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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I never thought I'd be in a situation where I could have a natural birth. I've had severe pre-e with both of my previous pregnancies despite following Brewer diet and doing other things my MW suggested. Here I am now though nearly 39 weeks along with my 3rd and things are going great. My BP is stable and it looks like I may get the chance to have the natural birth I've longed for. I feel so unprepared though! Can the BTDT mamas give me a crash course? What are your best tips and/or advice? I will be delivering in a hospital with my OB (who is fantastic, btw). I have a birth plan that includes no IV, intermittent fetal monitoring, delayed cord clamping, etc. That part I feel I've got covered. Its the actual labor part that I feel kind of clueless about. I wasn't allowed to get out of bed and had to lie down for both of my previous deliveries because of my crazy high BP. This time though I should have access to a birth ball and other things my hospital provides to help mamas that want a natural birth. I just have no idea when/how to use them. I hope you ladies can help me! I need to feel more confident than I do right now I know.
 

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Ooh ooh, I got this one!<br>
My favorite thing to do in early labor is to walk! Walk around stores (like Walmart lol!) or outside if the weather is nice.<br>
Make sure you eat. You will need the energy.<br>
And, rest when you feel tired.<br><br>
Think of labor as a marathon. You can do it, but you will need to be prepared. Also, women have been giving birth for thousands of years. Animals give birth. Don't worry about looking/sounding strange. Do what feels natural. When I was in labor, and a contraction came on, I did whatever I wanted, as long as I was comfortable. When we were walking around Walmart and a contraction would come, I would just kneel down and pretend like I was looking on the bottom shelf.<br><br>
You should watch lots of natural birth videos on Youtube, so you can see what such a labor looks like. The birth ball is good to sit and sway on during contractions. Or you can lean your top half over the ball, with your knees on the ground. Basically, just move around however you like. Your body will know what to do.<br><br>
It's great news that you don't have pre-e<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> Good luck with everything!
 

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My best tip is to stay home and ignore labour as long as you can. If things aren't moving super fast, just try to go about your day. If it's night time, sleep, or at least rest in a dark room, and if it's day time, try to find something to occupy yourself. Once you get to a point where you need to 'do' things to get through contractions, try sitting/rocking on the ball, swaying, and whatever movements feels good.
 

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definitely stay home as long as possible. i made it to almost 10 cm with my first; with my second, i was afraid it would go too fast so went in at 7 cm. i decided to call and go in with #2 when i got bloody show, b/c with #1 bloody show came only about an hour before birth.<br><br>
hire a doula. mine pared down the birth plan to just five items. the most important of which is probably "do not offer me pain medication. i know it is available and i will ask for it if i need it." also freedom to choose birthing position is important. we labeled it "birth wishes" b/c that seems to go over better with hospital staff, as "plans" can change, but "wishes" don't really change.<br><br>
your OB is great, but is your hospital great? mine was with #2 (#1 wasn't as great a hospital -- which is why i changed). i used a midwife out of the OB practice, and she stayed for my entire hospital labor (which was only about 3 hours). i did allow her to break my water when i was still 7 cm after an hour at the hospital. this speeded up labor, and made the contractions really really hard. not sure if i would do that again.<br><br>
if you really want a drug free birth, your best bet is to get to the hospital "too late for an epidural." try to stay on your feet if at all possible. with #1, i was totally niave. i did good by getting to the hospital so late, but once i was there, they put me on my back in a bed, and it was just miserable. with #2 i labored on my feet, standing, for the entire time.<br><br>
spontaneous pushing is very important. this means, *you push when your body does it on its own.* again, i was niave with #1, and i was scared to push. the hospital staff gave me no support, and being scared, i just laid there through the worst pains of transition. eventually, my body just took over. when it came time for baby to be born, all it took was one push for her head, and another for her body.<br><br>
with #2 i knew spontaneous pushing was actually desirable, and i told the midwife that i didn't want to be told when to push. on my feet, gravity helped bring baby down, and eventually spontaneous pushing started. it was only a few minutes and a few contractions with spontaneous pushing that i turned to the midwife and said, "get ready, he's coming. i swear i've gotta be crowning." i got on the bed to deliver [most natural birthers will tell you on all fours is better, but you have to go with what you trust in the heat of the moment, and i went with on my back] and again it was just one push for his head, and one for his body.<br><br>
have fun!! just kidding but not really. in the heat of the moment you might start to doubt your resolve to have a natural birth. this is a sign that you are getting very close. if you can push through those few hours of agonizing pain, you can have a natural birth! and just to give you one more reason to push through and do it -- when you deliver that way, you can feel the sense of empowerment, that if you can do that (unmedicated), you can do anything! a feeling that stays with you for the rest of your life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
THANK YOU!!! Your comments are very helpful. To the poster who asked about my hospital -- its the best I'm going to find in my area (no waterbirths or midwives but I'll take what I can get). I did some research before I got pregnant with my second. The nurses I had last time were really great about my desire to not be offered pain meds. They were really sweet and supportive. I made it to 7 cm on cytotec and pitocin before caving and getting the epi. I thought about a doula early on in my pregnancy but several of them declined to take me on simply because of the upcoming holidays. Many of them take the month of December off. In the end it boiled down to me not having the $$ to pay for it because I got laid off. Sigh. Anyone else have some wisdom for me?
 

