In terms of mental and emotional preparation for a natural birth, was there anything you were really glad you did? Inversely, did you undergo any preparations that really weren't helpful? I'm curious about all of it - yoga practices, hynobabies practices and structured pain management classes?
Laszlo Jacob, 11/9/11
I did the Hypnobabies program twice, though I didn't use it while in labour either time. I still found it worth it. I LOVED the affirmations. Daily pregnancy affirmations are a must for me. Especially near the end. Filling up my heart and mind with positive thoughts and preparing for the mental side of labour.
I didn't take any prenatal classes or yoga. but I did swim during my first pregnancy and loved it. I wish I had the time during my second pregnancy.
I love my breastfeeding and husband coatched childbirth classes.
Hypnobabies was wonderful for me. I also found chiropractic visits very helpful with DD. Also, avoiding negative people and shutting my ears to the "you aren't really having a NCB, it hurts so much" talk was very important for me. I also found it important to connect with DH, explain to him why and what I wanted so he could advocate for me if needed (it wasn't, but it made me relax more, knowing he was on board).
Ethan - June 21, 2009
Olivia - December 5, 2010
5w3d - October/November 2012
My Ovulation Chart
First time around we did Bradley classes which we loved. Helped my confidence level enormously, and helped my husband gain a lot of knowledge.
I LOVE the book Easing Labor Pain : The Complete Guide to a More Comfortable and Rewarding Birth by Adrienne B. Lieberman. I put a lot of her relaxation techniques, and ones we learned from the Bradley classes, into use in my first delivery, and it was wonderful.
We prayed during labor, and God really helped me. I also had written out scriptures that I could read through during labor to help encourage me.
Low lights and music during labor were also helpful to me, I liked the calm atmosphere.
I read a lot of natural birth stories, mostly in Ina May's book, but some on here and online. We took the typical hospital class with DS1, which was not super helpful natural birth wise other than learning and practicing various labor positions. I think the most helpful thing was having lots of techniques in my "tool box" b/c in the heat of the moment, you don't quite know what will feel right. Through the class and the books I read (Ina May, Henci Goer, Hypnobirthing) I had various positions and pain coping mechanisms to pull from when the time came. Hope that makes sense.
Three things really helped me:
1) My Hypnobirthing Class: Not for it's pain management but because I took it with DH. It helped put us on the same page regarding his role how we'd approach our birth. We also took a class at my birth center and I don't feel we got quite the same education as we did through Hypnobirthing. Sure, we learned all the same basic stuff but I think the difference was that Hypnobirthing really hit it home for DH that he was going to be there as a participant and as my partner. It helped build his confidence too, which oddly enough was very important for us. During my birth I had these dueling feelings of complete helplessness and overwhelming power. It was very helpful during those periods of helplessness to feel like DH had things under control. He admitted after the birth that he was pretty petrified during the whole ordeal but he knew from our class that it was important to never let me know that.
I also found the rainbow relaxation CD to be a life-saver. I was having the usual difficulty sleeping at the end of my pregnancy and listening to the CD every night put me right to sleep. Practicing that relaxation may also have contributed to helping me relax during my labor.
2) Having confidence in my birth assistants. I truly adored my birth center and the MWs there. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful facility here in Tucson. If you aren't in the most natural birthing-friendly hospital, try your hardest to find a MW/doula/family member who will be there advocating for your wishes.
3) Having confidence in myself. I naturally have a "I can do anything" mentality. So, this part wasn't too hard for me. No one around me dared to question my devotion to NCB. If acquaintances ever said anything I shot them a look that probably scared them $hitless. Avoiding negative talk and steering clear of birth stories gone wrong is key. On several occasions I had to interrupt women and ask them not to continue with their horror stories. I was well aware of what could potentially go wrong but I didn't want to hear it. I read A LOT of beautiful NCB birth stories. It got me excited about my birth and solidified the sense that if all those women could do it, so could I.
Do what ever it takes to convince yourself that you can have a beautiful NCB. For me, it was knowing that women have been doing this all over the world for eons. I'm a biologist so I have a very strong belief that our bodies have evolved to do this job and our bodies will get us through it. I felt like I had statistics on my side. Chances were pretty good that things would go well if no one tried to mess things up. If that logic works for you, awesome! If you believe in a higher power, get in touch with that faith and channel it into your birth. However you do it, work on building your confidence that things will go your way.
I just had the hospital class which was surprisingly useful for me. Lots of practice with different positions and breathing techniques. The breathing technique was especially helpful when I was told to stop pushing, yikes.
I'm also glad that I prepared ahead by simply finding out what all my options and non-options were in my hospital and with my midwives at the time. I'm also glad I had a well-written birth plan, my nurse read and followed it well
I loved the Bradley book which helped me not with the "husband coaching" part (not for me at all!) But from the perspective of emotional guideposts--- how I would likely feel at each point during my labor.....
And reading lots of birth stories. Lots and lots of stories....positive stories and those that didn't go perfectly, so I could see how they might have ended up in that situation....
DD 8.03, DD 6.05, DS 3.07, DD 5.09, and DS arrived 6.17.12
I think having the right provider has been huge for me, with both births, even though I didn't end up having a NCB with DD, I was so glad I was with a CNM who respected me and not the OB I had been seeing up until about 34 weeks who was bad enough in prenatal visits, I can only imagine how horrible he would have been at the birth. He was bad. I had a great OB with DS, though (we moved to a new area when I was preg. with him)
I didn't find the hospital class I took with DD helpful. I did the Hypnobabies homestudy with DD and Hypnobabies is a great fit for me. I used it during the birth and the tools really helped me. I didn't use them at the end when I got completely overwhelmed by the intensity of things, but at that point there was no turning back and I was really glad that it helped get me to that point.
What I would consider the essentail NCB books are Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, the Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer, and Active Birth by Janet Balaskas--I read all of these in my first pregnancy and was glad I did.
I have done some prenatal yoga with both of my pregnancies, and I think there is value to it. I never really ended up feeling like I used any positions I practiced in either birth--did a lot of sitting on the birth ball, lying in the tub, kneeling on the adjusted hospital bed...ended up pushing in a semi-seated position both times, for different reasons...hoping to avoid getting stuck like that this time.