The med-free birth thread - Page 2 — The Bump
March 2019 Moms

The med-free birth thread

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Re: The med-free birth thread

  • Are there any books you guys would recommend having husbands read? Would Husband Coached Childbirth be good? I really want a natural, intervention-free birth. I just finished Ina May’s book and plan on reading the Bradley method next, and I am really confident in my body and capability and willingness to do this. My biggest concern is that I am AD military, so my insurance will only cover giving birth in our hospital on base. I am considering paying out of pocket for a home birth or birth center birth, but insurance may not cover it if I need a transfer for any reason then, and even though the chances of that are slim, it’s really making me hesitant to do. I am also moving in the next month, so I haven’t met either the midwife I’ve been speaking to or any of the doctors/midwives at the hospital. They do have a fairly low c section rate for first time moms (10-11%) but they all practice standard interventions in terms of induction a week past your due date, c section if active labor takes more than 24 hours, etc. They also don’t have a tub for laboring but I think that I can labor at home as long as possible and go in just in time for delivery. My concern is that if it doesn’t go perfectly smoothly, my husband seems reluctant to advocate for me if it’s against the doctor’s advice. We just had a big fight about episiotomies - I am completely against getting one, and I don’t think it will ever be necessary. But we’re listening to birth hour podcasts and it just came up where the woman had one because she wasn’t stretching enough. So he thinks I’m being too hard headed and won’t be able to adapt if it doesn’t go perfectly. Whereas I think if you say you’re ok with that or other interventions, they’ll be way too quick to use them. I am planning on having a doula, but I’m worried that if interventions are mentioned, my husband will side with the doctors and get frustrated with me if I’m not on board. It’s really scary to think that I may not be able to trust my doctors OR my husband to support me with the birth I want. Anyway, sorry for the novel, just wondering if anyone has any suggestions for books or other ways to get him to support me, or if I can rely more on my doula for this, or any other tips.
  • @babycolima12 have you considered getting a doula? It sounds like the service of a doula would be right up your alley.

    As for the Husband Coached Childbirth, I just finished reading it. The one I read was the 5th edition but it was originally written in like 1947, so it was a little hard to read because it kind of got off topic in places and some of the things they wrote about were a little dated and it definitely came across as judgy about certain things. That said I did learn a couple things, including things I plan to include in my birth plan regardless of if I decide I need meds (like holding my knees back instead of out is likely why I had a 3rd degree tear last time).

    I am finding Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way much easier to read. It has more pictures and fewer references to women as livestock. It also offers a lot more scenarios for you and your partner to practice to get ready for what each of you should expect of each other. If you can only convince him to read one book on Bradley method, I’d take this one over Dr. Bradley’s original text.
    ME: 31  DH: 31 DD: June '16 :::: Married since 2011 :::: USN Wife ::::
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  • @meggyme Thank you for the recommendations! Yes, I think a doula will be really valuable, I want to start interviewing as soon as we move. But I really want my husband to be on board too. Hopefully talking to her will help him trust her too, but I’ll have him read the interventions part of Ina May’s book, and I just ordered the Bradley book so I’ll read it first and then refer him to the specific parts I think are important :)
    keikilove
  • We had a doula last time and even with not really getting the person I planned on, MH was on board with having a doula again this time.
    ME: 31  DH: 31 DD: June '16 :::: Married since 2011 :::: USN Wife ::::
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  • @babycolima12 ; - I just thought I'd throw it out there that episiotomies are not necessarily a bad thing. I had a third degree tear with one birth. It was after her head was out but as her shoulders came. He said it was a little strange that I tore then but it's just my unique physiology. With my next birth, he gave me an episiotomy as he could see I was about to tear again. (I was unaware of it because of the pain that came with crowning and unmedicated birth). I needed a ton of stitches after the natural tear but only 2 with the cut. Recovery after the cut was worlds easier and shorter than recovering after the tear. So that was just my experience, yours and others may be different but I just thought I'd try to alleviate some of your fear of episiotomies.
    keikiloveashley14598
  • @babycolima12 if you’re trying to get DH’s buy-in I’d suggest looking into a natural birthing class you two can take together. MH was honestly a bit confused as to why I wanted to go un-medicated, but after the class we took, which talked about possible consequences of various interventions, he was on board and supportive.
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    keikilove
  • I would like to attempt a med free birth but this is my first so I'm not really sure what I'm getting myself into. DH and I are going to take a one day birth class in early January. I would love a doula but unfortunately they are just too expensive and our insurance doesn't cover it. I will definitely be looking into some of these book suggestions! 
  • @babycolima12 I also had an episiotomy. My OB did it as a preventive measure, because he said I would tear anyways in that moment. It was no big deal and I didn't even know he had cut me despite being med free. A few stitches and recovery was no big deal.
    Dx: Non-IR PCOS
    Baby Girl K #1 Born 3/8/14
    Baby Girl K #2 EDD 3/3/19
  • @novelblessings @Lbloom I think the scariest part about your stories is the fact that the pain of natural childbirth is so bad that you didn't notice a surgical incision made to a very delicate area (shudder!)
  • @mayoduck not necessarily. Look into pressure episiotomies. If done at the right time there's no blood circulation to the area (during crowning when it's needed) and the area is kind of naturally numbed. I haven't had one personally but was reading about them. I did tear pretty badly naturally and the recovery was tough, but I don't have an episiotomy to compare it to.
    ME: 31  DH: 31 DD: June '16 :::: Married since 2011 :::: USN Wife ::::
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  • @meggyme thanks! That makes me feel a little better! I'll have to do some more research on it.
  • @mayoduck so agree with @meggyme, I tore (not badly, only 2 stitches) with DS and I had no clue until after when they had to do the stitches. 
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  • @lbloom and @novelblessings ; - thanks for the input on episiotomies. I had read that the consensus was that they were outdated and there was no evidence to support that they minimize tearing compared to natural tearing, and that often they probably exacerbate it. Obviously I need to do more research (or hopefully have a doctor/midwife that I trust). 

