When I was preparing myself for labor with my first child, I did a ton of research on natural birth. I was determined to have a drug-free birth for my baby.
But that didn’t happen.
After watching every birth movie and book I could find for months, my baby was born via emergency cesarean section after four exhausting days of labor.
I had a lot of guilt about not being able to follow through with my plan. So I prepared differently the second time around. I found a village of awesome women to support me, I surrounded myself with positive birth affirmations posted around my house and I had more people around me.
I was able to have the drug-free natural birth I wanted.
It wasn’t easy. It took a lot of preparation and a whole team of people. Here are some notables.
Midwife or Supportive OB
When my mom had an emergency c-section with my little brother, she was told by her doctor that all of her babies after that had to be delivered via C-section as a safety precaution. So when I was pregnant, I did my own research and searched for a care provider that was supportive of my want for a natural birth.
When I met the Stony Brook Midwives, I felt as if I could breathe a little easier. I didn’t even write a birth plan because everything that I would have requested, was a normal part of their routine.
I wasn’t sure how to achieve a natural birth with my second baby after my c-section with my first. My friend Jenn pointed me to this group on Facebook to help me deal with some of the birth trauma from my first labor. The ladies in here listened as I spoke about my birth trauma from my first labor. They helped me through my anxiety and made me feel confident that things would be better a second time around.
I read their natural birth stories and I felt like I knew rockstars. They did it, so I felt like I could too.
When I was pregnant the second time, every time someone asked me about laboring again, all the birth trauma from my first labor came rushing back to me. People would tell me their horror stories about labor, without knowing that I was already terrified of having to labor again. That didn’t help.
Talking about labor in a birth circle was a very different experience. I was surrounded by women that worked in the birth world or had successful natural births. I even met a nurse that worked on the labor and delivery floor in Stony Brook. She listened to my story and knew how much I wanted it. And luck was on my side the night I went in to labor because she was working and got assigned to me.
The next birth circle is on Tuesday, May 31, at 7 p.m. at the Patchogue-Medford Library.
The Bradley Method of birthing is a partner-based coaching plan. This class doesn’t just teach a pregnant mom what she needs to do in labor. It teaches her birth partner, what he needs to do to support her during labor. This class teaches your partner exactly where they need to apply pressure during contractions, what unnecessary interventions could stall your labor and exactly what stage of labor you’re in when when she starts saying she can’t do it anymore. These classes really helped me just breathe through contractions instead of tense up during them.
And my partner knew exactly what to do and when.
The Village Sprout offers this course for expecting parents right here close to home.
Hire a Doula
A doula helps a mother and partner get the birth experience they want. The first time around, I wanted a doula but I didn’t think I could spare the expense. After having one for my second time, I’m here to tell you that a doula is worth every single penny. She helped organize a mothers blessing ceremony for me which included collecting inspirational drawings from all of my friends and their kids.
She drove us to the hospital, took pictures during my labor, helped me remember my meditation practices and even got my partner coffee when he was tired. She helped me deal with labor when I thought I couldn’t deal with it anymore.
The Long Island Doula Association can help you find a doula in your area, in your price range and with availability in your birth month.
When I was in labor with my first, my mom wanted to come but I told her no because I just wanted a moment with my new family. She even waited up all night to hear how we were doing, still asking if she could come help. But the second time around, I knew I needed a little mothering touch to help me. She got up in the middle of the night to help me on one of the most important days of my life.
She rubbed my back during every contraction, put essential oils all over me and was one of the first people to hold my daughter. She picked up on my cues of what I needed and when. Without saying anything, she knew if I was feeling too hot or if I needed everyone to be quiet or just leave me alone.
She was such an essential part of my success.