Can I Really Do This? What I've learned about my body and birth.
* This post is my personal experience and personal birth preferences. I do not believe that the use of medical intervention or pain medication is wrong for every woman. Every woman is different and every birth is different**
I think that many women, well maybe it was just me, have a great fear of birth.
I had been around pregnant women and watched " A Baby Story" on TLC....for me, that was enough knowledge about how pregnancy and childbirth go. With my first pregnancy,I was so excited just to be pregnant and thought I could just be prepared for birth just by listening to friends and family tell me about their birth experiences. As my due date approached, I was so nervous.
I was terrified of the unknown, I didn't think I could handle it!
Since I was small framed, I definitely doubted my ability to birth a baby vaginally. I didn't take any classes to help educate me on childbirth. At that time, I had never met any women that had natural, unmedicated births, or at least any that didn't automatically make me cringe hearing their story. In my mind I envisioned hospital gowns, IV's, epidurals and cesareans. After all, this is what TV mostly shows us and the majority of people I knew had some type of interventions during their labor and delivery. (** I AM NOT SAYING MEDICATION AND INTERVENTIONS ARE WRONG**)
So, I indeed had a very high intervention birth.
Looking back, I see how my lack of knowledge of my own body and the birthing process played a major role in how my birth became such a cascade of interventions. I stayed in bed and labored long and hard. I pushed for 1 hour and 45 minutes because I was scared and couldn't feel what I was doing. Eventually, my beautiful boy was born healthy and happy!
Here you see me excited and blissfully clueless of what was about to take place!
Fast forward two years and I am pregnant again...
This time I was a little more aware of what my birth plan would involve, as well as,what I didn't want to happen. Even though I was a bit more knowledgeable about childbirth, I still had no formal education (which I now believe is vitally important if you have birth goals you want to achieve). I knew that this time, I wanted to avoid many of the interventions I had experienced, and that I wanted to labor out of bed.
I still had fears and doubts. After all, you remember your past experiences.
I treated my pregnancy different this time. I exercised more frequently, I ate differently, and I read as much as I could about laboring naturally. I still struggled "intervention" mentality in the back of my mind. I was more confident in my ability to birth vaginally, but was still fearful of the bodily process.
My labor was much more enjoyable and I surprised myself at how amazingly I handled my body opening up. My goal was to go for as long as I could without any pain medication. We walked the halls, I did squats, I used my birth ball, I labored in the tub. I was amazed at how my body could cope with the pain when I was able to just follow what made me feel better. When I reached 8 cm it started getting me and I was struggling....all of the past fears flooded into my mind. I started to remember my last birth and started to lose control.
As a doula, I now know how crucial professional labor support could have been at that point.
My dear husband tried hard to help me, but our loved ones want to see us completely pain free and I had not said "NO" to getting an epidural. (I wish I had now) So, my amazing nurse somehow managed to get me an epidural right before it was time for me to push. I still have days I regret this decision, because the fear held me back from what I now know without a doubt my body could have done. The epidural didn't have time to fully take affect and I was able to feel quite a bit of my stage 2 labor. I pushed with much more ease and my daughter was born quickly: a drastic change from my first birth experience.
I tell you these personal stories to say that...
...one of my goals as a birth doula is to educate young women and new mothers about how amazing their bodies are and what they are capable of.
- I want to teach them about the amazing hormones God created that play a role in labor and birth.
- I want to be able to tell them that if they want to go for an unmedicated birth....DO IT!
- If you want to labor naturally and then decide to be assisted with pain medications, I want to be there to support and encourage that decision and show you the amazing work you did!
Ladies, our bodies were designed perfectly to give birth.
Looking back on my birth stories I see such drastic differences simply due to the fact that I wasn't nearly as afraid and unaware of what my body would be doing during birth. I am so amazed at the process of labor and birth and to me, our bodies truly are miraculous!