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#1 of 32 Old 12-28-2003, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I witnessed my sister's birth this weekend and started to wonder...do you really have to push to give birth? This may be TMI but they kept telling her to push like she had a really bad bowel movement but when I have a real bad bowel movement (which is rare), I don't push. I let my body relax and then I just go. So I'm really confused. It didn't come up with my first since I had just gotten to the pushing stage when they rushed me to an emergency c-section (long, painful story).

Anyways, so my question is, can you birth without pushing? If so, does it have to be so strenous (sp?) that your face looks like its going to bust a vein?

Help! Watching my sister give birth scared me (for many reasons, this being the least of them...but the only one I didn't know alternatives for).
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#2 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 01:59 AM
 
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Well here's way too much information about my birth!!

During my daughters birth (my one and only), when i got to the pushing stage i knew it because my body involuntarily bore down. I went with that, and bore down a bit extra, like concentrating
Maybe my body would have done it all by itself, but I wanted to meet my baby already so I helped myself i guess.
I pooped about 4 times as i was pushing her head out (and peed once with the very first bear down), and yea for me i guess it was a lot like pooping.
Honestly, I don't remember really feeling like i was birthing a whole baby until she was sliding out of me (pretty damn fast i'm told...like a rocket! lol).

No one "examined" me to tell me it was "time", so once I needed to push i just went with that.

Also, it was unmedicated so i could feel myself as well as I was ever going to be able. I guess some people who are medicated might not be able to feel much or something...i dont know. Maybe they wouldn't have the involuntary thing, or maybe they would.

Maybe you could do it without making a conscious effort to push...because your body will just do it anyway, if you just let it??
Well, I think that's the conclusion i've come to
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#3 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 02:53 AM
 
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My experience was also that the pushing was involuntary. I describe it kind of like the dry heaves but coming out the other end. I think it's natural to push along with them, because that's what I felt myself wanting to do.

I have been told that you are not supposed to be doing the purple face pushing. It actually means that you are expending a lot of wasted energy in the wrong area. It also means that you are holding your breath, which would only be working against you.

My feeling is that the urge to push and concentrated pushing is natural and important, but that the purple faced pushing thing is not the most effective. I'm not sure where the medical community got this 10 second pushing rule, but they did it to me too. I just pushed for as long as I felt like it with each contraction.

But it is correct that the pushing 'area' is in your rectum. Actually, I don't know if that is technically correct, but I sure felt it in my rectum more than anything else. My butt was sore for days! I did have a few small bowel movements while pushing. My Bradley teacher had mentioned beforehand that it happens all the time.
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#4 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 03:17 AM
 
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I had an epidural and did not get that involuntary urge to push. I wish I had that, and will (try my best to) go without meds next time.

I HATED that 10-second thing...and holding my breath? Um, they had me on an oxygen mask because my baby's heart rate was dropping low and not recovering, but they wanted me to hold my breath? Doesn't make any sense.

ANYway, I don't think that the purple face pushing is really necessary. I think that your body, if left to do what it needs to naturally, will do a lot on its own and will let you know what to do. If you need to help it, you'll know. Of course, I'm not speaking from experience, but from what I've read and heard from other moms.
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#5 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 04:10 AM
 
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I'd heard that you can breathe your baby out, and not push at all. I thought it sounded cool. When the time came there was no way I could do anything but push. Nothing like a hospital, lay flat on your back and push when they tell you kind of push though.
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#6 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 04:20 AM
 
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Ditto what all the wise women here have said.

I have always learned that maternal pushing efforts make up only 30-40% of getting the baby out.

Don't underestimate the power of the uterus! It's an incredibly strong muscle that could, if you were in a coma, get your baby out without your help.

That said, once the baby hits your pelvic floor, and triggers the messages to your pituitary to send more oxytocin and stronger contractions, you do feel the overwhelming urge to bear down along with your body. The dry heaves analogy is a good one - it perfectly describes what is going on.

There are still too many women being told to push when there is no urge, being told to hold their breath for too long, and not listening to their bodies. There are strict agendas about how long is "too long" for pushing and a huge fear that pushing is "too hard" on babies and should be done as quickly as possible. Too many women are subject to assault - either by scissors or even fingers - during the pushing phase.

It's a perfect design system - this whole thing called birth - and by trusting your body and letting it lead, you are rarely led astray.
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#7 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 10:07 AM
 
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yes yes! the dry heaves "at the other end" is exactly how i should have said it!


