Natural Birth

Where does the strength come from?

I am due May 19 and we are absolutely committed to a med-free hospital birth with a midwife.  I have done the research and unless absolutely necessary really want to avoid any interventions in order to give my baby and myself the best opportunity.  I won't go through all the arguments with you since that's absolutely preaching to the choir.

We did Bradley class.  I've read all the books.  I've read natural birth stories.  I've talked to positive women who had natural, med-free births.  I'm doing everything I can to prepare for this.

But I'm still scared and worried and nervous and don't know how I'm going to find the strength to get through.  I don't even know what I'm so scared of--the pain?  Tearing (which I know is less likely with med free)?  Recovery (which is supposedly easier med free)? 

That my husband won't be able to support me as well as he should (he has NOT been good about doing daily relaxation practice and I think has only done it 2 times with me outside of our classes even when I've asked him)? 

I am also having my mom and SIL at the birth.  Mom had C-sections for both kids, so that's a fear too--we're built similarly and she wasn't able to birth us vaginally, so what if I run into problems?  SIL had a very traumatic first birth with an epi that didn't work and as a result opted for a C-section for the second (can be argued medically necessary due to the complications with the first).

Please talk me off the ledge and help me find some piece of mind and confidence that I can do this. 

BabyFruit Ticker

Re: Where does the strength come from?

  • Trust in yourself that you can do it. You have prepared yourself and at this point that is the most that you can do.

    Are your mom and SIL supportive of your birth choice? I'm hoping so if they are going to be present. Just be sure that they are because you don't want them putting thoughts into your head in the heat of the moment when you might be vulnerable.

    At the same time, know that you can make informed decisions regarding interventions if they are necessary.

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  • You will probably be surprised at how your hubby steps up to the plate when it's time. Mine amazed me! If you think your mom and SIL are not going to be supportive, it's okay to make it just you and your hubby.

    My strength came from little reminders like..."It usually doesn't last for more than 24 hours...I can do anything for 24 hours." And then when it got a little overwhelming, I just took it one contraction at a time. We dimmed the lights, made everyone get out, and it was just me sitting on my exercise ball with my hubby in front of me tracing my arm up and down. And then I thought "I can make it through this contraction. It's already almost over."

    YOU CAN DO THIS! :o) You got this, girl! And we're all here cheering you on! 

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  • abell77abell77
    Ancient Membership 250 Answers 2500 Comments Combo Breaker
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    It's normal to be nervous.  But it sounds like you have done a great job preparing yourself.  Honestly, the only thing that concerns me about what you said is having mom and SIL in the room.  It is of utmost importance that anyone who is going to be in the room with you is 100% supportive.  Because they did not have the type of birth experience you are hoping for, I'm wondering how they feel about your choice.  Also, it is hard to see your loved ones going through anything difficult, so sometimes even well-meaning relatives say and do things that are not supportive to you simply because they do not want to see you struggle.  I think it's really important that you have a direct conversation with each of them about what you need from them during labor, even if that is to remain silent.  Kindly and lovingly, but firmly, let them know ahead of time that if they cannot be supportive of your choices that you may have to ask them to leave in order for you to stay focused.

    I know this may not help, but honestly when you are in the moment adrenaline kicks in and you just do it.  Your H can be there to encourage you and remind you of your goals and just keep telling yourself that you only have to manage one contraction at a time, and each one will bring you one step closer to meeting your baby.

    Good Luck! 

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  • You can do it!  It is very scary as a FTM because you have no idea what to expect.  I know that I felt just like you describe.  I worried that I could not do it and that I was not prepared enough.  However, when I was in labor I let my body take over and checked out mentally.  Our bodies were made to give birth. You will be able to do it and your body will know what to do.  Trust your instincts!
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  • I'm nervous, too, mostly, I think, because I'm not sure what the contractions are going to feel like.  I just keep telling myself I'm as prepared as I can be and DH and my doula will be there for support as will my mom and my midwife.  I'm hoping it's one of those things that when it happens, I just get in the zone and deal with it instead of freaking out about it.  Hopefully, the anticipation is worse than the real thing...
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  • It's totally normal to worry! Try to go through the things you can control vs the things you can't, that helped me a lot during my second pg. Does everyone who will be there support you? If so, I don't think it matters how they gave birth or if your DH has done enough relaxation exercises w you.

