Positive Birth Stories
Women can overcome the fear surrounding labor and birth by hearing or reading Positive Birth Stories. I have asked a number of my Bradley Method® and Prenatal Yoga students to write their experiences down to share with other couples. Most of these stories on my blog http://prenatalyoga.wordpress.com are stories of natural birth. A couple of them are not, but these mothers were able to turn their baby's birth into an empowering experience and bring their babies into the world in the best, safest, and gentlest way possible.
"Women need to hear positive birth stories. Sadly, women who have positive, transformative, challenging but amazing births usually don't tell their stories. They may think it's not normal, or may not want to make other women feel inferior. Women need to share their birth stories, both positive and difficult, and when they're difficult, we should examine why and what could have changed. These stories have the power to transform how society looks at birth, to dispel the myths and relieve the fear." Debra Pascali-Bonaro
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1. You’re doing so well.” You can’t praise or encourage a pregnant woman in labor enough.
2. “You’re amazing!” Pour on the praise and keep it coming.
3. “Imagine what is happening inside your body. Visualize your cervix opening with each contraction.” Imagining the changes that are
4. “Think about the baby. Each contraction is like a hug of love from you for your baby.” Each contraction in labor and birth really is a surge of the love hormone known as oxytocin. This is the same hormone we all produce when we fall in love, when we have an orgasm, and breastfeed our babies.
5. “All this hard work is stimulating your baby’s breathing, and circulation, and preparing the baby for life outside your womb.” Studies show that hormones the laboring mother produces that help her deal with the pain of her contractions, cause her baby’s adrenals to produce high levels of catecholamines or stress hormones that help baby adapt to all the changes coming his way.
6. “Trust yourself. That incredible strength is YOU. You’re doing it! “ Turn her fear around and encourage the laboring mother to accept that great power is coming from her.
7. “You’re doing everything right. We’re here for you.” Standing right next to her, supporting her both physically and emotionally will carry her a long way through all that hard work of labor.
8. “We know how hard you’re working. I’m so proud of you.” Showing compassion and empathy can help. Just acknowledging that yes, it is hard work, but “You can do it and you are doing it.”
9. “Breathe in and breathe out. That’s right deep slow breaths!” Deep slow abdominal breathing helps to stimulate the relaxation response in labor.
10. “Let’s hear you make some noise. Keep it low and deep. Take a deep breath in through your nose and just moan all the breath out.” The vibrations the laboring mother makes when she moans affects the pituitary gland which then stimulates the relaxation response every pregnant woman needs to tap into in labor.
11. “Take a deep breath and just LET GO with your exhale… One contraction at a time… Stay focused on this one contraction and see how relaxed you can get.” For everyone helping the laboring woman it’s helpful to stay focused on the moment. Don’t think about the contractions to come and the ones that have passed. The body knows just what to do and the laboring mother’s job is to let go and get out of the way.
Remember that the woman in labor must have complete trust in her body’s ability to bring her baby into the world safely. She must find assurance and confidence from those around her. Just like you will tell her, “You Can Do It!” and so can she with your help and faith in her.
My contractions started on Sunday night after a long day with the family @ Sea World. Even though Garrett pushed me around in a wheelchair all day, I was still exhausted when we got home and started having contractions around midnight that were every 5-7 minutes apart. I woke up on Monday morning and the contractions had pretty much died down, maybe one an hour off and on throughout the day. This continued on until Wednesday afternoon when I had my prenatal appt. @ Dr. Cap's office. He checked me and I was 3 cm dialated and contracting about 4-6 times an hour. We discussed how I could start labor at any time but it may takes days or even weeks. We decided that he would just "stretch" my cervix a little bit and see if it helped moved things along. I was OK with this idea because it had been a long week already and I was VERY ready to get the whole thing going. Dr. Cap assured me that if the baby wasn't ready to come out, then the "stretching" wouldn't do anything, but if she was…. then we might have a baby soon By 9:00 that night, my contractions were getting stronger and more regular. I was able to download a contraction app. on my sister's I-phone (highly recommended!!!) and could soon tell that things were progressing along and that I was in the first stages of early labor. I was able to relax through them and began packing my bags and preparing the house for the baby's arrival. I tried to lay down and sleep from about 11-2 AM and was able to get some rest in between the tightening in my uterus. At around 2 AM I woke Garrett up and told him that I was definetely in labor and that we should probably get out all of our worksheets and handouts from class (which I had organized in a binder and put in the suitcase for the hospital). I was surprised at how well I was able to relax through each contraction and how minimal the pain was compared to what I thought it was gong to be. My doula and i texted back and forth all night and she offered to come over to help me but I was totally fine and told her I would call her when we felt it was time to go to the hospital. Now this is when it got a little tricky….. we kept going back and forth about when we should leave the house!!! The most helpful thing to us in making our decision was the hand out you gave us early on in the class that described the physical and emotional signs of true labor. Even though my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, I was still talking, laughing, and was even able to braid my hair! We decided that we could probably hang out at home at least until I couldn't talk through the contractions so I hopped in the bathtub. I was probably in the tub for about an hour and Garrett was massaging my back when my water broke. Immediately after that, things definitely started to pick up and I could feel myself getting more serious and unable to form complete sentences! the contractions were getting stronger but I was still definitely able to handle them and relax through them by leaning over the counter and kind of squatting my legs (not sure if that's an official Bradley position but it worked for me!). We headed for the hospital around 6:00 AM and the car ride was NOT FUN! I ended up sitting backwards on the seat holding onto the headrest with a pillow under my rear end for support. You were right when you said that there is no way to be comfortable in the car! Every bump intensifies labor but my race car driver husband was able to get us there in no time and I made it through. By the time I got to the hospital, my doula was waiting out front for us to help us get our things and get checked into labor & delivery. She took one look at me and knew that we didn't have much time! I had 4 contractions on the way into the hospital and was cussing like a sailor in the hallways probably scaring all of the other patients. I have to say that the last hour was really the only part the threw me for a loop. The contractions were bearable but everything seemed to get much more intense in that last hour. I got into the delivery room and the nurse hooked me up to a few monitors while I sat on top of the bed on all fours. She checked me and I was already @ 9.5 cm! I have to admit, I still begged the nurse for an epidural My doula reminded me that I was in transition and that it is very common to doubt yourself at this point in the labor. I really didn't believe her but didn't get much of a chance to argue because it was time to push! The only problem with pushing was that my doctor wasn't there yet! I totally forgot to mention that in all of the time I was at home, I was in constant communication with my doula. I even let her know when we were in the car on our way to the hospital. We were about 10 minutes from the hospital when I realized that we forgot to call Dr. Cap. and let him know that we were on our way! Luckily for us, he lives less than 2 miles from Scripps Encinitas and came in just as I started to push. This was probably the scariest part of the whole labor for me because it was something my body was doing on it's own that I really seemed to have no control over. The only way I can describe it is that it is the most REAL LIFE feeling in the world! The intensity of the whole thing scared me and each time I had a contraction, I remember thinking how there was no way that I could do this! I guess I kept saying it out loud, because my doula kept reminding me that I was already doing it! My husband was amazing through the whole process and was such a great support. He held my hands, rubbed my back, and just kept telling me that I was doing a wonderful job and that the baby would be here soon. Garrett held my hands while I pushed little Brooklyn out into this world and it was the most amazing feeling in the world to hold my beautiful baby girl!!!! Thank you Liza for helping me change my whole birth experience 180 degrees!!! I will always be greatful for finding you and for the wonderful information you provided to help us make the right decision for our family