Yep, I’m Trying For A Natural Birth

Early in my pregnancy, I decided I would like to try for a natural birth in the hospital.

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

I know what most of you are thinking… WHY in the world would I want a drug-free labor? lol. So, in this post, I’ll try break down the “why” and share with you how I’m preparing mentally and physically.

When I first got the notion that a natural birth might be for me, I was doing a lot of research on labor and delivery. The more I read, the more I felt drawn to attempting a birth with minimal medical interventions and without drugs.

I also realize though, that there are very important reasons for having trained medical experts on-hand during birth. Any number of complications could be life-threatening, come up suddenly and require skilled attention to resolve! That’s why I, personally, still feel most comfortable giving birth in the hospital.

On the other hand, I’ve seen research to suggest many of the medical interventions so common in hospitals – inductions, augmented labors (through the use of Pitocin or other drugs) and C-Sections – are sometimes overused and perhaps not always best for mom and/or baby.

I’m also generally terrified of surgery and hate the feeling of not being able to control my body. So, when I read in several different books (which I will be outlining in an upcoming blog post) and various news reports that induction and/or augmented labor increases your risk for C-Section… I became determined to at least try to avoid all of the above.

Of course, I realize this may not be possible. It’s my first baby. My mom had some unexpected complications during birth after very normal pregnancies. I also don’t really have any idea how my body will respond to labor.

I still want to try though… and from what I’ve heard and read, trying to achieve a natural birth experience in the clinical setting of a hospital is not usually easy. There are lots of forces at play – what a doctor thinks is best, hospital policies including constraints on time allowed for labor or pushing, plus a general skepticism about really attempting a drug-free birth.

So here are the steps I’m taking to achieve my goal (ideally.) I hope they’ll be beneficial to other mommies-to-be who are considering going natural:

  • Talking w/ my OBGYN – My doctor has been supportive of my goal so-far but still stresses that I will most likely “end up wanting the epidural.” lol. I can’t blame her for saying that… and who knows, maybe I will!
  • Hiring a doula – A doula is essentially a personal labor coach. Ours is wonderful! She has been teaching my husband and I about all the stages of labor, as well as providing us with a wide range of reading materials and DVDs about pregnancy and birth. She will be there with us in the hospital as well, guiding us through different breathing and labor positions to help the birth progress – hopefully with minimal interventions. She can also serve as a lactation consultant in the postpartum period!
  • Reading like crazy – I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on about pregnancy, birth, labor, breastfeeding, etc. Books with specific focus on the benefits of natural birth and/or midwifery as well as books written from a strictly medical approach. Knowing as much as possible (even about the obscure complications that could arise) makes me feel better… since if something goes wrong I won’t be totally in the dark as to what’s happening with my body.
  • Talking with pals – I have a couple of wonderful friends who have achieved a natural birth in a hospital setting already. Hearing about their expectations and how those contrasted with experiences during labor has been invaluable. Those stories have shown me a natural birth in the hospital IS possible… and yet reinforced  that you should always “expect the unexpected!”

Moms, I’d love to hear about your birth experiences – natural or not! Please feel free to comment below!

I also want to stress before wrapping this up that I think every woman should be able to make her own birth choices (in consultation with her medical provider) without being judged. Hopefully this will be an enlightening discussion for everyone! Can’t wait to hear from all of our wonderful friends and viewers…

Michelle

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43 thoughts on “Yep, I’m Trying For A Natural Birth

  1. Michelle, I have 3 daughters the oldest being 23 and the youngest is 16. I was going to try to have my first natural and she got stuck, so the dr decided to do an epidural. It never took effect, therefore, I had her natural. When I went in to have my other two daughters, the drs were saying “we will give you an epidural in a few mins”, I just laughed at them.. I had my first one natural, second one natural, and my third..she was born so fast.. didnt have a choice but to have her natural. I applaud you for wanting to try this. Do not be mistaken.. it does hurt..BAD..but once that baby is in your arms.. you begin to think..what pain?

