Natural Childbirth

Samuel - two days old.

Samuel – two days old.

It takes a lot of motivation to have a baby without the use of medications, procedures, and medical interference. Unfortunately, it is normal to have an epidural, multiple vaginal exams, pitocin, episiotomy….and the list goes on.

I gave birth naturally in September 2011 to our youngest child, Samuel. It was in a hospital but they didn’t do anything – it was all me! You can read the whole story here.

I have also had two UNnatural vaginal births with my older children. Let me tell you a secret. THE NATURAL BIRTH EXPERIENCE WAS BETTER!! Even with drugs, an epidural and assistance, the unnatural births were painful, scary and confined (in bed!). My third birth was spent almost entirely at home, where I moved about as I needed to, hanging onto furniture, eating a little bit, and *gasp* exercising!! I was at the hospital for 59 minutes before Samuel entered the world.

There were three things (secrets, if you will) that led to my success.

  1. Reading multiple books on natural chilbirth. I read different “styles” so I could decide for myself what would likely be the best options for me.
  2. Reading birth stories online. Message Boards are a great place to find encouraging stories. And This website was my favorite in the last month before I gave birth. I read a few each night before bed! It was so motivating and empowering to read all these different situations that led to the natural birth process. There are many more places online to read stories, but these were my personal favorites.
  3. Making a Birth Plan and giving a copy to my midwife’s office at my 36 week appointment, as well as a copy to the hospital staff upon arrival when I was in labor. I felt prepared and in control. My husband had explicit instructions to have them follow the plan unless I agreed otherwise (in the case of an emergency c-section or similar). He and I had gone through every aspect of the birth and agreed on what we wanted beforehand. Everything went according to my wishes except for the parts about laboring at the hospital – I wasn’t there long enough to shower or move about! From the time I got there until the time he was born was only 59 minutes and believe me, I wanted to be in bed. I couldn’t walk or change positions. I did all that at home. ;)

This was my birth plan (notice how polite I seem? Really I was a lioness!):

Here are some other posts I’ve written relating to NCB:

Read why Natural Childbirth is NOT just for home birthers.

Want to know what birth FEELS like? Read The Pains and Sensations of Childbirth.

Thinking about having an INDUCTION? Read this first: What Do You Think? Labor Inductions (Pay close attention to the comments. It is VERY rare for someone to be pleased with their induction experience)

Please read about Birth in the Caul, and find out why they may not need to break your water.

51 thoughts on “Natural Childbirth

  1. I couldn’t agree more that natural is easier! We had the same experience; 1st birth had lots of interventions and 2nd was all me…it was so much more enjoyable the second time! I love your blog!

    • That’s wonderful! Did you birth at home or birth center, or hospital the second time? If we had a birth center here it would be my first choice, but the closest one is over 2 hours away so I’m forced (because of my platelet levels while pregnant) to be at the hospital. Thank you, I love blogging! :)

      • We were at a hospital for baby #2. I think I’d prefer a birthing center next time, but we were new to the area and didn’t have too much time to research. I’m very interested in and passionate about educating people about natural childbirth since it was so rewarding for us! It sounds like our experiences were pretty similar…Both of my birth stories are on my blog, if you’re interested. Have you written yours out?

  2. Thanks for sharing! That’s a good idea to read other women’s birth stories to be encouraged and not frightened of what the birth can be. I can’t believe that it was easier naturally. I’m sure you wish that you had had all of your babies naturally, but you can be such an inspiration to new moms since you know what both a medicated AND an unmedicated birth experience is like. I think a childbirth educator can be a very powerful role. Pursue it, girl!

