Monday, November 23, 2009

Preparing For Natural, Unmedicated Childbirth

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See Natural, Unmedicated Childbirth: How I Prepare for Part 1 of this series.

In the time between my 6th and 7th pregnancies, I read A Midwife's Story which I found to be a fascinating and informative book detailing how modern day Amish women give birth at home with little to no complications. I found it so interesting to read about how they took childbirth to be another normal part of life, a regular bodily function.

Around that time, something happened that was a lightbulb moment for me concerning childbirth.  Our entire family came down with a severe stomach virus, with vomiting every 15-20 minutes. (I still to refer to this as The Dark Days of Aught Seven, but that's another story.) It was awful for all of us, but I took special notice of the way two of my children handled their illnesses differently.

The more dramatic sister would cry and thrash and scream out every 15 minutes, "Mommy! Help me! Make it stop! NO! NO! I don't want to throw up! It's going to HURRRRT!!!"

The other sister would lay very still and quiet, curled up like a cat in the corner of the couch. Every 15 minutes she would lift one finger and signal to me that she needed the bucket. She would do what must be done and silently lay her head back down. When I would wipe her forehead with a cool cloth, if it bothered her, she would gently brush my hand away and I understood she needed to be left alone.

I immediately took note of the difference and thought, "Drama Girl is making what is unpleasant ten times worse by her reaction to it.  Kitty Cat Girl is doing what must be done and preserving her energy to cope with the pain in a way that minimizes it."

I thought of the birth experience I had when I acted like Drama Girl and how frightening and painful it was. I remembered in the books I had read about childbirth, how the mothers talked about remaining calm and focusing on something during the contractions that helped them work with the pain, instead of trying to block out the pain.

I filed that away and when I became pregnant with number seven, I knew I wanted to employ that technique.

I had read about women thinking of a flower opening, or waves crashing, or bicycling up an incline to help them relax and focus and work through the contractions. I also knew that the most powerful contractions lasted up to a full 60 seconds, so I wanted to come up with something I could focus on for a full minute that would keep me calm and working with my contractions throughout their duration.

That's when I thought of the perfect idea!

To be continued.
See Natural, Unmedicated Childbirth Part 3

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I am blessed! said...

I'm pretty calm until the baby is actually coming out then I usually yell that I'm going to die or something really embarassing like that. My poor husband would really like for me to have an epidural, but I'm just too chicken.

Lisa said...

I'm so glad you're doing a feature on natural childbirth Connie. Before the birth of my first daughter I read "Birth Skills" by Juju Sundin and Sarah Murdoch. It details all the skills you are talking about (staying calm, focusing on something etc) and is a GREAT book for anyone wanting natural childbirth! I highly recommend it!!

Kara said...

Can't wait to find out what you came up with to focus for a full minute.

Nicki said...

Interesting posts! I've had all 4 of my children at home, and only on number 4 was I able to actually be in control. I didn't even need to be told 'when' to push. I just knew!

...they call me mommy... said...

...leave us hanging, huh? :-) ;)

jennybell said...

I am loving this series, although I wish I had read something like this when I was pregnant with my one and only. I had the Bradley classes, but I had never really thought about what the experience would be like. My husband tried to talk me out of the epidural, but he really wasn't strong enough. I so wish he had.

Kimarie @ Cardamom's Pod said...

It's so good to prepare now - perspective is EVERYTHING. I often thought of a hill (never thought of a bike) - I figured I only had to work through HALF a contraction as everything intensified. The second half was just coasting (so maybe that's where the bike comes in...).

Just talked to a friend of mine today who has 11 children, and we were comparing roller coasters to labor (and life!). If you tense up, the twists and turns are harder to deal with. But if you relax and take things in stride, even try to enjoy it, the ride is much easier.

Hope you are feeling well! Do you get a lot of morning sickness? I hope not...

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