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#31 of 53 Old 03-26-2009, 12:46 AM
 
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ahhh good thread.
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#32 of 53 Old 03-26-2009, 01:13 AM
 
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Thank goodness for momnesia. : Otherwise I don't think I would've let my dh touch me again after our first was born.
Yeah, totally. I distinctly remember thinking just after birth, one kiddo's enough, no more kids, that was horrific! But here I am ttc, with fond memories. I'm with Zoebird- that's how it happens!
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#33 of 53 Old 03-26-2009, 02:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by whiteisle View Post
.....is it a sharp pain? A strong menstrual type pain? Like a really, really bad gas pain? ( I hate those!)
I count my labors from when my water broke, because active labor for me didn't really start then. However, both times I had gas cramps--or what I thought were gas cramps.

When labor started with my first baby, right after the water breaking, it felt mildly painful; like menstrual cramps, but not really bad ones. By the time I got out of the shower to go to the hospital, it felt alternately like someone was gouging me in the back with a blunt object, then that was followed by overwhelming nausea which had me on my hands and knees. I ended up having an epidural, and by the time it got turned down enough for me to feel stuff to push, it definitely felt like menstrual cramps.

With my homebirth, it's hard for me to remember, honestly. In retrospect it didn't seem that bad, but at the time I remember saying things that indicated it felt bad. I remember trying to squat at one point in time and quickly said, "Oh hell no" and got back up. It really was pain kind of like a muscle cramp, but I couldn't feel the muscles like I could with a real spasm--it was more like bad menstrual cramps or when you injure a muscle and you just have this amorphous kind of pain in that area.

When I first started pushing during my homebirth, it was even more painful than the contractions had been. I was thinking, wow this sucks. So I pushed harder so it would be over with sooner, which in retrospect was a bad idea, however, after one or two pushes, it got a lot less painful. When I felt the head moving between the pelvic bones, it was really cool, though. I did not have that sensation like some people say they have where you feel you are being ripped apart.

In my first birth, when her head was out, I had this overwhelming weird feeling of having her head out. I could just feel out stretched out I was, but like I was the only way I can really describe it was almost the sensation of having a gigantic bowel movement, except not from the bowels.

With the crowing of my second, it just burned, burned, burned. Even after she was born, I didn't realize it at first because the burning stayed the same. So I think that was the ripping that I was feeling. I didn't have that sensation of having the head out like I had with my first, maybe because of the perineal tear.

I had really bad menstrual cramps as a child. I felt nauseated and I would sometimes just roll around on the bed, writhing in pain and crying. Or I'd move from toilet to bed, feeling like something was going to come out, or like someone was shoving something up in there, and I would get rectal spasms and pain too. I think that labor was easier to handle than that.
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#34 of 53 Old 03-26-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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My pitocin-induced contractions were sharp and painful, so I got an epidural.

My spontaneous labor contractions using hypnosis were sooo much easier. A tightening sensation would start down by my hips and then spread across my abdomen, building as it reached the top of my uterus. It truly felt like a wave of energy, building up, peaking, and fading away. It was not at all painful. It was powerful and intense. At times I felt like it was too powerful for me to contain with my body. It was just really neat, though--like a strong hug that lifted my belly up and forward.

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#35 of 53 Old 03-26-2009, 04:43 PM
 
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Like a blood pressure cuff squeezing your arm... but squeezing your belly instead. You know how it gets so tight it hurts? That's exactly how contractions feel to me.
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#36 of 53 Old 03-26-2009, 07:57 PM
 
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I have endometriosis, and menstruation for me has always meant at least two days of agony, nausea, stomach upset, blah, blah, blah.

My labor felt like medium-strength menstrual cramps, from the first contraction to crowning (about 18 hours). After a few hours, lower back pain was added to the mix. I found I had to walk through each contraction, away from the pain, but it never got unbearable. I was surprised that labor was at no point even close to as difficult as a monthly period.

Crowing panicked me, because I had had no idea that I was pushing. Also, my amniotic sac never broke, so the pressure was intense. Supremely intense. I guess it was a pretty cushy birth for my son!

Labor would have been completely unmanageable for me if I had not been at home, able to move around when I needed to, to keep the lights off, to eat and to sleep between contractions, to take a bath, kneel in a birth pool, ask people to leave the room and to come back. It would have been unbearable agony. As it was, it was really not bad, just intense, intense, intense.

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#37 of 53 Old 03-26-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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to me it felt like diarrhea and period cramps, not sharp at all. lots of very intense and rhythmic pressure. like ocean waves. the regularity of them, that was really amazing to me. and there, for me, was a definite sensuality about them. they felt like... the moment of an orgasm and when your body, it's not under your direct control? i swayed and danced thru both my labors.

