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Can I actually do this????

1065 Views 24 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  hapersmion
I went in for my nurse visit and history today at my midwives office. it's a wonderful place and is attached to this birthing center:
You can click on visual tour to see how beautiful it is. It's so different from a hospital.

Now for my problem and a bit of history.....
I have had 3 babies. The first one, I was 17. I was planning a natural birth for Olivia and took one measley saturday childbirth class. I ended up with an epidural with her because I couldn't do it. It was a good birth.

With Sofia, I planned an epidural. I didn't bother learning anything about pain control or anything assosiated with natural childbirth because I was getting an epidural and that was that.
The epidural didn't work, and I was literally begging for a c- section. I was totally unprepared, again, for the pain of childbirth.

With Carmen I was terrified. I planned another epi, and it worked. This was a great medicated birth.

Out of all 3 births, I bonded fastest/best with Sofia. No matter how traumatic that birth was, it was the most amazing bonding experience. I was talking to the nmw today and was telling her about that. I thought it was all in my head. She explained to me there is a communication cycle between mom and baby in labor and when you add any sort of medication, it blocks that communication and in esscence... is seperating you from your baby for the first time. The way she explained it makes much more sense and I totally get it.

I read birth stories, water births, home births and all those stories always make me cry.
Hospital birth stories don't have the same effect on me.
When I read natural birth stories I can always see myself as that mother. And this time I really would LOVE to have a natural birth in this birthing center.

I just terrified that I can not do it. I remember the pain of Sofias birth and I remember begging for an epidural and i just wonder... what if I'm not strong enough to do that on purpose??

In my heart I don't want another hospital birth or epidural. The thought of birthing naturally literally makes me feel so different.
I NEVER in a million years would have guessed I'd be writing this post even while I was sitting happily in the hospital all epidural'd up having Carmen.

Can I do it?
(I'm afraid if I have to ask, the answer is no. But I really want to. The thought of NOT doing it naturally this time brings me to tears.)

If you think I can, what do I need to do to be prepared for this?
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Of course you can do it. Just like generations of women before you.

You can absolutely do it! It sounds like you already know this, in a way. You know that in the past, it wasn't that you lacked the ability to give birth without medication, but rather that you lacked sufficient preparation for it.

The fact that you're asking whether you can do it does not mean you can't. It means that you know you WANT to do it, and you know you need something to bolster you, and you think maybe people here can help provide that.

I would highly recommend reading anything you can about coping methods, and maybe taking a Birthing From Within class or something similar. IMO, a multi-session class would probably be best for you, since what you need is a new approach to birth, not a one-day refresher.

The BFW book is very reassuring about labor and birth and I felt like it was an empowering thing to read. Dr. Sears has a Birth Book that contains a chapter that deals with fear and pain, and I think that would be a good chapter to read. It sounds like you need to get yourself into a different mental space regarding labor pain, what it means, what's happening in your body, how to cope with it, how to work *with* it instead of against it, etc.

Do you have a local birth network of any sort, a birth circle, support group? Somebody at the birth center may be able to point you in the right direction.

Who were your support people during your previous births? Are there people in your life who are unsupportive of unmedicated birth and who fill you with horror stories or doubts? Was there any other sort of support you wished you had had but didn't? Do you think hiring a doula might be helpful?
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Yes, you can do it!

The Birthing Inn is a great birth center! I have never birthed there but have been there as a doula. They also offer childbirth classes based on Birthing from Within.

Good luck!

Originally Posted by StrawHatBrat View Post
Can I do it?


Originally Posted by StrawHatBrat View Post
(I'm afraid if I have to ask, the answer is no. But I really want to.
Actually, I think if you ask, the answer is yes. By asking, you are already considering the possibility that you can, and opening the door to receive what you need to feel prepared. All you need to start with is that one little bit of hope that maybe you CAN do it, then you can surround yourself with information, birthstories, tools and people that support the fact that you can.


