Reflexology & Acupressure to Induce Labor

There’s no reason to worry if your pregnancy progresses past 40 weeks, but it may make you antsy to give birth already! In addition to that, if you are nearing 42 weeks and your doctor starts talking about an induction, you may want to do something to start your labor naturally.

Reflexology and acupressure are both safe and often effective means of stimulating labor. They are similar in that they both work by applying pressure to certain points on the body. Acupressure involves the whole body, while reflexology focuses on the feet, hands, and ears (primarily feet). Additionally, they are based on different concepts of energy flow throughout the body.

Precautions

  • The following pressure points should not be accessed before you reach your 40th week of pregnancy.
  • Always check with your doctor or midwife before doing anything to stimulate contractions
  • Pressure points may feel tender, but it should not hurt you. If you feel pain, reduce pressure and make sure you have the right spot!
  • If a contraction starts, stop the pressure and wait until the contraction ends. Then you can apply pressure again.

Reflexology Points

Thumb Point: Press firmly on the center of your thumb for a few minutes, then switch to the other thumb. This is one of the most effective points used in reflexology for inducing labor.  It stimulates the pituitary gland to release oxytocin, one of the main hormones that causes the uterus to contract.

Arch of Foot: This point is located inside the arch of the foot, just in front of the heel. Apply firm pressure, but not so hard that it causes pain. This point is  also very helpful in relieving intense pain during childbirth.

Inside Heel: Apply pressure to the point just inside the heel of the foot, aligned with your ankle. If it feels tender you’ve found the right spot.

Between Toes: Apply pressure one finger’s-length below the point between the big toe and the second toe. This point will also be tender when you find it.

Acupressure Points

Webbing between your thumb and forefinger. Press or massage the top of this webbing. This point affects the large intestine which surrounds a portion of the uterus, stimulating contractions.

Shoulder muscle. Press and massage the highest point of your shoulder muscle.

Inside ankle. Find the point four finger’s-width above the inside of your ankle. Apply pressure; it helps ripen the cervix and strengthen weak contractions.

Outside ankle. To help the baby descend toward the pelvis, put pressure on the point between your ankle bone (outer ankle) and Achilles tendon (which runs up the back of your leg).

Lower back. This point is actually located one finger’s-width above your buttocks crease.  Feel for a small indentation and massage for a minute.

Roof of Mouth. Using your tongue, press on the roof of your mouth with your tongue as far back as you can. This is a handy one you can use as you go about your daily routine!

feature image from holistic therapy room

Reasons They Won’t Give You an Epidural

Many women out there love their epidural! Epidural anesthesia uses an injection of drugs into the epidural space in your lower spine.  An epidural works by blocking the transmission of nervous system signals to your brain, thereby limiting or suppressing your feelings of pain.

Epidural anesthesia has become the most common form of pain medication for labor and birth, but it’s not for everyone.  Here are some common reasons an epidural might not be right for you:

  1. Your Body Type: Sometimes, the doctor has no easy access to the epidural space. Factors that might make it difficult to find the right spot include obesity, scoliosis, scar tissue, unusual spinal archtecture or previous surgeries.
  2. Drug interactions: Some medications, such as blood thinners, can make an epidural risky or ineffective.
  3. Existing health issues: If you have a low platelet count, or other blood disorders, there is an increased risk of internal bleeding in the spine.
  4. Timing: In some hospitals, anesthesiologists are available only at certain hours of the day, or certain days of the week. They may simply be busy and unavailable. Also, if you come into the hospital in advanced labor, or with a very quick labor, there might not be time to get an epidural in place.
  5. Infection: If you have an infection on your back, you definitely don’t want your anesthesiologist putting a needle through that area.  It might cause the infection to spread to the spine and other areas of your body, which could lead to major problems.
  6. Heavy bleeding or shock: Often, having an epidural lowers blood pressure. Therefor, if you are bleeding heavily or are suffering from shock, your already lowered blood pressure can make the situation even more dangerous.
  7. Hospital restrictions: Some hospitals have policies about when you can have an epidural. Some stipulate that you must be at a certain point in labor (for example, four centimeters dilated) before an epidural can be given. Others may decide that epidural should not be given after a certain point of labor (for example when you’ve reached full dilation).

