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What you wish you would have known before Giving Birth....

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I was thinking after giving birth this past Monday how many things I have learned from other moms and from my other 2 births.  I thought this could be a great place to share your most critical information about birth with everyone here.

Be it technical information, ways to deal with the extreme emotional roller coaster or the mental challenges you will face during your labor and birth....... etc. Even how they deal with the fear that can arise at all stages of labor.  

 

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I wish I could have known before giving birth....how hard pushing was going to be for me.  It did not come naturally and I needed all of my conscious mental capacity to move each baby down through my pelvis. I only get that urge when they hit the perineum and are beginning to crown. What I found was critical to making this stage move along as quickly as possible was the fact that I needed to do two mussel motions at the same time. First I had to relax my rectal and vaginal mussels and then tighten the inner mussels around where I visualize the baby to be.  Imagine the baby moving though that open loose space towards the exit.  I find it very difficult to both relax and contract different mussels at the same time but once I get the hang of it their is less pain and I make much faster progress.   I wish someone would have given me a step by step before my first birth of how pushing actually works so that I could have got my brain around it before hand.  

 

Also this time around I really felt the urge to poop while pushing so I went with it and tried to poop. Yes a little bit did come out but it really helped me focus on where the baby was and where to focus my mussels. She moved much faster that way.  

 

Finally when they are coming out and it begins to burn STOP pushing, breath and start just teeny tiny pushes and when it starts to really burn slow down and back off again.  Keep doing this until the head slides out.  Also ask for counter pressure on your perineum to help slowly stretch your tissues and avoid tearing.  It worked so much better this time with an AWESOME midwife working with me keeping things really slow and supported. Less than a week after birth and my "girl parts" feel GREAT already.  That was not the case with my last 2 births!!!  My midwife and I spend lots of time chatting about how to push her out and not tear which worked GREAT this time! :D

 

Anyone else care to share their labor tips and tricks? :D

post #2 of 5

Good idea for a thread!

 

I find your description of how to push more productively interesting. I guess I never gave it much thought. Except to try and slow things down at the end with my second because I tore kinda badly with my first. Maybe I'll try this technique this time! (if I'm in any place to remember. :P)

I think for me, the things I wish I had known ahead of time:

 

1) EAT in early labor! My first time around, I was just paying way too much attention to the contractions and how they were developing that I wasn't paying enough attention to making sure my body was probably prepared to go through all of labor. I just plumb forgot to eat. I was terrible at distracting myself, too. DH was at work and I had no one else at home with me, so I guess that might be why. Also, just being a first-time mom and this all being new. I wasn't even sure if it was really labor for quite a whle, even though I was so focused on it. In the end, this was bad because I got weak and hungry as things went on. The midwife suggested I have something to eat, so I had some yogurt and juice. I ended up throwing it up a while later. That led to her giving me Gravol, which was really a mistake. I should have insisted on waiting a bit to make sure it was just the food coming up and not an ongoing problem, but I didn't. So, that led to me conking out near the end, and it slowed things down. I ended up flipping back and forth on my sides for the last hour, trying to get dilated enough to push. It was agony because the urge to push was soooo strong, and sometimes I couldn't help myself and did anyway. Finally, after that hour, I was able to push but it took another hour to get him out, and I ended up tearing. I was flat on my back; not at all what I had expected! But I was weak and tired, so that was where I was. The tearing was not particularly deep, but it was in a weird Y-shape and required some fancy stitching, as well as a catheter since it was close to my urethra. The time it took the two midwives to assess the damage, poking around in there without pain meds, was probably the worst part of the whole experience! Finally, they decided they could do it themselves and didn't need to send me to the hospital fo ra doctor to do it (yikes!), and THEN they numbed me and fixed it up. Bah! Long story short: I made sure to eat in my second labor! I also tried to push a bit slower at the end, to try and avoid the tearing. I did! Had a tiny bit, but no stitches needed. Thank goodness!

2) Making low-pitched sounds instead of high-pitched is much more productive. That's because the high-pitched sounds also make your body tighten and the muscles contract instead of relax, which is the opposite of what you want when you're trying to push out a baby. I learned that one from Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, which I wish I had read before the first birth. :) I consciously made the "cow lowing" sound she suggests, and it really did seem to help. I'll definitely be doing that one again.

 

I THINK that's it. I'll probably learn something new this time around once again, though! Each experience is different.

post #3 of 5
I think something that can't be repeated enough is that when it really reaches the point where you feel like you can't go on, more than likely its transition, and you're so very close to the birth.
post #4 of 5
Great suggestions in this thread!

