In case you don't know it by now, I'm somewhat of a natural type girl....natural consequences, natural healing, natural nutrition, and of course, natural child birth. For the last 7 out of 8 of my deliveries, I have opted to deliver my babies without an epidural. (My eighth delivery was a scheduled cesarean section as both the twins were breech.) There are so many reasons for this decision, which I will share in a subsequent post. Suffice it to say, whatever husband I am married to at the time has a lot of work to do himself during my deliveries. Most would assume that because this is my ninth delivery, my baby will come fast. This will most likely not be the case. My labors last anywhere from 10 hours (my third) to 51 hours (my sixth). In fact, I asked my sister in California if she would like to attend the birth because I'm sure that I would have time to call her, have her book and board a flight from California to El Paso, pick up my mother in El Paso, then drive the 3.5 hours it takes to get to the hospital where I will deliver in Mexico, find the hospital and still arrive in time for the birth. She said yes, if she's not in the middle of an important scientific experiment to find a cure for a debilitating disease. Come on, Robyn! Where are you priorities? Just kidding, I understand if science needs you more than I.
Back to the point, John's first birth attendance was with our first child together, or course, and my labor was 36 hours long. He did an absolutely amazing job supporting me in every way possible, along with our doula (which is a professional labor coach) and giving birth to the current 3-year-old boy was probably one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had. Yes it was painful, torturous even, but the love John showed to me during the process is something I will never forget. We'd only been married for less than a year, but we became so much closer because of going through this together.
The last time I gave birth, the process was completed in two minutes, as Twin A was born at 1:24 PM via c-section and Twin B at 1:25 PM. Not much coaching was needed during this process, so coaching the upcoming birth may require that I remind John about a few things. This is the purpose of the following Dear John letter....
As you know, I feel like you did an amazing job when you coached me during the 3-year-old's birth. You were so exhausted after the birth, that you passed out on a hard, uncomfortable, ugly chair almost immediately after he was born. I felt sorry that you didn't get the adrenalin rush I did after the birth.
However, it's been almost four years since that occasion, and I would like to remind you of a few things you and our beloved doula did to assist me during that beautiful occasion.
1. If you see that my breathing isn't even during a contraction, breathe with me to show me the rhythm I should be using. You'll know the rhythm from my contractions up until that point.
2. Most likely, my labor will be very long and there will probably come a point when I start to cry and tell you that I'm considering asking for an epidural. Please, at that time, remind me that I can do this naturally, that I chose this way because it's the safest way, both for me and our baby, that I have done it many times before, and that every pain I have brings me closer to meeting our baby boy.
3. Do not at any time suggest that I receive medication or an epidural. If there is someone in the room who is suggesting this, please ask them not to suggest it as well.
4. When the doctor is checking to see how far I am dilated, please do not let me hear. I will most likely feel like I should be more dilated and I will feel great disappointment at hearing I've not progressed as far as I had hoped.
5. Remind me that I can try different positions for relieving the pain, such as walking, leaning on a table, sitting on the birthing ball, ect.
6. During transition, if you see that I'm crying out and throwing my head back, remind me to make low gutteral noises and to keep my chin down. I don't know why this worked so well last time, this tip our doula showed us, but it did.
7. Please remind me to focus on whatever focal point I've chosen. Although during our first natural birth together, you printed and framed a photo of one of your gorgeous pink dahlias for me to use for this purpose, it turned out that the third button on your shirt was a more effective focal point. It helps a lot for me to have this kind of focus, no matter what I choose at my point of focus.
8. When it comes time to push, remind me that I can try different positions, such as kneeling, standing or squatting. I may not accept that invitation, but I may appreciate the reminder.
All righty then, I think those are the important points I need you to remember. Thank you for being here for me through this and I love and appreciate you!
Love, Your Wife