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#1 of 53 Old 03-24-2009, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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.....is it a sharp pain? A strong menstrual type pain? Like a really, really bad gas pain? ( I hate those!)

I'm hoping for a VBA2C and have never experience labor so I'm very curious.

And too, what other pains are involved with birthing vaginally? And could you describe them as best as possible?

Thank you for humoring (a little worried) me!
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#2 of 53 Old 03-24-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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I wouldn't describe it as sharp, really, no. And yes, like a menstrual pain, but harder. My first birth was induced -- and it was very very painful and I felt very out of control -- like I didn't think I was going to make it.

My second was a home water birth. It was much, much different. It was painful, sure, but since the contractions came in waves, it was tolerable. I never thought that I was going to totally lose it, kwim? You can anticipate them -- so when you are between contractions, you can take a breath, center yourself and prepare for the next. It felt very uncomfortable, but not a sharp, stinging type pain.

A lot of people talk about the "ring of fire," and while the pushing part was painful, you feel more in control of it, I felt. I remember saying to myself "okay, now I am going to push this baby out and it will be all over."

I found birth to be very much a physical thing -- and primal, but in my experience, also cerebral. Focusing on the task at hand and working hard at it and being mentally present helped me. If I let myself get caught up in the pain of it, it was worse. Some people have the opposite experience, though, and just let it happen. I felt more comfortable talking and being around other people through contractions because it made me feel more like the birth was a natural thing that people do, and not a serious emergency kind of thing. I tend to panic, and being around other people helped me keep that in check. My doula held my hand and massaged my hands, which, surprisingly, really helped me. I think maybe relaxing one part of your body helps to relax the other parts.

I think all women and all births are pretty different, though, so your experience might be very different.
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#3 of 53 Old 03-24-2009, 10:10 PM
 
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for me personally it was FAR from any menstrual pain. When labor first starts its just like cramps from running, like when your side hurts. and when you are in active labor when you cant talk through them and getting closer and closer the closest way of describing what I had was I felt like my kidneys were going to explode. for a time i had what I thought was IBS and that was painful. so painful Id have to sit down and catch my breath where ever I was and pace my breathing. contractions made that feel like a walk in the park. its a pain that is very unique and unlike any pain I have ever felt in my life. Although I dont know if it was the worst pain, it defiantly was intense. but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I guess thats why Im ttc again 8)


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#4 of 53 Old 03-24-2009, 11:01 PM
 
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Like a really, really bad gas pain. Sorry! That's exactly how it feels to me.

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#5 of 53 Old 03-24-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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To me it was like bad menstrual cramps. Overall tightening of the uterus with lower back pain radiating from mid-back to my knees. Not sharp at all.
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#6 of 53 Old 03-24-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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I didn't even know I was contracting until my midwife told me that I was. I could feel the tightening on my belly though once she alerted me to it. When they start to get painful it's like a dull ache in your lower back and pelvic area that sort of gets more and more intense then peaks then gets less intense and stops then comes on again and gradually (or in my case not so gradually) the down time in between seems to go away and the intense gets more intense. I felt them mostly in my lower back and pelvis and its a deep pain, sort of like a really intense menstrual cramp but also very distinct....Jeez I never realized how hard it is to describe
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#7 of 53 Old 03-24-2009, 11:07 PM
 
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well that depends how bad your menstrual pain is!!! mine is pretty bad! (I can't hardly stand or function the first 2 days) so the first parts of active labour feel like a bad period to me. it was kinda like "huh... btdt!" and then eventually it moved to sharper pains.

but everyone is so very different honestly.

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#8 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 12:22 AM
 
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Hmmm. . . well I had a period in my teens where I had menstrual cramps so bad I'd miss three days of school each month (and I wasn't a sissy). The first time it happened, I actually thought I might be dying or having some nearly-as-calamitous medical event. So compared to that, labour cramps were much different.

In my first birth, I thought I knew all about that fear-tension-pain cycle. But really, I was overwhelmed by how painful it was and wallowed in it despite my best efforts. Certainly that compounded the pain. The pain of contractions really was sharp. I felt like I wanted to run out of my own body - like I was trapped by the pain. I tried to get out of that stupid hospital bed and change my position, but sitting upright was so painful right around the labia. (I didn't figure out until my second birth that I needed to get past fully upright and be leaning deeply forward over my thighs. Made all the difference.)

Pushing in my first birth was somewhat of a relief after struggling through labour and transition. But I did not feel in control - it was coached pushing and I remember gasping at one point, "Don't stop counting!" as the nurses trailed off. I was so in that rut of following their counting, that I just felt like everything was going crazy and I just wanted the baby to be born.

