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Birth and Pain involved

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 

I am pregnant with my first baby and I have always been so scared of the thought of giving birth. I am very tight and sensitive down there (I hope that's not tmi) and extremely tilted although I have read that that will fix itself by the end of my pregnancy. I have been reading up on birthing options even though I have always said epidural the whole way..... Has anyone ever felt this way? I am terrified of not having drugs being as sensitive as I am but I am curious about a water birth??? Can anyone give me advice or their story? I want to make an educated decision, I plan on asking my doctor but my appointment is not till the 5th of July.

post #2 of 57

No sense in worrying about things you cannot change. I would however, decide what method of pain reduction you want to take. I did epideral. I noticed the drug "settled" to the bottom.. so if I laid on my left I would feel contractions on the right so I had to keep moving. I was also terrified of the needle to get an epideral as I have heard horror stories. I can tell you.. once the epidural meds kicked in (which is immediately) I didn't feel anything really. I could push, I was alert, there just wasn't any pain. I am also very small down there and very sensitive to everything. I did have a reaction to the IV fluid as I have a bladder disease and they assured me there wasn't any potassium but there was and I had a bladder inflammation attack so bad they put me out with some drug which lasted an hour and I woke up even more pissed and still in pain. Next time I will tell them I will DRINK my water or they can take a flying leap.

post #3 of 57

I had an epidural as well, I couldn't take my contractions being back to back or no more than 2 minutes apart.  And that was at the very beginning of my labor no more than 20 minutes after my water broke, which started the whole process.  I wanted something so bad as it was so intense so fast.  The nurse wouldn't let me have my epidural right away b/c they thought I had made no progress so they offered me Stadol (sp?)....worst decision I've ever made!  I was so drugged and out of it.  I barely remember my labor.  That was kinda something I wanted to remember, ya know.  I will not make that mistake again.  It had me so completely out of it but did nothing for my pain.  They finally let me have my epidural.  They checked me right after they gave it to me...yeah I was 6 cm dilated!!!  I went from 1cm to 6cm in two hours.  Which was pretty fast since it was my first baby.  But the epidural took away all the pain, but unfortunately, slowed down my labor.  I was so drugged from the stadol I slept until it was time to push, waking only when they would check me.  I had no problems with the epidural though, worked evenly on both sides and I didn't feel anything until about 30 minutes before my daughter was born.  I pushed for 3 hours!  But I attribute some of that to being so drugged I wasn't in a good position to push.  I was almost flat on my back. 


Only thing I can say bad about an epidural is that I had a lot of back pain afterwards for about a year or so.  And I've heard that complaint from a lot of women.  This time around I will probably have another epidural but absolutely nothing else.  I so look up to these women who have their babies at home with nothing for pain.  They are my heroes!!!  I just can't handle pain that well. 


Hope things work out for you!!  Good luck!!

post #4 of 57

I am terrified and I am on my 8th baby. I figure I will take it as it comes when the time comes. I am going to try to go without drugs, but I am open to asking for an epidural. Two times I wanted an epidural but was never able to get it. It was awful. I spent the much of the labor crying and begging for drugs. 


I have never really had a good natural childbirth class though so maybe I should just try that.

post #5 of 57

I have back damage from my last epidural so I am going to try to go without. I have met others who ended up with damage and in some cases, it was permanent. My youngest is almost 22 months old and I still have big problems. I am due in September. I will keep reminding myself of what I have gone through trying to recover from the last epidural and hopefully, I will make it through.

post #6 of 57

I took Hypnobirthing classes to prepare for a natural labor, but ended up with an epidural after more than 48 hours of labor. The Hypnobirthing really helped with the anxiety, though- I would really recommend it, even if you plan to have an epidural. I felt like it was the tiredness that was unbearable to me; if my labor had only been shorter, I could have done without the epidural, but I was exhausted. The epidural was not 100% great, though- I had a severe itchy reaction and almost scratched my chest and belly raw before my son was born. Anyway, I suggest you do some mental prep in learning relaxation techniques, it will really serve you well whatever happens.

post #7 of 57
I would suggest taking a class ( one NOT affiliated with your hospital) if you're considering an unmedicated birth...

