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Mila Jane’s Birth Story – Part 1

Can I just say that before I had my son, I did not “get” birth stories. I didn’t understand what the big deal was – did the baby get here safely or not? End of story. And by the way, pregnancy and labor and childbirth and, good lord, especially breastfeeding, were all kind of gross and unnatural and I did not want to think about it.


Now, I get it.

I love to hear birth stories. If that’s not you, I totally understand and you’re welcome to “check out” for today. I promise this blog is not about to become all-baby-all-the-time, so y’all come back now, ya hear?

I’m going to break Mila’s birth story into two parts because so much of the story is about preparing for her birth, and doing a complete 180 in my attitude toward childbirth.

Mila is my second baby. My first, Weston, is two. (Obligatory pause for MELTS-MY-HEART photos of the two of them.)

Before Weston was born, I was FA-REAKED out about childbirth. I specifically did not want to have children, because of what pregnancy did to your body, and what labor would be like, and because “it just can’t be natural to have to push AN ENTIRE PERSON out of-” well, you get it. I always said, “When my time comes to have a baby, they better PUMP ME FULL of painkillers or knock me out cold for the whole process.”

I still can’t believe that I was willing to base a decision as important as planning our family on vanity and fear.

I had some sweet friends who had given birth naturally using the Bradley method – more on that in a sec – and watching them go through it and emerge saying “Eh, that wasn’t so bad,” made me run straight to the first Bradley method class I could find the instant I saw a plus sign on the pregnancy test.


If there was ANYTHING that could make labor more tolerable, I needed to hear more about that.

The Bradley Method is a 12-week course that emphasizes that birth is a natural process, that our bodies were designed to handle it, and it teaches you techniques to cope with the pain. I started to believe that maybe natural childbirth was even possible for someone like me.

Before, I could never have imagined why someone would want to put themselves through unnecessary pain when there are medications for that? It didn’t make any sense to me. But now I was starting to see that being ready, educated and prepared for a natural birth can actually lead to LESS pain, can be better for the baby and make recovery so much easier.

Critical Disclaimer:

It is so important to me for you to understand that this is just my story. I have NO judgment and NO condemnation for women who have medicated childbirths or c-sections. I’m so thankful we have options and so thankful for medicine! I believe with everything in me that a safe delivery with a healthy baby is what matters. Us mamas have enough guilt and judgment to deal with already, let’s not add to that! This is just my story.

End disclaimer.

In my journey, the heart of my change in philosophy became an issue of trusting God. Either He designed my body with childbirth in mind or not. Either He had control over my body and my birth or He did not. Either He could answer my prayers for a beautiful birth or He could not. I had to decide.

I started praying specifically for an easy, fast birth.

But natural childbirth is like running a marathon. You don’t just wake up on race day and “hope for the best.”

You WORK.
You PLAN.
You PREPARE.

I mean, I’m assuming you do. Not that I’ve ever attempted a marathon.

And I did. I ate a healthy diet, I exercised, I learned about the stages of labor and what to expect. One thing I love about the Bradley Method is that it encourages “husband-coached” childbirth, so Andy was learning right along with me, preparing himself to help me labor effectively.

And if that wasn’t enough, I went into preparation-for-childbirth OVERKILL, because y’all, I really wanted this to work! After I finished Bradley, I started a home study called Hypnobabies.

Hypnobabies teaches you how to use hypnosis as a natural anaesthetic during labor. OKAY STOP. I realize it sounds kooky, but it’s actually pretty simple: what hypnobabies teaches you to do is RELAX your muscles. Relaxing is a learned skill. And during a contraction, fear makes your muscles tense up, which causes more pain. (I remember with Weston’s birth, when I was relaxed, the contractions felt like tightening or pressure, but if I ever started to fear a contraction and tense up, that’s when it started to feel like pain.)

Now, I started to wonder if a natural birth with minimal pain was possible for me too.

So with all this work under my belt – and LOTS and LOTS of prayer – Weston was born in a beautiful water birth that was so much more than I could have asked for. (You can see his birth story here.) I labored for eight hours total, pushing for two of those hours. Afterward, I felt like, “Meh, that wasn’t so bad.” I had watched my body do what it was designed to do and was so thankful for how it all worked.

Another Disclaimer

What I’m really trying to say is, there is nothing special about ME. I definitely do not have any kind of superhuman pain tolerance. My goal was not to “be a hero.” It was really the opposite. I knew that sometimes epidurals don’t work. Sometimes you can’t get one for one reason or another and I didn’t want to depend on them and be unprepared. The truth was that I really, REALLY wanted an EASY labor and was willing to do whatever I could to get it.

End disclaimer

But I wanted more for Mila’s birth. I had a specific list of goals and prayer requests for this time around:

1. A quick labor (I was hoping for five hours or less this time).
2. But still enough time to get to the hospital, which is an hour away when there’s NO traffic.
3. A nearly pain-free delivery.
4. A faster pushing phase!
5. A quicker recovery.

