Natural birth expectations and reality - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 03-17-2011, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been thinking about my recent labor and birth and laughing a little over some of the expectations I had about natural birth. To be sure, I wouldn’t change anything about my birth experience… but I would like to think that next time I might be a little less, uh, loud (to put it mildly).

 

I am a birth story junkie. I don’t know how many hours I have spent reading stories and looking at photo montages and youtube videos of natural birth. Whenever I felt doubt or negativity creep in during my pregnancy, I would go read positive birth stories. For some reason, I came away from these stories and images with certain thoughts about natural birth, and planned my birth accordingly. I never thought about the stuff that wasn’t filmed or photographed. And for those mamas that look gorgeous throughout the whole thing… what beautiful planet are you from?!? Just kidding.

 

I was going to make sure my hair was straightened and my make-up was done. I agonized over what I was going to wear (and in the end never found anything I considered suitable). I was going to impress people with my pictures. I was sure I was going to labor in the hotel tub and love being in the water. I never even thought about what my “vocalization” would sound like. I expected there to be pain, but I didn’t think much about that…. I envisioned a quiet and serene atmosphere for labor, and when I pushed the baby out at the hospital, I was going to amaze everyone with how awesome I was (lol). And after birth? I expected to feel amazing, and definitely thought I would feel “as if I hadn’t had a baby” within a day or two.

 

Reality? My curly, frizzy hair ended up in a sloppy pony tail with pieces sticking out all over because I kept shaking and grabbing my head. I didn’t like the tub (granted I was in transition at the point I got in it, so it might be different in earlier labor) and because I was in too much to pain to get dressed again, I ended up naked as…well, as a newborn baby. I’m glad I didn’t buy that sweet little nursing gown that cost way too much…. There is only one picture of me- my husband snapped it minutes after she came out, and I look like hell (but I love the picture anyway). My vocalization was crazy and out of control. It went from moaning, to yelling, to all-out screaming and begging God for help by the end. I’m still kind of surprised that I couldn’t get myself under control in that area. At least I kept breathing…. The paramedics and the hospital staff were pretty impressed (though I am pretty sure that some thought I was crazy and had planned to birth in the hotel) with me. I have to say, however, that I was disappointed with how uncomfortable I was after the baby came out. Yes, the pain of labor stopped, but my butt hurt so bad I couldn’t sit on it. I didn’t experience that “high” feeling right away. After the placenta came out at the hospital and they gave me an ice pack, my butt-pain became manageable. It was also after the placenta came out that I started to feel very happy and proud of myself and thankful to God for things going well. So… I guess I had the “high”, it was just delayed. I certainly didn’t feel good enough to cook breakfast (as some birth stories said) that day or several days after. I felt better than I had with my other 2 births (medicated births), but not “all better.” I took pain meds after the birth and those helped with the pain (duh). I think they also hurt my recovery though. They made me terribly constipated and they masked the pain so well that I did way too much when I got home. Plus, I got a uterine infection and I might have caught it sooner if I hadn’t been taking those.

 

Like I said, I am happy with my birth. I love thinking about it. I’m not ready to do it again anytime soon, lol… but I love how things happened.

 

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#2 of 22 Old 03-17-2011, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Another thing I had planned that seems crazy to me now is that I was going to voluntarily walk out of the hotel room, get into the car, and go to the hospital across the street while in transition so that I could push the baby out within minutes of arrival. I know some women have shown up to the hospital pushing out of necessity... but for me, there was no way I was leaving to go anywhere with that kind of pain going on.

 

I realize now that laboring in a hotel isn't a good idea for me because I am way too loud. I'm surprised no one called the police!

 

 


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#3 of 22 Old 03-17-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cagnew View Post
 I have to say, however, that I was disappointed with how uncomfortable I was after the baby came out. 

 

Like I said, I am happy with my birth. I love thinking about it. I’m not ready to do it again anytime soon, lol… but I love how things happened.

