Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Natural Childbirth- And All the Possible Disclaimers

This is a post I was leery of writing but was encouraged to by several friends. It's not a birth story but men, be warned, it's close. Birth is intensely personal. Most women go into it making the best decisions they can and then moving on with whatever happens. I find that most natural birth stories imply that's the best way to give birth so let me offer my disclaimer. 

I don't care how you have your babies. There are no varying degrees of womanhood that hinge upon the method of childbirth you choose (or have by necessity). 

I choose to try no meds with the first for three reasons. 
1. They leave that epidural in your back. That is totally freaky to me. Also they can have side effects, however rare they are. 
2. I tend to react in strange manners to meds so why add that possible complication to labor?
3. I didn't want anyone to have to tell me to push. (Ok, that was really a reason for #2 and #3.)

Now are there occasions when I would have an epidural? You better believe it! And a c-section would be very welcome in a medical emergency. That's why I prefer to be at the hospital even though I don't like everything about it.

I don't frequently bring up natural childbirth but I've had conversations lately with several women who wanted to attempt it. So here are some ways that I make labor and delivery more doable for myself. (And please, none of this is medical advice. I delay at home in labor as long as possible and it drives my husband crazy.  You might not should do that. Follow your doctor's advice, ok?) Here goes.

1. Keep it quiet. I want everyone to be quiet and leave me alone. Don't talk to me. Don't ask me questions. And certainly don't turn on the tv. (Some people really like music during labor. I'm afraid I would never want to listen to it again.)

2. Keep it calm.  I do not like to have people in my room. Although I'm relaxing about this- I actually let a student stay when I had my third. But less people equals less noise. 

3. Don't tense up during contractions. Purposefully relax even your big toe if you are tightening up. None of the dramatic hand-crushing tv scenarios. Sorry. 

4. Breathe slowly and deeply during contractions.  However I never did the lamaze breathing. 

5. Don't lie on your back. Nothing makes contractions worse than being on your back, especially if you are having back labor. 

5. Be nice to your nurses. It won't kill you, even if you are in labor. They won't mind if you don't chat it up or if you wait to answer a question until a contraction is over. But be kind. They are there to help you.

6. Pray. A "Jesus, help me" during each contraction will do. You don't have to get all flowery or eloquent. 

7. Remember "this too shall pass." Seriously, contractions come and go (back labor not so much though). You will eventually have that baby. Labor is not forever. 

This is obviously not a comprehensive look at labor and delivery or natural childbirth or anything really. I should include thoughts like "enjoy one of those popsicles before you get in transition and don't want one." Or "stay home and distract yourself for longer than you think is necessary because anything is nicer than hospitals and iv's before you have to do it." But I'll skip all of that. If you want to discuss more- email me

Give birth however works for you. I do know it is miraculous to realize what actually happens. A small human has grown in your body and you're about to hold him in your arms. Congratulations, Mama! 

P.S. Even though it's not the best quality picture, that is my absolute favorite mama picture up there!

And p.p.s. Don't say, "But it was all worth it, right?" especially if you're a man. It makes me want to punch you in the face. 


  1. I can't tell you how close this is to describing the things I've learned and am taking with me into my third labor coming up in November. My first delivery I was terrified and so tense and miserable but I really purposed to change that for my second and learned so much about how I can control myself even in the pain. God brought 1 Timothy 4:8 to mind and I kept repeating "God has not given us a spirit of fear but power, love and self-control." Not fearing this labor almost at all. I've learned God's grace is enough even in labor!

  2. Praying for you! That's approaching quickly! And yes, His grace is sufficient!

  3. Praying for you! That's approaching quickly! And yes, His grace is sufficient!