When I found out I was pregnant with Chet, I knew I wanted a natural child-birth. It wasn’t even something I had to think about…it is just something that feels like a part of the journey. When people find out that this is my plan there are just a few responses that I get. Some people say “good for you”. Some people call me crazy. Some people share their story of natural birth.
Just as a woman’s heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when and how to give birth. ~Virginia Di Orio
When I had Cole, my plan was to feel my way through child-birth. I didn’t want drugs from the moment I got to the hospital. If I needed them, I would ask for them. I got to the hospital around 6am. My contractions were pretty strong by late morning. Right before lunch the doctor came in to check me. He said I would be having my baby around dinner time. Right after he left the room, the pain became overwhelming. All I kept thinking to myself was “there is no way I can do this until dinner time”. I decided to request the epidural. Thirty minutes later, I was numb from the waist down. A catheter was put in place. My doctor checked me again. I was having my baby now. The catheter came out. Cole was born just a few pushes later at 12:23pm (not anywhere near dinner time).
There are a few things I want to do differently this time around.
#1 – I knew absolutely nothing about the birthing process when I had Cole. I didn’t educate myself on child-birth.
#2 – I didn’t have a birthing plan. I just showed up at the hospital, followed hospital protocol, and had my baby.
My biggest mistake was not educating myself. This time around we are taking classes that are geared towards natural child-birth. So far we have had 3 of the 8 classes. Every time Christian and I walk out of class, we are amazed by what we have learned. I had no doubt that our bodies are made for natural child-birth, but I had no idea how amazing the entire process can be. We are truly made to have babies. We are learning the different stages of labor. We are learning about the importance of hormones. We are learning about the things my body will be experience as it transitions into active labor.
When I had Cole, the extreme pain I felt scared me. Out of fear I asked for drugs. I was afraid I would have that burning pain (what I’m pretty sure was the “ring of fire” that doesn’t last very long at all) for at least 6 more hours. Had I known I was close to having my baby based on all the signs my body was giving me, I wouldn’t have asked for drugs. My birth with Cole was very easy, very quick, and very simple – perfect for a natural child-birth.
Did you know that the baby releases oxytocin when he or she is ready to be born? The release of this drug gives our body and our brain the green light to progress into labor. Oxytocin is also known as the love drug. We all have it. When the mother’s brain receives the love hormones, it releases endorphins, pleasure hormones. If a mother becomes stressed or fearful, catecholamines are released. These stress hormones prevent endorphins from being released. Without endorphins, labor can not progress. It is all one big amazing cycle that starts with the baby’s love hormones. Pretty amazing if you ask me.
In order to have a successful natural birth (when there aren’t medical reasons preventing it), the hormones need to do their job. Disturbances of any form can interfere with the process. Fear in the mother can interfere with the process. Pain medication can also interfere with the process. They prevent the natural cycle of these hormones.
We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong. ~Laura Stavoe Harm
Although I know I can’t plan my pregnancy or my delivery of Chet, I know I’m going into delivery with this baby educated. As things happen to my body, I will be able to recognize them for what they are instead of reacting out of fear. I will be able to make educated decisions during the labor process. Christian and I will have already discussed different scenarios so he can act as my advocate during the birthing process. I will be able to focus on bring our baby into the world in a peaceful environment (with the hope of not using drugs).
I believe in the process of natural labor. I trust that my body will know what to do when Chet is ready to join us in this world. I’m educating myself on ways to ensure that I support Chet as he makes his journey into this world. This little baby does a lot to enter the world. As his mom, I’m going to make sure I do everything I can to welcome him into a peaceful world.