Wimp or Stoic? - Mothering Forums
View Poll Results: I am (x) and my childbirth experience was (x), and I had (x)
stoic/ painful but manageable/no drugs 70 40.23%
stoic/ painful but manageable/drugs 10 5.75%
stoic/ unbearably painful and traumatic/no drugs 8 4.60%
stoic/ unbearably painful and traumatic/drugs 4 2.30%
not stoic/ painful but manageable/no drugs 63 36.21%
not stoic/ painful but manageable/drugs 3 1.72%
not stoic/ unbearably painful and traumatic/no drugs 8 4.60%
not stoic/ unbearably painful and traumatic/drugs 8 4.60%
Voters: 174. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 36 Old 02-23-2003, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thought it would be fun to create a poll based on this article. With my experience with birthing women (mom was an L&D nurse and I went to work with her alot) it varied widely on the amount of pain they seemed to be feeling and tolerating, even when a great deal of them did not have pain meds or any childbirth training. My mom worked at county hospital so we got a lot of illegal immigrant types and homeless/low incomers who did not even get pretnatal care, much less childbirth preparation. Some would just grunt and moan and did fine with the birth, others screamed and you could tell it was torture for them.

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Wimp or stoic? Just blame reaction to pain on genes

By Lauran Neergaard
Associated Press
Feb. 21, 2003

When it comes to pain, people can be wimps, stoics or somewhere in between. Now
scientists have found one reason: a variation in a single gene that shows stoics
really can tolerate more pain.

The discovery by University of Michigan neuroscientists emphasizes the need to
customize pain treatment and may even allow doctors to soon try predicting which
patients will respond to a certain kind of medication.

People's perceptions of pain are tremendously variable. A crushing blow to one
person can be trivial to another. Likewise, pain medication that helps one
patient may do nothing for the next.

The new research shows how much you suffer is due at least partly to a gene that
helps regulate how many natural painkillers, called endorphins, your body
produces.

The gene produces an enzyme called COMT that metabolizes the brain chemical
dopamine, which acts as a signal messenger between brain cells.

Everyone has two copies of this gene, one inherited from each parent, but they
can inherit forms that differ by one amino acid. The COMT gene that contains the
amino acid methionine, or met, is less active than if it contained the amino acid
valine, or val.

Dr. Jon-Kar Zubieta put 29 healthy young adults into brain-imaging PET scanners.
He injected their jaw muscles with enough saltwater to make them really ache,
simulating a painful condition called temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ.
Zubieta measured how their brain cells reacted while the volunteer victims rated,
every 15 seconds, how much they hurt during the 20-minute pain cycle.

People who had two copies of the val-COMT gene were stoics. They withstood
significantly greater saline doses than other volunteers while rating the
resulting pain as less bothersome, Zubieta reports in today's edition of the
Science.

The PET scans verified that response: Painkilling endorphins were much more
active in these people's brains.

In contrast, people with two copies of the met-COMT gene suffered the most pain
and had far less natural painkiller. People who inherited both a met and val gene
copy tolerated pain at levels between the two.

A quarter of the U.S. population carries the "stoic" gene variation while another
quarter has the gene variant that makes them supersensitive to pain, Zubieta
estimates.

It's an important discovery, said neurobiologist Adron Harris of the University
of Texas at Austin.

One reason: When standard pain medications fail, antidepressants that target
dopamine sometimes relieve severe, chronic pain. But there has been no way to
predict who might benefit. The new research suggests a simple gene test may soon
solve that problem, Harris said.

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#2 of 36 Old 02-23-2003, 06:50 PM
 
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We had a screamer in the room next to us when we were birthing. I felt so bad for her. I was in active labor and just wanted to go next door and help her manage hers.

I voted the first one.

There's a gene for responsible for everything these days. I'm not sure I buy that. What other circumstances (environmental, mental, and other physical) also creat pain. What about fear? Fear = pain. Do they think that's a gene too?

