Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Attn Pregnant Readers: Recommended Reading, Listening and Drinking

If you are pregnant and considering a drug-free birth, love hearing other people's birth stories or are interested in learning about midwives, I highly recommend that you read Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent. It follows the career of Peggy Vincent, a midwife who practiced in Berkeley in the 80s.
In Baby Catcher, she shares stories from the many home births she attended. All these births were, of course, drug-free, and because this was my goal from the beginning, I have found all these stories inspiring. You could say that reading this book is how I 'pump' myself up before going into labor. Reading it reminds me that my body knows how to give birth and that it is possible to give birth without the use of drugs or serious medical intervention.
I love this book. I have read it during each pregnancy and it is now one of the ways I prepare for childbirth. But with pregnancy three I kept forgetting to go to the library and check it out (why do I not have my own copy!?). As my estimated due date approached and I slowly began to get things ready for the new baby, I realized that I had not yet read Baby Catcher--and that was when I started to panic, "How can I possibly have give birth without reading Baby Catcher again?!" I finally got to the library, checked it out and read it quickly, within a week. Afterwards I felt ready for birth. The stories I read reminded me that many others had given birth naturally and showed me that every birth is different. And that each woman finds her own way (and oh how varied those ways are) of going through labor and birthing her baby. And that I would find my own way though as well.
(Side note: While laboring at home, in my room, for Baby 3, this book was on my night stand, right at eye level when I would get into my favorite position for riding out a contraction. I would look at it and think, "All those women in there did this, I can do this too!" or "Oh, I really want to read that again, right now. I wonder if I could manage that?" I never did manage to read while laboring, but I do wish I had gotten in two readings before starting labor--it really is that comforting and inspiring.)
Another must for Thteed childbirth is the album Comfort Zone by Steven Halpern. We picked this up on the recommendation of our hypno-birthing instructor. It's very relaxing music and definitely gives your laboring space a calm atmosphere. There are no words and each song blends into the next. The composer, Steven Halpern, composes this music specifically to elicit the relaxation response in listeners. And for me this is definitely true, as soon as I hear those first few notes on the first song I start to relax. We have played it throughout the entire birth process and during the whole time in recovery with all three babies. Each time someone on the hospital staff has commented on this music and how relaxing and soothing it is. I can't imagine a birth without it. If you are planning a natural birth, I really think music can help you--maybe not Steven Halpern, but I am sure you have some favorite music that helps you relax.
Those are my two musts for birth prep and actual laboring. After it's all over and the baby is in my arms the thing I must have is cranberry juice, with ice. Can't get enough cranberry juice while recovering, I wish the nurses could have brought me a pitcher of the stuff, would have saved them a lot of walking.
So to sum up: Baby Catcher before, Contraction Master at the beginning, cranberry juice after, Steven Halpern throughout.
Millions of BC-CM-cj-SH fans can't be wrong!


Blogger Amy said...

Thanks for the tips!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 2:00:00 PM  
Blogger Lady Steed said...

You are welcome! Thanks for commenting, I was just noticing last night that apparently no one had read the wisdom I imparted in this post. Glad to know that you have now read some of my wisdom, I hope you benefit for it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 2:08:00 PM  

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