Wednesday, April 9

Hurah! Brunch and Labor Thoughts

I wrote this post a month or so ago and contemplated whether or not to post it since in some minds (mostly mens) it may be too much information and also I am a pretty private person in general.
So if you are of the male species, be forewarned that this post contains information regarding birth in general and feel free to skip it.

This morning we were blessed to have six different women and a passel of little toddlers running through the house. My one last Hurrah! brunch before baby!
Everyone was wonderful and brought food so all I supplied were local bacon, fresh eggs, a coffeecake and drinks. There was a plethora of food and talking and toddlers. A few of the women were ones in our district that I've been wanting to have over forever and a few were old friends. It was a nice mix and I hope everyone had a good time.
Now the house is quiet and I'll join the littles in a bit for a nap.

I've been thinking a lot about labor lately, since it is up and coming and since my midwife has been asking how it usually goes for me.
Miserable, of course. Does anyone like labor? I'm always excited at first and a few hours later wishing I were anywhere else doing anything else.
I've been in labor four times and each experience was different from the next one.

Without delving into the nitty gritty of labor or giving too much information, I will share some things that help me when I am in labor.

1.)Remember (and I tell myself this throughout labor) that God created my body for this function and it will do what it needs to do.
This is especially important if you are a first time mom or delivering VBAC and every feeling and twinge is new and scary. God is a master designer and planner and He did a wonderful thing in orchestrating how a baby is born.

2.)Don't panic.
A normal human response to pain is to pull away and stop whatever is painful. Viewing each contraction in my mind as pushing the baby down and out really helps. This takes the feeling of a contraction from registering as pain to registering as useful.

3.) Mental strength in labor is everything.
Having a strong support person to tell you that "you can do this" really, really helps. Nothing is worse than having someone with a negative spirit around. During my first labor, as afraid to offend as I can be, I actually asked for a new nurse to replace the grumpy one assigned to me.

4.) Make use of a hot shower or hot bath.
I truly think I would die (slight exaggeration) if I didn't have a hot shower during labor. It makes the discomfort better and pain more tolerable and progresses your labor so you can hold that new sweetie in your arms sooner.

5.) Don't panic at the adrenaline rush.
Right before the baby is born, the women's body releases adrenaline to get the job done. Often this is when a woman will start shaking or sometimes puking.
I puke. Pleasant, I know. and I won't mention the terrible things I have eaten right before labor. Neither will Sean. The pleasant part of it is that I know this job is almost over and the end is in sight. Usually when I feel this rush of adrenaline I frantically ask Sean to start praying, which I know he's already been doing, but asking him helps me feel better.
I love his prayers. They really do give me strength.

Again, having a mental picture in your mind of your body opening to let the baby out helps significantly. Keep your mouth open and loose. Keeping your lips tight and your face pinched actually make it harder for the baby to be pushed out.

7.) If you are having a hospital birth here are a few more recommendations.
a. don't worry about offending anyone.
b. feel free to say "no".
If the tech comes in to take your blood during a contraction, tell him to come back later. During my last labor, the tech came in so late into things that he got shoved aside and pushed against a wall with a look of panic in his eyes as I began to push.
c. in most cases you don't have to have an I.V. put in.
Say no thank you with that look in your eye that says "I'm a woman in labor, do you really want to cross me?"
d. speak up for yourself and your body.
With our last child, the doctor wouldn't admit me because he was sure I would have to be sent home. I literally looked at him (with the look I mentioned above) and said, "No. I know what my body is doing. I know my body." A kind nurse let me walk around the halls, take a hot shower and there was beautiful Miss Catherine with the nurses catching her and the doctor running in as an afterthought in his suit. The doctor was so upset that he didn't get his way that he refused to see me the rest of the time I was in the hospital. Real mature of him.
Can you tell I'm really looking forward to having this wee one at home?

Off to a nap now and then to order birth supplies. Anyone curious as to what you need to order for a home birth?


Jack's Mommy said...

Thank you SO much for this post! I really, truly needed these words. My baby is due on May 6th (my countdown says 27 days left just like yours does!). I've already had a 4 day hospital stay at 34 weeks where they prevented preterm labor. I'm now home on bedrest...and the thoughts of giving birth for the first time scare me to death. I've gotten more and more scared over the past 2 weeks..all sorts of fears cross my mind from the pain to the possibility of passing out (i have a medical history of fainting). Thank you again for your post!!! I've even printed it out! ~Lisa

Diane said...

I had a difficult time in post labor. The thought that got me through was that I've done all that I can do, the doctor is doing all that he can do and God has got the rest totally covered. No matter how many books or movies or stories you're heard, it will be scary and beautiful, ugly and wonderful all at the same time. I pray an easy, uneventful birthing process for all you prego's out there!

Me said...

Jack's Mommy, I'm sure you'll do fine! Which of us will have the baby first, do you think?
Diane, I hadn't thought to mention post labor trauma so thank you! I've always been lucky enough to have the hard part over after pushing! I love your prayers, you know!

This Journey of Mine said...

Yes, I am so curious as to what you need for supplies for a home birth! This may sound odd, but I've always wondered, do you just buy a new bed after everythings over with?!!! I'm serious! Who takes care of all the clean up? Yea, I have lots of questions and wonderments!

Me said...

Hi On Fire,
No, I don't need to uy a new bed, but that might be a GREAT excuse to convince Sean we need a king sized bed. Right now we have a queen sized bed that gets very crowded on Saturday mornings when everyone piles in!
Some of the things I needed to buy were chux pads, two humongous waterproof plastic backed blue sheets, sterile gloves and 4x4's, bentadine (sp?), comfrey root, olive oil, thermometer, peri bottle, juice and snacks for during labor...
The midwife brings oxygen, meds, suture stuff (hopefully NOT needed) , forceps, heart moniter for baby and all that other professional stuff.
I've heard some women put a shower curtain under their fitted sheet and then just toss the sheet afterward which is probably what I'll do though many women don't actually give birth in the bed. WHo knows. We'll see, I guess!

annie said...

Thank you for this post. Our first child was born last June and it was a scary experience for a first time mama. I've been apprehensive about having another, even though my heart longs for more children.

Our daughter was born at home with a midwife, and even though it was scary during the birth, everything was really quite wonderful before and after. I hope to have homebirths for any future children. I'm not sure where we got our birthing supplies because our midwife ordered them but I do know they were from a Christian company in Texas, I believe. To keep me busy during early labor my midwife had me make up the bed. On top of the mattress I put down a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth from a thrift store, made the bed with nice sheets, put another thrifted vinyl/flannel tablecloth over that, and then put down a thrifted old sheet. We also put an old shower curtain, cut in half, on the floor going from the bedroom to the bathroom. I did end up having the baby on the bed, so I was glad for the tablecloths. I was also glad the bed was already made up, so when I got out of the shower and cleaned up my husband had the sheets turned back and we could snuggle with our new 8.5lbs of bliss on a clean and fresh bed.

Sorry if that's TMI. :)

I've been reading your blog for a little while now. It somehow speaks peace to me, and happiness.

And I love the sweater you're usually wearing. It looks comfortable and warm and fun.

Me said...

Hi Annie,
Thank you for sharing your home birth eperiance. Birth the first time around is new and scary just because it is something our bodies have never done before. It DOES get easier. Our first child took 21 hours to be born and the most recent one just took three hours of hard labor.
I like your ideas for what you did with the bed and I'll probably do the same.
I like my sweater too. It was a great thrifted find and knitted so thickly with wool that it has kept me warm most of the winter. It'll be nice next winter when i can fasten it all the way down though!