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Thread: What helped you get through labour and have a natural birth?

  1. #1

    Default What helped you get through labour and have a natural birth?

    Hi Ladies,



    I'm currently reading Juju's book 'Birth Skills'.
    While all the skills make sense and sound great I would really like to hear your own experiences.
    Did learning particular skills make labour easier for you?
    I really want a natural/drug free labour.
    It seems alot of women don't give birth these days without epidurals etc, is labour that unbearable that I won't cope without drugs? Whenever ppl ask and I say I don't want drugs etc they look at me like i'm mad, i've had ppl tell me i'm stupid because if I can have a relatively pain free labour over a very painful one why wouldn't I? And DH sister even told me I should consider an elective c-section, because it is better for me and baby.
    I'm scared of having interventions/c - sections or an epidural etc, if I can I want to labour and give birth naturally.
    Do you have any advice on what helped you prepare for labour?
    What got you through?
    Did you ever feel pressured to hurry up? I'm afraid that if I am progressing slowly that I will be told I need a c-section or forceps/vacuum etc.
    Are hospitals likely to try and make you hurry up or are they happy for your body to do things in it's own time?
    Basically I want to birth my baby naturally, in my body's own time & without drugs unless my baby or I are in distress or danger.
    I'm a first time mum & pretty nervous about the unknown, I don't know how painful it will be, if my body is capable and guess i'd like to know how you managed to get into the mindset that you could do it?
    And what skills really did work and what didn't?
    Thankyou Ladies, sorry for the ramble

  2. #2

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    -stalks thread-

    I could have written this myself. I have family support, my mother and aunt all had natural births (my mother 5, my aunt 4) and told me "Pssssh you dont need drugs!" haha. I'm also going to try and labour at home as long as possible, I too am scared the hospital will try and pressure me to hurry things along.

    Sorry I'm not much help at all, but I am really eager to see the responses

  3. #3

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    You know what you cant prepare for it 100% ...
    I would suggest you stop worrying about it and enjoy the pregnancy right this minute or else you will go mad with worry lol
    I have had two baby's and the two were totally different but vaginal births.... first one i had epi and vaccuum (long long labour) and second one i had one shot of peth and sucked on the gas (4 hr labour)
    I honestlt would suggest to you to have a open mind about how your baby comes into the world ok ...... yes you can try a drug free labour/birth or if it gets too much you can ask for some pain relieve...... we live in a time that drugs are there to be used in childbirth if you want to use them.
    Enjoy that growing bub and have an open mind

  4. #4

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    Hey Babyluv,

    I had a think about this and here is what I think helped me get through 2 drug free (if you don't count gas) labours and births. Both babies were not in the right position so they were 'difficult' with about 3 hours of pushing. But hey I don't really know any different

    I think not getting weighed down in the detail of your plan is important. such as "I want to walk around, be in the pool"... just go with what feels right at the time
    I expected it to hurt a lot! I secretly hoped I would be one of those women who woke up one morning with a cramp and had the baby before I got out of bed, but in reality I knew it would hurt. This is important too. When you read lovely birth stories take heart but I think expecting pain is important.
    Like you I DID NOT want intervention, and I think it was this sheer determination that got me through, With DD1 I was induced after my waters broke and I decided to choose my battles. I let them monitor me and out in an IV but I would have fought an unnecessary Caeser. My midwife was awesome too, kept everyone out of the room. I would probably fight the induction more now, having had a natural labour but who knows.
    Tell yourself, outloud if it works for you (does for me), that you can;t wait to meet your baby. I do this a lot in labour adn I think it helps me remember the baby and forget the labour...I say "comeon baby I can't wait to meet you" or look at my husband and say "We're having a baby". That sounds silly written but it changes the focus from whats happenning to the magic that is about to happen. And especially for my pushing marathons, it makes me keep going.

