Babies: 0 - 3 Months

For those who attempted natural/medication-free births...

I'm just curious to hear some stories from moms who went into labor trying to have the baby naturally to see what worked, what didn't, and what advice you'd give to those who are attempting medication-free/natural childbirth (other than to keep an open mind).

 Thanks in advance!

 

Re: For those who attempted natural/medication-free births...

  • The Bradley Method was awesome! 

    I also used an exercise/birthing ball for a majority of my labor.

    Good luck!  :)


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  • Heating pads on the areas affected most by contractions, squat bar, yoga ball and several hot showers during labor.  The most important thing, however, was good support.  We had a written birth plan that went in our chart and on our door.  I did not pre-sign any consents for pain medication either.  It made one more little speed bump in the thought process if I started to give in.  I had secured promises from my husband, mother and doula that they would not let me give in and be medicated.  I did hit that wall - at hour 30.  I begged each one of them independently to let me change my mind.  They all stood fast to what they knew I really wanted and kept me going to the end.
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  • My labor started then my water broke at 7:30 P.M. on the 5/22, I went into the hospital immediately but made no progress over the next few hours. My midwife started me on Cytotec (spelling??) and still nothing happened, finally we had to resort to pitocin since we were working against the clock because of my water breaking and the only thing I wanted to avoid more than the medicated birth was a c-section. After being in labor for over twenty hours without pain meds I finally asked for the epidural, I had no strength left at all to push and needed to rest. It really was the best decision for ME based on MY situation. I quickly progressed past the 5 cm I had been hovering at, and LO was born almost four later at 7:24 P.M. on 5/22, almost exactly 24 hours since my water broke. My midwife was awesome and supported me which ever way I wanted to go, however she did make me wait a full hour before she would let me get the epi just to make sure that I really wanted it since it was totally against my birth plan. Also, LO was born in a hospital that is very supportive of a mother's birth plan, they were really great.  
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  • I was determined to have a natural birth. I didn't take birth classes and I didn't even know what I was doing or how to push! Contractions didn't hurt until a few hours before LO came out but once they became unbearable I was screaming for an epid.. They gave me something that made me feel really drunk and helped for a bit. When that wore off I was screaming again for the epid. They checked me and said "oh it's too late for an epidural" and 1 min before I started pushing they told me how to push. I pushed for 2 hours, I think, and out she came. ?It was a relief from the contractions when I was able to push. My advice is to BREATHE and PUSH like you have never pushed before. Good Luck!
  • I used hypnobirthing and it was amazing. The jacuzzi tub didn't hurt either, but that depends on the facility of course. I was so relaxed that I dilated fully within one hour. The contractions were totally manageable with the relaxation techniques and my husband was able to coach me as well. I even slept between them at times. 

    That being said, my baby was sunny side up and wedged awkwardly in my pelvis and I ended up pushing for 6 hours. The doctor decided that I had no chance of moving him naturally and needed forceps, which her/hospital policy meant I had to have an emergency epidural. I was able to calmly decide and consent though because I could manage the pain otherwise.

    I would totally use hypnobirthing again.  

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  • I didn't take any classes, but I read a lot and was prepared for what happens during birth.  I think the best two books were "Husband Coached Childbirth" and "Ina May's Guide to Natural Birth". 

    DH read them both too and was fully on board to help and support me.  I didn't have a doula b/c I know that I wouldn't be terribly comfortable with one (I met a few, they were nice, but I couldn't see myself looking to them for support) and that it would possibly keep my from relaxing.  

    My water broke at 7:00pm and we went to the hospital b/c I had Mucomium in the fluid.   The hospital/MW I used are very natural friendly and I wasn't on the clock.  I wasn't having contractions yet so the MW said we've have the evening and consider pit in the morning if necessary.  Contractions started 2 hours after my water broke and came hard and fast and I just did what felt "right" and helped the pain.  I ended up spending 4 hours in the shower on the birthing ball (even had my GBS IV hooked up while I was in there).  In my mind I planned on using the tub and possibly even delivering in there- but when I went in I thought it was awful.

    I ended up giving birth on the birthing stool (something else I never imagined using).

    So- I would say be open to try anything and listen to your body.  I laid in the bed for all of about 2 minutes the whole time.  It was super uncomfortable- so I didn't stay there.   Don't be afraid to try lots of different positions and things and when you find something comfortable, go with it.  If it stops being comfortable, change. 

    Natural birth is totally doable.  (I will add that I was only in active labor for 5.5 hours, so my opinion may be skewed- I delivered at 3am and I don't know how much longer I could have held up energy wise...)