It's interesting because anyone that knows me, knows if I stub my toe I'm screaming for an epidural. Not really, but you get the point. On the flip side, I am a distance runner and enjoy long, hard 15 mile runs. I also had a natural birth. This type of pain is different to me than the darn-I-stubbed-my-toe pain because it was 'good' pain. In the end, it's healthy, rewarding and manageable. I had a healthy, drug-free baby who will forever reep the benefits of a drug free birthday. Unlike when I stub my pinky toe or slam my finger in the door, there's nothing rewarding at the end of that journey except a sore toe.

Just my thoughts.
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#3 of 36 Old 02-23-2003, 07:20 PM
 
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That is an intresting article. i have had painless labors though. (well except fo transition but heuy between 3 kids that is like 2 hours of my life- no big). I am the biggest wuss in the world though so it is not like I was just handeling the pain well. There was really no pain. I can't even make it through mentstral cramps with out crying like a bbay and heaven forbid it is something like whacking my hand against somehting. Oh, and everyone in my family is a super wuss so it is not like I inherited any pain managing genes from them.

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#4 of 36 Old 02-23-2003, 11:03 PM
 
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right now i am the lone vote for choice number 2.
usually i just suck it up and deal with whatever pain i am in, i don't even take aspirin or tylenol for headaches.
i had planned a natural, drug and intervention free birth. didn't happen.
my contractions stayed at 3 minutes apart and lasting 60-90 seconds for about 15 hours. all the pain, and there was a %&^*(^()^ lot of it, was on my tailbone. i vomited every time i had a cx.
i got an epidural so i could get some relief and have some energy for pushing.
part of me really wants to have the awesome, empowering experiences i read about on the homebirth boards, and part of me wants to be like those people on tv who get an epidural and sit in their hospital bed and read through their labor!
(not really!)
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#5 of 36 Old 02-24-2003, 12:13 AM
 
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I have a very high tolerance for pain, once in highschool I was at the lake with my friends and cut open my toe. I put a bandage on it and stayed at the lake for a few more hours. When I got home my parents made me go the ER so I could get 8 stiches: And I would believe that it runs in our family, my father often hurts himself pretty badly and just keeps working and my brother does stuff like dislocate his elbow and pop it back in himself. My son also had stiches in his head when he was just two and (although he was nursing at the time) we didn't even have to hold his hands away while they stiched it up he just sat there.

That said I didn't think child birth was really painful so I didn't vote for any thing.
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#6 of 36 Old 02-24-2003, 03:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
and part of me wants to be like those people on tv who get an epidural and sit in their hospital bed and read through their labor
That was me, except I slept and they had to wake me up when I was at 10 cm! My labor was SO painful. I'm all for drug free in theory but not for this particular wimp. lol!

Darshani

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#7 of 36 Old 02-24-2003, 10:37 AM
 
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well I'm not stoic but I know I'm not a wimp either. Labor was intense. I think using the word "painful" somehow doesn't really sum it up. Yeah, it was uncomfortable, extremely uncomfortable and it made me scream my head off (but the screaming was helping me release some tension in my body so it sounded a lot less scary to me than it did to my mom) but still, pain doesn't seem like the appropriate word because in the end it was the best thing I've ever done. Like Mommy T said, it's definitely not the same as stubbing your toe or breaking an arm because it is so rewarding. And, unlike a headache or diarhea or any other painful thing, I would have happily done it again the very next day!

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#8 of 36 Old 02-24-2003, 03:44 PM
 
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Several times I have hit a sensitive area on my body and either passed out or nearly did, even though there was no actual damage to the area. I guess you might say my pain tolerance is low.

Anyway, I had back labor all three times and it was quite torturous. If I'd been in the hospital I would have asked for an epidural, that is a FACT. But it wasn't traumatic. Guess the endorphins must have kicked in after the fact.
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#9 of 36 Old 02-24-2003, 03:47 PM
 
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I was induced (elective) and had no fantasies of doing Pit w/o an epidural. Too bad my epidural experience was pretty crap-tacular. In my mind, a non-medicated homebirth will be less painful than Pit + epidural + hospital bed.

Interesting article; like the point about people reacting to pain meds differently.

It's a lovely concept that genes play such a huge role in our lives, but I am also a big fan of 'nurture.' What makes someone 'stoic'? Or a 'wimp'?