  2. I had my 3rd one natural, by accident. Almost didn’t make it to the hospital. It was horrible, but afterwards I felt great! Got right up. Helped give him his 1st bath. It was great! With my 1st 2 I was induced. Labor wasn’t that bad, but the baby’s heart rate would drop. I am sure from the epidural & afterwards I was sore for weeks & of course I couldn’t just get right up because my legs were numb. Good Luck to you!

  3. I went in thinking I was going to do natural childbirth, but quickly at 4cm I decided I would much rather be “comfortable” than in a ton of pain for who knew how many hours (I really was just afraid that my labor would last long like for 20 hours or something like that since I was put in for an induction, but I went from 7am-2pm and then almost 2 hours of pushing (had I not had the second dose of epidural before pushing I don’t think I would’ve pushed that long), so 9 hours total). However, I hope that my next one I can have a natural birth. I believe most of my pain was from pressure and there is just nothing that will take that part away except the end result! Good luck!

  4. You can do it!!
    I’ve had three children, all with very different labors. The first child, my water broke at 30 weeks. I was in the hospital for two weeks before they let me have him. I was scared to death and the dr recommended an epi so I took it. I now have a very tender spot on my back where the injection was done. My second child, I vowed to not have an epi but my medical staff (different from my fist) nor my family was supportive of my decision. My nurse kept urging me to have the epi. I made it to 7cm and she finally scared me into it. My third child was my natural baby. It was such a great experience. So much better than the epidural!! My family and medical staff were very supportive (which I do believe is VERY important) and I was determined to make it happen. I went over by five days and my dr sent me on to the hospital to be induced because I was leaking amniotic fluid. I had not planned on that but going natural with the pitocin wasn’t as bad as I had heard. Laying on my left side really helped speed things along. My nurse told me that little secret…and for that, I am greatful! The contractions hurt worse than anything. The baby (all 8lbs and 12 oz of him) actually coming out didn’t hurt at all to me. Focusing on something was the key for me. I closed my eyes and found my happy place. I concentrated on that and had a death grip on the bed railing…that’s what got me through! Good luck and best wishes!!

  5. Best of luck Michelle! Don’t let anyone freak you out or make you second guess your decision! My son was supposed to be a beautiful water birth at our local birth center in Largo, FL but my labor stopped after 36 hours and I needed the help of pitocin and an epidural bc of maternal exhaustion. My advice to you is to take childbirth classes OUTSIDE of the hospital. You should look into the Bradley Method or Hypnobirthing! The key to dealing with the contractions is to stay relaxed and breath. If you tense up it WILL hurt. Know that this is pain with a purpose and with each contraction your baby is closer to being in your arms. Have you discussed skin to skin immediately afterwards with your OB. Best of luck again. And good luck breastfeeding!! I’m assuming if you are going for a natural birth you will also be breastfeeding??

  6. Michelle,
    I commend you for knowing what you want, and doing your best to facilitate your goal! I hope your labor and delivery go smoothly. I was the opposite as you, I wanted the epidural. When my water broke (no contractions yet) we went to the hospital, once they got me signed in and in my room, they told me I could either have an IV or go ahead with the epidural. I chose the IV first. It helped me sleep- being my first child, I was so anxious- I would have never gotten any rest. After a few hours, the contractions were getting heavier- so I asked for an epidural. I was then induced early the next morning because I was dilated enough. I was in hard labor (pushing) for approx 8 hours before the doctor realized that my son’s head was stuck- and that he was going to be much bigger than we predicted. I ended up having a C-Section. While I am sure there is truth to pain relieves increasing the odds for C-Sections- my goal was to have a pain-free (as much as possible) delivery while ensuring my son and myself were safe. I had a wonderful OB-GYN, who would have supported me in whatever I wanted. And I also got my wish of a almost pain-free delivery (I didnt want to be spooked for future pregnancies) Just remember, no matter which way it goes- as long as you give birth to a healthy baby- that is the ultimate goal. Listen to your Doula, your OB-GYN, and your yourself. But C-Sections are not that bad, I promise- if you end up having one. I was up and walking around not too long afterwards, and I was only in the hospital 3 days (I also had WONDERFUL nurses, who took the very best care of me and my son). It is important to move around as soon as you are able to, even though it feels uncomfortable. Best wishes to you!!!!

