It’s not easy squeezing a huge head out of a tiny hole, as any mother knows. My baby was 8 lbs 9 oz, with a head like a helmet. It is truly amazing that it can even happen at all. I chose natural childbirth because pain meds make me throw up and, well … childbirth is messy enough without me upchucking all over the place. Two of my mom friends had horrible experiences with epidurals, which completely set me off of the idea, plus a needle going in my spine gives me the willies.
I must admit that even though I never pictured myself giving birth naturally, it feels pretty awesome that I can throw it in my mom’s face that I, too, am a strong woman. She always boasts about how she gave birth naturally four times — which, I must admit, especially now that I’ve experienced it, is pretty darn impressive. If you think the vagina-stretching pain of natural childbirth is for you, then let me give you a few pointers…
1. Enroll your pregnant self in a Lamaze class. They teach you a million and one pain-relieving techniques. As you are going through the class, you might be thinking, “Yeah right, like I will ever use this.” Trust me, when you’re crying out in pain, you will try anything to relieve it. And make sure your birthing partner comes with you so he or she can remember the techniques as well. You may forget them as you are screaming in pain. Added bonus: your instructor forces your partner to give you back massages, and what mommy-to-be would ever turn down a massage?
2. You need to have some sort of support system, and that does not mean you need to go out and get yourself a doula. (If you’re like me, you don’t have that extra cash just lying around.) Your spouse, life partner, sister, mother (whatever the case may be) works just as well as one of those expensive birthing companions, especially if you took advice numero uno. Whoever you pick, make sure they can take a verbal and physical beating. I mean, some of us just like to yell and squeeze the shit out of something to relieve our stress and pain. After I gave birth, my husband complimented me on my very powerful hand strength.
3. Do not underestimate the power of the exercise ball or back massages. Both will help relieve the unbearable tension in your lower back. I experienced back labor with my first, and believe me, it is no picnic. I never thought sitting on a giant ball would bring me such relief.
4. My mother taught me a very powerful mantra that helped me get through: PAIN IS TEMPORARY. Yes, my friend, the pain does indeed stop. It’s actually pretty magical. When the baby is crowning, (huge head meets tiny hole), you are in the height of pain. You feel like you might die. You feel like you have never been so hot in your life. I was sweating profusely, to put it mildly. Then once that big ole head is out, the shoulders, arms, belly, legs, all ten fingers and toes quickly follow. Then, sweet relief. Also, the little cherub they lay on your chest helps you to forget all the horrible pain you’ve just endured, at least temporarily.
So you’ve done your homework and you’re ready to make it through the miracle of childbirth drug-free … but what if my advice isn’t helping you? Still in too much pain? Don’t think you can stand any more? Then by all means take something! There is no shame in taking pain meds to help make you more comfortable during childbirth. We all have different pain thresholds and different birth experiences. And, if the doctor recommends a c-section to deliver your baby safely, then do it, woman! It is important to note that there is no RIGHT way to give birth, just as long as the end result is a healthy baby and mother.
Related post: The 5 Grossest Things About Childbirth