Natural Birth- My Story and Favorite Resources

Why and How I Chose Natural Birth

If you’ve read any of my birth stories you know that I am a huge fan of drug free birth whenever possible. When I was pregnant with my first my mother told me a little about her birth experiences. She had an epidural with the first five kids and then was all natural for the 6th. She told me that if she could go back she would do them all without. Now this isn’t because she had super hero syndrome, as some people like to say those of us who choose natural birth do, it was because with the comparison of both ways behind her she could see the advantages of a medication free birth.

How and Why I chose Natural Birth and some of my favorite resources to prepare for and manage the pain | SmithSquad.com

When I had my first I hadn’t decided what I was going to do, but I had the discussion with my mother in the back of my mind. When they asked me if I wanted an epidural I thought about that giant needle in my back (shudder) and my mother’s words and said no thanks. I did, however accept their offer for IV narcotics. I had the IV meds with each of my first three babies. In all three they did nothing to relieve the pain, they just made me loopy and silly so that I didn’t care.

With baby #4 I was determined not to cave to those IV meds again, I didn’t like the way they separated me from the experience. It was almost as if I was watching someone else do the work of bringing a baby to earth. I also didn’t like the way they affected my second baby when they were administered too close to when she was born. They made her very sleepy and she refused to eat causing her to lose way too much weight in the first few days. This is also when I first started doing research in to how to have a pleasant natural birth and why anyone would want one to begin with. I learned about pain management techniques, different positions, and the reasons why in order to keep me committed.

Natural Birth Resources and Supplies |SmithSquad.com | Pain management in labor | Essential oils | Breathing | Study Methods
Me and my mommy

Here are a few of my favorite resources and techniques for achieving an enjoyable natural birth:

Natural Birth Books

There are tons of great books out there to help you prepare for a natural birth. My favorite is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Ina May is the most well-known home birth midwife in the United States and her insights are amazing. I love how she shares so many positive, yet completely different birth stories in the beginning of the book. Here is a list of the other books I’ve read and enjoyed or which have come highly recommended from other natural birth enthusiasts.


Natural Birth Pain Management

There are so many ways to manage pain from breathing to hypnosis, counter pressure to essential oils. I personally use mainly a birth ball, hot water, breathing, and oils. Believe it or not I had never even tried counter pressure until baby #7. Oh boy was it magical! You’d better believe I’ll be putting the hubs to work on that one with baby #8 due in 3.5 weeks! All of the books listed above will provide you with tips and techniques. Here are a few of my favorite products for pain management.

Natural Birth Study Courses

I personally never used a specific method, but many mothers find that studying and preparing for a specific technique really helps them. The main home study courses available are Hypnobabies and Hypnobirth. There are also several classroom options including Birth Boot Camp (also has online class options), Bradley Method, and Lamaze.

 

What helps you through a natural childbirth? What resources would you want to share with first time moms who are considering natural birth? If you are a first time mom what are your biggest fears and questions related to natural childbirth?

My First Home Birth|Birth Story Baby #6

When we moved to Las Vegas I met an amazing group of ladies at a place called Pink Peas.  It was a wonderful non-profit organization for moms. I am so sad they had to shut down last year due to lack of funds. Pink Peas was the home of 2 midwives who did home births. I decided to finally have the home birth I really wanted when pregnant with #6 in 2012/13.

Unfortunately a little over halfway through the pregnancy my husband lost his job and we no longer had the funds to pay for the midwifery services. Our insurance covered nearly 100% of the cost of a hospital birth, and I was very depressed thinking that I wasn’t going to have the home birth that I wanted. I was commiserating with my best friend at church, and tossing around the idea of an unassisted home birth, when she informed me that another woman at our church was a midwife.

I spoke to Tiffani about my thoughts on unassisted home birth the next Sunday and asked for her input. She was so incredibly supportive. She talked to me about the risks as well as about my previous births and told me she thought I was the perfect candidate for an unassisted home birth. She also told me, however, that if I needed her for any reason to please call as she only lived a 5 minute walk around the corner from me.