    @lelkcot - thanks, I am hoping we'll be able to find a good class when we move. It's such a pain to move at this point, we're moving over Thanksgiving and then by the time we find a place and get settled, I feel like it will be Christmastime and we'll have to wait until January. Which is probably fine. But I like being ahead of the game :)
  • @babycolima12 I have to echo what the others have said.... it truely is best to go in with preferences, but be open to whatever happens. We only have so much control over it! Nobody goes into labour wanting an episiotomy but sometimes they appear to be necessary. After nearly 4 hours of pushing with DD I wasn't able to get her out. Her head would come close, then retreat back with each contraction. I was exhausted. I had nothing left to give. I was surviving on no sleep in the last 24 hours, and only a few sips of OJ in the last 12 hours. The dr patiently explained that her head wasn't coming and I'd need an episiotomy (or forceps and vacuum, which would likely require an episiotomy anyway). I asked for 5 mins to try to get her out, but after those 5 mins I acquiesced. She came out right after the episiotomy was performed. I didn't tear any further than the episiotomy. It sucked to heal from, for sure, but no different than my friends who had to recover from 4th degree (natural) tearing. 
    Anyways, I hope you don't have to experience one but they really can be necessary in some cases (or at least facilitate baby coming out). At least where I am, they aren't routine anymore - I believe a lot of the backlash against them is that they used to be performed routinely, probably whether they were truly necessary or not. 
  • @mayoduck actually that wasn’t it at all. I just didn’t notice. When I was pushing there was some pain when she crowned which was annoying but it was more of a relief than anything. The contractions were worse but again still manageable. You have so many hormones being released you don’t notice certain things. 
    Dx: Non-IR PCOS
    Baby Girl K #1 Born 3/8/14
    Baby Girl K #2 EDD 3/3/19
    mayoduck
  • @novelblessings Thank you for clarifying! I feel much less panicked!
    novelblessings
  • @novelblessings ; I thought crowning was worse than contractions! At least it only lasted a moment. Isn't it funny how unique each birth can be for each woman! :)
    novelblessings
  • I just realized I hadn't contributed here. So here we go. I'll try to keep it short and sweet.

    My first priority was finding a provider that wouldn't be pushy. My OBGYN specializes in "Non-Interventional Childbirth". As far as my birth plan went... I'm in an area where there is one group of midwives to do home births, but I was honestly fine with delivering in a hospital. I wanted a doula. I wanted to go as long as possible without intervention. I didn't want my water broken. I wanted to be able to get up and move around, use a yoga/exercise ball, take a walk, etc. I didn't want any IVs. If I had to be induced, I was more warm to the idea of an epidural because I read Pitocin could take a toll on your body. If a c-section was needed, most likely it was an emergency, and I was OK with that.

