Epidurals and scoliosis

July 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm

About two years ago I went to a chiropractor, hoping he could help me figure out why I had chronic pain in my right shoulder blade region.

Wow. That’s what I thought when I saw the x-rays of my spine. Wow. Holy cow. Good grief!

Back when I was a teenager I was diagnosed with scoliosis, but they watched it for a while and it never became more than “mild” scoliosis, so they sent us on our way and I sort of stopped thinking about it. Until the pain started several years later. When I was lying “flat” on my back, things just didn’t seem to be where they were supposed to be. I was definitely right! As we stood there looking at the x-rays, I thought to myself, hmmm… that doesn’t look like “mild” scoliosis to me! The chiropractor concurred. Mommyhood had taken its toll and made my curvy spine even curvier.

Labor tips for dads

July 18, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I also like to call this one:  “Parturient Relations:  PR for dads.”  Remember these “Five PR’s”–the most helpful things you can provide for your partner while she labors…

1. Presence

  • Sometimes all she needs is your loving physical presence.
    • Be “Rock Steady”—the familiar, strong, soothing rock she can hold on to.
  • Be “present” in every way—don’t let your fatigue or fear take your attention away from her emotional and physical needs.
  • Do NOT fall asleep (unless she’s asleep).
  • Do NOT leave her alone unless she demands it.
    • Some women prefer to be alone while they labor. (But don’t go too far!)

2. Protection

  • Be a buffer between your wife and the rest of the world.
  • You can’t protect her from the intensity of childbirth or from unexpected complications, but you can protect her personal space and surround her with peace and calm.
    • Close doors.
    • Turn off/down the lights.
    • Take over answering questions so she can keep her energy focused on her hard work.  If someone tries to talk to her mid-contraction, gently ask for them to wait or stand between them and your wife until her contraction is over signaling with your hands for them to wait a moment.
    • No matter what happens or how much stress may arise, ensure that she always feels safe and secure.  “Peace, be still.”

3. Pressure

  • One of the most helpful hands-on ways to help with the most difficult contractions is counter-pressure.
    • Use your hands to provide firm, strong, steady pressure.
      • Lower back/pelvis
      • Double hip squeeze
      • Knees while sitting with something against her back
      • Hip while side-lying
    • Do not let up until the contraction ends!  (You will probably get tired.)

4. Prompts

  • Your wife will likely not be in a position to remember all of the ways to increase her comfort, so your job is to prompt her.
  • Remember PURRR
    • P Position: Is she changing position every half hour?
    • U Urination: Is she using the bathroom every hour?  (And drinking lots of fluids?)
    • R Relaxation: Is she as relaxed as possible?
    • R Respiration: Is she breathing evenly and as calmly as possible?
    • R Rest: Is she resting between contractions?

5. Praise

    • All of your words must instill her with hope, confidence, peace, comfort, pride, and power.
    • Think of it as your job to help her get to the “finish line” without giving up.
      • “You are so amazing right now!”
      • “I am so proud of you!”
      • “You are doing so well!”
      • Kissing counts! (Some women find kissing very helpful.)
      • When she says, “I can’t do it!” reply with, “You are doing it.”
      • When she’s reached the point when she thinks she can’t do it anymore, that usually means she’s almost finished, so shower her with praise, encouragement, and lots of statements like: “You are so close!”  “You’re almost there!”  “The baby is almost here!”

See also:  Emotional Signposts of Labor

Melatonin’s role in labor progress

July 18, 2010 at 9:41 pm

In February of last year, I heard about a study that reaffirms what our mammal cousins have known instinctively for thousands of years… birth should happen in a dark, comfortable place. It also helps explain why most women go into labor in the middle of the night. And why so many labors slow down or stall in a hospital setting.

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