Jack final belly

A few days before baby arrived my other kids all went to my moms house in St. George, UT. It was so peaceful with just me, my husband, and my youngest daughter at home.

On April 3rd at about 9pm I felt a little pop and had a small gush of water. It was just a trickle, so I was a little confused, but still pretty positive it was my water breaking. I went to bed just knowing that I would be holding a baby in a few hours. But baby and my body had other plans.

For the next two days my labor would start and stop several times. I would be having contractions every 3 minutes then they would suddenly just stop. I walked, I slept, I sat on my birth ball, I read, I did stairs. I was emotionally completely drained. I called Tiffani at about 4:30 pm on April 4th and expressed my frustration. My previous labors were all fast and furious. This was a completely new experience and I didn’t know what to do! She verified that I didn’t have a fever, I was feeling healthy, and baby was moving as normal. She reassured me that baby and I were both perfectly fine at home with just a small leak. She explained to me about the two layers in the amniotic sac and about how you can have a leak from the outer bag rupturing while the inner bag is in tact. She told me that she was at her daughters softball game and that she would swing by on the way home to check on me. In the mean time she advised me to try out some different positions, including hands and knees, to try to get baby in a better position for birth.

After I got off the phone I jumped on the Spinning Babies website and did some reading about labors that start and stop. One thing it suggested was that baby may have gotten engaged in the pelvis with a less than optimal head position. One thing they suggested was to be on your knees with your chest to the floor through a few contractions to get baby to disengage, then sit on the birth ball and rotate hips to get them to re-engage in a better position.

Well it worked. After a few contractions on my knees I once again sat on my birth ball and felt as his head dropped into my hips. Contractions immediately started increasing again and I chose to move to the bathtub. I told my husband he could stay in the living room with our daughter watching Wreck it Ralph and I would cal for him if/when I needed anything. He told me I wouldn’t need to call. He could always tell when I needed him because I would say “OWIE OWIE OWIE!” like a three-year old every time I was about ready to push. I had never noticed that about myself before!

I had the lights off and just a few candles. As I sat there alone in the dim room in a tub of warm water I was so incredibly at peace. It was beautiful. I was able tot make time to truly breathe through each contraction and connect with my body and my baby. As my husband had predicted about an hour later, around 7pm, I hollered out “OWIE!” and he came in. He helped me move into a squatting position in the tub and delivered our perfect baby boy in 2 good pushes. Rachel, still watching Wreck it Ralph, was a prefect little angel and barely even noticed what was going on. When she came in the room a few minutes later she looked genuinely confused as to where on earth this yelling little creature had come from.

bright eyes low

As I sat back in the tub I was amazed by what we had just accomplished. The feeling of peace and intimacy between me and my husband was beautiful. Together we had brought this life that we had created into this world on our terms, in our home. It was truly the most empowering and amazing experience of my life at that point. After a few minutes of snuggling I told Cameron “Well better text Tiffani and let her know he’s here!” She said that if it was ok she still wanted to stop by and check us out. She did the weighing and measuring for us and checked me out for tearing. Everything was perfect and she left us alone to enjoy our time together.

Daddy and Jack low

I can not even begin to describe the emotions I felt. 46 hours of labor. Frustration, sadness, anxiety, were all so completely washed away when I gazed into that little face and into the eyes of my husband. This is what it means to be a woman. There is absolutely no other way for a new life to enter this world except through the sacrifice of a mother. Being a part of this process is something truly miraculous. I was amazed to discover a whole new level and depth of my womanhood as I went through this labor in a peaceful, natural setting rather than a sterile hospital. I felt so intimately connected to the generations of mothers who had done this before me. The connection to my baby without all the nurses and doctors poking and prodding the two of us was beautiful. I can’t say I will never have another hospital birth, I believe in making that decision with each individual pregnancy base don my needs and wants at the time, but I know there are certain things that I will do differently if I am ever giving birth in their world again.

Jackie Boy low

If you’re interested you can read the rest of my birth stories here on the blog as well

Baby 1

Baby 2

Baby 3

Baby 4

Baby 5

Baby 7

Baby 8