Did you have a natural childbirth?

While natural labor and childbirth are the ideal for many women, we know that sometimes the health of the baby or the mother dictates intervention.  Still, there’s so much pressure these days to opt for an epidural or a C-section that it’s nice when you are able to have support for your birth plan.  Did you manage to have a natural labor?  If so, did you have to fight for it or were your physician or midwife on your side?  Feel free to tell your birth story!  We love to hear them!  What would you tell someone who is right in the middle of her first pregnancy?  Any tips?

Bottom Balm for Moms and Babies Review

I’ve extolled the virtues of home remedies for diaper rash, but when we were gifted with a tub of Angel Baby Bottom Balm I thought I’d give it a whirl and report back.

natural diaper rash creamsBefore I ever cracked it open, I was impressed that the first two ingredients are olive oil (which we’ve recommended before as a homemade solution for diaper rash) and calendula oil.  It’s also loaded with essential oils, shea butter and jojoba.

The cream has a heavenly lavender smell, a smooth consistency and good coverage, which makes the diaper changing experience just a bit more pleasant. Located right here in my home state of Oregon, Earth Mama, Angel Baby Organics is a small company that specializes in natural products for mothers and infants.
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Natural Childbirth the Second Time Around

For the last two and half weeks I’ve been wallowing in the haze of sleeplessness, too exhausted to personally share the news of our second child’s birth. As you may have already read from Rebecca’s announcement, Jovi Nilprabhassorn arrived on June 8th after nine hours of labor, loads of encouragement, and some uncontrolled screaming towards the end.

After my first child’s birth I thought I knew what to expect with the second. Wrong! From the beginning she established herself as unique with lots of small contractions for hours before labor really intensified.

Even after we arrived at the Midwifery Birth Center, I remember thinking, “This whole labor thing really isn’t that hard! Why did I think this was such a struggle last time?” Within a few hours, I remembered just how painful it could get and realized at one point that I might not make it to the other side of each contraction.

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Letting Go of Childbirth Expectations

We attend birthing classes, read books on natural childbirth, practice our breathing, and then the big day arrives. What happens when things don’t go as planned?  When you’re whisked off to C-section after hours of labor?  Or when the pain exhausts you to the point that you need an epidural to continue?

While I had a great experience with our local midwifery clinic and would highly recommend natural childbirth, I was lucky to have several stories to reflect upon before I went into labor.  My sister-in-law, who worked as a family physician for some time, shared that women often experience a sense of failure when things don’t go as planned and they aren’t able to labor naturally. She encouraged me to make a birth plan, educate myself, and then be willing to let go of expectations if things suddenly changed.
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Selecting a Qualified Midwife in Your Area

If you’ve been keeping up with my series on using a midwife, (click here, here or here for my three previous posts) you may be getting depressed.  Yes, the Nurse Midwifery Birth Center is wonderful, quaint, friendly and covered by most mainstream insurance—but what are people supposed to do who don’t live here in Eugene, Oregon?  What if you’d like a midwife, but aren’t sure where to start looking?

Here are a few tips that I’ve gleaned from friends and family who have found their dream midwives with a bit of research.

  1. Ask friends, family and co-workers.  The best references are from people who have had a positive birth experience with a skilled midwife.
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Top Ten Reasons for Choosing a Midwife Over an MD

As you may remember from my recent posts on the perspective of midwives and choosing a midwife, I had a wonderful birth experience with the midwifery clinic here in town.  Here are my top ten favorite things about working with the Nurse Midwifery Birth Center:

  1. Personalized attention. My appointments are generally between 45 minutes to an hour and involve plenty of time for questions and information.  The midwife always presents all the options and allows my husband and me to make the final decisions.  It’s so empowering!
  2. Flexibility. It was up to us to choose whether we wanted to give birth at the clinic or the hospital. (Although pregnancies with high risk of complications have to be delivered at the hospital).  Either way, our midwife would supervise the birth and support our pregnancy.
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The Unique Perspective Midwives Bring to Birth

When I meet a pregnant person I try hard not to launch into a full speech about my experience with midwives, but I have to confess that it’s happened a few times.  So why have I become suddenly evangelical about this alternative to the typical hospital birth? 

In my experience, midwives bring an entirely different perspective to the birth.  Doctors are trained for years in how to cure sick people.  On the other hand, midwives specialize in empowering women to find natural, non-invasive ways to stay as comfortable as possible during labor.

Now I’m not going to say that people should only have natural births, but in this age of scheduled C-sections it does seem like we’ve gone to some extremes.  Doctors are extremely nervous about liability and often move toward surgery or drugs far more quickly than they necessarily have to.  But with the proper education, coaching and support, many more women would be able to deliver naturally and feel like they had more options in the birthing process.

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Choosing a Midwife

With my first pregnancy I had no idea where I wanted to deliver. I just assumed I’d give birth in a hospital with a standard OBGYN. 

After our first doctor’s appointment, however, everything changed.  They whisked us in and out of the office in just ten minutes and everyone, from the receptionists to the physicians, seemed tired and overwhelmed.  The hospital tour depressed me even more.  From the generic pastel wallpaper to the cramped rooms, I knew I didn’t want to deliver there. 

Finally, I had the good fortune to find out about our local Nurse Midwifery Birth Center, a clinic housed in a vintage house with six wonderful midwives, antique furniture and a more homey atmosphere for birth.  This ended up being the room in which our son was born!

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