When going through pregnancies many of us don't read ahead in the books to the part about labor because usually it ends up being a bad idea. This article is for the brave ladies who read ahead. The skippers to the end of the book. The preparers. Cheers to you.
You will find below some descriptions for labor and pushing. I know that was my biggest anxiety going into this whole having a baby adventure. I watched many a show on giving birth. When I was given a bad time by my husband about why I was watching these shows I calmly explained that I was hoping to find another way to give birth that no one had thought of yet. I didn't like either the c-section or natural birth. Neither was looking very fun. As it were there was not another way (at least that I was able to find.)
You may have better luck finding that magical way to give birth that evaded me. If you don't please find information below on the best ways to describe pushing and labor that can be found on the internet.
15 Ring Of Fire
Many people have suspected Johnny Cash wrote the song "Ring of Fire" about sexually transmitted disease. If you ask any mom that has pushed a baby out, they may respectfully disagree. There is no doubt that this is a description of the end labour. Specifically this is the very distinct feeling as that baby crowns. You may find the feeling to be uncomfortable, but one thing you should know when you get to that point is that you are doing awesome. This is the last part. You have made it through the marathon of birth and the ring of fire is like the torch that you are carrying and passing on to your baby. Was that as inspirational for you as it was meant to be? You are going to do this. Johnny Cash and I believe in you. Well, probably. You know you have my support anyway. I shouldn't speak for Johnny. He seems like he would be supportive.
You are going to feel a lot of pressure coming down on your uterus. You may feel like all your organs are trying to come out of your bottom. This feeling really can be scary if you aren't expecting it. Anatomically speaking this baby is going to make an appearance by traveling downward and that is going to require moving past some of your other functioning organs. As that baby goes, he or she may say "Hey" to your colon as it passes through putting pressure on it and other parts. Knowing that these feelings can be similar to going to the bathroom is helpful, though it does make giving birth a little less romantic. Don't worry. It's still a beautiful process and though some of the things that happen aren't "pretty" the natural process of life is something that is always amazing.
Guys, good news. Some women report feeling a feeling of relief after pushing the baby out. There is a build up and build up as the contractions are worse and worse. Your body gets geared up to do this thing, then the pushing starts. You get the hard work out of the way. Changing positions sometimes to effectively push that baby out. Once you start making progress and that baby starts to come out there can be a huge amount of relief. This can be both physical and mental relief. You can't imagine the rush you will get from having completed the process and pushed out the baby. the relief and happiness is insane. You are going to have relief from the contractions and the pushing. You are going to move on to cuddles with your squishy baby now.
12 Taking Off Your Spanx
Hear me out. You know when you take your spanx off for the day and they snap back to their shape after pulling and yanking them down. It's kind of that kind of sensation. You have the hard part out of the way and your body starts to try to snap back to its normal shape. Now just like the spanx, there is going to be some stretch that occurs. Those spanx learn to accommodate and shape to your body. Your new body learns to accommodate the new things it has going on. You will find that your uterus has to shrink down and things of that nature. There won't be an audible snap as you launch out the baby, but there will be a feeling that accompanies it that is similar to the way your body feels when it gets a break from those spanx. Like kicking off your shoes after a hard day.
11 Stretching Your Muscles
Have you ever stretched your muscles a little bit past their limit. That yoga class you took that you weren't quite ready for? This may have been a blessing in disguise as it gives you a peak into what you may feel in your nether regions and labour progresses. Depending on how your labour goes, this may be a slow stretch or a fast transition. Speaking of such things, are you remembering to do those kegel exercises? You could be doing them while you read this, ya know? Let's make a goal: by the time you finish reading this you should have done 45 kegels at least...And one, two, three...If you don't know what they are you can reference this article that goes into them.
10 Slip 'N Slide
You know this isn't all scary feelings and worry. You are having a baby here and it's going to be quite the ride. Your job is to make it as fun as possible. Or as safe as possible. This description is more about that last push when the baby comes out. Yay! Baby is out. You did it. There is sometimes a wet Slip 'N Slide feeling as more fluid can be felt coming out with the baby. Also, once you get the baby's head out, the shoulders and the rest typically will come out pretty easily as they are a little smaller than the head. You will feel that whoosh as the baby slips on out and things are about to get real.
9 Taking Your Fist Out of Your Mouth
This might be a weird one. You ever do that thing where you try to stick your whole fist in your mouth? Please say that you have. Well, you know how your mouth was stretched so much to get wide enough to stick the fist in. Then when you were able to get your fist out of your mouth, wow what a relief. You will feel something like that. If you are saying, "huh? I didn't do that - I was a normal teen." I have this to say to you, quit bragging. Also have you ever stuck your foot in your mouth? It may be similar to that too. Some might even say that sticking your foot in your mouth is a little more painful. Some of us wouldn't know that feeling.