 

 

 Yes! I think I had some unrealistic expectations... I labored with my daughter and pushed, but ended up with a c-section. Somehow with my vbac, I expected that I would have a baby and be back up the next day and making breakfast and taking care of the kids. I ended up with PPH and was in bed for two days before I could sit up without getting dizzy/passing out. And now, almost 3 weeks later parts of me are still quite sore. I am in significantly better shape than I was after my c-section, I had just expected to be back to 100% by now and I'm not. 

 

I had also expected the tub to take more of the pain away than it did - granted once I was in the water there was no way I was getting out, I just expected it would hurt less than it did. 

 

All in all I am thrilled to have given birth, I am no where near ready to decide if we're going for baby #3 though. :)
 

 


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#4 of 22 Old 03-17-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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I have to say I didn't like the tub for birthing either. Most of my labors have been done on the toilet, lol. Thus my "toilet baby" this time. All of my kids have been born in the morning, so labor starts middle of the night or early morning, so the hair is crazy, no makeup, no shower, and random crazy clothes. I tend to be loud with the contractions as well. Although third time around was not too bad. The thing I remember being surprised about the first time around was the smell. It stank like someone gutted a deer, I suppose it was all the blood.

All in all, this time around I feel pretty good. Up and walking around right away. I spent a couple days feeling like crap when my milk came in, but once the sore nipples and the engorgement went away I felt much better. I still am not going on full energy due to an extreme lack of sleep though.


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#5 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 12:33 PM
 
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with my recent birth (my second natural birth) I expected to mentally get into that zone. My labor was fast this time and I instead stayed in the moment. Then the moment was gone. She was here and my birth experience was over. I expected there to be more to it. I'm very grateful it paned out the way it did. I just expected a longer birth in a different mental state. Looking back, it couldn't have been more perfect though!


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#6 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 01:18 PM
 
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My first birth was long and kind of complicated, and part of me is still mentally expecting to go into labour.  The drive to the hospital wasn't much fun, but other than that the whole thing was fast and easy and natural, just as I'd dreamed the first one would be.  lol.gif

 

My recovery was a lot faster from this one, and while I wasn't up cooking breakfast, I was able to go for a walk in something faster than a shuffle at 2 days pp when we went back to the hospital for the PKU and hearing tests. 


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#7 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 05:10 PM
 
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Hmmm...not sure exactly what I was expecting.  I suppose something a bit more ecstatic or orgasmic or something else spectacular orngtongue.gif  I'm not sure why...I guess since I'd been doing a lot of reading on ecstatic birth experiences the last few years, I thought maybe I'd experience something like that, too.  It turned out to be pretty basic and mundane, which I am very grateful for and come to realize after reflecting on it that the "mundane" is actually very beautiful and special in and of itself.

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#8 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 05:45 PM
 
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I've been very blessed to have only ever experienced natural birth and I try to avoid expectations. This time however everything seemed to happen a little faster than my previously fast births and I think that since the first contraction was full blown labor and half the duration of my other two labors I don't think I actually had time to allow the endorphins to kick in and relieve some of the intensity... maybe I just totally forgot what the other two births were like LOL

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#9 of 22 Old 03-18-2011, 06:32 PM
 
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nak...i love that you started this thread! i too am a birth story junkie and love the calm/ecstatic birth stories too. i feel like this is an option...and was in some ways bummed that wasn't my experience. i never wanted to be one of those whiny women who break down and are hard on themselves and their mates. in this way i did not think i couldn't do it but at the same time i did wonder why it was taking so long. i am glad i never thought of hospitals, epidurals, or wanting out...but i do wish i could have kept my calm, trusting self the whole way (lost it in transition)...but what i did experience served me...and apparently i still needed to process a bit of lack of faith in myself. and i still came away empowered which i think is the most important thing, no matter what kind of birth. 

 

i did think it was a bit to process because i had slightly different expectations. but in the end must trust that i did my best, and even though i'm not ready to think about doing it again yet, i too think i learned things through the process that would help in having a second natural, home birth.