    • Also- if you have to have Pitocin, it is best to have an epidural because Pitocin makes your contractions like 10 times more painful- because it causes more than your adominal muscles to contract. So I have heard…..

  7. Hey ladies! Thanks for sharing your stories! It’s so great to hear from all you mommies… Cassie, yes I do plan to breastfeed. Although, as I mentioned in the post, my mom had last-minute complications with her births and did not end up breast feeding. I turned out just fine on formula… so I’m not going to beat myself up if I am not able to breastfeed for some reason. lol.

    • I’m a formula baby too and I’m fine. Breastfeeding can be difficult for some. Just make sure you do your research. A lot of women who say they couldn’t breastfeed were really just given bad information and had formula pushed on them from early on. The percentage of women who cannot physically breastfeed is very slim. If you experience a painful latch or your baby is losing weight make sure they check for a tongue tie! I would suggest that you start attending LLL meetings now so you have a support group in place. Also there are TONS of breastfeeding support groups on facebook so don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it! It comes naturally for some and for others it’s work but it’s worth it.

  8. Hi Michelle….I applaud you for this.I have 3 amazing children,the oldest is now 32.I had natural childbirths with all 3 and can honestly say there is no regrets.With the first there wasn’t time to give medication had I wanted it and having that experience left me with no doubt I would also deliver the next baby the same way and again when the 3rd one came along.My son had some complications and had I had an epidural it would have been impossible to get to the nursery until it had worn off…..I was able to go in and hold his hand within an hour of giving birth.I’m not saying it’s for everybody but for me it was without a doubt the best 3 experiences of my life.I’m currently trying to get over knee replacement and let me say I would rather have a natural child birth than go through this pain again.Good luck bringing your bundle of joy into the world….you’ve never really known true love until you see that precious face.:-)

  9. This is awesome, Michelle! I had a natural birth and it was the best possible decision for my baby and me. It’s all about pain management, and having a doula will be a huge help with that. Congratulations!!

  10. I have one daughter who is 19 months. I was induced at 39 weeks because at my 38 week ultrasound my daughter measured at over 9lbs(she wasnt near that at birth, she was 7lbs 12oz). If I have another child, I would prefer going in labor on my own. From the time they started pitocin my contractions were strong, so they would turn the pitocin down, then back up, then back down, and so on. They kept me in labor for 15 hours. I had an epidural, but never took, so essentially I had a natural birth. It was rough at the time, but definitely worth it!

  11. I really hate when doctors and nurses feel that they should tell a pregnant woman that they would want the epidural. I even got laughed at and got to hear the comment, “Oh we got a tough one here”. With my 2nd child I got questioned every time a nurse came in the room if I was sure about my decision. Definitely have someone there that supports your decision! I felt like they were trying to talk me into having an epidural when I knew I didn’t need it. I never wanted to have an epidural at all, but with my first child I said I would have it. The fear of the unknown pain made that decision for me. (Plus watching WAY to many episodes of A Baby Story could scare ANYONE lol) I consider myself lucky that the doctor did not make it in time to give it to me. I ended up with the birth I wanted to have, but thought I could not handle. Now, they did give me Stadol. That made me sick to my stomach and if it did anything at all towards the pain, I didn’t notice. So that was a medicine in my system that was, to me, completely useless. That is the only thing I regret from my first experience. My second child was born 100% drug free despite them trying to make me 2nd guess my decision. Childbirth definitely is not sunshine and rainbows. I will admit, I think I may have said a few things that would make even a sailor blush, but the minute you look at your baby for the first time the pain is forgotten. I do know someone who has experience with both an epi birth and an epi-free birth and she said the epi free was the better of the two. You kinda get this natural high from the rush of horomones and she said that the epidural definitely effected that with her first. I think you should go in there planning to not have the epidural but knowing that if you need it, that it’s ok!

