What, specifically, did you do during labor? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-18-2011, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hope this isn't a totally dumb question. I was thinking today about what went "wrong" with my first birth, what I expected it to be like, etc. I remember feeling very out of control, not feeling like surrendering, or going inside my head or anything. I remember sharp pains and being very freaked out. I was kneeling in the hot shower on a yoga mat which was great until the hot water ran out. I sat on the toilet and kind of jumped up and leaned on the wall when a sharp pain would hit. I was pretty close to panic for a long time because nothing seemed to be "working". I tried to get in my garden tub, but the cool/lukewarm water was not helping (MW said it had to be body temp, which felt cold compared to the shower.)

I think part of my problem is that when I see birth stories on TV, there is that time gap...the woman starts out happy, then there is some heavier breathing, (cut to commercial) and then she's pushing and yelling a bit, and there's the baby and she's sweaty and exhausted but so happy.

I've never seen a woman labor through the whole thing. My first labor was 21 hours. Hopefully I don't sound like an idiot, but what do you DO the whole time?!? What things can you do to get through all that pain for such a long period of time. I wasn't prepared for it to be such a marathon, and wasn't prepared for that level of pain.

I need a better plan! Any thoughts?






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Old 02-18-2011, 09:52 PM
 
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I had a pretty short labor with my first. before going to the hospital I labored on hands and knees in the shower for a while, then alternated between the toilet (cause I needed it) and knees and elbows on the bathroom floor (while kind of swaying my hips). then headed to the hospital where they wouldn't let me out of bed.

 

This time I don't know what I'll do. options I'm keeping in mind are shower, bath, birth ball, hands and knees (or elbows and knees), walking around, being in bed, having DF rub my back, and slow dancing (woman supported by her partner, standing and swaying, maybe squatting during contractions). 


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Old 02-19-2011, 02:28 AM
 
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Well, this time I'm planning to do Hypnobabies. Last time was.... not the most fun I've ever had... but some things that helped included hot wheatie bags, DH massaging me (mostly my back and, oddly enough, thighs - it really helped!), and being in the birth tub (sadly, only for an hour or so). I also remember "passing the time" by going to the toilet a fair bit, having the fetal monitor strapped on every now and then, watching my midwife write interminable notes, being made to walk every now and then to speed things up...

 

Honestly though, I think most women experience a kind of weird time dilation thing during labour. Not in a "cut to commercial break" way, but it's easy to lose track of time when you're really busy/focused/intense. I remember the pushing stage with DD felt really quick, but it was an hour - which actually is fairly quick for a pushing stage, but it felt more like five or ten minutes, you know? And I was in the hospital, in a room with no windows, so it shocked me when I asked for the time and found out it was already heading towards evening - I had no idea! You just get in this weird headspace. So it's not like being on a 21-hour flight - less pleasant, but also less boring. :p


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Old 02-19-2011, 10:42 AM
 
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W/ my first HB, it was 24 hours. I took a bath, laid in bed, walked in my neighborhood, ate ice cream, watched tv, got in the birth pool and out, got on my hands and knees on my bed, and finally settled into the birth pool to catch baby.

 

W/ my fourth baby it was a much quicker labor. I sat on my bed w/ my 3y/o while dh slept, then I shooed her away, got into the birth tub and gave birth to the baby.

 

W/ my fifth I finished watching a movie and then got into the birth pool and gave birth an hour later.

 

W/ my sixth I got in the pool pretty early on of my under 4 hour labor. I nursed my toddler in the pool. 

 

W/ my seventh I had a longer labor. I vacuumed, tidied up, ate a sandwich for lunch, laid down to rest, had a friend over for a few minutes, walked around my house, watched the Grammy's or something like that, got in and out of pool and finally settled in an hour before she was born.

 

W/ my eighth I called dh home from on his way into work, I boiled the scissors, washed out the birth pool, and filled it. I got in and dh arrived home and had baby under an hour later.

