Halfway through and TERRIFIED of labor! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 12-12-2008, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh, maybe I need to stay out of the traumatic experiences section...but I'm terrified of labor and delivery.

Let me start by saying I'm 20 weeks along with my first child and have had zero prenatal care due to money issues.

I have some ideas of what I want for my delivery...

My fears include:
- Tearing
- The pain in general
- Something going wrong with the baby
- My wishes not being met
- Something causing me to not be able to have more children

Maybe it's my anxiety issues getting the best of me...but right now I'm stuck between a "mostly natural birth" and "bring on the pain meds"

Can anyone put my mind at ease?

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#2 of 11 Old 12-12-2008, 09:36 PM
 
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It's totally normal to be frightened of birth in our culture. Most (okay almost all) of the images we see are of screaming, terrified, women who seem in grave danger.

My advice is read positive stories on birth and realize that in the majority of situations everything goes smoothly and there are no major complications. Also check into the hypnobabies program. It's wonderful. I had DS using it last year and had an almost (99%) painfree birth and what little I did have was less then AF.

Congratulations and Good luck!!

Israel, mom to  DD, Ivy, 4-27-06 :and DS, Kai, 12-29-07 and DD, Lilith 2-1-10 and always remembering Alice fullterm stillborn 08/31/11 (unexplained placental abruption) 

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#3 of 11 Old 12-12-2008, 09:48 PM
 
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It's definitely normal to worry, but yes, you do need to stay out of traumatic experiences!

Your fears...

Tearing - Try perenial massage and kegals. Otherwise, don't worry too much about it. You will heal if you tear and the pain is not going to last forever.
The pain in general - This pain is especially not going to last forever! The majority of women forget their labor pains after birth.
Something going wrong with the baby - Take good care of yourself and this is very unlikely to happen. Something small may go wrong, but it is not worth worrying about all the "what ifs" when they're so unlikely!
My wishes not being met - How do you plan on having this baby? If you're going to be in a hospital and want a natural birth, you really need to get a doula. If you want a homebirth, interview around as much as possible to find a midwife you mesh with.
Something causing me to not be able to have more children - There's even less of a chance of this than something going wrong with the baby. Seriously, NOT worth worrying about!

Surround yourself with positive experiences. Birth is NORMAL. There's little reason to believe you and your baby won't get through it just fine!
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#4 of 11 Old 12-13-2008, 01:45 AM
 
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Ina May's Guide to Childbirth has some wonderful birth stories I found them very reassuring. Tearing was my biggest fear - it just sounded so horrible. I had a 3rd degree tear - I didn't feel it happen (honestly, I was surprised when I found out). It was painful afterwards but not as much as I had anticipated & at this point (7 weeks) I feel pretty close to normal.

Writing a birth plan really helped me sort out what I wanted & gave me a sense of control. It helped me figure out what things were most important to me & made me organized when going to see the doctor with regards to asking questions (& knowing what answers I wanted).

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#5 of 11 Old 12-13-2008, 01:57 AM
 
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Read lots of positive birth stories. There are lots out there. I found that convincing my self that birth 'can' be a pain free and beautiful experience was very freeing.

Your body can do it. You can do it. Think of some visualizations of things 'opening'-like a lotus blossom, or even a door.

Make an 'oh' shape and sound with your mouth. It helped me to be reminded of this when I began to make an 'ah' sound/shape.

You can do it.
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#6 of 11 Old 12-13-2008, 07:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
Ugh, maybe I need to stay out of the traumatic experiences section...but I'm terrified of labor and delivery.

Let me start by saying I'm 20 weeks along with my first child and have had zero prenatal care due to money issues.

I have some ideas of what I want for my delivery...

My fears include:
- Tearing
- The pain in general
- Something going wrong with the baby
- My wishes not being met
- Something causing me to not be able to have more children

Maybe it's my anxiety issues getting the best of me...but right now I'm stuck between a "mostly natural birth" and "bring on the pain meds"

Can anyone put my mind at ease?
I was really scared my first time having a baby. I recommend doing some research on what to do in different situations in order to prepare yourself. I also recommend looking at positive birth stories. You may also consider checking out the Unassisted Childbirth section because they deal with UP as well. UP is when you take care of your own prenatal care. You might feel better with more info. Hope this helps

Happily married Christian SAHM of 2 boys, DD1 uc.jpg, and DD2 July 2013 homebirth.jpg 

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#7 of 11 Old 12-13-2008, 08:12 AM
 
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I think you're pretty normal. Especially in the kind of birth culture we have. But yeah, maybe stay away from the horror stories.

I think you can relieve some of your anxiety by doing what you can. You can take steps to prevent/alleviate tearing. You can make your wishes known at the hospital and practice standing up for yourself. You can take good care of your body and your baby and educate youself about the things you can do during labor to help it go more smoothly.

But nervousness is normal. I've had three babies. I hope for many more, but I get nervous/antsy just *thinking* about potentially going through labor again in the future. And my labors were very short and quite easy. But I think my body remembers the intensity of them.
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#8 of 11 Old 12-13-2008, 10:51 AM
 
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Definitely read only positive stories!!!! I really liked reading positive UC stories for a nice feeling of empowerment, even though I don't ever *plan* to UC (might happen accidentally though ).

