Here are some questions that my natural birth class instructor (Donna Ryan) just recently asked me and my answers to them. I could add so much more but that will be for another blog post.
1. A testimonial on how the natural birthing DVD classes helped both Nubun and I.
It helped both of us especially in learning that a healthy birth has to start with a healthy pregnancy. I immediately started counting my protein intake, I started doing pelvic rocks and more kegels and attempted squats, unsuccessfully but I tried among other exercises. I also had chiropractic care regularly throughout my second and third trimester. Nubun also realized the importance of a healthy pregnancy and what it required, he'd constantly remind me to eat more protein and do my exercises, and get the proper rest. And he would take me every week to see my chiropractor. We practiced together the relaxation, talking about it and planning ahead when I would go into labor. not as often as we should have but we did. He knew when I was tense and where I'd tense up at. He didn't get the chance to massage me during pregnancy, or give me counter pressure on my lower back because at the very beginning of my short labor he was packing the car, and then he was driving, then it was only about 15 minutes after arriving at the birth center I pushed my baby out. But he knew the 'signs' and he was patient with me when I wasn't with him, he helped me relax by reassuring me everything was ok and to relax my butt. Yes, that's where I tensed up! We both learned going overdue was plenty ok and we were patient to wait. We also learned the risks of unnecessary interventions and what exactly they were in detail. Information is virtual gold and we had it this time around and we used it! I think that if it wasn't for the knowledge I was left with after the classes my labor probably would have a completely different out come.
2. Induction vs letting your baby come on its own.
oh my goodness, where to begin? This is such a big deal to me and it is literally the number one reason I even looked into natural childbirth. I was induced with my two previous babies and it was a mess. With my first they induced me because I was 4 days late and the baby was big and they didn't want her to get any bigger. She was 5lbs 15ozs. Because my doctor had planned on an induction days ahead I was a nervous wreck, I knew that you are more likely to have a c-sect after being induced than if you went natural and I was scared to death! I finally called her and told her I didn't want to be induced. She got angry and said she was the doctor not me and that she knew best. When I insisted she hung up on me. Literally. I was bullied into it. With my second baby she had been transverse the whole 9 yards and the day I went in to see the doctor at 39 weeks and 5 days the doctor called to tell me not to eat anything because they were going to give me a c-sect. I had already fought with her for 2 weeks, I cried and pleaded with her to let me wait to see if the baby would turn on her own. Thankfully that morning she did turn and the doctor asked if I wanted to be induced I very quickly agreed. After the threat of a c-section, --some cervadil and pitocin sounded like a nice alternative. Then this time around it was a nightmare. I told them I reacted fast to pitocin but the nurses didn't care, they started my pitocin and increased the quantity of it three times within the hour, I dilated from literally a 0 to 10 centimeters in an hour, this baby was also posterior, I was flat on my back and in so much pain I thought I was going to die, I literally did. At 10 centimeters they gave me an epidural that didn't work and had to give me a spinal. And then because the spinal was so strong I couldn't feel to push and she was at a minus 2 station anyways, so to help aid and to hurry the baby out my doctor gave me what I call a triple episiotomy, one cut going down, and one on each side. that wasn't enough so she had both her hands up me trying to stretch me out. Nubun said it was so gruesome that even the nurses were looking away. I pushed for over an hour and she came out, and i had and excruciatingly painful recovery. And the whole thing could have been prevented if only I could have waited for the baby to decide when she was ready to come and turn and start labor on her own jolly ole time. My third pregnancy was a repeat of the second one, she was transverse the whole way except for a couple of times she flipped and would either be breech or head down then she would flip back to transverse. At my 40 week check up she was still transverse but my midwife was not even worried, she was calm and reassuring. There was no hurry, no threat of an induction and I had a peace of mind that was not found when I was seeing a doctor. My midwife did a version and a week later at my 41 week check up she was head down but I wasn't rushed into getting induced again I was sent home to wait for the baby to start labor. She did, and I had a healthy, natural non intervention birth and it was amazing!!! People wondered why I was so happy to go over my due date, and I tear up when I would think about it. I was happy because I was being left alone, it meant everything was ok and natural, I had a transverse baby without the threat of induction or a c-section! Not being induced meant everything to me, why wouldn't I be happy?