After getting my head shrunk a little, and reading a few powerful books, I suspect that my 'stoicism' in labor might not have been much more than assuming I deserved to suffer, and there was no escape from it, so shut up and endure. This next labor, I imagine myself saying, 'I hurt! Someone rub my back! I am thirsty! I want lights off! I want music on!' or whatever...

What about wimps, then? Are they really 'lame'? Or are some of them people who feel free and uninhibited from expressing their feelings? When our babies get hurt, do we think they're 'wimps'? Would I prefer that my toddler 'shut up' and be stoic thru the pain of an owie?

Just some ideas....
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#10 of 36 Old 02-25-2003, 03:17 AM
 
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Well, I am not a 'wimp" by nature but I can really be a drama queen when it cmoes to garden variety pain. The slightest bump or scratch will be met w/ a resounding "ow" ....but I did used to have periods so painful that I would miss school and be swallowing powerful pain meds all day. Because of that my mother thought I was going to "lay down and die" for labor while I was pregnant. I went into labor thinking "ok this is going to be painful" and probably b/c I kept thinking that, it made it a bit more painful. To my mother's surprise though I "did a lot better" coping how I did, but when exaustion + back labor was about making me black out I finally asked for nubain, and drifted off to a light sleep between contractions for a few hours before it wore off. I thought that was "natural" birth - nothing natural about being stuck to bed EFM and IV all night and nearly escaping an episiotomy - no wonder it was painful.
I then thought well if I "survived" that I can survive anything and my pain threshold actually seemed to increase...
Second birth was induced w/ cervadil and something just didn't feel right w/ how I was contracting -on top of that more back labor. Also struggling to keep my head about me so I could fight off the hospital staff so I asked for nubain again, which didn't work (thankful for that now) I felt so drugged up/high they could have gotten away w/ anything and I woudn't have been the wiser but fifteen minutes later I came back down again. A fast furious 5 hour labor altogether...
My last labor, my only "true" natural labor/birth was more "intense" rather than "pain" except for the back labor, again, back labor why I'll never know lol. I'm thinking its a physiology thing w/ me. Anyway my back hurt but I was so blase about it - I would just rub my own back each contraction and got through it. Transistion was quite a ride though! Course that is what makes pushing for me feel so good.
Now, a week or so before my last birth I smashed, I mean literally smashed my little toe against the bed and broke it. THAT was pain!! THAT was the most painful thing I ever felt in my life!! And I got through it w/o so much as a tylenol (being preg and all I refused to take anything) I don't remember the last time something I did or happen to me making me cry, I literally sat on the couch sobbing for two hours straight, even when I tried to breath deep and catch my breath and wait for the pain to subside, oh it would just get worse! I'll have a baby any day over doing that again (and I nearly did it again, smashed the same toe last week while sleepily running to get a diaper in the toher room, took me to my knees...don't think I rebroke it but it is definately getting babied)
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#11 of 36 Old 02-25-2003, 03:22 AM
 
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i voted stoic/painful manageable/no drugs, with the following caveat.
i'm sure i looked far more on top of things than i felt. i've seen the video. but during my first child's birth, at a birth center, i hit a point (transition) where i really wanted to die, because that seemed the only way out.
during second child's labor at home, i hit a point where i wanted to quit (ha! like that can happen) but it wasn't so bad that i wanted to die.
it was never pain free for me, though i looooved pushing. i have never felt more fabulously powerful and free. even though i sounded the scariest then.
i'm generally able to handle more pain than average, i think. (more than dh, certainly! )
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#12 of 36 Old 02-25-2003, 08:13 PM
 
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I am a complete wimp. I whine and cry every time I have to have blood drawn, and I have been asked to leave a dentist's office in the middle of a procedure and to not come back because I was such a wimp. I have to have nitrous oxide for even simple things like getting my teeth cleaned, and I use an anesthetic cream for needle procedures now.

But I was determined to give birth without drugs and I did! (This has not made me any less of a wimp, though.) The pain was a lot worse than I expected (after some of the things I read, I thought it wouldn't hurt at all!) and while I wouldn't call it unbearable, since I could technically bear it, it was bad. I was hallucinating and I kept drifting in and out. I was secretly hoping they would say I needed a c/s so I could have a general anesthetic and it would all be over.

