Converting to Natural Birth

I find myself continuously shocked when I talk to people about birth and I still hear that they don’t know or don’t care about what their birth will be like. When a woman talks about how horrible she fears it will be and why she is just “trusting her doctor” to make the right decisions for her.

When the only book she has ever read about pregnancy and birth is “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”.

The reason I find myself stunned each time this occurs is simple. I am surrounded by people who think the same way as me. My friends in my church community mostly all have home births and my other friends are all in the natural birthing community. We can sit and talk about natural birth with such ease as is always true when you are “preaching to the choir”. You all nod your heads in unison at the atrocities taking place in the, uh, obstetric world.

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So when I am face to face with a woman who doesn’t feel the same way about birth as I do, what should I do?

This is the same question I ask myself when facing anyone with a profoundly different belief than mine. Whether is be birth, homeschooling, religion, child rearing, etc.

My first instinct is the educate the poor soul. Help her know the evils of the dark side of birth and flee from the traps of her OB.

Let me just tell you, this doesn’t work. Not on birth and not for any other topic. What I have learned through my experiences, my education as a birth instructor, and unfortunately, just time, is that you are more likely to get someone to listen to you about your beliefs if you listen to hers first.

Sometime this is easy. Maybe she has never thought about it and is eager to learn from you. Often times it can prove difficult and take time. Her beliefs may be so deeply ingrained that you have to peel away layer by layer to ever start laying a new foundation.

But what I believe is the more important aspect of the process is care!

You have to truly care about the person you are talking and listening to. You cannot just want another convert into the natural birth community. You have to think about her and what she really needs. It may be that at the end of it all what she really needs is to do things her way. This might not be her thing. It might not be the battle she chooses to fight. And I have to be okay with that.

I have to remember that she is not me. My choices are just that, mine. Hers and her. We are responsibly for our actions only. I have to answer for my own decisions to myself and she to herself.

I have made many of the mistake of convincing someone to make the choice I would make if it was up to me, not really caring about what they wanted. I end of feeling ashamed when I discover that I have wronged that person in my “help”.

We do need change in the birthing community, but it’s not going to happen by preaching. I will happen when we care enough to listen and love.

What does a third time mom have in her homebirth kit?

With less than 2 weeks to me third son’s expected due date, I have finalized my preparations for his pending arrival.

I have planned another homebirth with my awesome midwife, Heather Hilton from Central Texas Birth Center in Georgetown Texas. If you have read my previous two birth stories, you will know that this is my third homebirth attempt, but no homebirth has actually been achieved.

Nevertheless, I have experience in planning and almost having two babies at home, so I can tell you that there are some things I think are important to have on hand and some things that just didn’t get used.

Every birth is different so you really never know how this one will be compared to your other ones, or to a friends so there are those things you might have around that don’t get used even when you used it at another birth.

I have a friend who loves and sells essential oils and she had every oil potentially needed set up for you birth but because her birth happened so quickly, none of the oils got used and none were needed. It happens.

The great thing about a homebirth kit is that you don’t have to gather all those personal items like cloths and toiletries since you won’t be leaving your home. It is a good idea to gather everything else together in some fashion to help those attending to you easily find them. I have a couple of shelves that I have gathered almost everything on and labeled anything of question.

The biggest difference between the prep for my first homebirth and this one is that I am way less concern about this one having a plan, since I know that plans are just that, plans.

In my birth kit this time I have the following:

  • Birth Tub (borrowed from CTBC)

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  • Birth tub liner
  • Heavy duty liner from Lowes to go under birth tub
  • 2 Light duty liner from Lowes to go over mattress
    • You create a sandwich with nice sheets on bottom, liner, bad sheets, liner and bad sheets. This way when I layer needs to be changed there is still another layer to protect the bed. When birth is done that layer can be removed and you have a nice clean bed to crawl into.
  • Duck tape to hold down all liners

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  • Birth kit from “In His Hands Birth Supply”
    • This is my midwife’s specific kit which includes gloves, chux, pads, herbal bath, foot printer, and other disposable medical items my midwife does not bring herself.

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  • Lavender Epsom salt for the bath or birth tub to relieve muscle tension and relax the mind
  • Food item (plus other stuff I have in the fridge)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (for clean-up)
  • Dermoplast for after birth

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  • Bach’s essential rescue remedy fast acting spray to use during any mental freak-outs.

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  • Homemade hot pack made with rice (heat up in the microwave for 2 minutes

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  • Camera with extra batteries

 

But far and away, the most essential thing that I have prepared for my birth is the below list that will be printed out in duplicates for anyone attending my birth. This is my personal list (not a birth plan) that will help other’s know my wishes and help me remember things I want to do. I really advocate doing your own because all those “plans” you have in your head go right out the window when you enter labor land. You will forget do all those things you planned so carefully for, all those wonderful words of wisdom from your childbirth educator, and every last bit of the advise you read in books.

