Natural Birth Mamas

Talk about your birth plan, ask questions, and share advice.

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Natural Birth Mamas

Postby charlotteb » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:06 pm

My due date is a long way off, obviously, but I am already trying to prepare for what I want to do when labor time comes. I'm considering a natural birth very seriously. I had an epi/pit birth with DS, and hated it.

DS's birth story:

I woke up at about 7AM because I felt a little "pop" -- after getting up and going to the bathroom, I'd realized my water had broken. I'd not had any contractions or possible labor up until then, just spontaneously broke. I took my time getting ready, and DH and I got to the hospital around 8AM. I was at 2cm (but had been for a couple of weeks already anyway). They had me walk around a good bit, and after 2 or 3 hours, there was zero change. I was having ctx but they weren't bad at all. After a few more hours, I'd finally progressed to almost 4cm. Apparently, that wasn't "good enough" for them, so they put me on pitocin. They also gave me stadol and phenergan then. Very shortly after, the anesthesiologist stopped by and said he would be gone for a few hours, so if I wanted an epi then, I could go ahead and get it, otherwise it would be a good while. So I went ahead and got it.

Don't get me wrong, my epi was great. It definitely took away the pain. But after a couple more hours, I still wasn't progressing. I managed to get a little bit of rest. I was awoken by very painful contractions. They were very intense, and right on top of one another. I literally could not rest between ctx. DH, my mom, MIL, and my sister were in the room at the time, and my mom actually had to leave because she couldn't bear looking at the amount of pain I was in. Finally, the anesthesiologist made it back and discovered that my continuous epi had actually fallen out and I was getting no epi, but still getting pit.

Finally, after 16 hours of labor, I made it to 10cm. I pushed for an hour (coached/forced pushing, what I've recently heard called "purple pushing"). The epi took away my contraction pain, but I still felt the pain of pushing (ring of fire! wow!).

So now, looking towards my next labor, I'm being very drawn to natural birth. This is what I've come up with, in terms of going natural.


-Being able to move around during labor (I HATED being confined to a bed!)
-Having more birthing-position options, rather than just on my back, pushing
-Being able to actually "experience" birth (all the drugs made me extremely out of it and the whole experience with DS is still fuzzy)
-Feeling empowered and trusting my body to do what it was designed to do
-Taking charge and being able to call more shots in my own birthing process
-Being able to push and birth more on my own terms, instead of having someone scream "PUSH!" and count to 10
-Baby's health
-Possibly using a birthing center and being in a more relaxing environment than a bright, noisy hospital
-Limited interventions
-Being able to bond with the baby right away, instead of having the baby whisked away


-The pain, obviously. I KNOW that I can do it. I don't doubt that at all. But it still scares me.
-The closest birthing center even remotely doable for me is a half hour away, over the state line. DH just started a new job, and he won't be eligible for insurance for a few more months. We were thinking about Medicaid coverage in the meantime, but since the birthing center is out of state, GA Medicaid won't cover it. So financially, I'm trying to figure things out, too.
-I really do like my doctor, and if I transfer to the birth center, I'll have to give up my doctor. But if I stay at the hospital with my doctor, I'll never get the kind of birth I want.

I know I just rambled a lot. I tend to be long-winded. But I'd love to hear from mothers who have done it to get more reassurance. I never took anything birthing classes with DS, so I'm sure that would help, too. DH is extremely supportive and will back whatever decision I make. But I don't have the guts to bring it up with my family. My family already thinks I'm insane for planning to CD, so if I mention natural birth, I can only imagine what they'll say. And my ILS... well... they don't even care that I'm pregnant. So hopefully my internet family can be of some encouragement!

Me (Charlotte): 28
DH: 33
DS1: 3
DS2: Brand new!
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Postby meg1492 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:24 pm

you can do it. I did 36 hours, med free. When I stub my toe I want a Percoset. LOL

Personally, I would skip the birthing classes and instead read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. (See my blinkie..ahahaha) Read as many med free birth stories as you can. Learn how Mommas coped.

Mostly be open to things. Move around, try different positions. Try the shower, try the tub, try the birth ball. Keep moving until your body tells you this is the spot.

Hire a doula. No matter the price, a doula is worth her weight in gold. Check out (or .com?) to find one.

Good luck!!
Dear Son born at 41w, delivered vaginally and med free after labor for a day and a half.

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Postby ahenderson05 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:21 pm

meg1492 wrote:you can do it. I did 36 hours, med free. When I stub my toe I want a Percoset. LOL

Personally, I would skip the birthing classes and instead read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. (See my blinkie..ahahaha) Read as many med free birth stories as you can. Learn how Mommas coped.

