First, I need to answer the question that many people ask after they find out I had a natural birth. And esp. after they find out that it wasn't perhaps the perfect delivery--I mean, it was perfect in the sense that I delivered a beautiful healthy baby girl without too much damage to myself. But in terms of it being perfect like 80% of the natural birth videos that make it look so easy... we'll say that it wasn't quite like those. The question is if I will do a natural delivery again.
And the answer is (in Strong Bad language): Very Yes.
The reasons? Here they are!
- Now that I've done it once, I know what to expect (in a way) and know that the next time will be better. (God willing, of course.)
- Recovery time was amazing. I think the time it took to recover was... three days? That sounds about right.
- It was pretty cool.
- I feel awesome that I was able to do it.
Okay, I guess I don't have that many reasons--haha. But the few ones that I have are enough for me to do it again.
Amazingly, even while I was going through the tough contractions, I thought to myself, "Will I get an epidural next time?" And I honestly couldn't say yes! However, the thing that I did think to myself was, I will never recommend this to anyone!! And I will not add all of the exclamation points that my thought produced at that time.
The second part of this follow-up post is some of the things I learned in the whole process.
1. Quickly recovering from tearing
If you read my previous post, you would learn that I tore to a 3. That's a lot. However, I only experienced pain a couple times. Once when I got up wrong (ouch) and three weeks later when I stopped taking the stool softener (yoooooooooouuuuuuuuuch). The rest was just discomfort. I didn't have to use a donut to sit on or anything. Why? Not because of the natural birth. It was because of the Kegel exercises I did. I not only worked up to about 200 a day, but I was able to hold the muscle for 10 seconds. When I started the exercises, I couldn't even hold it for 2 seconds! In other words, whether or not you decide to go natural, you should be doing Kegel exercises! And it not only helps the healing process, it helps the baby get out easier. My birth coach explained it as finding your head through an xx-large t'shirt versus a turtle-neck. The t'shirt is a weak muscle and the turtle-neck is a strong muscle. (And plus, you will be less likely to need Depends when you get old.)
2. High protein dieting
I'm not sure what exactly this did, but it might have done quite a bit! My body worked perfectly through the labor and delivery (even if my brain didn't ;), Addie came out healthy and chubby, and my milk was/is creamy! It could all be due to the high protein diet. I don't know. However, studies have been shown that you are less likely to have complications if you were on a high protein diet.
3. Exercising is a good idea
I did an 8-minute yoga routine everyday. I also rode a stationary bike or walked to work everyday (and if you have hemorroids, a good thing is to ride a stationary bike). I'm positive this is another reason why I had such a quick recovery. I actually wasn't exercising at all before I got pregnant! And I know that you're not supposed to start a routine once your pregnant, but I did anyway. ;) I was very careful and tried to listen to my body. When I started the yoga, I could hardly do it at first. I kept at it and it really helped my health. The yoga routine included stretching and I did that afterward too. Stretching, especially the inner-thigh muscles is a very good thing to do and you should do it more than once a day. Also cat-stretches gets the baby in the right position for delivery.
4. Giving birth is hard on your body
Ladies. It doesn't matter whether you decide to go natural or not, your body is going through the same thing!! I cannot say this enough! Just because you can't feel anything doesn't mean your body isn't experiencing anything! I encourage all pregnant women to go act as if they were to go natural. That way, you will be more likely to have a quick recovery no matter what you end up doing.
5. Contractions happen and they're not fun
Whether or not you go natural, you will experience contractions. And if it's your first baby, you might experience them for hours before the hospital admits you. What are you going to do to cope?! I would encourage you to go to natural birth classes and practice relaxation techniques because you will need them. And besides, the epidural does not work on everyone and if it's your first, you won't know its effects until you're sitting on the hospital bed in a hospital gown. Some women can still feel the contractions and you might need a relaxation technique to get you through.
6. If you decide to go natural
I don't know if I would recommend going natural your first time. The reasons are because your labor tends to be very long (and you don't want to have an emergency c-section because you're too tired to push at the pushing stage) and because, well, you've never done it before! ;) Everything is so new and crazy your first time and you've never had to push a 7-lb. human out of you before. I think it would be nice to know a little bit more of what to expect before you go all natural.
If it's your first time going natural, even if it's not your first baby, I recommend getting a coach or doula. Go to as many classes as you can. Watch as many videos as you can. Every time I had braxton hicks or Addie stretched a lot, I practiced breathing. I don't know if I recommend a high protein diet for your whole pregnancy; start it when you feel like you should. I started it about 7 weeks before the due date. Get a coach and have that coach be in the delivery room with you.
What I will do next time:
- Go to more classes to learn about breathing techniques.
- Watch more videos.
- Tell myself at pushing "If you relax, the baby will come out smoothly." Or "If you relax, you won't tear." Whether or not those things are true, if I can just repeat something to myself that will get me to relax, everything will be a lot better.
- Get John to hold my face and look in my eyes to help me through. Remember people: Eye contact.
- Bring an exercise ball to sit on.
I was really blessed because the hospital that I delivered at let me take off the monitors for most of the laboring. Cool, huh? It gave me freedom to walk around. Intermountain Healthcare has a nice birthplan on their website if you want to use it. Share your birth experiences on your blogs! It helps women to be prepared by listening to stories.
I really tried to not make another long post! Sorry it didn't work. :P