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What actually worked?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
So I have a question that stems from something a childless friend asked me over the weekend. What actually helped while you were in labor?

I know I spent a whole lot of time cursing the money we spend on the Bradley class and muttering that focusing on relaxing my hands and mouth wasn't helping anything. Of course that in and of itself seems to have gotten me through 4 days of unmedicated labor.

So..what worked for you?
post #2 of 34
One of the first things I said to DH after DS was born (while we were still chilling in the birth pool) was that the $ we spent on Hypnobabies was definitely worth it. I did so many things that were supposed to help me have a faster/easier labor (yoga, chiro, RRL tea, a bunch of supplements, etc.), that it's hard to say what worked and what didn't, but the Hypnobabies techniques definitely helped. I was in pain when I wasn't using them and not in pain when I was focusing on using them. Even more than using the techniques during labor, though, the exercise of visualizing the birth was huge for me. In the end, my birth was almost exactly how I had imagined it, only varying in the date and time that it happened.
post #3 of 34
uuhhhh...honestly....in early to middle labor.....clitoral stimulation.

hard labor--shower and then the amazing support i got from my Hubby as well as listening to my body--it did NOT want to lay down AT ALL, it wanted me to sit at the end of the bed and rock in a circular motion or stand holding on to my Hubby
post #4 of 34
Listening to your body like Karin said was key for me. In my first labor, I was all about motion and squatting (man, my legs ached the next day after doing squats for hours!). During the next labor, it was mostly about being still (oh, and watching seconds count away, *loved* watching the digital stopwatch).

I found it was basically a lot of the same things that get me through a really hard session of exercising. I think if you look at how you get through say, running further than you've ever run or something like that, you'll get a good idea of how you cope. Some people visualize, others count, others concentrate on their breath, some try to reach "the zone," etc. You're basically coping with hard work and pain during that, too.
post #5 of 34
well, you know this part - i sure as f@%& wanted to find that hypnobabies woman and rip her to shreds. i'll tell you that right now. alex tried to put on a track and i freaked out, almost threw up at the sound of her voice, and told him to turn it off because i HATED her. but, i will tell you that even though hypnobabies did not help me in labor, it at least helped me keep my body relaxed through much of my pregnancy and still helps me relieve lots of aches and pains related to holding this baby all the time. also, using the "open" cue and visualizing my cervix dilating was very helpful, because it gave me something to concentrate on. i dunno if it helped me dilate more quickly, but i was fully dilated for 4 hours and she didn't come out until THREE HOURS after i started pushing, even though her head came down immediately. she was basically crowning for 3 hours, and my vagina did not want to let her out!!!

like steph, i did yoga and saw the chiropractor and did as much as i could to try to encourage a faster, easier labor. well, i had a fast labor for damn sure, but it was NOT easy at all and i don't think i could have forced it to be so. ctx started out of nowhere at 10 minutes apart, went to 5 minutes apart within 2 hours, transition hit me super hard before i was even sure if i was in labor or not, and from the very first ctx, each one was so intense that i couldn't concentrate on ANYTHING - breathing, hypnobabies cues, anything anyone was saying. i was scared out of my mind because even despite reading a lot of posts on here about what labor is like, i had that thing in the back of my mind saying it would be easy and painless from hypnobabies, and since it wasn't, i was terrified that something was wrong, that i was doing something wrong, that i was a failure as a woman and a mother, blah blah blah. i did get past that thanks to alex & my doula. my husband was the most perfect labor support partner i could have imagined - the whole labor and birth made me love him more than i knew possible.

bradley was awesome and worth it for us because it totally helped alex be on top of things and know exactly what to expect and do at all times. the tub was okay i guess for a little bit of labor, but it didn't work so well for me because i was so exhausted and i just wanted to lay down. when i was about to give birth we tried so hard to get me into a squat, but i literally could NOT do it because it was so painful and my body was like "NO!!!!!!!" so i lay on my side instead. i wonder if, had i been more rested, i might not have had such awful tears? because the lack of rest made it such that by the end i could NOT move positions and had to stay in one.