Source: About.com

image credit

10 Ways to Relieve Labor Pains

Well, really in my opinion there is only one way, and it works like magic. It’s called an epidural. Ok, just kidding (but not really)!!  However, if you are looking for drug-free ways to relieve labor pains, there are many techniques out there, and many women have had exhilarating (if not completely pain-free–sorry!) natural births. Lamaze.org offers these 10 tips to staying within your “comfort zone.”

Indybel Birthing BallIndybel Birthing Ball

1. Find a Soothing Environment

Your birth setting must feel safe to you. It should have space to walk and bathe, as well as a variety of options to enhance movement, comfort, and pain relief: a soft bed, CD player, rocking chair, birth ball, low stool, and/or squatting bar. It should also have policies that encourage you to try a variety of positions. Access to appropriate medical care is crucial if problems arise.

2. Choose Your Team Carefully

Knowledgeable, caring midwives, doctors, nurses, partners, loved ones and/or doulas create a supportive birth team. When you’re treated with respect and patience, stress and inhibitions decrease, and you can more easily find your best coping mechanisms.

3. Learn About Labor

The more knowledge you have, the fewer surprises you will experience. Find out everything you can about labor from books, magazines, Web sites, videos, classes, a hospital tour and discussions with your health-care provider, doula, family and friends. Familiarize yourself with the procedures and customs at your hospital or birth center. Such discussions are best had before labor.

4. Express Your Fears

Are you worried about pain and labor, needles, medicines or losing control? Speak with a knowledgeable and trusted friend, childbirth educator or doula. Voicing your concerns can bring relief as well as practical solutions to your concerns. Stating your preferences in a birth plan can also help calm fears.

5. Practice Rhythmic Breating

Breathe fully in a slow rhythm during contractions. Release tension with each exhalation and try moaning. Also try taking quick breaths, about one every 2 to 3 seconds (20 to 30 per minute). Your partner or birth coach may be able to help you keep your rhythm with eye contact, rhythmic hand or head movements, or by talking you through contractions.

6. Use Imagery and Visualization

Focusing on something that makes you happy (like your partner’s face, an inspirational picture or favorite object) engages your senses and decreases your awareness of pain. Listen to music, a soothing voice or a recording of ocean waves, and imagine yourself in a relaxing environment.

7. Take a Warm Shower or Bath

A warm shower is soothing, especially if you can sit on a stool and direct a handheld showerhead onto your abdomen or back. Bathing in warm water is relaxing, and it may even speed up labor.

8. Keep Moving

Move around as much as you can. Walk, lean, sway, rock and squat. Some positions will be more comfortable than others.

9. Seek Relief with Warm or Cool Compresses

Place a warm pack on your lower abdomen, groin, lower back or shoulders during labor. A cold pack or latex glove filled with ice chips can soothe painful areas. Cool cloths relieve a sweaty face, chest or neck.

10. Indulge in Gentle Touch or Massage

Have your partner or doula massage you in whatever way provides the most relief for you.  Whether it’s someone holding your hand, stroking your cheek or hair, or patting your hand or shoulder, touch conveys reassurance, caring and understanding.

What NOT to Do While Your Wife is in Labor

Hey Dads! Feeling a little nervous as the birth of your baby draws near? Wondering how to be a helpful and supportive partner during the labor and delivery? Well, what you DON’T do might be just as important as what you DO do!  Even things you might not see as being an issue… let’s just say that women are even more sensitive during labor than they normally are!

As the experts at theCradle point out, “Something you wouldn’t think twice about doing under ordinary circumstances will be remembered as appalling if you do it during labor. No one wants to be the guy that’s remembered for taking a call from his stockbroker while his wife was in labor.”