 

W/ my ninth dh were in bed in the morning, my water broke. I walked around the house, took a picture, drank Sprite, read the Subday newspaper. Around 11am I got into the pool and she was born around an hour later.

 

W/ my tenth, I thought maybe it was it around 1am w/ painless contraxs. I laid in bed while dh slept. Around 5am I sent him to do things, I got up and boiled scissors, got out pool. I laid back down by myself and contraxs started hurting, did that for an hour. Then I got into the pool, directed dd taking pictures, baby born an hour plus later.

 


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Old 02-19-2011, 12:29 PM
 
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One thing I did to pass the time in a focused way was to set up my laptop with a screensaver that shuffled through all of our pictures.  So I would be bouncing on a birth ball or pacing or swaying or on my hands and knees and I would focus on whatever picture was up, try to remember exactly where we were, what we had just done, where I got the shirt I was wearing in the photo, etc.  It was really nice to have all these memory moments while laboring... helped the time pass, and helped me stay focused inward.  We also watched some of my favorite home movies which was awesome!


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Old 02-19-2011, 12:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

Honestly though, I think most women experience a kind of weird time dilation thing during labour. Not in a "cut to commercial break" way, but it's easy to lose track of time when you're really busy/focused/intense. 



Yeah, this. I was very much in my head during labor, and after the baby was born I honestly couldn't have said if it lasted three minutes or three days. FWIW, it lasted just under four hours for me. I mostly knelt/squatted/swayed the whole time, and even though I was definitely thinking about what my body was doing I don't recall consciously *doing* anything (changing positions, eating, drinking, peeing, talking) ... It all just happened. 

 

I had initially planned to use one of those contraction timer apps on my husband's iPod, but there was no freakin' way I could have concentrated enough to even do that. My whole labor was very intense, and I basically just felt like I was very, very high :P



 
 
 
 

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Old 02-19-2011, 01:01 PM
 
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I have fast labors, all lasting less than 4 hours.  this last time I started having bloody show at 6:30 pm so I called into work to let them know I would not be in due to going into labor.  I finished up my shopping (was at lowes buying a attachment for the hose for the birth tub) then went in to work to fill out the necessary paperwork as I had not planned on taking maternity leave for another week.

 

I then went home and started cleaning the kitchen since that is where we were putting the birth tub and wanted a nice atmosphere.  by 9 pm I started having contractions and we went to the store to buy some snacks and just to walk around and  kill time.  by the time we got home the contractions were getting more intense.  i had called my friend to come over to the house as she wanted to be there for the birth.  I sat on the birthing ball and watched tv and texted friends and family to give them updates.  when the contractions were about 1.5 mins apart I went ahead and got in the birth tub with DH.  we made out a lot lol   and my friend gave me drinks as needed and took photos.  I gave birth at 12:40 am. 


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Old 02-19-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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With my first, I was in labor for 16 hours, a substantial part overnight.  I didn't realize that the contractions were not BH contractions until after 6 or 7 hours of them passed.  I was trying to sleep and they kept waking me up.  When I realized I wasn't getting any sleep, I read some, and then around 6ish in the morning, I woke up my parents ( I was just turned 18.)  We got to the hospital around 8am.  At the hospital I did a lot of walking around.  A LOT of walking-I arrived at the hospital at about 5cm, and then stalled out there.  Things got going again, and then I spent most of the rest of the time sitting in the hospital bed yelling about how much it hurt.  My mom kept trying to get me to focus on a focal point, any focal point, and while it helped some, I really didn't know what else to do. 

