How I am Preparing for a Natural Hospital Birth
Photos: Amanda Paige
I have done so much research about giving birth. This is my first baby and I want to educate myself the best I can so I can make decisions based on what is best for myself mentally and physically. When I first got pregnant, I was all about having an epidural and doing whatever possible to not feel a thing. I was too afraid to read birth stories because of how horrifying some women describe their experiences. I know that everyone has a different experience and for some women, it is horrible. However, I am determined to have the best experience I can, while giving birth.
After I got over my fear of reading birth stories, I saw a pattern. The women who remembered their stories fully and seemed to enjoy their experiences gave birth unmedicated. The women who had bad experiences and couldn’t remember a lot of the process were medicated and had more interventions. I know there are exceptions to these, but for myself, I want to have the least interventions I could.
Hamilton and I decided to tour a birthing center, and we loved it. The environment was so homey and peaceful. It is definitely the kind of environment I would like to have a child. Unfortunately, it won’t work for this pregnancy. Next time we will prepare a little better so we can have our next baby at the birthing center. I was surprised that Hamilton was so about the birthing center, but he really loved it and loves what they’re doing.
Women have been having babies for forever! There are always special circumstances for an epidural or any medication. For me, I have a very low-risk pregnancy. Everything has gone extremely well and I have been very blessed so far. I am planning on having the most natural birth possible, at a hospital. I have no judgment towards women who choose to have pain medicine during birth, at all. I mean there’s definitely a chance that I will end up choosing to have pain meds! I am going into this with a plan and a certain mentality. You can read my birth plan here.
I have a few things I am working on and using to have a positive mentality. I am also talking to Hamilton constantly so he is aware of what I do and don’t want. I am also making him aware of things that could possibly help me with pain management.
Anyways, here are some things I am doing to prepare myself for a natural hospital birth:
/ I am packing some notecards with different birth affirmations.
“I accept this pain to welcome my baby into the world.”
“Soft jaw. Soft hands. Breathe.”
“The more I relax the more my body softens and expands.”
“This will not last forever.”
“You are going to feel like at some point you cannot do it…that is when your baby is coming.”
“You can do anything for a minute.”
This one is probably my favorite, “Our baby created in love will be birthed in love.”
For breathing techniques, I have some that I am keeping in mind. I am mostly going to wait and listen to my body and what seems to work best, at the time. Different things work for different people. I am prone to holding my breath when I’m exercising or in pain, so I have made sure Hamilton is looking out for that.
Short, shallow breaths
Long, deep breathes
Keep it repetitive and have a pattern, no matter what it is.
This kind of goes along with breathing. I have made a habit of meditating each night before bed. It relaxes me and helps me sleep better. I want to use this while I am in labor to keep my mind focused on the present moment and keep my breath steady, hopefully. When I start my meditations I typically start with taking long, deep breathes as I count to 5 both on my inhale and my exhale.
I am hoping this will help keep my mind in the moment so I can focus on what is happening to my body, more than the pain I will be experiencing.
When possible, I am going to try and rest. I am hoping that by staying home as long as I can, in the beginning, I will be able to relax and rest the most I can before heading to the hospital. I don’t want to be so exhausted that I can’t push when the time comes. I have no clue how long my labor will be so resting is very important, if possible.
/ Labor in whatever way I feel I need to/use gravity:
I will walk around, lay on my side, use a birthing ball, shower or whatever else I can or feel like doing. There are many things that people say help them while they are in labor. The main thing people say is that laying down can make the contractions much more intense. I think it’s important to use gravity to my advantage as much as possible. I want to use a birthing ball, squatting, and walking to my advantage to help the baby move down and get into position.
I am a firm believer that you are what you tell yourself you are. I have made a conscious effort lately of telling myself “I am strong. My body is made to do this.” I really think that a lot of things can be avoided and changed simply by changing our mindset. I have talked to Hamilton about these things and he is going to be helping me remember them the best he can.
Honestly, I am nervous but also so excited to have this baby! I know that giving birth is hard and it will challenge me but the process of having a baby is beautiful. I want to experience it and remember it.