you have questions, I have answers!

I thought I would answer two questions left for me the other day. I really like them both, so I wanted to answer them in a post for all to see vs. in the comments.

crunchyfarmbaby has left a new comment on your post "questions?":
I'd love to know what you're reading! :) I <3 books!

CrunchyMama, I <3 books too!!  :-)  I just got done reading the most recent book in a series I love so much. It's called Pirate King, and its about Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. Love them all, and I highly recommend them to anyone. Start with The Beekeeper's Apprentice. I've also been reading a Dorothy Sayers book, but am having trouble getting into it (though I loved The Nine Tailors). Before that was The Monkey Wrench Gang, and next will probably be the next in the Ender's Game series (I'm currently up to Ender's Shadow). I also reread Harry Potter almost every year (nerd alert), and am wanting to start Lord of the Rings, which I haven't read since I was a kid.

What are you reading?

Heather has left a new comment on your post "questions?":
Write about giving birth. Unless I totally missed it in a previous post, I want to know the details of your experience with a midwife and having Gwen outside of a hospital, your emotions, the pain, what you did expect, what you didn't expect, your advice to women who want to have their child this way, etc. :o)

Babs, you deleted this question (presumably when you saw my birth post), but I wanted to answer it anyway! Not rehash the detailed bits like in that post, but briefly answer your other questions.

So in order, very quickly (ask for explanation or expansion on any of these): the midwives I worked with were amazing, and if not for them and Travis, I don't think I would have had the faith in myself in the throes of labor to keep on with the unmedicated labor I desired, they were amazing! Emotionally, you are all over the place. I was nervous, excited, but mostly just focused on coping. The pain isn't like anything you've ever experienced before, but you can almost fall into a rhythm with it, and that helps you get through it. There is a huge mental component to it as well, just needing to go in with the idea that your body is made to do this and that you CAN do it, because if you go in thinking you can't, then you can't. Afterward my key emotions were the elation at meeting my daughter, and a rush of empowerment and pride at what my body was capable of. And tired... I was really really tired! LOL. Expectations: I wasn't sure what to expect exactly, so there wasn't so much that did or didn't surprise me. The only thing for sure that I wasn't expecting was that the pain would last past the end of my contractions, which happened since Gwen was in a position pushing on a nerve and I would have to shift a bit after the contraction ended to shift her position.

As for advice... know what you want and own it, make sure you have a support system (partner, midwife/doctor, friend, doula, parent, etc) that knows what you want and will support it, and then be prepare for anything and everything to change! You have to know what you want, and believe in yourself and your body to do it. But you have to know that labor is unpredictable, and the baby is the one who decides when its going to happen, and how quickly. Talk to your main support people beforehand and tell them what you want to hear (for me, "you are strong, you're doing great, your body is doing what its supposed to."), what you want them to do (rub my back, offer me sips of liquid), and what you don't want. Bring the things that relax you, be it certain music (I played Enya!), certain smells (a room spray, natural oil defusers, etc), a certain t-shirt or blanket or stuffed animal, etc. Be proactive in creating an environment in which you can deal with the pain.

Any other unmedicated birth mamas want to add their advice for someone seeking the same?


  1. Good advice! I always tell people to have someone besides your husband and midwife, like a doula, it doesn't have to be a professional, for me it was my mom. Just someone who is primarily focused on you and can advocate for your wishes. The midwife will take care of the baby, and the husband, they are great, but sometimes they need reassurance, it's their first time too! It's definitely important to educate yourself and to know what you want. Have a birth plan, take a birthing class that focuses on natural childbirth (sometimes it's better to find an independent one rather than the one run by the hospital, lots of doulas will also run birth classes). I also had music and scents, and I spent a lot of time in the shower.

    I had back labor with my first one, and though I delivered with a midwife, we were in a hospital where the nurses and doctors were not very supportive of non-intervention. In retrospect it's pretty miraculous that the only medication I had was pitocen after it was all over to stop bleeding. I owe it mostly to my support system and my readiness to fight for what I wanted and thought best for my baby. Unfortunately, the climate in some medical establishments makes it so that you have to put up a fight.

    My second birth was much easier and I was a great hospital that totally supported my midwife. If you are going to be in a hospital it's all about the nurses! you can also check their statistics to see what percentage of births they do that end in c-sections (the national average is something like 30%...which in my opinion is already high, but anything over that be very wary).

    And I agree, it's all about your mindset, knowing that your body is built to do this.

    1. Great advice Laurel!

      I was super lucky to have a great birth center nearby, that was also situated literally across the street from the hospital with the best NICU in the area! Definitely made it so much easier to NOT have to fight for the kind of birth I wanted. Settling can make such a difference!

    2. That's great. Unfortunately the laws and insurance in NJ make it really difficult for birth centers to even exist anymore. My midwife had to close hers down. Most will either contract with a hospital or do home births. Luckily she is at a great hospital now, that's only five minutes from me!

    3. Boo. I wish the medical field in general, and the insurance industry in particular, would realize what a GOOD thing it would be if they encouraged midwifery and birth centers. If you look at Europe, the countries with the lowest instances of c-sections and maternal mortality are normally the ones with the highest rates of midwifery care and home births!

      I am glad you have a great midwife at a great hospital though! [ Does that mean you're thinking of more? 0:-) ]


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