 

My second, I had "real" contractions on Wednesday morning, but I spent three days walking the neighborhood and going about my day, trying to get things to get going strong.  I would have several hours of steady 8 or so minutes apart, 1 minute or so long contractions, then they would just stop.  I went into L&D Wednesday night, but I was barely at 1cm so they sent me home.  We went back to L&D Friday morning and they kept me this time, but I was only at like 1.5.  The contractions were more steady and they were more painful, but they still hadn't gotten me far.  I got some nubain (the back labor was HORRENDOUS) about an hour or so after arriving at L&D, and fell asleep.  When I woke up, I was still only at about a 3, this was after several hours in L&D and I was SO upset.  I felt like I was in SO much pain and was SO tired and I was not really getting anywhere.  I had one more dose of nubain and fell asleep, but this time the contractions began waking me up, so I wasn't really sleeping much and I was loopy from the nubain, and the pain was starting to override it and I was totally miserable.  I ended up getting an epidural about 8 or 9 hours after arriving at L&D, and then she was born about an hour later.

 

My most recent, I was induced because they were worried about IUGR.  Her growth rate had slowed so much that u/s was measuring her to be at only 33 wks, when I was actually 38wks.  And fluid levels had dropped as well.  And, I had been having stead/unproductive contractions for over a week.  In fact, when we did the NST, I had 3 contractions in that one hour.  They just weren't getting me anywhere, I was miserable, doc was concerned about the baby.  So, we did a pit induction, my cervixs was not in a good position for anything else.  Because it was a pit induction, I was on "continuous" monitoring, but I was still able to move around the room, go pee when I wanted etc.  While things were starting to get going, I watched football on tv and talked to my mom on the phone (who was RUSHING home from her east coast vacation that I TOLD her not to take that week.)  As things really started to hurt, I was bouncing on the birth ball, swaying and walking with DH and making lots of awful, embarrssing noises.  And BEGGING my mom to bring me fried chicken.

 

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Old 02-19-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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Things that I did during my labor (in no particular order):

-sat and rocked on the birth ball

-showered (for long stretches of time)

-got in the tub

-got out of the tub

-got in and out and in and out of the tub

-went for a walk

-sat on the bed on all fours hiding under a robe (my husband affectionately calls this picture "the labor monster")

-yelled

-screamed

-slow danced

-moaned

-cried

-sat on the toilet

-made out with DH

-had DH or my midwives rub me, squeeze me, hug me, and caress me

-shook

-forced myself to drink water (or obliged when offered water)

-threw a fit

-thought I couldn't do it

-gave myself pep talks ("Ooooooopen, OoOOOOOHHHPEN")

 

There's no "wrong" way to labor.  Some women are quiet, sweet, introspective.  Some women curse like sailors and roar their kiddos into the world.  Do whatever you need to do to get through each contraction!!


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Old 02-19-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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This last time...as long as I could I kept to my normal routine, just stopping and breathing if I had a bad contraction.I helped my daughter make a diarama for school, amazingly :).  I ate a little soup and had my husband make me tea. When it intensified: I walked around my house in circles (it was a really chilly night, unfortunately), listened to music, got on my hands and knees, leaned over the couch, rocked in a rocking chair, squatted, prayed, and frequently reminded myself, "this is a time-limited experience." I went to the hospital at 8 cm, so didn't really do much there-- walked around a bit and then pushed for a while. :)


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Old 02-19-2011, 05:03 PM
 
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DD1 was a 19-20 hour labor, I can't remember now! I mostly paced around the house because that is what helped, I slept a little. We went in to town after 14 hours or so, we lived 35 miles from the hospital then. Went out to dinner, I couldn't eat, stopped by DH's office (it was night then no one was there), we were only at the hospital for 2 hours before she was born, and an hour of that was pushing. 

 

DD2's labor was 8.5 hours, I mostly rested alone in the bedroom, just breathing. 

 

DS's labor was 4 hours, I spend the first hour needing my tub so bad and then the rest hanging over the side trying to focus on trashy TV, anything to take my mind of the pain. His labor was much more intense then the others. 

 

I have never been able to do normal things while in labor, cooking, that type of stuff. It takes all my focus just to keep myself centered which I did not manage to do last time. I blame most of that on just how painful his labor was, he was posterior. 


