I have birth on the brain.
A friend of mine gave birth to a beautiful little angel this weekend and it's bringing back all kinds of amazing memories and I'm finding myself reminiscing about my son's birth story.
When people asked me near the end of my pregnancy if I was scared or nervous of birth, I said NO. They thought I was crazy. I had done the reading and had gone through the labour process so many times in my head that I was completely comfortable and at peace with the thought of it. Yes, I was naive in the way that I had not experienced it yet - but I trusted myself.
When people asked me if I was going to get an epidural, I said NO. Again, they thought I was crazy. To give peace of mind I told them that I was going to try my best to give birth naturally, but was open to medical interventions if needed. I didn't want to go in with blinders on and get totally thrown off course. I wanted to keep my options open and found comfort in birthing naturally in a hospital where medical interventions were easily accessible.
Why is it that one of the first questions that comesout of someones mouth when talking labour is, "Are you nervous?" Why is there so much fear surrounding this completely natural course of life?
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
I was the only one in the hospital attempting to go natural the day my son was born. My designated nurse told me I was all rave at the nurses station and there was a constant flow of nurses coming into my room. My nurse told me that everyone was hearing that a women at the end of the hall was birthing naturally. Really? Is it that uncommon these days? I couldn't believe it, but I was darn proud and I'm sure it helped motivate me to continue with my plans.
One of the ways I prepared myself was reading and gathering information about labour and delivery. I am an information junkie in a way that when I am faced with something new I read and read and read my little heart out to familiarize myself and find comfort in the situation. I think I took out every book from the library on birth. I had the late fees to prove it.
One of the books that influenced me the most was Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan. Although, it is intended to go hand in hand with a Hypnobirthing class I learned a lot of valuable pain relieving methods from the Hypnobirthing technique. Although, I did not practice Hypnobirthing in it's entirety. Reading the reviews for this book makes me laugh. Either people hate it or love it. There is one story in particular that will forever stick in my mind. Is was of how African women work around their hut while going through contractions and when ready to push they squat against a tree or hut and the baby is born. As simple as that. Some people hated this statement but, I loved it. It brings us back to reality.
Hubby and I also attended a pre-natal course at the hospital I was registered at. Even though I was pretty confident in my research, I also learned so much more in front of a child birth educator. Hubby learned a lot of fun things too - like some of the icky stuff I left out when relaying information from the books to him. I'll never forget walking down the hall during one of the class breaks and he says, "Um, honey - you never mentioned this, well um, mucus plug?" Haha yeah about that - I didn't think he would need to know about that one.
I also wrote down my birth plan - exactly what I wanted and what I needed Hubby to do. There were key words and situations listed for Hubby to remind me of and these were all scrawled on a piece of notebook paper and folded and kept in Hubby's pocket throughout the labour and delivery. I discussed my plan with my nurse and she was very accommodating. Hubby and I had gone through the list many times in the last weeks and I was confident in his support in helping me achieve my desired birth plan. And man did I need his support. As it turned out, he was the best birth partner and cheerleader I could have asked for.
In the end, I was able to achieve my goal and gave birth naturally. I believe that the way I brought my child into this world both shaped me as a person and as a mother. I felt invincible that day. Like Super Women. I looked fear in the face and a strong, courageous and confident mother was born.