    Fast forward to my 37 week appointment on a Thursday... I found out baby (didn't know if baby was boy/girl, yet) hadn't gained any weight from week 36. I was sent to a specialist and the specialist confirmed. With that IUGR diagnosis, I was to be checked in to the hospital at 10 that night for induction. The hospital I originally wanted was booked, so I was sent to the larger location which I was OK with because they have a better quality NICU and we weren't sure if we would need it or not. I tested positive for group B strep, so, unfortunately, I had to have IVs.

    By Friday, nothing had changed. The 24 hour dose of cervadil and pitocin did nothing. My DH was a little impatient and anxious (thank goodness my in-laws were around to keep him occupied), so we asked the Dr more about the plan going forward. Because baby wasn't in any distress, this was not an emergency situation so we were going to "be patient" and wait for everything to follow in the normal order (I had to stifle a laugh when the Dr mentioned being patient because that is not DH's strong suit, haha). The Dr "allowed" for me to eat, gave me something for better rest, and we began dose 2.

    By Saturday evening, I was dilated 1-2 cm. My Dr broke my water, and that's honestly when things got moving. Early morning going to the bathroom, I definitely was losing my mucus plug. At 7 or so I was 3 or 4 cm. By 11 am, I couldn't talk through my contractions. They were going to check how far I was dilated again, but, as I was starting to get mildly uncomfortable, I went ahead and got the epidural placed before they checked. Well, the epidural was placed, and I was 8-9. We called the doula, and I began pushing around 1 pm. The nurse joked with me that I should be glad it was time to push - I was supposed to get another bag of penicillin for the group B (I went through about 15 bags, IIRC). About halfway through, my Dr mentioned I was naturally tearing, but stopped, so she asked for permission to cut; I gave her permission. So, I pushed for 30ish minutes and out came my daughter!

    Even though everything went away from what I expected, I was still able to have a wonderful experience. Because of my group B strep, I had to have an IV for the dosage to be delivered. I worked with the nurses closely because some of the bags were dripping straight out of the fridge; the cold was causing me a LOT of pain at the IV site. So, we experimented and discovered if they let it warm to room temp, it was fine. Also, I asked the nurses to ease the fluid drip a lot. I was getting up every hour the first night to pee, so clearly I was well-hydrated. I was glad my water was forcibly broken or Lord knows how long I would have been there. I was glad my doula was there because she looked after me while my DH and mom were looking over our daughter (can't blame them, but I would have been lonely delivering the placenta, getting all stitched up and shaky).

    I am studying hypno=babies more closely this time around. I know now, even with each delivery being different, that I made it to 8-9 cm without aid, there's no doubt in my mind I can make it all the way. (Sorry, this ended up being a novel.)
    mayoduckkeikilove
  • You guys all have some interesting experiences. I do want to clarify my last post, my husband and I talked it out again and it came down to the fact that we were arguing about different things. He wanted to make sure that I will be ok with deviations to my birth plan in emergency situations (of course I am - that's ultimately why I'm choosing the hospital rather than a home birth, for the rare but possible emergency situations). I, on the other hand, am more worried about interventions suggested because I haven't hit certain milestones at arbitrary times set by the OB. I haven't met the OBs or midwives I will be working with yet, and the one conversations I had with one of the midwives didn't give me the feeling that I can trust their judgement the way I could trust some of the other midwives I've spoken to. The midwives and OBs that I'm stuck with practice to the same standard, and it sounds like the midwives practice more like OBs rather than OBs practicing like midwives. And I wouldn't be able to predict if a midwife or OB would be on call when I go into labor. Anyway, they have certain points in the labor where if you're not progressing, they step in with certain interventions, and that's the kind of thing I want to avoid. I don't want my husband to agree with them just because they are wearing a white coat. I do know that most births don't go according to a plan, and if I had a midwife I trusted than I would be much less worried about having to advocate for myself, and would be more open to her suggestions. That's why I want to do the research and arm my husband as well, and find a doula I can trust. I do like what @laur84ns did with asking for more time to push before agreeing to the episiotomy, that's a tactic that may work for me.
  • @babycolima12 Ah, that makes sense. I agree that the arbitrary or unexplained interventions are usually the ones that leave women feeling resentful, angry, hurt, or even violated. I was worried about the arbitrary "time" related interventions going into it too - would I be pressured into an episiotomy, pitocin, a c section simply because the dr wanted to speed things up?! - but that just was not the case. The dr and nurses were all very caring and despite me having a long labour (went thru several nurse shift changes) I never once felt they did the episiotomy just to speed things up. They were happy to show me in a mirror that she just wasn't coming out, and gave me more time to push on my own. Had the dr given me an episiotomy without asking (I have heard such horror stories) in the absence of a true threat to life/health emergency, I would've been livid! That wasn't my experience and I certainly hope it isn't yours! 

