Thanks again everybody. Great tips!
Elizabeth and Cherrychip, so excited to see two people from my bb on here!
Mel - you're right, a big aspect of this for me right now is just the fear factor. I am definitely hoping that being better prepared will help me let go of some of that fear. I'm also hoping that it won't be quite *as* painful without pitocin. I don't have anything to compare it to, and I'm sure they are always painful, but that was the suck. So, hoping to avoid pitocin by avoiding the epi. That's the plan. ;)
Looking forward to getting to know all of you NCB ladies and hearing your stories. :)
This might make me sound like an ultra hippy. But I meditate regularly, its especially helpful for me when I have aches and pains. It has taught me to be in control of my body and breathing. I'm hoping that this helps with my birth. So if you don't want to spend too much money, you could get a guided meditation MP3 album. Some are as cheap as $5 on amazon. I have Deepak Chopra, Beth Freschi (which are both guided) and some Tibetan Singing Bowl albums when I'm not feeling in the mood to be guided. Haha. I keep telling DH that everyone is going to be very sick of Deepak Chopra when this baby is born.
I'm also reading Birthing from Within, also very hippy. Even makes you draw how you feel about birth. Haha. I rolled my eyes the first time I read about the drawings. I went to bed and woke up and started drawing. Kind of fun actually. The author always reminds you that "its ok to have fear." And it seems honest about the pain of labor. But guides you to cope with it. I'd say pick a natural birthing book that suits your personality the best. If I have time I might pick up Ina May's book. But I'm going the hospital route, and I hear its very anti-hospital...so I am not sure.
You can do it! :D
I did Hypnobirthing (slightly different from Hypnobabies) and while it was amazing in many ways and helped me feel educated and prepared, helped make my DH into a stellar birth partner, and helped me relax and sleep and be more comfortable in those uncomfy last months of pregnancy, I will say that I used almost none of it during my actual birth. Well, I used the education, of course, but all the relaxations and visualizations were far from my mind. My NCB was nothing I'd call easy, but I know for a fact that had I been in the hospital (I was at a birth center) without that background and confidence, I would have been an intervention-cascade story for SURE. (Lying down was a total no-go for me--made my contractions WAY more intense but also spaced out...I was also in active labor for 24 hours, "stuck" at 5-6 cm for most of that time. No way would a typical hospital have let me hang out in that stage for so long.) Instead, with the help of some solid preparation, good old fashioned stubbornness, and an amazing birth team that had my back every step of the way, I had the natural birth I dreamed of.
I am a total physical wimp. If I can do it, anyone can do it. We were MADE to do it. Just get your head in the game with whatever method makes the most sense to you, get a good, solid birth team on the same page (or as close as possible), and go have that baby :D
Thanks for the tips! Leigh, I will be having this birth at a hospital since I can't have a midwife, but I am hoping that they will allow as few interventions as necessary. I do know that my hospital is pro-mobility (before the epi, anyway) because I was allowed to get up and walk the halls as much as I wanted last time (before the epi.) Was also thinking we could bring our own birthing ball (it's just a balance ball, right? I have one of those) to have in the room with me. Does anyone suggest any other "gear" other than maybe my iPhone and headphones for music or meditation tracks?
Pro-mobility is a good start! Yep, a regular yoga ball will work for a birth ball. My most comfortable positions for most of my labor were either sitting on it on the floor with my head resting on the bed, or kneeling on the bed with my head/chest resting on the ball. Music is good...I had mine playing in a dock, not headphones, but I was in and out of tubs. The only other prop I needed was my husband :D
Urgh, I just lost several of the paragraphs I had written!! First, I wanted to say congrats! And welcome to the board.
I did do a NCB class, and the cost was something like $200 or $250 I guess, but it was also eight 2.5 hour sessions (8 weeks). It was much more than just a quick "here are some coping techniques". Every session had graduates from the previous class in sharing their birthing story and answering questions, which was hugely inspiring- especially as they sat there with their generally 1-2 mos old baby, and a success to share. We also covered nutrition, we had homework, she taught us stretches and exercises to do during pregnancy to prepare ourselves for birth, and then we also learned coping techniques. And we learned in detail about the stages of labor and what happens at each stage, etc, so that we would be better able to recognize what was going on, and where we were at. We also watched birth videos, practiced relaxation techniques in class, she gave us inspirational quotes, and so much more. One class session we even spent having a practice labor, where she threw circumstances at us, and we had to deal with them. That was good because it got most of us out of our "I'm just going to have the perfect birth" mindset, into the reality of sometimes having to choose the least invasive path, or whatever. Basically, none of what she did with us or gave us would be impossible to do on your own, but, it would take a heck of a lot of reading and motivation and time, etc, etc... and frankly, I know if I hadn't done the class, I wouldn't have done most of it. So, I will always say that was a great $200 spent!
