How many of you have had painless labors?
How many of you have had a painless surgery without chemicals? I know there are people out there who've done it. Obstetricians have been known to do it, as have dentists. I even read about painless hand surgery with cutting into bone.
Do you believe that your state of mind influences the length of time active labor takes?
I've found that my labors are faster and gentler each time. I've only had one painless labor all the way through. I'm talking about when active labor kicked in: in early labor I had a painful contraction when I was out trying to take a walk thinking that I wasn't ready to go into active labor yet - it was my first day birth - a treat. That labor went really fast and I became aware of being in an alternate state of consciousness as I came up to transition. It was so neat. That was baby #4. With baby #5 I found that it was hard for at least a half hour and there was pain, but then she came out posterior which helped me understand why it felt weird. With #6, my last, I didn't have a painless active labor but I also didn't work against myself and I was done 20 minutes after it set in. I would describe the pain as an annoying little bite to the peak that made me moan and writhe a little but then the whole affair was over so quickly that I really couldn't complain and I wasn't worn out by it. (delivering the placenta was a bit more taxing, taking 3 more hours of discomfort)
I basically had babe #1 - 12 hours, some real pain but easier than a lot of women
#2 - 5-7 hours - some more real pain after 7 centimeters dilation
#3 - 3 hours pain/vomiting painless pushing, biggest baby
#4 - an hour or so active labor, no pain while in the tub in active labor, waterbirth, almost painless pushing again
#5 - 30 minutes, gentle, even painless up to that point then some real pain/swearing
#6 - 20 minutes, a few jokes about being happy to stay pregnant and stop the discomfort another month just before pushing (small breech)
Is the shortening labor phenomina that many mothers report just a result of an expectation that they can have a shorter labor? Does it get easier because we learn to believe in our bodies more and more as we go?