  • So I live near a major learning hospital and just found out that the nursing school has a volunteer doula program where the nurses do not have the experience of a professional doula but they have some specialized training and they are volunteers so their services are free. If you are interested in a doula but can't afford the cost, it may be worth looking into whether any nearby Nursing Schools offer this type of program.
    meggymelelkcotkapowfal
  • @laur84ns that's exactly how I feel - thanks for understanding! I do think I would feel ok if my labor went the way yours did, and I really hope I have a similar staff to work with. I know the goal at the end of the day is to have a baby to hold, but I really want to enjoy the process too. I will try to be more optimistic about being able to trust them. But really just anxious to get there and meet them.
  • *Lurker from Feb19*

    @maggiemadeit I had a similar experience to you in that DD was almost 10lbs and sunny side up so I ended up with a CS despite getting to pushing stage. I wanted to ask does your MW have any concerns regarding size causing difficulty in vaginal delivery?

     I want a vbac which my OB is on board with but she wants to induce me around 39-40 weeks bc she is afraid if the baby gets too big I will end up in the same situation as with DD. Is that something that has been brought up to you? I’m wondering if that is her preference (and I should look into another provider) or if it really may be an issue. I feel a little lost on the vbac front so any input would be great! :) 
    laur84ns
  • Hi @allthingsgo!

    I have spoken to the midwives and also met with an OB in the practice at my last appointment. They asked if there was a reason the baby was so big (no one in the hospital would believe I didn’t have GD!), Or if my pelvis was too small, (how on earth would I know?). I think they wanted to make sure that there wasn’t an underlying reason not to try for a vaginal birth. 

    The midwife and OB both told me we could get a late ultrasound to check on the size, but they didn’t recommend it because according to them there is no evidence that the predicted size will effect the outcome for VBAC, and I guess the predictions from ultrasound are not very accurate late in pregnancy anyway. My practice also doesn’t really do inductions before 40 weeks without a medical reason. I had a foley induction at 41 weeks with my first and I have always wondered if I could have delievered naturally if I had waited for labor to start on it’s own. 

    I would defintiely recommend doing some research on VBAC and specifically on evidence based practices. An induction to avoid a c section sounds like a preference rather than a medical necessity to me, but I’m not a doctor, (well not that kind of doctor anyway), and of course I don’t know all the specifics. You may want to think about a different provider, or maybe sticking with yours and hiring a doula to advocate for you when the time comes. 

    Somewhere on this board we had a pretty good VBAC thread going that had some good information and links that might be useful. 

    Good luck! Wishing for you the kind of birth you want and a healthy baby. Who knows, I may end up joining you as a February mom if this one comes a few days early! 
    Lbloomallthingsgo
  • @maggiemadeit thank you so much for your in depth answer! I really appreciate it!  I was induced bc I was AMA (just turned 35 a month before I had DD) and I really think that is why I ended up with a cs. I just feel like if I am allowed to wait until I go into labor on my own then I can do this vbac. But I also don’t want to put my baby in risk and go against medical advice. So I’m walking that line right now. I will check out that vbac thread on here and do so more research. I do plan to hiring a doula to help me with this birth as well as advocating for me. 

    I hope both of us get the vbacs we hope for! Thanks again!
  • @allthingsgo I will be AMA this time too! 