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#38 of 53 Old 03-26-2009, 11:34 PM
 
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Before giving birth, I imagined contractions would feel like braxton hicks contractions plus strong menstrual cramps. Boy was I wrong. I did not feel any tightening, like a braxton hicks, and my menstrual cramps have an achey quality that contractions lacked. It wasn't a sharp pain, but it was so strong, and so unlike any other sensation I've experienced that I don't really have the words to describe it.
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#39 of 53 Old 03-27-2009, 06:28 AM
 
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I honestly don't remember my contractions before transition with the most recent birth. I know they hurt, like get me some ibuprofen hurt, but I was setting up the pool in between them, so it wasn't that bad, especially standing/walking. Sitting was a lot more painful & lying down was horrible. There was no pain in my scar area. The last 30-45 minutes was agony, during the contractions, anyway. I begged dh to kill me, I dreaded every time I could feel one coming on. Surprised no one called the cops with all the screaming.

I liked pushing, it at least made it hurt a lot less. The baby moving down puts a ton of pressure on your rectum & feels like you need desperately to have a bm. Your whole lower body feels full. The ring of fire hurts, kind of like if you put your fingers in your mouth & stretch it as wide as you can, only with more burning. It's endurable, though. I've managed to let my body stretch between pushes even with the burning.

I should say my most recent labour hurt a lot, lot more than my VBAC labour. That despite my VBAC labour lasting 3 times as long, with a stuck baby in a very bad position & hitting transition twice. For a few hours between starting pushing & getting ds2 unstuck, there was a lot of pain in my scar area. After he was finally unstuck, it was gone.

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#40 of 53 Old 03-27-2009, 11:33 AM
 
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I think it depends on the woman and the birth.

I don't remember from the first birth. What I remember from the second birth was strong, wave-like, overwhelming sensations. I cannot describe them. I had to work through them, but I wasn't hurting, certainly not in agony. My third birth, contractions involved a great deal of sharp pain in my lower back, along with the tightening sensations.
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#41 of 53 Old 03-27-2009, 11:51 AM
 
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Very bad menstrual cramps, but not at all unmanageable until I hit transition. I was actually trying to rest between contractions because I didn't think I was anywhere close to giving birth and wanted to conserve my energy, but from the start of transition to birth of baby was only about an hour. It was like a switch was flipped - contraction, not too bad, didn't need to vocalize or anything, then BOOM! transition. And I understood why women ask for drugs. And would have kissed on the mouth anyone who offered me an epidural (though going to the hospital for one never even crossed my mind, if that makes any sense). And within 12 hours I knew I wanted another baby and I wanted to have that baby at home, contractions/transition and all.

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#42 of 53 Old 03-28-2009, 12:38 PM
 
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With both my boys labor started out with me feeling the same exact cramps I get when my period comes. Then I started noticing "squeezing" feelings in my stomach which were real contractions. I never felt like contractions were any more painful than exercising until I was in transition. Then it was like when you get a really bad muscle cramp in your leg that won't release. Bearing down and doing little pushes was the only thing that helped. But really, until pushing I describe labor as "not that bad."

I personally HATE pushing and feeling all of that pressure in my butt from the baby's head. It felt like I was going to rip apart and I started tensing up down there trying to fight it which made it worse. I don't think I was able to relax until I felt the ring of fire as the head was coming out and then it was like "ok relax its over just get it out!!!!" If I have any more babies I'm going to really try to work through my fear of my vagina being permanently damaged by birth. I feel like that fear really made me just lock up and tense everything when the time came for both my boys to come out because I was doing great until that point. I know our bodies are made for this but I just can't get past the fear on an emotional level.

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#43 of 53 Old 03-28-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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What I was expecting: pain something akin to really bad menstrual cramps centered around my lower abdomen/cervix.

What I experienced: the worst full body menstrual/gas cramps I have ever experienced. Similar to the gall stone attacks I had had in previous years, but coming in waves instead of a constant pain and encompassing my whole torso rather than being isolated to a particular area.

What I was surprised by: how the pain was more of a full body experience rather than isolated to my lower abdomen. (Since I was expecting a variation on menstrual cramps, I unwittingly expected the pain to be located in the same area my pre-pregnant self experienced them, forgetting that my uterus had expanded to fill the majority of my torso. )
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#44 of 53 Old 03-28-2009, 10:51 PM
 
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OK- this is how my sister explained it to me and I found it to be VERY true.

It's like menstrual cramps- but when you're on your period- your uterus is about the size of your fist.
When you're in labor your uterus is HUGE and so it's basically bad menstrual cramps but all over and MUCH more intense.

Mine however- started low when they were light- and then progressively moved all over.

ALSO- don't let anyone tell you that labor should happen a certain way.

Both my boys- i STARTED contractions 2-3 minutes apart from the FIRST contraction. They just progressively got stronger and more painful but were ALWAYS that same distance apart.
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#45 of 53 Old 03-30-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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For me it felt like the combination of the worst menstural pain PLUS the worst gas pain ROLLED into one while also feeling like being squeezed. LOL But, i should also point out that i had to be semi-induced (misoprostol, and evnetually pitocin). So it's possible they wouldn't have been quite as bad naturally.

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#46 of 53 Old 03-31-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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It's very interesting how everyone's experience was so different.

I had back labor, so I didn't feel my contractions in the front at all. What it felt like was like I had a really wide belt on around my hips and it was being ratcheted tighter and tighter. It literally felt like my pelvis was being crushed inside this "belt", which I only felt in my back and sides.