but the thing that helped me the most was the support i got from alex, my terrific doula, my mom, my midwife, and the fantastic nurse i was lucky enough to have attend through the whole thing. everyone was so encouraging, giving me physical and emotional support, and i do not think i could have done it without them. i was severely sleep deprived which made things a lot more difficult on me. (i slept 4 restless hours friday night, 4 more restless hours saturday night, got REALLY angry about something on sunday, and went into HARD labor sunday night - there was no build-up, it just started out very intense, and i could NOT rest or lay down through any ctx - i had to throw myself on top of the birth ball and moan and then spend the couple minutes in between ctx walking around. i gave birth monday morning and didn't sleep again till tuesday!) i was so tired and having a really difficult time and i kept freaking out about how i couldn't do it and it was too much and i felt like i was dying. hahahahaha. everyone was so sweet and said and did exactly what i needed, and when i desperately wanted to change positions but was too exhausted to move my body, they did whatever they could to move me however i wanted in the gentlest way possible.

i also think just being educated and knowing the phases of labor are, and how things progress, and all that good stuff was so helpful. it wasn't like i had no idea what to expect - when i was in transition, i could recognize it.
post #6 of 34
: Muffin about hypnobabies, word for word.

I'm no help because NOTHING actually helped me, I am still shocked by how hard it was
post #7 of 34
For us, Bradley classes with DD#1 were great, because up until then, we were both pretty ignorant about normal birth. The class didn't give us great labor management techniques, but it did give us the confidence that we could do this.

Both of my labors, I needed water. Neeeeeeeded. Any time I got out of the water, I was overcome by the pain, sure I couldn't do it any longer. Once I was back in the water it still hurt, but I was able to relax all the muscles not involved with the contraction, and my entire body wasn't threatening to shut down on me.

Hip compression was wonderful this time, and our midwife was able to show Tom where to push on my sacrum so that it actually helped, rather than just distracted me. I walked in early labor, sat on the ball and bounced through midlabor (I distracted myself with the internet, so I recommend your friend get an MDC account, haha), and then was in the pool through heavy labor, transition, and pushing.

Also, being in my own space, where I felt safe, was essential. I couldn't get into real labor while my daughter was awake and in the house, because I was not comfortable, and my attention was divided. I wonder now, if I had been in a hospital, if I would have been one of those women who never gets past a 5, and needs a pitdrip, because I just wouldn't feel safe. Yay homebirth!
post #8 of 34
My labor sounds like it was similar to Muffin's- fast, intense, and mostly transition. Now, I know from going through labor with Anna-Lee and my 8 week m/c that I freak the $*%# out during transition. And I didn't have hypnobabies or anything to even try to rely on, as I was expecting the pool to work. In early labor it would have, during transition I knew it wouldn't, I just never expected it to last 2.5 hours! So I listened to my body as far as what position I needed to be in and did a LOT of squatting and leaning on things. In between contractions I kept repeating something SheBear said when we were discussing not being able to handle labor early in our pregnancies: "When you start to feel like you can't handle anymore, that's when it's almost done and you're that much closer to meeting your baby.", and I said Philippians 4:13 a lot to myself as well since that's something that's always calmed me.

But what helped the best? The baby coming out.
post #9 of 34
Water, fo' sho. It didn't even cross my mind to get out of the tub. The hot water felt good, but I think the weightlessness kept me from getting tired out. I never felt weak or exhausted the whole way through. And being in a safe comfortable setting at home helped hugely, I'm sure. I don't think I could have tranced out like I did otherwise.
I never did hypnobabies or anything, but I managed to totally find the zone or whatever you want to call it. I mean, I was falling asleep between contractions in the middle of transition. It was totally psychedelic. I worked on getting to this place of deep relaxation. Not sure how it happened, but it made labor really bearable. So I guess my advice would be to relax in the space between contractions and don't be scared. Not sure how useful that would sound, though.
I just watched my birth video for the first time, and you know that ecstatic baby making russian chick from that video? I totally look like that russian chick. If it wasn't my own labor, I'd hate me for it.
post #10 of 34
Screaming? Snapping at the midwife?

Nothing took the pain away at all, and it was wicked, but during this labor I had to lay very still. I did not want to walk or move around once I hit 5 cms. I just wanted to zone out between contractions. Since they never got more than 7 or 8 minutes apart (I went from 4 to 10 cms in about 6 contractions), I was very grateful for that in between time where I could calm down and rest. I think I would have blown a gasket and demanded a hospital transfer for drugs if I'd had the "typical" transition where the contractions are right on top of one another.

