It's with pleasure that I announce to you that labor is exactly that: labor; it is not necessarily a nightmare! I'm not talking about when something goes wrong or you have a complicated delivery, of course, but I'm simply referring to the fact to facing the event in general should not be a matter of fearing, but learning about what is taking place and how to face it. It's not the anesthesiologist that you first need, but the right knowledge for laboring.

One of the best ways to look at the coming event, is that your body will be working to push out a baby. It just happens whether you are ready or not. And when it does, the muscles at work are not your enemies, but your friends: you have to learn ahead of time how to work together!

Here is the best advice that I can give concerning this "working together": When you feel contractions come, think to yourself how this is good because it's simply the muscles working to get the baby out. Don't fight against it. You may feel yourself tensing up. So, here is your job to do while you are waiting to the muscle contraction to be done with it's job:

Relax your shoulders and jaw.
Focus on doing that.

You may also find it helpful to look at an object in the room as a distraction, or have someone talk you through it (your husband, mother, nurse, doula, for example). You will do fine. One contraction at a time. Will it hurt? Of course it will, but I truly believe it's not to be feared, especially if you are focusing on your "work" -- you know, relaxing your tensing muscles.

Have juice and water handy at all times, and light healthy energy-encouraging snacks in case you want to nibble (i.e. peanut butter crackers or peanut butter toast). Here is the tricky part with that: your hospital team may say that you can't eat now (just ice chips). They say that to guard against vomiting (and perhaps it's helpful if you are getting epidoral but I'm not sure). However, I know for myself that I wasn't planning on an epidoral and it was far more important for me to have energy and strength to carry out the work at present and the work ahead (pushing!). I had to just do what I believed was best, of course. I'm SO GLAD I did!

That's what I want to leave you with for now. The next blog will be a continuation of this helpful series as you approach the birthday!

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