Here are some tips from the authors of Don’t Just Stand There: How to Be Helpful, Clued-In, Supportive, Engaged & Relevant in the Delivery Room (via theCradle).

  • Don’t chat on your cell phone with your friends.
  • Don’t return work calls.
  • No checking your stocks, surfing on the wireless, or checking your email.
  • Blowing bubbles and chewing gum is generally not a great idea.
  • You may have had a really long, hard day, but let her have the bed.
  • Don’t fight her for control of the remote – make sure you TiVo all important ballgames at least 48 hours in advance as you come down the stratch to the due date.
  • Reading a newspaper is a bad idea in general, even if you give her first choice of the sections.
  • Don’t flirt with the nurses.
  • Don’t take inappropriate photos – you’re not making a documentary for the National Geographic Channel. Remember, anything you shoot should have a “PG” rating.
  • Don’t let your mother or other relatives into the room or within earshot, unless your partner is totally fine with it.
  • Don’t socialize too much with the labor partner in the next delivery room.
  • Don’t mention the success of other laboring women on the floor – that’s not going to inspire her.
  • Don’t ask the doctor to bring you coffee.
  • Cool as it is to watch, don’t pay more attention to the contraction monitor than to her.
  • Avoid the subject of personal-injury law when conversing with the medical staff.
  • Don’t pass out and need to be taken down to the emergency room to get stitches.
  • Don’t scatter your stuff around the delivery room and then ask her if she’s seen your car keys.
  • Don’t discuss real estate or golf with the doctor while she’s having contractions.
  • Don’t eat onions, garlic, or other obnoxious food, like Doritos or Cheetos.
  • Don’t tell her to go back to sleep if she wakes you up with contractions.
  • Don’t tell her that you heard it doesn’t have to hurt.
  • And finally, whatever you do, don’t do what I did – lie in her bed the morning after, eating her breakfast, while she packs the bags. Unfortunately [my wife] has the photo to prove it.

Choosing a hospital to give birth

When you choose your obstetrician, you are also choosing the hospital at which you’ll give birth, More 4 Kids points out. Your doctor will have admitting privileges at a certain hospital, so you have to start thinking about which hospital to deliver at before selecting your obstetrician. You may have to switch doctors in order to deliver at the hospital you want.

You can start your research by asking your current gynecologist about good hospitals. It should be less than an hour away, and easily accessible by car. It is especially beneficial if the hospital is easily accessible by the interstate system, since you will not want to experience traffic while you are in labor. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you should make sure that your hospital has a neonatal intensive care unit. Hospitals that use the latest neonatal-care technology are also a plus, in case of complications. The comfort and privacy of the delivery rooms, infant care, visitor rules, and other services may be factors to consider.

The questions you ask should be tailored towards your needs, and should always serve the purpose of opening up the lines of communications between you and your birth team. Some of the answers might be dependent upon your practitioner, while other policies will be determined by the hospital or birth center. These policies can have serious impact on how you labor or give birth, including your postpartum stay. Here are some questions from About.com to help get you decide what you need to ask of your place of birth:

