Natural Birth

preparing for natural birth in the hospital (longish)

Hey ladies. I haven't been posting on this board too frequently as of late (mostly hanging around my BMB) but I thought here would be the best place to talk about this.

I had my hospital tour on Wednesday. It was amazing. The hospital is VERY pro-natural birth (they encourage you labor as long as you can naturally before they will even entertain the option of drugs or other interventions), allow intermittent monitoring, allow non-traditional laboring/birthing positions, MAKE you do skin to skin with baby, leave baby in the room with you, and so much that was going to be put into a "birth preference sheet". I am thrilled. I have never been too much of a fan of the hospital (they make me nervous) and so this tour really put me at ease.

I guess my questions are:

  1. what can I do to mentally prepare myself for the big moment?
  2. what methods/mantras/mindset(s) worked for you?

 

V|V TSP V|V

Re: preparing for natural birth in the hospital (longish)

  • I gathered all the quotes I could about birth and labor and read them daily. I also read Ina Mae's books and a book I got on amazon called something to the effect of "Natural Hospital Birth"... can't remember the title exactly but it was encouraging to read.

    I also eliminated the words epidural and contraction from my vocabulary. Epis don't exist in my mind and contractions are now called "waves or rushes." I also picked a visual picture that went along with my rushes... a part of a river we always float that has lots of rocks/ripples and then it smooths out. The rushes were the rocky part and the smooth part of the river was when I could rest. I told my husband about this mental picture.

    During my actual birth, I did have a doula, who was such a wonderful help. My husband was constantly reminding me to "ride the river" which helped me recall my mental picture. I also kept saying to myself, "One less, one less," meaning each contraction was one less that I had to endure.

     We were also team green, so each contraction brought me one step closer to finding out what we were having! :)

    I guess overall, I was really confident that I was going to do it naturally because to me, there wasn't any other options. I spent my 9 months giving myself the confidence I deserved. And I'm proud to say that my preparation was well rewarded when I finally DID do it naturally!

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  • 1.  Throughout my pregnancy, I reminded myself of how natural of a process it was...that this is how it has been done, that if other could do it so can I, that my body knew what to do, etc.  I remained ultra calm durin gmy l&d which I think had to do with how much I believed these things.

    2. "One contraction at a time"  This is what I told myself.  I didn't think about how long I was in labor or when I might have my lo.  I  just focused on getting through each contraction.  My support person was also great so that helped a ton.

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  • Also- when we got to the hospital, I told the first person I saw that I was going natural. And no one ever mentioned drugs to me the entire time. I think it was important that I said that I was "going" to do it versus "try" to do it. My confidence was obvious!

    Good luck! You can totally do this!

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  • I was able to have a natural med  free birth by mentally preparing myself and taking the Bradley classes.  As a FTM the Bradley classes really helped me prepare for labor and delivery.  This way I knew what to expect in early labor, first stage, transition, and second stage.  The classes also helped my DH be the best coach he could be.  He was supportive and encouraging the entire time!  He rubbed my back, brought me water, held my hair and told me repeatedly I was doing a great job. I also read alot of natural birth books (Ina May Gaskin, Henci Goer ect..). This gave me a good perspective on what to expect. 

    The big thing I did to prepare myself mentally was to read positive birth stories.  Everyone loves to tell you the horror story of their birth.  I refused to listen to any of those and only read positive natural birth stories this helped me believe that I could do it too!! I also told myself every day that "labor and delivery would be HARD, it would be the most difficult thing I ever did, and it would hurt a lot but I could do it and that the pain would be temporary".  I repeated this to myself every day so I was prepared for the pain and did not freak out during the first few contractions.  For me this mental preparation really prepared me for contractions and I had an awesome 11 hour labor and delivery!

    GL and you can do it!!

  • 1.  Practice relaxing EVERY single muscle in your body.  Meaning get to the point of relaxation that you feel so out of it, like you couldn't move your body even if you wanted to.  THAT's the state of relaxation you need to be in as soon as a contraction hits.  When you're relaxed, your body won't feel pain as much as when you tense against a contraction.  So those ladies you see on TV in labor who are clutching their husbands or clutching the side of the bed for dear life - NOT GOOD!  That's just making the pain worse.  I was so relaxed when my labor started that I honestly didn't even recognize it as real labor - made it to the hospital 9.5 cm dilated, ready to push.  Pushed for less than 10 min.  

    2.  Bradley method worked for me.  And staying home as long as possible, where I could just do my thing in peace and quiet :-)  Low moaning helped me stay mentally focused on staying physically relaxed. 

  • Thanks ladies, for all of the wise words and encouragement. It really does help put me in a better mindset.
    V|V TSP V|V
  • Honestly, I won't be a lot of help, but I'll share my experience!

    1) I thoroughly researched the different stages of labor, how the pain mechanism works, some signs of progression to look for, and different common coping tricks that others have tried. I also shared everything I researched with DH so that was also aware, and could help me if I hit a weak moment. The biggest thing was just blocking out the negative, soaking up the positive, and believing that I could do it.

    2) I went in, armed with the research I'd done and the expertise of my midwife, and that was it. I was excited and confident, and what I'd learned did help me quite a bit. I also experimented with positions to see what made the pain more manageable, which for me, was on my feet, walking around. I also made a deliberate effort to relax--during contractions, I'd rotate my shoulders slowly and slightly sway my hips from side to side while humming a low-pitched song (I did "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies and the deeper parts of "Wither" by Dream Theater). And if you can do a water birth...do it!

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