If you are a:
- 1st time mommy
- mommy having a vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC)
- 1st time mommy having no pain medicine
this experience called LABOR might be very new to you. If this is you, this birth experience can feel like you are having a baby for the very first time. Rest assured, you are not alone! You can do this and your body was made to have babies this way. So, I thought I would share a couple of my experiences of how my labors started and progressed.
First of all, the word labor is a little negative, so I will call this period of time, birth or birthing your baby.
My first at age 20 months
Thinking back to my very first birth, I read and read. I wanted to have as much knowledge, so there wouldn’t be any surprises. I loved all the books I read and the classes I took. I felt very prepared.
The day before the birth, I was at church. I started feeling the tight tummy or Braxton hicks more frequently. I didn’t have any pain, just a REALLY tight tummy. I began to keep track of how frequently they were coming and it was about every 10 minutes. I still didn’t tell my husband…I wanted to make sure I was really getting ready to birth this baby.
We went home from church, rested, had dinner, hung out with family, and got ready for bed. I went to bed and at 1 am, and was woken up to my water releasing. That was an interesting popping feeling. I felt like I had wet the bed. I knew then, the baby would be born soon. Then the tightening came more frequent, about every 5 minutes. Now the tightening felt like an uncomfortable menstrual cramp.
They were finally coming every 3 minutes and I felt discomfort in my lower back. I had learned some great positions and breathing techniques to help me work with each contraction or surge. This part lasted about an hour or so and then it was time for me to breathe the baby out.
It was probably an hour and then little baby was out! From the time my water released to the birth, it was about 6 hours.
This was a very relaxing part of the birth. I got to listen to my Hypnobirthing CDs, and breathe.
This birthing experience was a little different at the beginning. I never had the regular tummy tightening like my first one.
I remember waking up the morning of the birth day, and I had lost the mucus plug. This is a clear mucus with a little blood in it. This is a great sign for when you are getting closer to birthing your baby.
I put a pad on and told my husband we needed to go walking. It was Christmas time, so we loaded the kids up and headed to the mall to visit Santa. While we were there, I had sporadic surges/contractions. With each one, I would have a tiny bit of the menstrual cramp feeling.
After a couple hours, the surges still were not regular. I rested, but while resting, I would wake up during a surge. This was a good sign. Then I started watching my clock. They were coming every 15 minutes now! I then helped with dinner and during this, I would need to visit the bathroom.
I could feel the baby descending, and the head was pushing on my rectum. I was having some good bowel movements now:) The discomfort was becoming a little more intense in my back now. I continued to help with dinner, but didn’t really feel like eating. The surges were every 5 minutes. I finally told my husband that I needed the birthing tub set up.
I was in the tub for about an hour and then our 5th baby was born
Again, I used my positions, breathing, and hypnobirthing CDs to help during this stage. After I got into the tub, the surges were not as close together, BUT they were more intense. I was in the tub for about an hour and my body wanted to breathe the baby out. She was born after a few good surges! Compared to my first birth, the water added so much comfort during the transition part of labor.
I have realized that with the early stages of labor, it can be very different. Then when it comes closer to the actual birth, the labor is about the same. Here is a description of the different stages that take place.
Stages of Labor
3 stages of labor
The first stage begins when you start having contractions that cause progressive changes in your cervix and ends when your cervix is fully dilated. This stage is divided into two phases:
- Early labor: Your cervix gradually effaces (thins out) and dilates (opens).
- Active labor: Your cervix begins to dilate more rapidly, and contractions are longer, stronger, and closer together. People often refer to the last part of active labor as transition.
The second stage of labor begins once you’re fully dilated and ends with the birth of your baby. This is sometimes referred to as the “pushing” stage.
The third stage begins right after the birth of your baby and ends with the delivery of the placenta. (http://www.babycenter.com/stages-of-labor)
A day after the birth of my 2nd girl
This a a time to listen to your body. Make sure you have a good support team, that will encourage you to achieve the labor and birth you desire. This can be one of the most empowering times of a woman’s life! It definitely is for me.