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Just 5 and a half short weeks separate me from meeting Baby #3. And, though I’ve been in disbelief for most of this pregnancy, it’s all starting to get real. Really real.
See, I know that in order to meet this beautiful new baby, I first have to endure childbirth. Beautiful, terrifying, childbirth.
For those who are new around here, you may not know that I prepared myself for an unmedicated childbirth 6 years ago with our son. I took Bradley Method birthing classes (12 weeks of intensive classes) and readied myself accordingly; but after 24-hours of awful labor, I finally gave in to an epidural.
With our daughter, just 2 years ago, I felt much more prepared — having been through labor before, but also knowing things they just can’t teach in childbirth classes — and I labored without medication and delivered Remy just a few hours later.
But I’m still nervous about the prospect of childbirth. There’s always the fear of the unknown — of not knowing how this labor will progress; when this labor will begin; and what state I’ll be in.
1. Educate yourself.
I’m going to be honest — I have a passion for self-education. But what fueled that fire even more? Taking a birthing class. As mentioned above, I chose the Bradley Method birthing course because of its focus on natural, unmedicated, birthing education. It was 12-weeks of classes. Twelve very intensive weeks. I learned so much and it opened up my eyes to so much.
2. Have a plan.
… a birth plan, that is. Know exactly what you will and will not do when it’s go-time. My main points to be noted for my nurses and my doctors is that I would prefer (a) to only have a Hep-Lock (or a Saline Lock), which is basically an IV catheter, and (b) having intermittent monitoring versus constant monitoring.
Basically, to state this at the beginning of admittance is saying “Here, nurses + doctors: The IV is ready if needed and I will monitor as you see fit; but that also means that I can get up and labor out of bed, without restrictions.”
Know what you want your restrictions to be and write them down. Yes, write them down, type them out, or have a list on your phone of things you want done. Whatever you do, be prepared to communicate with your team!
3. Have a support system.
My husband sat through every second of those 12 weeks of childbirth classes. It not only helped us to be on the same page with what we wanted our labor and delivery experience to be; but it helped him to become more comfortable with the fact that he would be seeing me in a tremendous amount of pain.
Sure, later, he admitted that it was incredibly difficult to watch me and be unable to make the pain stop; but he did exactly what I needed him to do in those moments.
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
I cannot say this enough. I think the downfall of my first delivery was that I started laboring while dehydrated (turns out iced coffee doesn’t boast excellent hydration…). And, from there, the dehydration sort of snowballed. And the cramping was excruciating because my body just couldn’t keep up.
When I felt the beginning contractions with baby number 2, I immediately kicked up my water intake. I was already drinking lots and lots of water; but I just started drinking even more of it! And to NOT be battling dehydration while laboring was a HUGE benefit. I swear that this is what helped me make my way through contractions.
5. Be prepared.
Make sure your hospital bag is packed — and packed with the items that will help you. I feel immensely more weak when I am nauseous; knowing this, I packed several essential oils that helped ease my nausea. Between lavender and peppermint oil, I would stick a couple of drops in my hands and just sniff them when I got hit with a wave of nausea.
I also found music that was comforting to me. I didn’t know what that music would be before my contractions started; but once I found a few songs that helped me to focus, I played them on repeat. (Unrelated: To this day, those songs make me incredibly emotional, just bringing back thoughts of those final moments before I met her.)
6. Know that you are capable.
I still think back on both of my experiences and am so proud for what I accomplished — bringing a new life into this world is no easy feat! I know that if I hadn’t been so sick with my first labor, I could have done it without that epidural; but actually doing it the second time around? Was life-changing. I felt so strong and so powerful.
If you’ve been through childbirth,
what would you recommend doing to support
an unmedicated labor and delivery?