Labor & Birth

  • Do you offer any type of classes? Who teaches them? What is the cost? Do you have specialty classes?
  • Where do I go when it’s time for labor? Is there a different place at night?
  • What paperwork needs to be completed prior to admission for labor? Is there other paperwork to be done? Can it be done prior to labor?
  • What will I need to bring with me when I’m in labor? Will my chart be sent over or will I need to hand carry it?
  • Do you have a triage system? How long does one usually stay in triage?
  • What types of birthing rooms are available? Can I labor, give birth and recover in one room?
  • What types of comfort measures do you encourage? Is there a tub or shower in the birth room? Do you have access to birth balls, music, squat bar, etc.?
  • What type of food or drink is allowed? Is there a kitchen area for myself or my family? Am I allowed to bring food or drink from home? Do you provide clear liquids like popsicles, broth, Jell-o®, etc.?
  • Are IVs required? What about a saline lock to provide access to my veins instead? Who would make this provision if it’s not a standard policy?
  • What type of medications are available should I choose medication? What IV medications are used? Do you offer epidural anesthesia? Is there a special class to take for the epidural? Do you have anesthesiologists who only do obstetrical anesthesia? Do you have 24 hour anesthesia available on site? Can I have a pre-labor consult with the anesthesia group if I have special concerns?
  • Do you have visitor policies in labor? Do you have policies about siblings?
  • Are cameras and film equpiment allowed? Are there any parts for which we should turn it off?
  • What type of fetal monitoring do you offer? External? Internal? Doppler/fetoscope? What are the hospital policies on monitoring in labor?
  • How often do you experience an overflow of patients? What happens if all of your birthing rooms are taken?
  • Do you utilize students or residents in any way?
  • What is your hospitals induction rate? How many patients receive augementation in labor? What is your episiotomy rate? Epidural rate? Forceps/vacuum rates? Cesarean rates? VBAC rate?
  • Do you have doulas on staff? Do you have a listing of doulas?
  • To whom should I send my birth plan? Does it need to be signed by my doctor or midwife? My pediatrician?

Cesarean Birth

  • Can my partner stay with me for a cesarean birth? My doula?
  • Can we have photos of the birth?
  • Will I be able to watch the surgery via mirror? Could the drapes be lowered?
  • What is the policy about pre-operative medications? Post-operative pain relief?
  • Will the baby be available to me during the surgery time? In the recovery room? When can I begin nursing?
  • If the cesarean is planned, what is the admission procedure?
  • Will my partner be able to go with the baby, should s/he need to leave the room?

Postpartum

  • Will I have the same room postpartum that I did for labor and birth?
  • Are all your postpartum rooms private? Will I ever be moved from my room?
  • Do the rooms have showers or tubs? What about sitz baths?
  • Can members of my family stay over night? Is there an extra charge for this?
  • What pain relief options are available postpartum? Does that differ if you’ve had a cesarean birth? What about nursing moms?
  • What is the average length of stay for a vaginal birth? A cesarean birth?
  • Is there a policy for early discharge?

Baby Care

  • What is your policy on rooming in? Are there times that the baby cannot be in our room?
  • Do pediatricians do their visits at the bed side? When would this not be appropriate?
  • Do you have a lactation consultant? Is she available seven days a week? What are her hours? Does she see every nursing mom? Is she certified?
  • What are the policies about breastfeeding babies and bottles/pacifiers?
  • Are their sibling visitation policies?

image: The Brooklyn Hospital Center

Obviously, the level of care and sensitivity of hospital staff should be your first priorities. But beyond that, there are many other perks that you might want to look into. Some hospitals offer private suites (for those who are willing to pay) rather than a room that holds several women. Some private suites even offer amenities such as whirlpools and HDTV. Often, these suites also permit you to spend the entire duration of your labor and delivery in the same place, which is known as a Labor Delivery Recovery Postpartum (LDRP) room. You may also be cared for by one or two nurses who have no other patients, and so you will receive more personalized care. It is important to reserve a private room as early as possible in order to raise your chances of having it at your date of delivery.

Hospitals offering private suites also offer premium services such as:

  • lactation (breast-feeding) consultants
  • 24-hour anesthesiologist care
  • a private nursery for keeping your infant near you after the birth
  • 24-hour room service (new mothers can be hungry at odd hours of the day and night!)
  • permission for siblings to watch the birth
  • 24-hour visitors (unless the mother or infant is in need of more medical attention)
  • massages that last from fifteen minutes to two hours
  • free parking for visitors
  • new-parent classes for parents to learn about infant care.
  • special support groups such as new mothers groups, new fathers groups, and even new siblings groups.

After you have made a list of hospitals that interest you, it is a good idea to schedule visits with them. Many hospitals offer group or individual tours for their maternity centers. During your visit, scrutinize the facilities for cleanliness, because hygiene is essential when your baby is born and is vulnerable to infection. You should arrive at your tour with a list of questions, though it is likely that many of these questions will be addressed during your tour. In addition, you should ask for a brochure or pamphlet of the hospital’s policies and regulations for maternity patients, so you can brush up on them before your delivery date. During your visit, be careful not to be taken in by the luxury of the facilities—make sure first and foremost that the hospital has the resources to successfully treat your infant in case of emergencies.