I had a significant first-degree tear in that birth and it extended ever-so-slightly into muscle (second degree). I definitely remember the searing pain of the skin tearing. The doctor said, "Don't push" and I remember thinking, "You've got to be kidding me after 30-40 minutes of agony here!! I just want this baby OUT!"

Of course, all the lovely hormones kick in after and I felt fantastic and thought the birth went spectacularly. . . even if sit/stand transitions were pretty ginger for the first several days.

Second birth, I smartened up and I read 'Birthing from Within". I tried really hard to get into it even though some of it was a little "fruity" for me. It's a great book. Contractions still had the intense low back pain I always get. But I could really truly feel like I was melting into them and ebbing through their waxing and waning. It was really an amazing difference. They were intense; they were consuming. But they weren't sharp or agonizing and I never had a moment of doubt that I couldn't get through all of them naturally.

I felt a distinct "ring of fire" in my second birth and thought so clearly, "Oh, that's why they call it that!" If you get it, you'll know. (In the first birth, it was just all sharp pain that whole time and I could not discern that).

After my second, it was all pretty easy. Getting sequestered clots manually scrapped out after the birth of my twins was very uncomfortable/slightly painful, but the contractions and birth sensations were just fine. Again, "Birthing from Within" is an amazing gift to women and mandatory reading!

Great luck for your VBAC!

Six kids, sixth sense, six degrees of separation. . . from sanity!
Not sure that I'm crunchy, but definitely a "tough chew".
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#9 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 12:34 AM
 
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For me they started out like a BH contraction (just the strong tightening) but started at the top and moved down. Once they got into my pelvis it felt like strong menstrual cramping. In my case they were really manageable but everyone is different.

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#10 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 12:35 AM
 
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Charlie horse is my closest analogy. Vice-like? More charlie horse from breasts to thighs. That is at the later stages. Early labor was like cramps, bad cramps, then charlie horse.

Pushing felt good (contractions slowed and stopped hurting and were more pressure in my bottom). Ring of fire felt just like a ring of fire.

Mom of two boys (7/05 and 2/09)
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#11 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 12:49 AM
 
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Pliers applied to the lower part of the uterus on an frequent basis.
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#12 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 12:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteisle View Post
.....is it a sharp pain? A strong menstrual type pain? Like a really, really bad gas pain? ( I hate those!)

I'm hoping for a VBA2C and have never experience labor so I'm very curious.

And too, what other pains are involved with birthing vaginally? And could you describe them as best as possible?

Thank you for humoring (a little worried) me!
It was the same cramping pain as menstruation for me. Only much more intense. Imagine when you get a charlie horse. It was that, with the period cramping mixed in.

Other pain that I was not expecting/aware of, but experienced:

-You know the ring of fire? Well, I figured that had something to do with the sides of the vagina and the perineum. But when I actually experienced crowning, my poor clitoris hurt like the dickens and nothing else. It was the top part that burned and stretched. Ewwwowww.

-I had very scary pain on both sides, right below my ribcage. It was so painful that I ended up transferring for monitoring and u/s. (Confirmed everything was ok and went home thankfully). It was bad bad. Like, screaming into a pillow that I was going to die bad. I never got much of an exlanation, but settled on it being round ligament pain from extended labor.

-During the pushing stage, as DD was going down the birth canal she was irritating nerves to my legs. They were actually turning purple and going numb...but not in the painless numb way. Extremely irritating sensation and very distracting. It took a lot of mental will to ignore them.

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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#13 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 12:59 AM
 
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Well, in early labor, it felt like a tightening or dull ache in my lower back. I didn't really feel anything in the front. (During my pregnancy, I apparently had BH contractions all the time but didn't realize what they were until my midwife told me...my uterus would get tight and hard but I couldn't feel it at all.) Then in later labor, it was like a big squeeze, a huge tightening, a powerful force flowing around my middle. It didn't really hurt as long as I was able to be in the position that I wanted to be in, whatever it was at the time. It was really more power than pain, so that if I let the power overtake me (like if I was standing up or laying down, which DID NOT work for me), pain was close behind. But as long as I "rode the wave" of power and kept calm, it was just a huge, powerful tightening.

ETA: I can't describe crowning, as I had a c-section at the last minute.

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#14 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 01:07 AM
 
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This is how I always describe it:

It felt like intense, brutal almost, pressure in my low, low abdomen on my right and left side (not in the middle). As if there were two metal fists inside of me pushing down and out slowly and with as much pressure as is possible. It was not sharp, it was not "surprising", it was gradual, building pressure. I do not even describe it as pain, having had major, invasive surgery as a teenager and chronic back problems childbirth just wasn't "pain" the way I have experienced it. It was pressure, but it was for a reason, it was productive, and it resulted in my beautiful dd, keeping that in mind the whole time made it really bearable.