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Natalie’s Wishes

Please read fully before entering birthing area!

Please remember the following:

  • I DO NOT WANT to know how many cm I am dilated (don’t whisper to one another)
  • I DO NOT WANT to know the time
  • Keep atmosphere joyous and upbeat
  • Encourage mom to express her feelings

Before going to the hospital did I try:

  • A glass of wine
  • Knee chest position
  • Going outside in the backyard
  • Praying
  • Rescue Remedy Spray
  • Katniss… Remember who the real enemy is

Suggestions for encouraging me to change positions

  • Instead of saying “would you like to change positions” say
  • “If you think you would like to get off the bed and sit on the toilet, after the next contraction, I’ll put your arm around me and help you stand up. Then we will walk to the bathroom and you can see if sitting on the toilet feels good to you.”

During my labor please remind me of the following things

  • Relaxed jaw
  • Relaxed hands
  • Smile
  • God’s grace is sufficient
  • Count backwards
  • Keep mobile as long as possible!!!
  • Slow, quiet, deep breathing
  • Ride the labor wave – don’t get pulled under by panic and fear
  • Relax – don’t resist
  • Fighting contractions make them painful and less effective
  • Relax into the contraction and look at it as pressure not pain
  • Each contractions brings you closer to meeting your Samuel
  • Once labor is over, so is the pain
  • Avoid thinking about future contractions
  • Once a contraction is over, it will never come back
  • This contraction is one down, moving me closer to my baby
  • Stay in the present

During my labor please suggest or help me do the follow positions if change is needed

  • Walking around the backyard or down the street
  • Sitting on the toilet
  • Birth Ball
  • Foot up on stool rotating hips around
  • Stair climbing
  • Hands and knee
  • Dancing
  • Pelvic rocking
  • Shifting side to side on birth ball (keep back tall and feet on ground)
  • Hands and knees moving forward and backwards
  • On knees leaning forward over pillows and rocking
  • Supported squatting position
  • Left side-lying
  • Positioning pillows for comfort

During my labor please do these things as I might forget

  • Pray out loud frequently and remind me to pray (see print out for help)
  • Turn on music!!!!
    • Pandora – Great Big World
    • Pandora – Relaxation Station
    • Phone – Childbirth in Glory (can be connected to radio that is on the cart)
  • Crockpot on “warm” with water. Place olive oil in small metal bowl and put on top of water. When crowning, use washcloth with warm oil for compress on perineum
  • Keeping feet warm
  • Hip squeeze/Rebozo
  • Warm showers/Birth pool
  • Urinate frequently
  • Cool cloth to head/neck
  • Massage/Light Touch
    • Only if I do not object
  • Warm packs/cloths on abdomen/back
    • With or without essential oils
    • Rice sock
  • Kissing, loving, cuddling

If I starts to panic during a contraction, remind me

  • Everything is fine
  • This is normal
  • You are strong and doing great
  • Let go
  • Breath (breath with her)

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I have another print out with prayers and scriptures on them so they can be references if anyone needs any help with that.

So that is basically it. I have a bottle of light fruity wine chilling in the fridge just in case, some tums for heartburn and some ratty towels and sheets still in the closet that I will pull out when time draws near, but other than that, I don’t feel like I have missed anything essential (will update after my birth with what I did and did not use, and anything that I missed).

Hope this helps anyone out there planning a no fuss homebirth.

Enjoy

4 Ways to Acheive a Less Painful Labor

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As a childbirth education I read a lot of different opinions about labor pain. I am not talking about contractions, the tightening and loosening of the uterus, but actual pain associated with them.

Some sources say that labor pain is natural and necessary to have a baby. Other sources say that labor pain can be avoided if you prepare your mind and body properly. Another sources claims you can pray away any labor pain.

While I have watch and read many testimonies from birthing woman that attest to the truth of certain claims, I have also watch and read many testimonies saying that it was not as excepted or expressed in a book or class they took.

What I have gained from all my studies, is that all the most popular childbirth education methods have a few things in common to achieve less “pain” or in some cases, a “pain” free labor and delivery. I can also pick out a few things from stories and videos of why some woman did not get what they expected.

4. Positioning is key

If your baby is in the correct position at birth, you will have a much quicker and less painful birth. This is not due to chance, though. Understanding key positioning methods is critical before labor even starts. Almost all natural childbirth methods and books talk about correct fetal positioning and exercises to achieve them.

I have read birth story after birth story about this or that method not working and subsequently having a long and painful labor. At some point in the story, it is discovered that the baby was posterior or in another less desirable position.

An labor with a baby in a less than optimal position can change a normal labor into a long and arduous process.

