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Labor/pain management plans

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

What are you planning? If this is not your first, what has worked well for you in the past (or not)? I am planning a natural delivery, but it's my 1st time and the anxiety of it all is still very much alive. I fear that I will be pulled under with the strength of the contractions, and panic, or just not know how to deal with it. I read Hypnobirthing and it all made good sense to me. I listen to the relaxation CDs, but there is no class anywhere near me. I just read Thank you, Dr. Lamaze, which was also very interesting and takes the fear-tension-pain explanation a bit further, but emphasizes it takes 2-3 months of practice. I just don't feel like I'm rehearsed in specific techniques, and that I'm running out of time.  Hmm.

post #2 of 11
With my first I was sort of obsessed with trying to learn breathing techniques and anything I could find for coping. But when it came down to it, the thing that helped me the most was just low moaning throughout - that actually helps you to open. I've done a ton of yoga and focusing on my breath helped a lot too - though not any certain pattern like from lamaze or anything. In my prenatal yoga classes they always make us do exercises in discomfort and practice breathing and keeping our jaws loose or moaning. My teacher also has us repeat to ourself "this feels so good" "or this feels so right" (she is a doula too). I wish I had more answers for you - but I believe that you will figure out what feels right and works for you when you are in the moment. Also, when I finally got in the birth tub my entire body relaxed! I didn't get in until I was ready to push last time (just how timing worked out) - but being in the water (be is a birth pool or your own bathtub at home) can do a lot.

The final thing I can offer is to write up a list of affirmations to read during birth. Or pick just a few that really resonate with you and tape them up where you can see them - or have your husband or doula keep repeating them to you. I think a lot of it is believing you can do it. The scariest part for me last time was right before we left for the birth center and I was in so much pain and had no idea if I was 2 centimeters and it was going to get a whole lot worse - i conisdered having my husband take me to the hospital for an epidural instead. But when we got to the center and I learned I was 8 cm and so close to being done, I just knew I was doing it and could keep going.

Cindy
post #3 of 11

With my first we took a Lamaze class and I found the breathing patterns annoying and useless during labor.  Deep slow breathing often helps me get through pain...and given the pain I was in a month ago, I got quite a lot of practice at it.

 

I feel like none of  my preparations were really helpful last time in terms of helping me with the pain (but I was on HUGE amounts of pitocin...so things were pretty intense).  The only thing I remember being really helpful was cold wet wash clothes on my face and on the back of my neck. Still it was like once we got into the hospital and I was laboring we forgot everything!  This is part of the reason we have a doula this time and she has a great tool kit with her.  She has a TENS machine that we are going to try early on.  She also has a rebozo that we're hoping to use and of course water either in the tub or shower or birth pool should be helpful. It's usually one of my go-to pain coping measures.  I'm also going to try to do some belly dancing moves through contractions.  I think that might be particularly helpful and one of the things I keep focusing on is that I need to move through the pain rather than letting my body freeze up.  I remember during my previous labor at the most intense part that I felt like I had to move during the contractions.  Sitting or standing still was just not an option.

 

My doula also said she wants to read my birth invitation to me if things seem to be getting difficult.  She think that will be helpful and I have some birth art/affirmations that I want to post around the room, and several items that I want out where I can see them that can be focal points to concentrate on.

 

Honestly, I feel better prepared this time and I know my doula will be able to help us better remember what we should be trying.  Also, last time I was really worried about the pain and I experienced it very intensely.   This time I'm just not that worried about it so we'll see what happens....it's not my primary focus going into it at least.  My doula and I were talking today and my thought process is much more like this labor is going to be a party, where the guests are these amazing, loving supportive people who are going to be helping me and supporting me as I do some pretty intense work and we get to meet the guest of honor at the end of the night.It's such a different thought process/attitude than I had last time around and I think and hope that it will serve me well even in terms of managing any pain as well.

post #4 of 11
Undetheoak: I love you way of looking at labor - like a party and getting to meet the guest honor. :-) I'm going to try and remember that!

Cindy
post #5 of 11

I kept meaning to start a post like this! We used accupressure during labor and it was amazing.

DH read and learned before labor and used it on me. We really need to get on it and review soon!!!!!!

If you google "debra betts" and look for the "accupressure for labor" you can download a pdf file.

post #6 of 11

Things that helped me last time

 

-Breathing slowly

-Taking advantage of the breaks in between contractions to really relax, even in early labor.  I think it really helped to get that oxytocin flowing, I had this crazy hormonal high after every one, especially in the beginning.  It felt sort of, um, post-orgasmic.  It really helped quell any lingering anxiety I had about natural birth.

-I consciously tried to keep my fists and mouth loose, even in the height of the contractions

-I labored in the dark for a few hours by myself.  It was early active labor, and I was trying to let dh and my midwife get as much of a good sleep as possible before waking them up, but the solitude and darkness helped me stay in that hormonal space.  When my water broke and I woke dh up, he went around flipping on all the lights, which annoyed me.  I've warned him not to do that this time if it's dark out. 

-I spent a good bit of my early labor reassuring myself after every contraction.  As things were ramping up, I started thinking, "Ok, I got through that one, I can do that again"  I think it helped to keep me from looking ahead and worrying about how much worse it could get.

-I moaned through every single contraction after things really got going.

-Hot rice packs pressed into my back felt awesome before I got in the tub

-The tub was awesome once I got in.  It was like the intensity stepped back a few hours, and it was easier to feel that high after the contractions again.  The warmth of the water was great, but I also really enjoyed the buoyancy of the big birth tub.  Suddenly I didn't feel so heavy and pregnant, and moving into whatever position suited me was so much less of a chore.