    Believe in yourself and your body! This is what it was made for! YOU CAN DO IT!
    And also remember, that necessary C-sections save lives. I thinks its important to not demonise intervention completely, because you could end up feeling awful after birth. Again focus on the fact that you have made another human. That is awesome. You will be holding your baby in your arms... YOU CAN DO IT!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by shan23 View Post
    -stalks thread-

    I could have written this myself. I have family support, my mother and aunt all had natural births (my mother 5, my aunt 4) and told me "Pssssh you dont need drugs!" haha. I'm also going to try and labour at home as long as possible, I too am scared the hospital will try and pressure me to hurry things along.

    Sorry I'm not much help at all, but I am really eager to see the responses
    Forgot about logistics, Labouring at home is sooo much better. I was hoping for a home birth with DS and got to 9cm in the peace and quiet (apart from my noisiness) of my home. SOOO nice. You feel safe, your partner can eat, go to the loo whenever etc. you can play your own music, have candles. Excellent point!

  6. #6

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    I intend on staying home as long as I can also, hospy is only 5 mins down the road!

  7. #7

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    Hi Babyluv and shan23.
    I'm just approaching my own first birth so can't speak from experience but I've also had people (some who haven't even had children) tell me to go straight for the drugs or epidural. This has really been getting on my nerves as I'm going through a birth centre which means those methods are not your first option.

    DH and I attended a Calm Birth class to help us prepare as a couple. It was great in that it defined my DH's role and gave me information and techniques to manage through labor, such as relaxation and visualisation.

    I think what's helped me is to understand the process of what the body actually does and to have faith my body can do it. The other factor for this is that as I understand it, fear of the process can increase pain, probably due to your resistance to the process. My main aim is to go with the flow, accept what happens and be surrounded by people who will support you and provide the loving environment you feel safe to birth in.

    As for intervention, from what I've learnt it may depend on your choice of care. There are generally greater intervention rates in private care vs public etc. Perhaps if you are worried about that consider a doula, or ensure your partner is aware of your wishes so they can stand up for you when you may be in a state not to do so for yourself. If they are forcing something on you which you are not sure about ask what options there are, what are the outcomes of each treatment path etc.

    Wishing you both well.

  8. #8

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    Three things helped me but thats not to say that the next time I will be able to birth DD with a natural delivery drug free. Lots of things can happen that can be out of your control, but what got me through was:

    *Hot water!!!! It helped ease the pain on my back and belly so much. Those hand held shower heads are like gold!!!! Just make sure you have a hot water supply that doesnt run out. I was in the shower at hospital for at least 2hours!

    *Positive self talk through labour (whch I feel allowed my body to progress). I can remember sitting in the shower at hossy saying to myself "I can do this" over and over again. It worked for long enough until it was too late to ask for an epi as I was at transition

    and

    *labour at home as long as possible.

  9. #9

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    Hi Babyluv

    there is no simple answer to your question, but there are a number of things you can do to maximise your chances of a natural drug free birth.

    1) believe in yourself. Believe in your body and your baby. Without confidence in your body's ability you will doubt and have fear, which will inhibit your birth journey.

    2) trust your caregiver. If you do not trust the person who is caring for you in labour you will not relax. Trusting that intervention, if suggested, is necessary for you in your particular case is important as well as trusting that no uneccesary intervention will be mentioned so you don't have to stress and can get busy with the business of giving birth

    3) stay at home as long as possible. Getting to hospital far too early is one of the most common mistakes first time mums make as it starts the official clock ticking on your labour.

    4) don't be scared to try a couple of paracetamol and a bath, this simple technique can get you through a long latent stage and onto an empowering birth.

    5) Have a plan. By this I don't mean a written in stone birth plan, but have some ideas about how you might cope. Some people find aromatherapy suits them, for me it was calmbirthing techniques. Others use deep breathing, positive birthing affirmations, or a combination of any of these.

    6) Prepare your body as for a marathon. Eat well, do simple exercise (such as walking). Labour is a hard slog and if you are strong you will have a much better chance of doing it without drugs.

    7) Have birth companions who believe in you. This may mean someone other than your partner, or someone in addition to your partner. Many women end up with an epidural because they feel bad for their partner who is unprepared for the pain they are in. Making sure the people who are supporting you in labour are supporting your labour ideals and prepared for them will maximise your chances.

