Monday, January 21, 2013

Kendall's intervention-free birthing

Kendall from Great Proofreading is joining us again to share her birth story today, and to give helpful tips from her perspective to birthing without interventions.  Thank you Kendall!

My name is Kendall Hoover and I am the Senior Copy Editor at Great Marks Proofreading Consultants. I have one son, one cat, and one soldier for a husband. I like Greek food, biking, organic farming, and buying vintage Star Wars t-shirts for my son. I blog at “Backspace to Bookbinding”.

A friend of mine asked me once about intervention-free childbirth. She was interested in pursuing it, but everyone kept telling her that she was na├»ve and would be yelling for an epidural. She wanted to know how childbirth without interventions was for me, whether I would do it again, what was helpful, and what was distracting.  After telling her that I received the same comments from those around me, and that I used them to fuel my resolve for an intervention-free childbirth, I answered her questions in this way:

First, I would not have been able to do it if my husband and my doula did not have as much information about alternative pain relief and the reasons to not get an epidural as I did. My husband and I both
read “The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth” (at least, he did the first half or so), and we both attended something like 30 hours of childbirth classes together. So, I would definitely do as much as possible to have your husband involved with gathering information and planning. Talk about what you want to
do in early labor, active labor, how you want to push, what role you'll need him to play, a secret sign for when you want the doctor gone, etc.


HOW WAS IT FOR ME?


...It's doable.

When you get to the point where you seriously feel like you CAN NOT DO IT ANY MORE -- you're almost there, so don't give up. We learned this in our childbirth classes and it was true for both a friend of mine and I (we were a matter of a couple of hours away when we got to that point -- both of us started pushing very soon after that). I will do it again next time (or at least attempt it again), however, right afterwards I felt like "WE ARE HAVING NO MORE KIDS!", then about a month later I felt like "IF WE HAVE KIDS IT WILL BE A LONG WAY OFF!" then at two months or so I felt like "IF WE HAVE KIDS I AM GETTING AN EPIDURAL!" and now I really want to get pregnant again and do it naturally.  So, my point is, I'm not going to say it was easy, but I got over it. 

WHAT WAS HELPFUL?

Labor pain was different than any pain I'd felt before, not just because it was more painful, but
because it is a different kind of pain. It's not like you stubbed your toe and now you hurt, or you broke your
arm -- some kind of accident. Labor pain is supposed to be there and it has a purpose.  This was what I kept thinking about. I used that as my mantra during labor. A friend's mantra was that she and her daughter were in it together -- it's not easy for the baby either, but your bodies work together to make it happen.


I knew that the average birth is 16 hours, so I didn't expect the baby to just pop out. I was 17 hours. My friend was 12. However, I ignored the clock for a long time until my doctor said "we're going to have this baby before 7" (which I did not). So, ideally no one mentions time. Consider talking to your doctor about this beforehand. I walked around for the first 6 hours or so, and I think this helped a lot as well.
"The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth" helped me immensely. “Ina May's Guide to Childbirth” is also good, but mostly full of anecdotes. The friend I mentioned above said she liked Ina May's guide a lot, though. I learned from “Thinking Woman’s Guide” that if you're going intervention-free, go all the way. Don't try to induce and then not get an epidural.

WHAT WAS DISTRACTING?

We were trying to use a tub for pain relief but the water at the hospital doesn't get very warm because they have a limit on it, and the tub leaked. Next time I will probably just use the shower (at least if we're at the same hospital). The luke-warm water just made everything worse.  
When I was pushing, there
were all these beeps. I have no idea where they were coming from -- the incubator, the doctor's beeper, lights, etc. Ohmygosh, it was so distracting. My husband and I talked about it and next time he will be in charge of telling them to turn off whatever they can. This also might be better in a birth center than a hospital.

Ultimately, the thing that helped the most was gaining as much information as possible about intervention-free childbirth, so that I didn’t have to rely on the mistaken social pressures for induction and epidurals. The
naysayers didn’t say much about intervention-free childbirth after I’d done it!


Did you find anything to be particularly helpful or distracting during your birthing time?

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