I said that we would discuss the actual business of labor today, so we shall. Warning: the opinions expressed herein are just that, opinions. Albeit STRONG opinions of a Mama who has done this FOUR blessed times. However, you will find that others are just as strong in their beliefs, and may not agree with my method. For the record, though, I think you should listen to me. ;)
That being said, now that you are lying in an oddly shaped bed in a gown that is about as modest as a cotton ball, you will be hooked up to every manner of machinery. Don't be afraid. Just revert back to childhood when we all had dreams of being an astronaut and pretend that you are defying gravity. Some of those pre-epidural contractions will make you see stars anyway, thereby adding to the illusion.
The epidural, you ask? Why yes, my child. You must labor your pretty little head off until you hit about 4 centimeters dilation. Hang in there. It will hurt, but you will live. But the minute you reach that most important milestone, then, blessed... oh so blessed... relief is all for you.
Yeah, you could go on and writhe. That's your call. But I can promise you that your children will not be born with 16 eyes and brain damage because you choose to go with the epidural. You won't be a hero any less if you opt for this route because you STILL labor, and you STILL push another human being out of your loins. The difference is that you will be able to rest and relax so that you save your energy for the pushing. But before we get to that...
I am sure that I probably lost some readers with that last paragraph. I hope you can still be my friend and we can simply agree to disagree here. The very best thing would be to post your thoughts for Amy Beth's Roomie on your blog, so she can see both sides. Moving on...
We are now at the pushing part. You're almost done here, girlie. This is where the rubber meets the road. Where you are finally almost able to meet that little sweetness that you have been caring for over these last 9 months. Keep your focus on that.
I am sorry for being so graphic here, but the bottom line is that the way to accurately describe the right kind of pushing is to liken it to taking the biggest dukey of your life. It is the exact same action. Just grab those knees (it also helps if your coach(es) can each take a foot and provide counter-pressure) and push, or bear down, with all you've got. Once you feel a contraction coming on, that's your cue to start your push (you will know that it's time before anyone else, including your nurse). You can usually get 2 or 3 good pushes in with each contraction. Then you rest. Have your coach put some ice in your mouth so you don't dry up like a prune and wait for the next one while breathing deeply.
I am wringing my hands because there is one little wicked detail that you probably should know here. It's wrong. It really, really is, but just remember that every-single-person who has given birth this way has experienced this (and if you didn't, the rest of us really don't want to know). Oh, sweet precious girl....here goes, because it is better to be informed.....SINCE pushing is the exact same action as....well, you know....it is perfectly normal to have a small accident whilst doing so. It is really no big deal, and the nurses totally expect it. They will just wipe everything up and replace the little blue thing under you so fast that you won't even have time to think on it. I know. It will be ok, sweetie. I promise. Ok, now I have definitely LOST readers, but y'all PLEASE tell her that it's normal before you go!
So anyway. Before you know it, the baby will start crowning. You will feel pretty strong pressure at this point and you will hardly be able to contain your urge to push, but as soon as the head is out, it is imperative that you listen to your Dr. and resist. TRUST ME. If you continue to push, you could tear and you do not want to do that. I'll let someone else handle all of those details, because I fear that you are already twitching over the dukey thing, so we will just quickly go to the point that you are about to give one last push.
THAT, dear girl, is the best feeling you will ever feel. There is no feeling like it in the world. The minute that precious baby slips out of you. Oh, no words. I bet most Mama's are tearing up right now thinking of their own experience because it really is the most amazing thing. All at once, you feel profound physical relief, and JOY that is inexpressible as you look at that little person for the first time.
At this point, they will lay him/her on your belly and Coach or Dr. will cut the cord. They will end up taking the baby over to the little area set up in your room to check all of his/her vitals and all that stuff, while they finish with you. You may have to push one more time, but honestly, I don't remember ever having to do that. Anyone? It will be to deliver the placenta (lawsy mercy, we won't even go there). Then they will stitch you up, if need be, and get every one back to working order. We will discuss post-partum next week, though. This is already ridiculously long.
So girls, did I miss anything, or was my experience completely different from your's? Tell it, she's listening! And if you want to participate in this Fetus Friday, go here.
Have a great weekend, friends!