I was a breech baby. This means instead of being head-down, I was butt-down. There weren't routine ultrasounds then, and no one knew I was breech until the doctor did a vaginal exam. Instead of feeling hard fontanels (the bones of the skull), he felt my soft, little buttocks. Being as I was my mom's second baby, and I was already headed out (or butted out!), the doctor prepared for a vaginal birth. With the anesthesiologist applying subrapubic pressure, I was born with no issue. As a frank breech, my mom said I kept folding back in half after they laid me down, which sounds pretty laughable.
And speaking of laughing, my mom said for some reason she laughed through my whole labor -- she thought everything was funny. She was watching a TV show, Cannon (which doesn't look funny to me), and she was in good spirits, laughing. This helped her relax and feel comfortable, because laughing actually releases endorphin -- hormones that help relieve pain, combat stress, and improve our mood.
This applies to labor, as well. I like to suggest families watch a TV show or movie in labor that makes them laugh -- something they love and have seen 800 times before. This way, if an interruption happens, there's no need to pause the show, and the endorphins flow with the familiar storylines. The #1 show I would guess families choose? "Friends"! These fabulous endorphins also help us cope with pain. In fact, in one study, watching 15 minutes of a funny show increased overall pain thresholds by 10%!
Laughing is an important part of life and learning -- not only does it help us cope with the stressors we face, it helps us retain information! How is this possible? By reinforcing what we learned! Laughing brings enjoyment, and when we laugh and learn simultaneously, we feel good. This allows us to integrate that information more easily and in a non-threatening manner versus if we are nervous or worried.
I teach private childbirth classes in the Bakersfield and Visalia areas of California. Before this, I taught for a hospital-based midwifery practice in Chico, CA -- where the curriculum I created is still on file and being used. One thing I have always said is, my way of teaching is a lot like stand-up comedy. I want families to relax, engage, and laugh while we learn together. Never underestimate the power of a light mood and smiling faces -- these families are having fun, yes, but they are also building a foundation that will serve them in birth and parenting.
When I see families laughing, I see their authentic selves. I see mothers and fathers who can work through tough situations together. I see partners who can laugh when things get hard. I see smiles that say a lot more than words can. So when preparing for your baby's birth, choose classes that will get you rolling, and create an environment at the hospital where you can continue the clowning around -- your body, and your funny bone, will thank you for it!
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)