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Belief in a no pain labor/birth? - Page 7

post #121 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumb3 View Post
To re-visit this idea, I think there must be something going on to facilitate a birth that is pain-free. Why couldn't changes of positions, support and encouragement, and a mindset that approaches labor and birth as normal be a part of creating the pain-free experience?
Well, with ds1 (the only I've had any significant amount of labour with),I had all these things. Labour and birth seemed totally normal to me (after all, we all came from that!), I moved around and changed positions freely, as my body told me to and I had a lot of support and encouragement (after I woke up my ex - I quite happily laboured alone for several hours while he slept). It still hurt. It didn't hurt like the scare stories said it would, but it hurt. Now, I happen to believe that my son turned breech while I was in labour. (I've been told this can't happen with a first, but I'm pretty damned sure it did...the "head lump" wasn't where it had been for the last few weeks, my GP had found him as vertex on Wednesday, and he was breech on Friday when I went to the hospital after 20+ hours of labour.) I also believe that's where a lot of the pain came from - pressure on my back from the baby shifting position.

The contractions themselves also hurt. They hurt like the worst menstrual cramps I'd ever had. I heard them described that way later, but I'd never heard them described that way at the time. They felt just like cramps. So did all three of my miscarriages. I have to think that the pain does have a physical/physiological basis when it so closely mimicked other pain I'd felt. I really can't say what role expectations played in any of it. I had no expectation of painful periods, as I'd been menstruating for almost two years before I had one that hurt, and the painful ones never were predictable. I certainly didn't anticipate my miscarriages - just pain that came out of nowhere at 12 weeks gestation. Yet, that pain was just like my labour pains.

I do think pain management is tremendously important. The role of changing positions is hardly going to revolutionary information on this board, but I know how important it is. When I went in for my scheduled section with ds2, I'd been in labour since the night before. The contractions hurt - more than I'd remember, actually - but they weren't terrible. I was riding them out fairly easily...walking around, mostly. When I got to the hospital, they put me on a bed to check dilation. When the next contraction hit, I was ready to claw out someone's eyes if it would make the pain go away. I honestly can't imagine what it feels like to go through an entire labour like that! It was brutal...so I definitely feel that it's essential to educate women (and doctors!) about alternative methods of coping with pain (changing positions, warm water, counter pressure, etc.).
post #122 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookel View Post
In my case, I think the difference it would have made is that if I'd known how I was going to feel, I'd have been a lot more serious about looking into alternative pain relief methods - including non-epidural medication. I also might have gotten a doula or at least a backup support person other than my husband, who was not very helpful (and I knew that would be the case; hospitals freak him out and he's never good in a crisis).

I think hearing too much of this "just relax and it won't hurt" B.S. makes women overconfident about how much they can handle on their own and without any kind of pain relief, and then when it hurts more than they can handle, if they're in a hospital, the only option they have is an epidural.
I think there's a lot of truth to that. I don't much like the cultural phenomenon of "oh, hey - here's a pregnant woman, so let's inundate her with warnings about how awful labour is"...but that is reality for some women, and we have no idea which we'll be until we're there. I think it would be ideal if pregnant women were exposed to both kinds of story, so that they knew that they didn't know what to expect.
post #123 of 139
I have two babies. They were both born at home with a midwife, the second with a doula. The first was INTENSE. Not particularly painful, but definitely INTENSE. No one believes me when I say that breaking my arm hurt much worse. The second baby, well, not only was he 9.5lbs, he was also completely OP, and not only that, but with what my midwife called a "military presentation". Yes, back labor was painful. But still not like breaking my arm!

Here's my theory about pain, for whatever it's worth. Pain is a message. Your body is trying to tell you something about itself. Sometimes it's "ow, you stubbed your toe you ninny!" Sometimes it's "YIKES, you broke a bone!" Sometimes it's "oooh, hey, that was a hard workout yesterday." Not all pain is "bad" pain -- which is to say, it's not always a message telling you that something is wrong with your body. Sometimes pain is a message telling you that something is right.

With labor pain you get a break in between contractions (in theory, anyway, LOL) during which you can relax a moment, take a few deep breaths, reposition yourself, and prepare for the next wave of contractions. Labor pain is "good" pain -- every contraction tells you "the baby's coming, the baby's coming".

