As mentioned in a previous post I anticipated that there would be a lot of questions. I decided it made the most sense to consolidate all of the information in one place, and so this post is your opportunity to let loose and ask all of those burning questions. I just knew someone would be asking about pooping while pushing.
Below are the questions that have already been asked, with my answers. I’ll be answering those asked in the comment section when I can get to them (ummm, T1 is pretty demanding FYI), and I may be bringing up a few common/interesting inquiries up and adding them into the body of this post later on. I won’t be answering questions about breastfeeding or the recovery as I plan on writing separate posts on those topics later. Please take the time to read the questions that have already been asked to prevent duplicate questions as much as possible. And Kelli/Mom/Shay/TH, feel free to chime in and add in your own thoughts wherever you please!
I had a few questions about the delivery of the placenta, which I somehow forgot to add in to my birth story. See Part IV of my story where I added in a small paragraph about pushing out the placenta.
You said that the pressure didn’t necessarily feel like you were going to have a BM, but at any point during labor did you have one? – Em
I knew someone would ask this question! Not offended in the least and I only didn’t include it in my birth story because I didn’t really want to have it there. If you were reading your own mother’s birth story would you want to know if she pooped all over the place? The answer to your question is yes, several times during the pushing stage. I never would have known that though if I didn’t have a video of the birth. I made That Husband promise to never, ever talk about my bowel movements during the pushing stage, as I didn’t want him teasing me about what happened and then have me feeling stressed about it happening again during the next labor. I didn’t feel anything coming out of my bum at all (just the baby, ha!) and honestly even if I had known at the time I probably wouldn’t have cared. I was past the point of dignity and caring and embarrassment, I just wanted baby to be out. The midwives were very discreet about taking care of the little pooplets that came out and I actually can’t see them on the video, just the midwife reaching down with a paper towel and picking something out. My advice to other women who haven’t experienced labor yet is to get your labor team to agree never to talk about it, and then don’t stress about it. Birth is raw and a bit messy and gross, but even more so it’s pretty wonderful, and your labor attendants will take care of you so well that you’ll likely never know what’s happening. And all you will care about is the baby anyway!
Is it common for contractions to begin and then die down again? – Cecy
Somewhat. If this happens the contractions that were occurring are considered pre-labor, which refers to the work a pregnant woman’s body does to prepare for labor but contractions will either stay spaced apart or die off completely. Pre-labor pains can be felt for days or weeks. Sometimes even months!
How painful were the middle-of-the-night contractions on a scale of 1 to 10?-phruphru
This question was in reference to my first night of contractions, Saturday night. I’d put them at about a 3. More uncomfortable than painful.
Did you tell your neighbors (the ones you share walls with) that you were laboring at home? – Katy W
No. This is something that a lot of people asked about, I’m guessing because there are assumptions about screaming and the amount of noise made during labor. Some women scream, some women don’t. I made a little video of the different noises I made during labor to help people better understand what my neighbors would have heard. The last clip of me during the pushing stage is pretty painful to listen to, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!
(Katy has actually given birth three times. Don’t think I’m trying to tell you “how labor goes” Katy, as I’m sure you already know! Please consider this question directed toward all, both those who know what labor is like and those who don’t. )
Also love your iPhone case with your logo on it. Where did you find it?!-Valerie
My sister gifted that to me! It’s from http://www.pexagontech.com/
Do midwives typically not coach you when to push?- Emily
I think you are asking if they coach you when to start pushing, not how to push once you’ve started doing so. TRUST ME, when that baby is ready to be pushed out, you will know. There is no way you can mistake the feeling for anything else once it gets really strong.
One last thing, do you remember what brand of protein bar you had? – Emily
How was the pain with the hook? – Emmie
The actual rupturing the membranes didn’t hurt at all, but it’s not comfortable having someone stick their hand up your vagina, you know?
One question– is it typical for a midwife to wait until you are so far progressed into labor to arrive? Or is this just how your midwife does it? Or is this just how it worked out in your case? 8 cm seems like pretty late in the game to me. – Turtle
Kelli Nicole answered this one in the comment section: Sarah said that she didn’t think Jenna was that far along! She didn’t even believe Jenna was in labor the night before because she sounded so good over the phone. Sarah was genuinely surprised that Jenna was so far along, so I don’t think it’s typical. Sarah kept telling me that Jenna has a really high pain tolerance and was just doing so well.
