17 weeks into my pregnancy, I made the switch from OB to Midwife after deciding on pursuing a natural, unmedicated childbirth. This was my first pregnancy, so I had no idea what to expect. For the next 22 or so weeks, I watched tons of birthing videos on YouTube, and read all the stories and guides I could get my hands on. I was ready. Nothing was going to come my way that was unexpected.
And then...my water broke.
And the journey of a natural childbirth began.
1. How Fast It Goes - I know this isn't true for everyone, but it was true in my case. Actually, I've found that labor tends to seem to progress quicker in moms who go the unmedicated route. 2 hours after my water broke, contractions began. I labored at home for about 3 hours and got to the hospital when the contractions were unbearable.
(Now, when I say unbearable, I totally mean bearable. At the time, I questioned my abilities and even
asked screamed for the epidural. But, I'm still alive and well. So, totally bearable.)
But, by the time I got to the hospital, I was already at 8cm! You couldn't believe my excitement when they rushed me to the room, saying he would be making his arrival very soon. Less than three hours later, and he was here!
2. How Fast It's Over - This is not just a hill I'd been climbing for 6+ hours. It was a hill I'd been climbing for over 9 months! My slow and steady aches, pains, and discomfort had turned into an intense sprint to the finish. As the contractions grew, so did my excitement. Everything was building to this one single moment, and then...a cry. Your baby is placed on your chest. Your back no longer aches from carrying his weight. Your uterus no longer squeezes the life out of you. Your body no longer screams in pain. As fast as it began, labor is over. The pain is gone.
3. How Much You Feel - You feel everything. From the first crampy contraction, to your baby exiting your body. You feel it all. I know you expect that going in, but it's just incredible to actually experience it. Don't let that scare you though! I knew when my baby was ready to emerge from my body. I felt when I was ready to push - no one had to tell me. It was incredible to listen to my body like that. Little A came out with his hand by his face, and his cord wrapped around both his hand and his neck. It was extremely difficult to get him under my pelvic bone, and it was AMAZING to feel him moving through my body. It also benefited me exponentially. I knew when I was pushing my body to its limits, and when to back off. In turn, I had ZERO tearing! Little A wasn't a tiny baby either at 8lb 3oz.
4. I Wanted To Touch My Baby - Birth was such an intense bonding experience. Not just for me and my son as we worked together to bring him into the world, but between all 3 of us as a family. Big A and I were bringing forth life, and our little guy was working so hard to meet us. When you think about it, it's an extremely emotional experience. Near the end of my pregnancy, I had toyed with the idea of touching my son's head as he was crowing, but the thought kind of freaked me out. As his head emerged, I just had an overwhelming desire to touch my baby. To feel him. I can still feel the way his little head felt in my hand that day, I'm so happy I had that experience.
5. How Impressed With Yourself You'll Be - You just had a baby! YOU. You ALONE! You didn't need medicine, you didn't need help. You, your body, and your baby worked together, and you brought a living, breathing little human into the world. Congrats, mama.
Until next time,
Labels: 5 things, birth, labor, labor and delivery, natural birth, unmedicated birth