I also did a lot of what i would term "primal screaming", rather than purple faced straining. Screaming felt so good, i probably scared half of the maternity ward but I highy recommend it



pamamidwife, you will probably never know the positive impact you had on my birth even from half way around the world.

I think I'm in love with you.



i wish you could clone yourself!!


**yet another swoon in pamamidwifes direction...i can't help it**
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#8 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies! That makes so much more sense to me! This purple faced thing just didn't make sense to me and I kept telling my sis to keep breathing but the doc would tell her to hold her breathe. And they kept loosing the babies heartbeat during the pushing (I could tell they were afraid the baby was loosing o2 during her pushes). It just seemed all wrong. I should have known better as they had her labouring in stirrups. I swear to you I thought noone did that anymore! I was flabbergasted especially since the nurse had been very pro changing positions and such.

I had a nightmare last night. I can tell all of this with my sister really freaked me out. I need to go collect myself and get myself back into a better mindframe. Gotta go imagine my birth the way I want it!
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#9 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 01:35 PM
 
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#10 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 01:38 PM
 
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#11 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 02:17 PM
 
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Haylee, you're too much! Thank you for the gushing of love...I needed it this morning.

Perhaps one day I'll make a visit down under....although (can I say this to an Aussie?) I've always longed to see New Zealand.

Wendy, it's not uncommon to have baby's heart rate drop during pushing. It's part of the vagal response from the head pressure. Surely prolonged breath holding will only REDUCE the amount of oxygen baby will get, you know? When monitoring baby during pushing, I listen only AFTER the pushing contraction - and then I'm listening to how well baby recovers from the pushing. That's what is important. Baby's have all those extra red blood cells for a reason - to give them extra O2 during contractions (when the uterus is not giving as much blood supply/O2 through the placenta) and pushing. It is pretty intense to see alot of hospital-based pushing that is so forced...things get all high-energy, people are really coaching and things get hectic.

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#12 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 02:40 PM
 
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i was sure before my hospital birth i would not be pushing,in a forced way.i wanted to listen to my body and do olnly what felt right and my midwife agreed. but she turned onme in the pushing phase and had me pushing whevever she demanded it! well, she couldnt really control me,as i couldnt really control myself,yk.

i pushed for 45 minutes and ds came out crying.he cried for sooo long... at the end mymidwife was in such a hurry she yanked on his neck to get him out.

this time i will be at home with no one to turn on me. i doubt my pushing will be the same. the 'dry heave' idea is right in my experience- the so called 'urge to push' is really your body doing something you cannot control, like vomiting. after my birth when people asked what it was like i said, your body is doing it,and you are either cooperating or getting in the way.

there was an amazing moment in my labor where i realized this. i suddenly knew that if i wasnt letting my body go i was going to get run over by the intense feelings. there was no stopping it.

i have seen birth videos where women do not push, they relax and breathe and feel their babies come out of them. i must add though that most of the videos like this i have seen have been of unnassited births, and second or third (or more) time mothers. but i am sure it is a way that women of all kinds give birth.


tabitha

Hi, I'm Tabitha. I'm a homeschooling mother of four: ds (11) dd (9) ds (7) ds (5) And I'm expecting a fifth in 2014! Find me at http://www.omelay.blogspot.com
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#13 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 03:35 PM
 
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In our childbirth class we were told to hold our breath for 10 seconds. I asked my midwife about it and she literally rolled her eyes. In terms of getting oxygen to your muscles and baby you need to breathe.

For me, pushing was a reflex, and trying to push in 1-2 second bursts through a contraction *felt good*. I've read that women like getting to the pushing stage because they feel like they can finally participate. Hogwash. The contractions simply didn't hurt if I bore down to push.

I really like tabitha's comment about cooperating with or getting in the way of your body. The whole process of labor and delivery was a matter of figuring out what my body needed and doing it. It worked a lot better than I imagine it would have had I done what I was instructed by my childbirth class.

Karen came flying out in 4 pushes. The midwife called me "efficient." Karen's head circumference measured in the 3rd percentile. I credit my little pinhead more than my efficiency.
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#14 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 04:22 PM
 
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With dd,when I got to the hospital, all the nurses said, "she's pushing!" & rushed me into a room in a wheelchair. Dd's head was right there ready to come out & I didn't even know!
With ds, I was already "pushing" (again, not intentionally) when the midwives arrived at my house. They got me lying on my side & blowing through the contractions to slow things down as much as possible while they got set up. There was at least 20 minutes of that before I just couldn't stop it any more & he was ready to come out. I tried not to push him out fast, but by then I just couldn't stop & had to go with the urge. I also pooped a few times with him : .
Reading over this, I realize it doesn't even begin to describe how it felt, but it does show that your body will do it without any assistance at all.
Good luck!