Mostly be open to things. Move around, try different positions. Try the shower, try the tub, try the birth ball. Keep moving until your body tells you this is the spot.

Hire a doula. No matter the price, a doula is worth her weight in gold. Check out (or .com?) to find one.

Good luck!!

ITA with all of this.

I have had several med free births in hospitals so it can be done if you can not find a birth center. In my experience the key to a successful med free birth in a hospital is to know your patient rights and not only stand up for yourself but also make sure your birth partner is willing to stand up for you also!!
Amanda (33) DH (34) H(13) M(9) K(5) C (2) G (1)

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Postby NotBarbaraBush » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:30 pm

Yup! Med-free for me! :D

Honestly once you gain your focus you just get in the zone. It's very primal and your instincts just kick in and take over. You take it one contraction at a time. My 31 hours of labor whizzed by. Seriously it was like a blur.

I never took any classes. I wanted to but DH didn't want to spend the money. :x I did read "Childbirth The Bradley Way" or something like that. I had my support person and I did fantastic. You will too!
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Postby specialkel » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:31 am

The most important thing, in my opinion, is not to fear the pain. Educate yourself on the physiological process of birth and read as many natural birth stories as you can possibly can. I highly recommend taking a childbirth class; research the various natural birthing methods (Lamaze, Bradley, Hypnobabies, etc.) and see which philosophy resonates most with you and your DH (or whoever you choose as your labor coach) before signing up for a course. We did Bradley and I can't recommend it highly enough--5 out of the 6 couples in the class had successful med-free births, and we all formed great friendships with each other by the end of the 12-week course. We got together after we all had our babies to share our birth stories, and we still get together for playdates with our LOs! So we gained a lot more than childbirth education from the class. That said, there are some dud classes and instructors out there and a class is certainly not necessary if you and your coach are interested and disciplined enough to "study" on your own time and practice pain management techniques at home. There are dozens of amazing books on natural childbirth out there.

My natural birth took place in a regular hospital setting. As has been mentioned, know your rights and don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. I found my Bradley class particularly useful in this respect. I didn't use one, but I imagine this is where an experienced doula would be especially valuable as well.

Don't worry about what anyone else says. Everyone thought I was crazy and naive for wanting to go natural also. (That's yet another reason I loved my childbirth class...all us "crazies" were on the same page and we drew a lot of strength and inspiration from each other.) I heard "oh you'll see" soooo many times and had to endure the smirks from so many "experienced" mamas who truly believed it was impossible to give birth without meds... heh. Their ignorance and condescension only stoked my fire, though, so in the end I was grateful for it.

I'll stop rambling now but here are some books that I highly recommend for education and inspiration:
"Pushed" by Jennifer Block
"Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon
"The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth" by Henci Goer
"Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin
"Active Birth" by Janet Balaskas
"Birthing From Within" by Pam England and Rob Horowitz

Good luck to you!
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DH: 36
DD1: 4/26/10
DD2: 12/10/11
DS: 11/8/14
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Postby BeccaM » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:07 am

I totally agree --you CAN do it! There are very few instances in which a women can't push through and have that natural birth, if that's what you long for! I did it med free, and while it was the hardest thing I'd ever done, I wouldn't change a thing. I look back and think it was almost a surreal, awesome experience. It was painful at the very end (I'm with you on the ring of fire 8O ) but I still wouldn't even change that. I did it all to get my beautiful son, and I would do it again anytime.

We did Bradley birth classes and I can't recommend them enough. They were great! They really helped my DH fill the role as birth coach, which I needed. We were a real team. It was so neat to have him working beside me, helping me through it! I also hear that a new up and coming birth class called "Brio Birth" is good, as well.

A couple of great books that helped me, also, are:

"Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" and

"Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering". This second one had a lot of great information from a medical standpoint on why medication isn't great for you and the baby, and also how it interferes with natural hormonal and emotional processes that help you through labor naturally. A must-read for me!

These things really helped me, alongside the physical and mental relaxation--take one minute at a time, one contraction at a time, flow, get in a zone, and have confidence. Remember YOU CAN DO THIS!
Isaiah, born Nov 14th, 2010, @ 39 weeks, 2 days. 8 lbs 2 oz. All natural hospital delivery.
Simon, born Mar 23rd, 2013 @ 39 weeks, 3 days. 8 lbs 4 oz. Our first home birth!!

