I gave birth 8 weeks ago, and I finally have the time and energy to talk about that experience.
Beforehand, I did daily stretches and exercises with spinning babies and paid special attention to my diet, and I think that helped immensely with preparing my body. But preparing my mind was more important than preparing my body as far as labor went. I listened to positive birth experiences nearly every day during my last month of pregnancy. The female body is made for birth. I had to retrain my brain that birth shouldn’t hurt that much. Society likes to show off how much birth hurts, but it doesn’t have to. It hurts more if you go into it being scared.
I did have prodromal labor (more intense Braxton Hicks) about a month before giving birth, and that was annoying. Then my son decided to stay inside several days after my due date. By the time I gave birth, I was so over being pregnant. I only had 2 pairs of pants that I could wear, and I was peeing all the time, which wasn’t great since I was having a hard time getting up and moving around anyway.
But we did finally get there. I lost my mucus plug about 10am. Then I started having contractions on and off all day. I visited my birthing center about 3pm, but I was only 2 cm dilated, so my husband and I went and hung out with his family and played board games until about 7pm. By then my contractions were feeling intense enough for me to just be laying on the couch silently with my eyes closed. At that point, I was 6 cm dilated.
At this point, they started filling the birthing pool with water. I didn’t plan on a water birth, and I didn’t even think I wanted one, but I’d heard that warm water helps relieve some of the ‘pain’ of labor, and let me tell you, it does! The contractions I had just before getting in the pool were more intense than the ones right before the baby.
So I’m in the water. I have a few more hours of contractions (this is when it’ll really help to have some tunes or something to pass the time), and then my body just begins pushing. Once I figured it out, I remember thinking how we were almost done, and I started pushing with everything I had. I was so tired, and I just wanted to sleep. It didn’t even feel any ‘pain’ at all for a while. There was only the need to push and be done. It does feel surprisingly like taking a huge poop.
I pushed for about an hour (I don’t know exactly-it was all a blur by then) . I remember the ring of fire (when baby’s head is coming out) happening, but what really hurt at that point were the backs of my knees because I’d been squatting for so long. Jn a few minutes from then, we had a baby.
After that, I sat in the water for a while, but when we finally got me out, I went and laid down on the birthing bed and didn’t get up for nearly 2 hours. I didn’t end up tearing or anything, but I had pretty much no bladder control at all for a few days. If I had to pee, it just went. It’s like there was just a huge hole under me. But not for poop. Bowel movements were foreboding for a few days.
I did use some arnica gel for soreness before and after. It helped some on my thighs. You can find it on Amazon or at most drug stores.
Anyway, that’s the quick-ish version of my birth story. Parenthood has been hands-down much more difficult than labor. Being pregnant was harder than labor. Don’t worry about labor, ladies. It’s definitely work (there’s a reason it’s called labor), but it’s not bad. It’s kind of like running a marathon. Internee, but good.