i always have women asking me what my birth experience was like with elodie. it's a funny thing about labor. you never know what you might get and i believe it's not entirely up to us how our baby will come into this world. after all, it is not only our journey, but that of our little one as well. the first steps they will take on their own personal life path. one of the biggest helps to me was knowing that every single moment of my labor was bringing elodie closer to me. closer to us meeting and starting our life together as a family of three. labor is work. concentration. focus. surrender. lessons for my future as a parent. learning to surrender is one of the hardest things for me personally. really understanding how the way i might want things to be versus how they really are will not always align. i am grateful for how elodie came into this world, one day soon i might share, for now, here is a list of things that really helped me prepare for my labor.
my husband. he fastidiously stood besides me as i explored every possible way of giving birth. he read the chapters that i highlighted. he massaged my back. brought me ice chips. took me on a long walk to watch the sunrise as labor progressed. i could not have made it through without his love and support. my doula was also of tremendous support to the both of us. having an extra birth advocate who also suggested new positions and sat by me through my entire labor was a beautiful example of how women can be of service to one another.
dr. gowri motha's gentle birth method - this book has some amazing birth scripts at the end that my husband recorded and personalized for me a few months before my birth. i really believe having an inward place to go to during the intense contractions was a lifesaver for me. i also followed her regimen of ayurvedic vitamins and salts during my pregnancy.
creating your birth plan by marsden wagner - i was told by a few of my girlfriends that i was nuts for attempting an unmedicated birth in a hospital. i saw the business of being born of course and believed them. having a strong line of communication with my doctor, husband, and doula about my birth wishes in the form of my birth plan made all the difference in the world.
natural childbirth the bradley way - i didn't like the bradley method (too much lying around) but something in the way they visually showed labor in this book really helped me wrap my head around what contractions are. i'm a visual person and being able to understand what the sensations were helped tremendously.
my yoga practice. my sister reassured me that my strong yoga and meditation practice would serve me well during labor. staying present, not getting caught up in an inner dialogue of "i can't do this" or "this hurts too much" helped to keep my doubts at bay.
lavender oil. my doula told me i went through an entire bottle. all i can remember is smelling my wrist and asking for more.
being in water and this body scrub. i was in the shower and tub almost the entire time i was in the hospital. this kept the nausea at bay. when it came time for transition, oddly enough, i wanted to be no where near water but water was a huge relief leading up to that point.
music. when "happier than the morning sun" by stevie wonder came on i sang it and wept during my contractions. i knew every contraction brought my dear daughter closer to me and that helped immensely.
my heart swells and i feel a physical change come over me when i think back to the first few minutes, hours, days together after elodie's birth. how blissed out i was. how new the world was. i am excited to take these feelings like an elixir into my next labor. a new tool to help me prepare for this next journey.