Friday, January 25, 2013

Things I Actually Enjoyed About Labor and Delivery

This was me, in the hospital all set to deliver H., right about when things started to hurt but still about an hour and a half away from calling the mister:

enjoying childbirth

Fact: Birthing babies is downright uncomfortable. While there were some, er, simply fascinating orgasmic birth videos making the rounds a while back, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that for most of us mamas, giving birth is anything but orgasmic.

Still, amid all the writhing around in bed - please don't tell me to stand up or squat or go take a bath during labor because I will shiv you - I did enjoy some aspects of pushing H. out into the world. For instance:

Vocalizing. Okay, yelling. Getting loud felt amazing. And not just because it was a perfect excuse to say my piece - where the entirety of my piece was "SHUT IT, NOW, GUYS." It just felt so darn good to yell and moan and whine.

The breaks. Oh, lordy, those breaks! With P.'s labor, the contractions in those final 15 minutes came one right after another with no time to even steel myself for the onslaught so I was just riding this wave of hurt. With H., though, there was about 30 seconds in between each contraction and I enjoyed the heck out of each and every one of those seconds. I just relaxed right into them. Bliss.

My nurse's barely contained amusement. She was trying not laugh because, as she described it later, I sounded like I was about the go Hulk on her. It didn't help that I was growling "BABY, GET OUT. GET OUT RIGHT NOW, BABY." over and over again because H. was turtling in my birth canal and that just wasn't cool.

Having my mom there. Seriously. I don't know why, since it's something I said I'd never, ever do, and it's not like she was holding my hand or anything. But, eh, I knew she'd want to be there and who's in the audience doesn't make much of a difference when you're busy birthing a baby.

My sci-fi focal point. If you watch Doctor Who, maybe you remember the episode where Amy Pond is giving birth in some white alien room and there's some sort of round thing on the wall? Well, the ultrabright light over my hospital bed was also round, so I was just out of my head having contractions pretending I'd been kidnapped by aliens who were monitoring me. For science, or whatever. Those kidnapping ETs gave me something to think about other than when-will-this-@#$%-baby-get-out-of-my-birth-canal.

Walking the halls for a few hours at around one in the morning, peeking into any room with an open door on the sly just to see if anyone else was having a similar experience. (And you know, even though every other room had a birthing mama in it, I didn't hear a peep out of any of 'em. They were either quite reserved or epiduralled to the nines! Hope I didn't scare any of 'em with my "vocalizing".)

The duration. My labor with H. was pretty much EXACTLY as long as my labor with P. Three and a half hours from real pangs to baby. Not complainin'!

The end part. Pushing out the placenta was totes gross, but didn't hurt. H. being a tiny bit early meant that they had to give him a good once over pretty soon after he came out, but as I recall he spent some time bundled on me before all that. And I got to nurse him right away, which I didn't get to do with P.

What did you actually like, if anything, about labor and delivery?


  1. I gave birth to my daughter, at home, on my bed. I was 23. It was a 36 hour ordeal, with three midwives, my husband, my sister and my 2 year old nephew in attendance. Despite all the reading and prep work I had done I had no idea what I was in for. There was no way for a book to prepare my body for a train to run through it. It got a little scary, until finally one of the midwives told me, 'Honey, listen, we have to make a decision. You need to push this baby out, or we need to go to the hospital." And suddenly I realized it had to happen right now, and that what had been stopping me was fear, and that fear was making it hurt. The power surge from pushing fear aside and leaning into the push totally blew me away. The most powerful thing I had ever felt was in me, and I finally understood I could control it, turn it into a loud primal hum and use it to push right through the pain. I could give birth to my baby, my Self and a whole new way of being. That was incredible. And the moment she was born, the light in that room, the way everything had been transformed, that was powerful.

    Two years later I gave birth to my son in a warm, amazing birthing pool in the middle of my dining room. Two of my amazing midwives, a doula, my husband and our two year old daughter were there. It was fast, warm, intense but not scary. There was something kind of magical in knowing that day I would give birth, again, without being afraid. The absence of fear made everything seem kind of dream like. I was laughing between contractions because the time between focused muscle squeezes was so delightful and relaxing. And when he was born, he floated out into the water, unfurled his limbs and hung there for a few blissfully expanded seconds before his cranky and squishy little head and pudgy round cheeks emerged over the top of the water to the sound of collective gasps, giggles, crying and declarations of love and robust health.

    It was magical. Much of my understanding of my own strength was born in those moments. Those power surges continue to give me mad Mom-fu.

    1. Dang, woman. I felt crazy Mom-fu just reading that!!

  2. I hated every bit of labor and delivery..
    Both of my pregnancies were induced and ended up in c-section. One worse than the other and for that, I never want anymore kids than what I have now.

    BTW, I'm hosting a cute Valentine's day giveaway on my blog.Please visit and pass the word around.

  3. My first was three days. Too long. They finally were going to do a c-section when she came out. I then asked for food. One nurse said it was too soon. Another told her, she's been without food or water for three days, she can have anything she wants. Baby #2 four hours and the third, two hours.

    What did I like about labor and delivery? Nothing except the end result, my girls.

    I loved your post. I'm careful not to share my three day story before a new mom has given birth.

  4. I hated labor and delivery with #8. I still consider mid-wives to be the devil. Great post. Stopping by from SITS.


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