I didn't want drugs because of the side effects and their potential for leading to other interventions, and some people say it hurts anyway no matter what you do. I would do it without drugs again.
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#13 of 36 Old 02-25-2003, 11:50 PM
 
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I didn't vote.....

I had NO PAIN at all, I was in labor for 7 hours before I went in to the hospital (giggling cause I felt stooooopid) But I was already 4cm dilated, and they needed to do a c-section - footling breech......

I'm looking forward to another one exactly like that except for the c-section part, and I might skip the hospital all together.....

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#14 of 36 Old 03-01-2003, 12:47 AM
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Well, I should ammend mine. I did have some drugs. But they weren't pain medication. That is, until the very end. I was put on Pitocin for about 6 hours prior to them doing a c-section. Of course, that involved the spinal. But that was only for the last 5 minutes or so. I was happy for it too. Even though I had a section, my daughter was born very bright eyed, alert, and ready to make her protests known to the world!

I low-moaned my way through labor. It got to a point where it was almost hypnotic.

At any rate, due to the trauma of the progression of pitocin to c-section, I have definitely decided to try for a homebirth next time!

Now if I could only get pregnant.:

Mama to: Katie, Emily , and Abby
Not perfect, Just amazing!
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#15 of 36 Old 03-01-2003, 01:45 AM
 
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I have had painless births as well and I am usually somewhat of a wuss . I attribute a lot of that to informing myself as much as possible through reading, taking Bradley classes, and hypnobirth. I believe a lot in the whole fear/pain cycle.
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#16 of 36 Old 03-01-2003, 01:53 AM
 
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I didn't know how to respond. I consider myself a stoic in response to most pain, but with childbirth, I just ride the wave. My body screams/yells during contractions, my body pushes on its own -- it's completely involuntary. I wouldn't call it "managed" at all. Nor would I call it "unmanageable" or "traumatic."

It just is. :
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#17 of 36 Old 03-01-2003, 10:32 PM
 
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I am a super-sensitive needle-fearing wimp. I gave birth without drugs, twice. I am so sensitive to pain (even loud sounds hurt-- just my personal biology). People have always told me, "don't be so sensitive!" I can watch an operation on TV and almost pass out.

Birthing was different. It was very painful but it had so many other aspects- the endorphins, the process-- it all was meaningful. Being at home made it easier.

On this topic-- a study came out a few months ago that discovered people with red hair have a certain gene that makes them both more sensitive to pain and require more anesthesia. That's me. Vindicated for being "too sensitive."

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#18 of 36 Old 03-04-2003, 10:20 PM
 
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I totally relate about loud sounds being painful! DH doesn't understand why I double over in pain when the smoke alarm goes off - it's because it hurts! And not just my ears, I feel it all over.
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#19 of 36 Old 03-17-2003, 06:55 PM
 
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I voted for the first one.
I knew I just had to ignore it for as long as possible, which I did until transition. At that point, I was in a totally altered state of consciousness, and since it was a homebirth, drugs did not even cross my mind.
Funny, because I can't even get a needle or my blood drawn without breaking out in cold sweats and shaking...:
But birth, to me, is so totally normal, and is a GOOD pain, so I welcomed it.
And yes, I am a redhead, too
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#20 of 36 Old 03-19-2003, 06:53 PM
 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by tinyshoes
In my mind, a non-medicated homebirth will be less painful than Pit + epidural + hospital bed.

