I have a beautiful, wonderful friend. She lives very far. But she keeps up on an adorable blog and it has been so nice to stay in touch ... albeit electronically.
She recently had a baby.
We emailed a few times, and she finally found a moment to give me details on her birth and what worked best for her. I think they are brilliant, and worth adding to your tool bag as you prepare for you ideal experience.
I just saw your comment on facebook, and I'd been meaning to email you anyway, wanting to thank you for answering all my pregnancy/labor questions and give you a quick update on how everything went (you know, since you were my virtual doula and all :). I went into labor at midnight on my due date (it started with me passing my mucus plug) and was able to labor naturally for 14 hours and then deliver my baby boy after 2 hours of pushing. It was wonderful and empowering and went just as I hoped (well, it was more painful then I was expecting...I was laboring in my back... but nothing too terrible.). I read SO MUCH before hand and really tried to do my part to be educated about this whole labor business, and these are the things that I found worked best for me:
:: I swam three times a week and went on long daily walks (or waddles towards the end, haha!), and I really think those activities helped me have the strength to keep laboring.
:: I drank my raspberry leaf tea religiously and towards the end started taking Evening Primrose Oil orally. I'd like to think those helped me, but I have nothing to compare it to.
:: I read a hypnobirthing book (there were no classes in my area), and listened to the relaxation exercise cd that came with the book every night before bed for the last 3 months of pregnancy.
The best thing I learned from hypnobirthing was to keep my face relaxed. I coached Evan on this, and so he was able to remind me to relax my face whenever he could tell I was tensing up. It was amazing how much calmer I'd feel!
I had a 1.5 hour nap right in the middle of labor and then woke up ready to push. Everyone was kind of scratching their heads wondering how I was able to relax so fully, but I think I was able to be so relaxed because I had practiced every night before bed, and it always put me to sleep. I needed to rest before the pushing began!
Thanks again for all your advice and for helping other women through this amazing process, what a wonderful life calling!
Hope you have a wonderful day!