“YOU’RE NOT IN LABOUR”HERE to read the entire article on Gloria's blog
These are difficult words for birth attendants to say; I would say they are right up there with “I’m sorry, I’ve made a mistake.” They are, also, difficult for the birthing woman to hear. I’ve been on the receiving and giving ends of those words.
During my first home birth (second baby, 12 years after my first birth), I “laboured” all day (5 minute apart sensations that I thought “really hurt”) and at 8 p.m., my mw did a pelvic and said “you’re only 3 cms., you’re not in labour. I suggest you send all these people home, stop entertaining, go to bed, get some rest and I have to go help some other midwives at another birth.” I remember a) wanting to kill her 2) knowing somewhere inside that she was right but not liking it and 3) going into the bathroom and crying my heart out. I did as she told me, went to bed and about midnight it swung into a whole different level of intensity. I could see what she meant that I hadn’t been actively having a baby during the day. I gave birth to my baby at 2 a.m. after about 4 hours of very high gear birth sensations.
What did my midwife do for me by “giving it to me straight”?
1. She gave me the benefit of her experience which was what I paid for.
2. She respected me enough to know that I could deal with the truth and she didn’t have to candy coat it for me.
3. She opened up the possibility that, yes, things could get harder but I could manage it.
4. She provided a model for me to give to other women.
I smiled as I read this because her experience was soooooo my last birth!! Contractions in the middle of the night, getting close together, yet still 6-8 minutes apart. Feeling like "This is IT!" and walking and groaning through contractions....calling the midwives and hearing them say "Well, why do you want us to check you? Are you feeling pushy? If the contractions are still 6-8 ,minutes apart, then...." and being SOooo angry! Then insisting that we head to the hospital (there were other reasons besides contractions- and we were 45 minutes away, something that was a panic button for me). Arriving at the L&D ward and the midwife saying "You're 3cm..... I think you should go walk for a while and see if we can't get labour started" .,...... Labour STARTED?!?!?!!? Oh my Freakin' Gods!!!!! It was devastating to me to hear those words and ultimately lead to me almost capitulating to another Caesarean section. Truth is truth, and i'm so glad that my midwives didn't try to lie to me or hide it.... but..... can we not come up with a better sentence than "You're not in labour"? There must be a more positive way of stating this fact? A group of words that gives a more positive light and empowers the mother more? What do you think? Suggestions?