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How much does labor hurt? - Page 4

post #61 of 74
i haven't yet read the entire thread, so this may already have been mentioned, but i strongly recommend the book "Birthing From Within" for any mama.

i think i may be a masochist ... i LOVED labor! i knew it was going to be a pain unlike i'd ever felt before, but i also was so psyched that it would be pain that would bring my daughter into my arms. i mean, who wouldn't go through a heaven and earth of pain just to finally meet that precious little being that's been squiggling in their tummy? i knew i couldn't die from pain. i knew that women were birthing all over the earth while i was, we were all in it together. towards the end of the pregancy, i felt like i was standing in line at an amusement park to ride the biggest, baddest rollercoaster! scared, but excited, too. and sure enough, labor was just like riding a HUGE rollercoaster, whoooosh here comes a surge, WOW that's a big hill, whoaaaaa down the other side! i just went along for the ride.

one thing that helped me was the mindest of not remembering the last surge, and not anticipating the next one. i just concentrated on what was happening in the moment. it was so beautiful, i felt like my daughter and i were dancing together, locked into a primal rhythm. i very much regret that i needed a c-birth and didn't get to experience the "ring of fire" because after that, i would have experienced what i have heard is the most beautiful sensation ever, the baby sliding out.

ETA: my active labor was 30 hours total. i went into transition 3 or 4 times, my daughter was "bouncing" down into the birth canal and then back up again on her short, wrapped cord. i got lost in Laborland, i didn't know what hour it was, or when i was in transition. having two doulas was surely what helped me the most. towards the end i started tensing because my fibromyalgia and arthritis was acting up and it was hurting worse than the surges ... they'd remind me to not tense against the pain by just saying "ragdoll." to this day, if i'm in pain, i say "ragdoll" to myself and go limp, it works well.

when i knew i needed a cesarean, then it HURT. i mean, i tensed against every surge and it was like a nightmare. i suddenly hated my body (i didn't know why she wasn't descending at the time) so i hated the pain, i knew it wasn't productive and it was horrific.

i hope this helps. i mean, knowing from my story and other mama's stories that how you perceive pain affects your labor. enjoy your ride!! {{{{{hugs mama}}}}}
post #62 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by valeria_vi
In the Birthing From Within classes they make you do breathing exercises while holding onto ice cubes. The last class we had to dip our hands into a bucket of ice water. I understand that the pain will not be exactly the same, of course, but ... how close is that simulation to what the real thing will be like? My brain tells me it's not all that close at all, so I don't even know why I'm asking but I'm gonna post this anyway.
My husband and I did this with our 2nd (1st together) and it really was helpful. It's uncomfortable to purposely place yourself into pain's way. Essentially, that's what you do--inflict discomfort upon yourself in order that you figure out how you will respond, and your partner can see you responding and see what it looks like for you to be in pain.

Does it feel like labor? Sorta. Contractions do not feel like having your hand submerged in ice water, but you do have the sensation, especially at the end where you want to run, pull your hand out and go home and have some tea. In the bucket, you *can* pull your hand out, but in labor, you cannot. You're there for the long haul to have a baby. Having you partner recognize that you're getting to the pack up and head home stage really is helpful because then s/he can pull you back to earth--ground you.

Labor is doable. Period. It's hard work-terribly hard work, the hardest you will ever do. It can be scary and exciting in the same breath and that sometimes throws us off our game a bit. BUT, it's amazing and spiritual and beautiful, too.

Good luck to you!
post #63 of 74
Labor was most definitely intense. It's hard to describe it as pain because, although it hurt, it was different than anything else I;d ever felt. My ds was a hospital, pitocin-induced birth that led me to get an epidural. The whole experience in the hospital was so BS I opted for a homebirth the second time around- and cherish the experience.

Transition actually felt hardest, but try and get into a comfy position and stay there as long as you possibly can!!! I was laying on my right side since I was so tired (my water broke at 2:15 am and labor started 10 minutes later). Instead of tightening my stomach every time a contraction hit (which was my initial automatic response) I began squeezing my dh's hand, the midwife's hand, the assistant's hand, whoever was available at that time, and I pushed their hand into the mattress so's not to hurt them too badly. But it helped a lot. I eventually stopped dilating (at 9cm, grrrr) so I climbed back into the tub and that's when labor got to the most intense part- and I got very vocal about it.

