It’s a bit of a random post to come from me; a natural birth as we approach Christmas but I often think about my birth stories with both the gremlin and little Piglet. I was very lucky, as I had exactly the types of births I wanted for them.
I’d not specifically planned my births as was a firm believer you do have to go with the flow when it comes to labour. It’s either going to work out or you are going to need some help; whether it be drugs, epidural, an assisted birth or a C Section. I do believe as well there is absolutely no point beating yourself up. I know I would have felt disappointed if I’d not had the birth I wanted but I hope I’d have had the mindset to realise there would have been nothing I could have done. Ultimately a healthy baby is paramount.
I do however believe, if you are destined to have a vaginal birth there are things you can do to make it as natural as possible. Some people are ALL about the drugs and others not so much. I was in the latter camp and wanted to keep it as natural as possible, even though I had no clue about how much it was going to flipping hurt.
So here are my top tips (I’m not a doctor or midwife; this is just what worked for me):
– Try to stay at home for as long as possible. I know everyone’s pain threshold is different and there is that fear that you need to get to hospital but in the early stages it’s best to be at home. I managed to get to 8cm dilation at home with both girls. It was more relaxing to be in my home environment. I called the midwives, ate, watched telly and had a couple of baths. This really helped until it got too much.
– Try some natural pain killers. My secret weapon was a TENS machine. With little Piglet, hubby bought it literally a day before she went into labour. They are brilliant; take the focus away from the pain and help so much with staying at home for so long.
– Frame your mindset. Some ladies go in for hypnobirthing. Some use breathing. I used deep breathing to get through my contractions and a few things some other ladies had told me really helped. One was, “I know what this pain is, it will be over and I will get the best thing ever at the end!” Another Mum advised me, “You coped with a contraction, you know it’s only going to get worse, so you can do it! Eventually it won’t get any worse and if you have got that far, you will be ready to push!!”
– Have a birth partner who makes you feel the safest. For my first baby, this was actually my Mum. My labour went on for a while and hubby couldn’t do a lot in the early stages. I kind of figured if my Mum said it was ok, then I was ok, so I stayed at home.
– Eat regularly if you can and are not nauseous. Base your meals and snacks on starchy carbohydrates, like toast, cereal bars and cereal. Fruit is a good snack and if you can eat meals, do so. I managed a boiled egg with toast and nutella before Piglet. I managed a flipping BBQ before the gremlin. I kid you not.
– Keep moving about. I used the birth ball for the gremlin and pottered around the house with Piglet. I definitely think labour progressed more, as I moved.
– If you can get in the water for your birth, try it. I found it so relaxing. The pain definitely got better and I loved the idea of birthing my girls directly into the water. They came out pretty clean too!!
Every birth is unique. Every baby is different and we all have so many different stories to tell about labour and childbirth.
I hope anyone reading this has the experience they want and lots of luck!