No other natural bodily function is painful and childbirth should not be an exception.
Yesterday we had our second (and last) childbirth class with our doula, Teresa. The baby was tumbling around the entire class, and when the other girls’ babies started moving, we said they were psychically talking to each other! Hopefully that means they came to an agreement as to when they’d be born, so nobody would be born at the same time!
We watched the video “Birth Into Being – The Russian Waterbirth Experience” featuring Barbara Harper. It showed many water births quite graphically (who gives birth in a fish tank, really?!) and births in the sea. It was actually quite beautiful and fascinating, making water birth look like a fabulous plan.
During the bulk of the class, Teresa discussed the “Road Map of Labor” – basically what to expect when it comes to labor and birthing start to finish. It was really fascinating to hear all about it in such detail. You read about the stages of labor over and over again, but there are so many variables, and no book really describes what it feels like, how to deal with each stage, and crazy things that may just happen.
The most interesting thing that I got from that discussion related to my fear of tearing. Teresa said forget the perineum massages, it’s all about the “ring of fire” when you’re pushing. When you push hard and force the baby through when it is crowning, then you are highly likely to tear. The trick is when you start feeling the ring of fire, stop pushing. Feel it… let your body stretch slowly and naturally to accomodate the baby. Push again when the fire eases up. The problem is when women receive epidurals, they can’t feel the ring of fire and have someone telling them to push, forcing the baby through before the body stretches fully to accomodate the bulk.
We left with a few assignments, and given that I am due in less than a month, we needed to get started on them right away! This morning we started on our hospital birth plan. If we get transferred to the hospital for some reason (will not happen!) it is important to be prepared and make our wishes known to the hospital staff. I sent it to our midwife and doula to look over, but may share here when it’s complete!
Next, I wrote inspirational childbirth quotes on note cards to hang up around the house!
Then, I need to keep doing my childbirth exercises and the ice cube thing, and Luke’s job is to remind me to do so (and I need to start trying to listen to him!)
The next assignment would be awesome for energetic newlyweds but may be tougher to accomplish for someone who is not only heavily pregnant, but working full-time and exhausted… have sex 4-5 times per week. Supposedly semen actually works to help soften and thin the cervix, actually making labor and childbirth easier! So the advice is do it regularly, and don’t pull out!
There are lots of things left to do before the baby is born, but I am just trying to check things off the list one at a time and not stress about it. We haven’t even started our search for a pediatrician, I need to get approval for telecommuting one day a week at work and do the paperwork for the daycare, and finish up research on vaccines so I have a solid yes/no list.
Luckily we have all the stuff we need, and I am washing all the little baby clothes, blankets and diapers today! Should the baby come early, at least we have all the most important things taken care of.