I have mentioned in a previous post that I have been feeling rather apprehensive about labour and birth the second time around. I could not get past the memories of a long latent first stage that sapped my energy and my all my belief that I could actually get through the birth. It took some very strong people around me to keep me going through the 32 hours, and the disappointments of hearing how slow progress had been.
This time around, I did some serious thinking about what to do differently. I know I have to stay positive, but just had no idea how. Until a friend recommended that I read "Birth Skills" by Juju (Julia) Sundin and Sarah Murdoch. Well, I have. And I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Not only is there clear and concise information on the physiology of what your body is actually doing during the labour and delivery process, there are extremely practical strategies for coping with labour pain, staying focussed and positive. The book is based on the antenatal classes that Juju provides, in Sydney. It is the next best thing to being able to attend the classes.
The focus is on strategies for minimising the perception of pain, during the first stage of labour, and on methods for effective pushing in the second stage. Suggestions for managing pain include vocalising, using other large muscle groups (eg stamping your feet, squeezing stress balls) for distraction, visualisation, and most importantly, getting as big and as loud as the pain itself.
Juju has a website where this is all explained so much better than I am doing, here. Suffice to say that I am still nervous, but now feel calm, positive and am actually looking forward to the process (sort of!) which will bring our new bundle of joy into the world - hopefully sooner, rather than later!