Also see Aspiring Appalachian Midwife
After the birth of my first child, I knew without a doubt that I had missed my calling. I had searched for a midwife to care for me during a homebirth but the restrictive laws in my state meant there was a homebirth midwife shortage and I could not find one who served my area. So, I had driven over an hour to birth under the care of nurse midwives in a hospital setting. That experience and the compassionate care I received was something I wanted all women to be able to experience.
I birthed my 4th baby! I am still surprised as I’m writing this, even almost two months later, that my 4th baby is actually here in my arms. It has taken me a while to feel up to writing out his birth story as the newborn phase has demanded much of my time and brain-space. However, it’s time to record his story as I did for all my children. This one starts with a bit of a scare.
What is a "birth plan?"
• A birth plan is a written document given to your birth team (doctor, midwife, doula, nurses, partners, etc.) that spells out the choices you've made regarding your labor and the birth of your child.
Shouldn’t it be “birth preferences" or "birth wishes?"
Affirmations, or saying and believing something is true, can be a powerful tool for preparing for labor and birth. Used in all kinds of ways, from sports physiology to life coaching, affirmations can help focus and calm nerves and doubts.
However, what we say can also have a negative effect. It's important to be mindful of the expectations we set for ourselves (and inadvertently others) as the goal is to care for ourselves, not tear ourselves or others down. When building your affirmations, avoid cliches and affirmations tied to one particular medical outcome. Here's some basic tips when creating your own birth affirmations...
40 weeks & 2 days:
Prodromal labor began and would last all the way until true labor began a week and a day later. I would contract consistently for many hours at a time before they would stop, only to start again a few hours later. These contractions didn't always hurt but were strong enough they weren't easy to ignore. It's important to me to include this time as part of this story because start-and-stop labor is hard. It's very difficult mentally and emotionally. This wasn't a new experience for me, as I had experienced this with my previous pregnancies. But my experience and knowledge doesn't make me immune to the emotional ups and downs of "maybe this is it...no, it's not" or the mental fortitude it takes to remain positive through it. There were many days I texted my doula (and dear friend!) to just tell someone how I felt during this time. I needed to hear "yes, this is hard" or "you're doing great" just as much as any laboring woman does, doula or not.
You're a pain expert now! You're familiar with methods to reduce that pain without medication or before (and after) you utilize any pain medications during labor and birth. If you're reading on this far, perhaps it because you plan on utilizing these medications, perhaps it's because you're unsure about what you want yet, or maybe you're just curious. No matter your reason, I'm here to help you explore those options!
So now that we understand what pain is and dived a little deeper in how the body works during labor and birth, it's time to get into how to cope with the discomfort and, yes, pain that comes with having a baby. There are different kinds of methods and medications out there for you to consider. So much so, in fact, that I broke what was going to be one long article on pain management into three separate articles.
I'm choosing to start with non-medicated pain options. The reason for this is because I feel strongly that everyone needs to be familiar with these methods, even if you're planning a medicated birth. While the following tools and skills can certainly be used all on their own, they can be used during a medicated birth either along side medication or in the even that medication does not end up working well for you.
Labor and birth can be intense, that's no secret. But, we all know there are different kinds of pain, right? There's the pain of a headache and the pain of a migraine. There's the pain of a running a marathon and the pain of breaking a bone. There are levels and intricacies of pain and, of course, it's all relative. What is pain to one person may be suffering to the next and vise versa.
The first step to understanding what options you have for pain management during labor is understanding what pain is. So let's start there, shall we?
Welcome to the first post in my Know Your Options series! Okay, ready? Let's jump right in!
What is induction?
According to the American College of Obsetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), induction is the use of medication or other methods to bring on labor. Augmentation is when methods are used to speed up or slow down a labor that has already started.
When babies are positioned so that their buttocks or feet will be born first, we call them breech. Approximately 3-4% of all deliveries will be of breech presentation babies. The percentage of breech deliveries is higher with premature babies at 22% prior to 28 weeks' gestation, 7% at 32 weeks' gestation, and just 1-3% at term. That's roughly 1 out of every 25 full term babies breech. So, what causes babies to be breech and what can you do if you find yourself with a breech baby?
I'm the owner of Sage Roots. Woman, wife, mother, doula, writer, bookworm, hiker, gamer, and Christian.