June 2013 Moms

OK I have a confession...med free moms?

I'm a full-on slacker.  Judge me.  Flame me.  I meant to plan a little better for my L&D this time to see if I could make it med-free.  As things stand I'd really just like to labor at home as long as possible and try to be progressed as far as possible before I make the epidural decision once I'm at the hospital.  And I would like to feel a little more in control of the pain this time so I can make a decision vs just begging for the epi.  I didn't do nearly enough last time to learn breathing techniques or other pain-management techniques.

You'd think I would have learned.

But really, with less than 6 weeks left to go, what would you recommend doing on my own so I can still prepare a little better for the part of my labor that is med-free?  And maybe how can I mentally prepare to at least possibly feel strong enough to push through it and decline the epidural complete?  I realize I'm a slacker here and I'm cutting corners.  But even though I'm down to the wire I'd still like to be a little more prepared to labor without meds as long as possible.


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Re: OK I have a confession...med free moms?

  • I highly recommend reading the book Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke.


     This will be my first attempt at Labor since i had a scheduled c-sec last time (breech baby). This book has helped me feel much more aware of the process, and i've been able to tie a lot of the concepts to my yoga practice.

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  • http://www.childbirthconnection.org/pdfs/comfort-in-labor-simkin.pdf

    Try and get your body used to some of these positions.  Your body has a better memory than your mind, so finding comfort in positions is very helpful.

    Don't worry.  I am only preparing b/c I happened to decide to take a birth class last minute.   :-)

    Also, you can use a timer and hold a piece of ice for 60 seconds at a time while practicing different awareness techniques such as focusing on your breath, moving your body, using aromatherapy (any smell you like).  Obviously, holding ice is not the same a contraction, but it is uncomfortable and requires work to move through.

    You will be fine!!!

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  • Sadly, my birth was not the experience I had planned either and hopefully the next time will be similar to what you are planning.

    A friend of mine went natural and one piece of advice she gave me was to try to mentally psyche yourself up about the whole thing.  She said that she would repeat over and over in her mind "I can do this, my body is strong, I can do this" etc.  Or something to that degree.  And to breathe very deeply and slowly with  each contraction.  She's also big into the Law of Attraction and said that it's all in your mindset.  You have to believe that you can do what you want to do and the rest will follow suit.

    I did try this when I had DD but I gave in to the epidural because it was basically being pushed on me by my nurses and I was a FTM and didn't really fight it. But I feel like if your DH knows what you want, enlist him as your biggest advocate.  Drill into him the method that you want to try and ask him to cheerlead you through each contraction.  

    Lots of luck to you!  You can do it! 


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  • I agree with staying at home as long as possible.

    -Listen to your body. If it feels good to move, move. If it feels good to sway, sway, etc.

    -Don't fight it. It's going to hurt and be a little scary probably- that's okay. Accept it, and allow the contractions to take over. Try to keep your body as relaxed as possible during a contraction. Breathe slow and deep. Moan low if you want to.

    -Water was a huge help to me. It was like Heaven being in the tub and shower and was so helpful with my back labor. I couldn't imagine laboring without it.

    -Stay upright to get baby to move down and speed things up.

    -Positive visualization- it sounds so corny, but tell yourself you're opening up, your cervix is a flower lol, whatever kind of thing makes sense to you. Tell yourself you can do it. There will definitely be a point when you KNOW you can't do it. You will probably be in transition then- and that means it's almost over.

    -Have supportive people with you. My husband kept pressing on my lower back, and I had two great midwives there telling me I was doing great. I didn't believe them lol, but it helped.

    -My MW told me that when you first move into a new position during labor, the next contraction after that will seem more intense. She said it's okay, and if you stay where you are you'll adjust, until you move again. It helped to prepare myself that when I moved I would probably hurt a little more as my body adjusted.

    -Lastly, you can watch NB videos- there's some great ones on youtube, read Ina may's Guide to Childbirth, and even considering hiring a doula or student doula for free. GL :)



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  • image IrishCoffee7:

    Thanks ladies.  I think one of my biggest issues last time was I had really bad back labor...I didn't even know that was what it was at the time but it was awful.

