Birth In New Orleans :: What Does Pushing Feel Like?

Disclosure :: There are many questions about birth, including “what does pushing feel like?” Our friends at Nola Nesting have sponsored this post and we love that it features several different birth perspectives.

Birth In New Orleans – What Does Pushing Feel Like?

What does birth feel like – the question every pregnant mother wants to know. Because regardless of what type of birth you are planning, planning for the unknown is tough. As a Nola Nesting birth doula in New Orleans, I always say if I could tell you when and how you’d have your baby I’d own an island by now! I can’t tell you what it will feel like or what birth is best for you – what I can tell you is that sometimes the unknown just isn’t as scary as might seem. You just keep moving forward and cross the bridges as you come to them.

Remember when you were a kid and there was a monster under your bed? Although everything was fine, you had to find a way through it to understand and feel safe so you could sleep. Maybe you needed a light, a hug from a parent or someone to sit with you and rub your back. Labor and birth are just that – I have no question that you can do this and that this is as normal a process as falling asleep – but sometimes you just need someone to care for you, turn on a light (or dim them), rub your back and remind you you’re safe, that’s what a Nola Nesting doula can do for you.

But still you wonder … what does it feel like? What is pushing like? Here are some women’s descriptions – not super women, not special women – just birthing women no different than you, facing their unknowns and moving forward, bringing their babies to arms.

Hailie {Breech Baby}

Hailie, on pushing out her breech baby: “With my last, I was feeling pushyHailey 1 before I even got in my bath tub. My doula was on standby while I was trying to take a nap. I had been checked by my midwife and was only 1 cm dilated. I ended up calling her in a panic when things picked up with lightening speed. Even as a mom who is very comfortable with natural birth, I was in a very nervous state when my doula arrived. She immediately helped me get get focused and relaxed and my whole demeanor changed. Once I got in the tub, the water and my doula helped me relax through the the pressure. She breathed with me, poured water over my contracting belly and made me feel safe. When my daughter presented butt-first, my body did most of the pushing. I gave gentle, grunty pushes to help nudge her out slowly. After her arms and legs flopped out, I could feel the weight of her body pulling against her head, still within. It really helped make pushing her head out a lot easier, though it still required a focused push. My breech baby was my easiest baby to push out. (image to the right)

Melissa {Pushing is the Best Part of Birth}

Melissa, “Pushing is my favorite time in birth. Things seem to slow down. Time seems to stop. The room is silent. You and your baby are actively working together in the process. It’s the last moments you are pregnant. I was savoring it, enjoying the moment. Gently breathing my baby out. Ahhh……”

Kim {Pushing is Uncontrollable}

Kim, on how pushing felt: “Uncontrollable. With my first hospital birth the nurses were holding my daughters head kimand telling me not to push until the doctor arrived. This wasn’t a great experience. I couldn’t stop if you’d paid me! Mine was not slow at all. No pause after transition, no slowing down. All my babies come fast & furious. A couple minutes, 2-3 contractions, and they’re out.  With my third I kept thinking “these sound like pushing sounds” because my whole labor was basically transition (3 hours start to finish) and I couldn’t differentiate between labor contractions and pushing contractions.” (image to the left)

Andrea {Pushing Differs Each Time}

Andrea W, “With my first un-medicated birth (in a hospital, pushing in a semi-reclined position), I remember announcing that I was feeling “pushy” … But I was then directed to push with everyone counting and me holding my breath and bearing down as hard as I could, for a long as I could. She came out pretty quickly; only a few minutes and a couple contractions. But I also remember it being SUPER intense and definitely felt a lot of stinging and burning. With my second, a home birth in the water, I pushed in the position I felt most comfortable in (which happened to be upright, on my knees, leaning against the side of the tub). Her head came out on it’s own, with no extra assistance from me. And then one little push, and her body was out. It was a very relaxed and calm moment, nobody told me what to do or how to do it, and then my husband caught her and passed her up to me. Both times it happened very quickly, but it was a completely different experience!”

Jillian {Pushing in the Water}

Jillian, on pushing out her baby in the water: “Pushing was a relief. I was so close to being done. My husband said, “His eyes are ojillian 2pen and he’s blinking underwater.” I was flabbergasted that you could see his face. “My nose is wrinkled. I was not breathing my baby out. I was done.” (image to the right)

Andrea {Four Pushing Experiences}

Andrea, “With my third, I had no clue I was pushing. I was grunting through the contractions and all I knew was it was the best feeling in the world and there was no way I was going to be able to breathe through them. My midwife was on the phone telling me to breathe through them and not push. I had crazy leg labor and the only way that I could get comfortable was on hands and knees. With my fourth, it was the hardest thing ever. I was freaking out in my head and he was coming super fast. I just wanted him out and wanted it to be done. I remember trying really hard to get in a comfortable position and couldn’t. That made pushing even harder.”

Amy {Pushing During VBA2C}

Amy, “My first vba2c (vaginal birth after two cesareans) pushing was on my back, I felt the ring of fire and was told amyby nurses to push through it so it would be over faster. I had 3rd degree tears with her. With my 2nd vba2c my ob (obstetrician) knew I wanted to push standing up, he walked in the room, asked if I was ready to push when I said ‘yes’ he pulled me up on to my feet on the bed threw my arm around his neck and said “do what you need to do,” those are by far some of my favorite birth moments. I only pushed 3 or 4 times. No tears, it was by far my easiest pushing phase of any of my labors. My next birth, pushing was difficult as he had a complex presentation.  He was facing my left thigh, came out military position and had his hand up by his face. He wasn’t coming down on his own so I pushed a bit with each contraction to try and move him. I pushed the longest with him, never felt the ring of fire, only pushed when I wanted/needed to and even with him being my biggest baby and his difficult positioning I didn’t tear at all. I think had I been out of the birth pool and standing pushing would have been easier with him.” (image to the left)

Ashlea {Natural Homebirth}

Ashlea, “The journey to pushing was a cake walk … I couldn’t get comfortable in my birth tub to push so I had to hop out after about 20 minutes. This was mashleae at 9.5cm about to hop in the pool. Pushing sucked … but she was born in 40 minutes on the birth stool next to the tub, hubby was sitting behind me the whole time. Natural homebirth. As she was coming out she lost little tufts of her hair, which I thought was strange.” (image to the right)

Each of these women’s birth stories were written as they unfolded. So too will yours. You can best prepare for your birth reading about and choosing a great doctor or midwife, taking a childbirth class and hiring a doula. I don’t know how or when you will have your baby, but I don’t question for a second that you can have an amazing birth and bring your baby to your arms!

Learn more about Amanda and her company Nola Nesting on their website, Facebook, Instagram or follow along on Twitter

Amanda Devereux is a New Orleans doula, founder of Nola Nesting, the New Orleans Chapter leader of Louisiana Constituents for Safe Childbirth, New Orleans Birth Boot Camp Instructor, Founder of Latch Clinic and New Orleans Lactation Support, Organizer of 2020 Moms Postpartum Mom to Mom Support Group, Program Developer and Trainer of Birth Boot Camp Doula, administrator of Love What You DOULA and a mother of three.



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