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Old 02-19-2011, 05:36 PM
 
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I have pretty short labors: 7 hours for the first and eight hours for the second.   With the first I surfed the Internet.  Talked with my mom on instant messager. Scared her as I was saying my contractions are about 3-4 minutes apart but they don't hurt yet so we are staying put.  We left for the hospital at first one that hurt and from that point on I was concentrating only getting through contractions. DH would time from the start to the point where it wouldn't get any worse which made them more bearable.

 

With my second, I cleaned the kitchen floor because it was the one obvious thing I had left to do and I wanted it done before the midwives arrived.  I called the midwife myself the first time. I was having a little back labor so had dh try to some counter pressure which didn't help that much so then I just sat around and eventually called into work.  Shortly after, the contractions were coming too close together and hurting a bit so I spent the time in our bath tub until about an hour before babe was born (when I moved to the birth pool) 

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Old 02-19-2011, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

Well, this time I'm planning to do Hypnobabies. Last time was.... not the most fun I've ever had... but some things that helped included hot wheatie bags, ...:p


What are hot wheatie bags? How is the Hypnobabies working for you? Didn't you post a while back about whether or not it would work if you were a cynic? (sorry if that wasn't you, I just thought the same thing about myself, that it wouldn't work for me because I'm just too stubborn to relax.) eyesroll.giforngtongue.gif
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Originally Posted by Mamatoabunch View Post

W/ my first HB, it was 24 hours. I took a bath, laid in bed, walked in my neighborhood, ate ice cream, watched tv, got in the birth pool and out, got on my hands and knees on my bed, and finally settled into the birth pool to catch baby.

 

W/ my fourth baby it was a much quicker labor. I sat on my bed w/ my 3y/o while dh slept, then I shooed her away, got into the birth tub and gave birth to the baby.

 

W/ my fifth I finished watching a movie and then got into the birth pool and gave birth an hour later.

 

W/ my sixth I got in the pool pretty early on of my under 4 hour labor. I nursed my toddler in the pool. 

 

W/ my seventh I had a longer labor. I vacuumed, tidied up, ate a sandwich for lunch, laid down to rest, had a friend over for a few minutes, walked around my house, watched the Grammy's or something like that, got in and out of pool and finally settled in an hour before she was born.

 

W/ my eighth I called dh home from on his way into work, I boiled the scissors, washed out the birth pool, and filled it. I got in and dh arrived home and had baby under an hour later.

 

W/ my ninth dh were in bed in the morning, my water broke. I walked around the house, took a picture, drank Sprite, read the Subday newspaper. Around 11am I got into the pool and she was born around an hour later.

 

W/ my tenth, I thought maybe it was it around 1am w/ painless contraxs. I laid in bed while dh slept. Around 5am I sent him to do things, I got up and boiled scissors, got out pool. I laid back down by myself and contraxs started hurting, did that for an hour. Then I got into the pool, directed dd taking pictures, baby born an hour plus later.

 


jaw.gif Holy cow! You are a super woman! Are you a doula? I want you at MY birth! It all sounds so...normal. Awesome!
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Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post

...I watched football on tv and talked to my mom on the phone (who was RUSHING home from her east coast vacation that I TOLD her not to take that week.)  As things really started to hurt, I was bouncing on the birth ball, swaying and walking with DH and making lots of awful, embarrssing noises.  And BEGGING my mom to bring me fried chicken.