Exactly! My first was a hospital pit induction (at a whopping 40w 5d), AROM at 2 cm, epidural at 2 cm, constant EFM, big 2nd degree episiotomy and additional tearing, and a vacuum extraction. Horrible experience and extremely painful AND the vacuum was done without telling me first! No way was I going that route again!
Second baby was born at home, peacefully with no real pain (until afterwards). Labor was easily managed by standing and rolling my hips and low moaning. I didn't even know when I hit transition. No pain with pushing or with crowning/delivery. Thank goodness for our bodies' natural ability to control it's own pain.
I am usually such a wimp, so dh and mom were very concerned about me not being able to go "natural". I have to admit that I was very surprised that it was not painful. I have had upset stomachs that were much worse. I really felt like Superwoman after dd's birth-it was such a high! So I was really surprised to find that I had torn down the old episiotomy and had some additional tearing again. It began to hurt a few hours after the delivery and was very painful for weeks after.
I think that pain in labor/birth has so much to do with your mindset. I felt so empowered and confident that pain didn't even enter my mind. But, the first time, I was completely at the mercy of hospital staff, etc. and was very unsure of myself.
I wish that every woman could experience birth in the amazing way that I did!

Paige, mama to three girls, (10), (8) and (3)
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#21 of 36 Old 03-26-2003, 12:51 PM
 
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I not sure I voted right. It is all how you interpret it. With my first child, I was in labor for 40 hours. There were minor interventions that prolonged labor somewhat IMHO (here go home and take this pill, it will help you sleep and won't interrupt your labor...o.k. but now I am wandering around my apartment ASLEEP and labor has slowed down, sit in this bed and wait for us to check you, etc.) I ended up with one shot of Demerol during transition (after CNM broke my water without my permission) because it came on SO FAST (I went from "this is intense but tolerable", to OH SHIT WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?)...didn't really want the Demerol, but I was kind of busy laboring and the discussion went around me instead of through me.

I was not completely satisfied with my first experience in case you couldn't tell: (CNM, hospital birth). Was I a stoic or a wimp? Not sure. Had lots of back labor, wasn't really sure of myself (though more sure than other people I have known, enough to know the experience wasn't very satisfying) and DH was unsure of what he was suppose to be doing. I think I was doing fine, but apparently my CNM thought I was a wimp...

With DS#2, I had a home birth and made it clear that I intended to have a drug free experience. I had a CNM (a different one) and a doula/birth attendant and my DH. I made A LOT of noise, was not real comfortable anywhere or in any position, generally demanding (damn back labor) and probably miserable to be around. BUT, I got the labor I wanted (or at least closer to it). CNM did break my water, but I was ready for it and it did advance my labor to its final stage (from water abruption to birth took about 10 minutes...it would have been cool to have a lotus baby, but it didn't happen). Labor lasted for 24 hours.

Mama to three small people; wife to one big person; pet-person to cats and dogs..."Be the change you want to see in the world"-- Gandhi
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#22 of 36 Old 03-26-2003, 01:52 PM
 
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I labored at home in the bath.... So I guess I was stoic. I know I have a high tolerance for pain. I was trying for a homebirth,but was transferred later. By the time I delivered (20hrs total), I had pushed 8 hours. At the hospital I was asking for drugs, epidural, c-section....... I was tired and had alot of back labor! But thankfully none of that happened.

Everytime I see a birth on TV, especially when the woman is having a hard time and the baby is crowning.........I hold myself and wince!

Im a true believer of all things natural, but one reason is because I have a horrible needle phobia.:
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#23 of 36 Old 04-06-2003, 05:00 PM
 
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I'm a huge wimp....most things hurt me and I whine loudly about it

That said, I had an unbelieveably easy homebirth last November, and gave birth to an 11.5 lb baby. It was wonderful!! I could easily talk through all but the last few contractions...

But I was comparing that to a couple induced labors (the last one without pain meds) so maybe I was expecting it to be much worse based on that experience.

I also just read a similar poll lately where the thinking was that labor pains *are* different for everyone, I mean it's not just the same pain felt by different women. Some have harder labors than others, no matter what their pain tolerance. But I do think expecting it to hurt helps you deal when it does happen.

C ~ mama to (16), (13), (9) (5)

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#24 of 36 Old 04-19-2003, 11:25 AM
 
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i voted wimp/pain manageable/no drugs.

i don't know if i'm really a wimp though, i don't mind needles, but i guess i complain about stubbed toes, etc. fairly loudly. before childbirth, they asked me about my tolerance for pain, and i figured that because i managed a 3 1/2 hr. back tattoo by moaning, that i could probably handle childbirth but wouldn't like it, per se.

