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Babies! Babies everywhere! Everyone on social media is announcing their pregnancies. It’s so cute and exciting! I loved finding out I was pregnant.

This is how we announced it on Instagram and Facebook! We were so excited but freaking out at the same time. A mom? Me? Oh dear lord.

I was so selfish though! Was I really ready to give up shopping for myself and getting my nails done? My nights out with the girls? I had never even changed a diaper in my entire life. It is crazy how little you know about caring for a baby prior to actually having one.

Sure, you can buy all the baby books in the world, but nothing will ever really prepare you for the actual thing. The crying, pooping, puking and spitting machine. Sure, they’re adorable. But, as soon as you have your baby, it is as if you are thrown in with the wolves. You are pregnant for nine months.

You would think that is plenty of time to get ready, right? Wrong. If you read my other blog post I wrote how much I changed once I found out I was pregnant. I watched what I ate and what I did. I really focused all my attention and energy into my pregnancy.

What would he look like? Would he look like me or Nick? How would he act? What would his laugh sound like? What about his little voice?

How am I going to feel holding him for the first time? I was living in Brooklyn when I first found out I was pregnant. I still remember going in to listen to his heartbeat for the first time. I was so nervous. What is it going to sound like?

What is it going to look like? So many questions flooding through my mind. She did a transvaginal ultrasound since I was only about 8 weeks at the time. She pointed to the screen and there it was, the little heartbeat. It was flickering right in front of me!

It was so amazing to see and to hear. We were so happy we cried. This was real. As the weeks went by it felt like it was taking forever. No one told me that being pregnant was one big waiting game.

I went to the doctor at 12 weeks and did the sequential down syndrome testing. Then my doctor asked me what I was thinking about as far as giving birth. “What do you mean? ” I asked her. I just go into labor and have the baby.

Sure, it’s going to hurt but what exactly are you asking me? That’s when she started throwing questions at me. These questions were like bullets that I didn’t know how to avoid. Medications, c-sections, epidurals, emergencies, my mind was spinning. I left that appointment practically in tears.

What kind of questions were these and why did I have to think about them now? Because you do. It’s important to make a birth plan. At this point I didn’t know anything about c-sections or epidurals. That’s when my research began.

Now, before I begin talking about my journey and what I found out, I just want to make it clear that this was the path I chose. I do not judge anyone who had an epidural, c-section or a natural birth. Every person is different and every pain tolerance is different. I am sharing what happened to me, and my opinion on it. First question.

What is an epidural? The actual definition of an epidural is an anesthetic, used esp. in childbirth to produce loss of sensation below the waist. This option is for some but not for everyone. The problem is, is that doctors are so quick to say yes it’s safe don’t worry about it, but neglect to really explain the side effects to patients.

An epidural is actually derived from cocaine, hence it’s ability to numb you. In 1885 the first recorded use of an epidural was introduced by neurologist J. Leonard Corning. Now it is the most popular method that doctors use for pain relief during child birth. I did not want an epidural for many reasons. The first is that is slows down labor.

Everything is great. You are dilating right on track. The pain is increasing but it is not completely unbearable yet. The nurse comes in the room to check on you and says, “Do you want the epidural now? ” “If you don’t get the epidural now, you won’t be able to get it once you are past 5 cm dilated “You really should get it now because you might change your mind.

” Pressure #1 Some women eventually just give in because they are nervous about the pain that will be “unbearable in the future. ”  This is where mindfulness comes into play. Practice mindfulness and you will succeed. When you are in labor, you need to live in the moment. Not the past, not the future, but the present time.

Close your eyes and relax. Don’t think about the “what ifs. ” Focus on yourself and your baby. Practice your breathing and don’t worry about the “future unbearable pain” that the nurse will describe. That “future unbearable pain,” happens when you are in transition.

You know, when you are about to push your baby out. That pain where you wish you were anywhere else but in your body only happens right before that baby comes out. You are almost there. A lot of the time when people give in to the epidural their labor will then slow down. Once labor slows down they will want to break your water to try and speed it up.

Once your water breaks they tell you that you now have to have this baby within the next few hours so you don’t get an infection. Pressure #2 They will tell you that you need to dilate quicker. That is when they will introduce Pitocin. Pitocin brings on contractions. Pitocin contractions are much worse (and more painful) than natural contractions.

Once they give you pitocin to try and get you to dilate, the pain gets worse and the epidural starts to wear off. This is when they give you more of the epidural. Which in turns slows down contractions so they then increase the pitocin. You’re seeing the cycle here, aren’t you? Next, they say, “The baby’s heart rate is dropping, let’s flip you on your left side and give you oxygen.

” The baby is just not coming down so were are going to give you… drum roll… a caesarean section! I wish doctors weren’t so quick to induce women. My secret (for all those pregnant women out there who do not wish to be induced) is to stand up for yourself! You do not need to be induced unless you say it’s okay. The doctor does not have control over your decisions.

Another piece of advice is that if you are getting an ultrasound at 38/39 weeks drink a lot of fluids. Your fluid intake will reflect on the ultrasound. Dehydration will make it look as if the water around the baby is low which the doctor will automatically admit you to be induced. Water will fix that problem. In my honest opinion, and after tons of research and watching documentaries, many doctors are extremely pushy with medical interventions.

This is why when you are searching for a doctor to deliver your child, you want to really make sure that he or she is on board with your birth plan. Although plans can change, you want a doctor that will accommodate your needs to the best of their ability. Medical intervention is the reason there are so many problems for women during child birth. I have heard so many people say, “Good thing I was in the hospital because this happened or that happened. ” Those things happened because you were in a hospital.

