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Is childbirth the worst pain you have ever felt? and some other questions. - Page 2

post #21 of 124
It was definitely the worst pain I've felt. I didn't feel like I was going to die during transition, but I was absolutely miserable. I was incredibly hot, having contractions that seemed to never stop with back pain, and then I also felt like I was going to throw up. I kept thinking that if I could just remove one thing from the equation, I could handle it better - if I could just stop feeling nauseated, or just stop the back pain, it would be better. Thankfully, that period was short.

Pushing hurt for me, which I was a bit surprised at. I think women either feel intense relief at being able to push, or the pushing hurts. (I was the latter.) One thing I was very pleasantly surprised at was the length of time between pushing contractions. I would HAAAAAVE to push, and then would get a nice long break with almost no pain at all (like a couple of minutes) -- that was heaven. The crowning didn't hurt too much for me -- I think the fact that I pushed her to almost crowning and then the contraction stopped made it a lot better -- she sat there for a few minutes and stretched everything out.

The afterpains were actually worse than labor for me, which I was not prepared for. However, since this is your first baby, they may not be that bad for you.

After the birth (other than the afterpains) I felt completely exhilarated -- like a total high -- for weeks. (Not to say I didn't have down moments while my hormones adjusted, but just that the birth high I had after my natural delivery was unbelievabe.) I've also had a hospital birth with an epidural, and even though the birth with the epi was less painful, I would never go back to the hospital for birth. I didn't feel a birth high after delivery at all, and had a harder time bonding with my baby... I think the drugs had something to do with that.
post #22 of 124
many women have pain free and ecstatic births. why not try to cultivate one of those?

that's what i'm doing.
post #23 of 124
I spent my entire pregnancy with dd convinced that I could handle anything labor could throw at me. I had a bone marrow biopsy years ago that was horrific ... the nurses told me that the pain of that procedure was much worse than labor. I wasn't afraid of labor at all and was sure that my relaxation techniques, etc., would get me through. And they did, until I went to the hospital. : Big mistake. HUGE mistake. I was coping great until they refused to let me get up, refused to let me get in the shower ... basically all the stuff that was helping me to cope they took away. From that point on, I laid in the bed and screamed my way through 19 hours of contractions. I remember trying to describe the sensation as a "wall of pain" ... I couldn't get over, under or around it, I just kept slamming into it, over and over.

Now that I've given you that lovely description ... here are the lessons I learned.
* Don't go to the hospital! Duh ... not a problem here in the UC forum, but still ....
* Listen to your body! My body was screaming to me to move, but every time I did, a nurse scolded me for messing up the monitoring stuff. If I knew then what I know now, I'd have told her to (*^$% - off and would have gotten my butt up and gotten in the shower.

Hang in there ... clearly, from all the posts here, every labor is different. Listen to your body and you'll do GREAT!
post #24 of 124
I have not read all the responses but wanted to give my take on it.

I would like to preface this by saying that the one thing I've learned is that all women experience the pain (or lack thereof) of childbirth very differently. So reading what other women say may prepare you for a range of sensations, but it can't prepare you for what YOU will experience. I think you should try to mentally prepare yourself for ANYTHING. I was inadequately prepared for how intensely painful my labor was because I thought it would be easier than it was - I thought I would experience "intensity" without great pain so long as I was comfortable, secure, and in touch with my body. Don't EXPECT pain, but don't DISCOUNT it as a possibility, either.

First, it was not the worst pain I've ever felt, and for the simple reason that it never felt "wrong." I have endometriosis, and in college more than once I experienced menstrual cramps so bad that I literally thought I was going to die. I became completely irrational, I was in such extreme pain. All I could do was writhe and tears were falling out of my eyes and I just thought "This is it, I'm going to die - no one could be in this much pain and survive." But I lived through it, as unpleasant as it was, and once the pain was over it was pretty much forgotten. That was different from labor because the bad cramps felt like something was wrong, but labor just felt difficult, busy, etc. - not "wrong." When something is wrong, it's frightening; and labor wasn't scary - just incredibly painful.

Birth was different in many was from that menstrual cramp pain. Until transition, the pain was very manageable. Present, but manageable. It was coupled with an intense sensation in my cervix - felt like really deep penetration during sex. It was very intense, and accompanied by pain in my belly - but not BAD pain. I wasn't afraid, and even though I was making lots of noise, after a contraction I'd stop and tell dh "It's okay, I'm not bad - it doesn't hurt that much."

