Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I've been reflecting a lot over the sensations of labor, trying to decide if it was pain I was feeling or not.
I've mulled over the idea of "pressure, not pain" and I think that really is accurate. Labor involves amounts of pressure that we REALLY don't experience on a day to day basis. I mean, goodness, one of the uterus's MAIN jobs is to SQUEEZE your baby out! It's a muscle!
My labor with Heidi was different for whatever reasons. People say every labor is different anyway. Maybe it's my age, time of day, food eaten, music played, things I thought about...who knows! And maybe those reasons really don't matter. I think that labor with Esther was more like this time around. With Esther, because the pressure and intensity was so huge, I wasn't prepared for it. I was expecting a repeat of Heidi's birth. I really like that when labor started this time, I stayed up and found things to busy myself with. At that point it wasn't at all intense enough to require all my attention, but I think I would not have been able to sleep -- just as I wasn't able to sleep with Esther. And with Esther I was frustrated that I couldn't sleep. I really just wanted to sleep. Of course, I had just lain down to go to bed. With Becca I at least had slept two hours. But I think I would have handled things better with Esther if I had stayed awake and tried to find things to do. Oh well, right? She's a healthy two-almost-three-year-old now and she was born safe & sound! That's what really counts!
So anyway...I still find myself holding to the philosophy that labor does not have to hurt. And the biggest part of that is coming to a point where you can step back and avoid the "fear-tension-pain" cycle. Addressing any birthing issues early on and figuring out how to see things in a positive light and discard any concerns makes such a difference. And embracing and accepting the pressure that does accompany laboring. I'm not saying that labor is "enjoyable" the way watching a movie or reading a book is enjoyable. Labor is certainly intense and uncomfortable with a whole myriad of huge sensations, but I think pain is not a word to describe it. I realize that other people will differ in their opinions. Some of you will probably even outright disagree -- and that's okay! We're allowed to. :)
* And if you've noticed that I don't reference my labor with Autumn in any of these comments, that's because she was a 3-week-early-placental-abruption-water-broke-purely-pitocin-induced-threatening-c-section-ending-in-forceps-delivery. Thoughts on her delivery don't really fit what I'm talking about here. I'll save those for another day. Maybe.