We had no intentions of photographing or videotaping my labor. Thankfully, our doula-like physical therapist pulled out her iPhone for these discreet clips during the actual finally!-now-I-have-contractions phase.
When doing research about preparing for birth, I stumbled across a fantastic clip of a home birth in which the mother was singing a version of Psalm 23. It's beautiful and will probably make you tear up (note: is non-icky for those of you who cringe at the thought of "birth videos!")
(Temple and Brent are "musicianaries." Isn't that a great term! Check out their website here.)
I loved the song and immediately went onto iTunes and bought their cd...and while the other songs are nice, this one stuck with me. It ended up being the musical mantra, so to speak, that I planned on using to stay in control during labor. With arthritis pain, sometimes I would count rhythmically, using the soothing regularity of an 8 or 10 count to modulate my breathing and find a place where I could deal with the hurt. I figured birth contractions would be similar, and to some extent, I was right. Having this song as my "pain mantra" helped me focus on my breathing, relax during the contraction and not freak out about the strange new sensations. I highly recommend singing! Especially if you've had any classical training at all, as the deep, diaphragmatic breaths I was being told to take were pretty much the same ones I'd be doing if I was planning on performing.
I wasn't going to post this video, initially. But as it seems I'm quickly becoming legend in the Rio community (I gave the doctors permission to share the video if they wanted to, as I figure anything that demystifies and takes the scariness out of vaginal childbirth is a good thing here), it's not really a private video anymore! Apparently my doctor tells everyone about her patient who sang through labor...
C-, the PT, had me on a birthing ball and was massaging my back. We're in the "natural birthing room" and I'm kind of sad you can't see the mural on the wall. It was like the view out to the Emerald City! Surreal. You can tell I am having contractions all through...in the first few seconds, I'm off key on the "of" of the "house of the Lord" because the pain was distracting me...and I whisper "foi" when the contraction ends. (Please ignore my massive pregnancy-induced acne, as I'm quite self-conscious about it!) I didn't have any pain medications at this point; the IV is antibiotics and pitocin (for the induction and a preventative measure as I'd been 12+ hours since my waters broke).
How did you cope with labor, especially if you went painkiller-free?