There is a lovely little shop in our town which sells vintage items, who we regularly visit. We established familiarity with one of the women who work there, having bought a lot of little bits and pieces for our wedding there. So when we stepped through the doors in January 2012 and announced that we were expecting our little Monkey, they were very happy for us.
This is where I received the best advice of my whole pregnancy, which helped my through 20 hours of labour.
The manager, a very kind, soft spoken woman, reminisced about her pregnancy and labour (as all mums do when they hear an announcement, having done it myself, oooops) talked about how when a contraction reached its highest point she knew it wasn’t getting any worse so she would just push it away with a breath until it was over. The way she described it was so beautiful that it helped put my mind at ease about labour for the 6 months that followed.
When I put it into practice I kept thinking what good advice it was as oh boy did it work a treat! It was unfortunate that I was induced, as eventually the contracting didn’t seem to fade and became a constant pain. I was forced to take an epidural, a decision I stick by without regret.
I believe if I had a natural birth I would have got through it on just the gas and air and my clever breathing technique. The strength to get through labour is in the mind and I pushed as many of those contractions away as I could.
When M was born I visited the shop and thanked the manager for her advice, which by the look on her face made her very happy. I don’t think she even remembered. It’s funny how these things work out.