As far as tearing goes... I've had a first degree tear with both kids. The first time, I had stitches, and I was a bit sore for a few weeks, but otherwise fine. I felt a lot better when the stitches came out. The second kid, I declined stitches (same type of tear - I tore along the old tear line). The next day, I was up doing diaper laundry and feeling REALLY good! I had no issues with that tear. Didn't bother me at all. Tearing isn't the end of the world. Just avoid stitches if you don't really need them (my midwife said first degree tears and many second degree tears don't require them). Birth position and avoiding "purple pushing" (what caused my first tear) can reduce your chances of tearing. And if you do tear, it's not like you can really tell that you've torn. My midwife had to tell me I had torn. I had no clue.

The pain of childbirth is typically easier to manage than normal pain, as you have that prize at the end, and you know that the pain will end soon. The biggest thing that helped me was knowing that if I feel like I can't do it anymore, I'm probably in transition and it's almost over! Once I start pushing, I don't even feel pain from the contractions. And my last labor, the contractions felt like AF cramps, and never really got that painful. They just got intense. After that birth, I felt like I could birth a million times again! I just wanted to skip over the whole pregancy discomfort stuff. And that brings me to the fact that by the end of pregnancy, you're so uncomfortable that you end up looking forward to labor and WANTING to push that 8 lb baby out.

You'll do fine. I urge you to figure out where you'll birth and who (if anyone) will attend you. If money is an issue, you can still talk to homebirth midwives, as they usually are willing to work out a payment plan that you can afford. If you are birthing in a hospital, definitely hire a doula. And think positively about your upcoming birth, know that you CAN do this.

Mama to Tornado Boy (6/04), The Brute (11/06), and Mischief (05/09)... expecting in February '15
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#9 of 11 Old 12-15-2008, 05:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynGi View Post
My wishes not being met - How do you plan on having this baby? If you're going to be in a hospital and want a natural birth, you really need to get a doula.
:
I second that entire post, but this part especially!!

I also second the recommendation of "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth." The book "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth" convinced me that I wanted a natural birth. NO WAY was I going down the "medicalized, high-tech birth" pathway. I will 'suck-it-up,' so to speak, and just deal with the pain because enduring the pain is better than the alternative.

Well, then it was "Ina May's Guide" that convinced me that natural birth can be a WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE in itself... not JUST because it is "the lesser of 2 evils." These 2 books, read one after the other, changed my viewpoint dramatically.

Personally, I never expected a pain-free birth, although I know it's possible & thought it might be a possibility for me. But I didn't want to get my hopes up & count on it. Instead, I spend a LOT of time imaging myself laboring - being in pain during ctrx, but always in control & managing it. That's exactly how it was for me! Just like bad cramps up until transition - then that was very painful, but I could deal with it.

I highly recommend Bradley training. I think the aspect of education about the birth process in particular could help you to be more comfortable & a bit less fearful.

As for this worry:
Something causing me to not be able to have more children
that should be yet one more reason to encourage you to have a natural birth. The epidural doubles your risk of c/s - and a c/s increases risk for future reproduction. It certainly doesn't prevent you from having more kids, but there's risks of placental complications, etc. That, on top of all the other negatives.

As for tearing, hopefully you've seen the thread asking if we felt it when we tore. Most of us didn't even know it!
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#10 of 11 Old 12-15-2008, 05:37 PM
 
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I was TERRIFIED when I had my first baby. All that I had ever heard were the horror stories. And then I went into labor and.....it wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected. I was really mad at having fallen for the horror stories. I agree with pps: get educated, understand what YOU want, and read some of the positive stories (there are lots of them out there).
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#11 of 11 Old 12-15-2008, 06:04 PM
 
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AFWife, fears can help us, even the ones that aren't likely to happen. How might you prepare to prevent it? What if the thing you're afraid of happened anyway?

Tearing, for instance. None of us want to, so we find our own ways to cut down on the risks (things like no epidural, no episiotomy, pushing with our body's cues, optimal birthing positions, perhaps hot compresses, perineal support, maybe massage or skin nourishing oils during pregnancy, maybe waterbirth). Then, it either happens or it doesn't. If it does repairs are unpleasant and healing takes time, but it happens. Working through that stuff we can let go of fears, not just push them aside but be prepared to do what we can then accept what comes.

Even with something heavy like not being able to have children again due to complications at birth, unlikely, but again, no need to just push it aside. How can you avoid it? For one thing Cesarean birth increases the risk (like if something went very wrong it could necessitate hysterectomy) so if you decreased interventions which may lead to that it helps. And what if it did happen and you really had to face that? Really, not just asking the question in fear but answering it to the best of your ability.

With regard to pain, I feel it's not pain that's bad but suffering. Pain has a start and stop with each contraction usually, and in labor it is just you feeling your body do it's job. It sucks but is manageable. Naturally finding comfort gives you the perfect way to help birth along, as positions and relaxation and vocalization help your progress. It doesn't have to mean you are suffering, or maybe you only suffer a very short time right before pushing then you're done. What are you going to do about it? What if it's as bad or worse than you feared? What if it's not?
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