3. Preparation is necessary

Another thing most methods have in common is the preparation stage. You cannot just read the book or attend the class and think you are ready for labor day. You may think you have got the methods down pat, but when in the throws of the intensity of labor, they go right out the window.

Whatever the method is, practice, practice, practice!

That means that at least 4 weeks (the more the better) before your EDD, you should be spending 30 minutes at least 5 days a week preparing your mind and body for labor. This is a stage that cannot be taken lightly.

Again, reading many of the stories that end with a less desirable labor, the writer will admit that she did not do as much preparation as was suggested.

2. Support is essential

When preparing for an easy labor, it is not enough to prepare yourself. You need support to keep you on track or to help you get back on track when you have derailed.

This can be your husband, it he is committed to learning to necessary support techniques, or you can hire a doula (which I highly recommend) that has experience with the method of childbirth that you are working towards.

There are going to be times in labor that thinks change dramatically, and in those times you might find yourself struggling to stay with the program, or loosing it all together. It is critical to have someone who knows what to do or say to you to get you back into the zone.

1. Turning inward (or upward) is critical

Method after method share the same major tool. Inwardness!

This means leaving the thinking side of yourself and going into a deeper side where you can be focused and unfocused all at the same time.

You have to be intentional about staying in that zone, but that zone exists with no major thinking or hearing. You are only slightly aware of what is going on around you, but it is not the primary thing your brain in processing. Instead you are focusing on breathing, relaxing and even praying. You will find yourself in a state of unconscious consciousness (like you’re driving but not paying attention and find yourself at your destination without making any conscious decisions about driving).

While there are many other aspects that contribute to an easier labor like staying health and active during pregnancy, working through fears or past traumas, and believing in your bodies ability to give birth naturally, these 4 tools are key to achieving a more pleasurable birth experience.

Be aware, that I also believe that you can prepare yourself to the nth degree, do everything “right” and birth still throws you a curve ball that ends the game in an unexpected outcome.

Trust me, I have been there done that. I planned my first birth at home with an experiences midwife and still ended with an unnecessary C-section. But my belief about life is that everything is an opportunity for grow and 3 years later I would never want my first birth to be different as it has made me the person I am today.

Remember this…Labor is work. Labor is hard work, at that. More than anything, labor is natural and normal. Your body already knows how to give birth, but preparing our bodies physical and our minds mentally is a great component to an easier birth.

 

5 Reasons attending childbirth classes are so important

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Many first time parents feel that attending a childbirth education class is just not necessary. Either they have read all the latest childbirth books and believe that is all there is to know, or they just plan on getting an epidural and trusting the doctors and nurses to do the rest.

Both of these reasons are not good. Sorry.

The first reason is not good because, while childbirth books do provide a lot of information, it is not personal to you and your partner. It cannot ask you questions, delve into your minds, and find a plan that work specifically for you.

The second reason is not a good one because, while doctors and nurses are trained in a lot of things, normal birth is not one of them. You might think that all you are getting is an epidural, but you may find yourself caught in a whirlwind of interventions that seriously increases your risk of major surgery.

5. Learn how to work with your partner to optimize your birth experience:

Birth is a beautiful process, and many woman are prepared to go into it and have a specific plan to back them up. Many woman just assume that hubby is right there with them. I mean, he is not having to do it, so why should it matter. It matters! Many dads to be are not prepared for what labor and delivery will have in store from them. An unprepared man can find themselves in a very uncomfortable place watching a very unique process happen to his lady. They can feel scared, overwhelmed and left out.

During childbirth classes, your partner will be learning the things you might already know in a fun and interactive environment with other guys. You will learn how to work together so that both of you enjoy the process of birth and no one gets overlooked.

4. Be in an environment that promotes a healthy view of pregnancy and childbirth

So many TV shows, movies and stories portray an extremely negative image of childbirth. Many people decide to choice a natural birth and are faced with comments like “we’ll see”, “you can’t do it”. If you decide to take an alternative childbirth route like midwife, birth center or home you will get bombarded with “worried” family, friends and doctors that tell you that your decision is selfish and dangerous (despite what studies say).

In Open Arms Childbirth classes you will find you are surrounded by other supportive couples that share your belief that birth is normal. This can lead to friendships outside the class, people who can be a shoulder to lean on when others might think you are crazy.

3. Decrease your labor length and pain

Horror stories of 24 hour labors with contractions that felt like your insides were ripping apart are no new thing. In fact, they are more prevalent today because of TV “reality” shows that depict labor as dangerous and excruciating. But thousands of woman that birth their babies naturally with a plan will tell you how empowering their birth was and how they would do it again in a heartbeat. Now while the first might make for better TV, the second is what I think most woman would prefer.

In childbirth education classes you will learn how to actually shorten your labor and decrease pain. This only comes with technique and practice and it is difficult to learn these and understand their serious importance in a book.

