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Those who've birthed before - what do you wish you had known?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

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Edited by nhklh - 10/20/13 at 2:59am
post #2 of 18

Mostly that it is okay to 'lose it'.  This comes a little from my own birth-giving experiences, but also from doulaing.  There is this great fear that if you 'lose it' (whatever that would mean to you) you've failed.  Upon reflection, I don't think so.  'Losing it' isn't fun, but it's a sign post of going *through* and getting to the other side of whatever it is that's going on in your labor.

post #3 of 18

The link between a relaxed mouth and a relaxed cervix. I've always tried to keep my face from frowning during contractions but I hadn't tried opening my mouth loosely and blowing out air or moaning during them before. I've been practicing that type of breathing in particular, hoping that it will make the transition stage a bit easier this time.

post #4 of 18

That just because your contractions are 60 seconds long & 5 minutes apart does NOT mean you are in active labor. That is usually the 'go to the hospital/birth center' time for most care providers. I could have spent another 5-6 hours at home before going to the birth center before #1. of course, not knowing what to expect, I had no idea how much more intense it was going to get, either.

post #5 of 18

Do NOT have people at your labor who you are not absolutely sure you can let go in front of or people who you have an odd relationship with or people who just really want to be there--labor is best done with as few witnesses as possible for most women. Keep lights off or very low--turning lights on will disrupt your labor. You MUST allow yourself to lose control--control is just an illusion anyway because even when you 'lose it' in this instance you are handing your control over to yourself, your higher self who knows how to birth and who can only birth if you get out of your own way--get out of your own way! If you start feeling like you are fighting the contractions it is likely fear--voice your fears RIGHT THEN--say it out loud--no matter how weird or odd it sounds/seems to you now--fear = pain for most of us {beyond physiological occurances}--if you allow yourself to name your fears in the moment and be comforted by your support through it then it will pass and you can continue to birth, but if you remain silent you will likely hold onto that fear and it can really be a huge hinderance. Don't fight it--your birth is perfect for you and your babe--it is exactly what it needs to be even though it will be different than your friends', your sisters', your moms, and all the stories you have heard before--the first time is a true initiation--you just have to face the unknown with divine courage and when that wanes you must ask for support to come through it and you will~~~

post #6 of 18
Labor is really short in comparison to the whole of motherhood. Sure it is a huge challenge (on every level: physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially...) but the high I came away from it with carried me through the weeks that followed, which were even more challenging in a lot of ways. Birth was a journey to the depth of my strength, and what I found there has been with me ever since. It's worth it.
post #7 of 18
Oh subbing! smile.gif
post #8 of 18

That sometimes, things don't go as planned! Even if you've done a whole lot of planning, practice, etc! : )

post #9 of 18

 Seconding that a set length and consistency of contractions does not necessarily mean that you're in active labor!  I generally start labor with about a half to full day of contractions that can be as close as 3 - 5 minutes apart, are consistent, and easily last up to 60 seconds or more.  With my first babe I also made the mistake of thinking that I was in active labor because of how close together they were and how long.  It also gave me the false assumption that active labor was a lot easier than it really is!  Now I know that my contractions start out close together and fairly lengthy, but are mild enough that I can go about my day, pausing to breathe through them as they get stronger.  Once they get so so strong that I can't continue to go about my day - that's when I'm in active labor.

 

The other big thing - like other mamas have said - relax your body as much as possible.  Any muscle tension is going to make the labor so much harder and longer.  You just have to give in to the pain and focus on opening up down there as much as possible.  There are tons of great mantras, but when it gets really tough, mine just becomes - open, open, open.  For most women there is going to be pretty intense pain no matter what, but you just have to kind of give in to it.  I end up doing low moaning sounds when the contractions get to the fast and furious stage.  Like mamaharrison said - you can't fight it.  And for the rest of your life you'll know that you gave birth naturally, made it through, and now you can do anything! 

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by kel View Post

 Seconding that a set length and consistency of contractions does not necessarily mean that you're in active labor!  I generally start labor with about a half to full day of contractions that can be as close as 3 - 5 minutes apart, are consistent, and easily last up to 60 seconds or more.  With my first babe I also made the mistake of thinking that I was in active labor because of how close together they were and how long.  It also gave me the false assumption that active labor was a lot easier than it really is!  Now I know that my contractions start out close together and fairly lengthy, but are mild enough that I can go about my day, pausing to breathe through them as they get stronger.  Once they get so so strong that I can't continue to go about my day - that's when I'm in active labor.

