We live in a world where almost everything has to do with efficiency, speed, and time.
There are studies that show a little less than half of website users will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, and that even a 1 second delay decreases customer satisfaction by about 16%.
Schedules are strict, lateness isn't tolerated. In 7th grade my science teacher taught us "To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is not to be".
Multiple day shipping times were too slow, enter two day shipping for a yearly fee. Two day shipping was too slow, enter one-hour local shipping.
Various pizza websites now have trackers so you can see exactly where your pizza is and when it will arrive.
This world of time, schedules, and instant gratification makes for a difficult mentality going into pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. We are so used to getting what we want, when we want it, and it feels uncomfortable and dis-satisfactory to experience otherwise.
Due dates are the most unpredictable day you will ever have written down. Highly inaccurate, only ~5% of women will give birth on their due dates; but in our calendars they are written, and the acceptable amount of lateness clock begins. The longer time goes on, the more uncomfortable everyone feels.
Failure to progress is the number one reason obstetricians give for unplanned c-sections. When women are simply given more time, c-section rates are reduced. Although a small study, it was found recently that even just giving laboring women an extra hour of pushing time (4 hours instead of 3) the c-section rate went from 43% to 20%. Many women will be told they are "complete", fully effaced and dilated, told to start pushing, and they end up pushing for a longer time than if they let the baby descend on its own before actively engaging in pushing efforts.
Cervical checks, although policy is different with every care provider, are done about every two hours. Every time a woman is given an exam her rate of infection increases. It also disrupts the laboring woman's rhythm of coping. Instead of observing the woman for changes, or simply leaving her to labor on her own, care providers "HAVE" to know what state her cervix is in. Check if it feels like there's a reason to, not because a clock said to.
It is difficult to handle decades of specific feelings regarding lateness, schedules, time, and instant gratification. Labor is organic, and will unfold naturally at its own pace and time.
Some activities to help prepare your body for the unknowing feeling of time in labor
- Don't check your phone as soon as you get a message, wait in that unknowing discomfort
- Go camping and leave your clocks at home! Not only will this help reset your sleep cycle, it will also help you become in tune with your body's inner clock. Eat when you're hungry, nap when you're tired. Rest and be centered within yourself
- Walk a labyrinth, twists and turns that take you farther from your end goal, but are a necessary part of your journey
Talk to your care provider about letting labor start on its own and unfolding naturally. As long as mom and baby are healthy and thriving, you always have more time. Have your doula help you BRAIN (Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition, Nothing) your options and see if more time is all that is needed.