Before my daughter I was hell bent on going natural so I didn't even consider drugs, but I was nervous about how the actual delivery would FEEL, yk? Would it hurt? Would it burn? Would I tear to high heaven? Having a class helped organize my thoughts and feelings.

FWIW, the "high" of delivering her overrode any pain. Then with my second there wasn't the same pain (other than the actual tear).

Good luck. smile.gif
post #8 of 57

Welcome to MDC!!  wave.gif


I was also "tight" down there and have an unevenly perforated hymen which is highly sensitive.  With my first I really looked forward to labor as a challenge and hoped that a vaginal delivery would loosen things up and stretch out that hymen.  I did a home study course called HypBirth (that I bought on eBay) and while I was skeptical at first, I found the course really amazing.  I say with hypnobirthing there are 3 levels you can reach.  The first involves the birth affirmations and simply getting to a place where you truly believe you can do this.  The second involves relaxation techniques which allow you to relax fully and quickly.  The third is actual hypnosis where women say they feel no pain and often just breathe their babies down and out- no pushing.   I reached the second level and found it completely worth it.  I was 8cm dilated when I went into the birth center and had absolutely no idea I was that far along.  Transition was challenging- no doubt.  But it was not long and pushing was also challenging, but more due to my position and my complete lack of urge to push.  I later read up more and realized I was in a latent phase of labor and should have just let myself rest and wait for the urge to come instead of listening to my mw who told me I was 10cm and needed to start pushing.  Withmy second I pushed when I felt ready and my son flew out in two and a half pushes.  I did have a water birth with my first and the water was A-mazing!  It really reduced the intensity of my contractions and allowed me to relax more.  I highly recommend water- at least for laboring, though sometimes it can be more difficult to get into a good pushing position in the water.  Often women end up squatting in the water, but getting on all fours can be hard if the water level is too high.  I was in a semi-reclining position and it was not great for pushing, but I didn't feel like moving.  In hindsight, I really should have tried other positions.


There are other classes of course like hypnobabies, Bradley, Brio, Birthing from Within, etc.  Any of these will help so pick the one that appeals to you most.


I strongly feel that working to overcome your fear and empower yourself to have the birth you want is so, so worth it.  How a woman births her baby is important.  A positive experience leads to increased self esteem, reduces postpartum depression and breastfeeding issues, and sets the foundation for strong attachment.   Going into birth with fear, anxiety, and unsettled thoughts about what you want and don't want puts you in a vulnerable position.  A position where others (nurses, doctors, etc.) can easily convince you to do things or take medications that you might later regret.  It can take your control away and make you feel powerless, hopeless, and rob you of your determination to achieve the birth you want.  I cannot tell you how life altering and powerful birth is when you are feeling in control and free.  It is not simply something to "get through" so you can have a baby.  The process itself is transcendent when given the space to progress as intended.  Of course complications can happen, but keep in mind it is estimated that without interventions, less than 5% of births would have complications and of those 5% most will be minor.  Remaining flexible to what works and what is needed in the moment is key, but ridding yourself of the expectation of uncontrollable pain and the expectation of something going wrong is your first step to ridding yourself of your fear.


Definitely hang around these boards to get support and look at the birth stories in the birth forum.  So many positive and wonderful experiences!  Surround yourself with good birth feelings and avoid the lady on the bus or your cousin or best friend who has a birth horror story to share.  Good luck and I wish for you a wonderful birth and healthy baby!  joy.gif

post #9 of 57
For me, the "pain" of birth was not a bad thing--I say "pain" because it doesn't even equate to the type of pain you associate with injury or illness--it was intense for sure, but I would not describe it as bad in any way. I can't remember where I read this but it's so true--there is a huge difference between pain and suffering. Pain is only physical, and it's not scary on it's own. It's just the feeling of your body doing it's job at something intense. With suffering there's an element of fear. Fear makes you tense up and fight your body which makes everything hurt more. Birth does not have to mean suffering!

