How long did you push?
>I pushed for 16 minutes. I spent the 1.5 hrs before that using every bit of my energy to NOT push.
How did you know when to start pushing?
>Well, first I threw the I Ching, then I consulted with some out-of-state "pushing experts"...:LOL
Oh, wait, no, now I remember...when my body was invaded by a freight train and I screamed, "I HAVE TO PUSH!!!", I knew I was having "the urge".
Why did you start pushing when you did?
>Well, I started working WITH the urge to push instead of against it when my mw kindly gave me permission.
Was the pushing voluntary or involuntary? (If both, please elaborate)
>Well, this is interesting. Obviously I was experiencing the involuntary urge to push. However, when I started working with it I remember thinking that I maybe wasn't even having ctx anymore, as it felt like it was just me mightily pushing. I don't know if the ctx really stopped or if the release of being able to push was just so pleasurable that it eclipsed everything else, or what!
Did the urge to push, the pushing sensations, and your response to them change over time? If so, how?
>Some of this I've already detailed. I'll flesh out the rest in the last answer, I think.
Was your approach to the pushing phase influenced by preconceptions about how and when it should be done, and if so, how?
>No. I really was at the mercy of my body and the people around me. I WAS surprised that it really was as involuntary as I'd heard it could be, or maybe just more surprised by the intensity of it.
What is your "philosophy" of pushing?
>For myself in the future? Eleminate all unnecessary outside sources of intervention and push when you dang well think you should push.
What position were you in when you were pushing/giving birth? Was this position instinctively chosen or did you make a choice that was influenced by preconceptions about what position would be best?
>I was laying on my side, as I had been doing whenever I could throughout the labor process. It was one of the few things that I was able to choose instinctively, simply because no one told me to do it differently. Ironically, I had been practicing squats for my whole pregnancy. I found out later that the side-lying postion is good for slowing down a fast labor, which it did for me. Yea, instincts!
Was your 2nd stage managed/measured/guided in any way (by you or others) or would you characterize it as instinctive? Did you feel hindered/inhibited in any way? Were there complications or variations of normal that are sometimes regarded as complications?
>Oh, man. Well, I believe that my fast labor would have been much faster yet if not for outside influences. I was quite vulnerable to any and all "suggestions" made in my presence, mostly because I was caught in a tidal wave and was just trying to keep from drowning. And I'm a very compliant patient, despite my desire not to be. I'm just too sympathetic to everyone else time constraints, etc. Don't want to be a nuiscence.
I was told at 3pm after being examined and found to be "fingertip dilated" to call the mw at 9:30 pm to check in and let them know how I was progressing. Then, 2.5 hrs later when we were in the car on the way to the hospital, my sister, who was driving, responded to my update that I needed to push with a, "NO YOU DON'T NEED TO PUSH IN THE CAR!" (did I mention that she is my extremely intimidating older sister?) Then when I got to the hospital I was told that I had to wait for the mw to arrive. They said at that time that I was at 5.5 cm. When the mw arrived I was at 9.5. Shortly after she told me I could push.
Every single message I was getting was WAIT!!!!! You cannot/are not having that baby right now. I believe that I was complete in the car and that I closed myself back up enough to keep that baby in. I have a good bit of control over my body. (I once tried a biofeedback machine in college and raised the temperature of my hand 5 degrees just by concentrating on doing it!) The only way I could keep from actively pushing that whole time was for my sister to say with each ctx "relax". If she didn't say it, I would push along with the urge. And each time I'd feel like, I didn't mean to! I swear!
This birth WILL be different! I can't wait! And I'll happily update you on what differences I experience this time at my UC birth. I'm 38 weeks tomorrow...