Thursday, June 11, 2015

Birth Naturally

So I'm back (again) it's getting old right - that I just can't be a normal blogger who has her business together and posts at a frequent and normal rate. Well I have three kids now so normal and regular aren't words that you're going to find around here. I thought that I would post extensively about natural pregnancy but that's just not where my passions lie. I think that it's important for sure but I just don't feel super inclined to sit and write posts about what I did with myself while I was pregnant. I will post a little diddy about glucose testing later on but that's going to be the extent of it. What I am really passionate about is mindful births and natural child rearing. So I'm going to be posting more about that. Nothing crazy just simple steps that I find helpful for me and my brood.

On the subject of child birth while it's still fresh on my mind. A little flashback to the first time I was pregnant - I was young and naive and I thought that if you listened to the doctors and showed up at the hospital all would be well. I thought I would know what to do and that would be that. Carry the babe for 9 months, go to the hospital, baby comes out - done deal. Well long story short my daughter's birth didn't go anything like I expected. I had to be on antibiotics, they tried an epidural which failed and they ended up giving me stadol which made the baby and I VERY out of it. Consequently we also had a really hard time breastfeeding and my daughter was very sleepy and lethargic for the first few days. Studies now show that use of some pain medications during labor impairs breastfeeding. See that information here and here. Any medication given during pregnancy transfers to the baby. Would you willing give your infant a narcotic? Probably not. Why don't they tell you this? Well my guess is that dealing with a vociferous natural birthing mother is most likely much more burdensome for doctors than a knocked out submissive one. My first birth experience felt very out of control. I didn't feel as though I had a grasp on what was going on or what was happening to me, it was just left up to others to decide what was best for me and my baby. In the end, although she made it here just fine, I didn't love the experience that I had bringing her into the world nor the troublesome experience of breastfeeding failure.

When I became pregnant with our second baby I researched birth like a crazy women. Every book, movie, or blog that I could get my hands on. I was devouring information about birth. Hours and days of my life have been spent reading about birth. While researching one night I came across a documentary about birth called, The Business of Being Born and it opened my mind to a whole new side of birth. To anyone who is pregnant or who might be pregnant in the future I REALLY recommend that you give it a look. After months of research, at around 7 months pregnant with my second, I settled on having a natural birth. I went over things with my OB and the plan was set into motion. Long and short of it, baby number two came naturally, beautifully and just how I imagined. He breastfed immediately and successfully. By far one of the greatest choices and experiences of my life.

Fast forward six whole years and I'm pregnant again. As you've read before, I was in denial for most of that pregnancy and was just going through the motions until around 7 months when my OB started to talk to me about birth and what I wanted to do in regards to it. I was like, "oh yeah that!" So I got back into researching. I was reminded that if there was a next time, that I had wanted to go the midwife route but I felt like at this point it was too late for that so I just stayed with my OB and figured out a birth plan for baby #3. It is possible to have a natural birth in a hospital with an OB but you sometimes feel as though you're rubbing against the grain. To make it doable you need to have a strong support person who knows what you want and is willing to advocate for you and it would be really helpful to hire a doula and definitely definitely write up a birth plan to discuss with your OB.

I am a huge advocate for natural birth for a couple of reasons. One being that women having been birthing babies naturally for thousands of years and most women around the world still birth babies naturally. Women are a strong species that can grow another human and then have the strength to bring that human into the world. It is a beautiful experience to be fully present for. It is also a great source of accomplishment and strength to be able to draw upon. If you can birth a person there's not much else that you can't do. I know that it's not for everyone but if nothing else be your own advocate and arm yourself with information on both sides so that you are fully aware of your options and their implications.

I'm not going to sit here and type out my entire labor and delivery because I rarely read it when others do it, it is interesting enough but that's not the point of this post. What is important to me is that when you enter into the birth process that you are armed with multitudes of information about laboring and delivering your baby. That you have a birth that feels comfortable to you. Also that you do some research as to what procedures are common to give to your newborn after he/she is born. Know everything before hand and know what you want to have happen and why. Know the pros and cons of pain medications and interventions during labor and how it effects babies after birth and subsequent breastfeeding. Take control of your birthing process and don't settle for procedures that are done because they are routine. Question everything, have as much information possible and dare to have your best birth possible. Remember at the end of the day you are paying the hospital/birthing center so they work for you. You tell them how you want it to go not the other way around.

