Elaine Sotirakos- Guest Author
(Elaine contacted BirthLink to let us know she and her friends enjoy the newsletter. I asked if she was a parent or practitioner. She said, “Parent, I had a natural birth and feel very passionate about it. My birth was 75 amazing and intense hours but totally worth it.” So I invited her to write about it! )
People often look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that I had natural child-birth, the first question they ask is “why when you can have an epidural and not feel anything?” I have many answers to this question, my reasons are endless. I live in a modern, artificial world in which I have very little control over so when it was my turn to do something natural, the way God intended, I choose to do just that. I also could not ignore the simple fact that an epidural is a drug and I did not want my barely born baby to have any drugs in his system.
My husband and I made the decision prior to getting pregnant that natural was the way to go. We were determined to educate ourselves on how to make that happen in a day and age where epidurals and unnecessary c-sections were the “norm.” We took a short course that taught the Bradley Method, a husband-coach approach to natural child birth. My husband was the coach and we learned methods on how he could assist in my labor to ease me. We practiced the techniques and enjoyed learning about the process of child birth without intervention of drugs or doctors. Yes, I said I wanted a doctor-free birth! Once I learned that an OBGYN is a surgeon, I thought to myself, “I’m not having surgery, just having a baby.” I realized then that a midwife would be a better fit for my birthing requirements.
The Bradley course ended and even though I felt really good about everything we had learned, I was still curious and asking myself , “Can I really handle the pain, can I really do this?” I couldn’t leave it up to chance that I would not be able to bear the pain so I spoke with others that had natural birth; I even searched for natural births on youtube.com to help mentally prepare me even more. The more I learned about natural birth the less afraid I became and the more I trusted my body. But I still posed the question, “Can I really handle the pain?” I don’t have a high tolerance for pain as a matter of fact. I tend to be a big cry baby so I did doubt myself in the back of my mind just a little. I would then remind myself that I have a duty as a mother, parent and caregiver to bring my child into this world as safe as possible and that meant intervention free.
The time came at 41 weeks, I started contracting on a Friday morning, it wasn’t so bad, we went for a walk, took a nap and just relaxed. Saturday came and contractions got more intense and I felt like I was progressing. I got into the tub to help with the pain. It worked and I was able to relax more. We used all the techniques we learned in the class and they worked! The contractions were intense but it was getting me one step closer to having my baby in my arms. I contracted through Monday morning, 4th of July, after 3 days of contractions my water broke Monday morning at 2:30 am. I went from 1.8 cm to 10 in just a couple of hours. My body completely knew what it was doing. Within a half hour of arriving at the hospital; I had my baby boy in my arms. I had a beautiful, natural child birth. My midwives were great and my husband was amazing. A natural birth requires patience, a little mental and physical preparation and support. These are lessons and virtues that I gained from this experience and that I will pass down to my children.
(She had a doula who helped them stay at home as long as possible. This was a key in being able to labor the way her body and baby thought best. Mothers sometimes labor in ways that don’t fit the medical model for birth.)