Whew! Okay that’s enough for Part 1. In Part 2 I’ll tell you the series of events on Mila’s birthday. I don’t want to talk this to death, but if you guys have any questions about any of this, let me know and I’ll try to answer them in the next one!
UPDATE: Here’s part 2!



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Comments

  1. cassie says:

    looking forward to reading! i planned on natural with sawyer….. um then i was induced and with pitocin the contractions are STUH-RONG! so enter epidural. it was quick though- about a 4-5 hour labor.

  2. Interesting how prepared you were! Never knew about all of these methods! I for one took the epidural! And if you know me I try to live naturally and barely take a Tylenol when needed. Must have been the fear of the pain like you mentioned. Wish I had known about these classes prior! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Very interesting. I’ve been reading more of these birth stories. I used to avoid them because I was afraid of learning too much. The last couple I have read have actually been quite encouraging. Maybe I can shove something large out something entirely too small. Some day. Let’s not get ourselves in a hurry.

  4. Alisa says:

    I wanted to go au natural with my little one but there were some complications so I had to be induced and have pain meds (at least I was able to dictate WHEN I had them) which makes me sad. I wrote out my birth story for my little ones baby book but I’m too nervous to post it in blog land. I’m glad you are posting yours though- I love reading them!

  5. gyen says:

    I’ve had eight babies, all at without meds. Relaxation is KEY. to pain reduction. Women who’ve had a lot of intervention say, “Oh, you’re SPECIAL and don’t feel pain like I do,” and I don’t judge their choices, but I don’t think I’m special, either! I respect other women’s choices and needs and experiences, but I also want to encourage other women that childbirth doesn’t have to be a consistently horrible experience just because it *sometimes* is. We can work to make “horrible” the exception.

  6. I just read Weston’s birth story and it sounds too good to be true. I’ve never heard of the Bradley Method or Hypobabies, so that’s very interesting to me!

  7. I’m really looking forward to reading part 2, which is so weird but whatev! I have some friends that have talked about doing a natural birth, but it sounds so scary to me. I’m so nervous!

  8. DomestiCate says:

    You explain this so well! It can be a touchy subject Can’t wait to hear part 2.

  9. Maria says:

    I LOVE reading birth stories! So glad you are posting yours! :D

  10. Bliss says:

    Hey I was happily reading along and then there was a part two? I want part two!

    ~Bliss~

  11. Dying over the pictures of hte two kids. When we had our 2nd (of 3 so far) all the pics of our daughter with the baby she was either sticking her tongue out or totally open-mouth kissing him. Lesson learned: do not talk about how “delicious” babies are unless you want your 21 month old to actually lick them:)

    Can’t wait to hear more. I’m solidly in the epidural camp, but I love hearing other women’s stories, especially ones with the potential for intrige and drama. I mean, 1 hour to the hospital? That has made-for-tv-movie written all over it!

    Jessica
    stayathomeista.com

  12. What a fun change of pace, Kelly — I know you’re loving on those babies each and every moment. Congratulations on your beautiful family. :)
    Ready for the “rest of the story…”
    xo Heidi

  13. Bravo for you. I succumbed to the epi. And I despise needles …

    … can’t wait for part 2.

    :)

    Love ya lady and your children are simply and undeniably gorgeous!

    Linda

  14. Love the story so far, can’t wait for part 2! Your disclaimers are great. I was induced and had an epidural…but…it only worked on my left side. Oh well. I enjoyed the drug on that side! ;-)

  15. Ashley says:

    Enjoyed this post and looking forward to part 2!

    I had two babies at home, and one at the hospital with a medically-necessary epidural. My natural homebirths were absolutely incredible experiences!

  16. Thank you for this.

    I don’t have any kids yet, but the talk is starting with my husband to start a family sometime in the near future. I am you at the beginning of this post. And every birth story I have heard has been more of a horror story than a beautiful birth day. I will be interested in knowing yours, if it’s even an ounce of the encouragement I read in this post.

    Also, the thing about family planning in fear. Ouch, that one cut a little too close for me. :)

  17. I was the same way — people telling other about their kids’ “birth story”?! Who in their right mind wanted to hear about those things?! And then I got pregnant and was a little more interested, but after Abby was born… wow I love to hear everyone’s stories now and share my own too. :)

  18. Lisa says:

    It’s interesting to read about other’s experiences with childbirth. There are so many different methods and it’s so good to prepare by being healthy & active during your pregnancy – like you said, preparing to run a marathon! It’s also good to have a plan but keep in mind that sometimes things don’t always go exactly as you envision :)

  19. so while the thought of childbirth, labor, contractions, etc. doesn’t scare me at all (its more the, you know, LIFETIME COMMITMENT afterwards that makes my knees go all watery) being as prepared as possible is something i’m all about. i know that for centuries women gave birth to babies naturally, without medication, doctors, and sterile environments, and somehow civilization has survived so I’m relatively sure that should i ever have a child, natural is the way i’d like to go. i’m constantly looking for resources and these are great! i’m definitely pinning them! loved this post and can’t wait to hear more about mila’s birth!

