Okay, so I wanted to have a natural birth, no medications, but God had other plans. I ended up with an induction, and ultimately had a epidural. However, even with that I wouldn’t say it was a bad experience. Certainly not a ‘birth horror story’. If you’d like to hear my birth story let me know in the comments and I’ll make that happen! 🙂
I thought it might be nice though to post a list of the items I used for pain management before my epidural. I’ve heard that induction births are more painful than natural, but having nothing to compare it to I really couldn’t say. 😛 These things really helped though, and got me through right up until we decided I needed the epidural.
First, my essential oils. I know essential oils are supposed to be helpful for a lot of different things, and there’s many articles out there that can give you great advice on which one to use in which area for which pain. I dipped my toe in, but quickly realized that it was just too much info with too little time to absorb it. Also, I didn’t want to have to say ‘Okay, take that oil—don’t forget to dilute it! In the almond oil. Now, I need it on a washcloth. Just a little. Okay, great thanks, just lay that on my tummy.’ during a contraction. 😛 That may be a little dramatic, but the point is that even if I did learn all that stuff I’d still have the problem of relaying it to whomever was helping me.
Thus I stuck to the effects of the essential oil’s scents for all except Frankincense. I brought:
- Invigor-Aid, and Peace & Calming for my diffuser
- A Lavender sachet (and I think some in a bottle, but I don’t remember using it, so I can’t be sure.)
Invigor-Aid is good for, well, exactly what you’d think: invigorating. It’s supposed to help keep your energy up. Peace and Calming is also self explanatory. I made sure to pick scents that were both pleasant to me, but had the desired effect. You don’t have to have these specific blends, but my recommendation would be to have one calming and one energizing blend to defuse in the room.
A friend of mine made me the lavender sachet and it was wonderful! As nice as the diffused oils were you eventually became ‘nose-blind’ to them. I think they may still have been affecting me subconsciously, but when you’re contracting you tend to need something more obvious. I held the sachet to my nose during contractions, and not only was the scent relaxing, but it helped me focus my breathing. If you don’t care for Lavender just pick a scent that works for you. Also, you don’t have to make a sachet (although it was very convenient), you could do what I did with the Peppermint oil.
I brought Peppermint for it’s effect on nausea. Rubbing alcohol also works, but really, who wants to sniff alcohol? Not me. We put it on a wet washcloth which I held to my nose when I was feeling sick. One caveat: DO NOT forget your carrier oil! I used almond oil, but you can use multiple different vegetable oils such as coconut. Thinking that I wouldn’t be coming in contact with the stuff I used the oil directly at first. Then, in the midst of labor I thought it’d be easier to just drape the cloth over my face, so I wouldn’t have to hold it. The problem? Peppermint burns. Yeah. The last thing you want while giving birth is the distraction of realizing you got Peppermint on your eyelid. So just dilute it in carrier oil before putting it on your washcloth. Trust me.
The Frankincense is good for healing skin, so I wanted it for use on my perineum during crowning. I had read that this was supposed to help with the pain, as well as healing if tearing occurred. For ease of use I bought it in pre-dilluted roll on form. Because of my epidural, I can’t vouch for it’s effectiveness against pain, and I wasn’t monitoring my healing (I did tear a little), but my OB said I healed really well. I plan to use it during our next birth (whenever that may be), and if we’re able to have a natural labor and delivery I’ll try to remember to let y’all know how it worked.
I also used:
- A birthing ball (Mine came from Walmart I think, but you can find a similar one here)
- A wet washcloth
- My wonderful husband, Mama, and Mother-in-love
The birthing ball was really great for sitting on in the beginning, and leaning on later. I made full use of the maneuverability of my hospital bed while using the ball. It made it easier to relax having something firm and round to lean on.
The wet washcloth, though simple, was also really nice. It could be warm or cool depending on how I felt, both of which can be very soothing. Just don’t confuse it with your peppermint oil washcloth. Especially if you haven’t diluted your peppermint oil. Not that I’d know anything about that. 😛
And of course, last, but really the most important: human support. Husbands and mothers are wonderful for this, but if neither are available, I’m sure your nurses will be happy to fill in. I had some wonderful nurses during my labor. I know not everyone would be comfortable having both their Moms present, but for me it was wonderful. They helped with things Josh wasn’t as familiar with (Mrs. Tracy french braided my hair for instance to keep it out of my face, and they both helped to fill the diffuser, and dilute oils, and such) which freed him up to support me. And I mean that physically. Toward the end of my labor I found the ball wasn’t working as well, and leaned on Josh instead. That awesome man supported me through 20 hours of labor y’all. I know. He’s amazing.
So there you are; my list of natural pain relief options. What would you add to this list? Have you ever had a fully natural, unmedicated birth? If so, what worked best for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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