My natural birthing storying is an experience I will always cherish. It taught me so much about how God carefully made a woman’s body to incubate and birth a human. It is nothing short of a miracle. Birthing a child was one of the most challenging and equally beautiful things I have ever done. As I reflect on my journey, here are 5 tips that helped me through.
1. Prepare the atmosphere: Engage your senses
Your senses are like gates to your spirit, emotions and mind. By intentionally engaging them, you are able to transform the world around you. That’s true with whatever you do in life.
My husband and I prayed before we did anything else. He prayed a blessing for me, our new baby and the delivery process. We also guarded the words we spoke and allowed to be spoken over us. Anything that didn’t agree with what we prayed we dismissed or corrected.
A word spoken out of place can introduce new thoughts and ideas that are contrary to the confessions set in prayer. Thoughts become words and words become reality. So, this means be very intentional about the conversations you keep, what you watch, what you read or audio choices during your pregnancy (and in life).
When we prayed, we touched and agreed that labor and delivery would be peaceful and without complications. Every time my husband rubbed my back or helped me to the bathroom, the connections were gentle reminders of our confession. Touch can be powerful thing. Feeling gives context to what you say, see or believe.
Sight and Smell
We lit candles and used lavender essential oil which was perfect for relaxation. If the hospital does not allow candles to be lit, pack battery-operated candles and an essential oil spray. You can create a spa-like atmosphere right in your hospital room.
I had a preset worship playlist with peaceful affirming music ready to go. My husband played it on repeat at home, in the car, in triage and in the hospital room until our baby was born. It kept the atmosphere calm, my heart encouraged and my spirit in gratitude.
2. Move your body
Throughout my pregnancy I continued to move and stretch to prepare for labor. During my contractions, sitting or lying down was the most uncomfortable position. So, being able to move around freely was super important.
Ask for a mobile monitor!!!! There are two straps around your belly - one for the baby's heartbeat and one to monitor the contractions. This was hands down the most important device during my labor. I never wanted to feel constricted to the bed. I still had to roll the IV around with me, but other than that I was free to move as needed.
I had a medicine ball at home that I used to stretch while pregnant and during labor. There was one in my hospital room as well. I bounced on the ball in between contractions to cause the baby to move into an optimal birthing position.
My baby's heart rate dropped a few times during labor. The nurses had me lay on my side, which was more comfortable for the baby, but extremely uncomfortable for mommy. The peanut fit perfectly between my legs to support my hips and back.
Sway side to side
Whenever I felt a contraction coming, I picked a labor position and swayed side to side. Whether standing up, sitting on the ball, leaning on my husband or bent over on a counter swaying slowing helped relieve the pressure.
3. Have a supporting partner
We had our second child during the pandemic. That cut our visiting list down to one person only. But I was not worried...I had my husband.
LIS-TEN (I'm clapping with each syllable) my husband was the best coach, doula, encourager, hand holder, back rubber, and leg supporter I could have ever asked for. I didn't realize it at first, but I was in labor for 21 hours. There were things that he saw and endured that I am too embarrassed to mention. He did not complain one time. Everything he did was exactly what I needed without me having to ask for much. Husband you came through for me and for that I am eternally grateful.
Now, with all the physical support my husband gave me, he could not birth this baby. He could not give me the mental, emotional and spiritual strength I needed to deliver our son. I needed my supernatural support partner for that. The prayers, praise and worship had already invited Him in. It is one thing to know the presence of God is with you, but there is nothing like feeling His presence when you need Him the most. I could literally feel renewed strength through each stage of my labor. Simple scriptures like "I can do all things through Christ that gives me strength" kept repeating in my mind. And when it was time to deliver, I was in a completely different head space. He gave me the stamina to endure until the end.
4. Water is your friend
Staying hydrated is important. During labor you are breathing a lot and that can dry out your mouth really quick. (Side note: drinking more = more bathroom breaks = more accidents while contracting. Just be prepared). When you’re in the hospital, you are only allowed to have liquids, so pack a few nutritious snacks if you need to. I didn’t have much of an appetite anyway. I ate mostly snack bars and trail mix.
Take a bath or stand in the shower at some point during your labor. I did both. Soaking in a warm bath loosened my muscles, allowed me to stretch and helped ease my contractions. At the hospital, I let a jet shower spray on my back. It felt l like a soothing back massage.
5. Breath! Then, hold your breath!
I know what you're thinking. “Duh…we’ve seen all the movies”. Scratch that! When your muscles are tightening sometimes you really forget to breath. Breathing will make you feel more relaxed, reduce your heart rate and blood pressure and fuel your body with the energy you need to birth your baby. There are many breathing techniques out there. Do what works for you, just remember to breath.
When it is time to push, this is when breathing is a little more technical. You should actually be holding your breath while pushing and breathing on the breaks. Another technique is pant breathing. These are short quick breaths like a dog. To reduce tearing, pant breath to slowly deliver the head and shoulders.