Thursday, October 22, 2009

Natural Childbirth and National Pride

The stakes are high.

AWOL Mommy, brave and adventurous military wife and mom, is due to welcome AWOL Baby #3 next Thursday, October 29 in a German hospital.

In her own words: "in Germany it is assumed that you will have a natural delivery. That means that my wanting an epidural would reflect poorly on all American women. I have to do this not only for myself, but also for diplomacy."

AWOL Mommy, we're here for you. Thank you for doing this for us, the Birthing Women of America.

Friends, please post your patriotic sentiments, natural childbirth cheers, and birthdate and weight guesses. AWOL is a slow-cooker, with her babies normally arriving well after the due date.

"Natural-birthing AWOL Mommy" (sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle)

Marching toward the 29th,
A baby in her tummy.
Sassy in her army boots,
Natural-birthing AWOL Mommy.

AWOL Mommy, you're a soldier,
Who needs pain medication?
With jacuzzis, focal points, breathing exercises,
Massage and relaxation.

For her due date, I guess November 1, All Saint's Day, baby weighing 7lbs, 7oz (or 41 grammes or 1.5 kilometres or whatever form of Euro Metric you're using). AWOL, I'll talk to you on October 31 about how to lace your Halloween candy with castor oil.

The most accurate guesser will receive a Ritter Sport (German-made) candy bar. I'll get your mailing address after the results are in. What better advances international relations than sharing national chocolate? We've got your back, AWOL. Good luck and God bless, friend!


"H" said...

No wonder Germany has a serious problem with not enough women being willing to have babies! ;-)

helen said...

AWOL Mommy - I was really nervous about giving birth to my first (and at this stage only). I'd always said I wanted an epidural but then when I started to read about the possible side effects I kind of chickened out. Not that eau natural is exactly the wimps option!! I found that the way to get through the contractions was praying. No way I could have said a whole Hail Mary, but I could say short prayers like "Jesus Mercy!". It seriously helped. The other benefit of a natural birth is that you feel great afterwards. Once bubs was out I was in the shower within 30 minutes and eating pizza and having a laugh with my husband and the midwives. I'd been in official labour for 12 hours but pre labour for a few days, so it was good to feel kind of refreshed and mobile after the birth!

So that's my encouragement. At the end of the day, get AWOL baby out however you can. You'll probably never see the German midwives again, so if you have an epidural at least you'll give them something to talk about on their coffee break!

November 2, 8 pounds 13.

You're in my prayers. Helen.

Mary Alice said...

H -- I love it!

Also, I agree with Helen, though I find it really hard to pray in the moment. This is something worth talking to your coach about, if you would like to be reminded to pray, or for him to pray for you. I find that praying in advance to offer the labor for something has been helpful -- sort of like how the morning offering sanctifies my day and helps me keep presence of God.

Compliments really helped me in labor, things like "you're doing great" and also getting alot of information about how my contractions were changing.

Oct 31 at 9:15 pm. 8 pounds even.

JM, I love the song, I actually did sing it.

Bethany said...

I have no comments about natural childbirth. I'm a wimp, I admit it. The closest I came was with my last one, when they had to turn off the epidural drip after only a half an hour because I went from 3.5 cen to a full 10 in that time, and the baby was not taking waiting for anyone.

I will guess (since it's number 3) Oct. 30th 5:15pm

texas mommy said... are awesome! Don't be afraid to tell your hubby what you need/want during labor. I made mine eat outside b/c I didn't want to smell food. He's not a mindreader on his best days, but most especially during labor! My best advice is to take it one contraction at a time. Don't worry about the rest. One at a time, Jesus, have mercy on me.

I agree with thinking of the prayer intentions you want to offer your labor for beforehand is a good idea.

B/c my 3rd was my longest pregnancy, Nov 7, 8lbs, 8oz.

Elizabeth M said...

I only have 2 children, with vastly different births. First an emergency c-section after fetal distress (and laboring to 9 cm). The second was a natural VBAC. AWOL mommy, you can do it! It sounds corny, but what really helped most was getting through one contraction at a time. I never committed to anything long term. I took an hour-long shower at one point and that helped! But you can always get through one contraction, and rest as best you can between.
Feeling alert and well after delivery was wonderful. I could enjoy my daughter and nurse more quickly -- and she was much more alert too.

I guess October 31st at 8:30 am.

God bless you for a quick and safe delivery!

Elena said...

I love natural childbirth; well, atleast when I'm not in the midst of it. My last two were both natural and progressively faster (3hours and 1.5 hours). I was very proud after the task was completed. However, I almost forgot that the product of the whole shindig was a baby as I was so exhilarated by the pain being OVER. (The recovery is also much better.) But the thought does excite me and I think the pain can actually motivate you to labour faster. Also, it looks like AWOL is pretty fit which certainly helps the whole process along. Raspberry leaf tea is also known to aid the long muscles of the uterus to do their job and make all labour productive. Date: Nov.3, 8lb 5 oz.

Right Said Red said...

First, JM, this is hilarious! Thanks for the laughs!

Second, I won't share my thought on natural childbirth, because at the moment, I am still mentally recovering from my rather difficult natural labor!

Third, my guess-- November 4th, at 2am. 8 pounds even.

And Fourth--I think Castor Oil is amazing stuff. Highly recommend it if you absolutely can't stand to be pregnant for one more day!

B-Mama said...

Go AWOL! Love all the encouragement...

You can do it! For me, the key to natural labor was thinking I was just around the corner from getting the epidural. Even during the two pushes it took to bring forth our little J, I was still hopeful my drugs were coming! lol. Maybe trick yourself or give yourself small time goals like "I just have to make it another 30 minutes", etc.

One item that will be essential at my next natural birth--A FAN! When the nurse began to fan me, I was able to calm down and relax. It was incredible. I highly recommend it!

