I found it really interesting reading through the 'what does labor feel like' thread. Made me wonder what images, thoughts, or even positions people used or are planning to use during their contractions.
I used to be a runner back in high school and we'd do a drill where we'd run with a Pringles chip between our thumb and middle finger. The idea was to keep the hands relaxed because when you start clenching your hands, you often tighten up your shoulders and other body parts. So with the start of each contraction I would think to myself to do a check to make sure my hands were relaxed and then my feet. I felt like this helped to burn a few seconds as the contraction would build and also to keep my whole body relaxed with each contraction. Also knowing that most contractions peak in intensity after 30 seconds I would count to 30 in my head and know it was all down hill after that followed by some rest. It was interesting when I was being monitored for a short time while on the birth ball and I could see the wave patterns of the contractions and sure enough they would peak exactly at 30 seconds each time. Made for a good visual with what my body was doing. I had also read somewhere (might have just been a personal birth story) that slightly moaning through contractions helps to regulate the breathing and keep from gasping in air, hence less chance of vomiting during transition.
Also seeing all of these birth stories pop up reminds me that this is really about to happen again! I'd love to hear other people's visualizations and what has worked for them.