    I"m headed to lunch but feel free to continue offering suggestions. I really want to not feel so desperate this time around.  Last time I still had a fairly good experience, but I just didn't feel "in control" during the part where I was progressing before the epidural.  After the epidural things went well but I think I would feel really empowered to be able to DECIDE if/when I get one this time.


    Yep, I had back labor as well. It was awful- like a machete in my back. The good news is it may not (hopefully not!) happen this time. the fact that you're a second time mom also means your labor will probably go much quicker and I feel like that's something that is on your side if you're wanting a med-free birth. At least I keep telling myself, "I am probably NOT going to have back labor for 14 hours this time around!" lol.

    And a lot of times back labor means a posterior baby- the best thing to do is stay upright and move a lot to get baby into a better position. You could see a chiropractor in these last few weeks to help baby get into the optimal position as well.

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  • Thank you for asking this and making me feel better. I waited until last week when they confirmed babe was head down to really get my head around a med free VBAC and then when I opened Hypnobabies I realized I should have started the program months ago. Then I started listening to some of the tracks and I actually laughed out loud a few times. If my DH calls anything a pressure wave I will probably be really distracted from laughing, if that counts as a technique. I am just determined to understand as much as I can about the process and how my body is working and that usually keeps me focused without a lot of coaching or encouragement. I actually know I deal with pain better if everyone leaves me alone and doesn't talk so having that discussion with my husband was really helpful.  

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  • kh59kh59
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    image Rogue Lily:

    I highly recommend reading the book Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke.


     This will be my first attempt at Labor since i had a scheduled c-sec last time (breech baby). This book has helped me feel much more aware of the process, and i've been able to tie a lot of the concepts to my yoga practice.

    I second this--I found the way she talks about the labor process and the type of sensations to expect really helpful, and there are a lot of different meditation exercises for dealing with pain.

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  • What helped me the most was reading a million birth stories.  I didn't read only natural birth stories- I read all kinds to see what led to getting an epidural etc.  Some people planning a natural birth only want to read positive natural birth stories but I like reading them all- even still births.  

     I did labor at home for 45 hours before going to the hospital.  I knew my labor was slow to progress because I had read so many stories and there is a huge variety in how a woman's body labors.  

    Also, you need a care provider you trust.  I actually just switched today back to the midwife group that delivered DS naturally (no IV, no nothing) and am feeling super confident.  Also know that it hurts REALLY BAD, but that time passes regardless of whether you have an epidural or not, and that helped me know that it would not last forever.

     Good luck!!  Anyone can do it that has the desire. 

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  • I have a digital file of hypnobabies if you want it.  I haven't been able to get into the method, too much, but hot damn, those recordings put me to sleep in no time!
  • Faith7Faith7
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    I'm a FTM with similar questions.   There seems to be lots of good advice here!  

    I tried holding a piece of ice and it didn't seem difficult enough, so I've practice with other things.  

    For a while during 2nd Tri I was getting weekly migraines.  The dr. prescribed med but i didn't want to take it, so I would practice thinking of the throbbing in my head as surges of energy.  Weirdly, it worked if I could get alone without distraction and focus really intently.  I couldn't make it last for long--my focus would slip away and it would just hurt like ***--but it was cool while I could make it last, and it gave me a little relief from the pain.

    Recently I've been having shooting gas pains that last all evening and most of the night.  I practice by lying down and holding DH's hand, concentrating on the texture of his skin and the importance of our relationship.  I found I could relax through the pain and fall asleep more quickly.

    I don't know whether any of these will be useful when the time comes, but they help me get familiar with my own mental workings and become more comfortable with the idea of relaxing through a pain.

  • You still have time to hire a good Doula.... They are worth every penny. 
  • I didn't read any special books or take specific birth classes, just the standard hospital class but here is what worked for me:

    Breathe and vocalize. Groan out the pain.

    Remember it's a normal and temporary pain. I always told myself that it's NOT like breaking a bone, which would be an unnatural pain that needs remedied. My body can do this!

    Sit on the toilet. Sounds odd but it's a great position for helping baby down the birth canal and well...labor made me feel like I really had to poop and though nothing came out, it was temporary pain relief.

    Close your eyes and try to mentally count down the contraction. This helped remind me that they would each peak but then have an end where I could take a quick breath and get ready to ride the wave again.

    Good luck mama!
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