For more information visit More 4 Kids and About.com: Pregnancy & Childbirth.

10 Ways to Prevent Preterm Labor

The frightening story of Kim Cowan’s delivery at 31 weeks, in a Parenting.com article called Can You Prevent Pre-Term Labor? is a story that is being told more frequently today, due to the “widened use of fertility treatments (and the related rise in multiple births) and the older age at which women today begin having children.” Preterm birth (one that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy) is the number one cause of neonatal death in the first month of life, and it can trigger health problems such as developmental delays, chronic lung disease, and cerebral palsy. It affects about 480,000 babies annually, or one in eight live births, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

As such, it is not something to be taken lightly, and any steps that can reduce the risks should be carefully considered. Although the effectiveness of common treatments for preterm labor are unknown, new research is beginning to hint at both the causes of preterm labor and ways to prevent it.

Here are 10 ways to reduce your risk of pre-term labor from Parenting.com.

1. Get early prenatal care. See your health care practitioner as soon as you know you’re pregnant, or if you are trying to get pregnant. Your doctor can advise you on how to eat right, gain weight properly, and screen you for infections that can harm your pregnancy. He can also give you a prescription for a prenatal vitamin, which contains essential nutrients including folic acid, a key B vitamin that can prevent neural-tube birth defects like spina bifida (an opening in the spine). New research also suggests that folic acid may also lower the risk of placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the uterine wall) and preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), two conditions that are responsible for about 20 percent of early deliveries. Read more here.

2. Know your risks. Certain pregnant women are more likely to deliver early. Risk factors include a prior early delivery; smoking or illegal drug use; high blood pressure or diabetes; carrying multiple fetuses, such as twins; a uterine infection during pregnancy; an age of 35 or older; pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia; being over- or underweight; and being African-American. Talk to your doctor about ways to minimize these risks, such as improving your diet and exercise habits, or treating a uterine infection. Read more here.

3. Get tested. Uterine infections that can begin in the lower genital tract may be responsible for up to half of all preterm births, particularly those that occur before 30 weeks’ gestation. It’s been known for years that infections and sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia increase preterm birth risk. But doctors are now looking at other suspect infections like bacterial vaginosis (BV), a condition that can cause an unpleasant odor and gray discharge. It’s more common in African-American women who also have higher rates of preterm birth. Treating BV in high-risk women appears to reduce their rates of early delivery, but BV doesn’t always cause symptoms. Recognizing and treating infections early on may hold the key to lowering preterm birth rates as much as 30 percent. Gen screened for other risky conditions including periodontal (gum) disease, untreated urinary-tract infections, and trichomoniasis. It can improve your odds of having a healthy baby. Read more here.

4. Visit the dentist. Regular cleanings may help prevent preterm delivery. It’s believed that the same chain of events initiated by a uterine infection can occur if you have a dental condition such as periodontal (gum) disease. Hormone changes that occur during pregnancy make women more susceptible to gingivitis — a condition marked by swollen, red gums that are more sensitive to the negative effects of plaque — which can lead to gum disease. Visit the dentist before or early in pregnancy to be checked for gum disease, maintain regular dental checkups, and brush and floss after meals. Read more here.

5. Watch your weight. The average woman should put on 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Gain too much and you up your odds of complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, which increase preterm labor risk. Overweight and obese women are recommended to gain less weight (usually 15 to 25 pounds) and follow a nutritious diet and safe exercise to lower your risk. Underweight women with a body mass index (BMI) under 20 (a healthy BMI is 20 to 25) are less likely to carry their baby to term. These women may be prone to nutritional deficiencies that adversely affect the fetal environment. You may have your doctor recommend a nutritionist for help with proper diet and weight gain. Read more here.