I also highly recommend Hypnobabies for calming your anxieties. And there is a lot of great and inspiring reading you can do to mentally prepare for a natural birth--anything by Ina May Gaskin for starters!

For me (I'm not saying this is true for everyone, but definitely for me) natural birth is the way to go! Epidurals increase your risk of ending with a c section and keep you from truly experiencing what your body is meant to do...now I am NOT saying epidurals don't have their place or that I judge anyone for choosing to get one--just want to make that clear. But birth can be an incredible, empowering experience and I wouldn't want to miss a moment of it by numbing any part of myself.

I know I am really excited to give birth a second time!
post #10 of 57
Thread Starter 

Thank you all! Hearing others stories really helps me center myself and grasp the concept of birth. I am really excited to have my baby and am really going to start reading!! :)

post #11 of 57

Great!  You've already taken a huge step by asking for support and being willing to prepare...  I don't mean that to sound corny or patronizing at all.  It's just that so many of my friends didn't give the birth much thought and didn't do any sort of preparation and ended up having negative birth experiences b/c they just went with whatever they were told to do instead of standing up for what they wanted and what felt right to do.  So congrats!   I also second the rec for anything by Ina May Gaskin.

post #12 of 57

I agree with this. 


I also did Hypnobirthing with my second and HIGHLY recommend it.  While my birth wasn't 'pain-free', it was very manageable.  I never once felt like I needed to ask for drugs.   I've also had several other friends that did Hypnobirthing and had successful unmedicated births.  Good luck!


The potential long term complications from an epidural scare me a lot more than the pain.

Originally Posted by AfricanQueen99 View Post

I would suggest taking a class ( one NOT affiliated with your hospital) if you're considering an unmedicated birth...

Before my daughter I was hell bent on going natural so I didn't even consider drugs, but I was nervous about how the actual delivery would FEEL, yk? Would it hurt? Would it burn? Would I tear to high heaven? Having a class helped organize my thoughts and feelings.

FWIW, the "high" of delivering her overrode any pain. Then with my second there wasn't the same pain (other than the actual tear).

Good luck. smile.gif


post #13 of 57

I had two waterbirths.  But I was in the water for less than an hour before my babies were born, so it didn't help with all the labor pains before got in the water.  It did help with tearing though, which I think is good.  I did both my births without any drugs.  I highly recommend a birthing class like Bradley Method.  It helped so much with learning pain management and techniques.

post #14 of 57
I don't think anyone mentioned this but being tight/sensitive does not mean birth will be extra difficult/painful or you won't be able to stretch well, or are doomed to severe tears. The hormones of labor work amazingly to open things up! Promise!

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post #15 of 57
Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post

I don't think anyone mentioned this but being tight/sensitive does not mean birth will be extra difficult/painful or you won't be able to stretch well, or are doomed to severe tears. The hormones of labor work amazingly to open things up! Promise!

It's true... I forgot to mention that I had very minimal tearing (my mw even hesitated to call it first degree) with my first and none with my second.  My first (dd) descended fairly slowly through the birth canal stretching and pushing the muscles aside as she came down.  Then at the vaginal opening she pushed out a little and slipped back in, pushed out a little more and slipped back in.   Slowly but surely she came out, stretching the tissue gently.  Of course I found this part frustrating (I wanted her OUT!) but it prevented worse tearing- something I was quite thankful for afterward!


post #16 of 57
Thread Starter 

I am really really leaning towards a natural childbirth for the 1st time in my life!! I just am starting to believe that the pain cannot be severe enough to be worth the risk of long term effects of drugs. did anyone use a birthing center? or is a hospital much more recommended?

