Transition is Hard Work…

Re-Published from my Previous Your Birth Right Blog:
Originally published April 2010

Recently I received an email from one of my blog readers. She and I had been communicating about an upcoming birth and since she had taken quite some time to let me know how the birth went she started her email with this question… “You ever let life get so far away from you… you don’t know what’s going on?”

I laughed when I read that. Boy do I know that feeling and in FACT that’s the way I have been feeling myself. I have allowed my life to get so far away from me for the past 3 months that me and my life have been unrecognizable.

To kind of support that fact, while I know I am NOT by any means the most consistent blogger, I have only written one blog post since January of this year and that post was a full month ago.  Well here we go… a post for April….

One of my favorite things I like to think about when I discuss birth is the connection and the parallel that life and birth have. The reality that from conception to delivery life mirrors birth and they can be metaphorically compared on many levels.  With that in mind, while I rarely share personal information on this blog I will do so here because I feel like I need to write this out… and so that I can give an illustration of how life mirrors birth.

Now while my life is good, and compared to many its FABULOUS…  like everyone else, I can get overwhelmed and feel as though the world/life is getting the best of me. This is how I have been feeling since January 17, 2010 when I moved home to New Orleans and at the ripe age of 37 moved in with my mother!

The GREAT part of it all, I moved home right in the midst of a huge city celebration as the New Orleans Saints went to the Super Bowl. If you know ANYTHING about New Orleans or watched any of the coverage on television you can only imagine the energy of the city.  We were going through a MAJOR mayoral election campaign, so tense political conversations were taking place all over. When folks began to disagree too much or if there was too much heat someone just said… “How ’bout dem saints?” and smiles erupted all over 😉

I started a new job as a labor nurse literally the day after flying home and I was trying to get settled… all of me, my stuff, my life, my work into a small bedroom in my mother’s home.  Then Mardi Gras came (immediately following the super bowl) and having missed Mardi Gras for the last 4 years, I was EXCITED to be home to say the least (Please…. clear your mind of any images of me showing anything to anybody… that’s not how we natives do it LOL)  Along with all of the hanging out getting acquainted with new and old friends, trying to get oriented at a new job that I was not very fond of I was also trying to figure out which direction my life should be moving in.

I had decided I was giving myself one year to stay in New Orleans. If something hasn’t happened by then I’m moving again. My friends who know me well don’t even think I will make it a year! But I will show them LOL.

I was trying to get more focused about my business. I was trying to decide which way I wanted to move professionally. I downloaded the documents and obtained all I needed to obtain my midwife license in Louisiana. With no job prospect in sight its a move on faith. I just KNOW it is time for me to put down the IV Start Kit and back away from bedside nursing.  I am sooooo ready to get back into practicing as a midwife.  So the first step…. get a license 🙂

On another front, I was helping my mother finish repairs on a home that has been in need of repair since Katrina.  Unable to sell my personal home in Jackson, MS I was thinking about how I was going to get the repairs I needed so it too can be converted into rental property.

The end of February arrived and it was time for me go to the CIMS Conference (a wonderful conference/distraction) and from there I went on a week-long ski trip that had been planned for 6 months earlier when my life was a little less hectic. Understanding that life is for the living, I went on that trip with open arms.

While I did return home in January to a new job, believe it or not nursing jobs for labor and delivery nurses had been pretty scarce  before, and as a result, money has been tight and things have been pretty challenging to say the least.  So to compensate for that from mid March, through the first ten days of April I decided to work a LOT of overtime. Since I am NOT in love with my job, not only did it leave me physically exhausted, it was also mentally challenging.

Yes I have had a GREAT time. Returning home has been wonderful, “bonding” with moms, getting reacquainted with my city and enjoying family and friends….  In spite of it all and because of it all… (sparing you many of the details) As things continued at a rapid pace for me…  My Energy was off My Spirit was unsettled and I felt like even in the midst of all of the fun and love, things were completely out of my control and here is where the birth connection FINALLY comes in… In a word, I realized, I am/was in TRANSITION!!!

As any birth advocate, mother, labor nurse, midwife knows… Transition can be tough work. Those last 2-3 centimeters of labor can be so intense.  In that moment so many women begin to think they are going to loose it. They begin to say “I can’t do this” and I always look at them with reassurance and say “You already have.” Its hard work and inevitably, just when they may be about to give up the woman moves from transition to second stage and says “I need to push”

Throughout our lives we go through many transitions
We transition as we age.
We transition as we change careers.
We transition as people move into and out of our lives.
We transition as different events affect the paths that we take.