Still, there is NO better birth control than remembering those contractions and pushing! I think that's why I was so keen on having another soon after my first - I'd had an epidural!
post #11 of 34
What a great thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivymae View Post
Also, being in my own space, where I felt safe, was essential.
Quote:
Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post
And being in a safe comfortable setting at home helped hugely, I'm sure. I don't think I could have tranced out like I did otherwise.
I never did hypnobabies or anything, but I managed to totally find the zone or whatever you want to call it. I mean, I was falling asleep between contractions in the middle of transition. It was totally psychedelic. I worked on getting to this place of deep relaxation. Not sure how it happened, but it made labor really bearable. So I guess my advice would be to relax in the space between contractions and don't be scared.
[Emphasis mine.]

These two posts in particular were what I found to be effective/my experience as well.
I went through 4 days (12hrs a piece) of labor. My labor slowed/stopped as I became tired, and would start again a day or two later. The day of birth I had 45 minutes of labor from first cntx to baby. Suffice it to say, it was crazy and intense.

I was immediately thrown into a long transition (baby was posterior, I started labor at 8-9cm dilated.) So instead of the usual 10 minutes, it lasted that full 45 minutes.

But it was okay. It felt all right, and I had a positive attitude about it, I was really excited throughout it, and managed to retain my sense of humor- [though not while in the throes of a cntx.]

I had a home waterbirth.

Things that helped:
- I was in my own space. I was able to pee on myself and not think twice about it. I was able to throw my yeti yoni [hair maintenance at 42+wks? Pfft.] in the air when I needed to.

-I made a lot of really sexy deep moans. I wouldn't have been able to do this in front of residents/doctors/nurses.

-I gave myself pep-talks between contractions. Lots of, "I can do this!" "I'm doing this!!" My DP would just laugh, and tell me that I was - in fact, doing it. It was very Stuart Smalley, but it helped me fend away fear and kept my confidence.

-Lots of chanting to remind myself to stay in control. I moaned "open" "relax" "yes" "concentrate".

-In my last few minutes, crazy 3 peak per contractions hit me - I used clitoral stimulation to help concentrate on my vulva and to increase blood flow in the area. I remembered Shebear and Lizzardbits talking about it on here.

-At one point, I thought of Zjande, and reminded myself that she did it, a fast intense crazy labor, and she 'roared that baby out'. I used that picture to give me strength.

-After I had those 3peakpercntx, I told my body it needed to slow - and it did. And in between those cntx, I had a really peaceful psychedelic experience. It was a really zen trip. Might I say, those self-made drugs beat out epidurals or morphine by a Long Shot.

-My house was only lit with a string of lights around the room, there was music playing in the other room - softly, and my DP was Completely Silent. (My toddler was asleep, had he been awake, I think the experience would have been much different. I would have scared him at times, and I would have been hindered.)

I'll end on the note that - I'm a Complete Wimp. And it was more intense that I could ever explain or rationalize to someone else - but I went through it, and it was amazing.
post #12 of 34
moaning was SO necessary for me too. i remember i would make some very high-pitched sounds, and my doula and the nurse would say, "make LOW moans, LOW LOW LOW, to get that baby lower!" and i would make low moans and i could FEEL the baby coming lower. it was so awesome, realizing how a different vocalization completely changed things.

i had ctx one on top of the other for HOURS and HOURS (literally - that's not just my labor memory, i had no rest the WHOLE TIME), and i was in the hospital thinking about every single drug name i'd learned, lol. i remember thinking at one point, "i probably shouldn't say that out loud in case someone takes me seriously," but i doubt anyone would have anyway...

i also kept being like "oh god, i can't do this" because i was so overtired, and then having everyone remind me "no you ARE doing this" made me get back some energy... "i can't do this." "you ARE doing this." "yeah! i AM doing this!"

also, pushing sucked, but that might be because i was pushing for 3 hours.

i also was very happy that the lights were down low, that everything was calm and quiet, and that the environment felt so in my control. it was more comfortable than my own bedroom tbh.

