Have you ever noticed that marathon runners do not run at their
fastest pace when in the race? They run fast, but not as fast as
their long legs will carry them. This is because if they want to make
it to the end of the race, they need to conserve their energy.
Running full force from the begining would leave them too tired to
reach the end.
Sometimes we get the urge to throw ourselves into managing labor from
the first twinge of a contraction. We begin timing every one as soon
as they are noticable. We keep ourselves awake trying to see if they
are changing. We use every comfort technique we've learned before a
contraction makes us catch our breath. This, my dear friends, is as
harmful to labor as running full force from the start is to
completeing a marathon.
The lesson of labor, as with running, is to only give it as much
attention and energy as it needs. Learn to let your body do what it
needs to do without your mind getting in the way. Go to sleep, eat,
live your life and ignore the contractions. Eventually they will
settle into a pattern and progress towards your baby's birth -- and I
promise that when they do, you will notice because your body tells you
not because you found a different pattern in your record of
contraction times. By responding to your labor with as much attention
as it calls for, you can make it to the end without exhausting