    • So funny that you mentioned A Baby Story Sheena! I saw an episode just a few weeks back where the woman was screaming… ha ha. I had to turn it off.

      • No joke, when I first got to the hospital both times they didn’t believe I was not in labor because I was acting like I was in pain enough apparently. But I had watched an episode where they zoomed the camera out like you could hear the poor woman screaming all the way down the opposite end of the hospital. I told myself them that no one was going to hear a peep out of me. lol

      • I had 3 with an epidural (the last of the 3 caused my blood pressure to drop dangerously low), so I opted for a natural birth with my fourth. I took Bradley classes and don’t think I could have done it without them. But, regarding screaming…I am a very quiet, shy person but screamed right when she came!!! It was TOTALLY involuntary! My husband said it was my Tarzan scream! The nurse finally said, “Close your mouth and push!” And out she came 🙂 after having 3 medicated and one not I would do it natural again. It was worth it to me. good luck to you!

    • Also, I felt so great after my 2nd that I had nothing at all with that I was up and straightening up my room and getting everything organized. lol I had my bags pack and ready to go home by 7am the next morning. I had to have the nurse harass the doctor for me so I could go home. He wasn’t there for the birth and he was almost MIA the whole time. (I think I saw him about 5 minutes total the whole time I was in the hospital) I finally tracked him down at 5PM that next day and made him let me go home. lol The nurse laughed when he showed up and said I could go home the NEXT day. She told him that I had already packed my car to go home and that I was ready to get out of there. The pediatrician released my daughter before I got released. She could have went home and I was stuck there. lol

  12. LOOONG Story short – Three children. First was natural, because I was determined to do it my way. Labor = 44 hrs. I never regretted it. She was 7 days late & perfect. My second was 11 days late and they induced, still a natural birth. Labor = 12 hrs. He was also perfect. Third pregnancy, he was 4 days late, four hours of hard labor, his dad and sister were at a competition out of state and had just left that morning. His brother was 7 yrs old and was the “man” of the house. He wanted to be with me and I didn’t want to scare him, so when the nurse said, “I see you have had natural child birth with your other two, are we going natural with this one, too?” I said, “I have been there, done that, I have nothing to prove to no one and my husband isn’t even here, give me an epidural.” She laughed.
    The only strange thing that happened was, he was supposed to be a girl, and I don’t think that had anything to do with not having him natural. He was also perfect.
    Pain? exactly as said above… what pain?
    It is the highest high, the happiest moment, the earth actually does feel as though it stands still when they take that part of your heart from your body and puts it in your arms. You want that moment to never end, because the minute they are born, their time with you is limited and you instantly want to protect them for the rest of their/your life.
    You are about to embark on the most amazing accomplishments you will ever do in your life. Congratulations, God Bless you.
    I hope your experience as a parent is even a fraction of happiness that mine has been. You will be amazed on a daily basis.

    *hugs

    Sherry French – Arab, Al

  13. I was the exact opposite. I wanted an epidural. My daughter was ready to come the minute she was conceived. I was having Braxton Hicks from 4 months till the end. I went into labor at 31 weeks and they put me on meds to stop the labor and I also had to stay in the hospital over-night. Every Tuesday, I would go into labor and they would have to increase it every time. So, here I am at 37 weeks and they had just taken me off the medicine two days prior because they felt she was big enough for me to have her. Tuesday night, my water broke and I went into immediate hard labor. My husband rushed me to the hospital because I was DYING from the pain. I got into my room at 12:45 am Wed. morning and the doctor hadn’t gotten there yet but my daughter was. The doctor got there and at 2:10, he said I was 4 cm and would I like an epidural? Oh heck yes, bring it on NOW. So they called the anesthesiologist up and he got there at 20 after 2:00 and I had gone from two cm to 9cmm in 10 minutes and my doctor told me that he was sorry that I was too far to receive an epidural. I was so mad. I thought to myself, the least who could do was tell me I was going to get it soon and I should start feeling better. But no, I knew I had to go all the way with this baby all by myself. Yes, it hurt and I screamed and hollered and thought I was going to die, but when she was born, I felt on top of the world. I didn’t have an appetite the whole time I was pregnant. I threw up every morning until the day I delivered her but within two hours after she was born, I ate like a horse. I was starving. I didn’t have any numbness or anything so I could get up and go to the bathroom and do as if I were back to normal again. It was so awesome. I will tell you that you probably will beg for an epidural before it is over with but maybe you can use my experience as your strength. You can tell yourself, if Sondra can do it, I can too. I did it girl but not by choice but I am so proud to say that I did now. There isn’t many people that can say that. Also, I breast fed for 6 months. That was a very satisfying experience and I cried as she weaned herself from my breasts to her bottle. She will be 21 in August and she attends UA with a 4.1 average and she is a Jr in college. She is very intelligent, pretty, talented and etc……I am not saying that breast feeding made her this way but I have heard that it does make more intelligent babies and healthier. Good luck with your baby.