Helen wash.gif Homeschooling Mama to Nicola photosmile2.gif 07/00 , Daniel kewl.gif 05/03 & cat.gifX2...and hug.gif with Barry caffix.gif since 08/87
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#15 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 10:28 PM
 
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While the urge to push wasn't overwhelming, and I did rest through one contraction, it definitely felt like what I was supposed to be doing. I tucked my chin and breathed through it. I didn't feel strenous or even painful, just right.

I've been wondering if you could give birth withough pushing, and I think you could do without the purple faced stuff, but I'm sure I'll go with it again.

I loved giving birth!

Jen
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#16 of 32 Old 12-29-2003, 10:57 PM
 
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I think the bowel movement comparison is right on. Just about everyone has been constipated at one time or another, so we all know what it's like to do a whole lot of pushing that might not accomplish a damn thing, and it might even do some damage. Or pushing for a long, long time with a huge amount of effort and maybe finally get it out, but it's an ordeal, and pretty painful.

Then you have the person whose body is working as it should and not hindered. Sometimes it's easy and clean, sometimes it's messy, sometimes you feel an involuntary urge to push along with your body, sometimes it feels good. And you always know when it's coming.

My unhindered births (second and third) have been like that. My first, though, was a constipated birth, as most modern births seem to be.
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#17 of 32 Old 12-30-2003, 12:56 AM
 
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OMG, the urge was OVERWHELMING for me. I did wind up with an epidural (I caved after accepting that I was going to get my water broken and possibly pit) after 50 hours of labor at home, under threat from my midwife (long story) as I was a VBAC and her supervising OB was giving them a hard time. I was emotionally a wrect at this point and couldn't fight the fight anymroe. Whatever. I had sensation from my epidural still, I could move my legs whatever and was still uncomfortable, but holy hell when I felt the urge, I SCREAMED for my DH to run and get my midwife because I was pushing and had absolutely no say in the matter. I was roaring and pushing and grunting, it was quite amazing and a testament to the force of the body. Primal, not painful. They told me to stop pushing (I found out later because she had no gloves on and baby was on the way out) and I screamed (not from pain, but from that animal instinct) "I will not" and she was yelling "Then CONTROL your pushing" and I really just couldn't. It was a primal moment. WOW. I wonder how amazing it could have been with nothing for pain.
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#18 of 32 Old 12-30-2003, 06:17 PM
 
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I can't remember what show it was, but about a year ago I was watching one of those birth shows and there was a woman who was not allowed to push. She had a serious heart condition and the doctors did not want her to strain it giving birth. They didn't want her to have a csection either because the anethesia and having major surgery were also a great risk with the heart meds and recovery afterwards. So what they did was induce her with a full blown epidural turned up all the way. Her uterus contracted and over a long period of time, without her having to push, the baby crowned. At that point the doctor helped pull the baby out with forceps or vacuum (can't remember which). So yes, it is possible to give birth without pushing, but like the pps said it's just an involuntary process for most people.

I also had a full blown epidural and never felt the urge to push, however I envisioned doing a powerful bowel movement and had no problems pushing dd out. She crowned within minutes.

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#19 of 32 Old 12-30-2003, 07:13 PM
 
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With my first baby I did the knees to the ears, hold my breath pushing and wound up with the broken pinpoint blood vessels in my face and chest to prove it! He was born with only 20 minutes of pushing, so it didn't hinder anything, but it was not a really pleasant experience.

With my second, I arrived at the hospital at 9.5 cm. I told them I wanted to push in my own time, in my own way. The midwife agreed and I had the support of a doula and my dh. After I was 10cm I had about a 20 minute respite before the pushing urge came over me. Then, laying on my side, legs together I did tiny pushes lasting a few seconds whenever I felt the urge. This lasted about 30 minutes. I'm sure from the outside it looked like I was doing NOTHING. Then, all of a sudden, I wanted to be on my back, but I put my legs down on the drop down part of the bed rather than pulling back my knees. He crowned and came with no active pushing from me about 6 minutes later (I did do one tiny push to get his shoulders out). I reached down and caught him myself. I felt powerful and like the baby had actually contributed to his own birth.

