Childbirth – The Mushy Mommy

Tips to Prepare for a Natural Childbirth

By Sasha Savoy
on November 04, 2015

Tips to Prepare for a Natural Childbirth

There is no ideal and perfect childbirth. There is no right or wrong childbirth. There is not one childbirth that is better than the other. There is ONLY the birth you imagine, the birth you work for and the birth that you have, no matter the outcome. Perfection is in the bundle of joy in your arms, not in how they arrived. 

However, if you desire a natural labor and delivery, here are my tips to help prepare you! Read my own personal stories on the blog! 

Have the mindset. You can't just approach birth with the attitude that you're going to "try" a natural birth. You have to approach it with the attitude that you "will" have a natural childbirth considering that there is no need for any medical interventions of course. Your mindset has to be that you WILL do it because you CAN do it. Your body was MADE to do it. 

Be prepared. I always, always recommend reading some good books and taking classes at your local hospital. Also, make sure to find out what amenities you are provided at the facility in which you will give birth (tub, birth ball, stool, etc...) and maybe even take a tour. **I recommend any books by Ina May Gaskin as well as the Lamaze Guide to Birth. 

Have a plan. Know what you want for your childbirth beforehand. Even if you don't actually hand over your plan to the doctor, it's good to have it written down (and with you) to remember what all you wanted. 

Form a backbone. Know your rights and your research enough that you can say "No" to any intervention or task that you do not want! 

Enter the Zone. When you go into labor, you can only survive if you really go into your own little world. Conversations around you, people around you and things happening around you need to become background noise. Don't feel like you have to entertain visitors or even speak to anyone. It's not really the ideal time to have a heart to heart with your partner about how your life is about to change. When you're in your zone, you're only focused on ONE thing. 

Limit Visitors. Family and friends love to come in and wish a laboring mother their best if they have time (if it's a long labor). Don't feel you have to let anyone in and/or limit the amount of people and the length of time they come in. Have your partner or birth coach take care of all of this for you. 

Have a birth coach. Whether it is your partner, your doula, your mother or your midwife, someone needs to help guide you and encourage you. 

Don't be afraid of being rude. If you're partner or coach, or even your mother is doing something that isn't helping - you MUST let them know. Whether you simply put your hand up to signal that they are saying too much or whether your husband is massaging your leg and it's annoying you, don't be afraid of saying no or even sounding rude. They will understand!

Know that you will survive. Laboring for an extensive time is exhausting and well, extremely painful. You will begin to feel like it will NEVER end and that you literally can't handle one more contraction. You can, I promise!

Set small goals. Keep telling yourself you'll make it to just one more centimeter. Each centimeter is a new goal achieved and a step closer to being finished. 

Sleep between contractions. This is hard to explain, but if you're exhausted enough you can do it. I recommend trying this tactic while sitting in a rocking chair. Rock consistently and your body will take power naps during the 1-2 minutes between contractions. The rocking also helps during contractions. 

Remember each person is different. What worked for one person to ease labor pains may not work at all for you. For instance, I highly recommend walking nearly the whole time. I also recommend the birthing ball to ease pressure. However, this is just me (although most research shows movement helps ease pain). 

Be proud no matter what. Even if you can't handle the pain eventually, be proud of your efforts, your training and your preparations. It likely taught you more than you know!

Wishing you the best and most beautiful childbirth that your heart desires. 

A Birth Rally

By Sasha Savoy
on August 01, 2015

I Pulled Out My Own Baby and She Peed On Me, My Natural Birth Story

By Sasha Savoy
on June 10, 2015

Just when you think you can’t, you push a little further and the next thing you know, you pushed out a baby.
— Sasha, The Mushy Mommy

"Are you having this one natural too?"

This was perhaps my most asked about question during this pregnancy. Everyone wanted to know if I'd go for a natural, drug free labor again. You'd think that I'd answer, "Well of course." I mean, I already knew I could handle the pain and since second labors are usually shorter it just made sense. However I never answered the question that way; I always said, "I hope to." 

We never know how a labor will go. Emergencies happen, interventions take place and birth plans can quickly become faded hopes and dreams. I was never going to sit there and pretend like I knew I'd have this baby the same, beautiful way that I had my first. I just sat back and prayed that I would and hoped for it. I believed in my ability to do it and I believed in my baby and my body working together. 

