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birth: it's like pooping, it's like sex...NOT rocket science - Page 3

post #41 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookel View Post
I think what I would like to see is greater care taken to avoid making blanket statements like "birth is easy!" and "anyone can do it!" and "it doesn't hurt that much!" More helpful would be things like "birth isn't usually as hard as people think it is" and "it probably won't hurt as much as you're afraid of" ... or even better, "here are some things that could make your birth experience very hard, and how you can get through them."

I feel like I see a lot of "you'll be fine!" but not a lot of "you can get through it even if it's hard."
Those are good suggestions. Thank you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by YumaDoula View Post
Love this post. I totally agree.

Btw, on the other hand, and this is SO embarrassing to admit, birthing 3 kids has helped me POOP BETTER! : :

(Please no ddddc about what a great pooper I must be now )
Heh. Party pooper.
post #42 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by YumaDoula View Post
Love this post. I totally agree.

Btw, on the other hand, and this is SO embarrassing to admit, birthing 3 kids has helped me POOP BETTER! : :

(Please no ddddc about what a great pooper I must be now )


Only on MDC would we feel comfortable talking about birth and BM's.
post #43 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by skueppers View Post
Personally, I prefer to understand what's going on during childbirth from an intellectual as well as an emotional point of view. I found having some kind of a clue as to how far along things were and what I might expect to be helpful. For example, knowing that I was fully dilated, but that my baby was still very high, helped me to make the decision not to try any kind of active pushing until about three hours later, when the baby had descended further.

Different approaches are right for different people. If this isn't a piece of information you find helpful during your births, then by all means, you shouldn't have it. But suggesting that everyone would be best served by taking one specific approach to birth seems a little ridiculous.
I do understand the desire to know how far along one is, although that's not something that can be accurately gauged. In any case, the idea that women are best served by birth being allowed to be an instinctive process isn't ridiculous at all, it's science. It is a fact that the more "intellectual" one attempts to be during the labor, the less normally the body functions. This is because the hormonal process is regulated by the primal part of our brain, and anything that engages the neocortex interferes with that.

Making a decision when to push based on measurements is about bypassing the natural, instinctive process, which is unnecessary and creates dysfunction on some level.
post #44 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookel View Post
I would like to see more support and validation in the natural birthing community for women whose labors are excruciatingly painful and difficult despite their preparation and best efforts.


There seem to be two basic camps in natural childbirth, the one that believes that pain is a necessary and even good part of childbirth (Birthing From Within) and the one that believes that pain is always the result of something the mother or those around her are doing wrong. While I don't believe that birth is inherently painful, and I do believe that the majority of pain in childbirth is created (by environment, mindset, lifestyle, etc.,) and unnecessary, I don't believe that all women can experience painless labor without disassociating from their bodies via drugs or hypnosis (not talking here about relaxation techniques, but full hypnosis.)

I don't know why my births were so painful. I have some suspicions. But I can tell you without a doubt that it was not because I was fearful or negative or conditioned to believe it would be painful or perceiving the sensation as pain when it really wasn't, or because I was inhibited or self-conscious or my neocortex stimulated, or because the baby was posterior or asynclitic or because I was on my back or not moving around. For someone to say that if only I'd had a better attitude going into birth it wouldn't have been painful is insulting and ignorant. With my last, I protected my birth space like few women left on this earth are able to. I surrounded myself with positive female energy in the weeks before the birth. I surrendered to the hormonal changes and welcomed them. I regarded myself as a goddess and felt very sexual in the days leading up to the birth. I had plenty of opportunities to release oxytocin. I felt very sensual and inside of the birth experience. The labor and birth happened in darkness, quiet, warmth, coziness, love. I did not monitor or manage the labor in any way; it was allowed to be spontaneous and instinctive. I was not fearful; I looked forward to the birth. The baby was in a perfect position and I stayed out of reclining positions throughout the pregnancy and did a lot of squatting. I labored walking and on hands and knees, as felt best. I even had a "rest and be thankful stage" that was truly glorious and had me musing about the pleasurable birth surely to come. And then BAM! it was torturous again.

All of my births have been excruciatingly painful. The only one that was traumatic, however, was the one in which the midwife, the person I was supposed to trust, who was supposed to be on my side, believed that I could have control over my experience of the "sensations" if I wanted to and that I was making the birth unnecessarily hard on myself. I was told that this was because I was making the "wrong" sounds and faces, moving the "wrong" way, saying the "wrong" things. I was told I just needed to relax. For me to resist what my body was asking me to do (by trying to comply with the midwife's demands instead) prolonged the birth, but it was also emotionally hard to have to rely on someone who believed that the difficulty of my birth was due to character flaws.

