Every since about the week before Mother’s Day, there’s been this meme going around or a challenge, if you will, to the tune of, “In honor of Mother’s Day, tell us all about your labor with your child(ren)”. As I am reading the posts of my friends, and posts of their friends that they’re commenting on & thinking about my own labor, I’ve come to realize something, two very BIG somethings, in the world of childbirth:
(1) I don’t know what it is to be in more of five hours of labor
(2) I don’t know what it is to push more than 15 minutes…..at all. Like, not at all.
As I am reading the stories of others, they’re similar to everything that I’ve seen before: 10 + hours in labor and maybe an hour or two of pushing. That’s standard.
What is also standard, especially for the first time mom is a 24-26 hour labor. These are all very standard things. I’ve never had that before. Even with being induced with my first one, I went in on a Tuesday to be induced for labor and I had absolutely NO labor until I delivered our child early in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, but I had absolutely no labor until 9:45pm on Wednesday evening. My active, “Honey, you better go get the nurse…” labor started right around 9:45pm (Wednesday) and the baby was born 3 hours and 8 minutes later at 12:53am.
My subsequent labors were the same. Baby #2’s labor started early in the morning at 3:55am and I was delivered of child, a few hours later at 6:38am (the same morning). Baby #3 had no active labor and no, inactive labor until 11:35pm and he arrived that same night at 1:22am in the morning. My #3 was a little bit different, in that I went to the hospital earlier that morning because “I didn’t feel right”. I asked my husband to meet me there and sure enough I was 8 centimeters dilated but with no labor, so they couldn’t send me home, but….I wasn’t in labor. There was lots of walking the halls and hoping that I would be in labor but I was not. Thankfully, I didn’t have to be induced and the labor did start on it’s own. Long story short, what was so different about my labors & the labors and stories of so many other women that I hear from with hours & days in to deliver a baby?! I think that it was my beliefs.
I 100% attribute my short labors, and subsequently short labors to my belief that you don’t have to take forever. It does not have to be an all day thing and just because every other woman that you know has had a 24-26 hour (or more) labor doesn’t mean that you have to.
I took to reading books during my first pregnancy on painless childbirth. I immediately began seeking that out because I wanted to know whether or not it was possible. And I don’t mean with an epidural. Not that there’s anything wrong with a woman that gets one, I just knew that that was not my lot in life, and it was not something that I wanted to do. I believed that there might be a small chance possible that we could have a baby, and that it would not hurt. Impossible? Well, it didn’t happen with my first, it happened with my second. More on that, later.
Anyhow, I sought about books about natural birth stories, and natural stories of labor from around the world and there was one common denominator – amongst women in other countries, birth was not feared. If it’s something that is natural, that God created our bodies to do then why should it be?
Secondly, we set our intentions. A couple of months before our baby was born, in the birthing class that we were taking, we were asked to go around the room, after a moment with our eyes closed and state our intentions of how long our birth would be. Confidently, I said, “2-6 hours”. Now, I was told, that aware from 4-14 hours was reasonable for a first-time mom, but I said, 2-6 hours and that’s what I got (3 + hours with 5 whole minutes of pushing)!
From that point forward, from having read and experienced that a monsturous labor didn’t have to be my norm, just because it was everyone else’s, I changed what I expected from labor and childbirth, I shut out people that had stories that supported otherwise & I have had nothing shy of short labors, and subsequently short ones, since my first one. That is how my beliefs changed the length of my labors & childbirth!