The following are a few excerpts from an email I wrote to my birthing class instructor explaining how the birth went in my view. By the way, I highly recommend the class I took (or taking a class at all – it’s not all superficial breathing, but more about awareness). I also recommend having a doula there. It’s not just for you, but also your partner, who is generally not an experienced labor coach. If you’re interested in who I used for either of those, just be in touch.
I just wanted to be able to tell you that the birth was really a positive, wonderful experience for us… Everyone’s first questions – whether they have had kids or not – are “Was it painful? How long was your labor? Did you take the epidural?” and I am starting to realize they may not be comfortable with the answers I give…
Was it painful? I guess, but not nearly as bad as I would have thought… Aside from the fact that I barely remember the pain by now… And the midwives couldn’t believe I was in labor. They kept going back and forth about how relaxed we were. And we really did feel relaxed and organized. We had a system down and it just worked.
How long was the labor? Well, it was about 36 hours from start to finish, but the time flew, I barely realized… I really did take one contraction at a time, like you said. That break – the fact that there is always a break – really did keep me going.
Did I take an epidural? I didn’t even consider it… I didn’t even remember it was an option… My main methods of pain relief were: hot showers – amazing! Remembering to take one contraction at a time… Trying new things when one position wasn’t working… The education we got from your class was a huge help in understanding what was going on and what should be going on. My husband was an amazing source of support and ‘pain relief’… I have no idea how we could have done it without having a doula there. Sure, we would have done it, but it would not have been as smooth and relaxed.
So if anyone asks what made the birth successful (as opposed to, ‘was it painful,’ etc?) I would say:
- Taking a course!
- An amazing, supportive, informed partner.
- An experienced doula.
- Not expecting any one way going into it, but being prepared mentally for the general experience.
- Going to the hospital as late as possible!
- Hot showers. Water crisis be damned (though I did shut it off between contractions… we’re in Israel after all).