Updated: Feb 17, 2020
I wanted to share my experience with my natural unmedicated birth. Many women I've talked to truly do not believe that they can give birth unmedicated. They think that I'm absolutely crazy for wanting to have my child without an epidural or even just having my child vaginally. And for me, that was a absolutely vital and important piece of my birthing experience. I wanted to be 100% there.
I wanted to feel every single feeling good and bad and ugly. And that was my choice that was my decision. I'm going to do it again next time. Ideally, if all things align and there are no extenuating circumstances, I really hope that my next birth will also be a completely natural birth. So throughout when I refer to a natural birth, to me that means a natural, unmedicated birth.
So my mom. She gave birth to all three of us kids without medication and vaginally. And so I knew that doing this was possible. I have never. As long as I can remember, thought about being medicated while giving birth. To me having that birth experience was it was vital for me to feel everything. Whether that was pain or absolute bliss, I wanted to feel it all.
I don't want to scare if you are pregnant and this is your first child. Birth is absolutely beautiful and wonderful and so real. I did take a hypnobirthing course before having my daughter, Luna. It said, "oh, if you, you know, practice these visualizations and breathing exercises, you can make it so you dont feel pain while giving birth to your child."
I don't know if it's because I personally just thought there is no way that's possible. Maybe that is why I still felt pain while giving birth to my daughter. But I think it's unrealistic to feel absolutely no pain while giving birth. I mean, you are pushing a human being out of your body, and I think inevitably there will be some pain. But I do also believe that my hypnobirthing course is what got me through my birth.
Having those breathing exercises, although those are very important, but also the understanding of the anatomy of the human body and the fact that we are made to give birth. Our bodies understand and know what we're doing. One thing that came across to me while they were talking in the hypnobirthing course was, women can be pregnant and unconscious in a coma and still give birth to their child. So your body knows what you're doing. It knows what to do. I also want to say, I know that there are exceptions. I know that some women cannot give birth vaginally. And I understand that I'm not saying that my choice right or that it is wrong, but I just want to share my personal experience.
When I found out that I was pregnant with Luna. I wanted to have a a water birth (that didn't end up happening) and I also did not want to have my birth in a hospital. I thought about having a homebirth. For me, I was just a little bit uncomfortable with that idea because it was my first child. There are so many unknowns. I didn't want to go into it from a place of fear. I wanted to feel like I did have knowledgeable women around me who could guide me in in my experience and help me when I was hitting mental blocks.
I gave birth at a birthing center that I went to was in Sacramento, it's called The Birth Center. I highly recommend it. There's two rooms and the rooms feel like your bedroom at home. There is a large bed, curtains. You have your birthing tub there, bathroom, a living room, a kitchen, and all of this was covered under my medical insurance. I was actually under Medi-Cal at the time.
Some people think that this is completely out of their price range, but in reality, it may not be. So if you do want this as a possibility, look into it. And if you do have other insurance, I know that a lot of hospitals are now offering birthing centers within the hospital. So that's something that you could also look into.
I knew I wanted a natural water birth. And and I was excited and also of course nervous and scared. But I overall, I was excited to have this intimate experience with my body, with my husband and with my soon to be daughter. The 40 week mark came and went and I thought for sure. Oh, my daughter's going to arrive early. I felt her kick early. So she's going to be here in no time. And that was not the case.
I just remember it was it was 40 weeks and four days, I was just so frustrated. It felt like she was never going to come out. She's going to hit forty two weeks and then the midwife is gonna make me go to the hospital and then I'm going to have to have a C-section. And my brain is, of course, going down this rabbit hole of all the things that I don't want to happen. But with birth you only have so much control. So I went on my morning walk, like I always did, and I had watched all the videos of things that you should do to kind of help ease your baby along. So I was walking along the sidewalk, off and on the curb and just trying to jiggle her out.
I came home and I was bouncing on my birthing ball and I was so annoyed and frustrated. I went into the bedroom. I sat on the bed and I just cried. And Lucas came in just trying to see what's wrong. "She's never coming out. This is ridiculous. She I'm so frustrated. Why isn't she here yet?!" I remember saying.He pretty much told me she will come when she is ready to come. And it's OK, just kind of calming me down. At that point, I just let go. I stopped worrying about it and I was like, you know what? When she comes, she comes. I can't think about it anymore. Otherwise, it's just gonna drive me absolutely crazy.
I got up and I went over to the kitchen to wash them dishes. And as I was washing dishes, I'm I started to feel a tinge of something. I thought to myself, This is slightly different than the false labor that I had been feeling. This is a little bit different. I felt a little bit crampy. There was a little bit of pressure every once in a while. And so I continued washing the dishes and just kind of feeling then sensations in my body. And I think 15 minutes had passed and the waves had continued at intervals. So I sat down on the couch and I got out my my contraction counter. I turned to Lucas and I was like, I think something's happening. At that point, I was pretty positive I was going into labor. I started bouncing on my birthing ball and things started to escalate.