post #17 of 57

Free standing birth center for my first and nearly unassisted homebirth with my second. Planning another homebirth for this one.  While an unmedicated birth is certainly possible in a hospital you will be up against more resistance and face more challenges and interventions that you'll need to decline, stand up against, etc.  For example, a lot of women reach a point in transition where they feel like they can't go on and they want drugs.  In a hospital it is very easy to be convinced to get that epi.   At a birth center or at home an epi is not an option and your mw will work with you to get through that part.  A midwife will be present with you through the birth, an OB may just show up to catch the baby.  A mw will suggest things to help your labor progress and make you more comfortable.  In a hospital you never know what kind of nurse you'll get and unless you hire a doula you and your partner (or whoever is with you) will be on your own to cope.  There are myriad other common hospital interventions like IV's, not being allowed to eat, continuous fetal monitoring, artificial rupture of membranes, etc. that seem innocuous but often lead to more major interventions like pitocin, epidurals, and c-sections.   A great book to read is A Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer.  It details all the common interventions and their the pros and cons.    Being well informed is your best chance at a natural birth at a hospital.  A doula also helps considerably. 


How far along are you?  Have you joined your due date club?  Conversing with other women that are due around the same time as you can be really helpful and supportive.  It's also sometimes easier to "chit chat" about all this stuff and talk through what you're thinking with a smaller, more intimate group of women.  Of course you can post wherever feels right to you, but often DDC's get more traffic.  You can also check out the homebirth forum if that interests you.  Choosing your care provider and your birth environment are two very important choices, which warrant a lot of thought.  Good luck and keep seeking answers and support!

post #18 of 57
Originally Posted by jandmbaby View Post
I just am starting to believe that the pain cannot be severe enough to be worth the risk of long term effects of drugs.

I wanted to again reiterate that the "pain"of birth is completely different from other kinds of pain.  The intense sensations of birth might feel painful at times or simply intense or even pleasurable.  But even if it's painful it comes and goes and it's pain with a purpose.  Your body is working to birth your baby- it is not damaging you.  Allowing your body to do what it was meant to do is all you have to do.  Relax, ride the waves, let go of fear and embrace the power coursing through your body...  It's simple but not always easy to accomplish.  That's why preparation really helps.  It gives you tools to let yourself go and allow your body to take over.  Birth is primal.  For many it is intimate.  This is why birthing in an environment that is familiar (like home) or quiet (like a birth center) is key for many women to feeling safe enough, uninhibited enough to reach that place where you can let go and transcend into laborland.   You might find this article of interest: http://houstonbirthdoula.com/blog/2010/05/the-holistic-stages-of-labor/


post #19 of 57

Hi jandmbaby, welcome to MDC!  I am a pregnant first time mom too and definitely have some fears about this birth. I don't know when you are due, but my suggestion is to just do as much research & reading as possible and plan on taking a childbirth class (non-hospital based, like AfricanQueen99 mentioned), in order to learn all you can about birth and pain management techniques. I knew absolutely nothing about birth before I got pregnant and now 33 weeks later, I feel so much more informed.  These are some great books that I have really enjoyed reading.


Also, consider joining a Due Date Club for the month you are due. I have learned SOOOO much from the other moms in my DDC who have been there before.


Lastly, I will just throw out there that you don't need to make any big decisions by your next doctor appointment (assuming you aren't really close to your due date!). You have the right to keep making decisions and changing them to meet your/baby's needs throughout your pregnancy, even if your doctor thinks it's more convenient for them for you to decide now.


Congrats on your pregnancy!



post #20 of 57
Thread Starter 

I know I have a while, I am 15 weeks right now :) but I want to be ready. My due date is Dec 21st (but the doctor says I am likely to pop early). I have not yet joined my DDC but I am going to do  that now!!

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