I have been talking about Natural Birth for the last month and still have lots to share that I plan on bringing forward sometime in the future! For now, I am ready to touch on other topics for September, fall and the upcoming Holiday season.
For more background on this topic and my experience you can read:
What is Natural Birth? A Quick Guide to What is Commonly Considered Natural Birth
5 Reasons I Chose Natural Birth (and Why You Might, Too!)
My Natural Birth Experience Part 1 & Part 2
What I Wish I Knew Before Natural Birth
Without further ado, here are
Things I Would Change When Preparing for My Next Natural Birth
Start Midwifery Care in the Beginning
This is crucial because it would have allowed me more time to get to know my midwives as well as learn more about natural birth through their experiences and expertise. It would in turn give them a better idea about my health, my birth plan and preferences as they got to know me. This would have also been beneficial by reducing the stress associated with finding the funds later on (same price whether you start on month 1 or month 5) and transferring all my medical records.
Get a Doula Early On
My doula graciously jumped on board just one month before my due date. She was such a necessary help to me and I will certainly call her again in the future. However, I can take a long time to warm up to people and by choosing to hire her so late in the game, I did not give myself time to be freer with her. This would have led me to trust her more and even be more honest about my birth plan as doulas advocate for the mothers and seek to it that the mother’s wishes are respected. I also would have been able to practice more movement exercises or positions to prepare for the big day.
Be Very Honest About my Birth Plan
When you’ve never given birth before, you won’t be totally sure about every possibility. For this reason, I can’t totally blame myself for making certain decisions before. I wish I would’ve taken every detail seriously and decided what was best for me as a birthing mother. Next time, I will be vocal about what I want. Quiet, calm, still, natural…see the next point.
No Guests in the Delivery Room
In my heart, I was very troubled about disappointing my “tribe” of ladies (we are very matriarchal, over here) because they wanted to witness the birth of this beautiful baby. But the trouble was that I felt this deep desire to have no guests in the delivery room. I only wanted the birth attendants to be those helping the baby come out: midwife (plus assistant) and doula. Uh oh, haha, future husband, I am sorry! I just feel that having eyes on you during such an exposed experience added a level of pressure especially when they might feel scared or hurt. Those negative feelings aren’t helpful.
I used this really spectacular body butter on my belly just about everyday! I have no stretch marks on my abs or tummy but the skin of my belly button did change texture. It’s not really noticeable but I know it so I might focus more on oiling that area where the skin is stretching the most. I also did not do any perinatal oil massages which I think I would like to do moving forward to see if it helps with elasticity during delivery.
Do Not Rush into Active Labor
Yes, it is true I cannot choose the speed of my labor. However, as my contractions became more frequent my family urged that we head to the birthing center. Only to be sent back home. I had an intuitive response from the contractions that made me feel when the impending labor might begin. (One word: patterns.) Instead of “listening” to my gut, I went with the logic of people who were not in my body. I definitely want to be more present next time around and this means laying in my bed alone until it really is time to call the midwife.
“Get Out of My Head” and Stay in My Body
Following up on the previous point, I would make more of an effort practicing relaxation so that way I could fully be in my body. Much of our body’s struggle is created by the inability to turn off that “thinking brain.” Exercise is a good way to feel outside of our thoughts and actually use the other senses God gave us. Inner quietness is what made the hard parts of labor easier but it wasn’t stabilized causing doubt, frustration and fear to creep in.
Deep breathing helps the body in so many magnificent ways and is an important technique to utilize during birth. Deep breathing helps muscles relax, it helps to calm the mind, . I actually stopped breathing many times during my labor to the point, I required an oxygen mask. I definitely will spend every day of my next pregnancy preparing my lungs! (Honestly, I should start now.)
Pack Super Comfy Clothes
I once was an over-packer so I try to limit that now and I tried to slim down on the items I packed into my birth bag. But next time, I am packing a very comfy two-piece! AND A ROBE!!! I used a robe that only had three-quarter sleeves and was kind of small on me. It was great for covering while doing skin-to-skin, for easy mobility and overall, comfort! I will look for Must Need Birth Bag Items and share them. Soft, comfort clothes is a must.
Be Patient and Relax
The theme of ease and relaxation has come up a lot. Honestly, in my research, I found that so many women enjoyed birth. They called int euphoric, even! I thought I was going to have that birth but once labor kicked in, it felt like I was fighting against my body to hurry up and give birth. The truth was that she would come, just not so early on in the process as I had idealized. It’s hard because once you feel those bone-moving pressures, you want that child out!!! 14 hours of labor is a lot but stress and impatient tension probably did nothing but add time to the experience.
I look forward to experiencing this again, God willing, and sharing all about the differences between each natural birth.