Not vocal in the cursing-at-anyone-in-your-presence sense, but vocal as in moaning. At first I was a little bit self-conscious, but after 2 contractions passed and the vocalization was making them bearable, I kept it up- and about 20 minutes later had pushing urges, and three pushes later my dd was born.

Totally worth it to have an unmedicated birth- and a few days later it deosn't seem too bad at all! (Course, my after-birth pains were so intense I'd literally have to kneel wherever I was and pant through them like I was in labor all over again. I'd have liked an epidural for those! lol)

Anyway, good luck. Do what you know in your heart is best for you!
post #64 of 74
A lot of women have mentioned how they forget the pain.. here's my goofiness on that. I don't forget it per se.. I mean, rationally I recall pretty clearly it hurt, but my *body* doesn't seem to remember it. Some hurts I can recall with a cringing clarity if I focus. If I close my eyes and recall very strongly the bee sting I got on my hand 2 falls ago, I can almost *feel* it there with a real shudder. If I remember acutely the painful pap smear given to me like 6 years ago by a PA, I will physically cringe. I can think about stubbing my big toe last week and I'll move to hold it. But I just can't summon up the imaginary echo of contraction pain (from a not-traumatic labor.) Even what I thought was the best feeling - dd finally arriving in an amazing rush, I remember more that it was amazing than I can re-feel the experience. My rational mind doesn't forget... something at some more physical level for me seems to forget, lol. Weird, huh?
post #65 of 74
I have had four births.

1 was not that bad.
2 were bad.
1 was hellish and devastatingly painful.

I have a pretty good threshold for pain. About forgeting the pain-- I did forget the pain for the not so bad/ bad hree, but I will never, ever forget the pain of the very difficult birth.
post #66 of 74
Quote:
A lot of women have mentioned how they forget the pain.. here's my goofiness on that. I don't forget it per se.. I mean, rationally I recall pretty clearly it hurt, but my *body* doesn't seem to remember it.
That's how it is for me. I've read that there are hormones active postpartum that actually make you forget the physical sensation of labor pain, though you can still recall it intellectually. I think that Meredith Small discusses them in 'Our Babies, Ourselves'. I've read that these 'forgetting hormones' are credited with the continued survival of humanity, lol.
post #67 of 74
I know that I'm one woman in a million, or maybe a thousand, but labor was not that painful for me. I didn't really know I was in labor.... I showed up at my midwife 8 cm dialated and saying, "I think I'm in labor." She checked my cervix and was like, "GIRL you are way in labor!!" And my baby was a footling breech, but that's another story. I got completely dialated without much pain. I practiced relaxation techniques daily throughout my pregnancy and focused daily on relaxing my cervix. I think that must have helped! Or as my midwife said, I could just be a labor pro!
post #68 of 74
When my labor started with DD, 3 years ago, I started fairly slowly for the first hour (it hurt so little we even went grocery shopping). After the first hour the contractions got more intense (like really bad mentrual cramps) and I went into the tub at home. That helped me relax.
After another hour my contractions were so long and so close that we went straight to the hospital. I was in very intense breath-taking pain, couldn't really talk, sit etc. anything. I was 2 centimeters at the time. Once I got into the tub in the hospital it got better but picked up again quite quickly and I progressed from 2 to 10 centimeters in just under 90 mins. The pain was more intense than anything I have ever experienced. I was very close to giving up and asking for pain medication when the nurse told me I should get up if I could and start pushing. That was the turning point. Once I started pushing (25 mins. standing, bearing down...then another 20 mins. semi-upright sitting on the edge of the bed) the pain was almost gone. I remember pressure etc. but nothing compared to the contractions before. i was well enought to ask for ice water (which was given to me), joke with my Dr. and the nurses and enjoy seeing my DD coming out (in a mirror)...