Oh, and if you think the primal scream is good (which I did with my first), then you REALLY have to try the low moan (ever heard a cow giving birth?). That moaning was the most powerful part of my whole birth process.
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#20 of 32 Old 12-31-2003, 02:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by milk4two
I'd heard that you can breathe your baby out, and not push at all. I thought it sounded cool. When the time came there was no way I could do anything but push. Nothing like a hospital, lay flat on your back and push when they tell you kind of push though.
They say this in HypnoBirthing. I thought it meant something completely other than what it meant. I thought it meant that you exhale and push at the same time. Doesn't work. Breath holding definitely works better. I think what HB means is that you hold your breath, and instead of exhaling, you push the baby out.

The main caution that I have about pushing is not to let yourself get exhausted. If you're tired, stop pushing and walk around or sit on a birthing ball or change positions or sit on the toilet or lie back and take deep breaths or something. With my first, I pushed waaaaaaaaay too long (5 hours) and it wiped me out. C-sec. Second birth was vbac with HB. Much better.
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#21 of 32 Old 12-31-2003, 03:29 PM
 
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My second dd was born en route to the hospital- I didn't know I was in labor until I was in transistion, and things happened really fast after that. I remember clearly feeling the head move into the birth canal, and then the next contraction, my body started pushing. There was absolutely nothing I could do to control it if I wanted to. At first, like others said, I thought I was going to have a really big bowel movement, but as the intensity increased (such a polite way of talking about a force as strong as a freight train!) I knew what was going on and there was no way to stop it. (It was at this point that my dh had to pull over and dial 911.) The only way to cope with these contractions was to push, but it wasn't even something I conciously decided to so at that point- it was just what my body was doing. In fact, the 911 dispatcher told my dh to put his had on my dd's head while it was crowning to support the perineum and help prevent tearing, and when I felt him put his hand there, it was like my body rebelled against it by pushing again, and dd came shooting out.

With my first birth, I was medicated and in stirrups and remember the ten second pushing very well. I ended up with a bruised tailbone and a nasty episiotomy.

Good luck with your birth- and trust your body.

Violin teaching, doula-ing Mom to Abby, (8) Ashlynn, (6) : and Max (11/13/08) Diagnosed with Metopic Craniosynostosis. First surgery 5/1/09, Second surgery March 2010.
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#22 of 32 Old 12-31-2003, 10:08 PM
 
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I never really felt the urge to push and it never felt good to push as they tell you in cb classes. Mine were HB's - 4 of them.

Pushing like a BM is the usual instruction since, as I see it, it involves the same "party line" or "wiring" to the brain, and the same part of the brain is involved. It is a primitive part of the brain.

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#23 of 32 Old 01-01-2004, 01:00 AM
 
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I kind of resisted the pushing sensating at first because it felt like a bowel movement and I didn't want to poop in the birth pool , I pushed half-heartedly until my midwife said that it would feel like a huge bowel movement and then right at the end the head would come under the pubic bone. After that the need to push got much more intense, and very involuntary, and I pushed hard every contraction without thinking until she was out. And I didn't poop in the pool.
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#24 of 32 Old 01-01-2004, 01:13 AM
 
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i don't think that you need to push that strenously. i think that docs get you doing that because they want you to get the baby out asap! the faster she comes, the less they think they have to worry about.

the count to 10 breath holding thing is just weird, imho. i couldn't do it. i pushed while breathing out. they didn't like it, but didn't stop me. i was getting all this not-too-helpful coaching from everyone in the room, but i couldn't really feel my contractions once i started pushing, so i sorta ignored them until they stopped coaching, then i just did what worked.

i'd seen and read about women who didn't push. one woman was in a tub, just relaxing waiting for the 'urge', and all of a sudden felt something - and the baby's head was at the entrance to the vag. she was all - hey, i thought this was supposed to be enormous effort and stuff? so, it's different for everyone. you should definately go with what works, and don't let anyone scare you. you can have the birth you imagine through positive visualization. i spent months visualizing the first phase and it worked out that way. 2nd phase, well, it happened before i get the chance to get my visualizations down

cheers,

Lori
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#25 of 32 Old 01-05-2004, 01:56 AM
 
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both of my children's births were unmedicated and I can definitely tell you that the urge to push was OVERWHELMING. My body just took over and started pushing.

