Lamaze, Bradley, Hypno, Water?! Why preparing for natural labor matters

 The next contraction wave hits me like a train and in true lamaze technique, I actively take inventory of my body and release my tension.  My water explodes ALL over the floor, my legs, my feet, and Brenton’s shoes…I look at him feeling like I just peed ALL over myself and say “OH shit, my water just broke.” I am greeted by eyes the size of saucers and my husband SHAKING life a LEAF. (God love him) Me: “Brenton, you’re shaking” Brenton: “yeah.”

LABOR and DELIVERY: How to inform yourself

        Our labor story is…interesting to say the least and certainly not your average experience from what I know and have been told. My labor was REALLY fast, scary, and emotional, but most of all WONDERFUL. 

       Anyone who has been through labor knows how life changing that moment is when they hand you your little one for the first time.  All those silly people that said college was the time our lives, what were they talking about?….my prime started when I became a mother.  It is hands-down the best, most rewarding, and miraculous experience I have ever been privileged to be apart of.  Luckily we were mentally, physically, and (not) emotionally both prepared (as much as anyone can be) for our very first labor and delivery. 

Here is how we did it.  

        We planned a natural (meaning drug free) labor and delivery. One question I encountered a LOT when people found this out was why???” This was a frustrating question for me because it felt like I was receiving judgment for wanting to have a natural labor…. and I think that judgment came from the expectation that a drug free laboring momma judged other moms for not doing the same. NOT the case! For those who want or need it? I’m all about the drugs ladies. But every pregnancy, labor, delivery, and momma is different and there is no one size fits all mold.  

How did we prepare?

1. Get Educated: 

Our local hospital provided a “Lamaze: Labor of love” class that we attended. It was a 6-hour per day, two-day class. That doesn’t sound like much, but we got a lot of information and practiced the techniques we learned up until delivery.  You can find out if lamaze classes are being offered in your area here.  Lamaze is not your only option though. Here is information about different methods to prepare for natural labor and delivery.  Personally, I think the Bradley method is superior to Lamaze.  

I highly recommend taking a labor and delivery/childbirth education class if you are considering natural childbirth. Here’s the thing about taking a class….when my labor hit me super fast, I didn’t get the chance to use all those “relaxation” techniques for managing my pain and I’m not going to fib to you, it was intense. But, when I realized that “go time” was here and there was no turning back, I had a moment flash of “Oh my gosh I don’t know if I can do this….I’m SO stinking scared, helpless, and there’s nothing I can do to stop this from happening.

The KEY word here as helpless…I wasn’t helpless! I had the tools and I had been taught how to get through this. I tried using one of the practice breathing techniques for the transition phase of labor and hearing my breathing change, Brenton looked at me and said “yes yes yes! Just like that, you’re doing awesome.” It was then I said to myself “Buck up Brooke, you’ve been taught this, you can DO this.” The comforting power of knowledge (and my husband of course!) gave me my little confidence boost I needed.

2. Choose the Right Doctor

Not all doctors will be natural labor friendly and/or advocate for what’s best for you. During my delivery for instance, I was given an episiotomy, which I did NOT want.  It was also COMPLETELY unnecessary.  I was too focused on the intensity of labor to realize what the doctor was doing and no one asked and/or even told me.  I FELT it for sure once it happened…but by then it was too late! Choose your doctor carefully and find one that advocates for what YOU want from your labor experience! You are in charge here.  

3. Practice Healthy Living

Studies show that exercise and healthy eating habits during pregnancy increase the likelihood of a smooth labor and delivery experience.  Consider your 9 months of pregnancy a training period for the big D-Day.  By staying healthy during pregnancy and keeping weight gain below the recommended 35 pounds, you will increase your chances of a successful labor and decrease your recovery time.  Your body will bounce back much sooner when it was fit to begin with! 

4. Surround Yourself With a Support System

Natural labor is not something you’re ever alone in.  Whether it’s your partner, friend, relative, midwife, or doula, have someone along for the ride to support you.  Sometimes its easy to get lost in the labor process and feel overwhelmed.  It’s important to have support there to encourage and empower you to believe in yourself!  If you’re considering or thinking you want a doula, I can’t recommend one enough.  You can read more about why here.  

5. Prepare for the Unexpected 

Not everyone gets to experience the labor and delivery they planned out all nicely in their heads since the  moment they found out they were pregnant.  

“My husband and I found out I had a partial placenta previa at 14 weeks after I had some bleeding and ended up in the emergency room for 5 hours.  Talk about not my plan.  I was told I would have to have a C-section if it remained.  We waited…and waited…and finally around 28 weeks it moseyed on over away from my cervical opening.”

Be ready and be mentally prepared for all scenarios.  Your baby may be doing flips with joy about getting to meet you and wind up upside-down and sideways! However you get that baby safely in your arms is what’s important.  Be open to all scenarios so that you don’t freak out in the delivery room!    

6. Believe in Yourself

Your body was meant to make babies girlfriend! You have no idea the power you hold inside of you until you give yourself the chance.  Let go, let God, and let your body go through one of the most unique and universal experiences women have been sharing since the beginning of time.  Believe that you CAN do it because you can!  

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For me personally, natural labor was a sure and solid test of my will power and surrender.  It was empowering and faith filling to give your body to the Lord and trust that he created us with the power and strength to labor and deliver all on our own.  How amazing is it that he designed our bodies, designed the pain, designed endorphins of labor, perfectly for us and our babies?!  I highly recommend natural and unmedicated birth for anyone considering it. Believe in your body ladies! 

I simply cannot explain all there is to know about why natural childbirth is a great option and I also do not have that expertise.  There’s an awesome documentary on Netflix called “the Business of Being Born”. Watch it.  I also HIGHLY recommend reading this article posted by the National Institute for Biotechnology Information.  

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