Announcing: Thomas Laura

Once you get past Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Acceptance, there are three additional "stages of labor." Since not everyone who will read this will hold a certificate of completion from a Prepared Childbirth Class, I will attempt to put my explanation into laymen's terms.

Stage One
It's happening! Annie should be having mild contractions 30 to 45 seconds long and 20 to five minutes apart. Time to call Official Prepared Childbirth Class CertificateDr. Hobgood and start heading for Women's East Pavilion, with a possible stop by Backyard Burgers. Dialation will be 0-3 cm. We expect Annie to be talkactive, impatient, full of energy, and self-confident. This stage can last eight to twelve hours. Sometimes it lasts for days. Maybe that's why the books came up with another part of Stage One called Phase II.

Stage One, Phase II: Active Labor
This phase often lasts around six hours. Contractions are three to five minutes apart, 45 to 60 seconds long, and increase in intensity, making it hard to walk or talk through them. Dilation will be 4 to 7 cm. Annie may be moody and serious. If we're lucky, the doctors will give her an epidural at this point so she can deal with the pain. If not, look out during the next stage!

Danger! Technically this is not a stage, although it can last up to two hours. Contractions peak quickly and are quite strong, sometimes seeming to be continuous. Annie may feel an urge to push but should not do so because the cervix isn't fully dialated. Many women become irritable, anxious, or angry at this time. My co-worker Jim Bowman says to expect Annie to "talk like a sailor" at this point. "Stay out of slapping range," he advises.

Stage Two: Baby Arrives
Now it's time for Annie to start pushing. Contractions are actually a little less intense here. She might have to push for a while, since this stage typically lasts 30 minutes to two hours. Annie may be awake, alert, and euphoric. She may be tired or exhausted. She may be overwhelmed. In short, the books don't seem to know what she will be. I will probably have fainted by this point, so Dottie will be in charge.

Stage Three: Postpartum
Yep, seems like there's always one more stage to go. Baby will be evaluated, right there in the room if we're at Women's East, and given to Annie for breastfeeding. Baby should be alert and articulate. As difficult as labor is for the mother and father, you have to give a little credit to baby, too. After all those sleepy months in the womb, just when you've about figured out how the game is played, birth has got to be a bit unsettling.
TAB After a day or two of relaxing in the resort atmosphere of Women's East, it'll be time for baby to go home for the first time. After all these months of pregnancy, life will finally get back to normal.

Of course, all of the above is just theory. The proof will be in the pudding..

Instructor's Quote

The facts stated on these pages should not necessarily be taken as actual information.