    • It was easier because I knew exactly what was going on (not groggy), moved about as I needed to (instead of being hooked up to monitors in a bed), and had prepared myself to visualize what was going on which made me feel in control (as much as a laboring woman *can* be in control, anyway!) I definitely wish I’d had my other children naturally, but hey, we live and learn! I may very well pursue being a childbirth educator; right now I’m trying to so through my blog. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thank you for sharing such a positive experience. my first 3 children were born vaginally but not naturally, my last baby I decided to go all natural. I had gone through a Doula certification program and experienced many wonderful natural births first hand and had confidence that my body could do the same. Unfortunately I had to be induced, but other then the pitocen I did everything on my own, no pain meds at all! I can tell you that though all my birth experiences were special, the last was the best experience out of them all. My body felt so much better after my last birth. I had none of the side effects that I had with all my other births due to the epidural. To tell you the truth my first three labors where 100x more painful then my last. I know the risk of inductions are high, but for me it was medically needed, and I am very thankful that everything worked out!

    ps- reading natural childbirth stories is a great suggestion, I will definitely be sharing that suggestion on my natural childbirth blog (with credit to you of course!)

    • Yes, inductions are medically necessary sometimes – you’re right – and women shouldn’t be ashamed if they had had to have one. The ability to induce has protected a great many babies and women from complications. :) My natural birth was also far less painful than my 2 other epidural births! It was more INTENSE but in a rollercoaster kind of way, not in a painful kind of way. I also went into my last birth with a confidence that I could have him naturally. I don’t know why, I just did. And am I thankful!! :D
      Please *do* share that reading others’ NCB stories help, it was SUCH a help to me!

  4. Love this! Wish I could have had a natural childbirth but sadly I had a complete placenta previa and had to have a c section at 37 weeks. I am hoping next time I will be able to do it naturally- that’s how my Mom, Grandma, and best friend did it and I would love to follow in their footsteps.

  5. thats really cool that you were able to make out such a clear plan and that it was respected. You have inspired me to do something like this if I ever have a baby. I’m not against drugs but everyone has their own plan that works for them. DId they let you eat anything during the labor. Even though I definitely may not want too I was hoping certain drinks or popsicles would be aloud at the least?

    • Thanks, it was an amazing, intense experience!! Well, I labored at home for about 2 hours, at which time I did what I wanted, obviously. I drank water and exercised, etc to keep things going. Maybe 20 minutes before we left to go to the hospital (and I was laboring pretty hard), I had some buttered french bread to give me energy. When we got to the hospital I was already 8cm dilated so I was HARD laboring and wouldn’t have wanted food anyway! But, at one point, I asked my husband to bring me my water bottle from my bag, and I had some. I didn’t ASK them IF I could have water!! It’s MY body and I needed some water, for goodness sake! Kwim? So, Idk what their “rules” in the hospital were, but I kinda made my own! LOL
      One thing I would absolutely recommend is that you labor at home for as long as possible. There is so much more freedom when you are at home. You can shower/bathe, eat & drink, move about without being restricted to a bed, etc. I only spent 59 minutes at the hospital before Samuel was born and it was great. <3

  6. It’s great to read about such a good experience of natural childbirth. My daughter was also born without any medical interference, attended just by two midwifes and my husband. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but also the best!

    In The Netherlands, where I’m from (though I no longer live there) natural childbirth is still the norm. In fact, I believe around 30% of births take place at home under the care of a midwife. I always assumed that, if everything was as it should be, I would do the same. Though things are different where I live now, I was determined to let nature take it’s course as much as possible. Of course, I was prepared that interventions might be needed, and I feel blessed that they weren’t. I was up on my feet and going for a shower within an hour of birth. No way that would have been possible with an epidural!

    Did you ever see the documentary ‘the business of being born’? I recommended if you haven’t, it was quite an eyeopener to me. I think the portrayal of childbirth in the media has a lot to answer for; women are terrified of the pain and the drama. In reality, it’s not nearly as dramatic, and though it does hurt, I found my body just took over.

    It’s a blessing that we have the medical knowledge now to save lives where they might have been lost in the past, but in my opinion, childbirth is mostly not a medical affair. Use the medicine only when needed.

    • That is so incredible to me that there are countries where un-medicated births are still the norm! That is the way it should be. :) Are you still close to the Netherlands? Awesome that you were able to also have a natural childbirth!!
      No, I haven’t seen that documentary but I’ve heard great things about it!
      The last two sentences you wrote are sooooo true! I couldn’t agree more.