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Stay home as long as possible. Walk, ignore your labor. When you find you're in a place where you can't ignore it, I found that counting my breaths worked well to get through contractions. Sighing as I exhaled also worked. For some people rocking works, walking slowly etc. Something with rhythm. Sometimes squeezing something helps. You'll find what works for you. At some point you'll know it's time to go to the hospital. Then go take a shower (as long as you want) and get ready to go. You'll feel better. The best thing you can do once you get there is have someone (your husband?) make sure to remind them of key parts of your birth plan as they become relevant. For example, if you don't want an IV, this is important right at the beginning. How you push and the position you push in is only important once you're actually ready to push. Etc etc. Best of luck - you'll do GREAT!!!
 

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1. Movement, movement, movement. Be free to change your position at will, even when they are monitoring you. That makes a HUGE difference in managing contractions.<br><br>
2. Water. internally and externally. Stay hydrated. Make a plan for your DH to be "water monitor" and have you take a drink of something (water, electrolyte drink, juice, whatever) after each and every contraction. Take showers, at home and hospital. When you feel you can't do it anymore, take a shower.<br><br>
3. If you are laboring for a while and then your water breaks, understand that the intensity of the contractions will likely change. Don't panic! Just give yourself 10 or so more contractions to adjust to this new reality.<br><br>
4. Stay home until you feel you really really really need to go to hospital.<br><br>
5. Wait to push until you can't not push. Let your body lead you. Let the contraction build and push when it is most intense.<br><br>
Have Fun and good luck!
 

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First, <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Congrats!!<br><br>
Second, I think a really important part of preparing for natural birth is <span style="text-decoration:underline;"><i>mental preparation!</i></span> VISUALLY yourself in labor, feeling ctrx, breathing through them, "getting out of the way" & letting your uterus do the work of opening your cervix. Picture yourself coping well even if you are in pain (& you may not even be in much pain!)<br><br>
It's proven that visualizing success for athletes can help improve performance - for example, a basketball player picturing throwing freethrows & scoring baskets - & I think it's just as important for birth.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ElliesMomma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14755653"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">when you deliver that way, you can feel the sense of empowerment, that if you can do that (unmedicated), you can do anything! a feeling that stays with you for the rest of your life.</div>
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So true. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> I was so high after giving birth, I loved it & couldn't wait to do it again.
 

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Having a supportive partner (that was willing to speak up for me when I was in my zone) was the most helpful thing for me.
 

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during transition, let go of the contractions right after they peak. instead of thinking about each contraction lasting for 60 seconds or whatever, think of them lasting until the climax, and then tell yourself it's over. after the contraction peaks relax, go completely limp. that helped me tremendously. like everyone else said, don't push until you absolutely can't resist the urge. i had quite a few contractions where in retrospect, i think i was at ten centimeters, but i had to wait until the doctor came in to check. it ended up being great! the baby was already crowning by the time he checked to see if it was alright for me to push. your uterus will get that baby out! i just want to warn you that i was really, really scared when it came time to push. it didn't hurt, it was just very scary. don't be afraid! it will all be ok! good luck!
 