    I zone out when I'm in labor, and really get into the groove of my body taking over. Both of my laborsvlasted over 12 hours, but it doesn't seem like they were that long. You just get though it, millions of women have done this, and so will you.

    Reading Birthing From Within might help, they have a chapter about labor worries. hth and good luck!
    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • I could write a novel on this but I'll keep it short. Before I went into labor with my first someone said a good mantra was, your body was made to do this. When I read it I didn't think anything of it, but when I was in labor that actually popped into my head and really helped. I didn't use it as a mantra, but that thought gave me a lot of peace.

    Women really were designed to have babies and your body does know what it's doing and trust that.

    These days birth is looked at like this task nobody should go at without being numbed up and I think that hype scares women into thinking they can't, or shouldn't, do it medfree. But you can! You CAN!

    I've had 2 medfree births, gearing up for my 3rd, and they've been great experiences. Trust yourself and good luck!!
    Baby #3 on the way!
  • image brennarobbie:
    You will probably be surprised at how your hubby steps up to the plate when it's time. Mine amazed me! If you think your mom and SIL are not going to be supportive, it's okay to make it just you and your hubby.My strength came from little reminders like..."It usually doesn't last for more than 24 hours...I can do anything for 24 hours." And then when it got a little overwhelming, I just took it one contraction at a time. We dimmed the lights, made everyone get out, and it was just me sitting on my exercise ball with my hubby in front of me tracing my arm up and down. And then I thought "I can make it through this contraction. It's already almost over."YOU CAN DO THIS! :o You got this, girl! And we're all here cheering you on!nbsp;


    Totally agree that your husband will probably surprise you mine was amazing the day our son was born and his support was what ultimately got me through it drugfree. The nurses and midwives I worked with also really helped me a lot they were so positive, encouraging, just amazing.
  • Also I'm not sure tearing is more likely with drug free... I did have a third degree tear but my baby was a nine pound whopper. They did use mineral oil and did perineal massage and unfortunately I still tore, but in a lot of cases it can help. One thing about going drug free is that you can really feel what you're doing they'll tell you when to push harder and when to slow down. No matter what happens, at the end of all that pushing you'll meet your baby :

    Edit and I just realized I misread yes, less likely to tear with no drugs. It is way too early :
  • Get hypnobabies!  The positive pregnancy affirmations track that you're supposed to listen to daily really helped me approach birth without fear! 
  • Have you read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth? If not, the first half of the book are some wonderful birth stories. Prior to my first birth, when my confidence waivered I would read these and it helped so much. Along with telling myself that our bodies were made to do this!
    Ivy: July 10  |  Stella: Dec 12

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  • Thanks for all the support and words of encouragement.  We talked to Mom and SIL and sent them a copy of the birth plan and they seem to be on board.  We explained about why we want to do the med-free birth and they seem to be supportive. 

    I just found out today I'm not getting a totally med free birth because I'm GBS + so I'll need the antibiotics so boo for that :(  Hopefully I'll still be able to be up and moving around while they give those to me. 

    I guess now it's just playing the waiting game. 

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • emcgraemcgra
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments
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    CRLSMC2011- Thanks for asking this.  I read all the posts on here and find them so helpful in preparing for the upcoming birth of our son. 

     

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  • image emcgra:

    CRLSMC2011- Thanks for asking this.  I read all the posts on here and find them so helpful in preparing for the upcoming birth of our son. 

    No problem.  I've also been lurking on here for awhile and I'm just feeling really nervy lately.  Just wishing this little guy will show up soon.  I can't imagine going another 3-4 weeks (my MW practice doesn't start talking about induction until 41 weeks).