8 Your Butt Exploding
You know being delicate in explaining this is important, but so is being real. We are hovering on the line. You may feel like your butt is going to explode. You may think "Oh my God, my butt is going to explode. What do I do?" I have researched it and nobody has ever had their butt explode during labour. I hope that makes you feel better about it. You may not feel better about it because well who feels better about feeling like their butt is going to explode? Not many people. Know that this feeling is going to end. Your butt will likely be intact and you will have a baby in your arms. You can look that baby in the eye and say "You almost made my butt explode, but I love you." You could say that. Probably don't. Think of better first words to the baby.
7 UTI Burning
Some women don't feel a whole ring of fire. They feel like a dot of fire or a half moon of fire. Some describe it as more of a burning like a urinary tract infection type burn. If you are not familiar with that type of pain, bless your heart. That one usually is a burning more in the front and it's like you feel like you need to urinate. You have pain in just kind of one area. You can't really predict where you will feel this. In fact to add just a small snippet of my story in here; I received an epidural and with my second I was still able to feel the ring of fire. Some women report feeling half of their body normally and half numb. In any case you will find relief from this pain as well once you push that baby out!
6 Involuntary Muscle Movement
Pushing is something that your body does signal you that it's time to get the show on the road for. You just know when it's going to start. Something changes in the blink of the eye and you know that you need the doctor there right now. And if you don't have the doctor there, that nurse better get her catchers mit on, dangit! Though there is sometimes a very conscious effort to push the baby down the birth canal, that doesn't always happen. Your body may be doing things you aren't even aware of. When it comes to the end of the labour your body knows what it's got to do and some people have described it as involuntary the way the muscles function to move the baby out.
Much of the labour feels like you are bystander in what your body is doing. You can't control how the contractions feel or when it's time to go to the hospital. You can't control when your water bag breaks. You can't control many things in the process, so when you get to take that step to push and feel like you are taking your power back. You are using your body and having to work now to push that baby out. Though there is much pain and discomfort there is also empowerment. There is a feeling of taking the power back when the spotlight turns to you to push that baby out and get things on track. You are a powerful superwoman who pushed a baby out. You are a goddess. You can take on the world. Rest up first though, you don't need to go crazy.
4 Split In Two
Well, yeah. You are going to probably feel like you are splitting in two for a moment. The good news is that you are not going to actually split in half. Also if that were to happen you have people there to help you. Presumably, in some capacity. If you are in the hospital or birthing center than these are the people that will put you back together, just like humpty dumpty. If you are home birthing with a midwife- heck yeah she's dealt with this. You are set. Some of you may even experience some tearing that will make you even more convinced that you are going to rip in two. Probably it's more correct to say that the baby ripped you a new one than to say that it ripped you in two. It's all semantics. You know what, you have been through enough you say whatever you want. You earned it. You
3 Hook one finger of each hand in your mouth and pull opposite ways
We are going to do an exercise to demonstrate a little about what things feel like. Hook a finger of your right hand in your mouth like a fish and do the same with your left hand. Now pull opposite ways. Make sure you have chapstick on so that you don't end up with a split lip. That pulling that stretches your mouth, that is the kind of stretching that will happen with your vagina as the baby makes an appearance into the world. There are going to be a few other factors that can't really be replicated like the contractions and urges to push. You get the idea though on how the stretching and the body accommodating the stretching will occur in this way. You can also imagine a little bit about the tearing. Much the same way your lip will sometimes split if it's pulled too far too fast, this is what can happen elsewhere too.
2 Someone Lighting A Fire Under Your Bum
You could describe the pain of pushing the babies head out as someone lighting a fire under your butt. The burning sensation you feel as the babies head engages and is crowning is very similar to what you would expect if you stood over a campfire for a moment. Public Service Announcement: don't really stand over a campfire to test this theory out. That would be dangerous and you are smarter than that. You can wait to find out what that feels like when the baby comes. It's important to remember too that different women have different experiences. You may not feel this way at all. Many women have escaped the fire under their butt feeling even when they didn't receive an epidural. Our bodies are all so unique.
1 Positive Pain
If you are doing this thing with no pain medication one thing that may help you is to think of this as a positive pain experience. There are few things in our world in which pain is positive so we let pain drive us to being scared. Being scared will drive you to feel the pain more and this in turn will repeat the cycle and cause much anxiety. Getting your head into a positive place to deal with the inevitable discomfort can help you to cope better with what is going to happen with your body. The pain will be there, but you can handle the pain and you know that the pain is there in order to give you a beautiful baby. If you end up not being able to handle the pain there are options available, but at the beginning really try to focus on the positive aspect of what the pain is doing for you.