    Natural drug free birth is very possible, I have done it 3 times (4 if you count the twins as 2) but having supportive birth companions and having a coping mechanism in place were vital to my success. Hopefully you will have the same experience, you certainly sound very motivated which is so important

    trav
    xx

  10. #10

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    I've never been through it and done it, but i've been there with a number of women who have.

    Keep and open mind. You never know what will happen until you get there. The key is to listen to your body, do what it is telling you to do.

    I think support is the big key though. have people in the room with you who will be there for you and with you, who will talk through it with you, for you to hold on to, who will then offer you drink, rub your back, whatever you need. People who want what is best for you (not what worked for them, because basically it might not work for you what they did) 90% of my work is me standing with the woman and just telling her to remember to breathe, that she is doing an amazing job (because she is!) and getting her though one contraction at a time, and then a few minutes later doing the exact same thing. That and I always say try everything, if it works great, if it doesnt, we try something else, whether if that is just changing position, or changing the track in the cd player. then when it does work, and it stops working we try something else.

    all the best with it. but also remember you still have a few months!! enjoy being pregnant for a while longer =)

  11. #11

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    I truely believe the decision re no drugs vs drugs can't really be made until the moemnt arrives. I have had an emergency CS where I had gas and laboured for 14 hours, failed epidural and ended up having a general anasthetic. This experience made me want a vaginal birth second time around.

    I had a diff Dr as we changed states and I told her at my first appointment I wanted a VBAC (and was prepared to fight for it). She was totally supportive and said "of course you can birth vaginally"!

    What helped me:

    I read everything I could about empowered active births, I laboured at home for as long as possible as my waters were intact. I was focussed and had a fabulous Dr who stayed by my side for the entire birth. I arrrived at hosp at 7am and my DD was born at midday. I walked around and kept telling myself that I COULD do this, my body knew what to do, my baby girl was ready, I was safe, and I looked upon every contraction as a good thing despite the incredible pain (posterior labour) and surprisingly I was ready to push by 10am.

    BUT, I pushed for 2 hours with no joy. I became exhausted, my baby girl became exhausted and my Dr spoke with me about options - forceps or another CS. Again she gave me the confidence to choose the forceps. So I went with an epidural and a forceps delivery.

    Despite the intervention I ended up having I achieved my dream.

    My baby girl arrived with me awake, no CS and was immediately placed on my chest. She BF while I was stitched and we were left to bond as a family for several hours in the delivery room before I was moved. She was beautiful, I have photos of her and sharing her first BF when she was minutes old and it was blissful...

    The power of a determined woman is a force to be reckoned with!

    Good luck, stay calm, stay focussed and anything/everything is possible! xx

  12. #12

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    Lots of reading, and thinking why i wanted the things i wanted and why i didn't want other things.

    "The thinking woman's guide to a better birth" is a great book. Books by Ina May Gaskin inspired me and let me know that birth can be done without intervention.

  13. #13

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    I don't think being scared of an epidural is enough. You need to be mentally aware and prepared. The thing that helped me the most was knowing that is was the best thing for me and my baby. Sure you can have a painfree labour, but at what cost? I made sure i knew all the risks of the pain relief options, so if i requested them i knew what could possibly happen. I have had two births, the first i was induced due to PE and had to have an epidural. I really didn't want one but i was at risk of having a stroke as my BP was very high so i agreed. My second was a drug free birth. I would, in a heartbeat, choose the drug free one. For many reasons it was a much more enjoyable and satisfying labour. I hope my next labour will be another drug free one.

    My way of dealing with the negative comments was not to tell anyone of my intentions! ;-)

    And what Polly says is spot on.....
    Believe in yourself and your body! This is what it was made for! YOU CAN DO IT!
    And also remember, that necessary C-sections save lives. I thinks its important to not demonise intervention completely, because you could end up feeling awful after birth. Again focus on the fact that you have made another human. That is awesome. You will be holding your baby in your arms... YOU CAN DO IT!
    I forgot to add, i labored for a long time in hospital with my second birth and i was not pressured at all. I just made it clear i wanted a drug free birth and not to offer my anything at any stage. When i asked for gas at transition mid-contraction the midwife said to me "are you sure?" And i said- post contraction "no, no i don't want it" This conversation continued for a few contractions, but having her question me helped me, as soon as the cx finished i didn't want it anymore!