I had an arsenal of techniques in my back pocket and I ended up being the stay still, don't touch me, turn the lights out and don't make any noise kind of laborer. So some might say I didn't use what I learned. But I don't think that is true. I think beyond all those coping strategies, what the class gave me was confidence to do what MY body was asking for. I went into labor dead set on not even BEING on the bed, because I just wasn't going to go there. Then I ended up being on the bed almost the whole time- on all fours or lying on my side.
One other thing I was going to say- in our very first class our instructor asked us to tell her how we deal with a headache or a stubbed toe. 10 minutes later, we had a whole white board full of coping techniques that are just as applicable to labor as they are to a headache or stubbed toe. Of course labor is generally more intense, and definitely more intimidating, because it's much more unknown- but it's just pain all the same. So if you're a jump around and swear kind of person when you stub your toe, maybe you'll be loud and active in labor too. Maybe you're a "if I don't move it won't hurt" kind of person (like me). Anyway, my point is there is no right answer, and knowing lots of options and having the courage to trust and honor what your body is telling you makes all the difference.
Obviously, we are all different, and we learn differently, and find our strength differently. I suck at home study kind of things- have always done better at learning in a group, out loud, etc. So whichever path you choose, I hope you find what works for you! And certainly, this board is always here for a, "you CAN do it!" and any other support you ask for. :)
Wow, Mara, I love and agree with everything you said there! I hope you don't mind if I copy most of it when people ask me this question in the future :D
LOVE the "how do you deal with normal pain" question...would have given me a clue about what an obnoxiously loud and restless laborer I would turn out to be :p
I also used the hypnobabies home study course. It was absolutely worth it, and I think the main thing it did for me was to change my perception of childbirth pain and help eliminate fears. I had a super fast labor, so I didn't have time to turn on my hypnobabies tracks (or even to think about hypnobabies at all) but I do think that the weeks of training went through still served me well. I was calm, and even now I do not think of my birth as painful. Intense, yes, but not painful.
Oooh, Buckeye, I would love to be able to call this birth "Intense but not painful." :D
Marite, that is a great point about how you deal with other kinds of pain. I'm a go very still and silent kind of gal myself - that's actually how I dealt with my last birth too. My mom came in and tried to talk to me, and I literally couldn't speak to her, I just panted "Can't talk right now" and went back to being dead silent and still. So maybe that is something I will use this pregnancy, just knowing that I feel that way. Hmmmm, very interesting. :)
I am bidding on a used copy of the Hypnobabies Home Study Course now, but if I lose the auction (I'm only willing to go up 5 more bucks on a used copy, and there is 2 days of bidding left!) then I will probably just buy a new copy from Amazon this weekend. I think homestudy will be the better choice for me simply because with work and taking care of T and my hubby being gone a lot (he is a teacher, but he is involved in a TON of after school clubs and activities) I have a hard time getting to regular classes.
Anyway, thanks for all of the encouragement and input. I am already feeling a lot more positive about this. :)
Congrats on your pregnancy! I can really relate to you. My first birthing experience was in a hospital, terribly painful and long. I was terrified during my next pregnancy. Unlike you, I was too scared to try to go natural the second time around and ended up getting an epidural right around transition time. Doh't!
With my third, I decided to go natural since my previous labor and delivery wasn't that bad. There aren't any nearby NCB classes and no midwives in the area. We decided to read as much as we could (we being mostly me :lol: ). The Bradley Method was our method of choice. It's a husband as coach method of relaxing and going with the pains. I also worked out a few times a week throughout the entire pregnancy.
On the day I had my little Simon, I knew I was in labor, but I was able to cope with the pain very well. My husband was there to remind me to keep my face loose and my body relaxed. We labored at home in the tub together, talking and joking around. The goal was to stay at home as long as possible. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I was able to handle the pain/work to such a degree that we didn't make it to the hospital delivery. I ended up having a homebirth assisted only by my husband. Now that may sound scary from the outside and it definitely wasn't planned, but it was the most awesome, beautiful experience of my life. :D
I thought I was a wimp and didn't know if I could handle a natural labor and birth and ended up handling it so well that we missed our window of time to go to the hospital. You might surprise yourself with your strength!
If you'd like to read more about my journey, my lodge is down below. Good luck to you!