The words “Natural Birth” can evoke a range of reactions from pregnant mothers. Some cringe, some hope, and some just want an honest woman’s experience to help them pursue their own path (insert me 3 years ago). For those like me who just want an honest opinion, here you go . . . the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m not going to sugar coat it because I want you to do it, and I’m not going to be melodramatic because I want some sort of “natural birth award.” After all, I’m writing this after having an epidural/c-section birth and then a natural birth. Neither being walks in the park, I can assure you. So here we go.
FYI- I’m going to be real and open. If you disagree and would like to email me – send it to [email protected] This is my experience, and I’m not going to enter any debate about how someone else feels about my birth. Sorry.
How Does Natural Birth Feel In the Beginning?
Breaking The Water
My Birth was considered high risk due to my baby being classified as IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). AKA-he was tiny for an unknown reason. So when my fluid levels started getting low around the 39th wk., I was scheduled to be induced. The first step was having my water broken. This sounds worse than it is. It’s basically a plastic hook that causes your bag of water to leak. A little uncomfortable, but nothing more than a normal exam at the OB.
After that, my contractions increased to what I would describe as easy period cramps (to preface, I’ve dealt with pretty bad cramps since I was 12. I also have PCOS if that means anything to you). After a few hours, and not enough progress, we had to resort to Pitocin. If you aren’t familiar with Pitocin, it’s a synthetic form of oxytocin (inserted through your IV) used to start labor – or help it along when needed.
How Bad Are The Contractions?
Again, being considered high risk, they started my Pitocin at a low dose and slowly worked it up until hitting what my nurse called the “magic number.” My cramps/contractions quickly went from easy period to painful, staying in bed with legs curled up period. I counted and used my hypnobirthing methods to stay in control and keep my body as loose and calm as possible. At this point it was bearable and I would get a breather in between.
Then came that glorious “magic number”. The contractions increased, almost no breather in between, and I felt like something inside of me was pulling apart, just keeping it real. Side note: one thing that really helped me through this is remembering that pain served a purpose. My body was accomplishing great things. Remember this is on Pitocin, I’ve heard women say they get better breaks and less pain without Pitocin (food for thought). If I had a better option in my situation I wouldn’t have opted for it. At this point, I had to constantly move (rock back and forth) or I thought I would lose it. It’s like when you burn your finger and you shake it – it probably doesn’t help it feel better, but in some weird way it helps.
I hadn’t been checked in awhile and I told my nurse and my doula that if I wasn’t close to pushing, I was done. I’ve read many stories of “the wall” that women hit right before the end. This was my wall. I knew my pain level and I knew my body/mind could only handle this amount for a little while longer. As soon as they got ready to check me to see how far I had dilated, I started feeling what I can only describe as pulses or surges. It’s like my body started to push the baby out without me doing anything.
After my midwife literally ran into the room, baby still pulsing, I got into squatting position which immensely helped with the pain of contractions. For some reason, pushing is what I had feared the most. But it was so relieving to be able to do something with the pain and pressure I had been feeling for hours. After one little push, I stopped. The baby was crowning and I was scared. It wasn’t the pain, it was my immediate reaction to doing something on purpose that was hurting and the fear of what would happen to my body if I kept pushing. After a little pep talk where everyone reminded me of how badly I wanted this, I was ready to do something that makes no sense to my body/brain. Make my body hurt more. So I closed my eyes, I pushed, I let a sound out that was a mix between a groan and a yell, and that baby was out in seconds. To elaborate on what it felt like – for those who want to know. It was an intense burning/stretching type of feeling, but honestly not as bad as I had expected, and it was over in seconds.
And then – the reward that makes it all worth it. That sweet baby bliss. So that’s MY experience. I couldn’t be more thankful to have had a natural birth. Every birth is different. Every woman’s pain is her own and shouldn’t be debated. If you were looking for an honest, natural birth experience – good and bad, I hope this helped you. I wish you an amazing birth experience, no matter which path you take, or which path takes you.
If you’d like to hear more about my C-section birth, click Here.