    @Lbloom thanks for bumping the VBAC thread! 
    Lbloomallthingsgo
  • @allthingsgo you could also look up a lady named Nicole Joy, she is a doula who I just heard share her birth story on a podcast (babes and babies, it's a pretty silly and fun podcast). All 3 of her kids were over 9 lbs and the first was a c section due to the size of the baby (although not sunny side up, haha I love how you put that!) but the second two she had v-bac with no tearing. Her most recent she actually ended up having at home because there was just no time to go to the hospital. On her website she has free birth plans and free labor classes. It was really inspiring to listen to her story! I'm pretty sure her website is just Nicolejoy.com but if that doesn't work try Nichole, haha.
    maggiemadeitmayoduckallthingsgoShelbyville30
  • @abbykwail thanks so much for that info! I will look her up! 

    And thanks @Lbloom for bumping that thread for me! There is a lot of great info in there. It’s wonderful to see so many people trying for VBACs. Makes me even more motivated to!
    abbykwailLbloom
  • mayoduckmayoduck
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Name Dropper Photogenic
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    edited November 2018
    Just started reading "Hypnobirthing" by Marie Mongan and I must say, it's really inspiring and empowering so far. I definitely would love a calm, fear-free birth, whether that includes medication or not. Ina May's Guide and The Bradley Method are also on my reading list.
    lindseyb918kapowfalHighCountryCaitnavete
  • @mayoduck I just bought a copy on Google playbooks to start, too! 
    mayoduckkapowfal
  • Bumping this thread because I've been reading and thinking a lot about the med free birth that I hope to have this time around. I've just finished "Natural Hospital Birth" by Cynthia Gabriel and am working my way through Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. I have a few other natural birthing books on hold at the library. I also have a doula booked/hired. However it's started to occur to me that simply reading about natural birth and relying on my doula during labour might not be the best strategy. I'd feel a lot more confident if I could find a book/video/blog etc outlining different types of pain coping strategies so I can have a few in my back pocket during labour. As @Shelbyville30 mentioned above, I feel like I need to mentally and emotionally prepare for a med free birth rather than just reading a few books and winging but it. 

    I've just reread this entire thread and made note of other books to check out, mindfulness techniques, visualizations and affirmations, etc.  Just thought I'd bump this in case anyone has come across any helpful resources lately, specifically when it comes to pain management techniques. 
  • @laur84ns I found evidence based birth’s article series on pain management techniques very interesting and informative. I also read a couple Bradley method books that had much more useful explanations and exercises. I attempted to use deep breathing and hypnobirthing type techniques (didn’t actually do a home study or class, just hypnobirthing style meditations) and it all went out the window pretty quick.

    This time I have a better doula who will be preparing with me and hopefully able to attend my birth (unlike last time) and a better idea of what positions will help me relax through contractions, instead of just grit and bear them until I can’t anymore.
    ME: 31  DH: 31 DD: June '16 :::: Married since 2011 :::: USN Wife ::::
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  • Thanks, @meggyme! My doula often talks about the evidence based birth site so I'll definitely check out their series on pain management. Good to know that the Bradley books have some actual exercises/techniques in them - I'll have to check those out!
    Yah I think if I just have to try to get through/bear the contractions I might not make it too far .... I've been reading a ton of natural birth stories and it sounds like the women who prepared ahead of time with some coping/breathing techniques or affirmations and visualizations, tend to be the women who are able to 'relax in to' or 'give in to' the contractions and get through their labours without meds!
  • meggymemeggyme
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    edited December 2018
    @laur84ns There’s one that I’ve recommended here before, I think the title was Husband Coached Birthing or something like that. It had some great relaxation exercises, as well as recommended positions. I think @maggiemadeit has used Bradley method in practice and might have some other insights.
    ME: 31  DH: 31 DD: June '16 :::: Married since 2011 :::: USN Wife ::::
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  • @laur84ns I really enjoyed “natural
    birth the Bradley way”. I didn’t have the time or money to take a whole Bradley class, but this book really gave me a lot of techniques and imagery to use during labor. The first part is a very detailed explanation of what happens to your body during labor, but it gets good after that. 

    FWIW, I labored for 24 hours after a foley induction without any pain medication and was stuck at transition for >4 hours. It didn’t end in a successful vaginal delivery, but it had nothing to do with my pain tolerance or birthing prep. I highly recommend this book, and I am rereading it again to prepare for a VBAC. 
    mayoduck
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