I have been an athlete for as long as I can remember. I started out in sports in my single digits years with cross country running and softball. In junior high, I added volleyball, basketball and track. By high school my parents had me narrow it down to 1 sport because they did have 2 other daughters in sports as well, I chose volleyball. I played indoor high school, indoor club and outdoor beach volleyball through high school and college. I earned a full athletic scholarship at Texas State to play the sport I love. After I finished college, my husband and I wanted kids right away, while we were young. I was in great shape leading up to my pregnancy and stayed in great shape throughout my pregnancy.
March 12th, my sister and I were sitting at a restaurant eating dinner with a friend and I started not feeling so hot. 16 hours (2.5 hours of pushing included) later, I gave birth, vaginally to a 9 lb 8 oz boy. I seriously doubt I would have been able to push my first born out if it weren’t for the following pros of being an athlete:
In the Zone
Finding your focus is important during birth. I was able to concentrate with ease, maintain it and have a baby. When you get into your zone things change and move along faster in birth. You are focused on the end goal and getting their successfully. Fear and tension are set aside, a calmness overcomes you, you are in your “birthing” zone.
As an athlete I am trained to endure, we are trained to endure physically and mentally. Since labor is unpredictable time, having endurance is helpful. This played an important part of my birth, I endured 2.5 hours of pushing. I pushed with every single contraction for 2.5 hours!! For me, I truly don’t think I would have lasted if I didn’t know how to endure physically or mentally.
I am use to breathing heavy and slowing my breath down if too fast. As an athlete, we breathe a certain way, especially when our cardio is being worked. You have to be able to control your breathing, even if your heart is pounding in your chest from a cardio sport or workout and prepare for the next play. In birth, you control your breathing. Breathe to fast you can hyperventilate. You also need to breathe for your baby he/she still needs oxygen while in utero. Simply breathe your baby out.
No Pain No Gain
I grew up with the no pain no gain mentality. If I wasn’t hurting, I wasn’t gaining; so I pushed myself harder. Being an athlete I was use to aches and pains a majority of the time. This was a bad kind of pain and I should have listened to my body, it was trying to tell me something. The pains of labor are a good pain, in this case no pain no gain is true. Let me explain, your body is created to birth your baby by your uterus, a muscle, contracting to bring your baby down the birth canal into your arms. As your contractions get closer together and more intense, the pains do increase and you do gain progress in your labor. These contraction pains are a good kind of pain, they are producing such a wonderful product. Now, there are natural ways to help offset some of the pains of labor and make them more barely. Talk to your birth Doula about them. (Feel free to contact me and I would be happy to talk to you no matter where you live.)
Never Give Up
I never gave up. Even after the doctor looked at my husband and told him I was not going to get my baby out. My husband asked the doctor “she gets one more try, right?” The doctor laughed at him as he picked up the forceps and said “sure, but the baby is not coming out on his own.” My husband, leaned over me and said “baby, you need to get the baby out now!” The very next push, our son’s head was born, I remember the forceps hitting the ground because the doctor was not prepared to catch him. Athletes have this mentality of never give up. We will strive to make our goals, if we fail, we pick ourselves up, correct what is needed, work harder and go again. Athletes are determined to achieve their goals. I was determined to have my baby without forcep intervention, I never gave up.
Willing to be Coached
I was willing to take coaching from my husband, “baby, you need to get the baby out now!” I listened and it helped me prevent the doctor’s intervention. When you are willing to be coached you are willing to take direction. Sometimes during a birth the momma needs to be able to take direction on position changes or pushing. This skill really helps her birth team out if she is willing to listen to her healthcare provider and Doula. This will lead to a more successful, happy birth experience for her. My clients that listen, change positions and basically do what it takes to have their baby, have a way better birthing experience.
The nice thing about being an athlete is your body remembers being an athlete, muscle memory. It didn’t take much for my muscles to snap back to my athletic looking body. Within a few weeks, I was back to pre-pregnancy weight and just waiting out my 6 week doctor appointment to start exercising again. To this day I still exercise daily, eat healthy and Doula other couples.
Eager to have another baby, I gave birth vaginally to our baby girl, weighing in at 9 lbs 14 ozs in 8 hours, only 45 minutes of pushing, 21 months later. I again found the above athlete’s pros helpful when birthing my second born.
I am very interested in helping you birth your baby. I have reality on what it’s like to be an athlete and think like an athlete. I am accepting birthing couples September, October and November 2016 in the DFW Texas and surrounding areas.
If you are located outside of the DFW area and would like to chat, please contact me for private phone consultation details. I look forward to hearing from you very soon!!
Krisha Crosley CD(DONA), BBCD
Serenity Life Doula