Painful and Pain-free birth: Have you had both? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've only had one birth so far, and it was PAINFUL. So painful, in fact, that I spent much of labor being angry at how painful it was (water broke first, then back labor for 48 hrs, popped tailbone, no meds). And then afterward felt traumatized by the pain and felt guilty about not experiencing bliss at ds's arrival.

See, I was thoroughly convinced during my pregnancy that pain-free birth was possible, IF, and only IF, I was not afraid. And honestly, I did not feel afraid of labor or birth. I even thought I might be one of those women who had an orgasmic birth -- that's how peaceful I felt.

Until the back labor began. And then I was just SHOCKED.

So I've worked on this a lot and was pretty much resolved to let go of the "ecstatic birth" expectations -- had decided it wasn't possible for my body type, perhaps -- and at the very least, was setting myself up for disappointment. Better to not even THINK about the possibility.

And then this morning I dug into my birth books again (specifically Rahima Baldwin's Special Delivery) and was again confronted with the pain-free birth idea. Which she seemed to have with only her second birth.

So now I'm wondering if maybe this IS something to consider . . . to probe and question and dig deep about why I had so much pain . . . so that maybe, just maybe the next one could be better (or perceived as being better).

Has anyone here done such a thing? That is, had a painful first birth followed by a less or not-painful second one? If so, what did you do differently?

Or EGADS, has anyone had the reverse?!?! THAT would really be enlightening.

Please share. I need to hear if I'm barking up an impossible tree!
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#2 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 05:24 PM
 
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i'd say it's possible to have a pain-free birth. my first (and only) birth was pain-free. i only had one wince of pain and that was before i got to the pushing stage.

i don't know about anyone else, but what helped me is that i am VERY obstinant......and i set out to prove my ex"m-i-l" wrong. all through my pregnancy, she went on about how labor is the worst pain you'll ever feel. so i laughed at her and told her i'll be reading a book while in labor. and that's exactly what i did (well it was the newspaper i read). and the funny thing is, this was before i knew ANYthing about birthing and NCB....and i never paid attention in lamaze class.

so for me, it was mind over matter.

hth
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#3 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks fyrflymommy. I know pain-free birth is possible -- my best friend had one, too. But I'm not convinced (and neither is she) that that wasn't due to her body-type and genetics. So I'm really interested in hearing if anyone has ever had lots of pain followed by very little pain. That would convince me that mind over matter is possible. (I'm as obstinate as they come, and I tried mind over matter too. Just don't know if I failed miserably at that or if it wouldn't have been possible for me that time.)

Others? If you've had multiple painful births, even tho you've tried lots of spiritual, natural stuff, I'd be interested in hering that, too!
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#4 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 06:08 PM
 
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Labor with my son got painful when they had me strapped down to the operating table for a c-section -- and the epidural wore off.

With my dd, I did the Bradley method and would not call anything I felt pain. I was in labor for seven hours with no meds. I spent most of that time rocking on a birthing ball, holding my doula's hands while dh rubbed my lower back. The experience was very intense (and probably would have been painful if I hadn't worked with my body), but manageable.

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#5 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 06:35 PM
 
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I've only had one birth but was shocked at how painful it was. I too went into it with this expectation that it was going to be short and glorious, possibly orgasmic, and that I wouldn't even grimace.

It turned out to be the most painful experience of my life, but the real pain only started after membranes were ruptured artificially. I didn't understand what I was doing "wrong" to make things hurt so much. (I now think that lying on my back was part of it.)

So I'm just waiting to see how things go with #2...I'm sure it will hurt less, since I'll be at home and have almost no intervention, but I'm not going to expect anything orgasmic this time!
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#6 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 06:44 PM
 
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Both of my births were definitely intense--but I don't call them painful. I have heard that back labor certainly makes for more difficult laboring. And just because you had back labor in one birth doesn't mean you will have it in another. Plus, I would imagine that once your body has been through the birthing experience once, it is easier for it to do it again. I definitely was more relaxed for my second birth, although I'm sure the contractions were just as intense.
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#7 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 07:40 PM
 
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I am in the EGADS group!!!
My first labor and delivery was peaceful and painfree, in fact my dd fell out onto my bed before I realized I was that close.
l
Labor #2, I would rather forget. 32 hours of back labor. I really learned what pain was that day. For me I have come to believe that the difference was this:
With #1 I tried nothing, I was young and truely unaware of any risks. With #2 Iread all these ideas on WHAT TO DO while in labor. My mind was focused on these other folks ideas of 'what to do' , instead of JUST DOING.
Does that make sense? I am a bit unclear right now- a few days past my due date and trying to focus on other things-- like thinking and writing!!!
This time I again have no plans or ideas about how to go through labor. I will stay home with my kids and hubby and let things unfold however they will.
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#8 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 08:54 PM
 