Transition was overwhelming and very painful. Like bad diarrhea cramps, menstrual cramps, and someone trying to wedge a bowling ball down your rectum (going out, not going in). At the same time, I began to have a lot of pressure and pain in my back. It helped some to put pressure on my lower back.

I won't lie to you - the pain was awful. However, I was sane, rational, and unafraid through 7 hours of those bad contractions. IT WAS MANAGEABLE. Extremely, extremely uncomfortable. I would use the words agony, suffering, excruciating, horrible. But I never thought I was going to die.

A lot of women say pushing feels better. When I finally started pushing, it didn't feel any better - just the same as all those prior hours. I remember thinking I just wanted it to be over, and that she clearly wasn't going back up so the faster I pushed her out the sooner it would all be over.

What I remember about her descent and crowning was that I kept thinking "She must be crowning NOW, it feels so bad" with each contraction, but she wasn't crowning yet. Crowning was very painful, but there was so much other pain that I didn't care all that much. What I was concerned about was that it felt like I was tearing upwards. There was bad pain and stinging by my urethra etc. and I was afraid I was tearing in that direction and no one was telling me (I did NOT tear upwards). Crowning felt like very intense, painful stinging, but I did not get the "ring of fire." It was a relief when her head was born. Birthing her shoulders hurt, too, and I tore (2nd degree). I did not feel myself tear; everything hurt a lot. Lots of pressure and pain the whole time.

After she was born, I was still uncomfortable. I felt better after both the placenta was delivered and I pushed out a bunch of huge clots.

Afterpains were bad - they hurt as much as some of the contractions, without the pressure. (Yes, this was my FIRST baby, so it could happen to you too!)

Again, I think the most important thing is to remember that every woman experiences childbirth differently. We may share some sensations, but not all. I experienced tremendous - extreme - pain, and for many hours without relief, but I was never afraid - I somehow knew all along that everything was okay. I hope you have the same comfort zone with your labor, whether it is easy or hard (IMO there are very few "easy" labors, esp. for FTMs!). One thing I said repeatedly after she was born: "That was the hardest thing I ever did in my entire life."

dd 8mos
post #25 of 124
Originally Posted by Romana9+2 View Post
First, it was not the worst pain I've ever felt, and for the simple reason that it never felt "wrong."
That's one of the best descriptions of painful labor that I've ever heard.

I think it's fantastic that you're getting everything from "painless and ecstatic" to "oh, that hurt BAD", and nobody's telling you you can't do it.
post #26 of 124
post #27 of 124
Pain is subjective, so for some it is and others it's not. For me, no, it wasn't painful like I assumed it would be. My contractions felt like waves of pressure, which only became uncomfortable when I was really close to delivery. Crowning, there was a burning sensation and the urge to push was intense, but was such a relief once she was out.

I pretty much start labor in transition, so that's all I feel contraction wise. I also didn't fear the birthing process, I embraced it and welcomed it. My first labor was just over 3 hours and second just under 1 1/2 hours, both were pretty easy.

My Norplant removal wasn't a fun experience at all, worse than childbirth for me.
post #28 of 124
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
many women have pain free and ecstatic births. why not try to cultivate one of those?

that's what i'm doing.
Yep, I agree.
post #29 of 124
No, my ectopic pregnancy was the worst. However, I KNEW what was going on with my body during labor and with the ectopic I was just SCARED. That might be why.
post #30 of 124
For me labor pain was like intense menstrual cramping except instead of being constant it came and went. It does hurt -- I really get annoyed by this nonsense about "Oh, I just didn't regard it as painful therefore it wasn't." It either hurts or it doesn't. This hurt. Working through it, though, I felt powerful, and I felt a mounting sense of expectancy because I knew I was getting closer to seeing the baby. State of mind and perspective does matter. If you're freaked out about it, it's going to be worse than if you're accepting it and powering your way through it.

I actually really enjoyed early labor. Where it got not so fun for me was in the last few hours when the baby dropped and the head was pressing against my sacrum. It literally felt like my back was splitting apart. (And no, I wasn't laboring on my back, and I'm pretty sure, at least with later babies, that they weren't posterior.) I don't know if it's the way my uterus is positioned or if it's due to a past back injury, but that level of pain does seem to be uncommon and I think most of us probably don't need to worry about it getting that bad.

Regular labor pains were FAR easier to be with than a migraine, even just a headache, stomachache, backache, pinched nerve in my neck, toothache. With those (if you're not incapacitated) you're grouchy and want to just curl up in a little ball and have everyone go away. With labor pain I was laughing and dancing and making love. My (what I think of as) non-normal labor pain was the worst pain I can imagine feeling.

