I chose to give birth at a birth center rather than the hospital or a home birth for both of my children. I knew that I didn’t want to give birth in a hospital because I have had some negative experiences in hospitals and knew that I wouldn’t be comfortable to have my children in one. And, I wanted to be able to eat, drink, and move around during labor. My mom had very long labors, so I wanted to be able to move around to get things going as much as possible in the event of a long labor.
With my first birth, my husband and I decided that although we didn’t want a hospital birth, we weren’t comfortable enough to have a home birth. We wanted to be somewhere closer to the hospital in case we needed to transfer. We also wanted the mess of birth to be somewhere else to clean up rather than in our home.
So, off to the birth center we went. We couldn’t have had a more amazing and beautiful experience there. That’s why when we got pregnant again, we decided to go back.
Not long after my husband and I got married, we had a pregnancy scare. Not that it was a “scare” because we always wanted to have kids.
But I was scared.
I was freaked out, in fact. I wanted to have a kid, but I didn’t want to give birth. After I saw that minus sign on the pregnancy test and felt that sweet relief, I knew it was time to educate myself on birth and how to have a good one.
It was time to prepare for labor.
I knew that there had to be some positive experiences out there. But the culture I grew up in had so ingrained in me that birth was scary, painful, and dangerous even. And, there were stories to back this up.
When I was pregnant with my first, I remember meeting another pregnant woman who was in her third trimester. I was still early in my first trimester so I asked her if she was feeling excited or nervous preparing for birth.
“Oh, I’m terrified!” She replied.
I was shocked.
Why would you feel terrified of birth?
After all of the reading and studying about the natural process of birth, I didn’t see any reason to be afraid.
I felt sorry for her, but I also didn’t know what to say. As it was my first pregnancy, I had never been through birth to tell her that all her fears were unfounded.
I had doulas for both of my births and I loved them! Looking back, I wouldn’t give up having a doula even if you paid me.
This helped especially during my long, marathon first labor.
If it hadn’t been for my doula during that labor, and if I had been in the hospital where different options for pain are available, I may have given up and probably would have ended up with a c-section.
For both births, the doulas helped me cope with the intensity of contractions through various techniques such as changing positions, massage, and verbal affirmations.
You may have read my second birth story here on my blog. But, as with most things in life, there’s always more to the story.
I have recently re-written my birth story adding details such as my experience with placenta encapsulation, how I treated Group B Strep during labor (without the IV), and how my midwife saved me from an emergency C-section.
Whether or not you choose to get an epidural during labor, you will need to cope with a certain amount of contractions. Because hospitals recommend not getting the epidural until you’re dilated because it can slow down labor, you will need to cope with early labor contractions. But, contractions don’t have to be painful and you can avoid pain in labor.
What hospitals don’t always tell you is that they can only give you an epidural during a certain timeframe. And that window of time can be very small. Especially if you dilate quickly.
If you’re too far dilated, then it can be too late.
So, even if you want the epidural, you should prepare yourself and learn how to avoid painful contractions just in case you can’t get the epidural for some reason.
By no fault of their own, I had many well-intending people warn me that my second labor would be much harder than my first. This, as you can imagine, was not what I wanted to hear when pregnant with our second baby.
I would smile and nod.
When you’re pregnant, you have to work hard to not only grow a baby, but also keep a peaceful environment around you (and in your head!).
Take my word for it, if you don’t have something nice to say to a pregnant lady, don’t say nothin’ at all.