1. Choose an all-natural route such as Genesis Clinic which does not offer epidurals (they are available, but they are not offered primarily due to the birth route the clinic supports) because you are terrified of episiotimies and doctors and the smell of a hospital room makes you tremor.
2. Decide not to do ante-natal classes because everything you have heard about them is not useful and you have no time anyways so undergo no mental preparation for your birth or coping skills for a natural birth
3. Instead, read everything you can and think you know what labour is about
4. Find three different doulas, but remain so indecisive that you finally choose your doula when you are 40 weeks and due to give birth any second
5. Meet your doula properly for the first time at 1am when she meets at the clinic when you are in labour and ensure you have created no relationship with her and she knows nothing of your wishes or background.
6. Go into a natural labour with no epidural planned completely psychologically unprepared with no pain coping tools or no knowledge
7. Make sure the midwife breaks your waters (or even worse induces you) because labour is not progressing.
8. Be ignorant despite all the reading that any unnatural intervention (even breaking your waters) causes labour to progress almost immediately to an intensity of pain levels and closeness of contractions you very likely cannot deal with.
9. When you are 7cm dilated and want to faint from pain, ask for an epidural. Of course you are about 4 hours too late
10. Believe someone will find you lying dead on the floor because you will die from pain and then push a 3.3kg baby girl out of your body.
11. Be assured of how bad it was when your family comes to visit in the hospital and tells you you like you have been a fight (the swollen lip might have been their clue)
12. Vow to warn any female of child-bearing age that natural birth is the most horrendous and torturous thing you can ever do and you should never entertain the thought of not having an epidural at the first hint of labour
POSTSCRIPT: Any sane person with BABY NUMBER 2 would never go back to Genesis again, would schedule a cesarean-section or at the very least. demand an epidural at the first sign of labour. Apart from not being sane, I also realized that I needed to heal from my first birth experience. With divine grace, I found the most incredible birthing class and doula. Luckily I did learn something… my second birth was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and I want to have another baby again just to be in that moment (and I am not the Ina-May-natural-birth-I-love-pain type. I am the give-my-myprodol-the-second-after-birth-just-because-I-can type). Birth DOES NOT HAVE TO BE traumatic. It is the hardest thing you will ever do, but there are lots of things you CAN do to make sure you are supported and held every step of the way. I am now a rather loud spokesman for helping people who had bad births to find ways to do it differently. Here’s more about I did it all again at Genesis, and how it was not traumatic at all Birth Story Part 1 Birth Story Part 2
Watch this space coming up: Everything you wanted to know about giving birth at Genesis Clinic – nothing but the truth