I've heard stories of women who have mentally 'willed' themselves into labor. And boy, did I try!
No matter what mental effort I took on, or what empathy my doctor tried (hooking me up to stress machine during my last two appointments - she couldn't believe I hadn't gone into labor with the contractions, dilation and how low baby was!), it was a no go.
We scheduled an induction for two reasons:
1. We really wanted to buy some time before moving with the babe. This gave me two weeks (!).
2. Baby was really low, and the doc knew it'd be a fast labor. She thought having a baby in a hospital instead of somewhere else (a car!), was probably a bit of a stress reliever.
Here I am at 39 weeks (and that's the LONGEST I've ever been pregnant!).
Having it scheduled worked well, as we were able to have a sweet friend come over and hang out with our kiddos for the day while we were at the hospital. No crazy rush in the middle of the night.
It took about an hour for all the paperwork and everything to get set up. Once the kickstart of the meds came in, we spent the first hour or so just walking the halls. It's always a somewhat awkward time as your walking the same hallways over and over - full of eagerness, anticipation and impatience. Choosing a natural delivery (for the third time around), it's also a time to mentally 'prep' for what is coming!
After about an hour, I definitely began to notice intensity pick up in contractions. Not to the point of severe discomfort, but we'd walk and I'd need to slow down or stop for a moment. It was great to have Mike's company. His skill set consists of cracking endless jokes to keep things light. Which is great, until I can't laugh anymore from the pain of contractions. Then I just want to smack him for telling a joke at the worst time (to his credit, he really couldn't tell when they were coming quite yet).
We walked about :30 - :45 minutes, and then I knew I needed to stick to the hospital room. This hospital does about 90 - 95% epidurals with vaginal deliveries, and they knew I was planning a natural delivery, so they gave me a nurse that is a bit of an 'expert' with the smaller percent. She was a champ.
My favorite "tool" when working through labor really is a stability ball. It's awesome to sit on and rock in a circular direction to work through the contractions. And it's a great place to sit for back rubs. As the contractions intensify, I describe them as a building circle - I feel low in the abdomen, and then they carry forward and up in a circular direction. It continues to build as it travels back and down through my back. Eventually they get to an intensity where closing the eyes, breathing and repeating the phrase "the pain will eventually go away" is about all I can do until the pain actually does go away.
I lose all sense of time (tough to explain, but really happens!), but after hanging out on the stability ball, I just knew it was time to get into the bed. And I also could totally tell that I was nearing delivery.
Probably the biggest "trick" with a natural labor is the mental self talk. Really committing to the breath, being present and constantly repeating "the pain will go away." And then breathing some more!
The doc was in the room (along with a med student who was pumped to observe a natural delivery). The pain intensified at this point, and I just went internal. All focus on the breath and contraction until...the next contraction. But I just knew we were almost done.
At this point, I had a momentary panic. KNOWING what was coming suddenly burst into the realization that it was ACTUALLY happening again. I remember in-between contractions looking at Mike and saying "what was I thinking?!" But immediately was brought back into full concentration as the real deal was happening. Excitement stirred in me as I knew I was about to meet our sweet baby. I instantly felt a ton of pain and pressure.
Unbelievable pain and pressure physically, but mentally I felt in total control. I knew what was happening (I've done it twice before), and I knew the pain would go away. I took all my effort and strength into the present moment, and knew it'd be just fine.
Knowing that I'd need to push, and knowing htat I didn't want to push for a long time, I really just used all my strength. Literally.
One push and all of baby was out. The doc laughed a bit as she said "well, I'd hope to talk our med student through the delivery a bit, but that works too!" and then she said, "that's one way for a fast delivery!"
Amazing to hold that sweet, sweet newborn. What a miracle and gift of life. I can't even write the euphoric feeling it is to hold a sweet child, and the tears of gratitude that flow. Such a blessing to have. So much gratitude for the gift and opportunity to be a parent.
Yes, being a mom is hard. Challenging. I have good days and bad days. As each kid enters a different phase my "mom routine" gets challenged and changed. But I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to learn with them. To "behold my little ones" as Christ taught. These little ones really are what matter most, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be with them. Even if it is hard. And not glamorous!
Disclaimer: I share my story of natural birth, because it is what worked for me and our situation. While I think it really is the best fit for my body (I had an epidural the first time around and it was an all around negative experience), I don't think it's the best fit for EVERY body. Get my drift? If you're thinking about natural birth - talk to your doc! talk to those that have done it! talk to me! and then find what will be the best fit for YOUR body. I think modern medicine is a miracle and really can help! But I also know my body, and the birth experience and recovery with a natural delivery is exactly what worked for us.