My learnings from his birth:
Nurses make a difference!
As I mentioned, the LDR was quite busy during the day I came in so I was seen by 4 different nurses. To my bad luck, the nurse in charge of me was quite against natural delivery. She was very skeptical when I said I wanted to do natural. Then when I asked to use a birthing ball, she immediately said no because I was on pitocin and she had seen moms crack their heads open on the birthing ball! My doula and I looked at each other - WHAT?!! My doula explained that she had previously assisted 2 moms in the same hospital with induced labors (both at 42 weeks) and who were on pitocin at much higher doses that I was on, but were allowed to use the birthing balls!
Then as I was laboring, I was trying to get comfortable by trying to labor on my side and she was quite nasty about it. She wanted me to remain on my back so she didn't have to continuously adjust the fetal and contraction monitors! She was quite antsy every time I asked her to adjust the monitor as I was switching from side to side.
The worst part was about my request to take home my placenta. I had already spoken to another nurse earlier who had made arrangements with the charge nurse to have me fill up some papers so I can sign a waiver allowing the hospital to release my placenta to me. Apparently, the only reason the hospital will release your placenta to you is if it is for religious reasons. As I was reminding Tane about the form, she told me, aren't you Roman Catholic? And I said yes. Then she said, I am Roman Catholic and that's the first I've heard about wanting your placenta for religious reasons! WHAT?!!! Was she seriously asking me that?! But since I was trying to be a good patient, I just smiled and said it was for my husband. Luckily, she got off at 7pm and I was able to deliver Erik without seeing her or hearing her snarky comments!
Preparation is Key!
For Naima, I never took any childbirth classes as I didn't see the need. However, for Erik, I had done some research and talked to some friends about natural delivery. I decided to go for childbirth classes, even if it was already my second pregnancy. I chose a hypnobirthing class which you can also take at home through HypnoBabies or HypBirth. The techniques helped me relax during the labor and I was able to manage the discomfort through breathing techniques. I also listened to the CDs during my entire stay at the labor, delivery and recovery unit. I have to say though that my pain tolerance is quite high and what I consider merely discomfort might be considered as pain for other moms. I also read several childbirth books and the top book I would recommend would be Birthing from Within.
I also had a doula to help me achieve my natural childbirth goal. Read more about doulas here. I decided to hire a doula after reading MyMommyology's positive experience with her doula. Stan was still there as my birth partner but the doula filled in the gaps as they have had more experience with births, are more in control and have the presence of mind to keep me on track with my birth goals. My doula, Heidi, reminded me to use my breathing each time my contractions or surges became really intense. In the last moments, when I wanted to get that epidural, she helped me realize that my goal for a natural childbirth was very close that I ended up NOT getting any pain medication AND achieving my goal!
Natural delivery is empowering!
Naima was born via natural delivery although with an epidural. The difference I could tell here was that with Naima, I was dependent on the monitor to tell me that I was having a contraction. With Erik, I was still dependent on the monitor too since I really didn't feel the surges until they got intense. However, when it was time to push or breathe down the baby, I was in control. With Naima, the nurse was telling me it was time to push while for Erik I was the one who was telling them that I needed to push and they took their cue from me.
I was also quite glad that I had informed my doctor of my birth plans and even though they were a conservative practice, I did think they tried their best to accommodate me and give me a natural delivery.
I've had some friends ask me if I was going to do natural for the third baby. Well, as of now, Stan and I have agreed on 2 babies. But IF we do change our minds, yes, I think I would also go for natural delivery but in a "friendlier" hospital which will allow me to labor in other means and not in bed stuck on my back.