Intense, but didn't hurt.
Wow, I skimmed some of these posts and I would be freaking out about labor right about now!
I had planned to have my baby (#1) at a birth center, drug free, with midwife and doula. We took a natural childbirth class, read a ton of books (I especially recomment Ina May's Guilde to Childbirth - this is such a wonderfully positive birth, you will really start looking forward to birth and excited to take part in this process!!! I loved this book!!)
I started contractions on a Wednesday evening, very light, very faint, they didn't affect my activities at all (we ate dinner, went for a walk, cleaned up, the usual evening stuff). That Wed's night, I slept until maybe midnight, woke up, got up, wondered if it was really the real thing, decided it wasn't so bad, went back to sleep. Woke up again maybe around 3 am. When I was up and moving around, I thought it was totally rediculous to be up at 3 am, the contractions were really mild. But when I tried to lay down, they were moreintense. Just really uncomfortable, like i had a really bad belly ache that would come and go. I finally just got up and started my day early. Ate breakfast, went for an hour long walk... obviously, I was not in great pain
here. I was excited, happy, looking forward to this birth, wondering what would happen next. My DS was great, very supportive, etc.
Okay, so it gets to be mid afternoon, we were watching a movie, I would have a contraction every 3 to 5 minutes, and they were starting to be intense where I had a hard time watching the movie, so I went in another room and leaned over some pillows and tried to doze. (hahaha) Still I wouldn't say anything hurt, just really uncomfortable, but WAY better as long as I was up and moving around.
Around 2 pm my water broke (that was really weird! like I just stood up from a sitting positition and there was a little pop and this liquid just dribbled down my legs, like, I don't think I just peed on myself but...
), so I went to sit on the toilet, and had my first REALLY uncomfortable contraction. Like really big belly ache. But still the discomfort just comes and goes. So at this point we call the birth center, tell 'em we're on our way, and I think I went through transition in the car (it was a 45 min ride) - so that was REALLY uncomfortable too, I wanted to be up and walking around but I had to sit in the car and I had this big bad belly aches every minute or so, it really helped me to just go with the flow and if I felt like moaning through a contractoin, to just moan through it and not care what else was going on around me.
We arrived at the birth center, walked in, answered a few questions, and within about 15 minutes I was pushing (totally involuntary, that was really cool too) about an hour later I pushed out a healthy baby boy. I don't remember the pushing or actual crowning or anything hurting at all. It was uncomfortable, very VERY intense, but I was so into it all, the whole naturalness of it (I actually kept waiting for an orgasmal birth, like some i Had read about
) and really trying to FEEL what was going on inside me. It as so cool, I could feel the baby move down, I could hear the midwife tell me she could see the head, I could hear myself make a lot of primal noises, it was like I was there and not there all at once, but I would never say it "hurt" just really super intense, not like anything you've ever experienced before.
I totally think that if you think you can do it and really really want to do it (drug free birth), and maybe having a high pain threshhold helps?, and you know what's going on and you are expecting all the feelings that happen, you can have a great birth experience. Obviously if there are complications or if you're forced to lay down (laying down would have been aweful for me, I was upright the whole time, it felt SOOO much better that way!), you could have a totally different experience. But this is YOur experience, and I am so happy to have had the entirely positive (intense but no pain) birth experience I had. I think it really helped me too, that I wasn't really expecting pain. Again, that Ina May book was great. So many positive stories, I wanted mine to be just like that, and it was!
Best wishes for quick, easy, and pain free!
(wow, I just looked at my message, that was long!)