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Hm, I've heard this before that the uterus will get the baby out, but not me. I was planning a hospital birth, got all the way through 1st stage & felt the urge to push while still at home! (Less than 5 hours since I felt the first ctrx, and as a first-timer, it never occured to me that it would go that fast!)<br><br>
By the time we got out the door, drove 20 min to the hospital, got checked-in & into a room, about 40 min had passed & I'd been fighting the urge. (I think I gave in a LITTLE at the very peak of a few ctrx & pushed for just a couple seconds.)<br><br>
After my MW checked me & I started to <span style="text-decoration:underline;"><i>actively push</i></span> with ctrx, my water broke right away (so I suspect he wasn't moving much before while I fought the urge.)<br><br>
As far as how pushing feels, after a few pushes, my doula said, "Relax your bottom & push from the middle." that really resonated with me for some reason - to relax my anus a bit! (I hadn't realized before that I WAS pushing too much from back there.)
 

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Congratulations on reaching 39 weeks with stable BP!<br><br>
You've gotten great advice so far! Here's a little more: Once things get intense, become completely in the moment. By that, I mean think only about the birthing wave you're having. Most women who "cave in" to drugs even though they don't want them do so because they get psyched out. They start assuming that just because things have intensified suddenly, they will continue to get more powerful and they aren't going to be able to handle it. But in reality, that feeling of "I can't take anything more powerful than this" is an excellent sign of transition that tells you that you have reached the peak and things will get easier. So have your birth partner remind you to focus on the wave you're having. That is the only one you ever have to handle. As long as you continue doing that, you'll do great! It's when we start giving in to our fear of what is coming that we can start to lose it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes"><br><br>
This is great info! Thanks again so much!<br><br>
I have a question about transition. When I hit transition last time (cytotec and pit inducted), my contractions were crazy intense and one would start before the other really ended. In natural birth, is it the same as far as one wave right ontop of the other? I really could not rest anymore in between and felt I was being twisted right in two. The nurse was apologizing and trying to adjust the pitocin but she said it was the cytotec causing the craziness. I guess I'm just trying to gauge how far off my last birth experience was to natural labor. I'm wondering if it will really be any different or more manageable. Thanks!
 

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To your last question: in my experience no, it will not be more manageable! For me it was my first labor and went very fast. I was at home with and eventually there was no break between contractions--it felt like at least two hours were like that. I couldn't speak or do anything--it was everything I could do to just ride them out. It was far more intense than I expected. Then I didn't push at all--like pp were mentioning my uterus did all the work--I just worked to keep my head out of the way!<br><br>
That is the best advice I could give--trust your body and believe that it knows what to do. I had to work hard ahead of time with myself in knowing that I couldn't control how labor went--I tried to think of it as a ride I was on. I also read Ina Mae's guide to natural childbirth and ready a couple of the birth stories in her book every night.<br><br>
You can do this!
 

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RELAX!!! Worked great for me. Move around a lot. I didn't have a tub in the hospital but there was a shower and my DH jammed my birth ball into it (the one from home) and I sat there and just sprayed myself for hours.<br>
Nice music, dim lights, supportive people around you (for me that was my mom and DH).<br>
Also, during contractions I repeated "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (I'm a Christian) so I would reccomend something similiar, it really helped!<br>
Best of luck!! You can do it! I was in a hospital and was +for Strep B and still made it all the way. Oh yeah, and I had a great nurse, she told me that a hot shower relieves as much pain as Demerol. Soo encouraging!<br>
YOU CAN SOOOO DO IT!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just found out Friday that I'm also GBS+ so that's throwing a wrench in my plans a little. I'm trying to research my options there so its nice to read your experience smerkin. Thanks for your honesty SunFish about transition. In my last labor, transition to birth was an hour or less so I'm hoping for it to be quick again!
 

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Lots of great advice but I wanted to add that staying loose and relaxed makes things go easier and faster than tensing up. I know it sounds impossible to relax during contractions, but try to keep your body loose, mouth loose, hands unclenched, and bottom loose and not resist the contractions, because, of course, you need contractions to get the baby out and the more you cooperate with them, the sooner they'll be over!
 

