Wednesday, April 6, 2011

emotional signposts and liza's birth.

My hospital birth plan clearly states that I do not want my cervix checked during labor, unless requested by me.  Why?  Because that number means nothing.  Seriously.  Knowing your dilation, effacement or station means nothing, except for one thing.....a baby is coming at some point in the (hopefully near) future.

Once you realize dilation isn't an accurate measure of your stage of labor, you learn to depend on your emotional signposts as your guide through labor:

Emotional Signpost 1:  Excitement  
August 7, 2:15am -- I woke up with contractions 2.5 minutes apart and I was THRILLED!!!  To say my emotional signpost was "excited" does not come close to summing up my emotions.  I was finally in labor 9 days past my estimated due date, my contractions were already very close together and I would be meeting my baby girl soon.  Yeah.  I was excited.  I called my midwife and updated her on the progress, sat on my exercise ball and watch the first half of a movie on Hulu.  Taylor got out of bed and began preparing the birth tub.  At this point, I realized  I was highly regretful that no one was there to photo-document our big day so I decided to be photographer......and exactly one picture later, it was obvious to me that I had entered the next stage of labor.

Emotional Signpost 2:  Seriousness
Time is a blur at this point but I remember feeling so thankful for the million birth stories I read during pregnancy and thinking how much I loved this stage of labor but how awful it would be if I didn't know what was happening to my body.  Between contractions, I paced our little house thankful to be home and not in a sterile hospital environment.  During contractions, I faced a corner next to Liza's bedroom door, swayed my hips, breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth and visualized my baby girl moving lower and lower.  I could feel the contractions becoming more intense and I knew transition was nearing.  I was scared of the unknown but I trusted my body to safely bring our baby earthside.

Emotional Signpost 3:  Self-Doubt
I remember standing in our dining room making a very low tone and telling myself that transition was here.  Immediately, I threw up in a bowl my midwife had near and asked if it was okay for me to get in the tub.  My body was tense and I couldn't relax.  My mind was reminding me that I knew transition would be hard and I must not submit to the pain.  It was bad.  I could not relax.  I could not breathe.  I could think perfectly clear thoughts but my logical brain could not convince my emotional brain to calm down.  We moved from the tub in the living room to our bed.  There, I began to focus and remembered the task on hand was to push a baby out.  And, exactly 5 hours from my first contraction, Elizabeth Ophelia was born on her parents' bed.

Did you experience these emotional signposts during labor?


Mandi S. said...

I do remember being excited with both labors...Tripp's-being excited that I was (finally) in labor for the first time and Charlie's-just that I was FINALLY in labor!!

Seriousness-Yes, definitely with Tripp's. It was quite sudden that I had to concentrate and things picked up speed quickly. I remember the exact moment sitting in my bathroom with my mom when I realized I was quickly thrown into active labor and approaching transition. Charlie's- not so much. His was slow and drawn out and just very mellow. I do recall some seriousness during a contraction but never in between until transition.

Self doubt-This was something I never, even for a minute felt. I was just so confident in my ability to give birth and so comfortable in my own home and with my midwives and my support team (hubby, mom, dad) that I truly never had that freak-out self doubting moment during transition. I did throw up and did have the weirdest cold chills w/ Charlie. I also remember w/ Tripp's it went SO fast that my mind was kind of spinning. Charlie's, again was slow & mellow, but transition during his labor was very deep and dark and poetic (as crazy as that sounds).

I went into labor the first time, fearing this "self doubt" stage but kept reminding myself that I could and would do this. After the fact, it almost irritates me that SO many people preach the transitional stage in this manner. I feel like it puts the idea out there, that no matter what, your going to emotionally freak out and doubt yourself, when in fact, it may never happen. I wish it more people would say, "hey this could happen, but it very well may not". Do we need one more thing to make women doubt their own abilities? Not to invalidate you or any woman who has felt this way b/c indeed, it is a real possibility and a justified reaction. I just don't like how most texts put it out there as an end all, be all scenario for transition.

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Mandi, I've wondered if the fear of transition was somewhat responsible for my eagerness to totally throw in the towel for that brief period.

I needed a doula to talk me down and needed more of a support team to remind that I could do it.

You gave me some thinking points :)

Mollyandollie said...

I had such a wierd and unnatural labor that I almost didn't have a chance to FEEL much. I had preeclampsia and was induced at 40 weeks. My body was not there yet so the midwives used the whole arsenal to get my labor going. I remember the excitement when I could first feel the contractions and thinking ok! here we goooo! Then the focus when my water broke and the surges became much more intense. I was so swollen that I couldn't move and this time was soooo hard. I couldn't move with the contractions and got tired real fast. I ended up having an epidural and so I missed Transition. My favorite part was when I felt the urge to push! That was exilerating and empowering to finally be able to participate in my labor. I remember screaming "I am so fing powerful!! " at some point! Oliver was born via Csection after that and that was a bit anticlimactic for sure. I'm hoping with number 2 (when that blessed event happens) to do a home birth like we had planned for Oliver.

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Molly, I'm looking forward to reading your hbac story whenever the time is ready :)

Jude and Alisha said...

I'll try to comment soon. Just don't have time now...

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

I was hoping you would chime in, Alisha.

Kaitlin, still waiting to hear about your lack of transition :)