3. Fast labor.
I didn't want a super fast labor because I viewed labor as a breathtaking and wonderful magical event and yes, even fun. I didn't want to hurry up and get it over with, I wanted labor to linger a littler so that I could savor it. I am not stupid, I also didn't want an 40 hour labor, I guess I wanted an in between, not too long not too short birth. My labor was fast, very fast. After my water broke I went from contractions being 8 minutes apart to 1 minute apart in less than an hour. It was hard because my body didn't have time to 'build up resistance' to the pain, it hurt and I think because my birth was so fast that the training in natural childbirth really helped even more. I had to concentrate on each contraction, stay ahead of it and take control of myself instead of the pain taking control of me. Relaxation and concentration during contractions helped with this. I also birthed an 8lb 14oz posterior baby so the pain not only came fast but it came hard, training DOES help! I had to turn that pain into gain, with every labor pain --big things were happening inside my body. If you count when I started having heavy contractions I guess my labor lasted 1 hour and a half. Three hours if you count when my water broke. Don't ever wish for a fast labor!
4. The difference between medicated and unmediated births
Emotionally? When I was medicated with both my older girls I wasn't 'all there' I know people react differently with medication I start acting like a mental retard! I started talking about my toenails right before I started pushing, for a short while I was seeing double because it made me dizzy. And after I had the babies I felt blissfully happy about my babies being there, I was all excited about them but never thought of myself. Because to me my medicated births were all about and only about the babies, I was just the The means to get the baby into the world. I also couldn't feel my baby coming out. I missed that! I mean I dialated to a full 10 both times and when the best part came, pushing, I was numbed. On my unmediated birth I had a clear mind. I knew what was going on I could FEEL what was going on. It was exciting to experience the whole ride to think about what was going on as it was happening and to be in control both mind and body. I could think, rationalize, I could emotionally feel. My body was working with the contractions, I wasn't strapped to a bed, I was walking around, kneeling and doing whatever felt best. I wasn't able to do that at all with a cervadil up me and an IV with pitocin running through my veins and a tube of epidural in my spine. And when I gave birth and picked up my baby I was on that natural high! I was so happy to hold my baby! And this time around it wasn't just about the baby, it was mostly about her, and for her but it was also about me. Her and me. And this time around I could feel her little body come out, what a blessing!!! When I saw my midwife, or doula while I was in labor, they were looking at my face listening to me and paying attention to my body language and not concentrating only on what was going on 'down there'. I mattered I was actually a part of my baby's labor. I think that being medicated up was the doctors way or the nurses way of not having to deal with me anymore. (at least in my case) They could get me out of the picture and hurry up and get the baby out and the next patient in the room. I do feel like I missed out be medicated, I think in every woman there is this primal nature to want to birth your baby naturally, and when you do that you feel accomplished and when you don't you feel let down, not whole, not complete, like if there was something big missing out of your life. Of course there are some woman and doctors who try to silence that nature... But not me, not this time around!
5..Has it affected my self esteem?
Yes! I had done it! I was in control, I called the shots at my daughters birth! Dare I say I was even proud? I was strong enough to change care providers 3times until I found the best one for me. I found my voice and I used it. Nobody walked over me this time around. That was an accomplishment in itself. I even think I've found my voice in other aspects of my life because of it. Right after my birth I looked down at my daughter and told her 'we did it' on her time schedule and with my help we did it together. I felt strong and confident and even ready to do it again. I can't quit watching my birth video, (having a video of my birth was better than having a winning lottery ticket. I'd not trade it for anything in the world!) reading my birth story, day dreaming and talking about my experience with whoever will listen. I wish every woman could have the experience I did. I think I'm a stronger person because of it.