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Postby StefStaf » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:48 pm

I had a natural, non medicated birth. I woke up at 330am and had to pee. By the time i got back to bed 2 mins later and layed down, i had another contraction. This went on for about 20 mins. I got up and had a glass of water and walked around my house. The contractions kept coming every 2-3 mins. I woke up dh and he called the midwife. She told him to get me in the tub in case it was false labor. I went in the tub and i was contracting still at 2-3 mins. After another 25 mins, he called her back and she told me to go in. I contracted every 2-3 mins all the way to the hospital (25 min drive) and by the time i got there at 530 i was 4cm and totally effaced with contractions every 1-2 mins. I wanted to walk around but i couldnt because the pain was so intense. I labored until 12:45pm, dilating pretty quickly. They broke my water at 8cm and about 20 mins later i started pushed. Looking back i wasn't ready to push but it felt like i had to, the pressure was crazy! The whole first 1.5 hrs was a waste. I didn't progress at all. I wasted a lot of energy. I ended up pushing for 4 agonizing hours. Dr. kept trying to push a csection on me but i kept refusing it. I was on a monitor and ds heartrate was fine so i kept insisting that i was going to get him out naturally. I figured after all i had gone through i wasn't going to have a section to make it easier for the doctor to stay on his schedule. The doctor had told me that if i had not had him by 5pm he would absolutely section me. I finally got ds out at 4:42pm. It was the most amazing experience! I hope to do it the same way (but wouldn't mind if it was quicker and a little easier!) this time around.
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Postby stefanielynn » Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:00 pm

You can do it!

My birth with my son was this: contracting on my own every 5-7 minutes, but couldn't feel it. Sent to L&D after my 39 week appointment for high bp that wasn't dropping (that had been going on my entire last trimester). DH was deploying in 7 days, so I happily and readily agreed to an induction. Had pit, couldn't feel ctx and apparently wasn't dilating fast enough, so they broke my water. ctx were constant, got the epi. DS was born 10 hours, 22 mins after pit was started. He was also the instructed pushing (Now! 1,2,3, know).

DD: woke at 2am with painful ctx. Puttered around for a few hours, then went back to bed and slept between ctx. Got my husband and son up at 8 and told them to get ready, we were having a baby that day. Got DS to my friend's house, headed to hospital. Was 4cm and 100% effaced at that point (after contracting for 7 hours...Oy!). Midwife was fantastic, told me to leave and do some walking since I didn't want an epi. We left for a few hours, got back around noon and I had progressed a whole centimeter...yay. Fast forward to transition (6 hours later) and the contractions were REALLY far apart. They were horrible, intense, long, painful...but the break between them was wonderful! I won't lie...about 30 minutes before she was born I was asking for an epi, but my husband, my MW and the nurses all knew I didn't mean it (and my MW knew I was really close to having my baby). I was only 8cm at that point, so she went ahead and broke my water. I needed to push so badly, and she let me. With the second baby, you can do a trial push and it will apparently help dilate you completely...there was only a small lip when I pushed. She let me push when I wanted, no one was counting, they were just helping me get into positions that were the best for me (squatting, on all fours, etc). I couldn't feel the ctx when I was pushing, honestly. I was really focused on getting her out NOW. The ring of fire is intense, but I only pushed for 13 minutes (almost three hours with my son). Feeling it all is really helpful, I think. My daughter was sunny-side up, so that's likely why my labor took so long.

I didn't take a class. I read and watched as many natural births as I could. Ina May's book was great, Dr. Sears' Pregnancy Book, Business of Being Born--all awesome and inspiring!
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Postby bethann » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:47 pm

I am planning on a natural birth this time too! Didn't really get a choice when I had the twins b/c Baby B was breech. But I just wanted to recommend as the PP said- "The Business of Being Born" and "Pregnant in America". They are also getting ready to release 4 new dvds- "More Business of Being Born". The first one was very inspiring to me.
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Postby Eren » Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:20 pm

Of course you can do it.

Simply, my reasons were:

It`s better for baby
It`s better for me
I wanted to experience birth in full

I read Ina May and a Japanese book of natural birth stories.
My experience was amazing. The hard bit was basically just transition. I was texting on my phone between contractions up until then. I dealt with them pretty well. The end was crazy fast and I was still shaking when she came out, but it was so so worth it. The recovery was tons easier than #1 too. (I had an epidural and a vacuum with #1)
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Postby shermy » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:57 pm

1) If this is what you want, YOU CAN SO DO IT. Medications and epidurals are there to assist people who want and need them. If they are not going to help YOU and that is not what YOU need. Then it is just about finding the techniques that you do connect with. My personal belief is that you do whatever is going to help you bring that sweet little baby into the world. We all have different ways of coping, dealing and getting through pain - it doesn't matter what it is, it just matters that it helps you! So if a natural birth is what is going to keep your eye on the prize and have a beautiful and successful labor. Not only do you have the determination, time and resources available to you to find some great techniques, it is what you believe will help you. YOU HAVE SOOOO GOT THIS MAMA! maybe my contribution to this thread should be ignored since I got an epi (I won't go into my story since I have written it all over the board - I am sure you are sick of it, but dude!).