So I worry that to tell women they can have a painless birth if they want or if they only do all the right things, is setting them up for failure. Certainly, those that would only feel pain for environmental/psychological reasons are well served by this. But the women who experience pain for other reasons are going to be left feeling betrayed or guilty or flawed. This is a shame when birth can be a positive experience in spite of being painful. My next three births were all painful, yet all empowering and physiologically efficient. I felt incredible afterwards, and after my last birth, which was the first fully undisturbed one, no postpartum depression and no feeling of lack of bonding. We need to rethink the assumption that's gaining ground in the natural birth community that pain is nothing more than a mindset and that the only way a woman can have a truly good birth is to have a painless one.
post #45 of 115
OP - Interesting thread. The first I've ever seen the erection/dilation comparison.
post #46 of 115
i think that this issue about 'supporting those who have painful births' gets confused by so many factors.

1. our culture tells us that birth is going to be absolutely painful, that it's painful for everyone. that the very nature of birth is painful.

2. our culture also tells us that pain is "bad" and we have a culture of pain-avoidance. got a small ache, take a pill. got a big ache, take a bigger pill. got a big pain, take an opiate. got a pain that's unavoidable but hasn't happened yet, consider heavy drugs, c-section, etc--and if you 'endure' it, you're doing so 'unnecessarily' and "to get a prize" (or some other nonsense).

then, you have this natural birth community who comes in with radical ideas:

1. birth isn't necessarily painful.

my understanding of this is that there are two ideas to the "causes" of pain: first, the natural course of labor (see 2); and second, stressors that make birth unnecessarily difficult.

the understanding here is, i believe, that women should do whatever they can to remove stressors, as this will likely reduce pain. assuming everything is done, there still may be pain--and that is OK.

2. the second thing taught in natural birthing circles is that birth pain--assuming it's not caused by stressors but by the natural course of birth--is appropriate and often necessary for the birthing process.

I admit that i don't necessarily understand all of the science behind this idea, but i have a 'feeling' for the philosophy or theory. the idea being that it's not necessary to avoid this pain, that it is, in a sense "good pain" that helps facilitate the birth process (and a myriad of other physical, emotional, and spiritual processes for both mother and child.

in both instances, it flies against the cultural conventions that pain is unavoidable in birth, and that because of this one should seek interventions to strive to avoid pain.

ultimately, this is the way that i think about it:

birth can be painful, and when it is, that is a normal process of birth. But, in some cases, birth is unnecessarily painful. when the pain's origin is stressors, then this is problematic. mothers should seek to avoid these stressors whenever possible to have a 'less painful' birth. She may still feel pain, but that is normal pain, and that is appropriate. Other mothers, once removing these stressors, may not feel pain in birth.

i don't know if that's a circle, but to me it supports everyone. If pain happens in birth, it could be perfectly normal. But, maybe it isn't in some/many cases, and they should look to decrease those causes if possible. And when they do, maybe there is still pain and maybe there isn't.

and both are normal.
post #47 of 115
I want to thank all of you who have written in this post. I've never given birth before. We are planning a homebirth and I'm so grateful to you all for sharing your different experiences. I already feel like I'm better prepared for what may, or may not come and am intensely curious of what my birth will be like.

And now for my two bits:

It doesn't surprise me that there are so many differences in experiences regarding pain, or lack thereof, in your natural births. We may all be of the same species, but we're different biological creatures and physical experiences cannot be identical. We know this in our hearts, but it's true from an anatomical perspective as well. It is not just "in the head". In college I was given the opportunity to perform a human dissection. The man I was assigned to had died in his early 60's, and his medical records included some history of sensory complaints on one side of his body. Some way through my dissection I discoverd that this man had additional groupings of nerves on the same side of his body that were the source of his complaints. Not surprising, huh?
post #48 of 115
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
Birth is biologically a primal, instinctive, autonomic and involuntary function of the body. It's not something one needs to recognize the stages of to be able to do. Why do you feel you needed to know you were fully dilated, unless you were planning on bypassing that instinctive autonomic process in some way?
Beautifully articulated, fourlittlebirds...and this is why I really really like the idea of a man's arousal level and comparing that to a woman's cervix dialating...even in our Modern World, we all agree that in general, sex is still pretty primative, primal, and instictive.

What man would wait for a clinical confirmation of arousal? A man can rely on his feelings, both emotional and physical, about what his anatomy is doing, and what he wants to do next.

The woman who relies on her feelings about her readiness in labor? Show me a care provider that would trust her, instead of that care provider's fingered measurement.

"Don't push until you're complete!" and, "Push!!! You're complete!!"
What the woman wants to do with her private vagina and cervix is not honored, in most birth scenarios (nor is her desired position for the pushing.)

Whether or not a modern American woman wants to know the intellectual details of the cervix's status does not change the fact that for our opposite gender, we live in a culture that supports their arousal awareness and honors their emotional connection with their private parts.