    Sondra Jackson Meridianville, AL

  14. Have Faith in God & yourself. I’m 31 & had both my girls natural! I carried my oldest 41 weeks & 5 days because I refused being induced! Dr. Separated my membranes that morning & I had her at 8:30 that night.( no pitocin) Hard labor was 5 hours but I pushed 4 times & she was here! I was able to get up & do pretty much anything & she latched immediately. The contractions is what hurts not having them. I read the book The Bradley Method with each of my pregnancies and I learnt something from it both times. With my 2nd daughter I had pitocin & didn’t realize it till afterwards and yes the contractions are harder but again I labored hard for 4 hours and pushed 3 times to get her here! The biggest thing is having the people around you on board with your decision & believing in yourself! Your Doula will know pressure points for pain etc. & that will help. I had an AWSOME nurse my first ball game & a nurse younger than me my second but my Dr. (Kirk Brody) was 100% on board with my decision but unfortunately he only delivered my 2nd. My 1st was a Dr. That had the remark we’ll see how you feel when your water breaks & it had already broken! I was very strong willed & thankfully I had 2 healthy baby girls & a major accomplishment! Good luck!

  15. either way is your choice. I had my first with saddle block and my second natural. If I had another it would be natural. You will know when you are in labor which way to go .God luck and congratulations. There is nothing like a sweet little baby in your arms after it is over.

  16. Bravo to you!! I did an almost completely natural birth. It’s a LONNNGGG story, but I did the first 52hrs (yes, 5-2…) natural, but needed 6hrs of PIT at the end, (no pain killers). I don’t regret a second of it and I look forward to my second attempt at a 100% natural birth!
    Also, kudos for planning on breastfeeding!! We are breastfeeding too and LOVING it!

  17. Hey Michelle! I have 3 children ages 19, 13, and 11. I had my 19 year old by c section in 1993. In 1999, my husband and I had our 13 year old. My doctor was wonderful about letting me choose to deliver naturally rather than have another c section. I am VERY terrified of needles so I delivered our 13 year old with no pain medicine of any kind. I also delivered my 11 year old with no pain medicine of any kind. I told myself everyday that it was going to hurt like heck and then it ended up not hurting as bad as I thought it would. I found that my lamaze breathing techniques and reminding myself to be calm as being tense makes pain worse. I also reminded myself that this discomfort doesn’t last forever and as soon as I deliver it will stop. I am the biggest wimp ever so if I can do natural childbirth anyone can. Breastfeeding on the other hand didn’t go so well for me so I stopped doing it. If you have been taught how to do it appropriately and stick to that one technique I think it will be ok. Good luck to you!

