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I wouldn't want to give birth any other way.
Member Name: mumto3
Date: 04/11/08, updated on 04/11/08 (112 review reads)
Advantages: You are in control and feel instantly better
Disadvantages: It is quite painful!
Even before I became pregnant with my first child I was pretty sure that if I ever did have a child I would want a natural birth.
I knew plenty of people who had given birth and the majority were adamant that natural was better and they all had horror stories about projectile vomiting caused by gas and air and temporary paralysis caused by epidurals!
Once I found out I was pregnant my first decision was to give birth at home to guarantee myself a natural birth. I know a lot of people think that having your first baby at home is dangerous or they feel they need the security of the medical expertise available in hospital but I trusted myself and my body to be able to cope with the labour and birth.
When I first spoke to my midwife about the home birth she was very enthusiastic and encouraging which went a long way to persuading my husband that it was completely safe and natural as he had wanted me to go to hospital.
During my pregnancy I did a lot of research in books and on the internet about natural births and home births. I found lots of information about herbal pain relief and hypnosis techniques to help you through labour. I also bought myself a Yoga for Pregnancy video which was very helpful. I found www.bounty.com and www.babycentre.co.uk had lots of information and the best book I read was by Sheila Kitzinger called The new Pregnancy and Childbirth book.
Shortly before my baby was due my midwife asked me if I thought I would need pethadin as this would need to be prescribed by my doctor. I declined and said I would manage without it. I was getting very scared by this point because I was facing the unknown and being expected to know if I needed any pain relief. I still wanted to be able to trust my body but was feeling more unsure by the day.
I eventually went into labour the day after my due date and as I had a problem free pregnancy my midwife was happy for me to labour at home until I felt ready for her to come. My waters broke at 7am but contraction didn't start until 4pm. My husband is a dairy farmer and he went out to milk the cows as normal and returned at 6.30pm.
I had managed until then with no pain relief at all and I was finding the yoga breathing very helpful indeed. I think it was more to do with concerntrating on breathing in and out that took my mind off the pain than anything else. I had also spent some time sitting on a gym ball which was very comfortable and enabled me to circle my hips during a contraction which also helped to ease the pain.
When my husband returned from milking I asked him to put the TENs machine on as the contractions were growing stronger and were coming every 2 minutes. I found the TENs worked for me by confusing my brain so I didn't know if I could feel the pain or if it was just the sensation of the TENs. I think this is the idea of the TENs machine as it stops the pain messages getting to your brain.
My midwife arrived at 7.30pm and found that I was already 8cm dilated (You have to reach 10cm before you are ready to deliver) so I was really pleased that I had managed so far on my own. After the examination my contractions started to get really strong and were coming so fast I barely had time to get my breath in between them. I was still managing with just the TENs and had refused the gas and air.
My daughter was born at 8.27pm and as soon as she was out I felt perfectly normal again. I was exhausted but the labour and birth had not been half as bad as I had expected and I instantly felt like I could do it again.
I have had two more children at home and with the other two I didn't even have time to get the TENs machine on and the midwife didn't even bother to bring her gas and air. After each birth I have been able to sit straight up and have felt really well and not like I have just given birth. I have been able to feed and hold my babies straight away and even gone off and had a shower as soon as I liked. There is a picture of me holding my son shortly after his birth and no one believes that he is only about an hour old because I look so normal.
After my third child was born I did experience some internal damage and had to be rushed to hospital. I was given an epidural so I could have some repairs and it was an awful experience. After the operation I couldn't move at all apart from my head and arms. I couldn't hold my baby properly and trying to breast feed him was a nightmare. I had to ring a bell to get help when I could hear him choking and my husband had to help me to drink because I was so shaky. I was left on the bed all night with a catheter in place and laying in a pool of blood. Anyone who has had a baby will know that there is a lot of blood after you have had a baby and they just left me covered in it. The next morning I tried to get out of bed and almost collapsed and I don't know if that was because of the epidural or because of the amount of blood I had lost after the birth. I had to be given a bed bath and helped into my underwear. It was humiliating and degrading.
The natural home births I had were beautiful experiences I trusted my body and it didn't let me down. I felt completely in control and knew that every contraction was one less before my baby was born. I would recommend a natural birth to anyone because it is a wonderful experience. Yes it hurts and it hurts a lot it wouldn't be called labour if it was going to fun. The thing is the instant that baby is out the pain is gone and within days it is forgotten whereas the effects of the drugs can last much longer.
Obviously not everyone can have a natural birth for many reasons but I think that you should at least give it a go if you are able to.
Summary: It's the best feeling in the world.
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