6. Eat right. A nutritious diet during pregnancy can be vital to healthy fetal development. That means whole-wheat carbs, healthy sources of protein and dairy, and an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Recent studies suggest that women who have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (found in such fish as salmon) have lower rates of preterm birth, so it’s worth including them in your diet. Other preliminary studies suggest that calcium and vitamin C may help prevent preterm labor. It’s recommended that pregnant women consume 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day (the equivalent of four 8-ounce glasses of skim milk) and 85 mg of vitamin C, roughly the amount in one orange. Read more here.

7. Excercize. Regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes, and recent research suggests that it may help prevent preeclampsia as well. Women who walked for exercise during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy lowered their risk of preeclampsia by a third. Severe chronic stress may kick-start labor, and exercise can help you relax. Talk to your doctor about pregnancy-safe workouts such as swimming, walking, and yoga are good options. Of course, you must stop smoking, drinking alcohol, and using unprescribed drugs, all of which drastically increase your odds of early delivery. Read more here.

8. Check medications. Pregnant women who are depressed or anxious have a twofold increase of preterm birth, according to Dr. Lockwood, so treatment is crucial. One recent study, however, suggests that a class of antidepressants used to treat these conditions, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be associated with a slightly higher risk of preterm delivery. Another option, tricyclic antidepressants, did not show this association. (Neither type of medication has been shown to cause birth defects.) However, it’s important to remember that many women have used SSRIs (such as Prozac and Paxil) safely during pregnancy, and the benefits of treating depression often outweigh any risks. Consult your doctor if you feel you should consider switching medication. Read more here.

9. Talk to your doctor if you’ve had a prior preterm birth. A recent groundbreaking study found that a progesterone-like hormone reduced the risk of preterm birth by 34 percent in women who had a prior early delivery. It’s not clear why the hormone helps, but it may be because it’s a muscle relaxant that inhibits contractions and reduces inflammation. Since the drug is widely available, inexpensive, and considered safe for pregnant women, doctors could begin prescribing it now, says Dr. Meis, who uses it in his clinic. If you had a prior preterm birth, you can discuss these findings with your doctor. Your doctor may also recommend that you use a condom during sex, since semen contains prostaglandins, the chemicals that initiate contractions.

10. Recognize the signs of early labor. Although little can be done to reverse the course of preterm labor once it’s started, delivery can usually be delayed for a few days to a week using tocolytics, drugs that suppress contractions. During this critical window, a doctor can administer corticosteroids, which can improve fetal health by speeding up lung maturation. (Without treatment, a preemie may suffer from respiratory distress syndrome, a breathing complication which can lead to health problems and even death.) Delaying labor also allows time to transfer a woman to a hospital with a more sophisticated NICU.

Recognizing the signs of preterm labor

It’s important to recognize the signs of preterm labor, even if you don’t think you’re at risk. According to the March of Dimes, they include:

  • contractions that occur every ten minutes or more

  • fluid leaking from your vagina

  • pelvic pressure

  • lower back pain

  • menstrual-like cramps

  • abdominal cramps that begin in the back and move to the front.

False labor (also known as Braxton Hicks contractions) may stop when you change position, is often weak, and is usually felt only in the front. If you’re not sure it’s the real thing, call your doctor right away.It’s essential to remember that a full 80 percent of women who have symptoms of preterm labor will not deliver early, and the vast majority of pregnancies result in babies who are born healthy and full-term. While medical strides in preventing and reversing the course of preterm labor have been slow, our ability to care for premature babies has skyrocketed. Between 90 and 95 percent of babies born after 30 weeks’ gestation survive, with most growing up to be healthy adults.

Photo: nih.gov

Video: What happens during an epidural?

If you ask me, you must be crazy to let someone stick a huge needle into your spine. Who in their right mind would willingly undergo – ok, BEG and PLEAD for –  such a procedure? Oh wait… I did. On two seperate ocasions.  Oh yes, it’s coming back to me, I think it had something to do with the excruciating pain of labor. No I wasn’t crazy and I wasn’t going out of my mind with pain. I just figured, well if I can have this baby without all the blood, sweat, and tears, let’s do it the nice way. And by “nice” I mean “medicated.”