Not true for the ladies, sadly.
post #49 of 115
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
There seem to be two basic camps in natural childbirth, the one that believes that pain is a necessary and even good part of childbirth (Birthing From Within) and the one that believes that pain is always the result of something the mother or those around her are doing wrong.
I see this split too, and it has always seemed wierd to me--this idea that if a woman does everything right, the birth will be pain-free. Why do we have this? Lamaze breathing from the 60's? I don't get it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds
While I don't believe that birth is inherently painful, and I do believe that the majority of pain in childbirth is created (by environment, mindset, lifestyle, etc.,) and unnecessary, I don't believe that all women can experience painless labor without disassociating from their bodies via drugs or hypnosis (not talking here about relaxation techniques, but full hypnosis.)
I often think of the pain and agony of cesarean surgery, or epidural placement, or the IV insertion before the shot of Nubain, and wonder, how could any drugged birth experience--choices that might be made for the express desire to avoid 'childbirth pain'--actually truly be painfree? or I wonder, is it really less painful this way? (For example, comparing a "standard"-pain homebirth with a lie-in-bed-but-with-lots-of-Demorol hospital birth? which one 'hurts' more?)

I think it's ironic. And I think it robs women of their choices--mainstream culture suggests that the hospital's drugs guarantee escape from pain, when for many, it might not be a guarantee. "You're one of them crazy birthing freaks" if you are to suggest that a woman could have a pretty decent go of labor with just her uterus working and providing the pain--but allowing rests in between, in contrast to an epidural which might provide relief after a woman gets her bag of IV fluids, the epidural can hurt when it's inserted, a urinary catheter is now required, and Pitocin drip to counteract the lagging epidural'd contraction pattern, and on and on....
post #50 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyshoes View Post
I often think of the pain and agony of cesarean surgery, or epidural placement, or the IV insertion before the shot of Nubain, and wonder, how could any drugged birth experience--choices that might be made for the express desire to avoid 'childbirth pain'--actually truly be painfree?
I know my experience isn't the norm, but the IV insertion and epidural insertion were NOTHING compared to the contractions I was having. I barely noticed them.

On the other hand, having the catheter inserted for my C-section while the epidural was at half strength was the most painful single moment of my life and I had to be physically held down while two nurses did it. I'd rather have pushed for another hour or two than go through THAT, but I didn't know what it would be like before it happened. The C-section itself was totally painless, though. It felt like they were moving my belly around with my hands, about the same as an external ultrasound.

I guess my point is, you can't really predict what's going to be most painful for different people, which drugs will work on which people, what part of birth will be hardest ... and it's important to avoid making any absolutely proclamations about what labor and birth are like for women.
post #51 of 115
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookel View Post
On the other hand, having the catheter inserted for my C-section while the epidural was at half strength was the most painful single moment of my life and I had to be physically held down while two nurses did it.
OUCH!

yeah.....that's what I'm talkin' about....ask these lovely young women today how they want to have a baby, and they want a c-section like Britney Spears, because it's pain-free.
post #52 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyshoes View Post
OUCH!

yeah.....that's what I'm talkin' about....ask these lovely young women today how they want to have a baby, and they want a c-section like Britney Spears, because it's pain-free.
IMHO, the real travesty is anyone ever inserting a catheter before the spinal anesthesia kicks in! But yes, it's never really pain-free ... even if the surgery goes easily, the recovery is no picnic.
post #53 of 115
My SIL won't give me the details, but she said something about maybe trying "the Lamaze way" next time, just to avoid the catheter and its complications (she apparently needed some surgical procedure a couple months after!). This is the woman who, before she was even married to my brother, much less was pregnant, announced that she was getting an epidural and she didn't want to hear anything against it.
post #54 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookel View Post
On the other hand, having the catheter inserted for my C-section while the epidural was at half strength was the most painful single moment of my life and I had to be physically held down while two nurses did it.
That's awful. My mom told me that the last time she had a catheter placed she was about ready to have a nervous breakdown because she was remembering her previous one which she described like you did. The nurse said, oh, no worry, we can just deaden the area before we do it. What the.... ? Why would't they just do that routinely? Or why couldn't they wait until the epidural was fully working? Was it a life or death situation for you to have that catheter placed immediately? Would it have been so much a travesty for you to actually pee on the operating table that torturing you was so freaking preferable? It's really hard to understand the mindset. I was just thinking this morning about my son's ER experience when he dislocated his thumb. He and I still have flashbacks from it, it was so awful the way it was handled until I figured out a few things and was able to be his advocate. The thing is, all the pain they caused him was totally unnecessary. What the hell is wrong with people that this seemingly happens so often? Are so many medical people so clueless? Are they idiots? Are they sadists? I just don't understand.
post #55 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyshoes View Post
I really really like the idea of a man's arousal level and comparing that to a woman's cervix dialating...even in our Modern World, we all agree that in general, sex is still pretty primative, primal, and instictive.

