I talked about my natural birth on Friday. It was only after this birth that I realized the passion I had for natural childbirth. The empowerment you feel as a woman is something that cannot be described, and not in a way that you feel like you are better than anyone else, but in a way that you realize your body CAN do it, that God so perfectly made our bodies to do what is needed to birth your baby and all you have to do is follow your instincts. The intense bond you develop with your newborn baby is another thing that is indescribable, actually feeling this new baby make its way out of your body is a beautiful thing. Another thing that cannot be overlooked is that the healing is so much faster. Just minutes after my natural birth I was up walking into the bathroom and changing back into my own clothes, only to be able to sit with family members as we recalled the miracle that just occurred. Now don’t get me wrong I had three other fully medicated births and those were all perfectly beautiful moments in my life. But I will say that if I knew how birthing naturally was I would have done it from birth number one. Please know that I am not passing judgment on any mamas out there that choose to or have to birth differently than me. I know it is not for everyone. I know that some women for medical reasons or personal reasons choose not to. However, I would LOVE to pass on some of my tips to those even slightly interested.
1. Mentally prepare yourself– I found that not only did I have to read books (I will discuss that in tip number two) but I first and foremost had to mentally prepare myself for a natural birth. With my baby girls birth I told people I wanted to birth naturally and not have any medical interventions, but when I would explain that I would say I am going to TRY my hardest. In saying that I believe I was setting myself up for failure. I had to assure myself that I could do this, I had to talk like I knew I was going to and truly believe it. I had to convince myself that it was possible and that my body was MADE for this. I had to truly believe it, and I had to start that from day one.
2. Do your research– Going along with mentally preparing yourself is doing your research. Now I fully believe that you shouldn’t read every book that is out there, concentrate on one book you feel goes along with your personal birthing style. I chose to read Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method. This book goes through each trimester answering any questions you may have about diet, exercise, and doctor appointments. It gives you tips and techniques on how to get yourself into a hypnotized state during birth through breathing and meditation, and also takes you through each stage of childbirth informing you of what you should be expecting, feeling, and experiencing. The book also will give you ideas on your birth plan, not only what you wanted to happen during your birth but after. This was something I found truly helpful because I had never really thought about what I wanted to happen AFTER he was born. I now know that having everything after the birth happen as natural as possible is just as important as having the actual labor and birth be natural. Now I will say that I was not a complete hypnobirther(at least not by the book)…I was definitely more vocal and tense then I probably should have been, but I found the tips helpful and used many of them. Hypnobirthing may not be for everyone but find a method that works for you, study it, go to classes, or research it as much as possible.
3. Find a good Doctor/Midwife– This one is key. I had a hospital birth, and if you choose to have a natural hospital birth this one is going to be SO crucial. If you are going the homebirth route find a midwife who you personally click with but thankfully you wont have to find one that supports natural childbirth, since they all do. So…back to you hospital birthers. I cannot stress enough how crucial your doctor choice is going to be. You need to find a doctor who you are comfortable with and who also supports your choice. I had a wonderful doctor, one who was with me during my miscarriage and was so tender and understanding, so I chose to stay with him. He was all on board with allowing me to birth the way I wanted to but that is not to say he didn’t make comments the entire time saying how much easier it would be with drugs or that he could “get things going” for me. Thankfully I didn’t labor in the hospital, I labored about 97% of the time at home only to get to the hospital in time for the actual birth. So, my doctor wasn’t present during the laboring phase, and funny enough, didn’t even make it in time to deliver him. Had my experience been different I don’t know what the outcome would have been. So please, I cant stress enough to find a doctor who appreciates your choice and fully supports you.
4. Have a good support team– You need a good support system, one who appreciates your choice, one who will be there in the way YOU need them, and who can encourage and help you through the moments where you think you can’t do it anymore. I didn’t have a doula, so to speak. My beautiful friend Carrington worked as my doula through text. My husband wanted the room to be quiet and peaceful and to be intimately us (even though the actual delivery was chaotic and rushed…HA goes to show things NEVER go as planned). Carrington was there for me to ask questions before birth and even during labor. She sent me messages of encouragement, answered any questions I may have had, and prayed over me when I was feeling like I was struggling. That was really enough for me in the sense of having a doula, she did above and beyond anything I would have expected from a doula and it was within MY comfort level, I am a very introverted person when it comes to times like this, I don’t like people waiting on me, touching me or rubbing my back, or being right next to me. So, for me, this worked perfectly. Again, find what works for you. My husband was also a WONDERFUL coach/birthing partner. Like I said I really don’t like people waiting on me, it makes me uncomfortable. He gave me my space while I needed it and was there for me when I wanted him to hold me and breathe with me through contractions. Finding a good support system that meets your needs will make the entire experience easier and more enjoyable for you. In a time where you are going through something that is consuming your every thought and every ounce of strength you don’t want to have to be telling people what you need, you need them to just KNOW what you need.
5. Figure out your birth plan– This tip has a little note attached to it, figure out your birth plan BUT be willing to deviate from it. I wrote out a birth plan, with the help of my Hypnobirthing book. I knew what I wanted: No medical interventions, no breaking of my water, to be checked internally as little as possible, no monitoring, to have quiet peaceful room while birthing the baby, to have baby placed immediately skin to skin, to not cut the cord until it stopped pulsing, to hold baby while I delivered placenta naturally, to not wipe or clean baby down until a few hours after birth. And the list went on… However if you read my redemptive birth story then you know for a fact the room wasn’t peaceful when he was born, that room was so chaotic with people running around all over trying to get ready to catch him. But, obviously in that moment I didn’t care what was going on, I just wanted my baby out! Write a birth plan, but be realistic about it, don’t have your birth completely mapped out not allowing for interruptions, God will plan the perfect birth for you and as long as everyone is aware of what you are wanting things will happen NATURALLY just as they should.
I hope that these tips help give you the confidence you need to know that you can do this. Your body was made for this, and if you set yourself up for success it will happen. Mind over matter, and just remember the end goal, a safe healthy beautiful baby in your arms, that is really all the matters:)