From day one, we were just certain that this baby would be a "May" baby despite a June 7 due date. No way was I going to have a June baby. At 29 weeks we experienced false labor and found out I was dilated one cm; it was just a sure thing that this would be an early baby! Mother's Day came and I woke up at 36 weeks pregnant with consistent contractions that lasted ALL day. And then it happened again at 38 weeks pregnant and once more one night at nearly 39 weeks. I began to suspect what many birthing peers thought, maybe my baby wasn't in the exact position and this was keeping my labor from progressing, something that is key later on in this story.

Finally, at 39 weeks and 1 day (and in June at that) I went to bed with what was yet again a bad back ache and the feeling like labor was coming. But let's face it, I had been feeling like that every day so I didn't get my hopes up. I woke up several times that night to potty and noticed I was contracting, but I still didn't get my hopes up. The next morning while cuddling with my two year old and watching cartoons, I noticed I was consistently contracting at 10-11 minutes apart.

So maybe, just maybe this was it. 

NaturalChildbirth

I went run a few errands to have everything done before this baby arrived. I ended our errands visiting my mom where we decided to go walking to move the labor along; it worked like a charm. By lunch time I was contracting 7-9 minutes apart and was actually getting to where I didn't want to talk through some contractions. Eventually they moved up to 6-8 minutes apart and I took Little Bug home to take a nap. While she napped I had hubby on stand by to leave work soon and I decided to get the house perfect. I finished laundry, scrubbed the tubs and cleaned everything. It's possible all of the cleaning moved things even more because as I got in the shower to wash my hair, I had three contractions in 10 minutes and one with immense pressure. I quickly panicked and got out to call hubby to come home and called my mom to come sit with me. I didn't want to deliver a baby by myself!

Eventually I was feeling contractions 2-4 mins apart - some were mild and some were HARD. I was determined that this go around I would have makeup on and fixed hair, so I got dressed. Once my mom arrived we decided things were too close so we dropped Little Bug off and headed to the hospital where hubby would meet us.

And then just like what I was used to, things somewhat slowed down at the hospital but definitely intensified. I was disappointed to learn I was only 3 cm, something I had been for a week already, and I was contracting only every 6-8 minutes. After two hours of monitoring they sent me home despite me telling them I was in labor. I was in PAIN. This IS labor people and you're making me go home just so I can come back here later on -- thanks a lot folks.

I went home and took a long bath and contractions were up to 5-6 mins and were freaking hard. I remembered the doctor saying the baby was posterior earlier at the hospital and just as I thought, that meant she wasn't in prime position. So at 11 pm, I decided to do 10 lift and tucks from Spinning Babies during my next 10 contractions. This exercise helps baby engage in the pelvis and helps to speed things up. I was in so much pain but it worked like a charm. At one point I actually felt her drop down in there, it was kinda crazy!

As hubby slept, I labored in the living room walking up and down the hall, rocking in the rocking chair, standing and however I felt comfortable. There were many times that I wondered how in the heck I did this the first time. 

IT HURT SO BAD. 

How did I do this? 

I couldn't do this again! 

NaturalChildbirth

Around 1 pm I was riding out a contraction when my water just broke everywhere. It was relief! This finally meant that I was in true labor and could go to the hospital. In fact I was shocked it broke. In majority of pregnancies the water breaking is the last thing to really take place. I was ecstatic and also somewhat nervous as I wanted to make sure we made it to the hospital in time. Oh, and as you can imagine, my hair wasn't fixed and there was no makeup on! Go figure.

After changing my pants a few times, we arrived to the hospital only for them to have to work night and day to prove it was my water that broke. Come on people, I didn't piss my pants - it was my freaking water! Finally the test showed my water broke and I was wheeled up to a labor room and was now 4 cm. It's go time people! Wahoo!

From here it gets really quick, so hang in there! Unlike my first birth, my nurses were much more, "What do you want and whatever you want you'll get." I made all of my requests and told them my birth plan --  immediate skin to skin, delay the cord clamp until the cord stops pulsating, immediate breastfeeding, delayed bath, etc... But I left one key thing out that I joked about with my husband beforehand, "How about I pull my own baby out?!" I mean, Kourtney Kardashian did it on national TV, so then I should totally do that, right?!

BirthTub

My nurses were amazing and after settling in, I began making my rounds walking with my mom. She was my rock and walking buddy during the first labor and did it all again with me this time (she's the best!). I eventually got nauseous and as my nurse and I both suspected, this could mean things were getting close. She checked me and I was 5 cm but could be stretched to 7 cm (whatever that meant). I requested a bath and went labor in the tub for awhile where my amazing hubby was by my side helping me through the intense contractions (he's amazing, did I mention that?).