Maybe a midwife/doula will chime in and correct me, but I imagine a midwife aims to arrive when her laboring mother is at around 5-6 centimeters, but they are really just trying to guess at progression based on the way a mother sounds over the phone. Other than the emotional turning point her arrival gave me, I really didn’t need her there until that point anyway, as it was just a lot of buzzing and waiting and moaning. If it was all happening again I’d probably have her arrive about that time once again.
Regarding the pain, do you normally have a high pain tolerance, or do you believe that somehow your body gains more tolerance as you labor?-Cecy
I think I normally have a high pain tolerance. Although I kind of wish I would stop saying that because I think i’m discouraging other women from thinking they can birth naturally! As someone else mentioned in the comments section, one really amazing thing about labor is that the pain starts spread out and slight, and then builds over time. The women who talk about how their labor being very short and the pain coming very fast are the ones to be admired as it would be difficult to prepare emotionally for that. I, however, had several hours to adjust to things as my contractions built up over time, and I hope as other women are thinking about their own pain tolerance that they will keep that in mind. I think we as women are stronger than we know!
How long after giving birth did you deliver the placenta? -Jessica
Just over 30 minutes.
I was also wondering about his head being under water while she was taking a break. – Sarah for Real
This is a really common question some I’m going to answer with an excerpt from waterbirth.org:
There are four main factors that prevent the baby from inhaling water at the time of birth:
1. Prostaglandin E2 levels from the placenta which cause a slowing down or stopping of the fetal breathing movements. When the baby is born and the Prostaglandin level is still high, the baby’s muscles for breathing simply don’t work, thus engaging the first inhibitory response.
2. Babies are born experiencing mild hypoxia or lack of oxygen. Hypoxia causes apnea and swallowing, not breathing or gasping.
3. Water is a hypotonic solution and lung fluids present in the fetus are hypertonic. So, even if water were to travel in past the larynx, they could not pass into the lungs based on the fact that hypertonic solutions are denser and prevent hypotonic solutions from merging or coming into their presence.
4. The last important inhibitory factor is the Dive Reflex and revolves around the larynx. The larynx is covered all over with chemoreceptors or taste buds. The larynx has five times as many as taste buds as the whole surface of the tongue. So, when a solution hits the back of the throat, passing the larynx, the taste buds interprets what substance it is and the glottis automatically closes and the solution is then swallowed, not inhaled.
If you would like to see the dive reflex on video (it’s pretty cool!) find the video titled “Babies” on this site.
Do you plan on showing any clips from the video? -Tamara
Yes, I want to make a short little birth video with the footage Kelli recorded. Unfortunately the actual moment of birth and his first cry didn’t get recorded. I’m kind of bummed about that.
I guess the best way to know is, would *you* say the benefits greatly outweighed the pain, and of course, will you definitely be doing it this way again? – Sophia
To answer your last question first, yes, we will be pursuing a home birth with baby #2. The only reasons I can think of that we wouldn’t choose this route would be because of problems during my pregnancy or a lack of funds to pay out of pocket for the prenatal care and birth like we did this time.
But I think your first question is even more interesting, because not very often do women ask about the benefits of natural birth. We as a society focus so much on the pain, on telling women they are “brave” for choosing to go epidural free, but I didn’t choose natural birth because I wanted a badge of honor. I’ve talked a lot about why I chose home birth for the actual birth experience, but now that all is said and done I think there is an even greater reason to strive to avoid interventions. As I will write in my post-partum recovery post, at about 18 days, I was completely pain free. 100%. (In fact, I think I would have been pain free even earlier but I had a nasty UTI that burned really bad). I can walk, run, play dance dance revolution, split my legs open as wide as I like, bounce T1 on the birth ball when he is crying, you name it. We as a society focus a lot on the pains of labor, which can certainly last for days, but we don’t talk much about the pains that come after a birth filled with interventions. I believe there is a correlation between getting an epidural, the use of pitocin, episiotomy rates, and c-sections. The more interventions you have, the greater amount of recovering you’re going to have to do.
So yes, I do think the benefits of enduring the pain before baby comes are worth it because I so loved being completely “there” for the entire experience, but also because I was able to move on with my life so quickly afterward. As someone who is currently in the throes of it, I can assure you, caring for a newborn is no walk in the park and I would like to make the newborn caring part as pain free as possible.