Wife to dh and mama to : dd (7/08) and ds (11/09)
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#15 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 01:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by charleysmama23 View Post
This is how I always describe it:

It felt like intense, brutal almost, pressure in my low, low abdomen on my right and left side (not in the middle). As if there were two metal fists inside of me pushing down and out slowly and with as much pressure as is possible. It was not sharp, it was not "surprising", it was gradual, building pressure. I do not even describe it as pain, having had major, invasive surgery as a teenager and chronic back problems childbirth just wasn't "pain" the way I have experienced it. It was pressure, but it was for a reason, it was productive, and it resulted in my beautiful dd, keeping that in mind the whole time made it really bearable.
I like your use of the word pressure. I've been using "intense" but pressure seems a better description.

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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#16 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 02:01 AM
 
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My Mom & my Grandma both said it was like intense menstrual cramps (I had BAD cramps as a teen so I figured I could deal with this). It was NOT like menstrual cramps at all for me.

The pain was very low on my stomach (pretty much right at my pubic bone) & then would rotate around to my lower back. I was pretty much immobolized by the pain & counterpressure from dh midly helped me ride through it. It was definitely in waves but I never really felt like I got a true break between surges. The pain was much sharper & pinpointed then I expected & extremely intense. I was truly terrified to have another birth again for the first few weeks afterwards (but now I'd do it in a second - so I guess time eases the memory!).

I found pushing quite painful, well, everwhere. I never had the desire to push & HATED the pushing. My whole vagina/cervix hurt with every push. I never felt the ring of fire but then again I had a forceps delivery. Although I had a 3rd degree tear I actually never felt the tearing happen.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#17 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 03:47 AM
 
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Not like a gas pain, I get those really badly and was afraid of the comparisons to that, nothing that bad.
More like an extremely intense tightening/squeezing sensation accompanied by a stinging in my cervix.
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#18 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! It's amazing how different the experience is for everyone! Some of the stories make me say, "I can deal with that" while others make me want to run for the hills and get out of this deal! lol
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#19 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 11:21 AM
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maybe i do not count because there wasn't any pain.

in the beginning, contractions tickled because i would get a nice little squeeze followed by baby movement.

then, it felt like a warm, undulating snake-like movement (how a boa moves, but circular around my "pelvic basin" as i call it) with a deeper squeeze.

and then i didn't feel them at all, just the sense of drawing inward as the baby moved downward and out!
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#20 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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maybe i do not count because there wasn't any pain.

in the beginning, contractions tickled because i would get a nice little squeeze followed by baby movement.

then, it felt like a warm, undulating snake-like movement (how a boa moves, but circular around my "pelvic basin" as i call it) with a deeper squeeze.

and then i didn't feel them at all, just the sense of drawing inward as the baby moved downward and out!
wait!!! what!?! oh.... mama... that is so not fair! so not fair!! I mean I'm happy for you and everything... but goodness what I would give for that kinda feeling!

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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#21 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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My early labor felt like I had to poop. In fact, I didn't think I was in labor for the first hour. I just sat on the toilet every 20 minutes trying to poop, and then would crawl back into bed wondering why it wasn't happening. After that I realized that they were coming in waves and in a pattern, so I hopped into the shower.

For the first couple of hours, I just felt like I had to poop or pass gas every 6 minutes. As my contractions grew in intensity, I started to drift into La-la-labor land, and I honestly forget what they felt like. I was on my side most of the time, so that DH could rub my back as I did have a lot of back labor. Maybe that is why it felt like I had to poop all the time?

Pushing was extremely relieving, and once I got the hang of it I didn't want to stop. My pushing was ineffective until I reached down and touched the area with my own hands - then I got really good at it.

Jen, SAHM to Jamie and Alexandra and with #3 in May
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#22 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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I've never really had a "normal" labour, so I'm not sure how useful my descriptions are, one was pitocin induced and I was verging on hyperstimulated, was having quadruple peaked contractions, the other, I had some major joint issues in the run up to the birth, then had a posterior baby, towards the end, it hurt as much between contractions as my first labour had during them.

To me the pain is totally different to anything else I've experienced, the uterus is such a different size from when your mensturating that though there are bits that are familiar from that, it's also much more consuming. It's a kind of pain that is hard work, kind of like lifting a really heavy weight, but rather than a fraction of a second as your muscle passes through that point, it's a minute (ish).

The good news is that between contractions, you really shouldn't be in pain - if you are, that would be a red flag in a vbac, as would anything sharp. Different care givers will put different emphasis on what you feel and how it relates to uterine rupture, but one midwife, who I respect very much, says that vbac women should become familiar with how their scar feels, if there are any tender points on it etc. http://www.caesarean.org.uk/articles...onitoring.html is a brief article where she covers this and other things, she feels that monitoring of the foetal heart rate is a late sign of rupture.