  18. hey michelle i have 2 children my first was so easy that i told the doctor i dont need any meds and dont regret it one bit i was up within hours of having her the second was harder it was a boy but i said i did it the frist time on my own so i will again, and again was up out of bed in hours so if you tell them no you dont want it they wont give it to you

  19. Michelle – I had 3 children natural and breastfed for 10 months right from breast to cup and my children are 33, 31 and 28. I applaud you for realizing everyone has a choice in childbirth. I do believe in a hospital setting as my daughter has worked as a labor and delivery nurse and having qualified personnel close at hand in case of complications i believe is necessary for you and babies health. I also want to applaud you in realizing that I do believe to meet everyones busy schedules, planning, etc. there are too many induced and c-section births because the doctors don’t want to stay after hours, moms want to plan birthdays, they are afraid of childbirth and opt or let doctors talk them into c-sections. I believe c-sections should be performed when deemed medically necessary not just “because”. Best of luck on childbirth and motherhood. You can read all the books and do everything possible but some things just aren’t by the book, it’s a woman’s instinct and God’s intervention that will be your guiding light in one of the most rewarding and memorable experience you will ever have. A mother’s love is never ending (except when you become a grandma which makes your realize love again).

    Leanne

  20. I commend you for your choice to try for a natural childbirth. When I had our babies in the eighties, that was the most common way. It was believed that the drugs in the epidural suppressed the baby’s nervous system. Maybe those things have improved and changed?? Anyway, my husband and I had Lamaze class, and refresher classes with subsequent babies. Because pain relief was never offered, or expected, I concentrated on those natural ways to “breath” through the contractions. My labors were not short, first one was twenty hours and I was exhausted. Because of that our daughter was delivered by forceps because I was unable to push any longer. She was fine, and each delivery after that was shorter and easier. I never regretted having natural childbirth. I thought then, and still do, that it is best for the baby. That aside, my twenty-eight year old daughter thinks I am nuts, and had epidurals with both of her babies. A choice that I do not condemn, it was hers to make. And both her babies are healthy and happy. I wish you well.

    Jena

  21. Well, first of all i am a little ticked that your doctor said you “probably will want an epidural.” Nobody remembers that women have been having babies without drugs for a LONG time…who says we can’t now? 🙂 Anyway, I had a c-section with my first because he was breech (after 10 hours of natural labor) and then I have had my other 3 (VBACs) without any drugs and they were NOT easy labors (well, until the last one…she was a lot easier:) ) But i would not trade it for anything. Personally I am a little more leery of someone taking my pushing power away through the name of “pain-control” than just dealing with the pain. I am proud of you for going for Natural Birth, but I would definitely say the biggest thing to me in going in with the mindset that an epidural is NOT an option (unless there are major complications, of course) but to me, if I had’ve thought it was an option, then there is no way I would’ve delivered naturally (especially my second…since he was my first vaginal delivery). I just say, YOU GO GIRL!! Oh, and I don’t know where you are planning on delivering, but I know that having a good nurse who is supportive of natural childbirth is also a huge help!!! (rather than keeping on asking you if you want pain meds yet!) 🙂 God bless your last few weeks!

  22. YOU CAN DO IT! I have had three natural births and am presently 30 weeks with my fourth. I use water for pain management. The aquadoula is AMAZING! And it prevents ripping! My advice is not to worry. Your body knows what to do. You were made for this. Just go with the flow. Don’t over think it. Just let it do what it does. Sleep when you can! Sit back, relax, and let your body do the laboring, not your mind. For me spiritually, I have never been so fulfilled in my identity as a mom and follower of Christ. Feeling those “birth pains” and knowing what is on the other side is so rewarding. We never really get to experience a productive pain that gives life. I think it is a blessing moms get to experience to know a little more about God’s love. I remember thinking during transition labor, “I am experiencing my true identity right now. I am 100% in the total will of God at this moment.” There are only a handful of moments like that in life. Pretty cool. Even if one is not a spiritual person, they can appreciate the physical wonder of the human body and maternal bond from natural childbirth.

  23. Hey Michelle! I’m encouraged by your story and being willing to report it. I have a degree in Comm Arts so I relate to the automatic need to research! I learned so much before our son was born and was convinced that I didn’t need interventions unless it was absolutely necessary for me and my babies health. If millions of women, including my mother, have birth naturally in the past, why can’t I at least try? My husband was convinced as well! We had our son with a midwife in Tennessee since it is illegal to have a midwife’s assistance in the home in our state. It was the most empowering and satisfying moment of my life. It’s called labor for a reason but the female body is so powerful. Nothing is like the euphoria that comes when you get to hold your baby for the first time. I am now a labor doula in hopes of supporting women in the same way others helped me. Looking forward to your report and birth story!