During my first birth I used a silly mantra that I said to myself about being a butterfly and using the visual of wings opening to visualize dilation. As crazy as it sounds, I did this again. "I am a butterfly," I said. I also prayed a lot this time. I prayed for God to help move things along because I wasn't sure if I had it in me to do another long birth. And in a sense, I guess I prayed and spoke to my baby girl because I kept telling her, "We can do this together." 

Obviously, I wasn't saying these things out loud as I could hardly mumble a word, but in my own little world I was talking to myself, my baby and God. 

That's how I made it through. I was in my zone as my husband calls it. 

NaturalLabor

Okay guys, it's about to get quicker. I started walking again where we made maybe two laps when I started hobbling back to the room with my knees together. There was a baby coming and a baby coming soon! I hopped onto the bed and the nurse checked me. I was only 8 cm, but was so close she called the doctor, "She's 8 and ready to push." Until the doctor arrived I rode out the contractions in bed and tried to ignore the urge to push.

The doctor came (Dr. Buchert for you locals) and said I was still only 8 cm and according to her, "There's still some cervix there so you'll tear a bit if you push." It was a total buzz kill. I kid you not that I stood by the bed to ride out the very next contraction and screamed something like, "Nope she's coming, I'm pushing." I hopped onto that bed, the doctor suited up and I got ready. Finally, I was going to meet this little angel of mine after what felt like a forever of being pregnant!

At this point, I'm somewhat sitting up in the bed with my legs all open and my junk all exposed while the doctor and two nurses just sat there staring at it. They sat there starting with their arms folded just waiting. It was the most pressure I've ever felt and not vagina pressure. I'm talking pressure that I had to prove to them this baby was coming. I had to push this kid out whether I was 8 or 10 cm.

I could feel it happening but no one was moving. Everyone was watching and I screamed something like "Is it happening?" I mean, I'm pushing and feel a human being coming out and everyone's just watching me do my thang like I got this. Finally, the doctor starts working the head out and helps me from tearing. The head comes out along with the arms and she backs up and says, "Pull your baby out." I reach down and pull out the most perfect, cheesiest little person ever. She was so cheesy in her vernix coating that I couldn't get a grip at first. But I pulled her out!  It was and is still the most powerful feeling and I'm so grateful that the doctor told me to do that. I will forever reach down and pull my babies out from now on! Take that Kourtney Kardashian!

NaturalChildbirth

My beautiful Little Fox was delivered at 5:43 am and weighed 7lbs and 7oz. She's perfect in every way. The birth was even more perfect and beautiful than I could have ever imagined. No drugs, no pitocin to speed it up and not even any tearing. The cord wasn't cut and clamped by my husband until it stopped pulsating, we did skin to skin immediately after I pulled her out (oh and she peed all over me), and we delayed the bath and breastfed. 

It was PERFECT. 

It was everything I imagined and more. 

And so was she.

NaturalChildbirth

I was so emotional after this birth, more emotional than with the first I feel like. I wanted to sit and cry for some reason and it was because of so many feelings. It was surreal that she was finally here, surreal that it went so quickly and so surreal that my prayers for another beautiful, natural birth were answered. And it was of course surreal that I had another child. Another little person to care for, love on and spend my life protecting. It's amazing how your heart just expands instantaneously for the new little being that you bring into the world.

I have relived this birth every day since then and wish I could go back. My daughters' births are perhaps the most amazing, magical and breath taking moments that I have ever experienced. Yes it hurts no doubt, but it is SO worth it to me. It's so worth it to feel my body do what it was designed to do for them. There's nothing like it... 

SkintoSkin

Motherhood just rocks. 

And childbirth is pretty flipping amazing!

SkintoSkin

So when my next pregnancy comes around one day, yes I do plan on having another natural labor. But all I can do is plan and pray. Our bodies are meant to do this and God doesn't give us any pain that we can't handle. While unfortunately not all births can be as smooth, it is possible to have the birth you want. However it's also wise to be open minded and to be grateful that medical intervention is there if we need it -- they save the lives of babies and mothers everyday. 

However if your body or your baby doesn't need medical intervention (and most don't), believe in your ability to do this. Believe in your body's ability go to into labor on it's own despite a close or past due date; believe in your ability to deliver a baby no matter how big they may "suspect" (unless it's ginormous of course!) and even believe in your ability to do it naturally. If I can, anyone can. If a natural labor is something you want then go for it. Read some good books and take a class or two and believe in yourself. However never beat yourself up because you couldn't do it or because you had to go another route.

