 09:48 AM
 
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Peeking in from May DDC ~ you can TOTALLY do it!

I will say that I have had one medicated birth and four non-medicated (inc. a pitocin induced due to water beaking and labor not starting). Were they pleasant? NOOO! However, my recovery with my medicated birth was so much worse and I swore that I would never do it again. That was my first...and I've not done it again. With my subsequent pregnancies, I was up and around immediately and other than there being a baby in the room, I didn't feel like I'd had a baby.

I agree, take one contraction at a time. Think of them coming in like waves...they come in...but then they always go back out to sea. With this last one, the thing that got me through them (this was my pitoin labor which I admit is not easy at. all, but it's still doable and does not last foever!) was "blowing them away". I wasn't just breathing and blowing to get through them, it actually made me feel like I had an active part in the labor and blowing those dam* things away! Don't think about the past contractions...once they are gone, they are gone. Don't worry about the future contractions, it'll just worry you for no reason, they may not be as bad as you anticipate.

And remember that it's completely normal to go through an "I can't do this.", "I want to go home.", "I don't want to do this." stage during transition. Generally transition is the shortest part of labor (in my experience) and I wish it wasn't the case, but a lot of doctors will still give meds during that time. When transition hits, just keep in mind that it's almost over! :

Last, I love this quote "We have a secret in our culture, it’s not that birth is painful, it’s that women are strong." Laura Stavoe Harm

Wife to 1~Mom to 5 ages brand new to 12~Rural Mail Carrier~Keeper of 2 dogs, 1 cat & a flock of chickens :
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#10 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by notjustmamie View Post
You body was designed to give birth.
Wow, thanks for all the stories, especially the above reminder! Sometimes I have to remember to trust the designer a little more! I'm going to have to read all the posts over again slowly.
I do have a birth ball (and the hospital has some too, but I'm planning on bringing mine).

Thanks again, this is just what I needed!

I have one wonderful husband and one wonderful little toddler boy!
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#11 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 11:03 AM
 
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(barging from July) Along the lines of climbing the mountain, what helped me during a very intense labor with no breaks between contractions was imagining that I was running up a mountain. The kind of thing where you are only watching the step you are about to take in front of you rather than looking to the summit. Just put one foot in front of the other and eventually you'll get there. (I even ended up breathing that way, as if I were on a long strenuous run.) Good luck!

My other advice is to not fight the contractions. As much as it seems to make them hurt more at first, and your whole body starts to tense up, do your best to relax the relevant tissues (your rear end) so that the contractions can do their work. Concentrating on that helped me get through the pain. I needed a mental focus and that worked nicely.

I've never read Bradley though perhaps I ought to. I read Hypnobirthing and while it really only helped me prior to active labor, I think the advice to relax certain areas to let the contractions work was really helpful.

(p.s. BTDT with DH prodding me up a mountain lol.)
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#12 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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I think that your idea of "trusting the designer" is good. We simply could not have survived as a species unless the majority of women were able to give birth naturally.

For me labor is painful and hard, and I could never do it if I weren't, well, in labor. I know that sounds weird, but when you go into labor, you almost enter into an alternate state. So if you think about pushing a baby out of your vagina right now--crazy, huh? But your entire mind focuses, every part of your body focuses--you really go into a different "zone."

Just so you know, I read a few books, but I never took a class or anything. My mother and aunt both had multiple home births, so I just looked upon it as normal. You don't need to be super-educated. Just trust yourself. You knew how to get pregnant, right, you will be able to figure out how to birththe baby too.
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#13 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 02:02 PM
 
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I do love Trish's idea, stay home as long as possible. I know with my first (I was 17 by the way) but my first was in a birthing center and that helped SO much with staying drug free. I had no meds to take, I was forced to eat, I was in water and I had people telling me I could do it and my body was doing it's job. That while my mind might be giving up, my uterus wont give up so I am stuck on this roller coaster and I better just try to enjoy the right and know that as each hill is passed, that is one less hill to deal with.
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#14 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amandaleigh37 View Post
...look at how many women throughout history have done it If they can, you can too.
This is key for me. Women way-back-when didn't have birthing classes, hypnobabies, birth balls, fishy pools, TENS units, epidurals, IVs, and the myriad of natural and/or medical aids we have today, and somehow hundreds of thousands of babies have been born naturally. It's because it's what women do. You'll be great! Give yourself a break from the responsibility for this birth. Birth is mysterious and magical, and there are just some things that we can't control 100%. Your body knows what to do, even if you don't. Don't let fear come in, mama.

