1.My labors all felt intense, pelvic crushing/squeezing kind of pain. Unlike the BH contractions that tighten the front high and the sides, these contractions are deep within my pelvis and feel like someone is squeezing it together with force not humanly possible.
2. Transition is the point for me where I just withdraw within my self. The pain doesn't change in how it feels from before but is at it's peak now. I can't speak, hear anyone else (except in between contractions) Don't want to be touched at all. I feel completely out of control unless I can have complete silence and concentration. Transition never lasts me long and after a few minutes to 10 max, I am feeling that natural feeling where my body is starting to get slightly pushy with each contraction. It gets stronger with each one. I tell the midwife it will be very soon now. All of a sudden I feel it. It's like that poop you have to take and as much as you try you can't hold it in, its coming ready or not. That urgency times 10.
3. Pushing is a scary thing. Some women say it hurts more than the contractions, others its a relief from them. I find its a little of both. Pushing is super scary. It's the most intense part of labor whether its painful or not. It's just scary to have your body stretch that way. There is a moment where you hesitate to push from fear but you know nothing else will end the pain from the contractions. It's like standing on a cliff (or airplaine) and there is no other way down, you have to jump. You know you will be fine but its so scary you argue with yourself for what seems like eternity though its only a few seconds if that in reality. Then, you make that decision to surrender instead of hold back. Not that you can anyway. Trying to fight your body's natural pushing or "baby ejection" reflex is like trying to paddle up niagra falls.
Truly though, the contractions are so intense, you are willing to push even if it does hurt a little more just to bring it to an end and get your baby there. it's so much more short lived (for me) than the contractions I dont care. I pushed 2 times, maybe 3. It feels intense, just when you think you are stretched all you can, you stretch more. It happens to fast for me to feel that "ring of fire" women talk about but its like no part of my body exists except my vagina and what is coming out of it. At that point though all your primal brain can think it "get it out, get it out". Then it's out with this huge sweet relief and flow of water that is so welcomed and needed and euphoric it's almost like an orgasm. Nope, don't feel good in that area like that, haha, but it's the same kind of instant release from tension. There is no bigger high than that moment either. Hormones are awesome.
Now, all my births were slightly different but those basics were the same. As for how I coped, I just rode it out like a storm for the most part. It wasn't until my last that I actually found a coping method where I felt I was actually doing something that was helping. At the start of each contraction, I would lean forward over the side of the birth pool, relax my entire body completely, head to my toes, and just let the pain flow through me instead of tensing and fighting against it. Who can hold back that kind of force of nature anyway. It was mid labor when my midwife recommended this technique as she could see I was tensing up with each contraction trying to meet it's strength with my own. I was in a losing battle though. Immediately after switching to working "with it" rather than against it, I noticed a difference. It didn't hurt less, but hurt "different". It wasn't as scary anymore, I felt I had some aspect of control, instead of feeling out of control clinging to a canoe in the ocean during a hurricane like before. I was also able to sense more about what they were doing for my body and how I could actually feel the baby moving lower and lower and how the pains grew more intense over time. I noticed every sensation unlike before when I was just trying to survive them.