So...after all this rambling...I have to say, even though it was the most painful experience ever I am very much looking forward to giving birth to my son this coming September. I felt so strong after having gone through labor like I've never felt before. I long to have that feeling again.

Alex

PS: after reading through some of the other answer I want to second, third, fourth the book "Birthing From Within" and the ice-cube method. I did that in prepartion for my DD's birth and will practice again this time. What has also helped me very much was the mantra "It's pain with a purpose, not scary pain" when the contractions were peaking. I have dealt with panic-disorder in the past and can proudly say today that I haven't felt any fear/panic at all during my 6-hour labor inspite of all the unusal body-sensations, pain etc.
post #69 of 74
Thread Starter 
Well, this pitocin-induced method seems like hell for me! WHY are they doing that? Maybe it makes contractions stronger but this is an abnormal way!
post #70 of 74
really firmly believe that it has soo much to do with your state of mind...
are you expecting it to hurt, but know that you can over come anything put in front of you?
are you expecting to be able to get through it or thinking that you'll "try" but if you need it you can get meds?
are you hopeing nothing goes wrong or do you 'know' everything is okay to be fine?

kwim... I really think my first birth was great because I wouldn't accept the horror stories told to me by everyone I knew. I read all the natural birth stories I could find and convinced myself that I was going to have a good birth, and that I could handle anything my body went through.
Yes the contractions were intense but I was prepared to handle it. I didn't have classes, I didn't practice anything (though as a teen I had been trained in relaxation and visual techniques) I really think that my state of mind was the pivitol point that made the difference between having a wonderful, easy first birth and having a hard, difficult labor.
post #71 of 74
Forgive me; I know this isn't popular. But I don't really buy the "pain is a state of mind" thing. I was not (anywhere in my conscious mind, anyway) afraid to give birth. I was actually really excited. I had take Bradley and felt really prepared. My husband is amazing; my midwives were good. I consider myself to have a fairly high pain threshold.

The first 10-11 hours weren't so bad. Painful, but I was focused and okay. It really went downhill after that, though--I guess it was when I hit active labor (where I stalled at 4-5 cm for 10 hours). Definitely the worst pain I've ever been in in my life--no COMPARISON to anything else I've ever experienced. I had back labor (posterior baby didn't turn till I was pushing) so I'm sure that's part of it, but...I read a description of back labor before I gave birth that said it was like "having a steel rod go through your spine every 3 minutes." OH COME ON, I thought, it can't be that bad. Joke was on me. It was that bad. I also described it as being like being hit in the back with a baseball bat over and over again.

I felt absolutely no pain in my abdomen, cervix, or anywhere else but the small of my back. The pain bore no resemblance to menstrual cramps, either. It was fascinating for me to experience the post-birth contractions in my abdomen. They felt totally different, and didn't hurt at ALL in comparison.

FWIW, I was transferred to the hospital from a birthing center at 4-5 cm after 24 hours of labor with broken waters--I was GBS positive and outside the BC's protocol. I got Pitocin and, at my midwife's urging, accepted the epidural. My daughter was born 10 hours later after 2 hours of pushing. Yes, it took 8 more hours to dilate 5 more cm, even with Pit ramped up very high. I don't know if my experience is very generalizable as my birth seems to have been somewhat outside the norm.

I am clinging to the beliefe that back labor is very different than labor with a properly positioned baby, because I want to do this natural for #2. But I absolutely fear another labor like that one. It was so long. It hurt so much.
post #72 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc
Forgive me; I know this isn't popular. But I don't really buy the "pain is a state of mind" thing. I was not (anywhere in my conscious mind, anyway) afraid to give birth. I was actually really excited. I had take Bradley and felt really prepared. My husband is amazing; my midwives were good. I consider myself to have a fairly high pain threshold.

