Monday, August 9, 2010

The transition phase of labor

Last week I was watching a show about Natural Childbirth and towards the end of the woman's labor, she began to vomit. The Doctor explained to the viewers that this was actually a good thing because it meant she had reached the "transition phase" of labor. About twenty minutes later, her baby was born. Since I am a pregnant woman considering natural childbirth, I decided to research this. I'm not going to lie, I HATE throwing up. It makes me hurt just thinking about it but it doesn't scare me off because with all victories also comes pain. This is what I read.

Transition is the most difficult phase of labor for most women; however, it is also the shortest phase generally lasting ½ hour to 1½ hours in length.

Physically, mom is experiencing contractions 2-3 minutes apart, lasting 60-90 seconds, and are very strong in intensity. Contractions may even "piggy-back" which means one contraction may start to fade away and another one comes along immediately. During this phase she may notice increased bloody show; nausea, vomiting, burping, or hiccups; shaking; hot/cold feelings; fatigue; and sensitivity to touch. Additionally, she may indicate increased pressure on the perineum and/or rectum.

Emotionally, mom can become restless, irritable, discouraged, and confused. She may find that she focuses inward as she works with her labor. She may have a hard time communicating her wishes. This is the point in labor when she usually needs the most support.

What I read made me think about the "transition" phase we experience in life. Every event or experience has it's ups and downs. But we know that if we press on through the pain and struggle of life's events, the victory is worth every bit of it. The marathon has a transition phase many refer to as "The Wall". I experienced a boredom in my mind during those middle miles when I ran my first marathon so I assume the agonizing boredom was in fact "The Wall". The second marathon was completely free of any sort of wall. I did not have ANY pain or boredom because I knew what I had to do to get to that finish line. In many ways, the first marathon, the one where my legs hurt and my mind became restless in the middle miles (15-18), I now look at with a greater appreciation than the second one. The struggle made the finish that much sweeter.

Currently I am not in any sort of "transition" stage in my life. Instead I feel like I just came out of one. It was much like the transition phase I've read about in labor. I felt restless, irritable, discouraged and even confused. But I had friends the Lord used over and over again to remind me that the feelings were only temporary. I love what I read about the "support" a woman should be given during the transition phase of labor. Look at this!

During transition, labor support is crucial for the mom's physical and emotional well-being. Partners should remain with the mom; give firm, clear, positive, and simple directions; remind her to change her positions; assist with breathing patterns; offer a cool washcloth for her brow and lip balm; and keep her hydrated with water and/or ice chips. Remind her to take one contraction at a time and not to give in to the panicky feelings.

When it seems we have the hardest time communicating our wishes, the Lord sends back- up. His Holy Spirit and His Word of course are the biggest source of back-up we ever receive but I love it when he sends it in the flesh through family and friends to remind us to take it one day at a time.

Exodus 17:12 (New International Version)

12 When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

Our hands may grow tired. We may feel defeated and empty but during those times of transition, He sends support and we can rest. As my spirit grew tired during the first marathon, He sent the crowd to cheer me on and my husband and Dad were on the corner of many of the streets waiting for me with a cheer!  He NEVER leaves us alone during the transition phase.

Soon I will be in a transition again because life is full of them. Mine may actually be the "Transition phase of labor"! I hope so! Today I am thankful for the "labor" I recently came out of and the support He sent to get me through the transition. It's never easy but when you have people keeping you hydrated through His Word and words of encouragement, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! You not only have labor, you have a DELIVERY! 



Tiffany said...

What a GREAT analogy! Thanks for being a tremendous support through MANY of my transitions, too...'Manda.

Tiff ;)

Anonymous said...

Just referring to part of your post about women vomiting during transitional stage of labor. I did natural childbirth and was fortunate not to experience any nausea or vomiting. So, don't worry - it is very possible it won't happen to you! :) Natural childbirth was the most beautiful & life-changing experience of my life!

Lyn in FL

Kim said...

Beautiful post :)

Kelly said...

"Restless, irrtable, discouraged, and confused..." I have read this several times and these are the words that jump out at me. This is me right now. I know I am in transition, but I don't know what for yet, does that make sense? I am in that limbo, but have no idea what the goal is.

In childbirth I was able to focus forward, knowing there would be an end, and a wonderful sense of accomplishment (Plus the baby!). Now I fear I am facing disappointment and not sure what the victory would be. I love this post, please keep praying for me as we make some big choices for the girls.