In an effort to prepare my brain for birth (I don’t visualize very well, which you can read here), I have been watching birth videos on YouTube. Now, don’t scold me, I realize that this isn’t the most ideal way to educate myself about labor and delivery. I even feel bad for watching some of these because all I can think is even if these women didn’t feel the need to protect their privacy, I should at least respect their privacy by not watching. But, I watch anyway. In my defense, I would like to point several things out: 1.) I’m not squeamish, not even a little bit, 2.) again, my brain can’t visualize unless it has something real it can recall, and 3.) I have never seen a woman give birth, including myself.
How many times have you seen a woman give birth? I’m not talking about a quick shot of a mother’s face as she is pushing in a fictional situation such as on TV or in a movie. I’m talking about the real deal, the nitty-gritty, blood and fluids and exclamations of pain, a baby is coming out of that lady’s formerly tiny orifice labor and delivery type birth. Before a few weeks ago, I had never seen a birth that showed anything below the waist. Now, before all the pregnant women reading this go to YouTube and start watching, I have a few more things to say about what I have learned through this process. Hopefully my trial and error process will benefit someone.
1. Be prepared to see poop. What else do I need to say about that?
2. Look for the type of birth you want to have. I just searched for birth and started watching the first result. I then watched the next, and the next, and the next result. All of these that I watched had one thing in common that I have no desire to emulate–every woman was pushing her little heart out laying flat on her back. I want to use gravity to my advantage, especially when it comes time for the baby to descend and come out! Lord only knows if I will still feel this way when the time comes, but I wanted to see how delivery would work in a different position. So, I changed my search to natural birth to see what I would find. Boy, I tell you what, I found some stuff alright! But, moving on…
3. Good luck getting your husband/partner to watch with you! I was determined that my husband needs to watch these videos, too, so he could prepare to help me with labor and delivery. He hates reading, he doesn’t want me to read to him, and we won’t be taking any classes. What other option is left? I figured I would educate him visually! Yeah, that isn’t going to happen. He made it about 15 seconds in before turning pale, making some indiscernible exclamation combined with a gagging sound, then turning his back to the screen.
4. Make this watching process part of an overall goal. It made it less awful to watch with a goal in mind. My goal was to keep watching until I could watch the entire delivery process without clenching my jaw. If I can’t even watch someone else and remain relaxed, how the heck am I supposed to go through it and try to relax certain parts of my body to help with labor and delivery? If I could reach my goal of being relaxed while watching someone else deliver a baby, then maybe all hope isn’t lost.
5. After seeing the nitty-gritty details of a delivery, find a video that shows someone going through a calm, purposeful labor. Watching just the last 10 or 15 minutes of birth, the most intense part, really is only a small part of the entire process. I found a video that was nice and calm and very helpful. It was a mother laboring at home with her eighth child. She doesn’t speak during the 30+ minute video, but she has edited the video adding text to explain certain parts that is very helpful. Here is the link in case anyone else is interested in watching.
I will keep preparing for birth intellectually as well as physically. I hope that my husband can get there emotionally so he can get there intellectually as well. If I come across anything helpful in my preparations, I will share with everyone.
Next on my labor and delivery list is writing a list of the things that I fear the most. Thanks a lot, Janet Balaskas (I’m reading Active Birth right now), for the nudge to explore my feelings, because I just love exploring my feelings (psst, that is sarcasm).