That whole warning they give you before the epidural (you have one in a million chances of being paralyzed for life, yada yada yada) didn’t deter me, although my husband looked like he as about to faint. I happily signed my life away and prepared for blissful numbness to descend…

Having survived two epidurals unscathed, by the grace of God, I really think that is the optimal way to birth babies. After watching this video, the super queasy might not think so, but then I’d say they have never actually been in labaor. For anyone who’s curious about what happens during an epidural, here’s a nifty little video:

What Happens During an Epidural?

Here we go… The Labor Story

For anyone who likes to hear about other people’s labor and delivery… this is for you :-) I’ll try not to draw it out too much, but you know how we love going on and on about these things…

 So I started feeling contractions on Friday morning, but I didn’t even mention them to my husband, David, or sister who’s staying with us, because I wasn’t even sure I was having them. But by around 2:00 I was like, “Oh, by the way, I think I’m having contractions” and then began the super-annoying process of trying to count them and time them and all that.  I didnt have much chance to focus because darn it, there was a lot to take care of before I could get around to having a baby!  Finally around 3:15 we went to the hospital, becuase although the contractions were not very strong, they were getting more frequent.

I was 3 cm dialated when we got there. Accepted the enima as graciously as one can accept an enima, it’s actually kind of nice in away… You feel so cleaned out afterward! David kept saying he wished he could have one too. LOL. But they didnt offer him one…

The midwife poked me three times before getting a “good vein” for the IV, that might have been the worst part of the whole labor, the way they poke you and dig around inside your arm. Ugh! I have these huge nasty bruises where they failed to find an acceptable vein (want pictures??). So eventually the contractions got worse and I was like, OK, where’s my epidural??? For some reason it took an hour or so until the doctor was able to come and give it to me. And I was so unhappy because aside from the contractions, they made me lay there on the stupid moniter and the most uncomfortable position for me was laying on my back and I think it made me gassy, so there was extra pressure in that abdominal area and my back hurt and I was not happy about it. Even trying to turn over on my side was not helpful. And the IV was bothering me too. It was very annoying. So finally I got my epidural, but last time they gave me the type where I could administer it myself, and it was such a pleasure. This time they just gave me a little bit, and I had to ask for more becuase it wasn’t working. And once it did start working, I got the shakes and I was so cold and shaky and even though I couldnt feel the contractions I was still not a happy camper. I wanted to sleep but I couldn’t lie down becuase it was too uncomfortable, and my feet felt like ice and I was all shakey and felt wretched. *sigh* so much for my bright dreams of a peaceful, comfortable labor. But definitely better than not having the epidural at all.

Anyway at about 12:25 they checked me and there was the head! A few pushes and the head was out, and then the midwife yelled for help, and another midwife came in and together they pulled out the rest of the baby (I pushed a little to help them along, nice of me, huh?) It was kind of a funny sight with my legs every which way and the 2 midwives pulling with all their might. Funny, but probably not very pretty. Anyway, out he came, all 4 kilo of him, and as I said before I was not bowled over by the first impression. But dont worry, I am growing to love him more :-) He is such a good, sweet little baby. And he’s a boy, so he doesn’t have to be a beauty…

Thank G-d a million time I didn’t tear, so no stitches, and it makes a world of a difference in the recovery! I feel like a normal person, and last time it was painful to go to the bathroom and even walk around! The contractions I got during nursing were pretty bad for the first few days but thankfully we are over that too. I actually feel really good (don’t tell that to my  mother who’s been scrubbing my apartment, cooking and shopping for me!).

So there you have it, labor and delivery in all their exciting, glamous detail. Just glad it’s over and glad to have the little fellow out in the wide wonderful world, instead of in me! Can’t say much for the post-partum figure but I guess now we just wait patiently in our roomiest sweaters…

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