Transition can be difficult, hard, and even painful.  During every transition, we have the option to fight what is happening or we can surrender and embrace the transition allowing us to grow and emerge TRANSFORMED…

There is a point labor that we call TRANSITION.
For most women, transition is the most intense part of labor.  Labor transition can also be difficult, hard, and painful. It is during this time of labor that you may want to “give up.”  All of a sudden in the midst of coping you begin to feel like you CAN’T.

Your contractions intensify.  You feel like you are out of control, and you begin to question your ability to birth.  Just as in life, you can choose to fight the transition of labor or you can surrender.

In life we go through our transitions taking it one day at a time. You can’t move through it faster than this. Each day brings with it progress yet the transition will take as long as it needs to help you emerge.  You know that with each passing day you are getting closer to being transformed.

In labor you take transition one contraction at a time.  You can’t move through it faster than this.  Each contraction brings progress and yet the transition will take as long as it needs to.  You know that with each passing contraction you are getting closer to being… TRANSFORMED… a new mother who has given birth.

Have faith. While it may feel like a lifetime, transitions never last forever….

Transition has definitely been a theme for me lately, and I am sooooo happy that I woke up last week and realized it was time for me to PUSH…

I am ready to get out of transition cause transition is HARD!!  Yes, second stage as we all know can also be hard work but it is different from the work of Transition. It can take a while. The end is not immediate but you can see progress… ask any women who has had a baby vaginally and she will tell you Pushing can feel so good!!! 🙂

One thing is certain, in pregnancy, in birth, and in life itself there WILL be transition. Thank GOD for the birth or in life the Re-Birth that follows! I look forward to my personal re-birth and emerging TRANSFORMED.

In Birth and Love


8 responses to “Transition is Hard Work…

  1. Ladies One and ALL!! THANK YOU SOOOO much for your positive feedback. YOU are the reason I started my blog and whenI write a post that resonates with my readers it motivates me to write more. Thank so much for reading, for sharing and for providing feedback. You are the BEST!! You all with your comments are supporting me through this transition and onto BIRTH!!

    Terra… Thanks for awarding me and BLESSINGS on your VBAC!!


  2. So incredibly relevant. Thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely be sharing this one on facebook. God bless!

  3. LOVE this! What a perfect reflection of each other (and you got me giddy for my 2nd VBAC coming up in a few months!…is it weird that I have fond memories of transition, lol) 😉

    Thanks for all your work on this blog! I love reading and learning!

    (btw – I awarded you!)

  4. I love this part of your post:
    “They begin to say “I can’t do this” and I always look at them with reassurance and say “You already have.” Its hard work and ineviatably, just when they may be about to give up the woman moves from transiton to second stage and says “I need to push””

    This is exactly how it plays out most of the time and it is so wonderful to be the person providing that reassurance. Thanks for this wonderful article, Nicole.

  5. Nicole, I am in tears and what a confirmation of all the things God has been showing me in the past few months. It was only Him that led me to read this blog tonight. It was inspirational, encouraging, and soothing. Thank you for venting…:-)

  6. Nicole, this post made tears spring to my eyes for so many different reasons. I LOVED IT. I loved the correlation between the transition/pushing part of labor to what’s going on in your own life.

    I SO HOPE that you get your license to be in midwife. From something I recently read, there is a huge shortage of midwives in Louisiana.

    On a personal note, I have five children, all birthed in a hospital, more or less Bradley style, all without medication, and other than episiotomies for the first two, completely without intervention of any kind (one was even unassisted, because there was no doctor nor nurse in my room when my 3rd son came out!). With my first, although I felt like I was well-prepared for birth, I was surprised at the painful intensity of transition, and freaked out by my uncontrollable shaking. I definitely said, “I don’t think I can do this!” but I was spurred on by a loving and supportive friend who turned out to be right when she said, “You CAN!” (And, by the way, I will use that line: “You already have!” when I’m present at future births with those who think they can’t.) However, for births #2-5, even though transition still is painful, I actually get giddy with excitement, because I know the time is SO CLOSE until my baby arrives, and I know how satisfying it feels to push… I have exchanged that pain/fear time of transition to intense and beautiful and expectant HOPE.

    • PS: I’m glad you’re back blogging!

      • THANKS Karen!!
        I am still holding on to that Licensure application. Had a few financial set backs this month but still plan to get it into the mail within the next 30 days. There is a huge shortage of midwives EVERYWHERE but the difficulty is in getting a job and finding a place to practice. I figure I will cross that road when I get there!

        Your birth story(ies) are wonderful!! HAHA at that 3rd son. Is he still doing unexpected things LOL… I LOVE the end of your comment…. “I have exchanged that pain/fear time of transition to intense and beautiful and expectant HOPE.” YES!! that’s beautiful. I can so see that type of transition! Beautiful HOPE!! BTW…. Feel free to use that line! and THANKS for reading and commenting as always!!

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