 


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Italiamom View Post

Things that I did during my labor (in no particular order):

-sat and rocked on the birth ball

-showered (for long stretches of time)

-got in the tub

-got out of the tub

-got in and out and in and out of the tub

-went for a walk

-sat on the bed on all fours hiding under a robe (my husband affectionately calls this picture "the labor monster")

-yelled

-screamed

-slow danced

-moaned

-cried

-sat on the toilet

-made out with DH

-had DH or my midwives rub me, squeeze me, hug me, and caress me

-shook

-forced myself to drink water (or obliged when offered water)

-threw a fit

-thought I couldn't do it

-gave myself pep talks ("Ooooooopen, OoOOOOOHHHPEN")

 

There's no "wrong" way to labor.  Some women are quiet, sweet, introspective.  Some women curse like sailors and roar their kiddos into the world.  Do whatever you need to do to get through each contraction!!


Love this. Thank you. I think something that would help me is the deep massage part. No one came near me in my first labor, except for lightly stroking my arm (MW's asst) and it was irritating.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post

I have never been able to do normal things while in labor, cooking, that type of stuff. It takes all my focus just to keep myself centered which I did not manage to do last time. I blame most of that on just how painful his labor was, he was posterior. 


This was me, too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annemarie42 View Post

This last time...as long as I could I kept to my normal routine, just stopping and breathing if I had a bad contraction.I helped my daughter make a diarama for school, amazingly :).  I ate a little soup and had my husband make me tea. When it intensified: I walked around my house in circles (it was a really chilly night, unfortunately), listened to music, got on my hands and knees, leaned over the couch, rocked in a rocking chair, squatted, prayed, and frequently reminded myself, "this is a time-limited experience." I went to the hospital at 8 cm, so didn't really do much there-- walked around a bit and then pushed for a while. :)


This sounds really beautiful to me. One of those birth stories that I tried to imitate, but failed. I hope I get something like this for this next baby.


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Old 02-20-2011, 06:32 AM
 
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I was in labour for a long long time with DS (45 hours total) and what helped me was 'staying on top' of the contractions.  I couldn't just let them happen, or I got that sharp pain panic thing happening.  As each contraction started, I had to meet it with deep breathing, and movement.  My doula and DH did a lot of counter pressure in my back and my hips.  We walked, swayed, rocked, sat on the birth ball etc.  But each contraction was different, and had to be dealt with individually.  Don't get too caught up in worrying about what you'll do the whole time.  Just think about what you'll do for this contraction.


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Old 02-20-2011, 06:49 AM
 
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I went into labor around 6pm on a Thursday night. I went grocery shopping, watched Jersey Shore bag.gif, tried and failed to sleep, then tried to do the whole birth ball/peaceful music/candles lit and just couldn't. Walked around the house, doing random little chores, watched Regis & Kelly, when it got bad I tried to focus on the baby and his things around the house. Went to the Dr for a check, went for bagels (made a scene in the bagel shop), walked the boardwalk (made a scene on the boardwalk), and then once we got to the hosp, spent the whole time in the shower.

 

I think I was more productive in labor than ever before ;)


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Old 02-20-2011, 10:35 AM
 
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This time it really did feel like a beautiful thing-- painful, yes, but I was in a great place emotionally about the experience.

With #1 I was basically induced and I have few happy memories of that labor. With #2 I had a really fast labor, and my main memory was a sort of panic-- I assumed it would be as slow as the first only at that level of high intensity. I had my son within 10 minutes of arriving at the hospital and I was kind of shocked. This time kind of felt like my do-over, and I knew it was almost certainly our last baby-- so I tried hard to be in the moment as much as I can, and I was lucky everything came together around that. I am about 3.5 months out and feel really contented about this birth.


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Old 02-20-2011, 01:50 PM
 
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jaw.gif Holy cow! You are a super woman! Are you a doula? I want you at MY birth! It all sounds so...normal. Awesome!


 


I really am not super woman! If you knew me IRL, you would know I was just like any other mama, happy, sad, cranky, irritated, in love w/ my kids, wanting to hide in my room, scrubbing floors and cooking dinner mama. I am trained as a doula, but haven't attended a birth, other than mine in a few years. Birth can be normal if we treat it that way. There are parts of several of my births where I cried, felt frustrated, screamed, said bad words. Mostly I pretend it isn't happening until I can't any more, then I get into water.


