Just a note to kyky_babyblue_369: I will not tolerate ugly comments.
I’m going to post on a subject that will make some men squirm and get queasy. So if you are one of those men, don’t read. I won’t get too graphic, because, after all, my blog is rated family friendly. But we are going to talk a little bit about childbirth. But, I think some men do need to read more about childbirth If you are old enough and “mature” enough to have sex, then you should be required to know all you can about childbirth. More than once, I’ve grossed out people at my house with birthing shows on TLC or Discovery. Wimpy men.
And I’m using a pretty pink background, since Lauryn’s baby is a girl. Little Miss Scarlet. By the way, in 14 days Lauryn and Bryan will be civilians. He is in the Air Force right now.
When we were seven months pregnant with Brandon, in 1981, we started our Lamaze classes at the hospital where all our children were born: Bayshore Medical Center in Pasadena, Texas.
You have to remember that back then, allowing fathers into labor and delivery was a relatively new thing. Some hospitals were still not allowing it, even then. And they could forget going in with their wives for a C-section, unless he had been through the class. Smaller hospitals still didn’t allow it. So all fathers were really allowed to do was coach the breathing technique and then sit by at the head of the table when the baby was delivered. There was no real “father participation” then. He participated 9 months earlier, and in most doctor’s minds, that was enough.
Lamaze was the only method offered then in most places, and it was still looked at as a radical thing by many. Doctors were still learning that women had been giving birth for years, long before births started taking place in hospitals.
I really am thankful for hospitals. There is less maternal and fetal death with medical intervention. Science has come a long, long way, and babies can be kept alive today, that would have died just 10 years ago. Our daughter, Rachel, and I both probably would have died if not for medical intervention. Unfortunately, she did die.
But too many people in 1981, were thinking that since we had all the high tech medical equipment, it ALWAYS had to be used. As soon as it was determined that you might be in labor, you were strapped to a fetal monitor. And as soon as the baby reached a point where the scalp could be felt, an internal monitor was attached….no questions asked. The internal monitor is a cord, with a little wire corkscrew on the end. It is literally twisted into the baby’s scalp. When the nurse attached it to Brandon, my mother asked her if it didn’t hurt the baby. She said, “Well, let’s put it this way, he can’t do anything about it.”
As soon as your water broke, you were confined to the bed. Period. Their reasoning was that getting out of bed could promote infection. Just being in a hospital does that. But mine broke at home, so guess where I was the entire nearly 24 hour labor? That’s right…in the bed, flat on my back.
And that’s when home births began to really be pushed by a lot of women because they objected to all the forced medical intervention. And bed confinement.
We were led to believe that the pain would be so much less if we practiced the Lamaze Method. We could just breathe through the pain. They lied. I’ve read where some women said they avoided any pain (just read one a little while ago). Hogwash. Like our nurse friend at church says, “If your lips are moving, I don’t believe you.” Putting your concentration on something else does help, but you will still feel.
So I think it is important for women to understand going into this, that the only thing that will completely take away pain is drugs. But even with an epidural, they don’t administer it until later in labor. You still go through quite a bit of labor without it.
When God said in pain we would give birth, He didn’t mean until somebody figured out that going “hee-hee-hee” would make it all better. It still hurts like….heck. (And I submit that the pain can go on for the next 20 years or so, but that’s another story ) My purpose is not to scare any woman about to give birth. But just as we tell people now to be educated on their medical conditions, women should be completely educated on what is about to happen. You can plan ahead of time what you will do if something unusual happens.
And keep an open mind about drugs, at least toward the end. Drugs are not evil. And it doesn’t mean you are less of a woman if you give birth using drugs. That was the feeling back in 1981. Real women did it without drugs. You still carried that baby 9 months (hopefully) and pushed it out of your body. You deserve a medal….and drugs if you need them. We know that if men could give birth, they would NEVER do it without drugs.
After I was in labor about 12 hours, and very little change was happening, they administered Pitocin, just to “speed things up.” It does. Trust me. But when given in large doses, it intensifies the pain so much that drugs can become necessary. I still only had 2 shots of Demerol then (which, by the way, has the effect of slowing down labor), but I was becoming too exhausted from back-to-back contractions, so they wanted me to sleep. I really didn’t – I was drowsy, but I could still feel all the pain. I just could not do anything to help myself because I was too doped up.
