The power of contractions, the pushing,
the opening of my body were all so raw and intense.
It takes strength and courage to trust our bodies
To listen to what our bodies tell us to do
To feel the baby’s way of communication
To let our partners be partners in labor
To let our faith guide us during labor and birth
To envelop our bodies with our love for our baby
To welcome labor and to give ourselves over to the task of birth
To embrace this fulfilling birth experience
Know that you have the strength to deliver a baby
All humanity are called to this task
And every time, birth succeeds as planned by the Creator.
How are babies delivered into this world?
Most of the time with long labor, a lot of shouting, a painful lower back, and with difficulty only a mother knows. While so many other animals appear to produce their offspring with so little trouble, human birth takes some effort. In the upright position, women deliver their babies at home with the assistance of midwives in a calm atmosphere of trust in the birth process. In a loving environment without any sense of hurry and with the fullness of mother’s health, life unfolds.
Medical supervision and such high drama are present in the American way of birth.
Anxiety can cause prolonged labor and inefficient uterine contractions. Anxiety is present today in our present culture when mothers are rushed to a place and treated as if they are sick. Pregnancy is not a form of sickness. Birthing a baby is a natural rhythm of life. The midwifery model of care believes in the woman’s body and the natural process of birth and assists with the most humane care possible.
Around the world, three in every five births happen at home with a midwife. Labor is shorter and mother experience less pain after the birth. Many of these mothers birth in upright position, aided by midwives and doulas, and believe in the natural rhythm of birth.
The primitive mothers deliver babies at whatever environment they’re in and with so much simplicity. These mothers spend time in the fields working and caring for their children. They constantly move.
Today, mothers are well fed and are fit as they maintain their daily routine of working and exercise. We also have strong and healthy mothers in this generation as we had in the past. As mothers learn of their freedom to choose their care giver (Midwives) and the place to have their babies (Homebirth), more and more babies will be born full term, healthy, calm, and able to bond and breastfeed with ease.
What can help you during a long labor?
Sitting backwards on the toilet to encourage the baby down.
Massaging the scalp to release endorphins.
Climbing up and down the stairs may shift the position of a baby stuck in position.
Keeping hydrated such asdrinking a smoothie with calcium/magnesium powder helps sustain energy. It also prevents more muscle aches.
Taking a shower standing or on hands and knees can help you cope with contractions.
When should you call your midwife or doctor when labor comes and what are the signs of labor?
The non-progressive Braxton-Hicks contractions felt during pregnancy (felt early during the first trimester for some mothers) become progressive during labor. These contractions are sometimes painful and prepare your body for birth. Effacement, or taking up, of the cervix may start in the latter two or three weeks (for first time mothers) of pregnancy due to strong Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Labor starts when the mother feels it with strong, regular contractions in the upper segment of the uterus. Labor starts when the fetus secretes the hormones (cortisol and androgen) in increasing levels giving a signal to mother’s body to produce (increasing quantity) the maternal hormones that stimulate labor (oestrogen, prostaglandin, oxytocin).
For first time mothers, call the doctor or midwife when contractions last 45-60 seconds and occur every 2-3 minutes but for second time mothers they should call their care givers when the contractions occur every 15 minutes. This time the bag of small amniotic fluid (containing placental membranes) rupture, a gush of water that is not salty to taste can be felt by the mother signaling that the baby is ready to come. Some mothers have their membranes ruptured early (for even days before the baby is born), so proper hygiene should be observed.
During the period of resting tone in between contractions, the mother should take a deep cleansing breath to provide adequate fetal oxygenation. For first time mothers, there is a show (days before the baby is born) which is a mucoid loss, slightly streaked with blood signalling the slow process of separation of the membranes around the cervix.
Use the upright position that you are comfortable with. Lying on the side with the head of the bed elevated can ease the pushing stage and at the same time might prevent a tear. Make sure that you listen to your body’s urge to push. Curved your back and with your chin on your chest and combine exhalation with bearing down (pushing). You can make any sounds you like even humming and singing can be effective. You can even close your eyes and visualize that your body is opening up. Don’t be in a hurry first time moms. It takes some time for the body to open up (couple of hours for most first time mothers). When the burning sensation is felt in your yoni (puss), that signals the coming of the baby. Receive the baby and make skin-to-skin contact and massage him/her with your hands.
After the birth, is a blissful feeling and this is the time that your adrenaline is high that it seems that you experience a feeling of euphoria. Cry if you feel like crying, your body had such a profound transformation in a short span of time that it compensates with the production of hormones to maintain its proper balance. Remember this day as your celebration of giving birth and your baby’s first breath of life outside your womb. Ease the baby’s transition from your womb to the outside world by giving your breast even for a week, a month, a year or many more years.
Labor of Love
We should follow the sensation of our baby
Our baby will guide us through the process
Our part is to provide the passage with calmness and strength
With courage to bear and follow wherever it may lead us
To feel the pressures as positive signs of giving life
As life unfolds slowly and adjusts to our own bodily functions
Our body is a vessel containing our baby and our baby’s world
We are given this load because we are given the grace to bear it.
Yield to the power of creation as you take part in the important creative process
Obey the dictates of your bodily urges as it makes
way for the baby’s birth
Without these sensations what could it be?
Your body is slowly opening up and you should take
the time to gather breath and wisdom
To contain the pain, for after this is a bliss
A celebration of a new life of which you are a participant
Be a willing hand in molding the new life within you
Your body is given the power to use all the energies within
To react in balance and harmony for every movement
For every action is a result of a reaction
The sole purpose is to provide the balance needed to birth the new life
The new life within is responding according to your body
Be gentle to your body, respond to it with all your love and power
You have the power to deliver, to give new life
What more can you ask but the endurance to take it all
Your faith will carry you to the perfection of a new life
Remain with focus and concentration as you await to
meet your baby’s eyes
Your baby is waiting for you
Be calm and gentle, have courage and faith
Everything will be for the good of both of you
and most of all of the new life
We should trust and cooperate with our body
Imagine God’s hands are doing the work for you
Faces of babies welcome another baby
Angel voices singing and responding for every sound that you make.
The Second Stage of labor
In that moment, much anticipated miracle,
I thought, “Dear God, I’ve delivered forth a fish!”
You whirled out of me like a flapping red snapper urgent to gulp air.
I duly recorded, it was the queerest sensation my inner thighs had ever known.
Nearly comical. Then I looked down upon your rushing forth in humbled awe, startled to find a tiny wet person, all new.