Prenatal visits are a time of excitement and anticipation for mothers. Excitement to hear the heartbeat, and to check another month off the calendar countdown! With this anticipation comes getting on the scales and watching the dial edge into numbers that nobody wants to see! Then there is the barrage of questions. “How’s your diet? Are you drinking plenty of water? Are you exercising? “ Really?? Are you serious?? Exercise with this giant belly?? I can’t even get my tennis shoes tied!!
Often we remind moms that labor and delivery is like a marathon. Imagine the outcome of attempting to run a marathon after spending 9 months sitting on the sofa, eating anything you wanted, and gaining 40 lbs. No one in their right mind would attempt that! Yet, time and time again, mothers show up the day of delivery expecting the baby to painlessly slip out after a few hours of contractions and then complain that they are tired, even exhausted, worn out, hungry and weak. Even to the point of feeling like they won’t have the energy to push out the baby.
This particular mom, let’s call her Marathon Mom, was excited for her second birth. She had heard that usually the second birth is the “best” birth. The “door” had already been opened and surely this wouldn’t be another 24 hour labor!
Marathon Mom is a very strong mom. She is fit and has very good muscle tone. She maintained a healthy diet and exercised daily. She is very determined and purposeful. She had specific instructions for us and a timeline that she expected. It seemed reasonable that the baby should be here by 4 pm. She wanted to push twice, and when the baby was born, she wanted me to hold up the baby and announce, “It’s a GIRL!”
Marathon Mom walked all morning. By 1:30 contractions were picking up, but is was 3:00 before she was ready to call for help. When we arrived at 3:30, mom complained of back pain. We tried changing her position several times trying to encourage the baby to turn into an anterior position. 4:00 came and went and mom was dilated to 7cm still complaining of back pain.
The clock ticked on; minute after minute turned into hour after hour. Finally around 9pm it was time to push…..and push, and push and push. It was well past the 4pm time that Marathon Mom had picked to deliver. In fact, it was just an hour before midnight when she pushed out the 9lb 8oz baby that was looking straight up at the ceiling. One more push and the baby was out. I held it up and announced……”It’s a BOY!”
In pregnancy a mom can hope, plan and prepare for the birth. But sometimes our best laid plans don’t turn out like we hope. That is when preparation comes into play. Prepare for delivery like an athlete prepares for an event. This is how Marathon Mom prepared, and when the time came and her strength was challenged, she was able to go the distance and come out smiling on the other side….holding her precious prize.