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  • i read "the husband coached birth," - the bradley method. it is pretty intuitive but i found it to be helpful for DH to read, lol. i marked the important chapters (there was a lot of fluff that i didn't want him to lose interest with too much); we weren't into classes. the book focuses on relaxing. DH reminded me to relax areas of my body that were tensing without me realizing (even my jaw) and to breathe with my belly. this reminding would happen with each contraction and it's so important towards the end and really works! at times i would be annoyed by it but concentrating on what he was telling me to do and doing it was key. the pain gets pretty intense right before it's time to push (transition), but once it becomes unbearable....it usually means you made it! for me, when it got to be too much - they checked me and i was at 9 cm. that was motivating! i also didn't know what it felt like to have the urge to push.....i thought i needed to go #2, lol - that was my urge, lol (i had no idea that's what i should expect). when you can push...it's sweet relief to the contractions. GL! :)

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  • I hired an awesome doula, plus my husband was a major source of support.  I had a birth plan, and requested a nurse that would support my plan.  I went into labor at 1:30 p.m., went to the hospital at 5:30 p.m., was 6 cm.  It took until the next morning at 7:30 a.m. to get the final 4 cm.  I was so exhausted, I ended up getting a bit of pitocin to get the ctxs to pick up again.  Then an hour of pushing.

    I didn't take any classes or read any books, for me that just wasn't going to be helpful.  I wet into it with the idea that if things got crazy and I was suffering, I would get something, but if it was a normal routine labor, I could get through it.  It hurt worse than I can possibly describe, there's no reason to sugarcoat it.  But if you have a clear intention about why you're doing it and a good support system, you can do it.

     

  • I studied up on the Bradley method and was determined to make it work, but I never got to it. My contractions went straight from every couple of hours and so faint that I wasn't sure they were real, to about every 30 seconds, knocking me on the ground kind of painful. I never had a chance to get my bearings and focus and relax like the Bradley method teaches. So, for 18 hours, I rolled around on a bed or yoga ball and screamed bloody murder. I wouldn't write a book about it, but I got through without an epidural. I also refused an episiotomy and never tore. Smile
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  • We did the Bradley Class and HIGHLY recommend them!  They are awesome...I went into labor and got checked after 2 hours was already at 4...at 3 hrs I was at 6 4 hrs was at 9 and it was totally manageable!...THEN i stalled at 9 for 5 hrs...and the baby went into distress...i ended up needing a c-sec...the class helped me understand which questions you need to ask to make sure that the treatment you receive it ABSOLUTELY the best for the the health of the mom and baby and even though it nothing went according to plan I know I needed the c-sec to get the baby out safely and we have a healthy baby today because of it.
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  • I was planning a natural waterbirth. My membranes ruptured and I was GBS+...after ~10 hours and 1 round of antibiotics, my MW started pitocin. I had studied hypnobirthing, but found none of the techniques really worked for me during the birth process, and I just handled my contractions in the way I felt best at the time. It was very frustrating to see the birthing tub and not be able to use it because of having the monitors on me. I did give birth and labored completely pain med free- and I can't imagine having medication regardless of how intense it got. I hear so many women being told "they are ready to push" and for me I could clearly feel when I was ready to push, there is no missing it. Also being able to get up almost immediately after giving birth (after an hour of bonding time) to use the bathroom, and being able to move around (even with the wireless monitors on) just to be able to pee was great.

    It is such a great feeling to be able to say- I did it, it is possible, and I will definitely be doing it again!

  • With #1 I had preeclampsia; he was born 38 wks with a pitocin induced labor.  We took bradley classes (highly recommend, but the book "Husband Coached Childbirth" will probably give you what you need to know if you don't have time to take the class) and were all set for a natural birth, then the PE set in, so we threw our birth plan out the window.  The dr. had me get the epidural (reduces BP - mine was as high as 168/135) around 4 cm and my water broke at 3 cm.  Labor was 5 hours total with baby coming 3 hours after epidural.   Note: was on Magnesium Sulfate (drug required for mom's with PE) and that made labor and recovery very difficult - so I did not have a typical medicated delivery.

    With #2 I knew I wanted to go natural.  I figured it would be quick labor due to #1 being so fast.  Contractions started at 11:40 pm and were manageable, but quickly escalated in frequency.  Went to hospital 2 hours later and was already 7 cm.  I chose to have my water broken and continued to labor naturally till she was born 4 hours later.  The contractions were so much more intense after my water was broken.  With #3, assuming labor is progressing, I am going to wait for my water to break on its own because having that cushion made a huge difference in handling the contractions.

