Ooh, one of my favorite subjects!
I do not beleive that forced pushing is necessary, and I believe that "10 cm.=full dilation= time to push" is a myth. What, is the idea that the baby is never going to come out unless it's forced out? Ridiculous! And who decided that 10 cm. is the magic number anyway! It's so completely illogical to assume that all women's bodies are exactly the same, it makes me crazy to even think about it. Here is a great article on first-time pushing:http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articl....asp?t=pushing
I also cannot stand the notion that second stage of labor should be treated like an athletic event with rules no less!
My advice: do not make a conscious effort to push. Wait until your body is already doing it, and if you have an urge to bear down, by all means do so.
My first birth the midwife had me pushing at 10 cm -- well, as the baby and my body were not ready for it, it took two hours of pushing. She was also coaching me on breathing -- lord, how distracting is that -- and exhorting me not to grimace or make loud noises, which of course was what I felt like doing. The whole time I was expected to fight against my body's natural impulses. Oh yeah, that makes sense. Sheesh!
For my second and third births I didn't even check dilation, just let my body do its thing, and I roared and changed positions half a dozen times and roared some more, and oh my what a big surprise, pushing was quick and physically easy (though extreme physical action.)
All right, rant over, and I'll answer your question
, what was pushing like? The first time it was like hell. I was on my back, with back labor, and it was unbearable. I was so caught up in just surviving the pain that I never did feel my baby moving down through me. It was all sheer brute effort, and it felt like I was pushing all my organs out along with the baby.
Second and third times... pushing was glorious. I have never felt such a strong biological imperative (well, except maybe when conceiving.
) It felt good that my body was doing what it was supposed to do, it felt good to be just letting it happen. The sensuality of it was incredible. I don't mean that I was sexually turned on, but it was pleasurable in the way that, for instance, having your back scratched or sinking into a hot bath is pleasurable. Only a thousand times more intense. It does feel a little bit like having a bowel movement, in that your muscles are bearing down and pushing out. And then, when the head reaches the perineum, the ring of fire. A definite burning sensation, but it is over quickly, and the relief and release as the body slides out. Quite amazing.