Since I'm expecting our 8th and this has been on my mind recently, I would like to share with you how I prepare myself for natural, unmedicated childbirth.
I had an epidural with my first two births, but the third came so quickly there was no time for drugs.
During that third pregnancy, I had read about The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth and noticed that "pressure" was used in place of the word "pain".
That may have been why I was completely taken by surprise when the "pressure" turned out to be excruciating, gut wrenching, old fashioned PAIN. I remember trying to climb over the top of my bed, as if I might escape from it.
After it was all over, which amounted to about 15 minutes, I couldn't get the term "blunt force trauma" out of my head. I felt like I had been walking along, minding my own business, when I was suddenly hit by a Mack truck.
Once I had time to reflect on the whole thing, though, I realized the worst part was really not that long if I took into account the periods of rest between contractions.
With my next delivery, my fourth, I was much better prepared as far as what to expect from labor and delivery, and I was ready to give the natural, unmedicated birth another try.
It went much better than the time before because I eliminated the whole "panic and try to run away from the pain" response.
I still had moments of panic and telling screaming to my husband that "I CAN NOT DO THIS!" He calmly assured me that I really could and that it was almost over. That part probably lasted for less than five minutes, a significantly more manageable amount than the last time.
I could see that with each delivery I was more in control of how I responded to the pain, and that meant that I actually felt less discomfort from it.
When it came time to prepare for delivering my fifth, I had read The Birth Book by Dr. Sears and Mrs. Sears and was more determined than ever to control my mind and not let the pain get the best of me.
This would be my third natural, unmedicated delivery, and I was excited to employ what I had learned through the book and my own experiences.
That delivery was the best so far, but I still felt like there were those few minutes when I wasn't in control. Once again, I announced, "I CAN NOT DO THIS!" and my husband encouraged me to carry on.
My sixth labor and delivery were very similar to the fifth. Very manageable with only maybe 3-4 minutes I wish I could have remained calm.
During my seventh pregancy I read a new book, and had an epiphany about pain management that changed my thinking and my experience with labor and delivery.
To be continued.
For part 2, see my next post in this series, Preparing For Natural, Unmedicated Childbirth.