Monday, January 20, 2014

8 Things I Learned From My First Unmedicated Birth

Today (January 19) is the 15th anniversary of my first unmedicated birth, the day that changed my life in so many ways.  In addition to welcoming my first daughter, I learned several things about myself and others:

1.  I had been sold a bunch of lies by the media.  Labor does not (necessarily) start by water breaking.  I didn't yell at David for "doing this to me."  The first contraction did not have me doubled over in pain.  And the baby didn't start coming out soon after labor started.  While it was a fast labor (5 hours), it wasn't as fast as it is in the movies!

2. I am strong!  I did it!  I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.  I did it!  I gave birth without drugs!  No one thought I could do it and I DID IT!

3.  When I set my mind to something, I can do it.  My midwife with Baby #3 told me that birth is 90% in your head and 10% what happens to you.  I've thought about that a lot over the years.  Not discounting that crazy stuff can happen in labor/birth, but generally, I think that is a very fair statement.  It's important to prepare your body for labor, but it's equally important -- and maybe even more important -- to prepare your mind and your spirit.

Juice fasts have reminded me of this principle.  I am strong and if I put my mind to something, I can accomplish anything. I refuse to be my own worst enemy.

4.  I will not allow others to be my enemy either.  Block out the naysayers!  Surrounding yourself with positive people is always a good thing no matter the situation!

5.  Preparation and education pay off. Take a comprehensive birth class and learn all that you can. David and I attended class each week and practiced relaxation on a regular basis.  It was priceless.
I had confidence, not only in myself, but also in him.

6.  Birth should be recorded in one fashion or another.  Even if you give birth several times, it's only so many hours or days in your life.  You don't have to share it with anyone, but it's nice to be able to revisit every now and then.

7.  If you are in the hospital, take someone with you that will stay with you if they take the baby to the nursery to weigh, bathe, etc.  It will make you crazy if you have to stay in a room by yourself when all you want to talk about is what you just did!

8.  Take food with you because you'll likely be starving after the birth, but bringing you food will not be high on their priority list.

I would have never thought that having a drug-free birth would be so important in my life at the time.  It was the hardest, and yet neatest, experience of my life.  I am a childbirth educator because education is what made the difference for me.  I love my job.  Not only do I want couples to have this AMAZING experience, I also want women to have the opportunity to do what I do by teaching childbirth classes in their communities.

Happy birthday, sweet Vena!  Your birthday will always be extra special to you and me!


Alisa said...

This made me smile!
Very happy memories! Happy "birth" day to you both!

Allena said...

My long-term goal is to be a doula/childbirth educator. Learning about natural childbirth (and then obviously DOING IT) was a life-changing experience for me.

Emily K said...

Love this! Thank you for sharing.

Kathleen DiVirgilio said...

This is a great post. Thank you!
Someday I hope to have a natural child birth.