 

 

 

 

A big, fat YES to this! I was in labor like this for 30 hours and 5cm. Now I know I won't consider it labor until I cannot function anymore not because I have been doing it for x amount of time or contrax are x length of time.

post #11 of 18

Definitely that productive pushing doesn't always need to be bearing down like you need to poop. I think one of the reasons that I pushed for 2.5 hours was because I was convinced that I needed to push like I was pooping, but in the end that wasn't what brought her down and out.

post #12 of 18

Love this thread. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, mamas!

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by newCTmama View Post

That sometimes, things don't go as planned! Even if you've done a whole lot of planning, practice, etc! : )

 

Oh, definitely agree. Be prepared to bend some aspects of your birth plan... and call it something else, like "Wish List." It's easier psychologically if things go differently than expected. 

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDivineMrsM View Post

 

Oh, definitely agree. Be prepared to bend some aspects of your birth plan... and call it something else, like "Wish List." It's easier psychologically if things go differently than expected. 

 

There's always something about the birth, no matter how 'well' it went, that you will need to digest/go over in your mind for the week or so following (sometimes longer likely).  

 

As far as when babe is there, after the first was born, sure I'd read everything but I remember this moment of panic when everybody left after the birth and the doula looked at me and said sternly..."Trust your instincts"....GREAT advice!  

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatchristy View Post

 

There's always something about the birth, no matter how 'well' it went, that you will need to digest/go over in your mind for the week or so following (sometimes longer likely).  

 

 

YES! EAch birth is different and the experience allows us access to different emotions etc. It is unpredicatable and each time is a transformation where you emerge anew in some respect. You can't go through something as HUGE as birthing a human being into the World without having to reflect on the experience and integrate it!

post #16 of 18

We did a really good exercise in our birth class - we had all of these cards that one one side said things like 'no epidural' and the other side said 'epidural.' There was a card for every aspect of birth you would have on a birth plan. We spread them all out to create birth exactly as we wanted. Then, after talking about that for a few minutes, we had to take 4 cards & flip them over. then 4 more, then 4 more, until we were left with only a small number of things going the way we planned (healthy mama/healthy baby were the only cards without a 'flip side'). I think it was very useful, especially for the dads. Dp was SHOCKED that one of the first cards I flipped over was 'chosen care provider' to say 'different care provider.' I am willing to give up my MW WAY before I will give up my water (tub/shower), take drugs, etc. I told him in the first changed scenario that being able to feel safe and have access to natural methods of pain relief was more important to me than Cathy, so if he ended up being my only attendant, or for some reason Cathy had to send someone else, I was fine with that. It was good for him to see where my absolutes are - I think at the end I was holding on to no epidural, no c-section, no pain relieving drugs, and no separation from baby. Everything else - like having my waters broken, being hooked to a monitor, having to have an IV, etc, I was willing to sacrifice for that natural, drug free birth. having been through a scenario where I did have to make these kinds of sacrifices (transferring to hospital, required monitoring for the first 20 minutes, Ob instead of just DH & I, etc), I was pretty clear about that; now he is, too.

post #17 of 18

That is an excellent exercise, Segolily.  I'm going to 'steal' it :-)

post #18 of 18

great exercise sego! I do this one my emergency birth plan kinda by BOLDING the non negotiables so that my birth attendants know what I will accept and what I will not in the event of a transfer. 

Also, mamas--just wanted to share--it is always a great idea to have a legal document included in your birth plan that gives your partner {or whoever you designate} the Medical/Healthcare Power of Attorney to make medical decisions for you in the event that you are unable to yourself. Even if you are legally married this just makes it easier in the event of a true medical emergency who is and is not allowed to make medical decisions on your behalf. My DH and I are not legally married yet no one has ever questioned us because we have the same last name and refer to each other as husband and wife, still, legally we have had to do some things like this to ensure that we will be afforded the rights that we desire for the other in the event of emergency situations. It gives great peace of mind to me ;)

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