Infertility Motherhood Pregnancy


September 28, 2016

natural birth, natural birth plan, epidural free birth, birth plan, pregnancy after loss, rainbow baby, pregnancy after miscarriage; misscarriage; pregnancy loss

One of the things I’ve given a lot of thought to during this pregnancy is labor and delivery (L&D). If you asked me during my first pregnancy what my birth plan was, without hesitation I would have said, ‘I want all the drugs. Duh.’. In fact, I probably would have even considered a scheduled c-section. But after everything we have gone through to get to this point in our journey, I’m definitely singing a much different tune.

I initially thought I would for sure get an epidural and anything else that would lessen the pain. However, after experiencing labor contractions during 2 of my miscarriages I gave it some more thought. My first miscarriage was EXTREMELY painful. We were home on a Saturday evening and I was experiencing some cramping. Within an hour, the cramps became excruciating to the point where I couldn’t walk and I thought I was going to black out. Christopher had to practically carry me to the car to rush to the ER. I had no idea what was going on but it turned out they were in fact labor contractions (I also experienced other L&D sensations like the need to use the restroom and push, if you know what I mean). I ended up with an emergency D&C.

I also experienced contractions during my 3rd miscarriage while my body was trying to expel everything out of my uterus. I opted out of having another D&C (my 2nd pregnancy also ended with a D&C) and instead miscarried at home. I chose to miscarry naturally this time because I had already gone through 2 surgeries in less than a year and I didn’t want to put my body through a 3rd one. Yes it was painful again but it was a lot more tolerable and manageable because I knew what to expect and I knew how to ride the waves of the pain.

Which is why I’ve decided to have this baby naturally. That’s right, no epidural.

Now, I know you’re wondering why the hell I would want to do that especially having experienced the pain. You would think I’d be the first one demanding an epidural the minute we arrive at the hospital. The reason is simple: I know what to expect and the fear of the unknown is no longer present. I can anticipate the pain, I know how contractions feel when they come and go in waves, and I know where I need to go mentally in order to manage the pain.

Another reason I would like to eschew the epidural is to minimize the chemicals and drugs my body and baby are exposed to during L&D. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-medicine at all and I believe not all chemicals are bad for you. But after a year of taking all kinds of pills and being injected constantly (and we weren’t doing IVF or IUI – this was all due to my miscarriages), my body and my baby need a little break and since this is something I can somewhat control, I’m going to give both a break.

The more and more I thought about it and the more research I did, it just felt RIGHT FOR ME. Yes, I did watch The Business of Being Born as well as the follow up to it (you can watch both on Netflix). Christopher also watched them with me and we debated and discussed long and hard about our birth plan and in the end we both felt good about a natural birth.

Ok, so I’m not planning on doing this totally unprepared. I have talked to several mothers who have gone the natural route and they’ve given me some sound advice on things to do during pregnancy as well as during labor. I will also be reading this book and this one.

With all this being said, I do realize that when it comes to giving birth anything can happen. Which is also why I’m completely open to anything. I may need to be induced with Pitocin. I may end up getting an epidural. I may end up having an emergency c-section for a number of reasons. Who knows. Am I going to be disappointed if things don’t go as planned? Nope. My #1 goal is to make sure our Baby Boy safely enters this world and in the end I don’t care how that happens.

Also part of my (tentative) plan is to only have Christopher in the room with me. No other family or friends. I’m also going to ask that the delivery room be a quiet place and I will be requesting dim lights in the room (Kaiser offers this option). I’ll be diffusing essential oils and will bring a birth ball, too. We may also have a birth photographer with us but this is still something we’re thinking about. As much as I would love to document that day (or days), I might prefer just to keep it as intimate as possible between my husband and I (like our elopement). I just want our baby to enter this world in a peaceful and loving environment and I hope the chaos will be kept at a minimum.

We’re still unsure if we’re going to hire a doula. I’ve heard mixed feelings about it and this is something I’m still researching and figuring if it’s necessary. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if you did work with one.

So this is my plan. For now. I’m entering my 3rd trimester this week and just hoping it goes as smoothly as the last 2 did. However, if there’s anything I learned on our journey to parenthood is that nothing is in our control and preparation can go out the window in a heartbeat. But like I said, in the end I don’t really care as long as we’re holding a healthy and happy baby in 13 weeks (+ or -).

P.S. Are there any mamas who experienced a natural birth? I would love to hear your stories and advice on what helped and what didn’t.

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  • Reply angela nguyen September 28, 2016 at 2:52 PM

    Hiii Nina!
    This is Angela(April’s sister) and was lucky enough to have you as my photographer for my wedding day!

    After reading your blog entry on natural birth and also your journey, I wanted to share my story too!
    First, I think that your mind set of being completely open to whatever happens in L&D is the right way to go. I realized that every story is so different but it makes it that much more special!