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well, breathe, i've done this three times already and it HURT like HELL all three times. thank goddess, i never had a posterior lay so i didn't have the backlabor, but it still was the most intense pain i've ever felt (the only other thing that has ever come close was a corneal abrasion... at least i got a baby out of the labor!).

however, i wasn't terribly informed or educated with those three, and in the intervening years, i've done a lot of reading and doula work. i never thought i'd be doing this again, but i did see a bunch of things that made me go "hmm, i wish i could have tried that."

so this time, i've got a bunch of tricks i'm gonna try: hypnobabies, the birth ball, a pool of water, yoga, bach flower remedies, herbal concoctions (oh, and a new husband ;-)

i've seen precipitous births, "easy" births, posterior births, cesarean births... about 30 different babies. i DO know that the more interventions and restrictions placed on a momma, the harder time she has (continuous EFM is BAD!). but, darnit, i haven't seen someone have a pain-free homebirth after a painful homebirth.

i know better than to hope for an orgasmic birth. i'm just going for one where i'm not feeling like i'm being a stupid martyr chump by staying home and eschewing the epidural. i KNOW it's better for both me and my baby, but man! if i'd been in the hospital, i am so certain i would have caved in to offers of drugs.

i think it has a lot to do with our bodies (our fitness level, our age, our uterine quirks), our perception of sensations (i already know i'm VERY sensitive to stimulation of all kinds), and last but certainly not least, the shapes and positions and hormones of the babies. and we have absolutely zero control on most of those things!

(actually, i'm allowing myself to have a tiny little flame of hope that the hypnotherapy will adjust my perception of sensation... but i'm not letting myself hope too hard.)

sometimes we just have to work through unpleasant things. for me, labor is one of those things. it's hard, it hurts, and i know it's normal and OK to feel like that. i'm doing everything i can to ease the pain as much as possible naturally and in ways that won't impact the baby. i'd love to be surprised by a fast and easy birth, but i just don't think it's in the cards for me, and it would be unrealistic and setting myself up for disappointment to wish otherwise.

i'm not dreading labor, or at least, not yet. but i know i'll be very, very glad when it's over!

katje
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#9 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 09:30 PM
 
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Well - not sure if my experience will be of any use but here it goes....

With my first birth my water broke before labor started - and once it kicked in it HURT! BUT I was very much anticipating that it would hurt and planning to get an epi anyway....so I don't know who much of it was mental or not KWIM? I definatly FEARED labor.....but I also think alot of the backpain was partly because the bag of water had already broken and there was no 'cushion'.....Also when labor started - it really started - once contractions came they came every 2-3 minutes until he was born. NO gradual build-up - just BAM! I did have a brief period of relief (before my epidural when an nurse came in and did this AWESOME counter pressure move by squeezing her legs together on my hips while I was on the floor on all fours.....if she could have stayed I may have changed my mind about the epi!)

My second birth was pretty much pain-free - but I was in a totally different place mentally and was prepared for a med free birth. I didn't have any 'great expectations' rather I just went into it figuring my body would do what it needed to do. Physically though the labor itself was much different. This time my water didn't break until transition (which I was hoping and praying for) - when things got more intense. I had backlabor previous to this happening...but not as bad as my first time. The labor slowly progressed very much in textbook fashion, and I was able to just go with the flow. I also had a DOULA - and she was an absoult LIFESAVER! Between her and my husband I had constant counter-pressure on my lower and upper back - that made the labor MUCH more managable and more like 'work' rather then 'pain'........I compare my second birth to a strenous workout or athletic event - it was hard work, but not necessarly painful (well pushing HURT - but that lasted only 15 minutes!)

Hope that helps

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#10 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 09:32 PM
 
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Oh forgot to add - that my second birth was also a water birth - I HIGHLY recommend water for pain relief. I stayed in the pool on all fours and floated, and when contractions came my doula and DH did the counter pressure! It was fantastic! I also used some hypnobirthing techniques within myself that really helped me let go and really go 'into' the birth......I was totally and completely focused inward....

Grace - photographer, wife and mom to 4 great kids (Ethan 5.00, Ainsley 4.02, Owen 12.04, and Ellis Ann 10.07) :
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#11 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 10:33 PM
 
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With my first I went into thinking it was going to be a breeze, no fear there. It was long and exhausting, then a stupid castor oil augmentation, then much misery and illness, anger at the midwife, resentment at the assistants, much too much intervention, and lying on my back to deliver.