 

i didn't like the birthing pool at all...and will skip that the next time. it felt too big, i prefer the toilet and a small enclosed shower...like a little square. :) i am glad to have the photos...but i'd prefer to have one less person the next time around. i also don't know how, but i want unlimited hot shower water! that's where i feel most comfortable. i still think "pushing" per se can be skipped, if you work with breathing down, and i'd like to play with that more. :) what's amazing is birth is such an incredibly intense time, but you can't really just work on perfecting it...you have nine months of pregnancy, and then another child :) so, we do what we can. and then adjust the next go around!  

 

the afterbirth...so surprised by all the pressure and falling out sensation! wow. i'm on week three pp and it's just now that the falling out sensation is almost gone. the pressure went away pretty quick, but i was still surprised by it's intensity just afterbirth. i also figured i'd be pretty normal a few days after birth...nope! :)

 

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#10 of 22 Old 03-19-2011, 03:15 PM
 
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ashley you're really good at typing while breastfeeding!

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#11 of 22 Old 03-19-2011, 07:35 PM
 
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ashley you're really good at typing while breastfeeding!



 


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#12 of 22 Old 03-20-2011, 12:31 PM
 
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 and i still came away empowered which i think is the most important thing, no matter what kind of birth. 

 

ITA agree with this- I had 2 medicated births with epidurals and one unmedicated birth and can honestly say I felt empowered with each of them. Just getting through childbirth feels empowering to me! Knowing I did my absolute best and made the best decisions for me and my child is a great feeling.

 

Also I very firmly believe that we can do all the physical and mental preparation we want but in the end there's a lot we can't control. So much depends on the baby's position & what shape you are physically going into labour (i.e. if you are tired, haven't slept well leading up to then etc), when labour starts, how long it lasts, things that can go wrong... there's a lot that can happen that can't be expected or prepared for. So educating yourself on any and all options and having good labour support is so important. That way you can feel confident in any decision making and it is much easier to deal with any outcome even if it isn't what you expected or hoped and you don't spend days or weeks feeling bad because it didn't go the way you thought it would.

 

Everyone has a different labour and this really actually still surprises me- how different everyone's labour truly is- even for one woman, it's different for each child. Honestly I kind of have to laugh in thinking about the idea of giving birth in this calm serene environment- I know for me it would NEVER happen. I don't mind being as vocal as I have to be- naked, messy. It's the way it is, and it's good.

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#13 of 22 Old 03-20-2011, 12:33 PM
 
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I just thought of the part in Birthing from Within where the author recalls a woman in labour with soft music on, candles going, wearing a beautiful nightgown and she told her to put an old t-shirt on and get down to business (or something along those lines)... THAT i can relate to LOL


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#14 of 22 Old 03-20-2011, 06:09 PM
 
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I just thought of the part in Birthing from Within where the author recalls a woman in labour with soft music on, candles going, wearing a beautiful nightgown and she told her to put an old t-shirt on and get down to business (or something along those lines)... THAT i can relate to LOL


 

LOL - my midwife said she knew we were getting close when I yelled for someone to please take my glasses.

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#15 of 22 Old 03-20-2011, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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LOL - my midwife said she knew we were getting close when I yelled for someone to please take my glasses.


LOL!

 


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#16 of 22 Old 03-21-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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I definitely thank you for starting this thread! I really needed to see this because I have been bothered by how unexpectedly long my labor was and how loud I moaned/screamed throughout my first home birth (2/19/11). Reading this due date forum helped me to get through the last month of my pregnancy, but I too, went into my third labor with certain expectations and was particularly ashamed of my uncontrollable screaming during transition. I think at the time I believed I could drown out the pain of my contractions if I just yelled/chanted/moaned loud enough....rofl! I read all these wonderful birth stories leading up to my last labor and it turned out nothing like what had inspired me about birthing.... However, I will never regret that I labored at home with no meds!!!! 

 

Thank you for sharing your experiences.