Most of the time the people who say that are the people who were induced, had pitocin, or had another medical intervention. What people don’t understand is that this is a business. The majority of doctors and hospitals don’t care about a birth plan for the mother. In fact, most doctors will laugh at you if you try and give them one. All they are concerned about is that the baby makes it out safe.

That is important, yes, but giving birth is an experience. You wait nine whole months preparing for the birth of your child why on earth wouldn’t you want it to be special? Yes, it is painful there is no denying that. But that is the point. There is a purpose for the pain.

After researching about pitocin and epidurals and birth, I decided I wanted to have a 100% med free labor. I wanted to connect with my baby on that level. I wanted to be able to walk around while in labor. I wanted that feeling that I actually did it with no medication. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

I wanted to feel the pain. I wanted all of that but I needed support. My fiance was 100% supportive but I wanted someone who knew what they were doing. I then started to research Doulas. A doula is a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth.

I loved my doula. She was absolutely amazing. She was there for me every step of the way. She came over numerous times and taught me breathing techniques. She helped me with mindfulness.

She is also the one who told me to make a birth plan. Below is what my birth plan looked like. Physician: “Insert name here – protected for confidentiality purposes. ” My goal is to deliver my son as safely and naturally as possible without medical interventions unless the benefits outweigh the risks. I plan to participate along with my fiance and my care providers in making decisions about my labor, delivery and postpartum care.

Listed below are my birth preferences; I understand that final decisions about my care will be discussed and agreed upon in the birthing room with my well-being and the safe delivery of my baby was the most important considerations. Early labor and preparation: Okay with having IV port connection but nothing attached unless medically necessary. Labor: Use of electronic fetal monitor externally only for an initial 20 minute strip; after that, I would prefer intermittent Doppler monitoring. Do not want to be asked if I want medication to ease labor pains, I will ask if I want it. Want to move freely and be able to walk around out of bed/sit up.

Would like light foods and clear liquids, taken orally. Allow water to break naturally. Allow labor to proceed on its own; prefer no artificial induction methods. Would like shower/whirlpool, massage and soft music. Dimmed lighting.

Delivery: Labor position: whatever feels most comfortable at the time. No episiotomy unless absolutely necessary. I would like my fiance to “catch” baby with doctor’s assistance. I would like my fiance to cut the umbilical cord. Postpartum: Want baby in room at all times.

Breast Feeding. After baby is cleaned off I would like 20 minutes of alone time with my fiance and our son. Immediate skin to skin contact. Delayed eye drops. In case of a complication which requires emergency care, we ask that our care providers still do their best to accommodate as many of our preferences as possible.

We would only want our baby to be born via caesarean section in the case of an absolute emergency. That was my birth plan, this is what actually happened: I woke up to a contraction at 4:00AM on August 27th 2013. They were right when they say, “you will know when you have a contraction. ” I woke nick up immediately and he told me that it was probably false labor since it was 6 days before my due date. I tried to go back to sleep but I was awoken by yet another contraction.

This is when I took out my phone and started counting them. My doula explained to me that most women actually go to the hospital before they need to. Then, once you are at the hospital is when they pressure you to dilate. Therefore, it is better to labor at home as long as possible before going to the hospital. She told me once my contractions were five minutes apart, lasting one minute, for one full hour, that we should call her.

Well, my contractions were two minutes apart, lasting one minute and it had been one full hour. I told Nick, “Call her, now! ” I got up to use the bathroom and I had my “bloody show. ” My mom was over the apartment so we grabbed everything and we were on our way to the hospital. The contractions got more intense but I closed my eyes and remembered to breathe.

Once we got to the hospital, they sent me to triage. This is where you go to get checked before they admit you. They checked me and I was 3cm dilated and 85% effaced. That means my cervix was dilated (it needs to be at 10cm before you can push) Effaced is how thinned out your cervix is. My doula got to the hospital and I was hooked up on monitors.

She came with the exercise ball and all of our labor materials in hand! They checked me again and I was still at 3cm but 90% effaced. A little progress! This is when I handed the nurse my birth plan and she said she would try her best to accommodate it but she can’t make any promises. Of course, my doctor was not on call so the nurse said I would be having another doctor in that practice delivering me.

She then said I was going to be admitted and I would have a bigger room. Yay! Once we went into the room, I started to labor on the exercise ball and walk around. The contractions were getting more intense and closer together. We dimmed the lighting and had soft music playing.

My doula and Nick took turns massaging me. The nurse came in to check me and I was still only 3cm. She said, “You have an hour to dilate or we are going to start pitocin to speed up your contractions. ” Sound familiar? I didn’t get worried.

I said, “I will dilate. ” My doula gave me massages with essential oils, I labored on the ball and when the nurse came back I was at 4cm! We all cheered. An hour later I was at 6cm! Then they wanted to break my water.

I said no. My doula put me in a position on my side and BAM, my water broke just like that! Then I was at 8cm. I felt the urge to push. I had to hold back for 20 minutes because I wasn’t fully dilated.

Peyton’s heart rate started to drop so they turned me on my left side. Sound familiar? Luckily, is heart rate stabilized and I was fully dilated! Three pushes and he was out! Just like that.

I held him right away and he was beautiful and perfect. Nothing else mattered at that moment. I was in love. I was able to get up right away to use the bathroom. I ate turkey because I was starving.

My recovery was awesome. I did not take one single pain medication. Not even Advil. Like I said, the natural route is not for everyone. It was certainly for me.

The doctor who delivered my baby came into my recovery room the next day and told me I was amazing. She said it had been a long time since she had seen such a “beautiful” and “natural” birth. She told me that she loved delivering my baby and that I was very brave and did a great job.