Having said all of that, I also believe that a person's pain threshold has a lot to do with it. I have three friends who have all told me separately that they said to their husbands, "how the heck does [pantufla] do this without drugs?!" But maybe it's also because pain meds were never *available* to me.

I do believe that a pain free labor is possible. But there are so many factors...
post #124 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Just to be clear, I had a positive birth. A positive birth that hurt like hell. Both can co-exist. Yk?
I consider that a truth worth telling.
post #125 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I didn't know that!! That's what I was so bitter about.

But I wish I had heard it straight up going in, so I was not so woefully naive and unprepared.
I can understand this.
post #126 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I think it would be ideal if pregnant women were exposed to both kinds of story, so that they knew that they didn't know what to expect.
You know, this is interesting to think about. On one hand, I agree with this idea, cover all the bases so women can see how unpredictable labor/birth can be, and maybe they can avoid whatever would make for a negative experience for them.

But on the other, part of me does wonder: is birth about doing it "right" the first time? Is it about being totally prepared that nothing throws one off? Maybe it is necessary to experience some things in order to know what one wants?

Even if it hurts, and not just in-the-moment-pain, but emotionally afterward. Maybe there is a purpose for the "pain", the work, the effort, the emotional rawness of childbearing. Not that it is meant to destroy us as people and be traumatic, but that it is meant to stretch us and make us stronger people, not b/c we have had the ideal experience but b/c we have learned from our experiences, whatever positive or negative forms they take.

I wonder if that may be one of the purposes of childbearing. That may sound crazy, and I don't know if it's true for everyone. I almost feel it ringing true for me. So, the purpose for me in birth is not that it always feels good, or I avoid all "bad things" (whatever that may mean, pain, fear, etc.), but that I can welcome whatever comes and be stronger for experiencing it. That leaves wide room for me to have any kind of labor and allow lots of feelings to flow about it afterwards, too. I can accept if I feel sad about certain parts, or angry, or really happy and thankful.
post #127 of 139
It would be interesting to hear some comments from some of the mothers who experienced PTSD after a difficult birth experience who also felt they were not adequately prepared or informed. I, for one, would be very unhappy if information was withheld from me about it under the guise of it being a growth experience. I'm an adult--let me make those decisions. There seems to be an element of withholding for some people regarding their birth experiences. Without a doubt, these are private, personal experiences, and no one can be expected to share anything unwillingly. If a mother chooses to share, however, at least let it be complete information, and not incomplete information for somebody else's "good". That's for the adult mother-to-be to decide. Better to not say anything than withhold information or lie.
post #128 of 139
Huh. Yeah, I'm totally digging what you are saying, greenthumb.

For me, I feel like labour was the initiation for motherhood. Like, it was extremely hard and pushed me to my very limits... beyond my limits. And it was wonderful and so so beautiful and taught me so much about my primal self and my body and my own power.

And I can't tell you how good it was for my body image that I grew this person and delivered her without drugs or someone coming in with a knife and taking her out of me. Fabulous.

Also, after she was born was the craziest high I've ever had. Ten times more powerful than any E trip. My theory is that I had all the endorphins to cope with the unbelievable pain. Then the pain disappeared, suddenly just like that, when she was born. So my system was flooded with endorphins, and OMG I've never been higher. Meeting my baby like that was wild. I was SO happy.
post #129 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumb3 View Post
Maybe there is a purpose for the "pain", the work, the effort, the emotional rawness of childbearing. Not that it is meant to destroy us as people and be traumatic, but that it is meant to stretch us and make us stronger people, not b/c we have had the ideal experience but b/c we have learned from our experiences, whatever positive or negative forms they take.
If that's the case, then it certainly didn't function as it was meant to in my case. It was traumatic - not "hard, but worthwhile" - traumatic. It didn't make me stronger. It made me fear pain more. It made me want to cry every time I got a backache for months afterward, because back pain reminded me what labor felt like and I just wanted to forget.

