natural childbirth

July 7, 2015

Let me preface this post by saying I do not consider myself an expert in mothering, childbirth or pregnancy. (And I'm definitely no doctor so be sure to consult yours!) I'm just a mama of 4 who had all of my babies naturally and drug free. I'm not judging other mamas for making different choices than I did. I'm simply sharing tips that worked for me for those that desire a similar childbirth experience.


COMMIT TO IT:
When I was pregnant with my first baby I was just a baby myself at age 24. But I always had the desire to have drug free, natural deliveries. With my holistic upbringing this was not a new concept and I had very strong convictions about it. So I committed myself to this decision and made getting an epidural not an option. And then I put together a birth plan (all pregnant mamas should have a birth plan!!) and in my plan it says "DO NOT OFFER ME PAIN MEDICATION, IF I WANT IT I WILL REQUEST IT." I think that is huge. When you're in a lot of pain and someone dangles the carrot of relief in front of your face, who wouldn't take it!? We're only human after all and your body's instincts are going to say "do whatever it takes to stop this pain!" Another important part of the commitment is getting your partner on board. They're going to see you in a lot of pain and naturally they're going to want you to not be in pain because, duh, they love you. So discuss labor often throughout your pregnancy and ask them to have your back, not let you give in and to support and encourage you in your decision rather than be a stumbling block to you. If the love of your life is rooting for you and cheering you on saying you CAN do this that will boost your success rate.


OWN IT:
Own your childbirth experience. This is YOUR body and YOUR baby and YOUR experience. Do NOT let a doctor, nurse, family member, ANYONE try to change your mind about what you have set out to do. And please know I am not referring to when a mother or baby's life is in danger. I am referring to your doctor's vacation plans. I am referring to your nurse trying to make her shift easier. I am referring to your opinionated and/or unsupportive family member. YOU are the one who will be taking this baby home, caring for it, raising it and are ultimately responsible for its life and health. If something happens to your baby, who will grieve? YOU. I'm sorry but as caring and wonderful as your doctor/midwife/nurse may be, they will not grieve like you. Take control of your health and your baby's. Don't jump off a bridge just because your doctor tells you to. Do your own research. Discuss your decisions with your partner. Pray about them. And then STICK TO THEM.


PREPARE YOUR MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT:
Mind: Watch videos of childbirth. Witness one in real life if possible. You need to see the nitty gritty and know what's going to take place. The pain of childbirth feels different to everyone and ranges significantly. Some people have slight discomfort or "pressure", push once and have a baby. And for some (unfortunately me) the pain spans the whole body and can last for hours. But watching other women's experiences can better prepare you for what's in store, and in my experience, builds a comradery with other mothers who have been in your shoes. I seriously still cry every time I witness a baby being born and find myself cheering on the mama.


Body: Stay active and healthy throughout your pregnancy. You need to be and feel strong. Labor is hard work and the more fit you are and the better you eat the more your body will cooperate and do what its supposed to do. You can also prepare the vaginal tissue for stretching by having your partner massage a carrier oil such as olive or coconut around the opening and the perineum, while gently stretching the area. I highly stress doing this before your first delivery as it can cut down on tears significantly.


Spirit: Know that you have what it takes to do this. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. It is by HIS strength that you can do all things, so you don't have to rely on your own. Know that God created your body to do this. He knit you together in your mother's womb. He gave you ovaries and a uterus and created the life inside of you. He knows how you work, He knows what needs to happen to get that baby OUT. Trust Him. Lean into Him. Know He will carry you through it.


KNOW THE PAIN WILL END:
With my first delivery, I was pretty sure I was dying. I thought I should say my goodbyes and surrender my spirit. When you start thinking and saying crazy things, you're mostly likely in or getting close to transition and transition means you're almost done! Let me share a little secret with you...the minute that baby is born, the pain stops! And it will probably be the most exhilarating and proud moment of your entire life. For my next deliveries I knew the pain was gonna get cray and I was prepared for that but I also knew it would end. I mean at some point that baby is gonna HAVE to come out! I now knew that that meant the end of the labor pains. So just know that it can't go on forever! There is an end. The pain will stop.


RIDE THE WAVE OF PAIN:
Something I didn't really learn until my fourth and final delivery was to not fight the contractions. Our natural reaction to pain is to tense up but that actually makes the pain worse. During all of my deliveries my husband and midwife would rub my back, push my shoulders down, and tell me to try to relax the parts of my body that were not contracting. Easier said than done!! The pain is so intense and when you are in active labor and the contractions are right on top of one another you start to brace for them. Finally, by the time I had my last, I had the foresight and knowledge of the fact that I can't stop the contractions, they're going to hurt no matter what but they're actually going to hurt worse if I tense my body and brace for them. So visualize yourself riding the wave of pain to the crest, breathe and relax everything else in your body as much as possible, and then ride down the other side of the wave as the contraction ceases. You can't stop the pain. So don't fight it. Give your body over to it but keep your mind in control...or you will go crazy and ask for meds. Lol.


OTHER COPING METHODS:
There are a ton of theories on what can help keep you stay relaxed and calm during childbirth.

Music - I listened to music in my second delivery. I wanted headphones and no one to touch or talk to me. I was really focused and the music helped. I didn't use it on any of the others though.

Water - I thought I would LOVE being in water during labor. I tried it with my first but didn't find much relief in it and couldn't maintain a comfortable body temperature. I definitely think it can help ease pain and discomfort for some though.

Hypnosis - Hypnosis is just another way to get your mind right before birth. A family friend sent me some of the tracks she created and they were so wonderfully soothing and encouraging. I would listen to them at night in bed, usually falling asleep to them but they say it still works while you sleep.

Essential oils - I am so bummed I didn't get to use my oils for any of my births but I absolutely encourage others to! I didn't start using oils until the very end of my last pregnancy and then he came so fast we barely made it to the hospital! I have heard wonderful testimonies about their ability to support the body, mind and spirit when applied topically, to pressure and vitaflex points and when diffused. Doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas, birthing coaches and loved ones can all benefit from their soothing and calming properties!


Feel free to ask any questions about any of the tips I shared here or about my childbirth experiences. Like I mentioned above, I am not a doctor, just a mama sharing her personal experience with other mamas.

Jaymin's delivery

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