I chose to have a natural birth at a birthing center. You may be thinking that I hate hospitals or I’m against epidurals but you’re wrong.
I chose a natural birth for two reasons.
1. I have had back issues for many years, and thought that a water birth would help soothe my back pain during labor.
2. A friend of mine had a natural birth at home, using the hypno birthing exercises, and described it as one of the best experiences of her life. She said she would do it again in a hearbeat. Barely any pain.
I found Austin Area Birthing Center (AABC) very quickly on my search for a midwife. I enjoyed meeting all the midwives during my appointments. If you don’t know, you rotate each appointment with a different midwife so you can become comfortable with all of them. On the day you go in to labor, whoever is on call will help deliver your baby.
I read a few birthing books, took the required birthing class at AABC, but didn’t take any hypno birthing classes. I did read in one natural birthing book about using a TENS unit to help with back pain. That sparked my interest, because I have used a TENS unit numerous times over the years for my back therapy. My mom was kind enough to lend me hers, and the night I went in to labor, I immediately put the TENS unit on my lower back. I started having real contractions at 1am on October 19 (my son’s due date). Most midwives will tell you that during those first hours of labor, you should keep yourself busy. I wanted my husband to get a full night’s rest, so I quietly snuck in to our living room and watched TV. I took a bath around 7am, and then woke up my husband with the news that we would meet our son that day. I contacted AABC, and by 10am my contractions were becoming much more intense. I was admitted to my room, which was basically a large bedroom with a king size bed, a bathroom, whirlpool and sitting area for family.
My midwife was great and so was the rest of the staff. She checked me every once in a while, but mostly left me alone with my family while I suffered through my contractions. Yes, I’m the one who lets the whole fam damily in the room. My mom, sister, husband, mother-in-law were there the whole day, and when I was actually pushing out my son…my father and father-in-law were in the room (my mom snuck them in). I didn’t care, I just wanted my baby OUT!
Back to my TENS unit…LIFE SAVER! If I can give one piece of advice to a first time pregnant woman, I would say this…use a TENS unit! You can actually rent them, and they are ok to use at the hospital as well. They don’t harm the baby or mama. Now if you are having an epidural, well, the drugs will help with the back pain : )
Funny thing about this whole process was that at a certain point during my labor, the pain was getting so intense, I decided to get in the tub. Big mistake. I took the TENS unit off my back so I wouldn’t get it wet, and I immediately felt like someone was stabbing me in the back. I started screaming and crying and said, “PUT IT BACK ON! PUT IT BACK ON!”. So I hopped right out of the whirlpool. I was kicking myself at that point thinking this natural birth was a good idea.
At one point I threw up and felt like I was going to pass out the pain was so intense. I walked around during most of my contractions, and a lot of times I would go in to the bathroom and shut the door so I could work through them alone. It’s amazing, but I didn’t swear once during the entire process. Very weird. I was definitely praying to Jesus. But FINALLY around 5:30pm it was time to start pushing. I went to the bed, and there my midwife had to actually break my water. My husband kept saying “I can see his head”, and my sister was acting as my coach counting down as I pushed. At one point, my midwife said, “Here he is, do you want to grab him?” and then I pulled a Kardashian move, and reached my arms between my legs and put my hands under his tiny arm pits and pulled him the rest of the way out. That was pretty amazing.
Other than the extreme pain, my natural birthing experience was great. Will I do it again? Absolutely not. I want the option to have an epidural next time around.
Did you choose a natural birth? If so, why? Did you birth at a birthing center or at home?