  14. #14

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    i had midwives that were pro drug free labours so I didn't have a problem with being pushed to hurry up etc.
    However I was induced (I was 9 to 14 days overde... I had 2 due dates ) and constantly monitored with a CTG - i would have opted to be monitored weither i'd been induced or not so this didn't phase me the slightest.

    From what I have heard from other woman, it is very disapointing when you go in with this amazing birth plan and it all goes to pot. Your baby hasn't read your birth plan, and may have plans of their own. So I opted out on writing a schedule for how Jacksons birth was going to go.

    My advice would be to go in with an open mind, the difference between a drug free birth or a c/s could be the life of your baby. Go in not affraid of what your body is going to go thru, because it can handle it! Welcome each contraction as it's a step closer to your LO, and do what you need to do to get thru it. I found moaning to myself helpful & calming... even if it made me sounds like i was a cow XD

    Also, take a comb with you and during contractions dig the teeth of it into the fleshy part just below your fingers as hard as you can ROFL. It's a pressure point for pain

    GL! xx

  15. #15

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    Thankyou so much for your responses ladies.
    I am determined to birth my baby naturally (so long as bub isn't in danger), I guess I just need to work on my confidence & start telling myself my body can do this. I need to sit down with my OB and discuss my hopes. I don't feel like I really know him as the appointments i've had so far have been quick check the HB and off you go sort of appointments. It's hard to have confidence in someone when you haven't really had a chance to talk to them about your concerns and how they feel about natural birth/interventions/drugs/c-sections etc.
    As for interventions like vaccuum/forceps I need to be a little more open minded, if it was medically necessary then I would still get to hold my baby straight away and enjoy that skin/skin contact & immediate BF etc.
    So much to think about & consider but at the end of the day I guess I need to continue to prepare myself, expect pain, knowing it's good pain because it means bub is coming & also believe that this is what my body was made to do and that I can do it.
    Thanks for the encouragement and advice ladies

  16. #16

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    Traveller and Polly have some great points, among others.

    I have had 2 induced labours (both ARM and Synto) for medical reasons, and laboured drug free through both. BTW, I consider gas as a drug, but I know some don't.

    You totally have to believe that your body is built for birthing and that millions before have done what you are doing, even though you feel like you are the only one at the time. Keep telling yourself that you are strong, healthy, willing to do this.

    My midwives offered me drugs during both births, and my DH jumped in for me both times supporting my wishes and telling them that I wanted to do this by myself. Support is crucial. During my second labour (36 hour induction) I was starting to doubt my ability at the 33hr mark and nearly caved in. My DH was my rock and dealt with the midwives questions.

    Hot water is wonderful - for my short period without being connected to an IV - the shower was bliss. I hate to think how much water I wasted in that blissful hour.

    Try not to be scared. Being nervous is normal as you haven't experienced it before, but use this to your advantage and channel your energy into positive thoughts for you and your baby.

    GL with it all.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Junglemum View Post
    I made sure i knew all the risks of the pain relief options, so if i requested them i knew what could possibly happen. I have had two births, the first i was induced due to PE and had to have an epidural. I really didn't want one but i was at risk of having a stroke as my BP was very high so i agreed. My second was a drug free birth. I would, in a heartbeat, choose the drug free one. For many reasons it was a much more enjoyable and satisfying labour.
    Wow Junglemum that must have been scary for you & of course like you I would do what was medically necessary for myself and bub at the time. It's great that 2nd time round you got to have a drug free birth, was your BP high for that preg also? What does PE stand for?

  18. #18

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    Nellnell 36 hrs Wow well done! Did you feel at all like you were being pressured to hurry up? Was a CS ever suggested because you were labouring for such a long time? I want to be allowed to labour for as long as my body takes without feeling pressured to have a CS so long as bubs and I are not in danger & I guess I worry about wether or not the hospy might get tired of waiting if it takes a long time.

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