Why I Love Transition Labor (And You Might Too)
|From Katelyn Demidow Photography|
Transition labor. Women fear it. Men dread it. Midwives watch for it. Some people would prefer to numb it and shut it up. Then why would anybody "love" transition labor?
Oh, but I love transition labor! YES I do.
Not when I am in the middle of it, of course. Being in transition labor actually is excruciating. With my first baby I was pretty cool and never noticed a hard "transition" part of labor.
With my second I was blown away by a deep and sure knowledge that I was in fact going to DIE. Probably by being ripped in half from the inside out. Yup. Death seemed imminent.
With my third I just asked for a vaginal exam at some point (9 1/2 cm!!!) because if I wasn't almost there it was time to call it quits.
And with my fourth I distinctly remember 1) weeping 2) looking in the mirror and thinking that being numb from the chest down was an incredibly delicious idea 3) wept some more and finally 4) screamed like a freight train.
So why would this girl who has (at least in her mind) denounced natural birth while experiencing transition labor actually claim to (after the fact) LOVE it?
The truth is that transition labor sucks when you are in it. It makes you want to give up, run away, and get out of your own body. It is hard. There is nothing to love about it in the moment.
But if you do it- if you make it through and manage to go "all natural" or whatever you want to call it- that is when transition becomes something to love.
The feeling of triumph when labor is over, that triumph is there because of that hard time. The relief of having a baby, it is a feeling of relief because the pain part is finished. The euphoria of birth doesn't just wipe the senses clean, it floods your body and your mind with joy and love for a baby and for a job well done.
The beauty of labor isn't in the easy parts, it lies in the difficulty that you overcame.
That is what I love about birth. I have a hard time understanding why everybody doesn't see the intrinsic teaching power in the manner in which women have been blessed to bring life into the world.
Transitions in life are almost always difficult, just like the transition from first stage to second stage labor. When you are in the middle of the trials of life, those problems are all you can see. They cloud your vision. They make the horizon disappear behind a sheet of grey doubt. You don't know what lies ahead. The only thing that seems certain is that you can't handle what is happening now.
But when it is over you can look back. You can see how much stronger you are because of what you overcame. And you have more confidence...not because you tapped out or screamed mercy, but because you did it even when you thought you couldn't.
Transition labor might hurt. But the pain is what teaches you how strong you are. The confidence comes from overcoming something that seemed so impossible.
So yes, I love transition labor. Not because it was easy, but precisely because it was harder than anything else I had ever done. And I did it anyway.