Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Journey to a Natural Birth Experience

I've had four children and each birth experience has been quite different. I want to share with you my story with the hope that it will inspire you to go for the birth you want.

#1 Chelsea

My oldest child was born over nine years ago. Like most first time moms I was terrified of the idea of labor. I'm a big baby when it comes to pain anyway. My husband and I took the child birth classes at the hospital and I read as much as I could about pregnancy and the birth process.

As my March 31st due date was fast approaching I began to get antsy like most pregnant women in their final days. I wanted to hold my baby! Three days before my due date my water broke, not a big gush but a trickle. It was five AM and we two night owls had been up all night.

We were living with my dad at the time so I grabbed my hospital bag, told my dad we were leaving and headed out the door. The nurses confirmed that my water had broken and we'd be having a baby that day! Three tries later I had an IV in my arm and was started on pitocin to get the Braxton Hicks style contractions to become real contractions. I was told that I would have a baby within the next 24 hours and "first time moms have longer labors."

I made it through those first few hours and had progressed some. I was told I could have another nine to twelve hours of labor before I met my baby and was asked if I wanted an epidural. I had been on the fence about it the entire pregnancy. I was scared of the pain I'd be in for all those hours so I agreed to it.

After the epidural I felt better....for a while.  Early in the afternoon it's effects began to wear off. Everyone but my dad had left to get lunch and since he hated seeing me in pain he went to get the nurses to see about my epidural. They checked and I was quite close to being 10cm dilated.

I was in shock because, after all, I had been told I'd be here another 9-12 hours still! finally everyone returned just in time for me to start pushing.Twenty minutes later my first baby girl was born! I don't have any baby pics of my big girl on my computer! We'll need to fix that somehow but here she is as a toddler.

#2 Hunter 
My second baby was six days past his due date and I was "done" being pregnant, huge, tired, just finished college and I wanted him here. So, I went in early on May 7th to be induced. Things went smoothly but I knew this time I didn't want the epidural. I had hated being stuck in bed for hours after having my daughter and since it wore off I really wasn't a fan of the idea anymore.

Like the first this labor went quite quickly. Being stuck to the monitors though I was in bed most of the time and decided to get some "relief" from the pain. I was given nubain. It helped with the pain alright but boy was I out of it! I was with it for the contractions but in between? I was completely out of it. Hunter was born a little after 11am. Trying to breastfeed was a challenge because the medication had made him so very sleepy and hard to wake up for feedings.

#3 Natalie
Natalie was my "turkey baby" being due the day after Thanksgiving.A week and a half before my due date I was checked by my doctor and at a good 2-3 cm dilated. Since things were "favorable for induction" I was offered the choice.

I debated for a day and thought about it a lot. Looking back I think my Dr may have been trying to avoid being in the hospital on a holiday.

But I hadn't thought that at the time and agreed to the induction. Friday morning I'm at the hospital and already 4cm since I'd been having contractions all week anyway. It didn't take much to get things rolling! Five hours later and twenty minutes of pushing and baby girl number two had made her arrival. No medication this time around which I was happy about but got some very surprised remarks when the next shift of nurses realized I'd been induced and not taken any medication for the pain.

#4 Allison
Around this time last year I found out I was pregnant with our fourth blessing. This time though I was on a mission to be as educated as I could about the process, natural childbirth and breastfeeding. I read about the fact that pitocin is only supposed to be used when medically necessary and the fact that so many women end up with c-sections because of medical interventions that aren't necessary.

I was determined to have this baby naturally, when she was ready. I found myself quite patient this time as my due date approached. I did take Evening Primrose oil because I had heard that it helped reduce tearing but other than that I was just letting nature take it's course.

A week before my due date I was checked to see if I was making any progress. I was barely 1cm which was a little of a let down but I knew that number really meant nothing. I had been at two for over a month with my son!

That following weekend I had Braxton Hicks on and off. We were moving so I was quite busy! Monday my mom and grandma came out to help. I went to Wal-Mart with my grandma and three children. While there the Braxton Hicks started up again. This was mid afternoon maybe around 2.

We came home from our shopping spree and the contractions continued. Still thinking they were nothing I went about my day and didn't say anything to anyone. After dinner I started timing them. "These are getting stronger!" Still saying nothing to my family. Around 7pm I'm in the kitchen mid contraction and quite painful. My grandma spotted me and knew I was in labor. We walk in on my mom and husband "arguing" over the curtain rods.

"um Jacqueline's in labor" says my grandma to some surprised looks. I tell them I'm fine and we have plenty of time! 7:30 and they are getting tough. We call our friend to come get her children who were here to play. She took our other three to my dad's house while my husband an I get into the car. We get to the hospital at 8:10. Contractions are less than 3 minutes apart now and quite painful.

At 8:38 my little Allison was born! The nurse was holding the IV in my arm (which I about told her to lose if I could have talked. The doctor had barely made it into the room. Five minutes later in walk my mom, grandma and mother in law. The looks of shear shock are priceless as they saw my baby on my chest!

No medication, no pitocin, no epidural, only a tiny tear compared to the last two and I couldnt' be happier.

So there's my story. If you've made it all the way through, thanks for reading. I hope that it inspires you to strive for a natural birth. We were made by God to do this and yes sometimes we do need medical interventions. If all goes as planned and you are determined to have a natural birth YOU CAN!

To read more inspiring birth stories check out Shannon's book from Growing Slower called Natural Birth Stories. Click here to view more details. In this book she has compiled stories from many women who have had natural home, hospital and birth center birth experiences. it's also a part of the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle this week.

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