Natural Birth Takeaways
All in all, I would attempt a natural birth again. Yes, it hurt. Yes, it was probably one of the most painful experiences of my life, but in my mind, it was manageable. Why? Because it was a natural process. When you break your arm, that’s not natural; you feel pain and in your mind, you’re scared about what’s wrong because something is definitely not right. When I was going through labor, it was painful, but in my mind I kept telling myself, this is natural, this is what my body is meant to do, and this is what is supposed to be happening. This mindset helped me cope with the pain.
I trusted my body and was able to get through it. My contractions didn’t really get much worse after 8 cm, just more frequent. The most painful part was when baby crowned, not the contractions. But, the pushing itself was less
painful than the contractions.
I felt a numbness at the very last minute, right before baby came out. A wave of numbness; my body’s natural defense and response to help me push through the last bit of pain. And then, once baby was out, everything was infinitely easier after that. I was ‘in labor’ for a total of 18 hours. I would say it was more exhausting than painful
, and this is mostly what I have read on other blogs as well and among other experiences.
It’s important to recognize a few things about my birth story: I had an exceptional team of nurses and midwives that were not only encouraging, but respectful of my wishes (thanks Sarasota Memorial). The two nurses I had for my delivery were amazing. One of them had experienced a couple of natural births herself, and she was seriously one of the biggest supporters through my whole experience. I will be forever grateful for how they supported me an encouraged me and were a KEY to my success. I have listened to and read through so many birth stories where this is not the case, and this (your birth team) can honestly make or break your goals of whatever birth you are wanting to have. I actually contacted a Doula during my pregnancy because I was worried I may not have enough support to attempt a natural birth, but fortunately/unfortunately (however you see it), she never contacted me back, so I didn’t have one.
Also, another factor of my success: my baby was never in distress. Many women have goals of a certain type of birth, but if baby is in distress, your birth team will do whatever is medically necessary to get baby out
, and there is nothing wrong with this
. A safe birth is the best birth. I was incredibly lucky and the stars aligned for my birth plan to be executed. ALSO, I never experienced back labor (I’ve heard this is excruciating). Had this happened, I probably would have opted for the epidural right away.
So, I don’t tell my story to make anyone feel bad if they didn’t have the type of birth they wanted. I tell it to encourage women to have an open mind going in; plan for the birth you really want. If it’s natural, go for it (if your doctor is supportive of this)! Try it. It IS possible. You CAN do it. But, don’t beat yourself up if another plan is needed, or you decide that you are more comfortable with a different plan. Prepare for whatever birth you are wanting, but have a plan B in place if things go a different direction, and be OK with your plan B. I would encourage anyone thinking of having a natural birth to have an open mind and read through other stories of natural births. Everyone’s birth story is a little different, and it was helpful for me to read through different experiences to get a few viewpoints. Believe in yourself and the power of your own body, but be prepared to go a different direction, if needed.
Having a birth plan
was a HUGE help for both myself, the nurses, and my midwife. Also, a great birth team that supported a natural birth, the support of my husband, and a strong belief in the power of my own body were the keys to my success.
If you want to have a natural birth, it is totally possible given some preparation and a clear communication to your birth team.