A Joyful Induced Delivery

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.
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I was being induced. It felt like hell.
Oh my god – the last thing that I wanted to happen, save a C-Section, was happening.
I’m being induced.
I watched the nurse hook up the IV. I felt the fluid start entering my veins, and I looked at my husband, feeling so sad and defeated. 
I was so sad that I didn’t get to labor at home. I was afraid of what the Pitocin would do to my baby. I was worried that I’d get pressured into medicinal pain relief and then my whole dream of a natural birth would be out the window. 
But then, my husband said “It’s happening, Amy. Our son is coming into this world today. You’re going to give birth to him soon. It doesn’t matter how it begins. We’re having our son today.” and I changed my perspective.
I mourned my dream delivery – the one where I went into labor while gardening with Abbey or peacefully asleep next to my husband. The dream labor where I was able to do ordinary things with Abbey and hubs during the mild contractions. Where I didn’t have to enter the hospital until I was ready. Where I embraced the power of birth and the beauty of a new child in the world. 
I mourned my ideal labor as if mourning a dear friend. And then I decided:
I will birth this baby naturally and joyfully. He’s coming, and that is a wonderfully joyful thing!
Things started to pick up pretty quickly after my waters were broken. I had been walking, with help from my nurse and hubs to keep my IV tubes from pulling on me, but at this point, I labored on the birthing ball. My nurse raised the bed to a good level for me to rest my head, and she and my husband rubbed my shoulders and commended me on what a great job I was doing working through contractions. 
And I was, ultimately, able to birth my second child naturally, though I was medicinally induced. In addition to having great labor support from my husband and birthing in a Baby Friendly Hospital, these are the things that I most attribute to my ability to have a natural birth – - – though I was induced for medical reasons.
I listened to water sounds and relaxation music. When a contraction would start, I would resolve to breathe through, and would listen to the gentle swish and throb of the notes and nature sounds coming through my earbuds, imagining the contraction not as a squeezing pain, but as a wave flowing through my body, gradually moving my little boy closer to meeting me. 
I used gravity and positioning to my advantage. I stayed on the ball for a little while longer when my contractions started to reach far into my back and the rear of my pelvis, as Joseph descended further and further, but as the labor got really intense, I needed to be more upright – and then subsequently, I wanted to lay down on my side. 
I meditated on the process of birth. I acknowledged that the pain I felt was necessary and useful. I found myself using words like “serious” and “strong” to describe my pain – and I realized that using that language to personify the waves of labor as work instead of torture really helped me stay focused and not get lost in fear. I very pragmatically knew that there was an end to this hard work, and that every minute that I labored was one minute closer to that end – the birth! 
I rejoiced in the transitioning, even though it hurt like hell. I gripped the sides of the propped up bed, hovering my hips, somehow hoping that being slightly elevated would assist the labor and make the pain subside – or at least not last so long. This was serious pain, but I knew that it meant that Joseph was traveling through my body, out into the world. . . I looked at Hubs and told him I didn’t think I could take it – and that’s when we knew that birth was coming very soon: I was definitely transitioning. 
When Joseph was born, I was so a buzz with joy, my doctor had to remind me to give one more slight push to deliver Joseph’s body after his head emerged into my hands. We all laugh about that now!
I had an amazing natural delivery, despite the fact that I had to be induced. And I absolutely attribute this to the use of water imagery and relaxation music, gravity and positioning, and rejoicing in the work my body was doing. Also on my side was the fact that I was birthing at a Baby Friendly hospital and that I had a supportive birth coach (my hubs) and labor support (my wonderful nurse, Jane).
If anyone finds themselves facing an unwanted induction, don’t fear. It can still be an awesome experience. For me, it was all about trusting in my body and the process of birth, and staying relaxed and focused through non-medicinal pain relief, motion, and meditation! 

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama

Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)

Comments

  1. I enjoy reading about mamas who are able to listen (and respond) to their bodies during labor. I felt so much more in tune with my body with Ailia’s birth – shifting and repositioning as needed. I had also wanted music, bubt we never got it turned on :)

  2. Thank you for sharing your induction experience and that a natural birth is still possible! I will definitely remember this if I end up being in a similar position for my upcoming birth.

  3. As I was facing a medical induction, I kept thinking back to the very first birth story any of my friends told me. Her description of riding the contractions was so vivid — and she described them enthusiastically. At the time that she told me this story, I knew little about labor or what is involved in an induction, so I had no idea until much later that what she was describing was in fact atypical — she had been induced due to preeclampsia, but took no pain medications despite having Pitocin, being catheterized, and etc. Stories like hers — and like yours! — are so important to tell, I think. I’m amazed at how you embraced your experience — what a powerful transformation that must have been, from disappointment to joy! It’s inspiring.

  4. I love that you turned your childbirth experience into such a wonderful, empowering one. Your suggestions are great … I love the idea of listening to water sounds. It’s so true that not every aspect of childbirth has to be perfect for it to be a truly awesome experience. :) Deb @ LivingMontessoriNow.com

  5. This is beautiful! I’ve heard so many people say that a natural birth after induction is near impossible, so it’s nice to hear a positive story. You were so strong — I really admire your courage and serenity. I know for me, too, acknowledging the power of the waves but also knowing that they were working to push my baby down helped immensely in not being afraid of how forceful they were.

    • I think it’s the fear that paralyzes women in an induction and makes it “near impossible” to deliver naturally at that point. Fear and negativity. When you’re induced because you have to be, and you’re not happy about it, it feels “like hell”! But when I grieved those labor dreams that I had in my mind’s eye and I changed my perspective, it worked out beautifully!

  6. It’s really interesting how everyone’s experience with labour and childbirth, medical or natural, can be so completely different. It just goes to show that there is no magic formula!
    It’s a really wonderful thing that you were able to achieve an empowered and positive birth despite it not being the natural start you’d hoped for, thank you for sharing with us what worked for you! My first birth started naturally but I did end up being given Pitocin fairly late on. It completely changed the nature of my labour I have to say. Perhaps it was because I was unprepared for that change, that I kind of ‘lost it’ as I transitioned so hard and fast!
    With my second birth imminent, I’m grateful to hear that it’s possible to stay in tune with your body when a positive attitude is maintained. :)

    • Its absolutely possible to stay attune to your body and labor through an induced labor. But approached with fear and apprehension, I feel that it would be much harder, or near impossible! The positive and functional thoughts were what kept me going! “He’s coming” “he’s moving” “he’s going to be born” “this work is what my body is supposed to be doing!” etc

  7. I looked for this article before the birth of my daughter when I was told I had only hours until an induction. I’m glad to know it’s now out there for the moms who need it.

    • I hope that our story is able to help moms who are induced feel more comfortable and calm about their inductions. Just because the plan changes doesn’t mean it all has to go downhill! :)

  8. I love it how you consciously changed your attitude while you were giving birth. How empowering that the way we feel about a situation is really a state of mind! I hope I will be able to do the same if things don’t go according to plan when I give birth to my first baby next month.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] A Joyful Induced Delivery — Amy Willa: Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work notes the meditations and perspective that helped her achieve an unmedicated birth despite being induced for medical reasons. [...]

  2. [...] for sending you into our family. You’ve been a blessing since you were conceived, you were a joy to birth, and now, you’re just so amazing to love. You and your sister keep me busy, no doubt! But [...]

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