i can't imagine having gone online or listening to music or anything during labor. i was filled with a frantic energy. i wonder what it'd have been like if i'd gotten rest?
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by MmeMuffin View Post
moaning was SO necessary for me too. i remember i would make some very high-pitched sounds, and my doula and the nurse would say, "make LOW moans, LOW LOW LOW, to get that baby lower!" and i would make low moans and i could FEEL the baby coming lower. it was so awesome, realizing how a different vocalization completely changed things.
...

i also kept being like "oh god, i can't do this" because i was so overtired, and then having everyone remind me "no you ARE doing this" made me get back some energy... "i can't do this." "you ARE doing this." "yeah! i AM doing this!"
How could I forget these two things? I moaned so loud, I felt like I was vibrating the windows. My transition/pushing was so fast - transition started around 11:15, and Cricket was born at 11:39. I would take a long, deep breath through the nose, yoga like, and then picture the moan coming up from my uterus, up through baby, up into my throat, and then releasing the energy. Breath was fuel, and the moan was stepping on the gas.

Talking was huge for me too - I felt like as long as I was talking, I could stay here, and not in the scary "I'm losing control" place. At one point I had my forehead pushed hard against the (thankfully inflatable, otherwise I would have a bruise!) wall of the pool, with my eyes closed, yelling "I don't know what to do!" so the midwife made me look up at her, with my eyes open, and describe what i saw. When I was focusing on the room, and on her face (oh I love her face, because just thinking of it makes me calm now) I wasn't scared - it still hurt, but I wasn't scared of it. I also kept telling Tom what to tell me - "Tell me Ella is okay, tell me what she is doing right now" "Tell me I am strong!" "Tell me this is the hard part! ARGGGGG this is the hard part, right?"
Heh. I joked about it later, and he reminded me that our relationship with be a lot easier if I just told him what I needed to hear all the time, rather than playing the "but you should know!" game. Haha.
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivymae View Post
I would take a long, deep breath through the nose, yoga like, and then picture the moan coming up from my uterus, up through baby, up into my throat, and then releasing the energy. Breath was fuel, and the moan was stepping on the gas.
gotta remember that for next time!
post #15 of 34
After 6 hours of labor and VERY painful cotrax every 3 minutes from the start, I was only 2cm dilated. So my midwife told me that I HAVE to relax and be still when a contranction comes otherwise it would not work. I got so scarred that it "would not work" and was desperately trying as hard as I could to relax. Apparently it worked and once I started doing that my labor went very fast.

Also breathing the way they teach in the labor prep classes helped me.

Having a helpful husband, doula and midwife was priceless!!!
post #16 of 34
Having a doula. If you must have a hospital birth, then you must have a doula.

early in labor I needed to squatt, bounce, and use the ball. I was able to use various things to focus, such as my godsons cute face that i had seen only hours before or waves like i read about in the ina may book.

Being on my hands and knees once the back labor really starting getting bad.

Deep breaths through the whole thing, but more so when it got hard. In through the nose and loud moans as I breathed out.

LOTS of talking to myself. I said "It's ok" like 10,000 times and have vague recollections of full blown conversations about how I could do this.
post #17 of 34
My first impulse is to want to say "Nothing Helped", but that's not quite true... I just had a way, way faster and more intense labor and delivery than I had anticipated. I kept thinking that it would be like labor with my first baby was (13-ish hours, 1 hour of pushing) and it was absolutely NOTHING like what I was expecting -- and because it was short it seemed like it was all the intensity of my first birth smushed into a smaller time-frame. I really wanted to hang on to something Ivy said about being able to do anything for one minute... but when you're having 2-3 minute contractions in transition, that doesn't work out so good.

Things that did help:

1. Water. I will never, ever birth without it. I actually got up on the toilet for 2-3 contractions and I couldn't believe how much more uncomfortable I was out of the tub.

2. Having my midwives and support people there from the beginning. for my first birth I labored alone all night long and ended up feeling very scared and out of control; I wasn't able to actually release and just go with labor and trance out until I knew I would be safe, and this time not having to go anywhere and having the midwives present from basically the beginning really helped.

3. Deep, deep moans. Deep breaths and concentrating on the sound and the air flow and kind of letting the pain happen way below that, and just letting my body do it's thing was how I worked through those contractions.