 

Rachel

 

 

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#17 of 22 Old 03-27-2011, 07:40 PM
 
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I definitely appreciate this thread. I tried not to have too many preconceptions about labor. But mine was LONG. I pushed for an hour at home, then we had to go to the hospital because the baby's heart rate dropped to 80. As soon as we got to the hospital, I totally lost my cool. I was having nasty back labor and totally exhausted when pushing at home, but in the emergency kept my cool, focusing on breathing in the oxygen I was given (first by the midwife, then in the ambulance; w/ the oxygen baby's heart rate came back well). But once we were in the hospital, I hit my wall and screamed for an epidural. Once the epidural kicked in, I was able to relax and I dialated again and with the pain relief and oxygen was able to try and push again for a couple more hours. I wound up with a C-section again, but felt okay about it because it was for a good reason (unlike how I felt with DD); DS was LOA and, we learned when they took him out, had his hands up by his head and the cord around his shoulder (which compressed when pushing, hence the dropped heart rate). He was basically stuck, and not going anywhere without help.

 

I did recover faster from this C-section than the last, this despite 3 days of labor beforehand. 2 1/2 weeks out, I feel pretty good, though not completely recovered.


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#18 of 22 Old 04-01-2011, 05:03 PM
 
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Cagnew, baby, I feel ya! Don't take it too hard, you're the real deal. Like Rainbow said, we don't all get that bliss-labor we read about. Sometimes we're taken by surprise a bit. I related to you very much. :)


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#19 of 22 Old 04-04-2011, 05:52 AM
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We had a beautiful and peaceful birth this time around, because of the epidural.  Sheepish.gif   My other births have been 100% all-natural, and I wouldn't give those away for the world, but this time around I thought I'd switch it up.  My younger children were present and the epidural made it possible for me to be in the moment and enjoy and experience it with them.  

 

Because of a major winter storm, the midwives couldn't get to the hospital, the on-call OB couldn't get to the hospital.  It was me, dh, children, and the nurse.  :)  It wasn't as I had planned it, but I am so happy with the outcome and totally in love with our new baby.  

 

 

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#20 of 22 Old 04-07-2011, 10:33 AM
 
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Quote:
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...but i do wish i could have kept my calm, trusting self the whole way (lost it in transition)...but what i did experience served me...and apparently i still needed to process a bit of lack of faith in myself. and i still came away empowered which i think is the most important thing, no matter what kind of birth. 

 

It seems to me that part of what is empowering about birth is that you HAVE to hit the wall and let go and experience everything that comes with that, in all its messy glory. If it was a walk in the park, you wouldn't learn anything about yourself, you wouldn't feel that you'd overcome anything. And how much MORE faith in yourself will you have now, knowing that you can face a moment when you doubt yourself and still get through it all?


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#21 of 22 Old 04-07-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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It took me three tries to experience the birth I had originally envisioned the first time around. I learned a little bit each time so I could do some things differently and so I could accept that some things would just be the same (for instance that I roar like a lion(ness) when I push my babies out). I watch those videos of women not making a sound as they push and it's so magical and I always felt a bit sheepish about all my screaming...but that's just the way it is. And for what it's worth, my friend Kate (who was here this time to watch my older two) claims that I wasn't even that loud.

 

The thing that really surprised me this time around is how much more I was able to actually work with the labour instead of just hang on for the ride. I was definitely still experiencing the whole labourland thing but I was able to come out of it here and there to talk with my midwife about how things were going and I was able to work with the pushing sensation and kind of breathe through it until I was mentally ready to commit to pushing the baby out.


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#22 of 22 Old 04-11-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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I had the same experience with both my natural births and I wonder if this is common...for a few days afterwards I kept replaying it all in my mind, esp. the night after the birth (both mine were at 7pm, so all night it just kept running through my head). It was the strangest thing, almost as if I was in some kind of disbelief that I had really done that--a good thing, but almost like some kind of adrenaline rush still going through me. I think I was just in total awe of what my body could do and was trying to process it or something. This didn't happen to me with my first when I had an epidural though. anyone else experienced this? 

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