  7. I too am from Ireland. I had three hospital births. First one I had all they would offer me and would have liked more! My fourth was born at home with no intervention and just a pool for relief. I loved it (as much as you can). it was time and maturity that got me to a home birth. I would not have dreamed of it for my first.

    • Thanks for the comments. :) How awesome that you had a home birth! You know, the more kids I have, the more comfortable I am becoming with things like that. My only fear/concern with having a home birth is that my platelets are very low during pregnancy and it could be dangerous for me if I had any kind of extra bleeding (it might not be able to stop). Being at a hospital makes me more comfortable, only because they could help if that were to happen. BUT I’ve learned how to assert myself and say “No” to interventions I don’t want so the hospital’s ok. ;)

  8. great page. I’m grateful to have given birth at a hospital with a midwife and no obgyn in sight! And my midwife only came in every 15 minutes to do a quick monitoring of my daughter’s heartrate and the contractions. I used hypnobirting, which was the best for me! When we arrived at the hospital, the midwife on call looked at me and said, “you’re not in active labour”, but I’ll examine you since I have to, which she did, decided that she would admit me, put me on a monitor and then turned to my husband and say, “she’s good”. I then told her I’d been practicing hypnobirthing for months… We did spend more time at the hospital than I would have wanted to labour, but with a first baby, you don’t know. At the hospital everything slowed down a bit… I was impatient and nervous regardless of how much hypnobirthing I’d studied. If I have another, i’ll probably be able to time it better. ;)

    • Thank you! That’s great that you were prepared with Hypnobirthing. :) Yes, it can be hard to know how long to stay at home (and this is true with all births, not just your first!) BUT with subsequent pregnancies, you DO know what *isn’t* really labor (usually), whereas, with your first it’s hard to tell!

  9. Thank you for your post. Your birth plan is probably the most appealing one I’ve seen. I will be delivering my 4th baby within the next month and am going to do it naturally. I delivered my first naturally and #2 and #3 were inductions with epidurals. I didn’t like either experience. They both felt like a letdown. I look forward to looking at the website you recommended.

  10. All animals, including humans, have been giving birth since the beginning of time and most do just fine.

    I read once that the reason for the way it is done in the hospital is for the doctor’s convenience, not the mother-to-be.

  11. I had mine naturally. The first in a standalone birth center and the second at home with a very skilled and experienced midwife. Both were wonderful experiences, but the second was healthier by far. My midwife in the second birth monitored my progress but never once interfered with the natural process. It was amazing!

  12. I had my water broken with my second during my natural labor, and it did help to move my labor along more effectively. The contractions were more painful, but it was definitely a good decision. I wrote about my first birth and am working on the post for my second- I would love to hear what you think! :) I love support for natural births, and you have so many great points here!!

    • Sometimes ARM can be a useful tool, for sure! I’m glad it helped you. When it’s done near the beginning of labor, or when a woman isn’t dilating consistently, it can often times lead to other interventions, unfortunately.
      I look forward to reading your birth stories! :)

      • Oh absolutely! Too many doctors are too eager to interfere. I found my doctor is the exception to so many things with how she practices, and she teaches now as well which is wonderful that others can learn from her. Everything was done at the appropriate times and was all my decision. I would love to share your post at some point, as I am considering writing some of my advice as well on the subject :)

  13. I think that when a woman wants to and can have a drug and intervention free birth then it is amazing. I have not read a lot of your blog yet, but something that I think is equally important as promoting intervention free birth is helping women to realise that this is not the only way to have a positive experience and that even if they end up with every type of medication and intervention available, they should still be proud of themselves as a woman and a mother for bringing a baby into the world. I think that as “natural” birth gets a stronger voice, it inadvertently disempowers women who have a different experience. I agree that doing some research before the birth about how interventions, positioning, medications etc can impact on the birth process is a good thing, but I think it’s also important to go in understanding that sometimes these things will be necessary and to have a degree of acceptance about that. After having just given birth by emergency c section to my 9wk premmie baby earlier this year, I truly do understand that in the end the single most important thing is that the mother and baby survive without harm, the birth experience is and should always be second to the physical welfare of mum and baby.