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#48 of 53 Old 03-31-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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Early labor felt like menstral cramps to me. Then at some point back labor kicked in (even though dd came out in the perfect position) so it felt like a dull pain in my lower back (but I didn't really feel anything in my front anymore). This is how things felt until transition. Then I got this intense urge to poop but at the same time I felt constipated and could poop. When the baby started moving down and coming out it started to provide relief of the poop urge.

Everything was managable to me too until transition. Luckily it only last about 15 minutes or so until I felt my body pushing the baby out.
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#49 of 53 Old 04-01-2009, 09:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Malva View Post
To me it was like bad menstrual cramps. Overall tightening of the uterus with lower back pain radiating from mid-back to my knees. Not sharp at all.
This. Exactly (or nearly so). Didnt' feel a thing in my belly -- midwife had to tell me when contraction was starting.

FWIW, I had awful, awful cramps as a teenager and young adult, and with labor #1 I kept waiting for the pains to get worse than the worst cramps I remember. And they got close, or maybe equal -- but that was the worst of it, and then my water broke and they changed to pushing urge contractions, which did not hurt at all (or felt like the urge to barf, only all focused *down*, so they weren't bread and roses, but it wasn't awful cramps either).

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#50 of 53 Old 04-02-2009, 09:03 PM
 
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FWIW I was induced.

For me, the sensation of a contraction started in my vagina/inner thighs and radiated up along the crease of the top of my legs. It felt like pressure that built and built with each contraction so that eventually it was an overwhelming, all encompassing pressure. It also included a searing pain in my hip flexors. As I progressed, all I could feel was the cramping hip flexors. As a result I HATED the tub because how I sat seemed to aggravate the hip flexors.

I also felt like my vagina was going to rip open (not during pushing) but during the walking around stages of labour. So the thought of squatting ... (shudder).

I had no sensation at all in my abdominal area.

Is that weird or what?

That is also probably the most honestly I have every answered that question. I usually give a vague mention of "pain being the wrong word" and say "it's more work than pain."
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#51 of 53 Old 04-15-2009, 01:12 AM
 
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Hmmmmm, I would agree with the intense lower abdomen and back menstrual pain feeling when all of my labors began. Then it turned into my entire abdomen tightening into a tight ball so tight that it felt unreal. More tight than I could have even imagined that my body could create such a thing. But it will come on and you will know it is coming and it will end after each contraction. I can say that if you take each one and get thru them seprately then you can do anything! That is why mother nature sets them apart in the beginning so you can get a grip and find your own way. By the time they are closer and more intense you should have found a way to manage them. Don't give into the fear. It will make it worst. Find a strength that you never knew you had and revel in its finding. That pain you endure and the strength you find is what they refer to as childbirth being a right of passage. That place you find will help you thru motherhood.
Imagine the contractions are an ocean wave or a mountain. They feel like they grow and once you get to that mountain peak or ocean crest, you know they are going and you can relax knowing it is almost over, the pain will start decreasing and you have gotten thru atleast one more crest or over one more mountain peak. Keep strong and remember that each one will bring your babe. The pain means progress and some find it bearable knowing just that. Soon the pain will be a faint memory. Some women on here trying to recall and describe the pain here may have had to stop and try to remember. So, keep in mind that it is a natural pain not trauma and if you can get in your own groove of getting thru the ones the beginning of labor brings then you can get thru the ones that are so close that it feels as if there is no break. Did that make any sense?? LOL
Good Luck!! I am due with number 4 in May can't wait for delivery.........it's not so bad. Look at the outcome!! :

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#52 of 53 Old 04-15-2009, 05:50 PM
 
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I believe that there is no way to describe the pain and that is a good thing other wise we would stop having babies. Think about it... if you don't have language to hold on to something, it is harder to remember and harder to describe to others.

I also think that there is tremendous variety in terms of what women feel.

This is just my experience but if I had to describe a contraction (a painful later one, not a beginning wimpy one).....

It starts out like an unbelievably strong menstrual cramp and circles around your body before it escalates into feeling like you have been struck by lightening.

I had an epidural (after 30 hours of this) but when he came out it felt like someone had a pair of scissors on my cjhftofis.

You asked.

I have boys! My first baby boy was born 10/08 and my second baby boy was born 7/12

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#53 of 53 Old 04-15-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brendaziz View Post
OK- this is how my sister explained it to me and I found it to be VERY true.

It's like menstrual cramps- but when you're on your period- your uterus is about the size of your fist.
When you're in labor your uterus is HUGE and so it's basically bad menstrual cramps but all over and MUCH more intense.

Mine however- started low when they were light- and then progressively moved all over.

ALSO- don't let anyone tell you that labor should happen a certain way.

Both my boys- i STARTED contractions 2-3 minutes apart from the FIRST contraction. They just progressively got stronger and more painful but were ALWAYS that same distance apart.



and mine were NEVER 2-3 minutes apart until the very very end...maybe.

I have boys! My first baby boy was born 10/08 and my second baby boy was born 7/12

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