    For me, I really didn’t have a specific plan, just went in with an “open mind” which is also what I told the nurses when they asked.
    My pain tolerance is on the higher side so I wanted to experience the pain to see what it felt like and take it from there. Honestly though, I thought I was going to get the epidural.

    Here is a short summary of my story,
    My water broke(but didn’t know at the time bc it was just small dribbles on my undies) around 11:30pm on a Monday night. Just to be sure, we went to the hospital and it was confirmed that my water indeed had broken.
    However, I was feeling no contractions whatsoever. Nurses told me if no contractions by 8am, they had to induce me with PITOCIN!! 8am, no contractions, dilated at 2cm, they started the Pitocin. Until the third dose, my pain level on a scale of 1-10 was around 2-3 but as soon as they gave me the fourth dose(around 5pm), it skyrocketed to an 8 and then they told me it should go upto a 10 soon. Well, that 10 lasted a while, probably from 7pm(Tuesday) through Wednesday 4:46am until Isaiah was born.
    From 7pm through 4:46am the next morning, a lot happened.
    Dialating took really long for me; several hours every 2 cm, Isaiah had dropped with his hand next to his face so I had to hold the pushing(WHAT??!!) for an hour, Isaiah and my oxygen levels were dropping so had to wear an oxygen mask for majority of the time, when i was given the GO to push(FINALLY at 1am Weds)my strength was so strong nurses couldn’t hold my legs so we had to do tug of war with a towel around a metal bar at the edge of the bed(still didn’t work); my husband had to step up because they couldn’t handle my strength(mommy strength I tell ya) etc..

    And of course the things that helped ME during the labor process was the many many cups of ice chips, several fruit icicles(HOAG provided them), praise music and my headphones, exercise ball(it helped with the pressure you feel), deep breathing exercises, my husband and amazing nurse staff!

    After pushing for 3.5 hours, only a third of Isaiah’s head was out. The doctor realized that I had no more strength to give and told me she will be using clamps to bring him out. I immediately thought, it was going to be a life-saver, which it was but THAT pain was a different caliber of pain “10” :( Let’s just say, I was told a few mommies-to-be woke up in the other wing.

    With all that said, Yes, my L&D was painful but is that all I am left with? Certainly not!!!
    I realize the journey, whatever it may be until the baby comes, it’s between you and your spouse. As long as he is by your side cheering you on with all the love and support, the L&D journey will be SO SPECIAL. I honestly did not know how Lee would do in a setting like that but WOW, I was so proud and thankful that we were able to not only experience it together but how amazing of a partner I had. One of the best compliments the nurses gave us was “you guys make a great team”, that was really nice :)

    Nina, I know that you and Christopher will be a great team through the L&D process. And thanks for sharing your journey, that is really inspiring :)

    • Reply Nina September 28, 2016 at 3:06 PM

      Hi Angela!!! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story with me! WOW. Serious respect for you sticking it through without the epidural! I love that despite all the pain and the long labor, you still look back at the experience so positively. And I love how you say it’s between you and your spouse. I hope Christopher and I will be able to look back at our L&D experience and be positive about it, too, no matter what happens. Thank you again and it’s always nice to hear from you! :) XOXO

  • Reply Eva September 28, 2016 at 6:10 PM

    If you’re committed to a natural birth, a doula is A MUST. Especially in the hospital! They can also help advocate for your birth plan. I highly highly recommend. Dr Berlin’s office is a great resource for finding a doula.

    Can’t wait to hear about your labor and delivery!

    Xoxoxo EAM

    • Reply Nina September 28, 2016 at 7:37 PM

      Thanks, Eva!! And thank you for all your advice and feedback throughout this journey. I hope our boys can meet each other one day soon! Miss you guys!!!! XOXO

  • Reply Alison September 29, 2016 at 5:48 AM

    Terrific Nina! I had natural birth with my daughter and it was really empowering & real. Yes, you will feel it & it will not be easy but some things in life are not meant to be easy.

    I had plans to do the same with my son but he did not participate & his heart stopped. I think being open to other options & not feeling guilty if things change a great mindset as well.

    It will get really tough right before you push. I almost gave up when the nurse told me, “you are 9 cm & can almost push. You can do this without drugs.” Yay for her & my husband believing in me. Yay for an alert baby with 10 apgars. Having one as a c-section & one natural birth I would always choose the latter.

    Also, I believe if you find an experienced doula who is on board with your plan you should hire her. Both times the support I received & ideas when you don’t know what to do to help ease pain & progress labor were invaluable. It also gave my husband much-needed breaks when she could touch me/massage/support.

    • Reply Nina September 29, 2016 at 1:25 PM

      Thanks, Alison!! We decided to start interviewing doulas and go from there. Hoping to find one soon who’s a good fit for us! :)

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