However. I found exercise upon exercise from the hypnobirthing book really, really, useful for labor. I made sure to write all of the ones I really connected with on index cards for my husband so he could prompt me. Other than that, what got me through the 6 min long contractions ....bwhahaha....was my husband counting. I have no idea why this helped me. NO IDEA (he says he will never count anything ever again), but it is what I ended up latching on to, and ya know what, it helped. My point with this? The most helpful thing for me, was what helped in the moment - so whatever that is for you. Grunting, counting sheep, saying a prayer, making your husband count into the thousands. Rock it shamelessly.
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Postby jesscc » Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:51 pm

I understand how you feel, I too had a medicated first birth after being confined to a bed, and it wasn't an experience I ever wanted again.

I have 3 children, my second two were intentionally completely natural births. Both were in hospitals.

After my first birth, I was nervous about the second, but I prepared and became committed to a natural birth, and I am a tremendous advocate now.
There are HUGE, long lasting benefits to natural birth. Yes, it is painful, but it is manageable, tolerable, and very beneficial. Endorphins help with the pain, and there are techniques that really work.

If possible, labor at home for as long as possible. A doula will help you tremendously, and many will work for very reasonable prices. The other women who responded recommended great books. You can do it! Absolutely. Don't be afraid...this is an opportunity to something wonderful for yourself AND your baby. : )
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Postby jessm » Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:10 pm

I am planning on a natural birth also. I have contacted a doula near me, and since I can't afford one have asked for a student doula. Which is way cheaper, if not free (depending on the student).

One thing I have found is that I shouldn't talk about how I'm planning to go natural with people in general! I have found that people instantly judge me or think I'm crazy and start trying to talk me out of it. Someone actually laughed at me!
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BFP 12/20/13 at 10 DPO with baby 2!
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Postby ufgus » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:10 am

jessm wrote:One thing I have found is that I shouldn't talk about how I'm planning to go natural with people in general! I have found that people instantly judge me or think I'm crazy and start trying to talk me out of it. Someone actually laughed at me!

This is pretty much true! I had 3 epi births and went natural with the baby I just had in July. I had a lot of neg. comments but I also had a ton of supportive ones too. The good thing with me is that when someone tells me I cannot do something, it only adds fuel to my fire for me to do it just to prove them wrong. Of course when I did have the natural birth, those neg. people had nothing really to say to me because of it. ;)

If I can have a natural child birth anyone can! It was amazing, painful, beautiful, humbling, and wonderful all at the same time. If we try for another baby next year I plan on doing it again with my same duola and MW.
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Postby victoria_1024 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:39 am

Your birth experience sounds similar to my first birth experience, except I was induced for pre-e. But I had a failed epi and the pitocin makes the contractions right on top of each other so it's terrible! I hated being stuck in bed during the pushing part and the doctor and nurses were forcing my body into a position that was seriously uncomfortable and I felt like I couldn't breathe right. They kept saying I had to push from my bottom and I had no idea what they wanted me to do, lol. Somehow he still came out and everything went fine, but after my first birth I really felt like I missed something and wanted things to be different next time around. I was JUST like you, I knew I wanted the birth to be different but was too big of a baby and didn't know if I could go through the pain.

My natural labor with my DD was amazing. I was also in the water and I was shocked at what a difference it was pushing in the water vs. laying down in bed. Nobody was telling me how to push or when to push, she just literally came out in 2 pushes and I didn't sit there thinking I didn't know how to do it. The contractions (while still very intense) were not on top of each other like pitocin... in fact, I had a several minute break before I started pushing where I actually fell asleep in the water.

My advice would be...

1. Get a doula (my doula was in training so she was cheaper, maybe look for something like that)
2. Don't let them pressure you into pitocin (my water broke before labor started and they immediately wanted to do pitocin, but I was able to say no and went into labor on my own)
3. Limit cervix checks. They don't really tell you that much, and it will lead to them pushing pitocin too soon or getting you to push before you are ready.

That's all I can think of now. You can do it! So much better than a pitocin/epi labor!!
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