The first time I pushed a baby out it was a very managed and constipated second stage. I never use that as an example unless someone is planning a managed and constipated second stage. My normal second stages felt amazing. For months after the birth I revisited the feeling of the baby emerging from me. The memory faded and I can't remember it at all now, but I remember just loving that feeling and trying to hang on to it as long as possible. It did burn a bit as the widest point of the head came through, but that was brief.
post #31 of 124
My first labor wasn't the worst pain. It was very manageable.
My second labor most definitley was, it was a pitocin induced birth and it did not feel right and it was extremely painful. I was literally out of my mind with pain.
My last labor (5 weeks ago) was also painful and extremely intense. I don't labor like most women though and I go from knowing I'm in labor to transition with in minutes (so cramping/bloody show to full on transition contractions w/ very little break inbetween them). Also I am pretty sure my son was posterior this time and I was having back labor. But it didn't last long and *I knew I could do it*. I do remember saying to myself I really don't want to do this long, which I didn't.
I completely agree that pain with a purpose is very different than other kinds of pain. I do believe naturally pain-free birth is possible and was very open to it this past time but I didn't experience it.
I love the saying "The secret is not that childbirth is painful but that women are strong" (I might have the wording off some). I tear up everytime I read it because it is so true!
I was talking to one of dh's friend's girl friend the other day (she just found out she's pregnant) and I told her I didn't do anything any other woman can't do. I did the same thing women have been doing since the beginning of time, I am not unique (I am woman)!!
post #32 of 124
Definitely not! I've had an abcessed tooth and that was the worst pain ever.

Labor pain isn't constant... and it has a purpose. You'll do fine!
post #33 of 124
No, for me, a torn meniscus was the worst pain I've ever had, went on for months during physical therapy.

Labor was nice for me, until I'd been dealing with it for four days with no sleep. It got better though when I transitioned.

post #34 of 124
Labor is most definatly (sp?) not the most painful thing I have ever been through. Like most of the women are saying, it's very intnse and powerful, it doesn't feel wrong, but I didn't think it hurt. Unfortunatly, after going natural until I was fully dialated, we knew something was wrong, so trying to avoid general anesthesia during a c-section which was looking to be more and more likely, I let them give me 2 epidurals (neither fully worked) so I had to get put under when they completely ruled out natural birth. (I won't get into details, since this isn't what this thread is about, but unlike most c-sections this was pretty necessary) I was totally bummed out about the section, and the recovery afterwards was BY FAR the most painful experiences I have ever had! Actually cracked nipples (which lasted for just a short time) were more painful than labor! I can't talk about delivery but labor was no biggie! So if you can get through the long part with no problems, the end shouldn't be a big deal at all!
Good luck! I know you'll do fine, and then you'll have a great big ball of joy to cuddle and love!
post #35 of 124
I'm glad you're hearing all sides.

For me personally, it was actually the most intense pleasurable sensations ever. - until the midwife walked in. Then it suddenly hurt. thus part of the impetus to UC this time.

She was as far away as possible while still in the building during crowning/birthing, and the "ring of fire" felt to me... almost orgasmic. Kind of the way DTD can be with dh when we find some new position or trick that just sends me through the roof. Amazing.

DD emerged, I put her to the breast, and said to dh, "we have GOT to do this again!"
Says he: uhh, ok. Can we talk about that after we get some sleep? (I'd been without for over 36 hours by then, he had only gotten some catnaps)
post #36 of 124
My nose piercing was WAY WAY worse than childbirth.
post #37 of 124

which nose piercing did you have done? i have nostril and septum. neither of them hurt. . .
post #38 of 124
I am in total shock that most people are saying how it wasn't bad.
I went into labor gung-ho thinking, I can handle anything, this is what my body was made for. I had kidney stones out years before and everyone told me they were so much worse than labor. I took all the classes, read all the books. I ended up with pre-clampsia pretty severe, so I had to be induced to save my life. BP was 200/120 and I went into early labor sevreal times and was on bedrest in the weeks before.
So, granted, I was not able to walk around or any of that. In the end, I had an epadural to help lower my BP (or I wouldn't be here - it was that or a c-section). I was still able to rip naturally and such, but I had to compromise quite a bit. I huffed and puffed and breathed like I should, and did what I could even though I was not allowed to walk.
I have to say, that the Dr. said she thought it would take about 2 hours for me to deliver. I said (we have it on video) "The hell it is taking me 2 hours." I was D-O-N-E with the pain and all that, and just wanted my baby. I WILLED that child out of me in 28 minutes.