I was having to breathe through the contractions, and at this point I still had it under control. I was listening to my hypnobirthing recordings and and it started getting to a place where I was like, this is getting intense. My husband doesn't drive. So I had to coordinate with my parents who are about a half hour away from me. So I was thinking to myself, OK. You know this is escalating and I need to make sure that they're here because I don't know how quickly she's going to come. And so I called them and I kind of let them know what was happening and they made their way over. And at this point, I got into the bathtub in my house, per the request of my midwife. (This was to see how far along I was in the labor process). I was starting to make some noise. I was sitting in the bathtub trying to continue to breathe. Then it got to a place where I was I was starting to feel the pain. And my my mentality started to get away from me.
Lucas was on the phone with the birth center and I got out of the bathtub because it was making me feel a little bit nauseous and woozy. So I went to the bedroom to lay down. And at that time I was when the contractions were happening, I was definitely wailing. Lucas was on the phone with the birthing center and the midwife heard me and knew it was time for me to head over.
On the drive there I was thinking to myself, oh, my gosh, what have I done? This is insane. Why did I think that I should give birth naturally? My mom was on the front seat. I was like, "how did you do this for three kids?!" And all I remember is her laughing, but I don't remember what she said. I was just so in the moment of trying to breathe through my contractions while in the car.
We got to the birthing center. My midwife checked how dilated I was and I think I was four centimeters. And so that was that gave me hope. I was like, OK, I'm making progress. I'm not just one centimeter dilated. So that was a re-energizing point.
We got in to our room and I started bouncing on the ball then standing up to sway my hips and just work with my body to help birth Luna faster. My husband was so amazing. He was just kind of rocking with me and doing his best to help me in whatever way he could. Honestly I dont remember the process very much of my birth, because when it gets to that point of intensity and you are getting up there and that dilation, you are so in tune with your body, nothing else really exsits.
It does get intense and you have to completely just focus on the moment and what it is and breathe through the contraction. Let go of it. And then when the next one comes, focus on that one, breathe through it, let go of it and you just kind of get in a mental zone where you block everything out and you're just breathing and trying to be in tune with your body, but also working to not let your mind get out of control. It's all a game of mind over matter.
My midwife and the Doula were really just kind of coaching me. I don't want fear to creep in, cause when I let once you let fear creep in, the fear of I can't do this or my body can't do this. You you've lost half the battle. So I did my best to just in my mind tell myself, you can do this, Laura. Women for hundreds of centuries have given birth this way. You can do it. You were just one more woman giving birth naturally. You've got these women here and they have the resources. If anything's going wrong, they they know what to do. There's a hospital a short bit away. You've got this.
It was I was giving myself a mental pep talk while pushing through those contractions and squeezing my husband's hand for dear-life and my mom's hand for dear-life.
It gets to that transition point. And the contractions stop and they change to the pushing version of the contractions. And at that point, the pain pretty much went away for me. It didn't hurt in the way the contractions had hurt. It was a totally different sensation. I had no idea how to push Luna out. I was pushing for a good hour before Luna arrived. And that was because a majority of that time I was trying to figure out how how do I make this happen? And luckily, my midwife was wonderful. Whenever I was making progress and pushing the right way, she kind of let me know. "Yes, Laura. Like just like that. Keep going that way." So that gave me, the direction of, OK, this is what I need to be doing.
There was one push in. Her head comes out. And then the second push, her body comes out. And, oh, man, it was just the craziest thing, having this baby being birth for my body. It was surreal. And so they pick her up and they just do a quick wipe off and handed to me in. Her little face was so swollen and it was just the cutest thing in the whole world. And me and Lucas were sitting there just absolutely amazed. And it was surreal. That's like the best way that I can describe it is surreal. I did tear. And I know for so many women, tearing is this awful thing to think about. But when you're giving birth, your body is being flooded with so many hormones you don't feel it when it happens. And luckily, my tear was small (a number two).
So after I birthed Luna and we went to have her latch on for the first time and, you know, I had no idea really what I was doing. I'd watch so many videos and try to educate myself as much as possible. But you never really know until you sit there and are in the experience. So no matter how much you learn about her and try to educate yourself ahead of time, there's still going to be a a learning curve once that baby enters the world. You have so much left to learn. After giving birth to Luna, they kept me around for four hours and then I was allowed to go home, which was another reason that I chose the birth center. I didn't want to be stuck in the hospital for one to two days post birth. And so it was really nice being able to just take my baby home with me and lay there in bed with my husband and have this infant between us and looking at each other like, oh, my gosh, we're parents.
That's the moment that your life just completely changes. The final thing that I really want to just touch on about the birthing experience and birthing story is I think it's very critical that we also talk about post birth care, because that's not really a topic a lot of people talk about. I remember scrolling through some YouTube videos when I was trying to learn about birth. Aftercare wasn't even on my radar once but the post birth and care period is also known as the fourth trimester and is also so important.
There are a few things that I recommend.
So I hope that you guys enjoyed my birth story and that it was a positive one for you to all those mothers out there who are going to be having a baby soon. Congratulations. You know, your world is going to change, but it's gonna change for the better. When the tough days come and they will come. Keep your head up. Reach out to friends and family. Just know that today may be difficult, but tomorrow is a whole new day. And you're learning growing just as your baby is. And this is a new experience for both of you.
I feel so blessed that I've had such a positive response for this and my Instagram. I've been blown away lately just with the kind encouraging comments that people have been sending me.