I knew upfront I wanted to do things differently with her birth than I did with little C. All in all, his birth turned out just fine, but once I had the knowledge to do things better, there's no way I couldn't try for better ways of doing things the second time around. You live, you learn, right?
I immediately knew I wanted a doula to help me through the pregnancy and through the birth. I had heard great things from a couple of people and realized I might appreciate that extra support.
The day I walked into the doula office with my mother, I actually had every intention of getting an epidural. But the small speech the director of doulas gave to us made me rethink my way of thinking. I had thought all along that I couldn't handle a natural birth, no way. I never let my mind go anywhere else. After that day, I began to ask myself. Why can't I have a natural birth? Hundreds of women do it every day. After all, it's natural. But even at my first doctor's appointment, I hadn't totally convinced myself. In the back of my mind, I kept those "maybe" thoughts there. Maybe I could at least try for a natural birth?
And that's how it all begin and how I went into it. And, folks, if you know me at all, you'll know that I rarely get into something without finishing it full force. I don't give in, and when I set my mind to something, I do it. I follow through with it. So, as you can tell, I ended up having a natural birth.
Wanna know some of my secrets?
Hire a Doula
Even if you don't do it naturally, I recommend it. But if you decide on a natural birth, you def need to make this your first step. I ended up with both a doula and student doula and it was awesome. Of course my husband still supported as well, but when I needed a hospital room asap, the doula gave me the hook-up. And when I started feeling all puky before the transition phase, the student doula got out the peppermint essential oil and voila, all better. After my water broke and I had no contractions, my doula was at my house taking walks with me.
I met with my doula several times throughout pregnancy to update her on how I felt...the birth plan, etc. And she attended a couple doctor's appointments as well. She was always available via text, and that was nice when I needed advice. After baby, my doulas came by to talk and check on nursing and that was so beneficial to me to talk to them a week after delivery.
Find the perfect doctor
And I don't mean you have to interview 50 doctors before you decide. I mean, seek out a doctor who is open to natural births, experienced them with patients and, honestly, loves natural births. It's just not going to go as heavenly if your doctor isn't on board.
I switched doctors the second time and wow, the difference. I actually randomly called my doc and it turned out she was very holistic, so I really think it was meant to be. We just clicked. I'd almost have another baby just because my doctor was that great. (Don't worry mom, I'm not.)
She was in tune and let me ask questions without walking out of the room on me. She also let me make some decisions on my own. There was an ultrasound that wasn't needed, and I opted out and she was ok with that. No pressure.
Take Natural Childbirth Classes
I just don't know if I could've done it without the eight-week class my husband and I attended. Having a natural childbirth takes a lot of prep, mostly mentally, and not only did we learn a lot, but it helped to meet with others doing the same thing every week.
We learned breathing and relaxation techniques, a lot about what it will be like in the hospital, what to do when going into labor and once there, and even about nursing. And turns out, I made some great friends with babies the same age now who I still keep in touch with.
[If you're local, I used BirthWorks.
I think the doulas here have just recently branched out on their own now, but there is a link on this site to find them. Or go to the BirthWorks Facebook page.]
Prepare Mentally & Physically
It sounds so simple, but you really do have to prep. You should figure out a general birth plan, then get your act together. I bought some oversized tees in case I used the bathtub (never did..my water broke.) I also bought a new comfy robe and made a music playlist (which I never listened to, but hey). As labor drew closer, I listened to some relaxation music on YouTube and each day just thought about how I wanted this birth to be. I made sure I had researched things like: do I want to walk around...do I need a birth ball...if for some reason they have to give me pain meds, what would I want. Sounds crazy, but you have to think ahead of time because you're your own - and your best - advocate. I just can't understand wanting to "wing it." Would you wing a marathon? Nuh-uh.
And then of course, exercise. I continued walking and Pilates until the last month, modifying my moves. It made me feel great. I also did swimming every week to relax my muscles. So good. It made it easier to get myself back into it after baby, too.
Visit the Chiropractor
You might not realize, but visiting the chiropractor can do wonders with alignment during pregnancy. I think my first delivery would've gone smoother if baby had been better aligned. It only takes a second each week and is so worth it. Baby's alignment affects so much of the birth process.
Believe in Yourself
That's it. You can do it. If you think you might want a natural birth at all, trust me. You can do it. Or at least try for it! You're amazing!
I'm telling you. It's so easy to ask for that epidural, but the benefits after baby for me not having medication were incredible. I felt so energetic and left the hospital in 24 hours. I was a completely different person than the first time around (I think it's cool that I can compare since I had one if each). In turn, my attitude was better and nursing went better. My body healed enormously quicker.
Stay focused and if you do, you and baby, will reap the rewards.
P.S. Do make sure you (a) try to sleep in the initial phase (because you don't wanna leave home too early) and (b) eat something so you're not too famished to do all the work later (my last meal was eggplant parmigiana to try to kick things into gear, but it didn't work. And I was still kinda famished. Blush.).