Monday, December 8, 2014

5 Things I Learned from my Attempt at Natural Childbirth

Ta-Da, a baby!!  It's been so long since I've blogged that I've managed to get pregnant and have my baby since my last post.

Quick update is in order then...

In January Clark and I found out we were expecting our first child. In true Slark fashion, we made the announcement on April 1st. In June we found out it was going to be a girl!! Our family was starting with a daughter and we were elated. Aside from three months straight of morning sickness, the pregnancy went really well. I nearly broke 200 lbs, gaining almost 50 lbs before delivering, but my ankles never swelled and yes, I am proud of that.

I planned to do hypnobabies for the birth of our daughter. I had been doing a lot of research while over the year leading up to getting pregnant and realized I wanted to attempt a natural birth. My reasoning is merely based on my beliefs of women being strong and created by God specifically for this and God would not create us to fail. So, attempt I would!!

My water broke at 1:30 AM but contractions didn't start until 4:00 AM conveniently just as we were walking to my hospital room. 

My birth plan was to walk, shower, breath and bounce on a ball to ease the pain and get my little girl in my arms quickly.  After this birth, I am a FIRM believer in the shower being helpful; I went from a 4 to a 7 in the 30 minutes I was in the shower.

After the shower I sat on the edge of the bed and attempted to NOT bite my mother; I had to stop myself twice. I finally got on my knees facing the back of the bed which I did bite through contractions--bed linens are clean, right?

It occurred to my nurse that my little was not face down as she should be which was causing me a lot of hip pain.  She suggested using a peanut ball but it was too late, this kid was coming!

(When I was pregnant I would hear women say they only had to push twice and it would boil my blood.  I was jealous because I thought I wouldn't have that.  It occurs to me now that if you work through the contractions and get your body ready for the baby to come you will probably only have to push twice; once to get the head out, once to get the body out.  That is just my thinking as I am not a doctor.)

Being a first time mom I was told I'd be in labor for close to 18 hours so I thought I had time to get into my hypnosis but since there was only 6 1/2 hours from the time my water broke to baby there was virtually no time for me. So here is what I learned that I hope to do better next time.

1. Everyone's labor is different.

Now I always knew this but for me it was more about HOW I would choose to labor, not the time it would take to birth her and that I should probably get into gear quickly. I was admitted to the delivery room at less than 4 cm and less than 4 hours later, she was here!! No 18 hour contractions for me.

2. Once your water breaks, there is going to be 'water' everywhere.

Once I got to the room and contractions started, I felt water leak with every contraction. I was embarrassed and tensed with every contraction trying to keep the bed as dry and clean as possible.

Silly me, I forgot why I was at the hospital and I was trying to keep my dignity in tact. Four hours later, biting beds, ripping cold rags off of me and stripping down to my birthday suit I've learned my lesson. Relax with the contractions and don't worry about the water and/or blood if your water broke.  When you get ready to push the baby out they put what is essentially a tarp down on the floor, I think they are used to a little blood and water on the bed.

3. Whatever your plan for the birth is, be flexible.

Everyone says that right?? But truly, understand that even if you practice like crazy, take a million classes and read every page of "What to Expect When You're Expecting", you may be thrown a curve ball or two or three.

4. If you have an idea for birthing, practice or take classes.

Had I done more than listen to the hypnosis recordings while falling asleep at night I might have known to get into my 'happy place' as soon as my water broke.

5. Whatever your birth experience, it will be worth it!

Immediately following her arrival, my husband and I joked that next time, I'm doing an epidural. A few hours later, however, I was looking back on the birth and smiling, yes, smiling! I enjoyed the birth, I enjoyed the work it took to get my daughter into my arms, I enjoyed seeing my husband by my side the whole time. Next time, I will do things differently but even if it still doesn't go as planned, I will love it!!