Let's be honest. There's a lot written about birth - some good and some not worth wasting your time. So let's just cut to the chase and give you a good solid list of reading material.
The first chapter is about Dr. and Mrs. Sears' births and the contrast between their medicated and unmedicated births and their hospital births compared to their homebirths.
The second chapter is about the history of childbirth in America. This was life changing. I walked away feeling like we have been sold a lot of garbage about the birthing experience through the media and even baby showers. I knew I would have a different experience with my second baby. And I did.
2. There is a law against being a "birth junkie" and not recommending Ina May's Guide to Childbirth! But really, it's a fabulous book. The first half of the book is birth stories. This is so important. Hearing women tell their stories is truly empowering. Knowing labor was hard and exhilarating, as well as coping techniques that helped her through is a must.
The second half of the book is Ina May talking about various aspects of giving birth. For those of you who aren't familiar with Ina May Gaskin, I would describe her as reviving the midwifery profession after a very successful smear campaign against midwives that lasted decades.
(If you ever want to hear about the weekend I chauffeured Ina May around Ft. Worth, corner me at a Black Hills Birth Network meeting and I'll fill you in.)
3. My last birth book I recommend is a little book called Mind Over Labor by Carl Jones, originally published in the 1920s. I had a midwife say to me with my third birth that 90% of labor was in my head and 10% was physical. I've thought a lot about that statement over the years and do believe it's pretty accurate. At least 80/20!
What about all the books with statistics? While that stuff is important in building your birth team, understanding interventions, and knowing the right questions to ask, that is likely not what actually gets you through labor. In addition to taking a Birth Boot Camp class and hiring a Birth Boot Camp Doula, I believe the information in the three books mentioned here will help you achieve an amazing birth.
BHBBC: What type of birth were you hoping for? How did you prepare? Did you take a class?
Tiffany: I was hoping for a natural, unmedicated birth. I took the Black Hills Birth Boot Camp class from Donna Ryan. I tried to prepare by exercising throughout my pregnancy and practicing relaxation.
BHBBC: Tell us a bit about your pregnancy.
Tiffany: This was my 3rd and hardest pregnancy. I had a lot of lower back pain that made it hard to sleep and take care of my 2 older children. I was nauseous the 1st trimester and has heart burn the 3rd trimester.
BHBBC: How did labor begin? How many weeks were you?
Tiffany: Labor began spontaneously at 39 weeks.
BHBBC: What did contractions feel like?
Tiffany: Contractions started out feeling like Braxton-Hicks contractions where my stomach would tighten up. As labor progressed they became more painful and they eventually turned into back labor. The pain in my lower back was very intense and painful. The pain is hard describe. During contractions my lower back felt extremely stiff and like my spine was being squeezed.
BHBBC: What did you do during your labor?
Tiffany: In the beginning I tried to relax by listening to relaxation clips on Youtube. When that wasn't working anymore I walked circles in my living room. It really helped to just walk. Once we got to the hospital I tried to move around a lot. The laboring position that I liked the most was standing and swaying back and forth while leaning over the bed when contractions would come. My husband would rub my lower back and tried to apply counter pressure on my hips and lower back during contractions.
BHBBC: Tell us about your birth team. Did you have a doula?
Tiffany: No doula. My birth team was my husband Brian and the nurse. The nurse was very knowledgeable and helpful during labor.
BHBBC: What did you think about during labor? Was certain imagery helpful? What helped you cope?
Tiffany: It was hard not to focus on the pain. In the beginning of labor I was able to listen to relaxation clips on YouTube that helped me get through the discomfort of contractions. Towards the end of labor I was screaming out in pain, and Brian and the nurse would remind me to groan and make deep noises from my throat. That seemed to help and it helped me focus on groaning instead of the pain. Brian also reminded me that the pain had a purpose and we would be meeting our baby very soon.
BHBBC: How long was your labor? How long did you push?
Tiffany: Labor lasted about 8 hours and I pushed for about 5 minutes.
BHBBC: What will you do different if you have another baby?
Tiffany: Exercise more and be more consistent with practicing relaxation techniques.
BHBBC: What was your favorite thing about birth-day?
Tiffany: Holding my brand new baby!
BHBBC: What advice do you have for expectant parents?
Tiffany: It is very important for the father to be involved in preparing for labor and birth.
A special congratulations to the Farrers on your sweet baby girl!
Donna just started a new Comprehensive 10-week class last week. It's not too late to join. Make up the first class online and get in on the fun. Don't just hope for an amazing birth. Prepare for one!
Having a homebirth? Our 4-week Homebirth Class starts Tuesday, February 5, 2019. To register for either class, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog is written by Mallory and Donna - at Black Hills Birth Boot Camp. Expect birthy topics, parenting triumphs and trials, and community resources and interviews. Have a topic idea you’d like us to address? Drop us a note!