Originally Posted by StrawHatBrat View Post
The thought of NOT doing it naturally this time brings me to tears.)
Then don't think about NOT doing it naturally. Abandon the thought that you can't do it and run with everything that says you can. You already kind of did with #2, right, when the epi didn't work? This time you will be prepared for it. It's ok to say in labor, 'I can't do this, please give me drugs' - accept that you might say that, and know you can still have a med-free birth. Prepare your partner, birth team, doula (?) to help you with other ways of coping when you feel like you can't do it.

You can do it, and I bet you will.
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You can do it!

I read a birth story where the woman in labor just kept telling herself 'Breathe in your strength, breathe out your fear'. I think that's a great mantra. If you believe you can do it, then you can. I second reading a book or two about coping, just so you have kind of a few different things to try when it gets intense.
I didn't think I could do it either. I had a looong painful labor at home and did ask to transfer for an epidural, half-heartedly. From our extensive talks about my first birth, my midwife knew how important it was for me to have a natural vaginal birth, and she kept telling me I could keep going, she kept supporting me.

So YES you can. There's no way of knowing how hard or easy it will be, but you CAN do it!

Make sure you tell all your support persons how important it is to you ahead of time so they can be strong for you if you can't.
Actually, one of the many reasons I felt safer with homebirth is that there would be no option of drugs. I think I might have gotten an epidural in transition if it was available. Yes, it is possible to do and you can do it!
I've been in your shoes. My first birth was with an epidural, which I BEEEEEEEGGED for the second I stepped foot in the hospital at 4cms. The pain was horrific and I could never imagine going through an unmedicated delivery.

I started researching and chose to birth at a birth center with my next babies. I had the same fears as you -- will the pain be too much? How will I get through it? I don't know if I can do it -- it hurt so much last time!

Let me reassure you that you CAN do it. Your body is not a lemon. Being in an out of hospital environment with lots of support will make a huge difference for you. I once read a midwifery article that said, "Pain medication is used because of the absence of labor support." Having a supportive midwife/doula stay with you as much as you want/need in labor makes the experience totally different. Being in complete control of your environment makes the experience totally different. Not being strapped to monitors lying on your back in a bed makes the experience totally different.

Will it hurt? Yeah, probably. But you won't die from the pain. You'll find coping methods. And you'll emerge on the other side SO glad you had such a great birth experience.

I bonded much more quickly with my babies that were born after an unmedicated delivery. And I have wonderful memories of my births. When I lie in bed at night nursing my baby, I'll often think back to my birth experiences. I never think fondly of my medicated birth experience.
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm unhappy with my child, it's just that the birth couldn't be compared to the others in terms of the wonder and emotional connection I felt to my babies and husband after an unmedicated delivery.
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Let me give you one other piece of advice that no one told me about. The afterpains get worse after each baby. When you have an epidural, you don't feel them that much. With an unmedicated delivery, you really feel them. I chose to start taking ibuprofen/arnica as soon as the placenta was out. I also took Tylenol3 w/codeine to get through the first few days when the cramps are so bad. Don't think that because you didn't have meds for the birth that you shouldn't take anything for the cramps... they are really bad.
If you give yourself no other choice you can do it. For me I told myself there was no such thing as pain relief in child birth. It just was not a option period for me. May not work for everyone but for me it was the key.
You can do it!

It is sad that we learn to fear childbirth so much in our society, but there is not need for it.

Do a lot of reading and research about natural childbirth! Surround yourself with people that believe that childbirth is something natural and beautiful and are willing to support you through your choice.

If you decide to go for it, find yourself a place that will allow you to be in tune with your body and respect your wishes! Who knows? Maybe after all your research even a homebirth may begin to appeal to you? It did take me 3 babies to realize it was something for me
Oh, and find a doula to be there with you - wherever you choose to be
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nope you can't do it.....

ok so i was just kidding up there......but serously what is the worst thing that can happen by giving it a good shot? you transfer and get's not like it will kill you, or they will take your baby, or turn off your labor or something awful like that

so educate yourself and your birth partner and keep saying YES I CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!

b/c you can do anything you put your mind to!
Yes, you can do it! I asked the same question when I arrived at my local birth center in labor with my third baby. My two previous births were medicated and I seriously doubted my ability to get through the labor. I did it and it was great!

