Monday, September 03, 2007

That moment when you feel you can't go on...

With all my own labours there was a moment when I thought, What WAS I thinking? Why am I doing this? I want to stop! Now! I want to give up and start again tomorrow! Likewise virtually all my birth clients have had a "dark night of the soul" moment when they felt they could not possibly, possibly carry on. This is usually the moment a woman asks for an epidural. It nearly always means that birth is very near the end.
A typical example was my recent client J. who really did not want an epidural but suddenly announced during labour that she must have one, she could not possibly endure another contraction as powerful as the past 3-5. We were in a low tech labour room where epidurals were not administered so we had to walk down the corridor to the high tec unit. The intensity of the contractions indicated that she was in "transition" (as I hate calling the phase covering the end of the cervix's dilation and the beginning of the baby's descent) and the walk really seemed to help things along! As a result she was feeling the urge to bear down within minutes of reaching the second room, the midwife quietly cancelled the anaesthetist and the baby was born not long after.
It is always difficult to explain to a woman that this moment, the moment you feel you cannot go on, is the sign to her supporters that the end, the moment she holds her baby, is almost certainly very close.
After her baby was born, J. said to me, "I am SO glad I didn't have an epidural!"

1 comment:

Clare said...

I've done this with all three of my labours - at home, in water. Each time I've got to a point where I've begged the midwife/my DH/my Mum to get an ambulance to take me to hospital and every time I've birthed fairly soon afterwards. In fact, with my third baby, when I started talking about epidurals and the midwife said to my Mum that she was worried that it wasn't just transition-ramblings as I sounded so lucid, my Mum helpfully responded with "Oh, she always says that...don't take it too seriously"!!! Of course she was right and, of course, as soon as the baby was born I was immensely relieved I wasn't stuck in a horrid hospital :-)