MushyFamily

All that ever matters is a safe and healthy delivery. There is no medal or badge for the most awesome labor or strongest woman. We all do the same - we grow human beings, we deliver them and we nourish them. But you can believe in yourself that you can do this. The pain of childbirth fades away...but the memories of that amazing and empowering moment never will. 

God doesn't give us anything we can't handle...

Just when you think you can't, you push a little more and the next thing you know, you pushed out a baby. 

“Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.” 
― Ina May GaskinIna May's Guide to Childbirth

Thank you for reading our birth story! Here's to celebrating each and every birth no matter how you deliver! We all have a story to tell...

The Benefits of Skin to Skin After Birth

By Sasha Savoy
on February 01, 2015

The Benefits of Skin to Skin After Birth

Imagine a world where a baby is born and handed off to nurses and doctors immediately, not because of a particular emergency, but rather because that's just how things happen. Imagine the minutes that pass by before your baby is in your arms. Perhaps they are already squeaky clean; perhaps they've already been given a shot and perhaps your arms weren't the first ones they felt secure in. You didn't get that skin to skin contact with your baby. That moment of bliss.

Unfortunately sometimes, most often past times, that may have been the case. And even more unfortunately sometimes this hasto be the case in the event of early labor, certain c sections, medical issues and so on. Or perhaps you as a mother did not know that you had a right to say what would happen immediately after your baby is pulled out of your, you know what. Skin to skin contact is becoming an increasingly popular term in the world of pregnant bellies and labor rooms. It's becoming the "thing to do" and one of the most important things that you can request to do.

What is skin to skin contact?
Skin to skin contact is simply the request and action of having your brand spanking new baby placed on your bare chest (or abdomen) immediately after their arrival. I'm talking immediately after they are pulled straight out of your, you know what. As strange as this may sound considering your baby isn't going to be squeaky clean and will be covered in all of the wonderful things that protect them during the pregnancy, somehow that just doesn't even matter. Somehow all of that "stuff" just doesn't bother you. Truthfully, you don't even notice it. And that sweet, beautiful baby lies there on your bare chest with a blanket covering the two of you for what feels like the absolute most precious moments of your life.


Why is skin to skin contact beneficial to your newborn?
Skin to skin makes the transition from mama's belly to the real world much easier for your little one. How would you feel if you was suddenly pushed and pulled out of the safest, warmest place you've ever known? The only place you've ever known. Your belly is the only place your child has ever known. Your heartbeat, your voice, your safe haven for them is their security. It's what they need to thrive.

As crazy as it may sound to some, skin to skin has a tremendous impact on the short term and long term benefits of the baby. Newborns placed on mother's skin immediately after birth show signs of less stress indicated by little crying and have much more stable glucose, respiratory, blood pressure and temperature levels as well as a better heart rate. Additionally, the exposure to natural bacteria on your body will help protect your newborn from other germs within their new environment. In other words your body, your temperature and your heartbeat will help stabilize and calm them. It helps them adjust to life outside of the womb.  Another huge benefit is the increased success in relation to breastfeeding.

Why is it so important for breastfeeding?
Skin to skin contact is actually considered to be extremely help to breastfeeding. Most mamas that do skin to skin will have a higher success rate at breastfeeding as well as a longer duration of it too. Research has shown that when a newborn is placed skin to skin on mother's abdomen (or chest) they will in time find the nipple and latch on. As crazy as it sounds, this can very well happen to you! My recommendation is to request immediate skin to skin, followed by your first breastfeeding session. Don't let visitors in just yet and if the nurses have to do something to your baby, see if it can wait. If it cannot wait, then have it done right their while you're close enough for baby to hear your voice and have baby returned to your arms immediately.

Why is it beneficial to mother?
One of the perks of skin to skin for mother is the added dose of Oxytocin that happens. Skin to skin with your baby will help you produce more of this "falling in love" hormone, which is in fact the same hormone that helps with milk production, uterus size and even your mood. While baby is on your skin, the movement from them can stimulate your body to release more Oxytocin and happy endorphins. This is a win-win all the way around!

So how do you go about this?
It is very simple - you just request it. If you're lucky like I was, I actually didn't have to request it (I did though), it is a standard procedure that my doctor's office does (as long as the mother wishes). Create a birth plan and make sure to share it with your doctor or midwife at one of your last meetings before the birth. As soon as that baby is pulled out, make sure to have him or her placed on you. It is the most amazing and beautiful thing ever. As your placenta comes out and as the little tears are repaired, you'll only be thinking of one thing -- that beautiful baby in your arms (it really helps while they stitch those small tears!). And if by chance, you can't do skin to skin immediately after delivery, then don't beat yourself up over it. The first second you get, place that baby on your skin!

