Is There Really Such a Thing as Natural, Painless Labor?
Before you get too excited let me explain. I’ve had 5 babies and only one has allowed me this fabulous experience. Yes, I had the honor of experiencing a painless labour with my fifth baby. I would say I have had very typical (and painful) experiences with my other four children. My first labour was the longest of all the babies which is basically the same for everyone. The next two were pretty average for a second and third delivery. They ended up being around 4 hours from start to finish. My fourth baby was almost born in our car but we managed to make it to the hospital and he was born 10 minutes later. By the time I was expecting baby number five I thought I had a pretty good idea of how her birth would go. I would likely notice contractions and I would know that it was time to go to the hospital. We assumed we would have the baby fairly quickly similar to the last two babies. That being said, I was a little nervous about the delivery of my 5th baby as after the birth of my 4th I had a pretty significant hemorrhage. I experienced midwifery care with four out of my five babies and loved every minute of it. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to have a home birth because the risk of hemorrhage was too high.
One year ago today I woke up and sent my big kids on the bus for their last day of school before summer holidays. They had been worried all week because they didn’t want me to have the baby early and ruin water slides day (because babies ruin lives right?). I was just shy of 39 weeks and still surprisingly comfortable. I had exercised throughout my pregnancy and felt it was the easiest pregnancy thus far. That morning, I just so happened to have my weekly midwife appointment. I was excited because I thought maybe we could try and get things going. I dropped off my preschooler at school and headed with my almost 2 year old to the midwife. When I got to the office I unloaded my son and we started to walk inside. Suddenly I pinched a nerve in my back and was forced to stand keeled over in the parking lot for a minute. A nice gentleman then opened the door for me and I carried my son inside. I was a little embarrassed and jokingly said “O thanks…..I might just be having a baby right now”. We waited for our midwife Joy to come get us and we had our usual checkup. We chatted, listened to baby, took measurements and got excited about how close I was.
Next, we decided we should take a look and maybe try to get things moving. Not even 30 seconds into my exam Joy looked at me and said “Breanna you’re at 10”. At this point we are both confused. My husband is an hour away at work and I’m caring for a toddler. I also needed to pick up my preschooler in an hour and a half. It was a little bit overwhelming to say the least and did I mention the part where I wasn’t even labouring? I had no contractions and I felt nothing.
Obviously at this point we called my husband (he needed to hustle) and arranged childcare. The most comical part of the whole experience was the moment I decided I would get in the car and drive myself to the hospital. I thought to myself, “no problem. I will just bring my toddler, check myself in and my husband and parents will meet me there. After all, I’m not even in labour”. My very sensible midwife was not so keen on this idea so she had her receptionist Christine drive me to the hospital and we basically high-fived and laughed the whole way there. I’m still not really sure how it’s “a thing” to be walking around feeling nothing at 10 cm dilated but God gave me a special break that day (maybe he knew having 5 was hard enough).
My husband showed up along with my Mom and Dad. We broke my water and thought for sure this would make it “go time”. At some point it just got so ridiculous and nothing was happening so we decided to just start pushing. Can you imagine what it is like to be told “it’s time to push out your baby” and you are laughing because you just can’t!? I had a mini panic attack and started to doubt she was going to come out at all. But with the help of my beautiful midwife and some skills that are too graphic for this blog, I was able to push her out. Obviously, she was perfect and as sweet as they all come. I didn’t really feel like she was my baby because the birth was completely different (don’t think I’m complaining though).
So you probably shouldn’t expect your birth experience to be anything like this but I did do some things pre-birth that may have led to this crazy phenomenon of painless childbirth. So if you insist on knowing, here is what I did that may have helped!
3 Simple Steps to a Painless, Easy, Labour less Childbirth
1.) Exercise – I consistently did weight training during my pregnancy. Nothing too heavy just enough to keep some muscles and make birth easier. Squats on the wall with your yoga ball are your new best friend.
2.) Accupuncture- My naturopath did this for me at 36, 37 and 38 weeks. It is supposed to help baby come on time and prepare the body for childbirth.
3.) Herbs- I used a prenatal tea that contained raspberry leaf, peppermint, nettle and a few others. I also used a tincture called Mothers Cordial made up by my naturopath. Apparently my body was a little too prepared.
Either way pain or no pain we all forget about it in the end and continue to birth more and more babies. I’m so thankful for the vast amount of birth experience I’ve gained bringing my tribe of 5 into the world.
Happy 1st Birthday Ellie Joy Rothermel