I really don't think my birth was traumatic, but I certainly wasn't revelling in the endorphins. I remember people asking me how it went after, and I kept saying the same thing over & over - "It was @#&$ing HARD." During transition, I wanted to crawl out of my skin & couldn't get comfortable at all. I had back labor too, so the pain was pretty intense all through. Pushing hurt like hell too, but it was the part I was most proud of after because I pushed like a champion, I thought. I don't get how it's possible for labor to be painfree, or less painful. It just doesn't make any sense to me at all - I can't get my mind around it. And I'm not really hip to thinking of the pain as the same as working out really hard - I guess I agree with the idea, but it doesn't seem really practical to think of it that way if you're going into a first birth. Not to discount what anyone else said - it's just my opinion.

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#25 of 36 Old 04-20-2003, 05:17 PM
 
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I am stoic, and my labor was not painful, but my obstetrician basically frightened/bullied me into getting an epidural as I went into transition. She persuaded me that because I am uncomfortable with pap smears, I "couldn't handle" natural childbirth.
I know better this time and have a midwife--also, I am not afraid because I expect this upcoming labor to be as manageable as the first.
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#26 of 36 Old 04-21-2003, 02:39 PM
 
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I had seven un-medicated births, from the very easy and painless, to the very difficult and excruciating. No problems there.



I had my eyebrows waxed once, and screamed for my Mommy, cried me a river, and held an ice pack to my brow for 2 days. IT HURT SO MUCH!
My girlfriend who did it said, "Why are you carryig on like that? You had seven kids!"

I said, "Yeah, but not from my eyebrows!"
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#27 of 36 Old 04-21-2003, 03:03 PM
 
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T

I hear you on that one mama! I cant handle waxing anywhere on my body!
I cant even imagine getting one of those Brazilian waxes where they remove all hair from your genital area........yikes!
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#28 of 36 Old 04-27-2003, 10:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Super Pickle
I am stoic, and my labor was not painful, but my obstetrician basically frightened/bullied me into getting an epidural as I went into transition. She persuaded me that because I am uncomfortable with pap smears, I "couldn't handle" natural childbirth.
That kind of thing totally pisses me off! Oh, that just makes me so mad, I'm sorry!

Well, I obviously can't vote b/c I haven't ever had a baby yet, but I do consider myself to be stoic. I had 2 nasty accidents where I was hospitalized in my early 20's (they were a year apart) and I was still using my childhood pediatrician (don't laugh). Anyway, he hates drugs and only gave me tylenol while I was in the hospital. Between each accident, I had a mild concussion, a broken patella, a broken elbow and broken fingers-there were 27 stitches in one hand. And all I had was tylenol and I really wasn't in much pain. I work in a hospital now, and I have seen people getting morphine for less injuries than what I had. I also have brazilan waxes and have a tattoo on my back that I didn't think hurt too much. So I'm HOPING that I'm a good candidate for natural childbirth. It's just this darn back labor that I keep reading about is scaring the bejeezus out of me!
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#29 of 36 Old 04-28-2003, 01:04 AM
 
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"She persuaded me that because I am uncomfortable with pap smears, I "couldn't handle" natural childbirth."

It just goes to show that you don't have to any sense at all in order to get a medical degree. What an incredibly stupid thing to say. I mean, how could someone have put so much time and energy into becoming an obstetrician without paying any attention to the nature of birth itself? Among other substantial differences, there are hormones involved with birth; there are not with a pap smear. Is it conceivable she didn't learn that at medical school?
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#30 of 36 Old 04-28-2003, 01:54 AM
 
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Is it conceivable she didn't learn that at medical school?
Yeah I bet she didn't learn that in medical school, or maybe she just slept through that lecture, huh? :

I've no real tolerance for pain. I scream like a girl at a bee sting, whine and complain with a headach or cramps, but birth is different! Maybe it is the hormones, maybe it is the preperation and determination, I don't know.

I have had 7 children, 3 of them postierier, and every one was pretty painful, but I love the work of labor and the euphoria of birth. It is so very different from the pain of a toothach, or gallstones, which I can not endure! It is a completely different animal in my opinion!
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