For most of my adult life when I would talk about having a baby, I would always joke and say that I was going to have a scheduled c-section. It was widely known that I wasn’t the best when it came to pain and the thought of labor and an epidural were scary as hell to me. When I started having issues getting pregnant and eventually adopted it was a non issue for me so I hadn’t thought about it in years.
But when I ended up getting pregnant in March of 201, I basically decided as soon as I saw the positive pregnancy test that I was going to have an un-medicated delivery with a midwife. The initial shock of the pregnancy was somewhat overshadowed when I told my husband about my plan. Always supportive but very confused he was like, “ok whatever you want.”
I think most of the people in my life were pretty shocked when I told them we were planning a natural, un-medicated birth. I was always careful to tell people that my plan was to “try” to have a natural birth. I didn’t want to seem over confident but I also wasn’t sure that I could do it. In my mind, however, I wasn’t giving myself another option–I was determined I could and would do it.
We were very lucky that one of our best friends, Tisha Seghers, is a nurse midwife for Crescent City Physicians and has privileges at Touro. This is where I always wanted to deliver so it was a perfect match. The thing I loved the most about having a midwife was the time that I was able to spend with her at each visit. It wasn’t a typical in and out like a lot of OBs. I was usually with her a minimum of 30 minutes and we talked about the baby and my pregnancy and any other issues or concerns I was having. We also talked about the birth a lot. She herself had birthed two babies naturally so she had a lot of great advice to offer both personally and professionally.
The thing about me is that when I am in on something, I am all in. I am going to read the books, watch the videos, talk to the experts and hire the best when I need to. My birth was no different to me than if I had been training for a marathon or a fitness competition. The first thing we did was hire a doula team, Louisiana Birth. Corinne, Katy and Kaya work together and alternate on call weeks. We were able to get to know all three of them and then the person on call was who would end up at our birth. In the end both Katy and Kayla attended our birth.
If you aren’t familiar with what a Doula is, they are like a birth concierge. They are there solely to tend to the family and primarily the mother. They helped me with managing my contractions, getting in and out of the tub, reminded me to eat and drink, and helped my husband know what to do and where he could assist. A natural birth can be lengthy and exhausting and your midwife needs to be well rested and on her A game when the baby comes.
We also sought the help of a chiropractor who saw me monthly during my pregnancy and then weekly when I got to the 34 week mark. She was able to manipulate my pelvis and back to give me relief during my pregnancy but also to help my body be ready to birth the baby quickly. I saw her up until the day I delivered and she also had a massage therapist on staff that she recommended I see.
The final person we added to our team was Hailey Aliff and Elizabeth Meir who are both local doulas but they also teach childbirth classes. We hired them to give us at home birthing classes with the addition of holistic remedies for the labor and going into labor and then comfort measures for labor. I knew that I would be laboring at home for quite sometime without my midwife or doulas so we wanted Justin to be prepared to jump in when he needed to if the contractions were really hard.
I was scheduled to go in to be induced on Monday night November 30th. I woke up at 4 am that morning and I was pretty certain I was in labor. I had a false alarm the week before so I didn’t want to tell anyone for fear that it would stop again. I waited until about 9 am before saying anything to my husband. He, of course, freaked out and made me call the midwife immediately. We talked and she advised me to stay at home and labor until the contractions were closer together and more consistent. We also called the doulas who told us to labor until I “felt like I needed them.” At the time this seemed like such a random term but by that afternoon I knew exactly what they meant.
Justin spent most of the day doing laundry which I still think is so funny. He literally washed everything in our house. I spent most of the day in bed watching tv and napping off and on. By the time my older boys needed to be picked up from school I knew things were getting serious. Justin picked them up and went to drop them off with our friends who were watching them while I was in the hospital. I called the doula and told her I thought it was time she come over.
We all just continued to hang out for a few hours and then around 6pm my doula Katy suggested that I rest and have something to eat. She was going to leave for about an hour and then we would make our way to the hospital. That hour was when everything changed. They left me with an essential oil clary sage and fennel to diffuse and my contractions started coming harder and faster.
We left the house around 8pm and arrived at Touro around 9pm where we met up with my midwife. We got checked in and I almost immediately got into the birth tub. I labored throughout the night and into the morning in and out of the tub and the shower. Having the doulas there was the best decision I ever made. They helped me and they also helped Justin–he was an excellent birthing partner because of their guidance and support.
After 35 hours of labor we had our beautiful baby boy Porter around 1:00 that afternoon.
Looking back there were so many different reasons I chose a natural birth. Many of them I didn’t even know when I initially chose to do it but through the process I learned a lot and that added to the list. I of course like to live as chemical free of a lifestyle as I can but that really wasn’t the biggest reason I did it. In truth I just wanted to see if I could. I knew my body was amazing and I knew it was made to do this but just wanted to see if I could. And I did.
Much like running a marathon or doing a fitness competition it was about pushing myself and see if I could do it and truth be told I felt like a rockstar when I did.
Would I do it again? Absolutely, and I plan to if we are blessed with another child. Knowing what I know now I think it will be much easier the second time around. I also think that my body is even more well prepared than it was the first time.
In the end this was the choice that was right for me but that does not mean that it’s the right one for everybody. The single most important thing about having a baby is that you choose a delivery that works for you and surround yourself with people who will support that decision.