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#23 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 08:22 PM
 
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From a fellow vba2c Mama

I will warn you, even though the experience isn't universal among vbacing Moms: a lot of my contraction pain was concentrated over my scar area. This really freaked me out- I was really worried that I was going to rupture. But everything was perfectly okay and my son was born healthy with no scar integrity problems. Just thought I would let you know that this was a possibility, so in case your experience ended up being similar to mine.

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ribboncesarean.gif vbac.gifhomebirth.jpg I have given birth a variety of ways and I am thankful for what each one has taught me.

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#24 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 09:37 PM
 
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maybe i do not count because there wasn't any pain.
I believe you have what we call momnesia. It's the only reason why anybody has more than one kid.
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#25 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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I believe you have what we call momnesia. It's the only reason why anybody has more than one kid.
Thank goodness for momnesia. : Otherwise I don't think I would've let my dh touch me again after our first was born.
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#26 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 10:37 PM
 
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My water broke at the beginning of labor, so that might have made things more intense....but for me, it felt like really, really horrible stomach cramps. I didn't deal with the pain well, I tensed up and dreaded each contraction, so I'm sure that contributed. But it became an unmanageable pain for me and I ended up getting an epidural. I think it's important to realize that labor can be very painful, and go into it with a plan to deal with the pain. And don't tense up!!!

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#27 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 11:17 PM
 
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I was never in labor, but with my last I did start having regular contractions. I didn't realize it till I was being monitored. I just thought I was in pain when the baby moved because she was transverse and I had almost no fluid, I didn't realize that pain was really contractions. It wasn't like anything I had experienced before. It was painful, but not in a cramping way, more as in a sharp, burning pain.

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#28 of 53 Old 03-25-2009, 11:38 PM
 
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Tight stomach with really intense cramping pain. I'm always surprised at how painful they are (momnesia- that's perfect). But also more manageable than I thought they'd be. I always kind of pictured the kind of intensity that send me reeling from the pain. On the contrary, it's a pain that gives me a focus and clarity that I've never had any other time in my life. As intense as the pain can be, it's even more intensely spiritual for me to labor and give birth.
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#29 of 53 Old 03-26-2009, 12:19 AM
 
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I've never pushed a baby out, so I can't describe that, but labour pain:

DS1: Backache. I had no idea I was even in labour, because there were no "contractions" (or waves or surges or whatever) at all for the first 8 hours or so. It was just an awful backache. I walked around my apartment for hours, and had 3-4 warm baths, and still didn't know it was labour. Every time I tried to go to bed, I'd lie down and pop back up again from the pain in my back. I just thought it was some weird late pregnancy pain, and would go away. That changed to contractions, and I remember thinking they were exactly like menstrual cramps...stayed that way all the way until the c-section, at full dilation.

I didn't labour with dd.

DS2: Menstrual cramps, with a bit of a tight feeling in my abdomen. They were fairly bad cramps, but still cramps.

Aaron: Fairly sharp pains, focused right at the top of my pelvis, at the front...felt like they were right in the scar at first, which was a bit unnerving. I also had some backache, but not much...and a lot of achy tightness in my belly. Honestly, except when I was flat on my back at the hospital, the pain wasn't so bad - it was the exhaustion that was doing me in at the end.

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Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

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#30 of 53 Old 03-26-2009, 12:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
maybe i do not count because there wasn't any pain.

in the beginning, contractions tickled because i would get a nice little squeeze followed by baby movement.

then, it felt like a warm, undulating snake-like movement (how a boa moves, but circular around my "pelvic basin" as i call it) with a deeper squeeze.

and then i didn't feel them at all, just the sense of drawing inward as the baby moved downward and out!

Huh. That's not how your husband documented it on his blog.

Quote:
Together we waited, moment by moment, and Jenifer endured. I could only liken the process, however feebly, to heavy squatting. When you are doing 20-rep squats with close to twice your bodyweight on the bar, and anything else at all seems a happier option, you can pace yourself to some degree, rationalize the effort put forth, make deals with yourself to get through the discomfort. Labor, of course, differs in that you don't know how many "reps" you have to do, you can't decide to wimp out and cut the set short, and your success or failure has no impact whatsoever on anyone else. Otherwise, Jenifer agreed, the two are completely the same.

The water broke, finally, at midnight. By this point we had moved to our new bed, which is low to the ground in the Japanese style. We felt that Hawk's birth was just around the corner. The contractions grew stronger and Jenifer's vocalizations, like a galdr chant, grew fiercer as she climbed the upper reaches of the intensity spectrum. Afterwards, Jenifer said "I didn't think I was a screamer." We half-expected the captains of the condo association to call the cops on us.
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