Welcome to a new series I'm planning to write for this blog about my pregnancy with Hannah. Overall, I felt that Hannah's birth was an incredibly positive experience. Having an unmedicated labor went better than I could have hoped and made me confident in the health of my daughter. Since she was born several weeks early, it could have been a very scary time so I am proud to have gone the natural route and would encourage other Moms to make the same decision as well! I had never thought of myself as an athlete before, but after giving birth I felt like I had just completed a marathon. I got such a rush from the sense of accomplishment and the exhaustion, mixed with true love for our new baby.
There was a lot of preparation in the months and weeks leading up to her birth. I started with a healthy diet once the morning sickness passed. Then, I began exercising regularly when I regained my energy. I chose prenatal workout videos of yoga, cardio, and strength training. I also walked around the mall during my lunch breaks or walked around the neighborhood with Zac after work if the weather was nice. Zac helped encourage me to drink plenty of water, too. All these things were instrumental in my choice to have a natural birth.
It wasn't until halfway through my pregnancy that I actually started considering that option. Mostly out of fear that for some reason I wouldn't be able to have an epidural, I wanted to know how it would be done without one. The more I learned, the more it seemed like it should be my first choice and not my backup plan. I finally made the decision when I considered that (like me) many women are too scared to have their first baby the natural way, but think that they could do it the second time around. Why not my first time? I resolved to do everything I could to prepare myself for the natural birth plan, but to keep an open mind and do what seemed best for the baby when the time came around.
Initially I borrowed the book "Husband Coached Child Birth" for Zac, in the hope that he would learn how to support me during the delivery. Well, he didn't read very much of it, but he was still a great resource for information because the book kept touting the benefits of swimming to pregnant women. Lucky me, married to a Rescue Swimmer. I needed to get into a pool with him- stat! We started swimming during our vacation in Florida and kept it up when we returned home. He showed me how to breathe in the pool and coached me to swim laps. If you can believe it, I didn't even know you had to exhale prior to drawing in a new breath before we started. I quickly improved from controlled drowning to active swimming. Whenever I got tired or cold and wanted to quit, Zac prodded me along and sent me on a stroll to the other side of the pool. Then I would feel my little future Olympian kicking and I knew that this would be good practice for me to eventually keep up with her in the pool as well. I had just enough time to get the hang of swimming before Hannah decided it was time for us to meet!