Like Bromache, low tones are my big thing I have to remember, as well as "horse lips" (Thanks, Ina May!) where you blow air out through your lips and vibrate them like a horse. I wish I could be a quiet laboring mom like so many of these lovely homebirth videos, but I am LOUD and low tones + horse lips gets me through to the end. Keep your jaw and forehead muscles loose and you'll have a much better time.

If you're considering medicinal pain relief because you feel you cannot go on, get your dilation checked first. Like thefreckledmama said, there's a very good chance you're just in transition and you can make it to the end on your own mettle!

Pushing feels like pooping to me. When your care provider checks the efficacy of your pushing by placing their fingers against your perineal muscles, remember, it's going to feel surprisingly like pooping. You might poop too, and that's okay (even in a waterbirth!) Take it easy and do yoga breathing during the stinging phase. At that point, baby will come out on his own even without pushing (the point of no return!!) so whereas the focus from the previous time has been strong pushing, suddenly your focus is going to change to NOT pushing and instead just breathing.

You don't get a medal for having a faster pushing phase - you want to make the most of what your body is doing and breathe with contractions. Push when you feel like it, but don't let anyone bully you into holding your breath and counting to 10 for each push. No oxygen to mom = no oxygen to baby. The exception to this might be if you've been under an epidural for a bit - you might need some coaching then, depending on how strong your epidural is.

For me personally, I wish I would have known more on coping with back labor. My labor is ALWAYS purely in my back and hurts like hell. My first birth, I was completely unprepared for how that pain would manifest. My second was much better because I knew to instruct my partner on hip squeezes and counterpressure on my sacrum.
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by thefreckledmama View Post

I think something that can't be repeated enough is that when it really reaches the point where you feel like you can't go on, more than likely its transition, and you're so very close to the birth.

 

Oh, yes! That's a good one!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aidenn View Post

Great suggestions in this thread!

Like Bromache, low tones are my big thing I have to remember, as well as "horse lips" (Thanks, Ina May!) where you blow air out through your lips and vibrate them like a horse. I wish I could be a quiet laboring mom like so many of these lovely homebirth videos, but I am LOUD and low tones + horse lips gets me through to the end. Keep your jaw and forehead muscles loose and you'll have a much better time.

If you're considering medicinal pain relief because you feel you cannot go on, get your dilation checked first. Like thefreckledmama said, there's a very good chance you're just in transition and you can make it to the end on your own mettle!

Pushing feels like pooping to me. When your care provider checks the efficacy of your pushing by placing their fingers against your perineal muscles, remember, it's going to feel surprisingly like pooping. You might poop too, and that's okay (even in a waterbirth!) Take it easy and do yoga breathing during the stinging phase. At that point, baby will come out on his own even without pushing (the point of no return!!) so whereas the focus from the previous time has been strong pushing, suddenly your focus is going to change to NOT pushing and instead just breathing.

You don't get a medal for having a faster pushing phase - you want to make the most of what your body is doing and breathe with contractions. Push when you feel like it, but don't let anyone bully you into holding your breath and counting to 10 for each push. No oxygen to mom = no oxygen to baby. The exception to this might be if you've been under an epidural for a bit - you might need some coaching then, depending on how strong your epidural is.

For me personally, I wish I would have known more on coping with back labor. My labor is ALWAYS purely in my back and hurts like hell. My first birth, I was completely unprepared for how that pain would manifest. My second was much better because I knew to instruct my partner on hip squeezes and counterpressure on my sacrum.

 

The horse lips! I forgot about the horse lips! But, yes, that too. Felt ridiculous to do at first, but it really helped. Just think of horses and cows, ladies. :p

 

Pushing is definitely similar to pooping. Makes sense, as it's the same set of muscles really. Don't be afraid to actually poop in labor! I mean, we all cringe at the thought, but you really won't give a damn at that point, and it's totally natural and normal.

I honestly TRIED to slow down the pushing my second time, but it just sort of happened that it went fast. Luckily, it all worked out. But I'm going to try to slow down again because that's good advice. Thanks for the tips on how to handle back labor. I'll try and file those away in the old brain, just in case.

 

ETA: Oh, just wanted to add that contractions, for me, felt like period cramps. I had no real idea what to expect at first, but that's what it was like. They would jsut come and go, then they got stronger and more intense and closer together. I never really felt the actual "contracting" like a squeeze or anything. Not sure how typical that is, but that's how I knew I was in labor the second time as well.

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