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Musings of a First Time NOLA Mom: ‘I’m doing it ALL natural…’

Written by  LaTesha Charbonnet Gonzales
Editor’s note: LaTesha is the wife of IntheNOLA founder, Jeff Gonzales, and editor of the site. She and Jeff are expecting their first child, a boy currently named “Baby G.,” at the beginning of October. LaTesha was “encouraged” to write “Musings of a first time NOLA mom” by her best friend and colleague, Heather Ferdinand, whose own musings are quite a bit different from LaTesha’s to say the least. Join LaTesha as she journeys her way through pregnancy IntheNOLA.
 
My best friend and colleague Heather E. Ferdinand had a beautiful pregnancy. In her words, it was “magical, wonderful, and a dream come true.” That pretty much sums up her life as well...everything is all rainbows and fairies.
 
From my first two columns of Musings of a First Time NOLA Mom (There’s no turning back now! and Why couldn’t we just lay an egg?), you’ll know that my pregnancy has been anything but magical. When I’m suffering with incessant leg cramps and heartburn, I ask, “Heather, don’t you remember going through any of this?” She inevitably replies, “I’m sorry, LaTesha I just didn’t have that.” Well, lucky me.
Now that I’m on the last leg of this pregnancy, delivery has been weighing heavily on my mind. I’d always believed that delivering a baby included pain medication; it was just a part of the deal. You went in, they put the stuff in your back, you laid down, you pushed and screamed, and the baby was born….no questions asked. Whatever the doctor said, you did.
 
However, over the past two years, my family and I have embraced living a healthier lifestyle and I’ve started to question the need for medical intervention during delivery. I mean, this is what my body is supposed to do, right?
 
Musings of a First Time NOLA Mom: ‘I’m doing it ALL natural…’ | IntheNOLA.comHeather had an all-natural birth, meaning no epidural, no Pitocin, or any other drugs. She said, “My birth was a powerful experience. When I recall it, I don’t remember pain. Instead, I remember the contractions increasing in intensity. I recall becoming one with my body, letting it guide me, listening, breathing, focusing, and enjoying every moment of the journey. It was just me and my focal point, a woman of seven chakras made of clay sitting to the right of me. The birth process was an exercise in energy and awareness of indescribable activation. I remember being calm throughout and loving every moment…there were no screams for mercy, no unbearable pain, no fear, just love, love for the process that was bringing the son I carried in my womb into my arms.”
 
See, I told you, butterflies and fairies.
 
My vision of labor is not quite the same as Heather’s. My vision of labor is PAIN. A cantaloupe coming out of a straw (impossible, right?). However, after becoming more educated on the subject, I find it harder and harder to believe that my body needs drugs in order to complete a job that it was specifically designed to do. In contrast to Heather’s experience, I’m not interested in the ‘oohs and aahs of a beautiful journey.’ Instead, I see it as a job to be done and to be done well. That means that in order to complete the mission, I have to prepare my body for it. You cannot expect to run a marathon after no training. The same can be said for delivery, drugs or no drugs.
 
In addition to a balanced diet, one of my preparatory tools for delivering naturally has been participating in Bradley Method classes with local doula Kimberly Davis. The Bradley Method teaches that delivery is an athletic event. It specifically prepares your mind and body for a natural birth. It engages and exercises those muscle groups that play an active role in labor. Therefore, I have a daily regimen of squats, kegels, pelvic movements, and more as part of my body’s physical training for delivery. But, I’m not alone in this training. Partners are just as important in the delivery process as the mother and the Bradley Method teaches them how to be mom’s biggest supporter, cheerleader, coach, and gatekeeper. Your partner is your biggest ally in the delivery room. 

Besides the physical aspects, the mental aspects of delivery are just as important. For example, I have a very low tolerance for pain, which leads to fear which leads to tension which leads back to pain. I’m learning how to confront and control my fears rather than letting them control me and causing unnecessary pain during delivery.  
 
Now, I don’t expect to have a pain free delivery. That’s not the goal (and it’s just silly to think so). I expect to have a manageable delivery where there are intense pains that we can work through. Yes, plenty of people think I’m quite crazy, but I’m actually excited about allowing my body to tell me what to do.

With all that being said, in no way do I believe that those who choose or must have medical intervention deserve any less praise for the delivery process. Birthing a baby is hard work.
 
So, NOLA moms, what has been your experience with natural or non-natural delivery?

See LaTesha's last posts, There’s no turning back now! and Why couldn’t we just lay an egg?.
Last modified on Friday, 02 August 2013
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