I super loved giving birth. There were moments during my 26 hour labor where love would not have been my word of choice, but looking back, I can confidently say I loved giving birth. It was one of the best and most challenging experiences.
To sum it up quickly, because this isn’t really a post about the birth, I will give a few stats for need to know. I did most of my laboring at home, about 18 hours. I wanted to avoid the hospital and their “hospital procedures” as long as possible. I arrived at the hospital about 7 cm dilated, and spent the next 8 hours getting to 10 cm. I did not get an epidural or any pain medication. I also opted out of being hooked up to an IV or having constant fetal monitoring.
It was a long labor. There were moments where I nearly gave up. Ha, except we don’t really have that choice? There were a lot of things that kept me going, but I had three very intentional thoughts going into labor that I know greatly helped me cope and achieve the natural birth I wanted.
Thought #1: The Pain Is a Privilege
I never really had a fear of the pain of childbirth. Women are really strong. Sometimes period pain is bad and there’s no reward at the end of the pain. I was pretty sure I could handle the pain. Turns out, labor is as crazy painful as they say, just needing to put that out there. Crazy painful. But a thought that really helped me handle the pain was remembering how this pain is a privilege.
I really wanted to give birth naturally. No pain meds, no epidural, just my body doing what it was created to do.
I know there are women who can’t get pregnant. Women who can’t stay pregnant. I know there are women who must have emergency surgery to deliver their babies. So I knew going into labor, if I was fortunate enough to be experiencing the pain of childbirth that it was a good thing and there was no way I was going to complain about the pain.
I don’t know the pain of infertility or the pain of miscarriage but I imagine they must be drastically worse.
This pain had a purpose. This pain meant my baby was on his way. And that is a privilege.
Thought #2 – It’ll Be Over So Quick, So Enjoy It
My labor was 26 hours. So at the time it didn’t feel quick. But it was just one day on a calendar.
This pain is temporary. This experience will be over quickly. I didn’t want to miss it, you know? I wanted to feel it all and experience it all. I wanted to smile and laugh and keep my sense of humor as long as possible.
I wanted to make God and Dillon proud of how I handled birthing this baby.
I knew the pain wouldn’t last forever, and I wanted to fully experience childbirth while it was happening. This helped keep my head in the right mindset. To keep me calm and know that babies all come out eventually.
Thought #3 – I’m Not Alone
My pregnancy was a huge walk of faith with God. So from day one of this pregnancy, I felt God with me every step. So I knew He would be right with me during labor. Once contractions started really picking up, I told Dillon to start playing Pandora. Worship music, I requested. He chose the Lauren Daigle station. Worship music delivers the Holy Spirit so well.
I also had Dillon with me. I needed his strength. I had my birth doula with me. I needed her support. I depended on their words of encouragement. I depended on their faces. I depended on eye contact. I depended on their touch.
Towards the end of the labor, when things were getting really crazy, I could listen, look around, and feel that I was not alone. My own strength alone would have only taken me so far.
My thoughts have an annoying habit of running away from me, and I knew the devil might try and sneak a few discouraging thoughts in my head, so I am really glad I decided to pregame what intentional thoughts I would cling to during childbirth.
I used those three thoughts to handle labor. And, of course, I used the thought of finally getting to meet my baby and find out if baby was a boy or girl!