-I liked lots of counter pressure on my back, especially as baby started moving down.  I'm planning on tying a couple of tennis balls into a stocking so I can more easily do the counter pressure on myself this time, in case my team is busy setting up the tub or whatever.

-I couldn't see any clocks from the birth tub.  I hadn't planned on this, but I think it was good for keeping me out of my logical brain.  I am planning on covering the clocks this time. 

- I said lots of little prayers

-Pushing was long and frustrating for me.  Right before I finally birthed ds's head, the assistant midwife got behind me (I was on a birth stool at this point) and put a cold wash cloth on my chest and I was able to just relax into her and get a few good breaths in before the next contraction.  I had been forgetting to take that time to rest, and I really think that little relaxation gave me the strength to finally move his head.  I'm going to tell my team to remind me to relax between pushes in case I forget again. 

 

I think I might like some light relaxing touches from dh this time, if he's not too busy pushing on my back, or maybe some water poured down my belly or back when I'm in the tub.  I've been doing some visualizations and guided meditation, and I may pull those out in early labor, but it didn't seem appealing last time.  I'm also just trying to do what I can to feel good about my body.  Just little indulgences, like painting my toenails or a yummy lotion seem to go a long way.  I've been waffling a bit on whether I want to approach this labor as a warrior women or serene goddess and right now going for the serenity is what is feeling right. 

post #7 of 11

I don't really use a certain method, I just go with what is working at that time..With each I found that something just worked but it wasn't necessarily what worked the next time..

 

Things that have worked:

-a hot bath.. now a shower, I get really weak during contractions. I tried a shower once and almost knocked myself out since I couldn't support my weight and fell over.

- little to no light, the brighter the light the harder it was for me to concentrate.. and it triggered migraines in two of my 3 labors.. This time I plan on turning of the light and just having natural sunlight.. I know the hospital is going to just love this one.

- visualization.. with my first I visualized a flower opening.. with my second the ocean and with my third I don't remember.

- deep breathing, don't pant..even if they tell you to trust me don't.. Unless you like the light headed, Im about to pass out feeling

 

things that didn't work for me

- back mausage.. I know a lot of people wear by it but I have a no touch policy in labor.. I hated it when people touched me..

- music/tv/any noise at all.. even talking annoyed me. I told an OB to get out of the room last labor because he wouldn't shut up and it was making me want to throw something at him.. He left rather quickly

-book/puzzles/games/other distractions.. basically anything that took my mind off labor made it harder for me to deal with.

post #8 of 11

This thread is making me tear up at the thought of going through this incredibly intense and intimate experience with my husband, especially because we're doing a homebirth. It just feels like I'm going to feel so loved and supported. I love reading all of your stories, and Under, I especially love the idea of labor as a party. 

 

Thank you for this thread — it is so inspiring!

post #9 of 11
Bostonmummy: Awww, it IS this incredible, intimiate experience. But I have to say - it was the actual birth that was for me - the pushing and her coming out. I felt like DH was flitting around showering and shaving the entire time I was laboring before we went to the birth center (even though I know that's not possible - he was home for about 4-5 hours before we left for the birth center so no way he could have spent the entire time showering LOL). But he didn't do much for me and I didn't notice him a lot I guess. I'm sure he did hang out with me. I know he wants to be more involved with comfort measures this time, but I have a feeling he's going to be flitting around turning the water heater up, getting the tub set up and putting the 2 sets of sheets on the bed!

My midwife is going to come over right away since she's preparing for a really fast labor. Last time I labored at home with just DH until and hour and a half before birth. So it will be nice to have her offer up positions, etc. And my doula, who will mostly be focused on my daughter, can also offer up tips to my DH and she does body work. I have no idea if I will like being touched though.

Cindy
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bostonmummy View Post

This thread is making me tear up at the thought of going through this incredibly intense and intimate experience with my husband, especially because we're doing a homebirth. It just feels like I'm going to feel so loved and supported. I love reading all of your stories, and Under, I especially love the idea of labor as a party. 

 

Thank you for this thread — it is so inspiring!

 

Yeah, so I watched all the videos of my labor the other day so ds could see/hear what it may be like.  I haven't seen them in a long time and I was surprised by how sweet dh looked supporting me in some of them.

 

As an aside, I don't know that it was necessarily a good idea to watch them.  Probably good for ds, but in a lot of the videos I sound like I'm in a lot more pain than I remember being in, lol!

post #11 of 11

For me, being in a place I feel secure with only those I want near is paramount.  I really sort of internalize and don't want any distractions so I can focus.  With my first, I kept thinking, "I can't do this anymore!" and it would have been really nice to understand that that meant I was in transition and that it can't get any worse, lol. 

I agree that I get through a contraction and then go completely limp in between.  I have had one labor that was super intense with contrax on contrax and while everyone said I was amazing, and I was able to focus through it, afterwards, I felt shell-shocked/traumatized, lol. 

With each labor I have come to that point where I feel like Icannot do it any more and then I know the end is in sight. 

DH is my support and he is totally tuned into me.  My midwives are 2 hrs away and my labors are 4.5-6 hrs long so that's important.  We invite them into another room and I let them know when I want them, which is usually for the last hour.  This is my fifth child and 3r birth with them, so we are all comfortable with my knowing what I need. 

With my first, it was harder because I didn;t know for myself what labor was like.  But you can do it!  Labor how it feels comfortable to you and relax in between...I also have found that if my jaw is getting tense, that is a sign for me to relax.  HTH!

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