    Laboring naturally is difficult and painful.  I'd say what you need to have to make it successful is the following: 

    A supportive husband and/or doula (I never had a doula, but hear great things).   

    Supportive staff - the nurses never asked if I wanted drugs, and let me do my own thing.

    A doctor who is aware of your plans and supports them.   

    Awareness of how labor typically progresses, and how to relieve pain - massage ball and pressure points, laboring on labor ball, various pushing positions, etc.

    (you'll notice theme of support) 

    Having experienced both, I would say natural is the way to go for the following reasons:

    Less intervention = less interruptions - staff leaves you alone (assuming baby continues to act healthy)

    More control and effective pushing

    Ability to move around freely without wires and IV's following you around (with epidural you are obviously stuck to bed entirely)

    In my experience, baby is more responsive and alert from drug free birth. 

    Good luck and congratulations! 

  • I took Lamaze classes at the hospital where I delivered at, and those helped to an extent. They would have been more effective if I didn't completely lack the ability to focus. But, the breathing techniques were nice, especially once hard labor kicked in. Labor really wore me out though, and I almost caved in and got Stadol, not so much for the pain relief, just to take the edge off long enough for me to nap for a bit.
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  • I had an epi-free induction.  I was on Pitocin and had my water broken artificially (not my desire at all!), and labour progressed SO quickly.  The contractions were extremely strong, and I went from 4 centimeters to pushing in 3 hours!  

    The worst decision that I made was allowing the nurse to administer Stadol through the IV after the doctor broke my water.  I hadn't slept the night before, so I was hoping for a pain medication that would allow me to sleep.  Instead, I was so drowsy that I couldn't move around to work through the contractions, and I still felt everything just as strongly.  

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  • I have had two non-medicated births. My advice is this:

    Be committed to it. Not so committed that you are inflexible if something comes up and you need medical intervention (or you simply decide you WANT medical intervention), but if you go in saying, "I'm going to try to do it without meds!" but you don't have a plan, you are highly unlikely to meet your goal.

    Hypnobirthing is great. I highly recommend at least reading the book. I didn't actually use the hypnotherapy portion at all, but understanding the history of child birth and getting an idea of how our bodies are designed to make this all work helped me a ton. I was actually falling asleep in the bath tub at the hospital between 9 and 10 cm of dilation, and I credit the HB philosophy for that.

    Hire a doula! I did not have a doula with my first, and wow there was such an amazing difference the second time around with a doula to help. My labor with #2 was honestly the best thing I would have asked for, and she helped make that happen. A doula is well, well worth the investment.

    Good luck! You can do it, and oh my goodness the payoff is tremendous. 

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  • With DS2 Hypnobirthing all the way! I listened to one track while I focused on relaxing all my muscles. (this is the key to pain-free labor) My entire labor was 1.5 hrs from the time I left the house and I can honestly say none of it was really painful and I had no tearing. My doula didn't even make it to the hospital in time and they didn't have time to hook me up to an IV even though I was GBS+. I felt back to normal a week later. 

    With DS1 I tried Hypnobabies but was never very confident in the methods. I think I went to the hospital too early and ended up in labor for 30 hours. After 24 hours and being "stuck" at 9.5 cm (I felt like I needed to push but they told me not to because I had an anterior lip) I got an epi to "help me relax." The problem with epidurals is that sometimes they slow down your labor ..so then I had to get pitocin. Finally 6 hours later I pushed my baby out and tore pretty badly. (Another bad part of epidurals..you can't feel anything so you don't know you are tearing) I had the longest recovery and was determined to go natural the second time.  

    You can do it...but you have to be able to relax! Practice relaxing and have a  good support person. 

