Although I have several half written posts about pregnancy, I thought I'd skip ahead and update those of you who don't already know: Our new little boy was born a little over two weeks ago! He was 9 pounds, 12 ounces, 21 and a half inches long, and as the title of this post implies, I didn't have any pain medication. My husband says I have a ridiculously high tolerance for pain, but I don't think that's entirely true! I know there are many women out there who would like to get some tips on natural childbirth, so here are the few that I have:
First and foremost: Find a good doctor. I have heard a lot of good things about midwives too, but I don't have any experience with that one. Our doctor came recommended to us for her know how and concern for the patient. Going along with this, make sure your doctor delivers at a good hospital. I had heard several people say good things about the hospital where I delivered my baby, but the hospital often will only allow what your doctor approves.
Second: counter-pressure. It's something I've seen in childbirth classes that I thought didn't make any sense. Basically, if your having back pressure, your husband (or whoever) puts pressure on that part of your back. It seems like this would make it worse, but it actually helps decrease the pain, at least in your back. There where times when things had progressed that my husband had to put so much pressure on my back to relieve the pain that it was hard for me to stand(I was leaning over the bed)!
Third: Try different possessions. I found anything that represented reclining caused major back pain for me. I also have a history of posterior babies (they come out facing away from my tailbone, when they're supposed to face my tailbone. When I had my second, he almost came out posterior, but they caught it soon enough so instead of pushing, I got on my knees and elbows and rocked back and forth for quite a while, then I pushed on my side for a while and he finally turned! This time, to solve the problem before the pushing stage, I had the bed raised up really high and I just leaned over it with my chest on the bed, my belly hanging down, and when I had a contraction, my husband would put pressure on my lower back while I rocked side to side.
Fourth: If you can, get in the tub! This is where having a good doctor helps out, at least it did for me. I have been induced every time I have had a baby, each in a different hospital with a different doctor. The first three times, if there was a tub, you couldn't get in if you were being induced, or if you had an IV, or if your water had broken. Well this time I had all those things going on and the doctor said it was fine for me to get in the tub if I wanted. Eventually, I wanted! Getting in the tub took the pressure off my back, and it gave me a bit more of a break between contractions (that's the problem with pitocin, sometimes the contractions don't go away completely!) but I still very much felt it in the front. The downside o the tub was that I only got to have a few contractions in there before active labor was over and so was transition so I had to get out to push! My husband stood on straddling the tub put his hands under my arms and hoisted me up to a standing position. It's nice to have a strong hubby!
Fifth: Olive oil. As you might imagine, having a large baby can be kind of rough in certain areas. With my first three kids I had an episiotomy, and with my first and third it tore pretty badly. This time, my doctor massaged olive oil into that area, and had me take a few breaks to avoid tearing. My little boy's shoulders did cause a bit of tearing, but nothing like I've experienced in other deliveries!
Now, you may be wondering why I would care to have a natural delivery. There are several reasons, but here's just an overview:
I don't like feeling numb to anything. Not being able to feel is scarier to me than being in pain. I also enjoy being able to get up and move around shortly after delivery. With two of my other babies I have had medication to take to edge off of the contractions, or help the contractions even out because I have always had pitocin going, but on my third baby they gave me stadol (sp?) when I was at a 5 and said that I couldn't have it after an 8 because they didn't want me having it within the last two hours before the baby was born because it would make him sleepy and difficult for him to nurse. Not only did it make my head spin like nothing else, but it did even out the contractions and he was born within 45 minutes of me getting the medication, so he was blue and not crying. They didn't put him on my tummy or let me cuddle and I didn't care, I just wanted him to be okay. He was after a few minutes, but it took a while to get him to nurse. After that I strengthened my resolve to not have any medication so I wouldn't have to worry about the effect it would have on the baby, and this one came out healthy and ready to eat!
I also don't respond well to pain medication, I get very dizzy and light headed and sometimes get a slight headache (how much sense does that make?) so I try to steer clear of it as much as possible!
I'm so happy to have my little boy here!