What man would wait for a clinical confirmation of arousal? A man can rely on his feelings, both emotional and physical, about what his anatomy is doing, and what he wants to do next.
Yes. I know this is not going to be a popular thing to say, and I often dance around it, but I'm feeling emboldened by the OP but...

in the same way that many of us regard the unnecessarily clinicized or mechanized sexual experience, where passion is absent, as perverse or lacking in some way, I regard the unnecessarily clinicized or mechanized birth as perverse and lacking. I realize most people don't experience it as such, and to me that is part of the tragedy -- that we have been so conditioned to believe that it's a valid and good way to give birth that we don't even question it, that women are not even aware of what has been lost. Even when we're hurt by it in myriad ways (assuming women are even aware of the connection, which many are not,) it's "just the way it is." This is insanity. It's one thing to make decisions based on safety and comfort. It's another to choose a style of birth management that does not only not guarantee those things, but can directly interfere with their acquisition, and for most women does guarantee the loss of a spiritual, ecstatic, emotionally and physically whole, physiologically normal birth and bonding.

It's like if we lived in a society in which the woman's good sexual experience was considered a mark of depravity and it was just expected, and taught, that sex was an awful, painful thing done to you that you just must accept. Doesn't that sound crazy? But such subcultures have existed in the world, and they didn't think they were crazy, although a lot of women did suffer. And in our society it's regarded as selfish to avoid a mechanized, medicalized, non-ecstatic birth. The parallels are just too close to be denied.
post #56 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyshoes View Post
What man would wait for a clinical confirmation of arousal? A man can rely on his feelings, both emotional and physical, about what his anatomy is doing, and what he wants to do next.
Very true that a man would not wait to be told he was aroused, but let's be honest here, a man's arousal is pretty obvious visually. The cervix is hidden (I believe for a reason, it's not supposed to be observed!) and so in order for the care provider to assure him/herself that progress is in fact taking place, they feel a need "measure" instead of relying on the mother's intuition. Afterall, who among us hasn't heard the birth story that the woman came in at 3 and after hours of labor was sure she had made good progress, only to be told she was still at a 3. I have heard that Ina May suggests that the act of measuring creates the regression and that perhaps there was progress, but that's another topic for another thread.....

Anyhow, I agree w/the OP and really most of what has been said so far, I just don't think the above is a fair analogy. My .02 FWIW.......
post #57 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by OkieMama2three View Post
Very true that a man would not wait to be told he was aroused, but let's be honest here, a man's arousal is pretty obvious visually.
I think the point was that it doesn't have to be observed for it to happen, or to be allowed to happen.

Quote:
The cervix is hidden (I believe for a reason, it's not supposed to be observed!) and so in order for the care provider to assure him/herself that progress is in fact taking place, they feel a need "measure" instead of relying on the mother's intuition.
But that's the care provider's problem, not the mother's. There are better indicators of progress than checking dilation, but even those aren't necessary for the process to happen. Birth doesn't need any of them any more than sex does.
post #58 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
I think the point was that it doesn't have to be observed for it to happen, or to be allowed to happen.
Ah, okay, I misinterpreted that part then.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
But that's the care provider's problem, not the mother's. There are better indicators of progress than checking dilation, but even those aren't necessary for the process to happen. Birth doesn't need any of them any more than sex does.
Agreed! (I wasn't very clear in my post, oops.) I'm not at all condoning internals, in fact I feel they are really pretty worthless in the grand scheme of things which is why I've declined them for all of my births.


BTW, my DH agreed wholeheartedly w/the anal checks being a deterrent to pooping!
post #59 of 115
For those of you who believe that childbirth is essentially an instinctive process for which conscious thought on the part of the mother is counter-productive:

Given that, before the advent of modern medicine, women and babies used to die in childbirth in much larger numbers than they do today, is it your contention that while the mother should avoid thinking during childbirth, it is the job of her birth attendants to do the thinking for her? For example, by identifying situations in which some assistance may be required?

If it were possible for the mother to take drugs which would disassociate her conscious mind from awareness of her body altogether, do you think that would lead to better birth outcomes?
post #60 of 115
[QUOTE=pookel;6913347]Worst pain I've ever experienced in my life? Yes. First experience I've ever had that made me wish I were dead? Yes. There's no possibility of feeling safe and secure when you're in that kind of pain. [QUOTE]

Oh, I'm so sad to read that. I agree about the pain; for me it was just unbelievable. But in my second birth, I did feel safe and secure. There was a time when I was screaming and desperate, but I did not feel at risk and I did not feel unsafe. I DID feel loved and supported and cared for in the midst of that. Pain and safety don't have to be opposing factors. The safety made the pain survivable.
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