Honestly, the only reason I am more confident after learning from that experience is that due to not being a VBAC candidate, I will have scheduled c-sections from now on and I don't have to worry about ever going through that again. I can totally handle another c-section. I couldn't handle another labor like that.
post #130 of 139
pookel.
post #131 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by SundayInSeptember View Post
It would be interesting to hear some comments from some of the mothers who experienced PTSD after a difficult birth experience who also felt they were not adequately prepared or informed. I, for one, would be very unhappy if information was withheld from me about it under the guise of it being a growth experience. I'm an adult--let me make those decisions. There seems to be an element of withholding for some people regarding their birth experiences.
Hi! That's me, too, only with baby number one. I could list lots of things "I wish I had known". I know that for myself, I don't list all the things from my first experience, not out of an agenda to hide, but just b/c lots of what I felt has softened with time and had healed and I don't want to re-open it all just now (prepping for baby #3's birth any day now). I don't know about why other people tell or don't tell certain aspects of their experiences.

I think that my CBE didn't necessarily withhold info, although there were things I wish she would have addressed more, better, etc. But I accept she did her best at that time. I also realize now that although I love to research, I also love to "delve" into things and need to explore my feelings to get a feel of what is best for me. A Birthing From Within-type class might have filled in the gaps, so-to-speak, in prep. for baby #1 in such a way that might have facilitated a different experience. But, how was I to know that then?? And there weren't any locally anyhow. I just did the best with the tools I had, it all boils down to. Ack, the questions and unknowns! I realize that not everything my CBE/doula did, or my MW or DH or mom or MIL or sister in law or mom's dog (uninvited guest number 2) was the ultimate in helpful, but, at some point I had to move on.

Perspectives from my experience. I would be interested, also to hear other persepctives from moms who experienced symptoms of PTSD after giving birth, too.

I would also like to understand more of what you mean when you said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SundayInSeptember View Post
I, for one, would be very unhappy if information was withheld from me about it under the guise of it being a growth experience.
post #132 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookel View Post
If that's the case, then it certainly didn't function as it was meant to in my case. It was traumatic - not "hard, but worthwhile" - traumatic. It didn't make me stronger.

I couldn't handle another labor like that.
Hmmm. Maybe the stronger thing doesn't always mean a mom will be stronger in her experiences giving birth, like the "next time is always better", KWIM? Maybe it strengthens you in other areas of your life? Maybe you are stronger than you think. You are living proof you survived and made it through a tough experience, and that has to count for something! (Not to minimize what you went through)
post #133 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyshoes
So, I personally, have had 8 hours of 'pain free' labor myself. How many other women?
All of my labors have been EXCRUCIATINGLY painful (even in an ideal environment,) so I know about pain. That said, while I've never had contractions that were totally pain free, I've had some very enjoyable times in early labor. I also LOVED my second stages that were normal, they were very intense and I wouldn't say pain-free, but the most fantastic feeling at the same time. Most interestingly, I had one absolutely blissed-out hour during my last labor, quite late in the labor, about an hour before the baby was born. I've rarely felt that good in my entire life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumb3
If positive birth is possible for one woman, then there is the chance it is possible for another.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama
Just to be clear, I had a positive birth. A positive birth that hurt like hell. Both can co-exist. Yk?
Absolutely. Out of four extremely painful births, three were awesome and empowering experiences. My other birth was traumatic not because of the pain, but because of how I was treated and how the birth was managed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama
However the danger can come when women who don't experience pain, or much pain, start thinking it was becoz of something *they* did right, some trick they had that others didn't, some better attitude a la Ina May Gaskin's theories . Kwim? That's where it turns into a set up, and into a minimization of the real pain that can and does exist for many women.
<nodding>
post #134 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2bamama View Post
Wow, and I thought my post had been picked apart before! You completely proved my point.
If you don't want responses in a discussion forum, perhaps you simply ought to not offer them at all, rather than belittle someone for responding. If you don't feel it's appropriate to look critically at these issues, fine. But, please, don't try to make that call for other people. I'll decide what's important for me to talk about, thanks.
post #135 of 139
I was planning a natural birth, but I ended up being induced and getting the epidural. I can't tell if this post is exclusively for natural births, but I will say, I had a pain-free experience. Before it happened, I was so afraid of being induced and the pitocin, so afraid of having my water broken, so afraid of the epidural, afraid to push the baby out...but in the end each of those things was not painful as I expected. Not fun, you know, but not painful at all. Lots of work, like running a roadrace.

