“Labor is not a medical emergency”, that’s what I kept telling myself before I gave birth.
It was a phrase my doula extended to me.
My pregnancy was not the easiest but my labor went more smoothly than I could have imagined.
Yes, I know some women’s pregnancies and labors are a medical emergency, and there’s nothing they could do to change that; but your mindset going into it does have an effect on how you perceive and handle it.
“Before my labor, I studied pregnancy and the process of labor extensively.
I read books and watched videos, but the most important thing I did was to prepare my mind.
I meditated every day and told myself that my labor would be easy and that my body was made to do this.
I wasn’t afraid.”
“Like I mentioned, my pregnancy was a little rough…”
- I had really bad back pain.
- I also developed carpal tunnel in both my wrists, which I had never heard of before as a pregnancy symptom.
- I experienced nausea and vomiting The first three months of my pregnancy.
- I also experience some constipation and extreme fatigue. I was so exhausted my first and third trimester.
- I had all the symptoms you could imagine but I still tried to enjoy it.
“Having a Doula gave me the extra support that I needed during my pregnancy.”
- Learning breathing and coping techniques helped prepare me for labor. Simply talking to someone about my thoughts, and thinking about other parts of labor rather than just the physical aspect.
- Preparing with my Doula made me more confidant and relaxed. I was able to ask questions and express my thoughts and feelings about pregnancy and labor.
- I also got more insight and advice from a woman who had done what I wanted to do, which was have a natural and non-medicated labor.
- Having her support and knowledge helped me realize that it could be done. Although I had heard so many stories about how painful and excruciating labor was, my Doula was proof that a woman’s body was capable and strong.
“The day I went into labor I was excited and nervous.”
- This was my first child so I didn’t know what to expect.
- Coincidentally I had a doctors appointment that morning and was told I was 2 cm dilated. I had felt some cramping early that morning but thought it was Braxton Hicks because my due date was still 2 weeks away.
- After my appointment I called my Doula and she reminded me of my breathing techniques and helped me through contractions. They weren’t nearly as bad as I had imagined or as bad as people made them seem.
“I pretty much labored at home all day in bed, going in and out of sleep.”
- My Doula kept checking on me asking if she needed to come over but the contractions honestly weren’t that bad and I felt I was working through them effectively.
- Around 630 that evening I went to the hospital.
- I thought they were going to say I was only 4 cm dilated. But to my surprise I was 7 cm!
- I immediately called my mom and my Doula.
- Contractions started to pick up and became a little more painful and within an hour of being at the hospital I felt the urge to push.
- I went from 7 cm to 10 cm in LESS THAN 2 HOURS!
My labor went so fast that my midwife almost didn’t make it in time for me to push! The nurses and the other doctor had never had a mother give birth in the all four’s position. They kept asking me to lie on my back but I didn’t want to.
- The nurse tried to Pressure me into getting an IV and when I finally gave in, she was unable to correctly insert the IV and I had bruising the next day.
- I was already 7 cm when I arrived at the hospital and I told them I didn’t want an epidural (It went by so fast I probably couldn’t have gotten an epidural even if I wanted to), and I was not pressured into getting one.
“After my labor, though, most of the staff were very nice and accommodating. It was basically like having postpartum room service. It was great having the kind nurses assist me and pretty much cater to me after such a mind altering and exhausting experience.”
- My Doula helped me remember to breathe and gave me support and was there for whatever I needed.
- Everything happened so fast that I didn’t get to do anything I was prepared to do:
- I had brought essential oils and wanted to get in the tub to labor.
- I had brought my peaceful music and thought I was going to bounce on the yoga ball.
“I thought I was going to be at the hospital for hours and hours in labor but I wasn’t!
I feel like my preparation before hand And positive outlook on labor really played a part in this.”
My close friend Silvia was there for me throughout my entire pregnancy. She also attended my labor. She was very supportive and encouraging. She also checked on me after I gave birth and is now the godmother of my son.
Another support person I had was my mom. I was nervous that she would freak out during my labor, since I wanted to go natural and since I didn’t know how much pain I would be in. But she was very calm and helpful and she was so excited to meet her grandson! She has been very encouraging throughout this experience.
Within 30 minutes of pushing I had my sweet baby boy in my arms. And it was like none of it had ever happened. Yet, it was the most amazing experience of my life.
Candace Carter is a mom, an adolescent behavior coach, and a wardrobe stylist. Follow her in Instagram and check out some of her work: @ccarterfashion