Studies show that games help by getting the child to focus on something other than the pain. Essentially, the pain messages are competing with the play messages, and though the pain is still there, the kids just don't notice it as much.
Armed with this information, my husband and I had a lengthy discussion about which ones to bring and which to leave home. My favorite genres are first-person shooters, hack-and-slash RPGs, and casual games. Among the DS games I packed were Dungeon Explorer, Cake Mania, and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. On my laptop I brought along the original Half-Life, my favourite FPS series.
I was a few days overdue when I decided to go to the mall. I went into the EB Games to see if they could suggest a game to play during labor. When I asked the young clerk, he just stared at me blankly, not sure what to suggest, having never been faced with this particular request before. He consulted with his co-worker and a friend who worked at the neighboring HMV. Here I was, nine months pregnant, ready to pop, and they weren't sure what to do with me.
Unable to come up with a labor game, they asked me what I liked to play. I told them I was limited to DS and PC games as I was sure there would be no consoles in the delivery room (though there should be!). After about 20 minutes, we couldn't decide on anything and I had to go to the bathroom (the curse of the pregnant woman), so I settled on Rayman Raving Rabbids, which I never received at my shower.
The Big Day
I was a week overdue when my water broke. It was a Sunday morning and I'd just gone into the hospital for a check up when it happened. Because I wasn't having any contractions, I was sent home. The day went on, and I picked up my game of Titan Quest where I left off.
The next morning I got settled into the birthing room. Because my labor didn't progress after 24 hours, I had to be induced. I was hooked up to an IV, which pumped Pitocin, a drug to bring on contractions, into me. A fetal monitor was secured on my belly to keep track of the baby's heartbeat, as well as the frequency and strength of my contractions.
I tried playing a game on my laptop, but it soon became uncomfortable and awkward sitting up, so I switched to the DS. It was perfect! I could hold it in whatever weird positions I got into while I dealt with the pain and tried to keep the increasingly annoying monitors in place.
The games helped the most during this period. It was true: The longer I focused on the game, the less I focused on pain. I got engrossed in the games and just zoned out, which lessened the intensity for me. When the contractions became too much, I put the games away and just focused on them.
Fast forward to 4 A.M., and it was time to push. I did this for an hour, but the baby was stuck, so I had to have a caesarean section. At 6:24 our beautiful daughter, Claire, was born.