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Giving Birth: A Unique Experience For Every Mother

I was over-joyed when I first learned I was expecting my first baby. It wasn't until sometime in the second trimester, when I finally started to show, that I really realized I was going to be giving birth--somehow and sometime--and only months away. I was scared. I knew that pushing our baby out was going to be the hardest physical challenge of my life so far. I decided to do what I do best when I start to worry: research. One of the best ways to learn about things like pregnancy, parenting and childbirth is to talk to other moms. I started to pick the brains of my friends who had children. I asked them to tell me their stories, starting with how they first knew they were in labor, how long it lasted, whether or not they got pain medication and if they would change anything if they could go back and do it again. Many friends that I talked to had very strong opinions on things like natural childbirth with no pain medication or c-sections. I even had one friend who told me she was sure her sister could have "pushed her baby out if she had only tried harder." She didn't approve of the fact that her sister ended up with a cesarean since she had given birth to her own son vaginally, at home and with no meds. I have to admit, I was surprised to hear this. Why would moms feel the need to judge each other about an experience that is unique to each of us? I also did a lot of research online. I read blogs by new moms, I learned about the risks and benefits of different interventions during the birth process and I found out how a spinal is different from an epidural. I also did a lot of reading about contractions and how to tell real labor contractions from Braxton-Hicks contractions. How would I know I was really in labor if my water didn't break? I worried that I'd be in labor without knowing and end up having the baby on the kitchen floor. Ha! I later found out that my own real labor contractions were unmistakable. I also bought lots of books on pregnancy and read them all. I even read them to my husband, who politely pretended to listen. And as I gathered more and more information about giving birth, I began to write my own birth plan. The first decision that I made was whether I wanted to give birth at home or in a hospital. That was easy: I wanted to give birth in a hospital. I had read many touching stories about home-birth experiences but I didn't feel that would be a good option for a Nervous Nelly like myself. I also opted out of things like hypno-birthing and water birth, though I had learned breathing techniques at my child-birth class and planned to do some of my laboring in the jacuzzi tub in the labor and delivery room at the hospital. In the end, the birth process did not go as I had hoped. I had a long and excruciating back labor, went for the epidural and ended up with a cesarean. But you know what? It was still childbirth--maybe it didn't look or sound like a perfect story or fit many other people's ideals of a what giving birth should look like--but it ended with a beautiful, healthy baby girl being put into my arms.  
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502 comments

  • When I was pregnant with my daughter I also did a ton of research and read an article similar to this one. And im so glad i did! I ended up with the “no plan, plan” lol. Ended up having an epidural, episiotimy, one stitch and a perfect baby :)

    Hillary Hutchins on
  • Every woman’s birth is different for sure. I was blessed to be able to give birth in a birthing center with midwives twice & am planning on it in a few weeks again. Being upright was the most comfortable position and I’m so glad I was able to stay home until transition. The birth center has large bathtubs and I will say the water was very helpful for strong back labor. I was terrified the first go around, but so amazed that after everything I had something so beautiful and snuggly to show for it!! <3 I know every mama probably feels amazed when she sees her baby's little face!! :)

    Ashley Chassereau Parks on
  • Awesome article! I will be right there doing a ton of research (which I’ve already started before I’m even pregnant) because I can’t help but read it all and read the different view points of everything related to babies.

    Cierra M. on
  • Can totally relate!

    Órla on
  • Thank you for this, and it is so very true. I’m 31 1/2 weeks with my second baby and am going to try for VBAC. My first pregnancy was very difficult, and ended in a C-section. I had 2 weeks prodromal labor and then 20 hours of “real” labor. I needed two epidurals because I did not know I had scoliosis and the first anesthesiologist didn’t notice it and it only ended up working on half my lower body (talk about weird only feeling half of a contraction and one leg). I was so exhausted from not sleeping for 2 weeks that I just didn’t have much strength to push. It was just a nightmare, but still so very worth it in the end. I want to be a bit more prepared this time and definitely will take a lot more advice like DRINK PLENTY to possibly prevent the prodromal labor, try and rest a little more, eat a little healthier and definitely want to avoid as many interventions as I can. My first birth plan was to basically not have one, but I learned that for me, I need one, and I need to take control of my experience, be assertive, and make sure I am heard in what I want. The nurses and doctors were so very pushy with what happened.. all the way to giving my baby a pacifier against my wishes because “he needed it”. And I let them make all the decisions and tell me what to do like they had authority over me. Not this time. Mama is in charge, it is MY delivery, MY baby and MY recover. I’m the one nursing and I will use cloth diapers at the hospital and wear my own clothes if I please. If that bothers them, too bad. I don’t have a choice but to have my baby in this hospital because of money, risks and I cannot do a home birth because I think i’m going to end up wanting an epidural. I know more about my body now, what it’s like to be in labor and feel more confident that I can do it. But if it ends up another C-section, the result will still be the same. I will have my baby, and I will love them.

    Britney Tifft on

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