Guys… I did this… I DID THIS!!!! It still seems surreal that this happened but it did… and I would not change a thing!
First thing to know, I have given birth 4 times. My first two boys were epidural babies; Halia, my sweet heaven baby at 18 weeks, and Caleb were epidural free. So I have experience in both camps, and if I ever have another birth, I would choose ….. no pain meds! Hands down the best experience for me! Caleb was by far the easiest birth, even with pitocin. So if you want my thoughts on how I accomplished a successful and empowering natural birth WITH pitocin, keep reading!
I never considered natural birth until a friendly L&D nurse made an offhanded comment during labor with my firstborn. She just calmly looked at me and said, “You seem like someone that could go natural.” I kind of wish I could find her now and say, “Hey, you know that random comment you made became my inspiration.” Unfortunately, I cannot remember her name, but thank you L&D nurse!
Another bit of a back story that shaped my decision is my previous epidural experiences. I have problems with epidurals, plain and simple; they just never seem to work perfectly for me.
During my first labor, I remember lying on my side, crying in extreme pain because I was only numb on my right. It was so painful that I actually remember the side… By the way, being numb on only half your body basically means you can feel everything so not helpful at all. Another fun story, the nurse said, “Well, you are about to push so we really cannot do anything.” Oh man, that did not sit well with my med student (at the time) husband! He couldn’t stand seeing me in that much pain and being told his wife would just have to suffer through it. Next thing I know, the anesthesiologist is in my room fixing my epidural! By sheer luck, Nick, my husband, previously worked with him and had his number. Seriously, the odds of this happening were extremely low so I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this little miracle! 10 minutes later I was blissfully being told it was time to push. Thank the Lord that Nick knew the doctor on call or else I would have been a complete goner!
So that was my first epidural experience. My second was very similar. I was struggling because it was not working on that same side (darn you, leftie!) and it needed to be fixed multiple times. What a pain, literally! I swore to myself after to boycott epidurals.
Since my first two boys needed to be induced (just way too comfy in there), I was determined with Caleb to do everything I read to try and start labor naturally. Well, that also didn’t exactly happen as I was hoping. Caleb was a mover and groover in my belly and decided to do one of his world famous flips during one of my prenatal exams… so that is how my water broke. So I drove home and sauntered through the house slowly gathering all my stuff to go to the hospital, very Pam Beasley style. Once at the hospital, I started going down the list of labor-inducing methods to get this show on the road since I still wasn’t naturally contracting yet. My husband and I probably walked 5 miles around the hospital while whiffing clary sage essential oils to no avail. Finally, I relented to the doctor’s insistence that I needed to start pitocin. I was beyond disappointed but still very determined to go naturally. And guys, I did it, even though I required Pitocin. It is possible so don’t get discouraged if this is you. You can still rock it!
Here is advice list:
1. Do your research and don’t just wing it. I started with having no true concept of natural birth, but after a couple of months, I became a birthing fiend! Many of the methods that worked the best for me were not necessarily intuitive.
2. Practice everything you read first! No seriously, practice! For example, I wanted to use essential oils in my room and read that peppermint oil helps with nausea. Well, it certainly does not have that effect on me! Thank God I tried it before I was in L&D because it actually makes me feel like I am going to vomit. Lovely. Definitely glad I did not learn that while trying to push out a baby. So seriously, make sure you know what you are doing.
3. Have your partner, doula, whoever is in the room with you, also practice. You need to be able to focus on your job, having a baby, and they need to be able to support you. It will go a lot smoother if you prepare your other to know what you brought, why you brought it, and how to use it. For example, my heating pad. It’s great that I could work it, but I seriously was not in the mood to explain that thing during labor to my husband. The scene probably would have ended like this, “I AM PUSHING A BOWLING BALL OUT OF ME AND YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH A PUNY HEATING PAD!!!!” So yay, don’t let this happen to you. Your helper will thank you and you will be thanking yourself by the end.
4. Create a cheat sheet for your helper of ideas and methods to assist with the natural birth. Ok, so mine was definitely a binder, no one page for me. It may have been a little overkill… but hey, you do you, right! My binder had different tabs for different stages of labor and topics to help my husband assist me. This definitely helped him to be my best support ever. Another benefit in going natural, my husband had to be extremely involved in Caleb’s birth because I required more help. It was such a bonding experience for the two of us!
5. Prepare everything in advance. I had my go bag ready, obviously, but I also had a box with all my supplies ready to go at a moment’s notice. Yes, I was that crazy person in the waiting area with a bag, yoga ball, huge box of supplies, and a cooler…. BUT I was able to do it naturally so who cares! Also, everything I wanted to bring was listed in my binder for easier grab-and-go! Win for being overly prepared!
6. Go with the flow and do not be married to your plan. I did not plan on being induced, but I was. I did not plan on my water breaking at a check-up, but it did. I did not plan for my parents to have to take me to the hospital to wait for my husband, but they did. Breathe, it will be okay. Just be in the moment because it goes by fast. And no matter what, this is your personal story so own it.
7. Last but certainly not least, you are a ROCKSTAR! Don’t forget it. No matter what, you are here and you are strong. This is the day and it is your day no matter what happens.
If you would like information on the products I used to succeed, here is the link. Check it out! Good luck, mama! It is worth it!