Childbirth: a topic that is continually on my mind lately! I am now at 37 weeks, so only 3 more to go. And boy, do I feel huge!
Twelve years ago when I was preparing for my first baby I took a Lamaze class. I wanted to have the baby naturally, but soon realized that I couldn’t handle the pain very well. So, I got an epidural. It was a horrible experience! I had to lean over and remain perfectly still while the doctor stuck a needle into my back. If I moved I might become paralyzed! I had 4 or 5 contractions while in that position, and it was absolutely miserable. I could tell that the very experienced doctor was having trouble, and that wasn’t very comforting either. But the worst part was that the epidural didn’t even work! I continued to feel every painful contraction–although one of my legs went numb!
For the next baby, I took a refresher course for Lamaze. That labor was different as it started with my water breaking. For the first 3 hours I felt regular contractions, but they weren’t painful. Only the last hour was bad, but it was bad enough that I felt like I needed something different for any future babies.
I read an article about hypno-birthing and thought that sounded interesting. But as I looked into it, there was a lot of “new age” philosophy involved. Then I heard about the Bradley Method.
A lady at my church taught the classes. She didn’t feel I needed to take the course since I had recently had 2 babies, so she lent me a couple of books to read. One explained the method (Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon Rosegg, 1996), including different practice exercises to do at home, and the other explained about using visualization and other relaxation techniques (yes, a little bit “new-agey”). I have used this method successfully for the last 5 births and I’m so happy to have found a way to deal with the pain of childbirth. No, it’s not really less painful, but I can make it through with this method. The basic premise is that you completely relax throughout a contraction. Any tension makes the contraction feel worse and can even keep it from accomplishing its purpose–causing labor to last longer.
I made up some notecards that I bring to the hospital with me. They are to remind me (and my husband) what to do and think throughout labor.
Scripture to mediatate on throughout a contraction:
1. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:13)
2. Do not be anxious about anything. . .and the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6)
3. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)
4. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (Isa. 40:29)
5. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10)
6. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)
7. Consider Him. . . so that you do not grow weary or lose heart. (Heb. 12:3)
8. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:9)
9. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Ps. 121:1-2)
10. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. (Ps. 46:1-2)
11. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isa. 41:10)
12. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (1 Pet. 5:7)
13. Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Josh. 1:9)
Six Needs of Laboring Woman:
1. Darkness and solitude
2. Quiet- Don’t talk to me or anyone else during a contraction. Make sure the nurses don’t talk to me.
3. Physical comfort- pillows, water, cold cloth for forehead, blanket or A/C, etc.
4. Physical relaxation- concentrate on me, tell me if you see tension anywhere
5. Controlled breathing- remind me to breathe low and slow/steady
6. Appearance of sleep and closed eyes- remind me if I forget to do this
* Also, give PEP: Praise, Encouragement, and note Progress
(I say these things to myself during contractions.)
Locate any tightness and let it flow away.
You can always release a little bit more.
Check hands, jaw, face, feet–make sure they aren’t tensed.
Consciously release all tension.
Let your head sink into the pillow and your body into the mattress.
The harder the contractions, the more they’re working and the sooner you’ll see your baby!
Listen to your breathing.
Quiet, even, steady rhythm.
Put the air low in the abdomen.
Relax tummy completely.
Breath in fresh, clean oxygen. Breathe out tension.
Here I have put some things that I picture while contracting. They’re a little personal, so I won’t share here. 🙂
I will keep practicing my relaxation and breathing daily and work on the imagery and memorizing/ meditating on the verses. I’m not looking forward to labor, but I’m so looking forward to holding my little girl!