    God bless you and your sweet baby!
    Katie

  24. It sounds like you are being truly thoughtful about your decisions and really, after 9 years as a childbirth educator, I’m convinced that THAT is more important than the actual decisions each of us make in our parenting journeys. You are certainly setting yourself up for success by hiring a doula! We have some wonderful doulas here in Huntsville that are worth their weight in gold to a mama who wants to minimize unnecessary interventions and really focus on working with her body through the process of birth. I encourage you to remember that just as your body has grown this baby perfectly, so it knows how to birth your baby perfectly, too. The hardest part about labor for many women is reaching that point where you have to choose to let go and trust that all those powerful feelings are simply the strength of your body moving another soul through it, and embrace them. Dive into them. Revel in how powerful your body is. It’s hard (for me at least) to get through a birth if I’m merely enduring rather than celebrating. 😉 God bless you and your family, I’ll keep you in my prayers for a joyful and healthy birth!

  25. I went natural for both my boys. The first experience was horrible and the second a breeze. For the first birth they broke my water shortly after admission. The contractions were very painful because of losing that extra cushioning. Also I was hooked up to multiple lines & monitors making it impossible to move around. Thirdly the staff did not seem competent making me very anxious & more in pain. For the second birth the staff actually read my birth plan & respected my wishes to have as few interventions as possible. My nurse said “Childbirth is a natural process not a disease process.” It was amazing how much better it went. When the pain gets really bad, make yourself get up & move around, even if you just want to lie down in despair. Being horizontal will NOT help you feel better. Best of luck. You can do it!

  26. The most important thing to know about going into labor is that you need to be flexible. Yes, you want to have a set birth plan in mind and try to follow it as closely as possible. However, when something comes up you need to be flexible in doing what needs to be done. I strongly recommend Crestwood as your hospital of choice. The nurse to patient ratio there is smaller and they have a birthing room that is labor, delivery, and postpartum. It also has a more homey feel to it. Also, they are very good about respecting your choices with regards to your birth plan. I delivered there a little over 15 months ago and not once have I regretted that decision. The maternity ward is protected by locked doors so friends and family have to be buzzed in, but that made me very happy. The nurses there were wonderful to me and when I had a complication anticipated the doctor’s needs even though he doesn’t practice there as often. I was induced, but I also had a large baby (born 8lbs 11oz) that caused a uterine bleed. I’m not mentioning this to scare you, but to prepare you for a possibility that such a thing can happen out of the blue. I presented no signs of having said complication and then it happened. I was very glad I went with my instinct to birth at the hospital rather than attempting a home birth. I will say a prayer that you deliver your sweet baby girl with limited intervention, no drugs, and no complications!

  27. Michelle, I hope everything goes great with the last few weeks of your pregnancy and with your birth! My experience was that it is not easy to achieve a natural birth in a hospital setting. I believe my wishes were given more lip service than serious support. I didn’t have a doula which I regret. I knew better but I was stubborn! I now encourage everyone that desires a natural birth to get one. Glad you have that all set!

    I gave birth to my first last August. I was pushed into an induction at 41 weeks, 2 days because of supposed low fluids. I’ve since read that the way they judge this may not be that accurate. My advice to others is either get induced in the morning after a good nights sleep or nap during the day before an evening induction. My labor was 37 hours before I was forced into a c-section because I just could not get to 10cm. During labor I was on Pitocin (the drug from hell!) for 7 hours before giving into Nubian (useless drug – didn’t really help at all) and finally an epidural in hopes of avoiding a c-section. I had a birth plan during pregnancy but wished I would have added and researched more “in case of c-section” so I could have included wishes such as holding and feeding my baby during recovery. The way it ended up, even though I was awake, I didn’t see my healthy little boy for 3 hours other than a very brief glance before he was taken away. Luckily, he latched right away and had no problems with breast-feeding! If I had to do it over again I would still try to have a natural birth and I would definitely have gotten a doula! The physical and emotional recovery from a c-section were tough for me but when I hold my little one it’s hard not to smile. I plan to attempt a VBAC with my next child but I know I have my work cut out for me to find a doctor in Huntsville (if we stay here) that will be truly supportive. Good luck and thank you for giving press to birth choices!!