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Keeping a loose throat will help your bottom stay loose. So making noises can be very helpful (for me it was a low "aaahhhhh"--that's as in "awe" or "say ah" not like a scream... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> )<br>
One thing that was a huge help for me was that I mentally geared up for labor by telling myself that labor is WORK (I never used the word "pain"). Work is hard, it can wear you out, it can even hurt--sore muscles etc--but it's productive, and it's good, not bad. I had an exhausting 23 hr labor with my first birth, and a much shorter (but much more intense) 5 hour labor with my DS born 3wks ago. In both cases, I went into it with the mentality of this is going to be work, and in both cases I generally did not perceive it as painful. The first time I used the birth ball a lot early on, and then rice warmers/heating pad on my lower back toward the end (when I got too tired to get out of the bed). The second time I had a water birth, and the warm water was HEAVENLY. I used the ball a bit when I had to be out of the water, and in the earlier parts of labor I did a *lot* of hip circles. Actually I did hip circles right up through the first part of pushing and until after my water broke and the baby actually came into the birth canal. I did them standing and leaning against my bathroom counter in the early parts, and kneeling leaning against the edge of the pool in the later parts...but hip circles were THE most useful thing for this second labor.<br>
I recommend <a href="http://www.spinningbabies.com" target="_blank">www.spinningbabies.com</a> it has a lot of recommendations for positions/movements to do both to get the baby into good position (in late pregnancy) and also things that help keep the baby well-positioned and moving the right way during labor. The hip circles (on or off the ball) are discussed/explained there.<br><br>
ETA--for me labor was not painful. It was hard, it was work, but the only part where I actually had the though "$%$#%#$ that KILLS" is when my older sons head was coming through and I was tearing. With my second son I had the thought of dang I'm stretching all over the place but not that it was "pain"...no tearing that time, which I'm sure helped (though he was a full pound bigger, had a big head, nuchal hand, and stuck shoulders...just goes to show it's not about the size of the baby, nor the size of the head, but about how relaxed the mama can get!!)<br><br>
I also found some help in affirmations and visualizations. I asked my husband to tell me "you are doing it" as opposed to "you can do it" and that was good for me. I also found an image that helped me focus my energy into downward and opening movements (for me it was a drop/stream of water going downward, and the ripples coming out where it hit the water...) down and open of course being precisely what contractions are trying to accomplish...I felt that focusing on those motions helped me let my body do those things.<br><br>
you can do it mama!!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>HappyTomato</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14759770"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have a question about transition. When I hit transition last time (cytotec and pit inducted), my contractions were crazy intense and one would start before the other really ended. In natural birth, is it the same as far as one wave right ontop of the other? I really could not rest anymore in between and felt I was being twisted right in two. The nurse was apologizing and trying to adjust the pitocin but she said it was the cytotec causing the craziness. I guess I'm just trying to gauge how far off my last birth experience was to natural labor. I'm wondering if it will really be any different or more manageable. Thanks!</div>
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Every labor is different, even for teh same woman. With my first labor I was so exhausted that my body slowed down, even in transition. During pushing I was having breaks of several minutes between contractions and <i>I was falling asleep between them</i> (I didnt' feel like there were breaks, but the OB and nurses were all commenting about it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ) When there are no drugs in the system affecting how it functions, it can do that kind of thing...not that I recommend hoping for labor to slow down at that point <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><br>
With my second labor I did notice the ctx getting close together, although there were still short breaks between them. I was involuntarily pushing--crazy hard pushing too--during each contraction. I was having wild thoughts about ohmygosh this is hard and I think maybe i'll just stay pregnant forever and I totally understand why people get drugs for this... And then POW my water broke and I felt the head come into the birth canal. Actually I didn't feel any more physical urge to push at that point--not the involuntary pushing anymore anyway. But I had a HUGE mental urge to push him on out! So I was pushing and pushing, and not taking breaks. I honestly don't know if I was having contractions, if they were one on top of the other, or what...I didn't notice starts and stops, I was just pushing constantly because I *had* to if that makes sense. Once I got into that stage it wasn't very long though...I cant' say "four pushes" or whatever, becaus eI don't know how many it was, but I'm pretty sure it was less than 15 min, and quite likely more like 5min at that point. He was out, and then I was high, and that was that. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br>
SO, as for how your transition will be, there's no telling. Yes, it will probably be one contraction on top of another. No, there probably won't be breaks. The best thing I can tell you is to surrender. Ina May talks about integrating each level of contraction...as you feel like you are handling things ok they will change/increase/intensify, and so then you work to integrate that next level so it can increase again. Birthing From Within talks about going into the center of each contraction. I spent a lot of my labor telling myself "deeper" and "center" and "down" and "in" and words like that...if you let your body lead, and you go into it (like diving into a pool) then you're going to have a more efficient and effective labor than if you try to be in control of what's going on.
 
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