Coping At All Stages - 2nd Stage (Pushing)

"For my first, n/a - but my anesthesiologist was warm and so kind....

For my second, when the lip was gone and I could push, I pushed for 20 minutes. 

For my third, baby was born at 2:25am after 2 hours and 10 minutes of labor." ~ Allison

"I was so angry at myself. My husband and Cole came back in and I told him I wanted he and my nurse to leave me alone. Cole suggested he go get some coffee. When they left I cried. Cole let me. She then helped me to 'unpack my baggage' as she called it. She told me about laboring down. She told me about sleeping before pushing and how that could help me. She talked to me about options like turning down the epidural, turning it off, or abstaining from pushing the medication button. She talked about what pushing might feel like. We waited an hour and half for me to feel butt pressure and called everyone back at that time. My doctor checked me and baby was sitting so low that I only needed to push for 4 contractions and M slipped out. She was born in the wee hours of morning and didn't leave my arms for 2 hours." ~ Amili

"By the time it was time to push, I got out and onto the bed and pushed on my back until he was under my pubic bone. Then I got back into the tub and pushed there, alternating between bites of fig and sips of water. He was born after a few more pushes..." ~ Chelsea

"My nurse came in and asked to check me. I hopped up on the bed and she said I was 9cm with a lip of cervix. I turned on my side for a contraction and it was miserable. We flipped to the other side and did it on the other side for the next contraction. My doctor came in and checked me and said I was 10 cm and could push whenever I wanted. I wanted to be on all fours but couldn't move. My doctor didn't want me to be in that position either, so I drew my legs back and pushed hard. My contractions had spaced out to about 6 minutes apart and I didn't really feel like I had to push, but I wanted to be done. I pushed and pushed, resting between, with water sips and cold washclothes. It took me 2 hours to feel the urge to push, and another 45 minutes to push him out. 4 billion people came in the room for baby, the doctor, and me. Everyone showed up for the big finale and I took forever to do it. He came out turned to one side and his shoulders didn't come out easy. I tore, but not a lot. I didn't feel it either. When he came out, they unwrapped a cord around his neck, they cut his cord, and took him to the warmer...." ~ Liv

"I got in the tub... One contraction caused me to involuntarily spring forward into a splay-legged position on all fours. (I remained in this position until Julep was nearly born). I could’ve done the splits and still wouldn’t have felt I was open nearly enough. I wanted so badly to stretch my whole pelvis even wider. This compulsion didn’t intend to relieve pain (I wasn’t experiencing any), it was to enhance what already felt good. After my water broke, Julep’s head was in the birth canal. The whole round thing, all of it so suddenly. Cole arrived (ten minutes before Julep would be born). In one moment, I felt Julep kick me from the inside. His whole body, from shoulders to toes, wiggled inside the birth canal right before the contraction that would bring his head out completely. It was a wild, incredible feeling..." ~ Holly

"My midwife showed up and asked if I wanted to get in the tub. It had been about 15 minutes or more since my last contraction. I had totally forgotten about the birth pool. Thankfully my husband had set it up while Cole and I were moving back and forth between the bedroom and bathroom. I hopped in the tub during that long break between expansions (because that's what they really were) and again asked if this huge lull was normal. My husband climbed in with me and I intuitively got into a squat, facing him, with my hands on his shoulders. The next expansion rolled over me and I threw down (like throwing up, involuntary and all-body like) with so much intensity that I howled at the ceiling. My husband matched my howl and it made me feel so primal and sensual. I put one hand between my legs and felt my babies head. My husband put his hand on top of mine and our eyes met. I don't remember a real break in the expansion, as my body just opened, then opened more, then opened more. His head came out into our hands, then he spun on our hands and slipped out effortlessly. I sat back and our four hands drew him up to the surface, where we let him float between us. I was still riding this euphoric wave and our howls had turned into moaning, keening, post orgasmic joyful tears. " ~ Trinity

"... I popped up to work through a contraction, right around when we noticed the blood, and I started moaning through a contraction before suddenly yelping as my water popped, then grunting. Cole asked if I was pushing and I said I didn't know. She asked if I felt like I was pooping and I said yes. She asked if I thought it was time to have a baby and I said 'no, I'm only 4cm'. My nurse came in and asked the same series of questions. I was irritated at them, of course it wasn't time for me to have a baby, I was only 4cm. They were so stupid in my mind. With my next one I sank to my knees and started really pushing. Even between pushes though, I would pant 'just pooping, just pooping'. I know that things got chaotic but I was only focusing on pooping, which was so vastly important and satisfying. Next thing I know, my butt felt totally stretched out and I remember thinking 'oh, it's not a piece of crap, it's a baby', and then I was holding her. I was holding my baby. Total time between my 4cm check and my baby in my arms was 50 minutes. My doctor didn't make it, my nurse and I caught my baby, kneeling on the floor beside the bed. Cole and my nurse helped me into the bed. My doctor came in and proclaimed 'now that was interesting', while the nursery staff came in and saw she was a little floppy. They wanted to take her to the warmer to get her to get more pink and to start crying, but my doctor asked them to do the oxygen with her in my arms, so they did. We clamped and cut the cord a short time later and sat around waiting on the placenta. Baby latched on about 40 minutes after birth, but my placenta wouldn't come out. I kept nodding off to sleep between little crampy contractions..." ~ Kelly

Pushing can be an interesting sensation. Some women say it is like throwing up, in reverse: the involuntary nature of throwing up, that intense pressure moving everything in your core upward... but instead downward. They call that 'throwing down'. Other women say it is like the most intense constipated pressure you will ever feel. Other women say it is an involuntary urge to poop - similar to when you have diarrhea.

Pro Tip: all about pushing and positions here

Pro Tip: when preparing for second stage during pregnancy, practice pushing gently and controlled while going #2 on the toilet. 

Many providers will encourage you to purple push, or hold your breath and push for a count of 10. If you aren't wanting to do that, there are other ways to push.

You can push while envisioning your pelvic floor like an elevator car. Picture your elevator car in the lobby/main floor (not high rise) of a building with many basements. "Take a deep breath in the lobby, now drop your baby lower and lower all the way to the basement - like an elevator".

Pro Tip: when preparing for second stage during pregnancy, you and partner can have a spit bubble making contest. Pay attention to how gentle you have to be with your lips and the pressure you press out with to make a successful spit bubble. 

In pregnancy, I explain that their vagina and butt needs to be as soft as their lips need to be to blow spit bubbles, with just the right amount of pressure. In labor, some partners will say 'blow spit bubbles with your bottom'. It's a great analogy. if they feel tight or scared, tension or burning, it's time to back up and blow more gently so their spit doesn't pop.

Speaking of burning, many women say that, as baby comes to crowning, they feel burning or heat on their perineum. That is their perineum stretching. Being mindful of this stage can minimize the chances of tearing. When mom's feel the burn or the pressure or the stretching or the fire, support teams can say 'that's good, you're stretching, stretchy bottom, soft bottom, relaxed bottom, push when you need, breath when you can.". Say all this really close to their ear and quietly. The tone reflecting what she wants her bottom to achieve. Pro Tip, more on minimizing tearing here

What did your experience of pushing include that you weren't expecting/prepared for? What were you glad for? What worked and what didn't?  

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