The first 10-11 hours weren't so bad. Painful, but I was focused and okay. It really went downhill after that, though--I guess it was when I hit active labor (where I stalled at 4-5 cm for 10 hours). Definitely the worst pain I've ever been in in my life--no COMPARISON to anything else I've ever experienced. I had back labor (posterior baby didn't turn till I was pushing) so I'm sure that's part of it, but...I read a description of back labor before I gave birth that said it was like "having a steel rod go through your spine every 3 minutes." OH COME ON, I thought, it can't be that bad. Joke was on me. It was that bad. I also described it as being like being hit in the back with a baseball bat over and over again.

I felt absolutely no pain in my abdomen, cervix, or anywhere else but the small of my back. The pain bore no resemblance to menstrual cramps, either. It was fascinating for me to experience the post-birth contractions in my abdomen. They felt totally different, and didn't hurt at ALL in comparison.

FWIW, I was transferred to the hospital from a birthing center at 4-5 cm after 24 hours of labor with broken waters--I was GBS positive and outside the BC's protocol. I got Pitocin and, at my midwife's urging, accepted the epidural. My daughter was born 10 hours later after 2 hours of pushing. Yes, it took 8 more hours to dilate 5 more cm, even with Pit ramped up very high. I don't know if my experience is very generalizable as my birth seems to have been somewhat outside the norm.

I am clinging to the beliefe that back labor is very different than labor with a properly positioned baby, because I want to do this natural for #2. But I absolutely fear another labor like that one. It was so long. It hurt so much.
My first was posterior and my 2nd I think turned at the last minute b/c I had realy bad back labor with him. Neither of my labors was nearly as bad as what you describe. You must have had something else going on there, IMO. I hope your next labor is more normal.
post #73 of 74
It really is so individual. I've just given birth for the fourth time and having done that I feel like it's not just individual but also every labor can be very different too. My first two I ended up at the hospital waaay too soon and had all sorts of interventions and eventually ended up with epidurals both times. With #1 it was a trade-off to buy time to avoid a c-section. With #2 it was because I was mentally and physically exhausted after being stuck at 8cm for more than 4 hours with pit going full steam the whole time. I gave birth 1.5 hours later.

#3 I took Bradley classes and did have a natural birth. Yes it was painful but totally manageable until right around transition which was also when we went to the hospital. The ride was about the worst 45 minutes of my life. Ouch! Pushing was also way more painful than I expected in particular once she was crowning I could not believe the intensity of the ring of fire. So I thought I was really prepared for this birth. I did resolve to be upright more for this labor to try to cut down on the time. #3 still took 13.5 hours which is hardly fast for a third birth. Well this labor was much faster and it was not a gradual building. I went from thinking ok I think I may be in early labor to in almost unmanageable pain in very short order. I almost put off going to the hospital because it hadn't been long enough but when I got there I was 9cm and +1 station. The baby was at least partially posterior and I had tons of very painful pressure in both my pelvis and my back. I needed almost constant counter pressure on my back just to survive each contraction. The only position I could even remotely tolerate was being on my hands and knees. I pushed that way too and still needed the counterpressure. The pushing was even more painful than last time but I think that was because I had her on my perineum after like two pushes and then spent the next 15 minutes getting her the rest of the way out whereas with #3 it was a more gradual process over 20 minutes. Once I had her crowning quite honestly I can't even describe the sensation. But weirdly it did almost feel good to push through it. I just had to get her out. So yeah it hurts. Not going to lie about that. Even if you're prepared. Even if you have a doula and great support. Even if you trust your body and caregiver you may still have a lot of pain. But as several others have mentioned it is a purposeful pain. In some way the pain from getting a hep lock hurt much worse than my contrax because it was so pointless and bothersome. It is something you can get through though. I just took it one contrax at a time and knew I'd have a baby at the end.

good luck!
post #74 of 74
Pain is so individual, both with your body's pain receptors, and with your emotional response to pain.

I've had some people tell me that labor was like bad cramps. I've had others tell me it was torture.

My own labors were intense right from the start, it took over my body and I was fighting it. I did not labor naturally through either birth (got epidurals 1/2 way through) but I was told that my cx were like transitional cx from start to finish, very intense and on top of each other. I have abuse in my past and I think I felt them more than the average person might. I am super sensitive to physical pain b/c of my past, and that pain turns into fear.
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