2. Drastically reduces your risk of unnecessary intervention

Wonder why the US C-section rate is 1 in 3 woman? Is it because today’s woman has some how fundamentally changed to be less able to give birth? Absoluely not! The ability to give birth is born in every single woman and in about 80% of births, this means that no intervention is necessary. No Pitocin, no vacuum, and no C-section. But how do you avoid become a statistic. Even if you don’t end up in major surgery, everything that takes place in birth is important and no decision should be made lightly.

In Open Arms classes you will learn what interventions are used for, when they should and shouldn’t be used, how to avoid these from happening, and becoming the active leader in your labor.

1. Knowledge helps you decide what is right for you

Not every woman is the same, will labor the same, has the same beliefs, desires or preferences. One may decide to birth at home with a midwife while another feels more comfortable birthing at a hospital with a doctor. But how do you know what is the right choice for you if the only choice you have ever know was been the traditional hospital/doctor combo?

In Open Arms classes you will learn ALL your options. You will be taught the risk and benefits of each option and build your confidence that the decisions you make are the best for you. There is not a “right” way to birth and you will find support and encouragement in whatever way you choose.

Now that you know why childbirth classes are so important, sign up today for our next class, starting February 6th at 7pm in Georgetown Texas.

Mention this blog post and receive $75 off your enrollment fee.

Win a spot in our February 8 week childbirth class

Enter to Win

Win a spot in Open Arms Childbirth Educations February 2014 8 week childbirth class (a $240 value).

All I need from you is to:

  • Like my facebook page

  • Comment below telling me why childbirth education is important to you.

The class is open to anyone, whether you are first time parents, already had a baby, or a pre-pregnant couples.

1 wins will be announced on January 30th.

Find out more about what are classes are about here.

The prize is non-transferable.

Next Class Start in February

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The BirthWorks® Childbirth Preparation Class has been designed to instill confidence and trust in your ability to give birth, and help you to prepare both physically and emotionally for your birth experience.

You Will Learn About:

  • Understanding and working with the contractions in labor
  • Making informed choices about medical interventions
  • Using relaxation to manage labor discomfort
  • Labor companionship and comfort measures
  • How our beliefs and attitudes affect our experience of birth
  • Healing past emotional trauma to facilitate normal birth
  • Option for your birth and birth planning
  • Breastfeeding
  • Primal Health, Nutrition, and Exercise
  • Mother-Baby Skin-to-Skin contact
  • And more…

Birthworks® is for:

Anyone preparing for birth, new parents, and those with previous vaginal or cesarean birth experiences. All learn together, support and share with each other in the same class settings. Birthworks® can be taken anytime during pregnancy.

The Classes are taught by:

Natalie Amparan, mother of 2 children with one on the way, and a certified Birthworks® educator. She has experiences both a Cesarean birth and a natural VBAC birth. With her experiences, she desires for woman to become educated about their choices in birth, empowering them to make their own choices about what is right for them. Her classes are taught with love and no judgment about where, when and how a woman chooses to give birth.

Classes meet:

For 8 weeks in Georgetown, Texas at Central Texas Birth Center. Contact Natalie for more information on the upcoming series at 512-909-1561 or visit us at www.openarmschildbirtheducation.com .

Next class starts on February 6th at 7pm!

12 Week 4 Days with Baby # 3

12 Weeks 4 Days # 3Being pregnancy with your third baby is not like being pregnant with your first.

For instance with you 1st you take pictures of your belly even before you have a belly and at every week after that. With not your 1st, you are lucky to have any proof of you actually carrying a baby. Okay, so maybe I am exaggerating but I had to force myself to take the second to go outside to get this picture.

Time also passes very differently with your subsequent pregnancies. The first time around you think that due date will never come. This time around I think to myself how time has flown by already (of course, I didn’t think that a few weeks ago when I couldn’t even look at food without getting sick).

Your focus is in a very different place. Sometimes I forget that I am pregnant. I have to remind myself not to do this or that because I am expecting. It is easy to get distracted when you have two toddlers running around sticking their hands in the paint tray as you frantically try to paint their room while no one is melting down.

One thing that has also changed with each new pregnancy… how much more attached I feel sooner. With my first, it was sometimes difficult to get my mind around a baby in my tummy, but once you have that precious baby in your arms, it becomes so wonderfully real. Now I see each new pregnancy as a new baby in our family, not just a baby in my tummy. I am not saying I loved the first one less during pregnancy, but I was not as attached until he came out.

I am so excited to be expecting another blessing from the Lord and cannot wait to meet him or her in just a few short months.

I am in good company with many friends and family members all due around the same time. I love sharing these moments with them and encouraging those first time moms to make every moment count. My oldest in only 3 and my youngest 18 months, but the time passes quickly. Don’t rush through any moment. They are all gifts!