Yesterday I made a very important discovery. I think I found out why I ended up with prolapse following childbirth. As I mentioned in my “About” page, the process to birth my baby required over 4.5 HOURS of pushing, which culminated in having an episiotomy because my baby– although crowning forever-– just wasn’t coming out.
I always thought that it was simply a function of the sheer number of hours pushing that caused my problem, coupled with the fact that at the end, my pushing was desperate and as forceful as I could make it.
In reality, I know that multiple factors probably came into play, but as I read the following article I had a real A-HA moment.
Here is the part of the article that really spoke to me:
“Careful examination revealed that rather than weak tissue being unable to support the birthing process, it is often strong tissue offering resistance to the dynamics of labor that cause the majority of maternal injury.”
“Nichols and Randall observed that most birthing women do not have the urge to bear down with their contractions until the fetal head (or breech) begins to distend the pubococcygeus muscle. By this time the cervix is fully dilated and the presenting part can easily descend into the vagina with the force of contractions. The doctors gave very clear warnings of the damage most likely to occur if a woman were coached to push too early,”
And the article goes on to explain in more detail.
I was instructed by my midwife to push right when I was at 10 cm dilation. At 9.5 cm, my midwife helped my baby’s head over an anterior cervical lip that was apparently causing an obstruction.
I NEVER, EVER FELT THE URGE TO PUSH. NOT ONCE! NOT EVER!
I felt completely uncoordinated with pushing. I relied on my **midwife’s guidance 100%, and I remember telling her repeatedly that I just didn’t feel like I knew when to start and when to stop pushing. This went on and on and on, seemingly without an end in sight.
It was postulated that perhaps baby wasn’t tucking his head OR perhaps he just barely fit through my pelvis OR perhaps his hands were up beside his ears (he constantly did that as a newborn) OR perhaps…???
My midwife said my pushes were STRONG and baby’s head made visible progress with each push, but in between pushes the head would go back in. She specifically told me that it wasn’t because I was weak. Who knows what the hang up was, but eventually my baby was born immediately after the cut.
But now I have to wonder if my problems were caused at least in large part because I started pushing WAY TOO SOON.
Putting more pieces of the puzzle together gives me a degree of peace, even though it doesn’t change the past. My body felt literally tortured during childbirth, but now…
I am healed.
(**Note that I don’t blame my midwife for my current problems. I don’t have any hard feelings toward her whatsoever. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. During my post partum healing, she knew of my difficulties. She said she thought about my birth a lot. I know that she was probably second guessing her decisions just as much as I was playing the “what if” game.)