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • You have received some good advice here. I will add that my DH half heartedly went through each Bradley exercise once and yet was awesome during labor and delivery. Also, unlike most big physical tasks, you don't have to muster up the strength to do it. You just have to go along for the ride. I was shocked how much my body just DID even during the pushing phase. 
    Married to E on June 5, 2010
    Gave birth to baby boy, I, on March 25, 2012
    Gave birth to baby girl, A, on May 20, 2013
    Baby #3 due April 29, 2015

    Recovering from mitochondrial dysfunction and Addison's/possibly very severe adrenal burn out using food, medicine, and a large amount of garden therapy.
  • Faith7Faith7
    Ancient Membership 100 Comments 5 Love Its
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    I think part of what makes it so hard is the 9-month build up of anticipation.  If you were in a car wreck, or broke your leg, or came down with a really awful illness it would be rather sudden and you wouldn't have the time to consider whether or not you could do it--you'd just know that it had to be done and get on with it.

    Remind yourself of all the scary things you've already handled in your life, most of them probably without any preparation.

    You'll be able to do this because it must be done.  You will have support. You won't be alone.  Your mind and heart and body will work together when the time comes.

  • annksawannksaw
    Third Anniversary
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    image Faith7:

    I think part of what makes it so hard is the 9-month build up of anticipation.  If you were in a car wreck, or broke your leg, or came down with a really awful illness it would be rather sudden and you wouldn't have the time to consider whether or not you could do it--you'd just know that it had to be done and get on with it.

    Remind yourself of all the scary things you've already handled in your life, most of them probably without any preparation.

    You'll be able to do this because it must be done.  You will have support. You won't be alone.  Your mind and heart and body will work together when the time comes.

    :lurking:

    Not only all of whats above, but the pain has a purpose. You are doing something totally amazing.  

  • I thought my husband was going to be a pain during labor- he handles awkward/uncomfortable situations with humor. But he did great- he was encouraging, supportive, and when I neeed space, he gave it to me.

    The strength to get through the pain and fatigue came from one place- the fear of a c section. I just didn't want to give up and go there. I was in labor for 20 hours, pushed for 3. It was not fun, it was exhausting. But I kept pushing through, because I was very determined to get through it.

    And you will too. :)

    Wyatt 9/6/2011 Tessa 7/5/2013
  • image CRLSMC2011:

    Thanks for all the support and words of encouragement.  We talked to Mom and SIL and sent them a copy of the birth plan and they seem to be on board.  We explained about why we want to do the med-free birth and they seem to be supportive. 

    I just found out today I'm not getting a totally med free birth because I'm GBS + so I'll need the antibiotics so boo for that :(  Hopefully I'll still be able to be up and moving around while they give those to me. 

    I guess now it's just playing the waiting game. 

    You should definitely be able to.  This was a big concern of mine, because I really wanted to avoid the IV.  I asked about it at my current midwife practice and the OB office that I am no longer with.  Both places gave the same answer so I'm wondering if it's standard practice...They put the iv port/heplock in and give you a dose of antibiotics that way, then just unhook you but leave the plastic in your hand...you get a new dose of antibiotics every 4 hours I think.  So that leaves you pretty mobile!

    Don't worry mama.  Although I'm right there with you.  I don't know the particulars of your mom and sister's experiences, but I know in our Bradley class we learned that a lot of situations that doctors typically deem 'medically necessary' might not actually be given a little extra time and patience.  

    Glad to hear your family is supportive.  My mom never had an epi with myself or my two siblings and she has been less than faithful in my abilities.  She will not be invited into the delivery room:)

    You can do it!


  • I just want to say thank you all for posting such encouraging words. And thanks, CRLSMC, for starting the thread.I've been feeling the same way all day. I feel better now! :-)

     

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    Calvin Francis
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  • Pain with a purpose! It's not like breaking a leg which is All pain no reward. Labor pain has the best reward in the world! I kept reminding myself of two things:

    It can't last forever. The baby has to eventually come out.

