I was going to wait a while before doing this, but since this one is *rather* pressing, I thought I’d start with it. This is in answer to Neuba’s question for cenobyte.
Could you tell me about your labour experience with your children?
Also, a second questions if you don’t mind.
What is the most valuable piece of motherly advice you would give to new mothers?
Both of my labours were extremely fast. With The Captain, I was having Braxton-Hicks ‘contraptions’ for a couple of days, and then Wade drew forth the dark spawn from my womb at a Cthulhu Live game – I went in to labour later that day. At 6:00 in the morning. My water broke, and it was nothing like what is described in the books or classes; I could completely control the flow, and it wasn’t gushy *or* drippy. I did notice, however, that I did not feel like I had to pee, but…kind of could. The contractions started in my lower back with The Captain. I had a back labour with him (he was facing the wrong way, and putting pressure on my lower spine and pelvis).
I won’t go over the horrible story of what happened to me in the hospital.
Physically, though, I went in to ‘active’ labour only about three hours after my water broke. My contractions were more painful, more constant, and – here’s the ticket – I could *see* the shape of my belly contract with each one. I spent an *awful* lot of time labouring in the tub. Water really, really, REALLY helps.
I had no anaesthetic with either of my labours.
I don’t remember the most painful part of T’s labour (the “ring of fire” when baby is crowning and stretching your perineum past where it’s comfortable being – perineal massage REALLY helps. REALLY), but I do remember the feeling of delivering him. The part I was most scared of, going in to it, was not feeling ready. I felt the same way with The Nipper. The Captain was born at twenty past ten in the morning. I was in labour for just over four hours with him.
I did a lot of walking and moving around to alleviate the pain. And I forgot pretty much everything the useless prenatal classes had told me. I learned pretty quickly that I just had to let my body do what it needed to do, so I willingly gave up control and that made some of the fear go away.
With The Nipper, I’d been having increasingly strong Braxton-Hicks contractions for about a week. I’d lost my mucous plug about a week or two before my labour started, and was somewhat nervous about that, but in the long run, it was all good. His Nibs got nervous when we were walking through a parking lot and I had to stop when a particularly insistent B-H hit me. Probably, looking back, probably that was the early stage of labour.
We went to see “Sean of the Dead”, and that night, at 2:30, I woke up to use the bathroom. As I got out of bed, my water broke. It didn’t gush; it just kind of splooked. So I woke up His Nibs (who is *terribly cute* when he’s nervous and frightened). By the time we’d driven in to the city and called the doctor and the doula, my contractions were strong enough (not staggeringly painful; just strong, kind of like a prolonged mild electrical shock) that I was uncomfortable sitting *or* standing.
Our doula arrived and she began massaging my hips (which was AWESOME) because I could feel my cervix effacing. I could feel my pelvis being ripped apart. That was painful. Contractions, not so much. I walked around a bit, did some stretching, and when I started feeling actual “real” pain, I got into the tub. After about 10 minutes, I had this HUGE contraction where I saw my belly change shape, and I said,
His Nibs said, “Ooo? What do you mean Oooo? Is this a good Ooo or a bad Ooo?”
And I said, “this is an “I need to push, Ooo””
My doula leapt up and got the nurse, who came in and it took all three of them to get me out of the tub – I would have been perfectly happy to birth in the tub. They got me into the delivery room and up on the bed. They said, “just wait, now. The doctor is just up the hall doing some repairs…”
And I said, “Well, if baby’s coming, he’s coming, soo…”
The doctor arrived just as the second big contraction hit. Then there was the ‘ring of fire’. Then, The Nipper squipped out. The doctor pulled on the umbilical cord to deliver the placenta, which made me angry, but all in all, it went perfectly smoothly.
The Nipper was born just after 6am. The worst thing about the entire experience with the Nipper was a) I was not at home (I desperately wanted to have my kids at home), and b) The head nurse kept coming in, after we were moved to the maternity ward, to rip open my gown and squeeze my nipples.
Here is something not a lot of people talk about after you have a baby: it burns when you pee. Even if you don’t have any stitches, it really burns when you pee. And you’re going to be scared to poop for a couple of days, because you’ll think you’re going to tear everything open, and, let’s be honest. Your muscles are sore as all hell. It’s like going upstairs when your glutes are stiff. But, you know, waaaaaaaaay more intense. But at the hospital (if you’re going to birth in the hospital), they don’t want to let you go until you’ve had a poop.
The blood clots are weird, too, because you can feel them passing.
And the pads are bloody annoying. I hate the pads.
The most valuable piece of worldly advice I would give to new mothers is this:
It takes a whole village to raise a child.
All the new-agers and hippies are telling you to trust your instincts and to do what feels right, and that you’ll know what to do when baby arrives.
That is, pardon me, hippies, bullshit. Having a kid is like any other thing in your life: it’s a learning experience. Ask questions. Don’t take the first answer you get as canon. Let people help you. Sleep whenever you can. Don’t worry about the dishes. The house won’t kill you if it’s messy. Love your baby. Spend time just watching him nurse. Worry. Don’t worry. But seriously, don’t bother cleaning the house. There’s plenty of time for cleaning and dishes when J is home, or when baby is getting ready to go to school in five years. You DO NOT (and should not) have to do it all. Or even most of it. The only thing you need to do is be well.
Most importantly, don’t freak out if you don’t know what’s going on or what’s going to happen or what to do or how to do it. You’re not supposed to know. You’re supposed to *learn*.
Also, if you feel overwhelmed and sad and anxious, **talk to your nurses/doula/midwives** about it. Your hormones are going to be **all over the place**, and so emotions will be buggy.
And love. Always love.