Annabelle Catholic wife to Jeff '92 and mom to Makaley 19 Arden 19 Anniston 17 Taegan 14 Balen 12 Kellen 10 Ellery 8 Innish 6 Eiley 4 Finnian 3 Esca 2 our 8th uc.jpghomeschool.gifwaterbirth.jpgIHhbac.gifbftoddler.gifvbac.gifand expecting sweet pea January 2014.

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Old 02-20-2011, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mostly I pretend it isn't happening until I can't any more, then I get into water.


This is good. I think with my first birth I started focusing on the labor and impending birth way too early. Dh and I were tracking each contraction on the laptop timer, and that probably was a bad idea. This time I think I need to focus on something OTHER than my pain, the contractions, for as long as I can.

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Old 02-20-2011, 02:08 PM
 
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This is good. I think with my first birth I started focusing on the labor and impending birth way too early. Dh and I were tracking each contraction on the laptop timer, and that probably was a bad idea. This time I think I need to focus on something OTHER than my pain, the contractions, for as long as I can.


I did the same w/ my twins. Actually as soon as I think it might be it I turn all clocks around and no one is to reference the time in my house, no contraxs timing.


Annabelle Catholic wife to Jeff '92 and mom to Makaley 19 Arden 19 Anniston 17 Taegan 14 Balen 12 Kellen 10 Ellery 8 Innish 6 Eiley 4 Finnian 3 Esca 2 our 8th uc.jpghomeschool.gifwaterbirth.jpgIHhbac.gifbftoddler.gifvbac.gifand expecting sweet pea January 2014.

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Old 02-20-2011, 02:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mamatoabunch View Post
 Mostly I pretend it isn't happening until I can't any more, then I get into water.

Yup, this is what I did as well with baby #2.  The first time around, I went into labour late in evening, it was harder to get into a daily 'thing' when it was wee hours of the morning.  But with #2, I laboured through the afternoon and early evening while supervising house cleaners (the house was spotless for our home birth, a little treat to me and the timing was great!), posting online, and supervising DS1 while he watched TV.  I got Dh home early and sent him and DS out to pick up snacks for the birth team, and spent some time making a chocolate cake for the baby's birthday and formed up hamburger patties to BBQ for lunch/supper the next day.  My MIL ended up reforming the patties, I guess I was losing focus at that point.  LOL!  Once it got intense, it was time to give in to it and just focus on nothing else, but I put it off as long as I could.  I think it was about 4-5 hours from frosting the cake to baby being born.


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Old 02-20-2011, 05:03 PM
 
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I had two drastically different labors (one at home, on in hospital) but they all featured

 

Intense hungry; I stuffed my face during both early labors

Intense thirst; I didn't ask for, I DEMANDED WATER and drank gallons I'm convinced

Screaming, yes I screamed. Sort of like an OOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMM 

Got on all fours with birth ball, in shower

Curled up on bed in fetal position muttering ( I can not do this I can not do this) 

Rejected the birthing stool (I hated that thing, I could barely support myself on my shaky arms)

Practiced very slow breathing

Hung on my husband 

Cursed, a lot

 

I didn't have the candles lit, spiritual orgasmic birth experience, but the pain was bearable just so intense

 

When it was time to push both times, I felt comfortable on my side with my legs splayed 


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Old 02-20-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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During contrax I was either hands and knees on the floor, on knees leaning over a birth ball, or in tub leaning over edge of tub with doula putting pressure on my low back. Between I tried to rest/ sleep.

In earlier labor I made the bed, tidied up, got out birth supplies, played on the computer, etc.

I will say though, with both kids I had about 3 hrs of active labor. If I had a long labor I think I would have caved and gone for the drugs.

Suzan, mama to DS 9-18-07 and #2 EDD 3/4/10 GIRL!.
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