Remember that with the failed epidural you were confined to a bed and monitored. At the birth center, you will be mobile and in a calming relaxed environment with a midwife to suggest alternative comfort measures. This will make the whole difference in your experience of the pain.
The one thing that really stuck in my head when I gave birth was a passage I had read in a book (unfortunately, I don't remember which book - it might possibly have been Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth) which basically said that giving birth is a mind game - if you believe you can't do it, then you can't. But if you believe you CAN do it, then you can and you will. At one point during my labour a little voice inside of me said, "I can't do this!" but then I remembered that one passage and I told myself, "I CAN do this!" and I was able to get over that hump.

A friend of mind who homebirthed also experienced that hump. She said that she cried out loud, "I can't do this!" but her doula grabbed her by the shoulders and said, right in her face, "YES, YOU CAN!" That helped her immensely!

Mama, it is such an honest and sincere question that you are asking - whether you can birth naturally/unmedicated or not. I believe that you can. I hope that you will come to believe that you can because I think that will make a world of a difference. Might I offer some suggestions? I hope you don't mind. They are:

1. Arrange lots of birth support. Find people who will support you, encourage you, love you, and help take care of you to be there while you labour.

2. Learn as much as you can about natural childbirth, from people who have had positive experiences (either giving birth and/or helping women give birth). Talk to the women here on MDC and read as much as you can (I really loved Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth). Find out which birth preparation classes have been helpful to other women and enroll in them if you can.

3. Avoid people, books, online posts, etc. where birth is talked about in a negative way. You have already had painful experiences, you've BTDT. Now is the time for you to have a completely wonderful experience.

A couple of other things helped me, maybe they'll help you too:

- I chose a homebirth and told myself that medication for pain management was not an option. And, really, it wasn't because I was birthing at home.

- During each contraction, I counted backwards from 100 (in my head, not out loud). For example:
breath in ("100!")
breath out ("99!")
breath in ("98!")
breath out ("97!")
This was my pain management technique! I knew that before I counted down to 0 my contraction would be over. There were a few contractions in there, though, where I knew they'd be long so I started counting at 110.
I started counting backwards from 100 in my head for each contraction and that's what got me through. Just focusing on one contraction at a time.

Good luck to you, mama. I have confidence that you will have a great birth.
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Just another "yes you can!" here. And more encouragement to read as much as you can about healthy, normal birth. The more you know and understand, the better you will be able to handle things as they come--you'll understand why you are feeling what you feel and you'll be able to deal with it without fear. You know your body can do it--it's done it before even if you couldn't feel everything.
of course you can. you might be like me at the end between ctx going "oh, no, I need drugs, I canot do this" at the same time you know damn well getting up and leaving would be worse
(we were at home though.)
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I have had a similar experience and feelings. I got an epi very quickly with my first and with the second I was begging for it but there was no time. Once I found out it was not an option I bucked up-it wasn't so bad, and I did it-I did it well! I think it's a head thing. When you know you can avoid the pain, the pain seems worse. When you are in a siuation when you are welcoming the pain just long enough to get through it, then it is not so bad! I, too, am planning a natural birth with my third, this time at home. I sometimes have doubts, but I know since there is no other options for pain relif and it is so important to me this time (vs. planning an epi from the get go) that it won't be so bad and that I can do it.

I also feel much closer to the child of my natural birth than to the child of my medicated birth. It saddens me really, that I missed that the first time round and that 6 sixs later I would still be suffering the effects of my decision.
I had an epi with my first birth, and it didn't "take." Still, I begged for one with my second birth, and there was no time. I remember very clearly thinking SERIOUSLY, I HAVE TO DO THIS WITHOUT AN EPIDURAL?!?!?! THERE'S NO WAY!!!! but I did, and I think I did a great job and I look forward to doing it again -- at home this time.

You can do it!

Write it down on some paper and bring it to the birth center and post it all over the place so that everywhere you look, you see "I CAN DO THIS!"
Yes you can. I'm like you, I knew if I was in a hospital I'd get an epidural. Sure enough I begged for it during my home birth,too
. But you can't have what's not available. I lived through it and still want more children. it was so absolutely worth it.
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