Sunday, July 26, 2009

No Distractions........In Labor....

When I look at this picture I am reminded of the feelings one gets when you stand high on a mountain and gaze out.....calm, peaceful, serene, small, gladness at being alive and a tiny part of this world.

To really achieve a true calm, almost hypnotic state during labor a woman must have an environment that feeds that state. People bustling in and out, a muriad of questions regarding such unimportant things as "When did you last take your prenatal vitamin?" are stealers of this calm. I believe that in the right environment any woman can achieve an almost hypnotic state during labor. I have seen it many times.....I have seen women doze off for a quick 2 minute snore during contractions at 7, 8, 9 centimeters dilated. Especially when relaxing in the tub of warm water. It is truly amazing to witness.

Our bodies work under the direct control of many hormones.......not just the "hormones" that most people think of....estrogen, testosterone.....ya know the "sex" hormones. We have a glorious array of hormones that when allowed to be released really can put moms in a relaxed state which helps her body open up and lets the baby "flow" out. Really. I'm serious. These hormones are hendered when stress and tension are highest......when we're scared, when we don't feel safe, loved or cared for. Ina May Gaskin, the mother of midwifery states that when a woman feels cared for and is able to feel a sense of gratefulness to her caregivers that her body benefits in labor because of that. Imagine that, all the technology we have, all the drugs, all the bells and whistles, and all we really need is love, attention, gentleness and guideness from a competent, compassionate soul.

Recently, I was admitting a mom into the birth center in labor. I had checked her cervix as soon as she arrived because this was her second baby and she was pretty "vocal" in the car when she arrived. I needed to make sure this babe was not about to pop out before I was ready for her....Well she was about 4 cm and hurting with these contractions. Her bag of water had already released at home....As I was getting a few things together she was on all fours really moaning with the contractions. I got up next to her and started rubbing her back as she breathed through the next contraction, she immediately said...."Oh, that makes such a difference..." You see, to have the loving touch of her midwife was like a drug, but better. It says what no drug says to moms...

1. You are loved

2. You are not alone

3. I am here for you

4. Let me help

5. You are doing so well

6. I understand

7. You will be so glad you did this

8. Keep going

9. You are strong

10. We are here for you as you are about to do this most amazing thing ever.....

No drug can relay this to you, none that I have ever seen......

The touch of another human whom you feel completely comfortable with and who you know cares about you and your babyand is there to help you push your baby out......Priceless.

For now, Janet


  1. Seriously, someone else has to comment so I don't seem like a blogger comment hog!!


    Women should count their blessings if they know you and Polly. If they even know and understand and have had the chance to witness the work a midwife does, they are already blessed.

  2. I completely agree. My twin sister and husband were with me throughout my last labor and my cousin came for the last hour to photograph things. and it was so relaxed. My sister would spray water on my back in the shower, and between contractions we would all laugh and joke around. It was so easy and peaceful because I knew I was surrounded by people who loved and cared about me, who wanted to do whatever they could to make me more comfortable. The nurses hardly did anything at all because my twin is an ACNP and she did a lot of the bedside care, and my husband made my wishes clear before I had to say anything to anyone. I had far less pain than I expected, and I think it was because I had such loving attendance.

  3. Yes, quiet can help a mom maintain a hypnotic state. I love that you respect that for your moms!
    I used Hypnobabies, which helped me stay in that hypnotic state even with the nurses coming in and out. The CDs and my cues helped me stay calm, relaxed and in hypnosis. :)