Continue to do skin to skin in those first several weeks. Skin to skin is especially helpful when babies seem  reluctant to nurse for whatever reason. It is simply the most beautiful bonding time to have that sweet, little life that you created nuzzled up on your chest. It will be baby's favorite place to go. And don't forget to include daddy in skin to skin as well! Because after all, daddy made that baby too and deserves some bonding!

Ahhhhh, okay, I am ready for another newborn!

Did you do skin to skin contact after your baby was born?
Thanks for reading, Sasha

What Do You Want Your Baby's Birth to Be Like?

By Sasha Savoy
on December 01, 2014

Disclaimer: This is NOT a natural versus epidural post in the sense that one is better than the other. While I do speak of natural labor, I am promoting the ability for us all to have a birth plan and a voice no matter what our pain relief options are. 

P.S. I hate giving disclaimers...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The question is easy. What do you want your baby's birth to be like?

Painless. Quiet. Tranquil. Relaxing. Easy. Social. Celebration. 

These are just some of the words that can describe the birth you want. Luckily in today's culture we can pretty much dictate what type of birth we want for our baby. And while our birth "plan" unfortunately doesn't always work out, it's nice to have options and the ability to have a voice. 

Modern science provides us with many options, one being what often seems to be the most popular option: the ever convenient epidural. It's convenient and it's nice that you can sit there and not feel a thing; not really break a sweat; and still talk with your visitors right up until that moment where you push with all your might. 

If you know me, you know I am a natural birth advocate. But don't worry, I know that some people just don't want that experience and that's completely their call. It's your birth. It's your right to say how you want things to be. 

My hope for every expecting mother is that they plan for the birth that they want and at least consider all of the options available. 

Gone are the days where a natural birth is considered "normal." The trend seems to be that epidurals are looked at as the "norm" and natural is looked at as "oh my gosh girl, I can't believe you're going to do that." Truthfully though isn't a natural birth "normal?" Isn't it the most normal process for a woman's body to go through (along with breastfeeding, cycles and menopause)? Isn't our womanly bodies designed to do this "normal" thing? Sometimes in the advances of modern science we seem to forget just how normal it truly is.

The trend of epidurals, other pain relief options and inductions can make our culture feel like labor isn't quite so natural and normal. Going natural starts to becomes a "thing" that if you did it you're pretty much a bada@$. I won't lie - after having a natural labor that's exactly how I felt. But really, why should I feel that way when decades and decades ago women delivered naturally on kitchen tables with the whole village cheering them on? At that time, it was completely normal. 

Our society sometimes forgets to even consider the options. We as women sometimes cringe at the thought of pain (and that's totally okay) and we just settle on the "normal," the ever convenient epidural (and that's okay too). However, do we all really sit down and think about what we really want our baby's birth to be like? Pain relief or not, do we really all plan and voice our plan to our doctors, doulas, spouses, etc...? 

Do we all really decide on those words that we want to describe our birth? Do we hope for a tranquil birth with some pain or a painless birth with more ability to socialize through the labor? Do we even weigh our options and consider all of the "what ifs?" Do we do just a little bit of research to see just what our pain relief options really are? Does everyone even know that there are more pain relief options that just an epidural? 

My challenge to every expecting mama is to really decide what they want their labor to be like. Don't just settle on the "normal" and leave it all up to your doctor without planning what you truly want. Challenge yourself as a woman to be a voice for yourself and for your baby no matter what your birth plan is. 

 Every birth deserves to be a beautiful, special experience. Every woman deserves the right to experience labor on her own versus inducing (unless medically necessary); every woman deserves to feel like she had the birth she wanted. Every woman deserves to have those special words to describe her birth. 

And yes, I will say that I hope you give thought to what was once the only normal way to give birth because it is truly an empowering experience with many benefits. Our bodies are mastered and designed specifically to give birth to a baby no matter how big they are or how little you are. But if it isn't for you, then it just isn't for you and that's okay.

 In the end, all that matters is a safe delivery of a beautiful baby and a birth that hopefully matched mommy's plans. The key lies in deciding and even being stern about "what you want your birth to be like" but also in finding peace and acceptance with how it turned out. 

 

Did your birth go as planned?

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