My guess Nov. 3 8pm German time with the baby weighing 7lbs. 10oz. GOOOO AWOL!!!

Kate E. said...

Things that helped me along (and even though I had a home birth I was like B-Mama at the end...they'll just have to take me to the hospital so I can get an epidural...the baby was born about 5 minutes after that thought).

1: It hurts the most when it is getting to the end

2: There is an end, and as soon as that baby is out, the pain husband actually repeated that over and over to me at some points.

3: Change it up! Shower, pee, different position, etc.

Baby number 3, good fit Mama, I think you are going to be aces and impress the heck out of those Germans!

I'm going with Nov. 3rd, 7:22pm, and 7 lb. 12 oz.

Olivia D said...

I dont have any prophetic words. I have three children at the moment and my only bad experience was the hospital one with all the trimmings. Since then I have given birth at home without any intervention and it has been amazing. I offer up every single contraction to the unborn and I really think it helps gives an even greater purpose to the pain. (as if your own child isnt enough!)

Just imagine that old American WWII propaganda poster of the woman with her sleeves rolled up and bicep proudly bared..."We Can do it."

Thanks for taking one for the team!

MargaretJDMom said...

You can do it....look on the bright side, since it is expected that people go natural, the system will work with you rather than against you!!! Since I was a week late with my 3rd who came on 11/2- I vote 11/2 at 7:15am.....8lbs 3oz. I find that having a little list of prayer intentions is each person/thing on the list gets a contraction. You can read the list or have the coach do it...."This one's for...." and then you go to work.

Here's to a butter baby!

Elena said...

I have to echo the last comment: Make sure that you offer up your labour for some intention as it can truly be a redemptive suffering. Also, when you think: I can't do it any longer - that's because you can't and labour is drawing to a close.

Juris Mater said...

H: hilarious! Good one!!!

Elena: I'm glad to hear another lady say she loves natural childbirth. I love it too, both afterward and during (kind of)... I think it's a glorious process, as our bodies take us up to the very limit of pain, but not beyond, until the end, when the baby is just about to come. I find it redemptive, exhilirating, womanly, and meaningful because the intense suffering gives way to new life.

Things often go faster and better because you can feel your body and feel the baby, tap into your instincts, move in the right ways, use the breaks between contractions effectively, etc.

I already suggested to AWOL in an email not to be afraid of the pain or fight back against the pain. The natural reaction to active labor, when things start to pick up and get really hard, is to resist, get scared, and get demoralized (and request an epidural). Instead, I try to withdraw into a focused melancholy state of mind. I'm never pumped and ready for battle, but I do find a serene, melancholy state where I can acknowledge that the pain is severe but also move through the contractions knowing that each one is getting closer to birth. I've never had a short labor, so this is important.

Also, AWOL, as MargaretJDMOM said, having a system that's set up for natural births will help so much. American hospital environments, in my experience, have been so demoralizing that no woman should be expected to give birth naturally, because of the serenity and concentration required for natural birthing. My good friend here in town who delivered her first baby in Germany at age 39 absolutely LOVED the whole German birth program, the way it dignifies women and birth.

Lastly, AWOL, no matter what happens, whether you go natural or demand at gunpoint every European pain drug available... what a happy babymoon you will have (unless you're in German prison for the gunpoint thing), what a happy family of five you will be, and how VERY happy we will all be for you!!! God bless you and baby.

Jennifer said...

A message for AWOL from your partner in German Natural Childbirth: Just ask for the coffee!!!! It will at least give you a good laugh. Then all you will have to do is think of me. I promise that the laugh alone will push the little man right out. It is a beautiful hospital and you will feel ultra comfortable, like you never have before.

I am guessing or hoping that he will arrive somewhere between October 30th and November 1st so we can have a peek at him while we are visiting your area of Deutschland. Weight: 7lbs 9 oz.

And, I live next door to the Ritter Sport Chocolate Factory here in Germany. The chocolate is fantastic and on plenty of days throughout the year we can smell it at our house.

If your wondering about the coffee comment.... I deliverd at the hossy that AWOL is going to be at. I got hot, black coffee down there right before pushing. My midwife claimed it was for not tearing. I have asked every German I know about this and nobody has ever heard of this. But, hey I was in labor and I didn't really care what she did.

Kat said...

I'm guessing Friday, October 30th at 9:30 a.m., because it's my third child's birthday :)

AWOL, you're in our prayers!!

Bridget said...

Lots of great advice here. I feel like I should have a lot to say since I'm a doula, but everybody else pretty much covers it all. Water can work wonders. I've also had some clients decide not to get checked or decide not to know where they were (b/c it really doesn't mean anything anyway). If you think you might get discouraged to find out you haven't progressed as much as you think, ask the midwife to tell your husband doula. I've seen so many women go from a 4 to a 10 in less than an hour.

I'll pray for you! Just remember, God made you to do this and you will do great no matter what happens!

November 4th at 5:30 am 8lbs. 8oz

Viel Glueck!

AWOL Mommy said...

Woah Ladies. Juris Mater, your post is hysterical. Everyone else, the value of your advice and the cyber-intuition with which you doled out the perfect words are blowing my mind. I am sorry to be so delayed in my thanks, we had a 5th birthday party to accomplish over the weekend and then I banned myself from blog-reading until I had at least scrubbed the corner of the apartment into which our little man will live. So, now his rug is down, his co-sleeper is set up and I was just flooded with the blessings of this post. Thank you all. I am contracting quite a bit this morning, maybe I can shake my "slow-cooker" status on this one and have a baby a couple days early for once. Probably not though.

Kat said...

I forgot to add the weight...So here goes: October 30th, 9:30 a.m., 8 lbs, 8 oz. (this is what Maria weighed)