As I sat down to write this post I couldn’t help but laugh a little. The idea for writing about natural, unmedicated childbirth actually came to me today after talking to a bill collector. You read that right. A bill collector. This bill collector was not asking questions about natural birth of course. I called him to inquire about a medical bill that showed up on my credit report. I called because I had no idea what it was for or why it was being reported to my credit. He tells me the date of service was May of 2013, when I had my first baby…who is now 6 years old.
I’ll skip the rest of the story there, or save it for another post, but the point is it got me thinking about labor and delivery. If you asked the younger me if I would ever go through natural childbirth, that would have been a firm no. Heck, the much younger me didn’t even ever want to have kids to begin with, much less go through hours of excruciating pain to get them. Yet here we are. I have made it through three completely natural, unmedicated births and I live to tell the tales. And now, I am going to tell you what got me through it.
First, I need to add some disclaimers about my experience and knowledge of labor and delivery.
When I wrote about how to prepare for labor and delivery, I shared some about my experience with prenatal classes, which is none. I’ve never taken a birthing class, breathing class, a how to survive when you’re in pain class. None of it. I was already freaked out enough before having my first baby. So, I didn’t want to focus on it so much and over think even more than I naturally tend to do. For me personally, watching other women on videos give birth, and talking about it over and over just didn’t appeal to me.
I learned from the school of life when it comes to natural childbirth. I like to learn from experience, clearly. I am not against taking classes at all. You should do whatever makes you feel most prepared and at ease. However, I just needed to let you know that in case anything I suggest doesn’t align with what you learn in a prenatal class.
The 3 Simple Tricks I Used to Get Through Natural Birth 3 Times
1) Rubbing my hands together during contractions.
I know, that sounds really strange and not helpful. Stay with me though. During my first childbirth I was very tense. During each contraction I got through it by holding on to things for dear life. While sitting on the birthing ball, I held on to either Chris or the end of the bed. While laying in the bed, I held onto the side rail. By held on, I mean squeezed with the grip of a shark’s mouth. (Maybe I should have taken a class or two, haha.) The result of this was that my entire body was sore and achy for days afterwards.
I learned from that experience, to rub my hands together during contractions.
Taking deep breaths during contractions while rubbing my hands together, almost in a circular motion with palms flat and straight, kept me from grabbing onto things and in turn, tensing up my entire body. It also gave me something else to focus on. While laying, to keep my legs loose I would also just bend my knees and rock my legs side to side. Sitting on a birthing ball is a great way to stay sort of fluid in motion and not tense.
The difference it made for me was huge. When you tense up you naturally become more stressed. If you can keep your body calm, it goes along with keeping your mind calm. Doing this, I didn’t even break a sweat during my third natural birth.
2) I did not talk during childbirth, unless absolutely necessary.
For me, getting through natural birth was a mental challenge. I knew that women have been doing this since the beginning of time. This is what our bodies were made to do. Still, that obviously doesn’t make it an easy thing to do. Staying “in the zone” mentally was key for me. I put my headphones in, played music, closed my eyes and did not speak unless it was completely necessary. Even then, I kept it very short and to the point.
I’m not kidding when I tell you that I barely spoke a word. My first labor was about 13 hours long, my second was about 7-8 hours of active labor, and my third was induced, total time about 7-8 hours as well. I knew that if I got too caught up in talking about pain, answering questions, looking around the room, I would lose focus. I needed to be giving myself pep talks in my head, constantly reminding myself that the end was near.
Everyone is different, so you may not need to focus as much as I did, but it worked for me all three times.
3) Contractions are a good thing.
It’s really easy, and very natural, to dread that next contraction. They freakin’ hurt. No one wants to be in that kind of pain. It’s a mindset thing, though. Convincing myself that contractions are good and focusing on that helped to get me through labor and delivery.
Every time a contraction came during labor, I would take deep breaths, rub my hands together to stay loose, and talk to myself in my head about how great it was that another contraction was coming. One more contraction means you are closer to the end. One more contraction that is more intense means you are even closer to the end. Contractions bring you to meeting your baby. They are the wave you must ride to get to the reward at the end. Contractions are good.
So I just took you on a little trip into what might have been going on in my head during natural birth. But seriously, it worked. At the risk of sounding a little too hippy-dippy…
Train your mind to welcome each contraction, because each one gets you one step closer to the end.
I know it sounds crazy to tell you to get excited about contractions, because it’s no secret that they are really, really painful. And guess what? I’m not going to sugar coat it: they get worse as labor progresses. But rest assured, as they are becoming more intense, that is a good thing, because that means labor is progressing, and the end is near.
I know it’s super cliche to say that you will forget about your pain as soon as your baby is born, but it’s been said for years for a reason: it’s true. As soon as your baby is born, that’s it. All of that intense pain is just gone. You did it. And trust me when I say you will then feel like a warrior who can now go conquer the world. Because you are, whether you end up having natural childbirth or not. You just created a human being and brought it safely into the world. If you are able to do a natural birth, great! If you aren’t or opt not to, great!
I hope this post will help some women conquer natural birth if that is what you want. And I also hope, that if your plans have to change to safely bring your baby into this world and make sure you are both okay, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Have a birth story you want to share that could possibly be published as a guest post here? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. Don’t forget to pin this post and share it with the other pregnant mamas in your life!
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Hi, I’m Jessica! I am wife to Chris, and mom to Kaiper, Alana and Koa. I am a graphic designer, website developer and aspiring author. In this space, I share about everything from parenting, working from home, food we cook, and lots of things for kids! Learn more about me here.