Things I've done while in labour.
* Eat at a restaurant (early stages of a long slow part of labour)
* Take my eldest to our local playground while hanging off trees and yelling during contractions ("Mummy tummy working hard?" "YES! Mummy tummy working VERY hard!")
* Drink castor oil (didn't seem to speed up the slow one)
* Machine quilt (brought the sewing machine to the hospital)
* Eat chocolates
* Moan, grunt, growl
* Breastfeed my eldest
* "I don't think the baby will come tonight but you may as well ring the support people just in case, but tell them to bring their books." (Denial)
* Bathe (great!)
* Gaze at a lit Christmas tree
* Hide my head in a pillow
* Visualise pushing a truck up a hill with my support people beside me, cheering me on but not helping
* Demand acapella singing, reading aloud, acupressure, no - different massage, food, drink, ice, cold cloths on the back of my neck, silence and distracting conversation.
* Move around
* Wish I could still move around
* Try not to push
* Wish I'd mentioned to my midwife that I'd prefer any vaginal exams on my hands and knees
* Bleed on things
* Forget what people were saying during their sentences
* Have a baby (twice)
* Enjoy the boneless sliding of the placenta on its gentle way out (twice)
Both my babies came out fast once I was dilating, the first was late and I didn't start dilating for 10 days of on-and-off-again patches of labour (and having been through "real" labour I can't call that "false" because it was the same). The second was early. I birthed both kneeling, though I wanted to get into a different position for my second as she was part way through and I just couldn't get up. Both were natural and pretty much drug free (I had a little gas when my midwife broke my waters for the first, late, baby. It felt stupid, like why would I do recreational drugs when I was busy having an important baby). The first was in hospital, the second at home. The home birth was fantastic, the hospital birth was fine.
Contributed by Susan Harper. You can also contact her at "susan at sean.geek.nz"