The phrase, “All Natural Birth”, can bring on a variety of emotions in people. But before we get into it, I want to say that I didn’t have an all natural birth to be a champion or prove anything. It was just something I was interested in trying to accomplish. I approach health from a holistic perspective and I was blessed to have midwives who advocate for natural birth. Sometimes your situation finds you in a completely different place. No woman is less than or more than, because of how she gave birth. We are all incredible and birth, however it happens, is a miracle! Also, having an all natural birth did not change the fact that I had horrible post partum anxiety six weeks later. Isn’t that interesting?!
I had the realization halfway through my pregnancy that I hadn’t thought much about how to prepare myself. I knew it was something I wanted to try, at least. I also learned the hard way about sharing with other people my plans to have an all natural birth. I had one person tell me not to be a martyr. I had a complete stranger at a party tell me that I’d be begging for medication once labour started. People are so…..nice. Needless to say, I stopped telling people and focused on having a plan. We are blessed here in Canada to have access to midwives. They partner with the hospitals to deliver babies and provide care during pregnancy and post partum. It’s so amazing. I signed up for my midwife as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Midwives are a great advocate and encouragement when it comes to all natural labour and delivery. Whether you birth in home, in a birthing center or in hospital-they are wonderful to have. They are also amazing support AFTER the baby is born, up to 6 weeks post partum care! God bless the midwives. Seriously.
I started with an incredible book that literally changed my life-Ina May Gaskin’s, “Guide To Childbirth.” If you are desiring an all natural childbirth, this book is a must-read. I won’t go into great detail but Ina May is a midwife of over 40 years with incredible insight and experience in natural childbirth. I have so much to thank her for! The second thing I did was sign the husband and I for an all natural pain management class. A L&D nurse from our hospital is the one who taught it! Her name was Maggie and she was amazing. We learned a variety of techniques to help cope with contractions and labour pain. Everything from rebozo, to yoga ball, to water therapy. If you live locally in the KW area check out Balancing From Birth To Baby. They are a great resource!
I can not stress enough-the effectiveness of Chiropractic care during pregnancy. I went once a month and then every 2 weeks and then every week as I neared my due date. At 38 weeks my chiropractor did a round ligament release. Essentially it releases hormones that relax the ligaments and align the pelvis so baby is in optimal position for birth. WELL-my boy came a week later to the day! I was also walking every day, sometimes twice a day up until the day before I went into labour. Ladies-if you can walk, do it! I had sciatica during my pregnancy and walking did wonders for relief! It is always beneficial to be active. All I did was walk 1.5 k’s a day. That is it! Here are some great facts on the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy. A family friend said that the Webster Technique saved her life and her son’s life when he presented breech during labour. Is that not incredible? I love it the ability God has given our bodies to do amazing things.
I began eating dates, drinking red raspberry leaf tea and taking evening primrose oil capsules (not orally, lets just say that) by 8 months of pregnancy. I really believe in the effectiveness of these 3 things! But do your own research because there is a lot of information out there. At 39 weeks my midwife offered to do a stretch and sweep. It was incredibly painful and I was barely a centimeter dilated. She predicted I would go past my due date. But as things would turn out, I went into very early labour by 2am the next morning and I progressed very quickly. A friend of mine who recently also had an all natural birth mentioned something that is SO important. Her midwife offered to do a stretch and sweep when she was 40 weeks but she was sick. She said that letting her body rest was the most important so she would have energy for labour! Listen to your body, you will be amazed at what you learn.
The techniques that helped me cope with contractions:
- Yoga ball during early labour
- All fours position, rocking back and forth
- Low but LOUD “whoa” noises. (hahahaha!)
- Shower water pressure on the lower back
- Straddle the toilet backwards (for reals)
- Walking back and forth in the room
- Not focusing on the pain but concentrating on the end result-BABY
Having my midwives at the end to help me focus all my breathing into pushing was a huge success! I do remember there was some pressure from the OB on the midwives to administer an episiotomy because baby boy was getting stuck a bit. I will say that an episiotomy was the ONE thing I did NOT want. I found the strength to push that baby out. It took 45 minutes in total to push baby boy out. Earlier in labour I tried laughing gas and oxygen but found both to be nauseating. The encouragement of my husband and midwives through the whole process was huge, especially at the end when pushing feels like an eternity. They can see what you can not. In total I labored actively for less than 7 hours. I was so glad when it was over!
I didn’t ask for medication once, not because I didn’t want it but because I wasn’t even thinking about it. I had prepared myself with this thought-the pain was not forever. It would eventually end! I was totally in labour-emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally. My thought process was getting that baby OUT. I was completely over taken with labour. The L&D nurses asked me if I was crazy when they wheeled me in at 10 centimeters. I said that I probably was! (I started out at our birthing center but when my midwife broke my waters at 9.5 centimeters, I presented with meconium. I had to be transferred across the street to the hospital. The center had no wheelchairs that day, so I walked it! I really believe that brought me to 10 centimeters but I don’t want to do that ever again, hahahaha!)
I want to say this-if you desire an all natural birth you must be prepared for great pain and ways to cope with that great pain. It’s when you go in with no plan and no coping skills that things can feel out of control. There is absolutely nothing wrong with medication, every situation is different and don’t force yourself to do something you don’t want to do. But if you desire a med-free birth, a plan is must have. Things may not go exactly according to that plan but if you have some coping skills, this will help you greatly. Have people around you that you trust and feel safe with. If there is ONE person in the room that makes you uncomfortable, have them leave. I’m not even kidding! When a woman doesn’t feel safe during labour, her labour can actually stop and retract! It’s survival. Think of an animal giving birth in the wild. If a predator presents it’s self, she has to survive so she will stop giving birth until she is safe again. Incredible, eh?!
Knowing that God had created me to give birth was something that carried me as well. It’s amazing! What was your birth experience? Was it what you thought it would be? Stay tuned for Part 2 of what I packed in my Birth Bag!
“I don’t care what kind of birth you have…..a home birth, scheduled caesarean, epidural hospital birth, or if you birth alone in the woods next to a baby deer. I care that you had options, that you were supported in your choices and that you were respected.”
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