4. The hands-on birthing classes we took with our first, where DH learned all about counterpressure and labor support. They were invaluable last time and just as precious this time.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizzardbits View Post
uuhhhh...honestly....in early to middle labor.....clitoral stimulation.
I was going to say this only for transition. For active labor, movement, different positions, and vocalizing helped me the most. After that I think had I been able to check my dilation and go into a dark quite room alone that would have been perfect. There wasn't much time for coping, just reacting.
post #19 of 34
My water broke at 1:30am and I started having contractions right away - the pain seriously blew me away. Like Muffin says, you hear it's painful but then the classes talk about relaxing away the pain, so I was a little unprepared for the sheer amount of pain. I got in the bathtub in the near-dark and alternated between there, the bed and the toilet - staying mostly in the hot water until 6:30 when family started to get there.

I have no idea how I passed those five hours but it really, really helped to be alone. DP checked in every so often but I was alone and really confronted it mentally. At first, truthfully, all I could think about was an epidural - that *something* existed that could make *this* stop! I was panting/swaying in the bathroom and blood kept dripping on the floor...pat pat pat...and I was thinking there is no way I can do this.

Once in the tub, I really confronted myself that I was clenching/nervous and not relaxing. It was really difficult as I could tell in my nervousness I was fighting my body. In this way the classes really helped. I knew I had to get my mind unwrapped. I pulled a full-size towel into the tub, covered myself with it soaking wet and moved through contractions. I asked DP to bring me some beer : and in retrospect, once I had some, I was really able to start to unwind a bit - especially since I hadn't had a drink in so long. I thought about the desert. I tried to use the Hypno visualizations but they didn't correspond with what I was feeling so I pictured mountaintops...sheer, craggy, sharp, rocky mountaintops in spirals and imagined myself hanging on the peaks at the peak of the pain and coming back down afterwards.

I laid on the bed with the heating pad and blankets. I wanted to be really hot. I wanted to sweat under the blankets. I listened to Carlos Nakai which really helped zone me out.

DP started filling the pool around 6:30 and asked if I wanted to get in, which I did. In the pool I was moaning from the absolute depths of me, the pressure was so intensely overwhelming. I moaned and moaned...really roared, actually. My family arrived and I remember being really hazy seeing them come into the room. I got out and sat on the toilet, pushing. I knew I shouldn't push mentally but I couldn't help it, I pushed and pushed, moaning. I heard the midwife come in at 7:00...she checked me on the bed and I was already 8cm. Like pps have mentioned, knowing I was probably in transition really helped. I was afraid she'd say I was like 3 or 4 - I really didn't think I could go on all day if I was.

It went quick from there, all a blur. Everyone was moving around and talking...at the time it seemed like everyone was busy and nobody was listening to me, which wasn't bad, because I felt like I was in compete meltdown and apparently nobody noticed! I stood in the middle of the room and said "NO! NO!" but DP was the only one who heard. At one point I announced "STOP TALKING!" to the room but apparently I only said STOP out loud, ha. I rocked against the bathroom counter and finally laid down, it was too much. I tried picturing the mountains again but they were too "short" for the peaks so I only saw plateaus - desert plateaus - where the pain was a long, long stretch before the downward slide. I was handling this pain but the unbearable part was my body pushing at the end of each contraction, huge, toe-curling THRUSTS inside. They went through me and came out and seriously shook me with their force.

I said I felt sick. I thought I was going to throw up - twice. And the pain stopped. All of a sudden, hi endorphins! I pushed for two hours and felt NO pain. NO contractions, only a tingling urge to bear down.

Let's just say pushing was, er, pleasurable.

I tore, too...she was asynclitic with a nuchal hand. Didn't feel it at all.

The whole experience was so amazing. I was a little thrown off by the pain afterwards, just the unexpected I think, but it was such a positive experience...
post #20 of 34
After an awful first birth, a great but intense Bradley second birth...

the thing that really helped in my third birth was really taking Bradley serious this time...

Man oh man the contractions were intense and close together, double peaking a lot- but with truly following my body's signals and focusing on my relaxation I kept telling myself that my behavior in between contractions was so normal that I wasn't as far along as everyone thought. I just couldn't be.

And that's how the midwife missed making it.

It really helped me survive an intense 16 hour labor that started at only 3 minute apart contractions.

And a doula is ESSENTIAL! And fruit was wonderful to munch on...
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