I am starting a series on things I wish I knew as I was trying for my first natural birth. A little background on me, always wanted to try going natural and I knew I could do it, but I was missing some information that made a big difference. I know that every birth needs different things. If these don’t work for you, move on but know that they are options.
In part one I will cover what I wish I knew about the hospital.
1. You do not have to lay in that bed. Okay most of us know this. I knew this my first time however shortly after arriving at the hospital, my water broke. Each pressure wave I squirted ( in fact my 10 year old sister was there and nicknamed my baby squirt because of it). I didn’t want to leave a trail of water. I didn’t want to deal with the mess. Solution: they have these wonderful little mesh underwear and a pad that you can slip on, forget about the amniotic fluid squirts and focus on getting into your groove. I also hated to inconvenience anyone. My mom suggested walking. I immediately turned it down because of my baby squirts. Then when the nurse suggested the underwear I didn’t want to take back my previous answer. I didn’t want to bug her. I was hooked up to monitors and an iv. I didn’t know if the request was reasonable. However, a bigger part of not wanting to move was that it hurt. Without my amniotic sack cushioning it, that head was putting a lot of pressure. Moving was a little uncomfortable because it brought labor on stronger. I now know that getting off my back and moving could have relieved some of that discomfort. Better yet I could have asked for the next thing on the list.
2. Get a birthing ball. I don’t care if this thing sits in your room unused, ask for one. Try it. When you have all that pressure from your sweet little alien child pressing down, it helps so much to sit on a ball. It gives support and counter pressure in ways that are hard to get otherwise. Think about it this way, if something hurts, you push on it, and it relieves some of the pressure and discomfort. The other awesome thing about birthing balls, they actually help your pelvis and baby align wonderfully. They encourage baby to descend in a great position and help you dilate when in your birthing time. More effective pressure waves, while being more comfortable, yes please! Throughout your birth you may not always love sitting on one, but try the option and see if it works for you. As babies descend and get in position they need different movements from mom. Listen to what positions you want to be in, because usually moms will feel good in the best position for that moment.
3. Pitocin, learn about it. Remember that i was having that internal battle of not wanting to walk because I didn’t want to bring my contractions on? I knew it would help, but I didn’t feel ready for it to come stronger. Thus, after a few hours, things slowed down. Laying on my back didn’t work so great for comfort or labor. Then in came the nurse with the pitocin and she said the doctor wanted to speed things up. It wasn’t offered as a choice it was just a statement. Ladies, you always have a choice. This is your body and your baby. Your doctor or midwife works for you. I didn’t know that the pitocin wasn’t needed in my case. I didn’t know they were trying to “save me from a long labor.” I know many women that birth naturally with pitocin, however, for me it is a bit more challenging. Pitocin is the synthetic of oxytocin, the birth hormone. It isn’t quite the same as your body. Your body will not make contractions too strong to bear. Pitocin can be rougher on mom and baby than a normal natural birth. I did okay with the first little bit of pitocin. The nurse kept coming in, though, and every time she came in, she turned it up. Ladies, if you consent to pitocin, know that you can ask or tell them if you want a dosage change. Different levels react differently for each mom. As the pitocin got turned up again and again, I wanted relief. I wanted support. I wanted something. I asked for an epidural. While, waiting the charge nurse helped me through the contractions. I suddenly felt like I could do it again. I wanted her to stay with me. I knew I could do it with support, but i didn’t really have the support I needed and I didn’t know how to ask. I got the epidural. Then the pitocin got cranked up higher since I was numb. Eventually my baby’s heart rate started to dip. I didn’t realize this was most likely because the pitocin was making the contractions too strong for baby. Also that the position on my back, and pitocin charged contractions could affect the flow of oxygenated blood to the baby.
Pitocin can be truly needed. I am so glad it exists. Sometimes it is overused. If it is suggested, ask why. Is baby okay? Is mom okay? What will happen if you try something else, like walking or a birthing ball? Are you fine to wait and let your body take it’s time, or is there a medical reason it’s being suggested. If you find yourself needing pitocin, it’s okay. Your birth can be great and have pitocin. Just know that YOU have the ability to ask for it to be turned down. You will need to be monitored while using pitocin, but you can still be monitored out of bed or on a birthing ball. Some hospitals have cordless monitors that you can use also. Know that there are levels that can get too strong for you or baby. If baby starts to struggle a csection may be needed. So avoid pitocin if you can. Ask your questions. Listen to your body. Weigh the benefits and risks of inducing labor, and trust yourself. This is just the tip of the iceberg about pitocin. At some future date I may devote a whole post or series to it, but until then feel free to ask me any questions or better yet research it out.
4. Support. Do you have support? Is it emotionally charged? Will someone be there that you can ask for help and won’t feel put out? Nurses are fantastic, yet out of the room most the time. Whatever, your goals are for your birth. Find someone to be there with whom you can voice your needs, fears, and desires. Husbands are great, but have you actually talked to them about what you want? Do they know how to help? Do they need someone to support and guide them? Whatever you find your needs are, go ahead and ask your support team. If you have expectations of someone there. Let them know. Do you need physical and emotional support? In birth, you can go through a wide range of feelings, sensations, and bodily functions. Choose someone that makes you feel safe, okay to be yourself, and strong. Doulas can be a great help to you and him. Even during labor moms can still hire a doula.
This is the end of part one. Join us next time.