Mama to Fenergy.gif(06/11/09) and baby boy C baby.gif (06/09/11) 

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#15 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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For me labor is painful and hard, and I could never do it if I weren't, well, in labor. I know that sounds weird, but when you go into labor, you almost enter into an alternate state. So if you think about pushing a baby out of your vagina right now--crazy, huh? But your entire mind focuses, every part of your body focuses--you really go into a different "zone."
Yes, this. Going into my first birth I knew it would hurt. I knew it would be difficult, and I just surrendered to that knowledge. I trusted my midwife and that the hospital was right across the street should I need it. I just let my body do its thing. My husband later commented that I was not "there" during labor- I was somewhere else, and while not unconscious between contractions I was very still and in some other altered state of mind. I never asked for nor wanted pain relief. I do remember wanting to just stop and continue later because I was so very TIRED- but that must have been transition because I was holding a baby very shortly thereafter . I won't tell you it will be painless or easy, but your body knows how to birth a baby.
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#16 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 07:44 PM
 
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You can absolutely do it! Read the Bradley book again and maybe practice some visualizations and mantras (prayers?) to repeat when the contractions come. I found it helped to visualize my cervix opening with every wave that passed over me. When you feel the urge to tense up with a contractions, deliberately try to release and surrender instead. Not easy! It helped me to practice ahead of time -- as much as you can.

Also, can you possibly get a doula?
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#17 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 08:19 PM
 
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Everyone else has already given you great advice. I just wanted you to know that you'll do a wonderful job!
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#18 of 21 Old 06-02-2009, 10:30 PM
 
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Great advice!

Take it one at a time and during each break have someone remind you to let the last surge go and try to not anticipate the next. Move around a lot, find different positions that work for you. What works may change from one surge to the next. For a bit I found that spinning on the balls of my feet helped a great deal! crazy stuff like that. Just let your intuition lead you.

REad up on the complications drugs can bring with them. That might be all the encouragment you need in a weak moment! Ask to not be offered anything, if you want it you will ask for it.

And one last thing to keep in mind is that there is sometimes a medical need for an epidural, to allow yourself to get one if it is medically needed can save you from surgery.

Labor is not a straight line, it's a wild ride of journey. Keep reminding yourself it is all in order to get your baby in your arms!

Erin sharing life with a burly husband and two rad boys 7/06 & 5/09 : : Zone 9-ish
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#19 of 21 Old 06-03-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by notjustmamie View Post
just take one contraction at a time. Don't focus on how much longer you might have to go, you just have to get through one at a time.
I second (or third) that advice! I kept asking how much longer... and it really did make it seem longer when I kept doing that! lol. Like the doctors could really tell ya! Ha! No, it's better to just focus on getting through every contraction. It's like hiking up to a viewpoint, you aren't at the top yet, but you know you're getting there. And every contraction brings you a little bit (or a lot for some women) closer to having that baby in your arms!

Rachel lady.gif, in love with my baby girl Abigailenergy.gifborn 9/17/08!
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#20 of 21 Old 06-03-2009, 03:20 PM
 
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One thing to add (along with lots and lots of encouragement ) is to remember that any medication your receive is not without risks. From infection at the injection site to the side effects of the medication itself.

The other thing that helped me tremendously has been perineum support. Having a hand on your bottom during those pushing contractions has helped me to feel that they are less "scary" and to actually go with them rather than resist them. Is this something you've discussed with your doc?

I've had three natural births and they have all been very different. You never know, you could have a totally pain-free, orgasmic natural birth like I did with my first!

Me : living with and loving papa and the kids: Dd1 8/97 , dd2 8/04 and my sweet baby ds 5/09 : :
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#21 of 21 Old 06-03-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Thistles_in_Snow View Post

Also, can you possibly get a doula?
:

A doula can help you soooo much.

For me the most important things about my birth (besides healthy baby) were that I did everything I could to make sure I didn't get a c/s, and that BF was super important to me. So that really motivated me to do it natural. And although it wasn't easy, it was worth it, completely. What are your motivations?

stillheart.gif The Hippie & the Marine stillheart.gif  hh2.gif
My boys: S (4) & O (2) & Expecting #3 in Dec. 2011

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