My first labor was pain-free. I took a Marie Mongan's HypnoBirthing course
. I practiced deep relaxation every day for a month before my due date. This is what I credit for my success.
I was never physically fit per se, not now, or ever. So I don't think physical fitness has anything to do with it. I think one's state of mind has everything to do with it (for the most part - back labor is a different story.)
The first contractions were VERY PAINFUL. I was UNAFRAID of labor too. I was going into it fully confident and fearles.
Let me explain....
Imagine you are going to get a needle injection. What is your first body reaction? Well, mine is to recoil, make a face IN ANTICIPATION of HOW BAD it will hurt. That's what happened during the first few "surges." I trained my body and mind to go completely limp with relaxation (when you do that it doesn't hurt - that's why people swear by water birth - people immediately relax their muscles.... and it feels better... the more you relax, the better - more tolerable it feels... if you are able to * completely * relax, then it won't hurt.)
Anyway, my first body reaction (instinctively) to the tightening of my uterine muscles, was to curl up in the fetal position (tense up all over - WRONG) and basically I felt the pain from my abdomen to the outer reaches of everything part of me. Holy cow, this hurts so bad, the best thing to do is to brace myself.
WRONG!!! My first coping strategy was NOT working.
(Sadly, most women get stuck there and stay there! Unless they have good labor support to help them to focus to relax and even then.... they are still tensing up.) I had to scream in my own head "WHAT DID TERESA (my HypnoBirthing instructor) SAY TO DO?!?!?!!!!" to regain control. Within a few minutes, I did, and the pain stopped. The rest of my 18 hour labor (hospital labor) was pain free and my transition wasn't intense either... I was brushing my teeth through it.
You can read my long birth story in this thread: UTell Me More About HypnoBirthing
Breathe, I have read that if you have back labor
, that will hurt and HypnoBirthing can only help with regular contractions... back labor being a little different.
And sure, you might have been unafraid up until that point, but how does one react when it really hits.... that's the question... another analogy. If you are on a ship at sea and there is a big storm, what do people instinctively do? They brace themselves on deck - hold on tight - against the waves.
If they don't, they know they will fall off into the ocean. That's the major mistake most women make during labor. We've all seen pg moms on A Baby Story hold on tight to their partners hand, the bed rail, whatever.... thinking that will help brace us and support us during the contraction. When all it is that we are really doing
is tensing our muscles (fear +/or tension = pain). Make sense?
It's hard to believe that in the face of the storm, if one just relaxes COMPLETELY from head to toe (just lets the tension melt from their forehead, jaws, eyes, scalp, neck, ears, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers, etc...... - this is why the HypnoBirthing Rainbow Relaxation audio tape was so helpful, because you practice this every day and are CONSCIOUS of the difference between body tension and total relaxation.) the storm stops dead.
You are still at sea, but it is way more peaceful.
Again, laboring in water - one reacts the same way... by instinctively relaxing their body. That's why people swear by water! It's not the water per se, it's the reaction. The water just helps women get there! Where they are supposed to be! I do not believe labor is supposed to be painful for women. It just is for the majority because most of us haven't been fully trained/prepared how to relax in face of it. That's why the HypnoBirthing classes rock, IMHO.
But in the end, I did not have a blissful, orgasmic birth (long story, I was in the hospital, on Pit, flat on my back
) I'll be having a homebirth this time so I'll be curious as to how it's different.
BUT!!!! A few hours after the birth, alone in the hospital room I had close to a spiritual experience.... time literally stood still... I was in awe over what I had just been through. For MONTHS I wished to do it all over again!!! So it was a transformational , spiritual experience for me.
BTW, has anyone read this book?Back Labor No More: What Every Woman Should Know Before Labor
Threads that mention back labor (something I've never experienced
) always remind me that I want to read this book, just in case.