Long before I gave birth, before I got pregnant, and even before I met my husband, I knew I was not going to birth on my back. No. Way. In the same way I knew I was going to breastfeed and I was not going to birth in a hospital. I had always been fascinated with birth and had read up about it, even in my early teens.
Yet, due to the course my life had taken, I did end up birthing in a hospital. I thought it was a small concession to make our lives a little easier. Moreover, when we got the tour of the maternity ward and delivery rooms, the midwife assured us that you could choose your birthing position and that aids to birth in a position other than lying down were provided (like a birthing chair). So I felt confident my birthing in the hospital would not stand in the way of my wish for a natural birth.
Alas, faith (read: the medical system) had decided otherwise, and I ended up having an induction because I had gestational diabetes (company policy euh.. I mean standard procedure). Labour went fairly well and I enjoyed a nice bath that helped a lot to get through the contractions. I started feeling pressure and had to get out of the bath (the hospital didn't do waterbirths). As I walked towards the birthing bed, she slipped straight down and I had to push. I was standing all alone in the middle of the room (the midwives had scattered and my husband was MIA), and I panicked. I cried out it hurt and they should come help me and I distinctly remember the midwife yelling not to push and me replying there was no way in hell not to push.
When the contraction subsided, they led me to the birthing bed, positioned me on my back and had my legs in the stirrups before I knew what happened.Everything was kind of a blur, but I remember wondering where everybody came from, because all of a sudden, there were three midwifes, two OB's and my husband miraculously reappeared.
I had not the strength to fight the position I was in and my husband was shaking like a leaf in a thunderstorm.
I found it strange they kept reminding me to push (as if I could do anything but push) and felt like they had to add HOW I should push (like there was any other way). In retrospect, this is probably because most women do get an epidural and do need some guidance. I was getting more guidance than an airline pilot at take off and was urged not to scream. Nothing about that second stage felt natural to me and instead of completely allowing the emotions to overflow me once my dear daughter was born, I was anxious.
So I have decided to have the next one at home. (Read my article 'Why Homebirth')
My tips for having the second stage the way you like it:
- Be informed: on the available positions, on how you would want the room to be etc. (If you want to find out which positions you can adopt during second stage, have a look at this.)
- Write up a birthplan and hand it to all people involved in your birth, even if that's not a custom where you are, stick it on the door of the delivery room if you are giving birth in a hospital.
- Inform everyone of your wishes before you are in labour, and if possible, again at the 'moment supreme'.
- Make sure your birth partner is drilled at being the guard dog for your birth plan, so you don't have to worry about that.
- Try out different positions while you are in labour to find out what suits you best (you might have had an idea before, which turns out completely counter intuitive)
- Maybe the most important tip I can give you: Follow your instincts