I didn't have candles and soft music, but I did have a relaxation cd that my friend the yoga teacher made me--and I think that really helped get my mind in the right place.

I have so many friends who found birth excruciating, even with the epidural--and that just wasn't my experience. I think it's just a unique experience each time.
post #136 of 139
Quote:
Maybe there is a purpose for the "pain", the work, the effort, the emotional rawness of childbearing. Not that it is meant to destroy us as people and be traumatic, but that it is meant to stretch us and make us stronger people, not b/c we have had the ideal experience but b/c we have learned from our experiences, whatever positive or negative forms they take.
This gave me chills.

I had a traumatic birth--34 hours, posterior, unwanted hospital transfer (from a birth center) due to GBS and broken waters and long labor. I would describe it as horrendously, agonizingly painful. I went into the birth thrilled, excited, and not at all frightened. I had great support, too. Afterwwards, I was totally devastated and felt like a complete failure for accepting the epi and Pit (which were not really my choice, in the end). I mean, I was crushed. But you know, I think this experience (and the difficult BFing experience that followed) humbled me and forced me to grow as a person in a way a "good" birth would never have done. Frankly, I know moms who had fast, easy med-free births and talk up the "birth is painfree if you believe it can be" line, and I look at them and think how much they do not understand about the mystery of birth. I have such mercy in my heart for women whose births are painful or do not go the way they wanted them to. Before I had DD, I used to read negative birth stories and think "Oh, this is where it went wrong, because X" and now I just shake my head at my arrogance.

Parenthood has been the biggest humbling experience in my life, and DD's birth was step #1 down that path.
post #137 of 139
Personally, I don't believe in a pain free birth. Mine hurt like h*## :
post #138 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumb3 View Post
Hmmm. Maybe the stronger thing doesn't always mean a mom will be stronger in her experiences giving birth, like the "next time is always better", KWIM? Maybe it strengthens you in other areas of your life? Maybe you are stronger than you think. You are living proof you survived and made it through a tough experience, and that has to count for something! (Not to minimize what you went through)
Traumatic birth experiences may make some women stronger, I don't know. That hasn't happened for me. Not to put too fine a point on it - my sections broke me. I survived, but I'm a shadow of who I used to be.

I don't think knowing that my baby could turn and I could end up sectioned for a breech less than 48 hours after my last prenatal checkup would have made it more "right". I'm not even sure it would have helped. I don't even really know whta getting birth "right" means. I just wish that women ere better informed about the fact that labour and birth isn't the same every time...that your best friend begging for an epi doesn't mean you'll feel that way...that your sister having a pain-free five hour labour doesn't mean that you will. I guess I see it as the opposite of trying to get it right - I wish women were encouraged to understand that what will be, will be and you don't know what that is until you get there.
post #139 of 139
to answer the OP, i do believe that pain-free birth exists.

what i don't know is how or why or when it manifests and for whom. i can only assert that i am visualizing such a birth for myself (i've never had one), and that I am not in fear of pain should i experience it.

like the woman who posted this

Quote:
Maybe there is a purpose for the "pain", the work, the effort, the emotional rawness of childbearing. Not that it is meant to destroy us as people and be traumatic, but that it is meant to stretch us and make us stronger people, not b/c we have had the ideal experience but b/c we have learned from our experiences, whatever positive or negative forms they take.
i believe that labor--whether painful or not--has this distinct purpose. it is a transitional time for a woman and baby. the 'old wise' tales tell us that "a woman must pass through her death to bring forth life." it doesn't mention pain either way, but there is an extreme element here that is worth noting.

if my labor is to be excruciating, which i believe it will not be, then i will be able to handle (manage) it, and that all will be well.

there's no reason to assume that pain is wrong or bad, or that it is necessarily going to harm one (physically, psychologically, etc). it is simply whatever it is, and in being that, it is something that tempers us.

i am not afraid to be tempered. if that is how it manifests, then that's what is. and if it manifests differently--pain free, ecstatic--then that's what it is.

either way is OK by me.
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