With my son, I was working through transition in the shower and then I felt like I really needed to lie down. I crawled up on the bed and then my water broke. With that, I was immediately overcome with the urge to push. As soo as the urge to push came, all the pain was gone. For the first 15 minutes, I wasn't effectively pushing. My body was doing it and I was going along for the ride, sort of zoned out and sleeping inbetween pushes. But then all of a sudden I got my second wind, and helped push with each contraction, but I never held it to 10 sec or pushed really hard. I pushed on my side and while tailor sitting. I was watching it all in a mirror and it was really difficult to concentrate on watching and pushing! And after a total of 35 minutes, he slid into this world. I never felt any pain, even when he crowned. In fact, the only thing I felt was him pushing his feet into my ribs as he was was moving down, helping himself navigate out. It was incredible!!!!

With my daugther, the urge to push came on suddenly and intensely. My body pushed once and she was crowning. The nurse was literally holding my legs closed to stop her from coming out. We had to wait for the Dr and Nicu team to come because my fluid was heavily stained with meconium and they needed to suction her at the perineum. I remember distinctly the sound of people running down the halls and the nurse calling loudly saying "birth is imminent, STAT". My doc didn't have a chance to put on gloves, a gown, nothing. They couldn't break down the bed in time. When he said I could push she was already out up to her ears. I eased her head out so they could suction her. And then with just one push she was out. Again, no pain. From the first urge to push until delivery was less than 2 minutes.


Pushing doesn't have to be strenuous. Even though my I had to push longer for my son, I enjoyed his actual delivery more. I was able to digest what was going on. My daughter just shot out, literally.

Susan
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#26 of 32 Old 01-09-2004, 01:46 AM
 
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I think you all might like Laura Shanley's site: bornfree.com (I hope I have that right) Very empowering. A lot of the stories talk about this very thing: letting baby come on her/his own, trusting birth and trusting the body and letting go...beautiful site even if you don't plan to do a UC.
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#27 of 32 Old 01-09-2004, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies.

Mamajamz, that's not the right site address. If you find the right one, I'd love to have it! Thanks.
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#28 of 32 Old 01-09-2004, 11:12 AM
 
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Oops!
It's www.freebirth.com
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#29 of 32 Old 01-09-2004, 01:31 PM
 
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I just had to post as this is a subject close to my heart and an issue I will continue to grapple with as my pregnancy progresses. With my 1st pg ( at a birth center with a CNM) pushing was the worst part of labor. After throwing up for the 2nd time, the midwife wanted to give me IV fluids. I really didn't want this, so she said, "well let's check you and see how much longer we have." She checked and I was 10 cm with an anterior lip which she pushed back. She said, "You can push whenever you want." Well, not knowing any better, and knowing that Iwanted this baby out ASAP and did not want an IV, I started pushing with absolutely no urge to push whatsoever. In fact, throughout the entire 2 hours I pushed I never felt the urge and was never encouraged to take a break. I was so tired that I fell asleep between pushes. I ended up pushing on my left side with an oxygen mask on my face, and ultimately needed an episiotomy.

I'm a little freaked out to read applejuice's post. The idea that I might not have the urge to push this time hadn't occured to me. I do know that I will not push just because someone else says my body is ready. This time I am keeping the checking to a minimum. I love reading about those of you who had an overwhelming urge to push, and I really hope that with this next birth I can count myself in your ranks!

Trying to get my bearings...
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#30 of 32 Old 01-11-2004, 02:17 PM
 
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nak...

wendygrace, i'm also certain it doesnt *have* to be the way you described. i'm sorry your sister was in stirrups, didn't have gravity or the help of an upright (open) pelvis. it is hard to watch, i know.

others have had great responses already, just wanted to add that for dd's birth (birth center, CNM), w/ a very gentle & hands-off mw & nurse, i felt very unsure of myself when it was time to push.
i was changing positions, fully dilated, trying to remain very relaxed -- but i was sure i "Didn't know how to push!" and kept begging my mw for instructions. Which muscles? How? How much? And she just kept answering, "But you *are* doing it! The baby's moving down, here's the head."

And i would say, "No, i'm not doing anything. i don't know how to push." then she was crowning, and her heartrate didnt recover btwn ctx - and then i did give one major full body effort breath-held push and out she came.

My point being that the whole time i thought i wasn't "pushing," my uterus was working, my baby was descending. I credit this to the deep relaxation and time i spent in the water, and position changes. And my brilliant daughter, of course, wjho *did* know what she was doing even when i didn't, lol!

mb

teapot2.GIF Mama to my sweet girls: notes.gif (2/02) and energy.gif (2/08) and brokenheart.gif 3/11 and now belly.gif  EDD 5/24/14
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