Friday, June 28, 2013

Stop Crying

I've never in my life been so curious about how people respond to labor. So it's not surprising that I'm asking every mother I know to tell me her story.
I went through a similar stage as a teenager. Only at that time, I asked all the married couples I knew about falling in love.
Anyway, I recently talked to one of my mom's best friends about the labor and delivery of her two daughters.
Rosella said she knew she wanted a natural labor because she was absolutely terrified of the epidural.
Her brother had been paralyzed in an accident, and she didn't want to be paralyzed even temporarily.
She was hoping to take a Lamaze class, but by the time she went to sign up, none were available.
Her doctor said, "Don't worry. I'll coach you through it."
The first thing he said to her was, "Stop crying. You're wasting energy." 
I keep thinking about this advice, not in terms of labor but relative to life.
As in, what dream, desire, project or goal would be easier to birth into reality if I stopped wasting energy?


Doni Chamberlain June 29, 2013 at 12:11 AM  

I remember when I was in labor I wanted to pay close attention to what contractions were, so I could describe them later. The first one was like an abdomenal charlie horse. Not bad at all ... except there was a second, and third, and they just kept coming, every couple of minutes, for about 28 hours. I think it's labor's duration that makes it so difficult. One contraction? Easy. A day's worth? Maddening. (After docs said I'd "failed to progress" I ended up with a C-section, and I had C-sections for the subsequent two births. I've always felt that because I had C-sections, I didn't actually "deliver" my babies, but I had them delivered "from" me - difference between active and passive. I love hearing labor and delivery stories, too. So interesting. Thanks for letting me share. :)

Erin June 29, 2013 at 8:16 AM  

The best thing I've read about birth: “There is a secret in our culture and it is not that birth is painful but that women are strong."

I had three natural births - the first at a birth center and the other two at home. Each one was magical -- tremendously powerful experiences. They were hard, and there was pain -- but it was manageable because I felt very supported and in control. The power of the female body is tremendous.

What does it feel like? For me, it was like a giant tarp was wrapped around my belly and being pulled - hard- from both ends. Letting the contractions do their job was my job -- and it took a LOT of concentration. Then the pushing - at last, something to do!

Good on you for arming yourself with information-- I recommend surrounding yourself with supportive people and trusting your body to do what it was made to do. Looking forward to hearing your story.

Suzy Shepard,  July 1, 2013 at 5:31 AM  

I'm so grateful for your comments. My daughter in law Minal showed me your blog. I was not able to have children and turned to prayer. God gave me four beautiful babies each about two years apart. My first son was born over 37 years ago. The story may be too long to report here, but my children all came to me through miraculous events of love. My daily prayers were only to serve God and to love others.

Most important today, I wanted to report how all the fretting, sadness, worry, CRYING OUT, being hurt, frustrated, resentful, jealous -- didn't accomplish much except give me hives and a headache while I was waiting for the miracle of motherhood.

So, in birthing this sweet baby, stay on the birthing path and do not be dissuaded to leave that path. There seems to be this other route called: discouragement. The best route for us is the path of courage, trust, might, strength, intelligence, and power. All these good qualities will sustain you on your birth path.
I'll be sending you my mother/grandmother prayers and know you will continue to live in Grace.

minal July 1, 2013 at 10:36 AM  

Doni said it best when she wrote that the duration of labor is what makes it maddening.

My labor and delivery was similar to hers. I didn't think I'd need epidural nor a C-section, but it turned out that both were required. I was six centimeters dilated by the time I got situated at the hospital at 5:30 am. I expected to have my kid in three hours tops. But I reached seven an hour later and then all progress stopped. Exhaustion and pain set in and only increased thereafter. So it was time for epidural. Then relatives came by to offer opinions which also started wearing me down; thankfully Ben began acting as gatekeeper and politely asked people to butt out when necessary.

About 13 hours of standstill later Amir was lifted out of me via C-section. All that weight and pressure coming off my body was MAGICAL. I was so tired and wanted nothing more than a nap. In fact, when Ben brought Amir over to me a minute after delivery all I could muster was a smile before closing my eyes.

So my story didn't go the way I planned or even expected. There was stress and pain and even the need for diplomacy (a la wedding planning). I had little choice but to roll with it. The outcome though was exactly as I wanted: A healthy baby and healthy me.

FullOGrace July 1, 2013 at 11:10 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
FullOGrace July 1, 2013 at 11:11 AM  

My water broke and a calmness overtook me. The contractions were very light and I remember thinking, I can do this... Family members were called, flight arrangements began. After about an hour of calm, the real contractions began and I became less confident about my ability to make it through without the aid of pain management. I have a very low tolerance for pain.

I sat in a hot bath to ease the cramps. I continued to heat up my rice heating pad and apply it to my abdomen. My bag that had been diligently packed weeks prior suddenly didn't have the 'right stuff' in it. I made a point of repacking. Stalling. I didn't want to go to the hospital because once there, this baby was coming for sure. And I didn't feel ready.

I was scared. Excited. But still, very scared.

My birthing classes had taught me a few things. They suggested that during the worst contractions, I get on all fours and bellow in a lower register. Odd though it sounds, it helped. I am certain I looked crazy, but you stop caring about what others think.

Eventually, the nervous husband managed to convince me it was time to make the 30 minute trek to the hospital. Getting me out the door was no easy feat. I didn't want to go. I felt, insanely, that I could control the pain better from home. ?? Not sure why, but this is what happens when a control freak goes into labor. :)

The 30 minute car ride was tense, painful, and filled with anxiety. We arrived at the hospital and made our way to Labor and Delivery. I had to see the triage L&D nurse, was in lots of pain, and was convinced the nurse was out to get me. :) We also found out that I arrived at 4cm dilated! Glad we arrived when we did.

I finally got moved to my room, and got the epidural process started. Wow. I was much calmer after the epidural kicked in, managed to get a nap in, and when they came to give me more meds in the epidural a couple of hours later, they realized I was at 10cm and ready to go. 6 sets of 3 pushes and our little angel was screaming and making herself known. From the time my water broke until she was delivered was around 13 hours.

The pain of labor was immediately forgotten when they laid that little cherub on my chest. I was glad to have the epidural. Does that make me less of a woman, to some, but I couldn't take the pain. It helped and I was glad to have made the decision. :)

You will do amazing. Everyone's path is different and they are all amazing and worthwhile.



Libby Echeverria July 1, 2013 at 11:51 AM  

I am convinced that labor is different for every woman, and for every delivery - all three of mine were different. But the most important thing is to remember what is in your original post, and what I tell people all the time - every human being has a finite amount of physical, emotional and intellectual energy. You have to spend it wisely. Don't use your energy yelling and screaming, or fretting, or rebelling against the pain. Relax into it, reserve your energy, ride the wave of joy, be confident in your body's strength and the natural process, embrace the pain, because in this context it is good and right and not a sign that something is wrong...

The greatest thing about labor is that no matter how hard it gets (and it gets hard) you know the end result will be your child, and that joy is totally worth all the work and pain. And when it's over, it is truly OVER. Awesome!!

Mandy_Fish August 14, 2013 at 11:44 AM  

What I think is beautiful about giving birth is that you really have to give up control. Being a control freak about everything else in my life, there's something almost liberating about not being able to control this one. Ha. Can't control when it's going to happen or how it's going to happen. Just have to ride it out and see how it goes. I can tell you that my experience with Buddhism and meditation helped me with both of my labors. I was able to ride out the contractions pretty calmly until it was time to go to the hospital and time for the epidurals.

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