Below I listed some of my favorite blogs and books about birth. Feel free to read them or email/comment if you have any questions. I'll also post my birth plan with baby M so that you can see what a birth plan might look like and tweak it in your favor.

Birth Without Fear

Anything by Ina May Gaskin

This post by Wellness Mama

Birthing Naturally

The Business of Being Born - This is the movie on YouTube

Here's my birth plan below - Sorry that the formatting of it is so wonky I messed with it for far to long so it is what it is!!


Natural Birth Plan for Rachael

Mother’s Date of Birth:                           Baby’s Due Date: 2/17/2015
Doctor:                                                         Hospital:

    -My delivery is planned to be a natural vaginal birth without interventions.

Early Labor –

   -Labor at home as long as possible

Induction (Only if medically necessary) –

   -Prefer not to be induced as long as my baby and I are fine
   -If my water breaks prior to labor I would like to wait maximum of 18 hours before inducing
   -Non-chemical induction methods to be tried first

Labor and Birth Environment –

   -My husband will be present at all times
   -Quiet music played (I will provide)
   -Minimal interruptions
   -No visitors or other family members present
   -No phone calls allowed into the room

I am not interested in –

   -Pain medication
  -An IV, unless medically necessary and approved by either my husband or I.
  -Continuous fetal monitoring – I would like to be up and moving around
   -Inducing labor in any way - as long as my baby and I are fine

First Stage of Labor (Active Labor) –

    --If available I would like to use – birthing ball, bath tub, shower, birthing stool
   -To be free to walk and move aroun
    -To stay hydrated with clear liquids and ice chips
   -I will handle the pain using – movement, breathing, massage, bath, shower, position changes and walking
   -I prefer the baby to be monitored intermittently using a Doppler
   -I do not want pain medications offered to me
   -As long as my baby and I are fine, I would like to be free of time limits and refrain from inducing labor

Transition –

   -Do not offer pain medication 

Second Stage (Pushing) –

   -I would like to push instinctively
   -As long as my baby and I are fine, I would like to be free to push in positions of my choosing.
Including but not limited to – squatting, lying on my side, semi – reclined, hands and knees
   -Try massage, changing positions, and warm compresses to avoid tearing or an episiotomy
   -Avoid having an episiotomy unless determined medically necessary. If an episiotomy is deemed      medically necessary please use local anesthesia during repair
   -Avoid forceps and vacuum usage
   -Allow position change if the shoulders are “stuck”
   -Avoid pulling my baby out in any way

Third Stage –

   -Hold my baby on my chest immediately after birth
   -Wait two minutes to cut the umbilical cord
   -My husband will cut the umbilical cord
   -Deliver the placenta without pulling or Pitocin

Newborn Procedures –

   -Postpone all new born procedures for 45 minutes after birth - except for suctioning and wiping off      the baby
   -Please use diapers and wipes that are provided
   -I would like all newborn procedures to take place in my or my husband’s presence
   -My husband or I will stay with our baby at all times
   -I would like to breastfeed my baby following birth
   -I do not want antibiotics to be put in my baby’s eyes. I will sign a waiver if necessary
   -I do not want any vaccinations administered to my baby with acceptation of vitamin K shot
   -No bottles, no pacifiers, no sugar water, no formula

If a C-Section is medically necessary –

   -Make sure that all other options have been exhausted
   -I would like a second opinion
   -My husband will remain with me at all times
   -I will remain conscious
   -My hands to be left free
   -My husband will hold our baby as soon as possible
   -I will breastfeed in the recovery room
   -Preference of my baby remaining in the recovery room with me

If the Baby is Not Well –

   -My husband will accompany the baby to the NICU or to any other location
   -I will breastfeed or provide pumped breast milk
   -My husband or I will hold our baby as much as possible

Thank you for taking the time to help us achieve a natural and peaceful childbirth for our third child!

-Aaaand scene! That was a long and inclusive birth plan. Much of it wasn't used but I wanted to be specific in any event during birth. You can look up different birth plans online and tailor one to meet your needs. This is good to go over with your birthing partner and with your doctor or midwife. 

 This post is just meant as a nudge for you to do your own research about birth. It is not a condemnation in any way towards women who don't choose natural birth. I do realize that sometimes shit happens and you just do your best. I also realize that sometimes vaginal birth isn't a possibility. My hope is that you feel like you have a choice in choosing your best birth possible. 

 He came two days after his due date and is perfection!


  1. I have to admit that I've been waiting for your next post! I really like your perspective on this and will keep these references for when I have a little one of my own!