My Transition

November 10, 2009

To expand upon my last post, I’ll give you some insight on how my transition in my labor with Archer went. What I want to emphasize is that sometimes, during transition, a laboring woman needs some encouragement. What she also needs is the knowledge of what is happening with her body. I had a pretty good grasp on how labor progresses and was prepared if things got tough. My husband and I took a Bradley Method birth class that was wonderful. It broke down the stages of labor, explained exactly what is happening for baby and mother throughout the course of labor, and helped you and your partner prepare for your labor with relaxation techniques, massage, and positioning. I HIGHLY recommend taking this class if you are planning for a natural birth–whether it be in the hospital or at home, this class is outstanding preparation.

So, number one, I had education that helped me through my labor. Next, was John. He was amazing support for me. He knew what transition meant and knew what to do to help me through it. At one point, I was ready to give up, go to the hospital, and get an epidural so I could rest. This was after the birth team had left our house to let me get some rest as my labor seemed to be stalling out. To try to relax, I got in our bath tub, with John by my side. With my belly being so huge and the tub so small, I wasn’t able to fully relax enough to “sleep”, so we moved to the bed. Here is where labor got going! John was laying beside me rubbing my head and trying to soothe me enough so I could get the bit of rest I needed to continue with labor. Well, rest is not what I did. My contractions became more intense than ever at this point, and I was unsure if I could handle this extreme pain. Here I became worried about exhaustion and my only thought was, “I need to get to the hospital, get an epidural, and SLEEP!” John worked hard to calm me down, and reason with me. We both knew this was NOT what we wanted for Archer’s birth. Had I not had John there to talk me out of that, who knows what would have happened. Through learning about labor, he was ready for me to get to this point, and knew how to help me through it. The next step was to get into the birthing tub. Labor was still going in full swing, so I had John call everyone back. I needed them! Thirdly, on me list of help, was my Midwife and Birth Attendants. One of the ladies on the birth team, who I have mentioned before, was tremendous. I think she only wiped my forehead with a cold rag and here and there said some words of encouragement, but MAN was she lovely! My transition was hard, but it really didn’t last that long. All I could do during this time was lay against John in the water. Changing positions or walking around was not an option for me at this point. I was under the impression that my labor would have last forever due to having an Occiput Posterior (OP) baby. Luckily, labor didn’t seem to last much longer. I was blessed with a baby that wanted to come out quickly!
I remember towards the end of labor when it seemed that the whole world was quiet, I was looking up at the paintings on my mantle. One painting, a gift from my mother, is a scene in Guatemala of women walking to and from the fountain to get water. The painting next to this was tropical landscape watercolor painted by my Aunt. What gave me encouragement was knowing that these woman have all gone through natural birth. The painting from Guatemala reminded me that there are women all over the world that birth naturally, and they get through it. My Aunt has given birth naturally three times, so that was a huge comfort to me. So, after this, I prayed to God to help me deliver my baby, and next thing I knew he was here!

This is my take on transition: you need to be prepared for it. However you need to do it–with a Doula, a partner, family, friends, education, solitude, whatever. Transition can be rough, but it’s possible to get through. I think that more women need to know about this part of labor, so they and their birth team can be ready for it.