I was very disapointed that labor was not the uplifting spiritual mumbo jumbo that I expected.
It hurt, way worse than any kidney stone ever did. It hurt worse than when I sprained my ankle, it hurt worse than having my wisdom teeth out.

I WISH I could tell you diffrent, but, that was my experince. I am telling you this because I had two camps of people, one saying they thought they were going to die, others saying it was great and all of that. I dismissed the ones who said it hurt, saying that they were just not in tune with themselves, that I was going to prove everyone wrong.

I say this because I don't want you to be like me and think: Oh, others say it isn't bad.
It might not be for you. Or it might be.

I think the best thing is to be educated and have a supportive partner.

I remember my first night home with my mother, and I was so tramatized by my labor that I was still shaken (Because I was sooo convinced it would not be as bad as it was - I felt betrayed by my body). I asked my mother: How come there are not more only children - I would never go through that again.
My mother "you forget... "
Well, here I am - itching to TTC not even a year later!

For all your hardwork, in the end you are given the best reward, and the pain is only a moment in your relationship with your child.

I am sorry if this comes off as scary, that isn't my intention, but I felt I needed to post, because very few seemed to say it hurt as bad as I think it did. You have no choice but to give birth, my advice is to start thinking of the postives and your reward in the end!
post #39 of 124
Originally Posted by bauchtanz View Post
so I had to be induced to save my life. BP was 200/120 and I went into early labor sevreal times and was on bedrest in the weeks before.
So, granted, I was not able to walk around or any of that. In the end, I had an epadural to help lower my BP (or I wouldn't be here - it was that or a c-section). I was still able to rip naturally and such, but I had to compromise quite a bit. I huffed and puffed and breathed like I should, and did what I could even though I was not allowed to walk.
I don't say this to discount your experience in any way, and clearly it is a very real possibility.
But I think that anytime you have an induction that you have completely changed the natural process. It seems to be pretty well excpeted that pit contractions are much worse than natural ones.
Plus the stuck in bed thing is a very big factor, and obviously you were at a hospital and being monitered, etc.
I understand that these were beyond your control, and were necessary for your health. But they do alter the birth from the physiological norm and therefore are not what one should "expect" from an unhindered birth. It seems to me that basically no matter how great your outlook is, what you've read and practiced, how spiritually centered you are, etc. that when you have those types of hindrances (induction, observation, etc.) that birth will be more painful than without them. The way I see it is that your experience is extremely relevant to the pain level to expect from an induced hospital birth, but not so indicative of an unassisted home birth.
I hope you get what I'm saying. It keeps sounding kind-of mean and I really don't mean it that way. Just saying it wasn't chance or just natural differences between women thing that made your birth so painful compared to what other women have mentioned, it was the result of the interventions done to save your life.
And I do understand that it is a possibility (atleast theoretically) that the OP could end up in the same situation, but since we're in the UC forum I was assuming the question was primarily about what to expect with natural HB.
post #40 of 124
After reading all the comments, I wanted to add a few things that I think are important:

~ Think positive. DO strive to create the painless, empowering birth experience you seek.

~ Trust your body and your instincts. You may not always know what to do, but many things will be obvious. For example, I tried one contraction lying on my side and it was HORRIBLE. Standing up or leaning over was much better. I think the relatively painless parts of labor can be made painful by bad positions and/or intrusions.

~ Be prepared for anything. You may experience birth orgasm. You may finish up and think "That wasn't so bad!". And you may have hours of very painful contractions.

~ No matter what, you CAN do it. You WILL be okay. If you have strong feelings that something is wrong, listen to them. Don't be afraid to transfer to the hospital if you think something is wrong. Transfer does not equal failure!

~ Don't fear whatever pain you have, if any. The pain is progress, and often a part of a natural labor. Pain during labor is normal for many women, even those who UC. If the pain feels abnormal to you, or "wrong," listen to your instinct.

I know this kind of repeats what others have said. I just don't want you to be unprepared like I was. I felt betrayed that no one told me how painful it might be, or how long it might go on for. If I had just known that might happen in a natural, UC, unafraid birth I don't think I would have been so angry after she was born. Unlike the PP, I did not have any interventions; and yet, I still had many hours of very painful labor.

That said, I hope you have a breeze of a birth and next time, I hope my birth hurts less too!

dd 8mos
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