    My body was built to do this!
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  • I was in a similar situation. We did Bradley classes and while I knew MH was supportive, we were really bad about doing the exercises. Turns out, that didn't matter. Once it was show time, he knew what to do and was amazing! The exercises are nice, but the knowledge and having it drilled into your head until it is second nature it's what really matters.

    A few things that helped me:
    we had a safe word that meant "I'm seriously considering drugs." This allowed me to say anything during labor without freaking MH out. I was so glad we had this because once I hit transition, I kept saying "I hurt. I can't do this. Make it stop." That would have been hard for him to deal with if he didn't know I want serious, you know? It was bad, but it was the best pain I have ever been in.
    when labor got real intense, I remembered a poster I had seen : labor isn't more powerful than you, it is you.

    You can do this!

    Anniversary

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    Baby Cheesecake - Natural birth with Pre-E April 17, 2013, breastfeedin', baby-wearin' and cloth diaperin' ever since!
  • Having just been there in the delivery room not even 2 whole weeks ago, I will say the strength comes from a place inside you that you don't even know you have!! I was induced with pitocin and was really concerned I wouldn't be able to make it through the whole labor process without an epidural or some kind of pain relief. I have heard and read repeatedly that induction labors are more difficult.

    So, in my mind, I had a plan of action. It was simple. It was my plan to labor as long as I could stand without any drugs, and to consider them if I got to a point where I felt I could not go on. Whenever a nurse came to check me, I made an assessment of where I was. In the beginning, I was doing well and I knew it didn't matter what they said, I would not be considering drugs at that point. Toward the end, I had it in my mind like this: "If I am dilated to 8 or more, I can finish this. If it's less than 6, I definitely want some relief. If it's between 6 and 8, I will think about drugs."

    And, then it was entirely out of my hands. I went from dilated to 6 to giving birth in less than 8 minutes. So, even though I was asking for the epidural and fast, I was pushing out a baby and there was just no time. Your body is an amazing machine, and it knows how to do what needs to be done! I'm shocked and amazed by mine every day! But, especially when I think back to the two times in my life I've managed to give birth without medication. Both times, I thought I couldn't do it and both times I did do it!

  • image joules235:

    You can just ask for a hep lock rather than a full IV (make sure to drink water during labor) so they can give you the antibiotics, takes 30 minutes, then clamp the IV an completely disconnect you from the IV and tape the heplock back down. It allows way more mobility.

    My plan is to get the antibiotics for the GBS and then just go on a saline lock (not even a hep lock) and taking as much liquid by mouth as possible--no IV fluids.  We got gatorade and 100% juice boxes and will take the RRL tea and ice water. 

    I really appreciate everyone's reassurance.  We gave my mom Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and Bradley's Husband Coached Childbirth so that she can be prepared with the techniques that we want to use and also understand a bit better why we are choosing natural.  My SIL will be there more for DH than for me and by being there will allow him to be able to check out for a little bit if he needs to.

    Now we're just waiting--come on little guy, don't you want to come out yet?  We're ready for you :)

    Ultimately, I think it comes down to the fear of the unknown.  I love roller coasters, so I'm trying to think of it as that moment of fear when you are strapped in and know there is no turning back--that you just have to let go and let what happens happen, hold on for the ride and enjoy.  I'm just ready to start.

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • The strength comes from knowing that millions of women have done this before me. Our bodies were built for it. Try to get out of your head when things get intense - there are lots of strategies to do this (breathing, mantras, movement, showers/tubs) and the sooner you let go of the fear and settle into the experience, the more likely you are to be able to do it med-free. Fear creates tension in our bodies...which creates pain. The trick is simply to relax into the sensations as much as possible. It takes a lot of concentration and when you see it done, the woman is totally in her own zone. You don't need anyone else to do this, but it is helpful if your DH, your mom, your SIL really get it and support this process...if anyone on your birth team is a hindrance to your ability to relax - please spare yourself and do not have them there.

    For what it's worth, I was convinced I was going to labor just like my mom's -  it was completely different. No need to get caught up in other people's experience...yours is sure to be unique. Good luck!

    BabyFruit Ticker
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