  28. I have really enjoyed your story “birth options” in the AM. I would have loved to seen it when I had my babies! Like you, I read everything I could get my hands on.At the time there was not a lot of information out there, I wanted a doula but could not find one in the area. The book that guided me and helped me the most was Ina May Gaskins books on natural childbirth. I too chose natural birth in a hospital and had a midwife deliver both of my babies. I liked the freedom the midwife allowed me and the support she provided and it was nice to know that in cas somethiing came up I was in the hospital and the doctor she collaborated with could be there if needed. The most helpful thing for me while I labored was being able to get up and walk aound, rocking in a rocking chair and staying positive/keeping my mind set that I could do it with out drugs! My husband was there with me encouraging me the whole time and I couldn’t have done it without him either. Freinds thought I was nuts or some crazy hippy but it worked for me and I had a great expereince and healthy babies. I still see my midwife today for that yearly “well womans” visit, if I see her out on the street with my kids who are now 6 and 4 she remembers us/them.Best wishes for you!

  29. I had my son when I was 20 years old. I went into labor unexpectedly at exactly 32 weeks gestation. I ended up having him all natural due to lack of time for an epidural. I can honestly say that the contractions, which were completely limited to back labor, was much much worse then the actual pain of delivering. I expected it to be a terrible thing after all the horror stories I heard. But, I’ve learned that every woman and birth is different. I think now if I ever have another child I would opt to do it all natural again because I was aware of everything that was going on and could feel my legs to push. Once he was born, the pain was immediately gone.

  30. Michelle, I have 2 daughters 6 and 8 so the experiences are still relatively fresh in my mind. My oldest I had an OB-GYN and he pressured me to have every kind of medical intervention possible. It was a miserable experience but we survived. My second child I was determined to have her natural if nothing more than just to know the difference. So, I found an excellent midwife and she let me try alternative birthing positions and was very supportive. I had an 8lb 2oz baby girl with little to no pain and no complications. I was able to get up and hold her confidently immediately after delivery. I was a wonderful experience that I will not ever forget. Fear of the unknown is your number one factor in pain. The best pain killer is education and it sounds like you are doing your research! You will be just fine! I am now expecting my 3rd baby, a boy in April. Again, I am trusting and believing for a natural childbirth with out complications. I would like to recommend a book… Supernatural childbirth by Jackie Mize. It’s guaranteed to calm any fear.

  31. Not sure if anyone has already recommended this but the documentary by Ricki Lake “The Business of Being Born” is excellent and empowering! A must see! It is a book also. The movie is on Netflix!

  32. Pingback: Waiting On Baby: When A Due Date Comes & Goes… | Michelle's Baby Blog

  33. I had both of mine naturally, but when the midwife at the ob/gyn office didn’t seem supportive of natural birth at my first appt, I was OUT OF THERE. I went to our local birth center, where CNM’s provide care and is very close to the hospital. I don’t know if I could have fought the uphill battle in the hospital, but I was able to have peaceful, intervention free births at the birth center. If I were to have another baby, I think I could do it in the hospital if I could find a doctor with natural birthing experience. If a nurse went against my birth plan and offered me an epidural, I would ask to switch!
    Also, what helped me in the labor experience was to think of it as just that….labor. Work usually involves a little pain in some way or another. So, I headed off to the birth center to labor, for my baby, and I asked my husband to be ready to do the same. 🙂

  34. Thanks for this post! I think it so important that every woman goes into her labour with the right attitude. I think we have forgotten that birth is ancient. Our bodies are programed from nature to labour. It is so important to go into your labour with a positive and confident attitude and equip yourself with various coping methods to naturally and positively deal with the pain. Please visit my blog http://www.naturalbirthworks.wordpress.com

  35. Pingback: A Labor And Delivery Story | Michelle's Baby Blog

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