  20. Okay, so now I understand how you were able to get back to blogging like five minutes after giving birth :) Seriously though, I think it is great that you are sharing natural birthing options that don’t seem so painful and scary. I didn’t even know such a thing existed!

  21. I love reading “birth stories”! I had never heard about Hypnobabies. Vey interesting, I look forward to reading more : )

  22. Betty says:

    I absolutely LOVE reading about other people’s birth stories too. I recently read Laura Kaplan Shanley’s book titled, “Unassisted Childbirth” which is about the author’s experience of giving birth, unassisted, to all of her children. Sounds like such an amazing experience.
    http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com/

  23. A Mommy First And Foremost says:

    Hi. I had to write today in hopes that your words were chosen without understanding of what you were actually saying. You state that you have no judgement or condemnation for women who have medicated births or c-sections. Medicated births are a choice. In the great majority of cases, c-sections are not. (I’ve only heard of women choosing cesareans in the strange world of Hollywood.) In reality, C-sections are medically necessary for the safety of the child. I would never CHOOSE to have my stomach sliced wide open, have the experience of pushing my child out and into the world taken from me, and then deal with 6 full weeks of hard recovery. Please don’t lump c-section moms in with those who make their decision based on “vanity and fear”. C-sections moms have made a greater sacrifice than most women could imagine…. Not only did they lose their birth experience once, but likely will never get to experience it the way they long to as VBACs are risky and can actually cause the death of the child and mother due to uterine rupture. C-section moms should be applauded for their bravery and sacrifice… Nothing less.

    • Kelly says:

      I’m not really sure how to respond to this. I’m simply sharing my story. That’s why I said in the post that I’m so thankful for medicine and a healthy baby/healthy mama is what really matters in the end. It sounds like you still have some emotional pain after your c-sections and I can definitely understand that. I’m so sorry your births didn’t go as planned. I thank God all the time that we didn’t have to have an emergency c-section and I’m so sorry you did. I do think there are ways to reduce your risk of c-section, and my post was written with the hopes of empowering women that there are things they can do to reduce that risk. Ultimately, I think mothering in general is an exercise in bravery and sacrifice, and that’s for all moms, regardless of how their babies got here.

  24. Rachel says:

    I am 7 months pregnant with our first baby and just now beginning to get nervous about labor and delivery. I really wanted a water birth (I had two friends who did this), but due to our military lifestyle, an international move at 34 weeks, and trying to find housing, etc. I’m letting that go (this time) for a natural birth at a military hospital. I’m also studying the Bradley Method and have read 1.2 billion books on the subject. I try not to be critical about other women’s birthing choices (I keep it all inside), but I begin to wonder how much women really educate themselves about birth ahead of time…With that being said, I’m still nervous and anxious about what is to come. BUT, I’m also excited to see what my body was made for and super excited to meet my little girl! I think you did an excellent job of being neutral in your birth story. I’m going to look into Hypnobirthing, too – thanks for the recommendation! :-)

  25. Sydney says:

    Girl. You go on witcha bad self. In my real life NO ONE understands my decision to have a natural birth, and since I’m being seen by a midwife (still in a hospital) I’ve actually been accused of being selfish & thinking about what I want over what is best for the baby… uhhh what? Because that makes sense.
    I’m 5 months pregnant now & start “birth boot camp” (similar to Bradley) classes soon, and even though I’m having some health problems that jeopardize my plans, I’m still so looking forward to my birth & meeting my daughter. It is sooo amazing to know that other women out there feel the way I do and support what I believe to be best, without judgment. Thank you so much for this post, it’s so encouraging, and women need to know they aren’t “hippies” for choosing to have a natural birth, no matter what their mother in law says ;)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Mila Jane’s Birth Story, Part 2You can read Part 1 of her birth story here. check it out first!Emergency broadcast warning: this post is not intended for sensitive ovaries. [...]

  2. [...] your sweet thoughts as we’ve been preparing for this sweet girl! (UPDATE: See Mila’s birth story part 1 and part 2.)var linkwithin_site_id=752147;var linkwithin_div_class="linkwithin_hook";{ 51 [...]

  3. [...] UPDATE: You can read my baby girl’s birth story here [...]

  4. [...] refused to even allow anyone to refer to this extra room as a “future nursery.” (I was more than a little bit terrified of childbirth.) Then things changed and our family grew and this room turned into a little boy nursery. We added [...]

  5. […] into owning the house, I went down to part-time work and cut my pay in half. Then two years later, when we had kid #2, I was laid off and went down to making almost nothing. We’re back to both of us working now […]

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