Many hospitals have actually evolved into more modern thinking on childbirth now. It’s about time. They actually encourage some women to get up and walk. It speeds labor. Changing positions helps greatly – lying flat on your back is the most painful way to labor. If you are upright, gravity still works It took doctors a long time to figure that one out. Also, spending a lot of time upright greatly cuts down on the need for episiotomies. Praise God. Avoid it if possible. Sometimes it’s not possible. If your hospital allows things like birthing balls, I think it is well worth trying. It can’t hurt. Modern moms approaching birth know what those are. Or the people at my house who have seen the birthing shows
Standing, leaning forward, with one foot propped up slightly, like up on a step stool, goes a long way toward relieving pain. When I was in premature labor with Rachel in 1984, I discovered that one for myself. It is a natural thing. I had been given Vistaril and sent home because the nurses swore I was not really in labor. A couple of hours later, I proved them wrong. But leaving the house, I stopped during a hard contraction, to lean forward and put one foot up a little, Wow….what a difference. So I tried it when I got to the hospital and the nurse literally said, “Oh, don’t lean over! Get in the bed!” Stupid nurse. She probably gave birth completely anesthetized. I wanted to anesthetize her then….with a hammer.
And don’t freak out if a c-section becomes necessary. They are more frequent now, but less babies die now, too. Just go as long as possible before making that decision. Give nature a chance. Babies turn. And now more doctors are familiar with how to make them turn. But don’t let that baby’s head hammer against pelvic bones for too many hours. We have friends whose first baby was subjected to several days of labor and she was born with cerebral palsy. One of my nephews was born by c-section because the pelvic bones were simply not wide enough to allow his large head to pass. By the way, he still has a swelled head, at 22. Again, another story.
C-sections. They scare us. But you know what? They really don’t have to. I’ve had two of them. They are really not that bad. The first one was because Rachel was in some serious trouble. She was born at 29 weeks, and would not be born on her own. She didn’t want to be born, but it was necessary. Emergency c-section. I had a vertical incision because she was too high up. Her cord was only 4″ long. A normal birth would have pulled it out of either her or me. And she would have died before birth. Bethany was born by c-section, because of the vertical incision. They don’t like to let women labor with a prior vertical incision because the chance of rupture is greater. I did go through quite a bit of labor, though, because I actually went into labor at home on a Sunday morning, 11 days before her scheduled birth. She was 9 lbs at 38 weeks.
Steve was not allowed to go in with me for Rachel’s birth, because it was an emergency. Nevermind that I would have been calmer with him there. They had visions of fathers passing out back then. Some medical personnel still think people will pass out at the sight of medical equipment and procedures being done on a loved one. Or that they will become combative. He was allowed in for Beth’s birth, but he was ushered in just before the incision was made, and ushered back out by the nurse before the incision was even closed. That’s stupid. He could have sat there and helped me breathe and relaxed me some, because I was in hard labor. But instead, they kept us apart. That’s a pet peeve of mine that will always eat at me. Fathers….husbands….are important! They’ve done studies recently showing that a person undergoing medical procedures will have a drop in blood pressure and heart rate simply from holding the hand of a loved one…..particularly a spouse. Yet spouses are still separated during procedures. It’s stupid.
But in most cases, transverse incisions are done, and they are much easier to get over. I’m going to tell you…the pain from a c-section is not any worse than the pain of labor, in my opinion. I can take a lot of pain, though. About 24 hours after Beth was born, I quit taking the pain med, because she was getting it, too. You figure that one out My baby girl was zonked on Demerol at one day old.
Lauryn, if you think the Bradley Method classes would be better, try them. I know it’s more expensive. But Lamaze has changed over the years. They include more now than just breathing methods. If the hospital you have chosen is not open to whatever way you want to labor, run the other way. Find one that is. No matter what birthing technique you chose, if the hospital doesn’t allow it, you won’t use it. If the chosen hospital touts their birthing center, then they probably allow most things you would want to try.
Watching the birth of a baby is an incredible thing. I was there when my nephews Justin and Michael were born. When Justin was born, I stood right behind the doctor watching everything he did. Rachel had just died the previous year, so it was hard for me, but also one of those happy moments when women cannot stop the tears. Surgical masks make great Kleenexes I was also pregnant with Beth then, but we didn’t know it. I’m sure that added to my tearfulness. When Michael was born, I was several feet away, but I still got to see that little head emerge (or big head…he was also 9 lbs!) and watch the doctor take the cord from around his neck. Now Michael is getting married in December. It just doesn’t seem possible.
If you ever get the chance to see a baby being born, do it. It is one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see. Fathers….actually watch the birth if you can. Get down at the foot of the table and watch. It will give you a new appreciation for what your wife just did.