  14. Hear! Hear! I had an amazing (and fast) natural birth with our first and can’t imagine it any other way. I was so wary of unnecessary interventions that we drove an hour and a half in labor to the nearest birth center just to avoid a hospital setting. We’re planning on a home birth for our second child and hope that our 3 year old can be involved. It’s a miraculous and amazing part of life and God designed us specifically for this purpose. Incredible!

    • Thank you for reading! It really is so amazing. Hehe, I would have loved having a birth center birth but the nearest one to me is about 3 hours away (and the baby would have been born in the car by that time!!) ;)

  15. Hi, Valerie! I just read your birth plan here. I resonate with these. But I’m curious about the non-testing for genetic screening. Maybe you don’t want to elaborate because it says it’s for religious reasons. This is definitely something I appreciate that is done, as it also tests for hypothyroidism too–and some of the genetic diseases revolve around foods/milks that will be toxic to the baby (even in my understanding, by breastmilk). In fact, I was disturbed the other day because I read that the test samples are not making it to the labs on time for the tests to be performed properly! So I was thinking about marching down to the lab and watching them package up the samples and watching it go out with my own eyes. Kidding, kind of. Anyhow, all the best to you and yours. ~~Terri

    • Well, there’s this thing about our society….if you say something has to do with religion, they pretty much leave you alone, but otherwise they refuse to allow you to make some decisions. So, no it isn’t religious, but that allowed me to opt out of the testing.

      We have a few reasons, but the main one is that it happens so soon after the birth. If they allowed it at the first or second pediatric appointment, (and maybe they would), we would likely consent. The whole, “Welcome to world, here are multiple needles for ya!” doesn’t sit well with us. The problem our older two children had with bleeding as newborns, is that it was VERY hard to get enough blood to fill the little circles. I’m talking about 30+ minutes of multiple pokes and squeezing – not cool!

      Now, all that being said, I realize that the trauma of poking would be outweighed by benefit of learning that the child had something that needed treatment/attention. :/ But I do wish that the tests were done later in life…even by a week or two.

      • Hmmm. I’d bet those tests could be ordered by the pediatrician at the first visit, although since they don’t normally do it as an “outpatient” they might have to do some checking and seem a little confused at first. Readers who have good connections with their pediatricians could ask about this beforehand with the pediatrician rather than defer completely. (I’d just hate for those deadly diseases to be missed.) And I think in some states, they even do a two week recheck of the tests. Every state has different regulations and each state has their own list of things they test for (revolving around a common core of the “biggies”). For me, this will be one we don’t forego. So sorry your little ones had to endure that. That would bother me, too.

      • Yeah, there are things I will do differently next time (assuming there will BE a next time ;) ) as far as baby care goes. For one thing, we now go to a pediatrician’s office where I LOVE the two doctors. I found them because one of them was actually the doctor at the hospital I delivered him at! She questioned me about the PKU testing as well, but she didn’t make me feel bad, which was a pleasant surprise. :) She also supports breastfeeding and other natural approaches, so I feel really comfortable with her. I will be discussing many things with her BEFORE the birth next time, such as jaundice, genetic testing, and circumcision (if it’s a boy), and others.
        I felt very much alone as far as infant care, with all three babies. The pediatrician’s office we went to….well, they were nice, but it was a HUGE practice with like 8 doctors and thousands of patients. They lacked individualized care, to say the least.
        Anyway, there you go! :P We’re very happy with our new doctors. ;)

      • I hope there is a next time, too!! Please, please!
        It must feel good to have a pediatrician to ask questions of and get open answers! I wish everybody had that for all their doctors! Have a great week!

  16. Good for you! I had a homebirth with my second and a birth center birth with my first. We did not have a good hospital available for either births, so that’s why we chose the route we did. I don’t regret it!

  17. It’s so nice to find other like minded mamas who are all for natural homebirth and breastfeeding. I’m enjoying your blog. We are thinking about homeschooling. Maybe I can pick your brain sometime for advice?

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