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  • I didn't take any classes or read any books, but I went natural with my second LO, so I had an idea of what to expect. I was determined to go natural. I labored at home as long as I could, and that is the advice I give anyone who wants to go natural. I walked into the hospital at 8 cm and I just breathed through the contractions and let myself deal with them as it came naturally. I had back labor so I had DH push hard into my spine and I arched my back. It hurt but I knew after delivery it would be awesome relief. I'm so happy I went natural, but my labor was crazy fast so I know that is what made it possible. Good luck!
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  • Be flexible as giving birth certainly doesn't follow the plan that you've set out.  MH and I took hypnobirthing classes and practiced relaxation techniques and then I ended up needing to be induced at 40 wk 5 days.   I would try to avoid an induction if possible and when at the hospital ask  for intermittent monitoring(my hospital didn't have this and so I couldn't move around as freely as I had hoped) and a natural birth friendly nurse on staff.  I ended up with a c-section despite my natural birth goal b/c my LO seemed to be having some issue tolerating the pitocin induced contractions.   Also don't be afraid to ask for some time/privacy if an option to do a procedure is brought up.  We consistently did this whenever a doc/midwife wanted to try something to help labor along.   Despite not having the birth I wanted, I think the staff really listened and allowed MH and I to make the best decisions possible with the info we had.  I started induction on Tuesday morning and LO wasn't delivered until Thursday morning and ended up spending some time in the NICU so I think we did what was best in our situation.  Good luck and I hope that you get the natural med-free birth you want!
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  • I went in with no knowledge what-so-ever, all I had to go on is "You Can Do It".  What got me through was me telling myself "Its almost over" and the thought of holding my baby!  It was my first time and I was only in labor for 4 hours (I was already 4cm when I went in) and only pushed for 15 minutes.  The pain is life-changing but it is definitely possible to do it without meds, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  A plus is you get to walk around almost immediately afterwards and get to go home usually the next day!  Breathing correctly is very important and focusing on something during contractions helped me a lot (I focused on a table leg).  Just keep telling yourself, "This won't kill me".  I didn't get up, get massaged, get in a tub, or use a ball.  I stayed in the hospital bed the whole time and gripped the sides (They were wobbly from prior women gripping them as well! lol).  The last piece of advice I can give is to sway your head from side to side, you might look like the exorcist but it helps!
  • Wow - thank you ladies for sharing your inspiring and informative stories! I feel like we can do this!
  • I was a week late so I was brought in for an induction that started with cervadil and was going to progress to pitocin.  I started having contractions 5 hours after the cervadil was put in, my water broke an hour after that and 30 min after that, the cervadil fell out with the mucus plug when I went to the bathroom.  From that point on, I was in natural labor and progressed very quickly (getting to avoid the evil pitocin).  I went into the hospital at 3 cm and 90% and was  fully dialated 9 hours later.  I started pushing at 9:30 am and pushed for 6 hours.  i was getting exhausted by that point and felt like I was not making any progress so I begged them to help with a vacuum.  I was still doing this without any pain meds.  Upon using the vacuum, the dr used a quick local anesthetic for the vacuum and episotomy.  They tried 4 times to vacuum her out unsuccessfully which then proceded to the c-section, which i had a spinal block for that.  I went 15 hours without pain meds but my daughter was transverse breech (sideways) and there was no way I was pushing her out.  Unfortunately for me, no one knew this until I got to the OR. 

     My advice for someone who wants to try it is go in with the notion that you can do it, have a really good support person (my husband was named coach of the year by the nurses), and know your threshold for pain tolerance.  My tolerance is pretty high and I went through both abdominal and back labor - back labor is not fun.

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  • I laboured at home.  To the point that I arrived, got to l&d, my water broke, and I started pushing. I had a med-free no-intervention birth. It was great.

    I ate until I didn't want to, drank tons of water all the way through, and did not get sick. 

    I had a doula and loved it. I'll be calling her when I get pregnant with #2.

  • image EBathory81397:

    I was a week late so I was brought in for an induction that started with cervadil and was going to progress to pitocin.  I started having contractions 5 hours after the cervadil was put in, my water broke an hour after that and 30 min after that, the cervadil fell out with the mucus plug when I went to the bathroom.  From that point on, I was in natural labor and progressed very quickly (getting to avoid the evil pitocin).  I went into the hospital at 3 cm and 90% and was  fully dialated 9 hours later.  I started pushing at 9:30 am and pushed for 6 hours.  i was getting exhausted by that point and felt like I was not making any progress so I begged them to help with a vacuum.  I was still doing this without any pain meds.  Upon using the vacuum, the dr used a quick local anesthetic for the vacuum and episotomy.  They tried 4 times to vacuum her out unsuccessfully which then proceded to the c-section, which i had a spinal block for that.  I went 15 hours without pain meds but my daughter was transverse breech (sideways) and there was no way I was pushing her out.  Unfortunately for me, no one knew this until I got to the OR. 

     My advice for someone who wants to try it is go in with the notion that you can do it, have a really good support person (my husband was named coach of the year by the nurses), and know your threshold for pain tolerance.  My tolerance is pretty high and I went through both abdominal and back labor - back labor is not fun.

     

    Wow you deserve a lot of credit! How did your doctors not know that the baby was transverse breech? That scares me.

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