So, yes, watching the birth video was gross, but the good news is that I don't have to see that for myself, and I will have the emotional attachment to the moment and to the baby that will help eliminate the disgusting factor.
Plus, after thoroughly becoming aquainted with all the stages of labor, I can really draw a lot of parallels between it and running a marathon. Both seem to require the same physical and mental endurance, and even as we were discussing the stages of labor in class, I could identify the parts of the race:
Early labor will probably be like the first few miles of the race: I'll be excited that it's finally happening and I'll still be fresh because we're at the beginning.
Active labor will be, I suspect, like the middle miles -- somewhere between the 10-18 mile markers -- getting tired of doing this and requiring lots of encouragement and support.
Transition looks to me like "the wall" -- the point when your body says "no more" and you have to have the mental fortitude to press forward and believe you can do it. I think this will most likely be the most frustrating point, and I'm guessing I will need a lot of quiet concentration. Jerry will most certainly annoy me at this juncture (I just picture him doing something, like cracking his knuckles -- which already drives me nuts, and me snapping at him). Just like at about mile 22 or 23, how the spectator encouragement just makes you want to yell back at them, "Shut the fuck up!"
The actual end part of labor, the pushing, seems like the last .2 miles: You know the finish line is just ahead, you suddenly feel like you're making progress, and you know you are going to succeed. The frustration, anger, and pain you felt just a few miles ago evaporates. And before you know it, you're crossing the finish line.
And then holding the baby will be like getting that medal placed around my neck: All of sudden, the whole thing won't seem so bad, and the sense of accomplishment, pride, and joy will overtake any pain or exhaustion.
So, I think I just need to keep this analogy in mind, and know that if I can do 26.2 miles, I will be able to do this as well.