With my second I was powerful and empowered. Most of the labor was a pleasure, and it was comparatively short. Midwife was very hands-off and respectful. Pushing phase was short and spontaneous.

With my third it was again another long labor, and I was bored. It was mild and peaceful, though, and I had a very strong sense that all was well. I was again feeling very powerful and right with the universe. At the end I felt no pain with contractions. It took the baby no more than a few minutes to descend and be born. There was no one guiding me or monitoring me, so it was my most instinctive, spontaneous labor, and also my most private.

I had excruciating back labor with all three.

I have absolutely no doubt that the pain I felt was due to the positioning of the baby. I'm sorry, but if something is pressing on your sacrum that hard, it's going to be painful. I acknowledge that we can psychologically create pain, and that it can be created by labor management as well. The "fight or flight" response that Grantly Dick-Read talks about is right on the money. But that doesn't mean there cannot be a purely physical cause of pain, and it drives me crazy when pain-free advocates insist that there isn't. I want to tell them, Have someone take one of your arms and bend it behind your back so the shoulder joint is stressed. Think you can avoid that pain with a good attitude, hypnobirthing, whatever? Mm-hm, whatever you say.

That's exactly the sort of thing that is happening when the back of a baby's head is pressing on your sacrum. My back was literally splitting apart, the midwife could see it moving. The pelvis is meant to move apart, the perineum is made to stretch. But I don't believe the back is really supposed to be involved.

In my case, I think that some of the pain originated in outside sources -- not having enough privacy, unnecessary intervention, stress from conflict with the midwife. But the back pain I think had to do with the fact that I sat in a recliner for much of pregnancy. It makes sense that the baby is going to face away from the uterine wall it is resting against. Right?

So this pregnancy is an experiment. No more reclining. No more sleeping on my back. I'm also going to do my best to eliminate all of those outside sources of irritation and intrusion. We'll see what happens.
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#12 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 10:56 PM
 
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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.

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
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#13 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the thoughts, Everyone. I have to run or dh will kill me . . . we're leaving early tomorrow for a long road trip, so I won't be back for a while, but will check in next week.

Just for the record, I labored in water, on hands and knees, until pushing, and I STILL was in so much pain. I had a fabulous doula, an even more fabulous dh, and supportive midwives who pretty much (altho not completely -- nother story) left me alone. I did squeeze doula and dh's hands, but it felt good, I think bc of the pressure points in the palms. When my labor truly progressed was when I stopped trying to breathe thru every contraction (think goddess mama in lotus pose . . . getting nowhere fast!) and "got inside the pain", as my doula suggested. I had to stop trying to sit on top of the pain and really sit down into it. Hurt like hell, but that's when active labor began.

I like the suggestions to not plan anything this time. I will mull that over on our car trip. I also would like to cash in some of my points with Universe and request that my water NOT break first this time . . . I think that probably just intensified everything.

But knowing Mother Nature, that's exactly what I'm gonna next time, too, just to show me how very little control I have!

(also planning a HB next time!)

Talk with you in a few days!
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#14 of 33 Old 04-09-2004, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just had to post one more time so I don't go out of town with my post count being 666 . . . that couldn't be good! :LOL
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#15 of 33 Old 04-10-2004, 12:28 AM
 
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I had very little pain with my first ( hospital birth). After they broke my water, I was a bit overwhelmed by the intensity (8 to 10 to baby's born in under an hour), but the rest of my labor was very managable. My second (homebirthed) was AMAZINGLY overwhelming. Had I been in the hospital, I most definately would have been begging for drugs. (I never got to that point in my first labor.) I suspect I was slightly dehydrated, and got too cold after I exited the shower. I also think it was tough to integrate the crontactions because I was EXPECTING a pain free birth. Didn't know how to cope when it wasn't.

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#16 of 33 Old 04-10-2004, 01:13 AM
 
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I think it's interesting that so many women have said their water broke first, and then they experienced painful labors.

That was my experience with my first child. It was excruciating.

With my second child (homebirth), my labor contractions started just like they had every evening for a week or so, mild and widely spaced. I went to bed. An hour or so later I was awakened by a huge contraction that broke my water. Before I could get up, I had another. That second contraction in bed was uncomfortable enough that it motivated me to get up before the next one came, but I won't say it hurt. My labor was short and intense, but not painful. During transition I noticed that my husband had a funny look on his face, so I laughed. My midwife thought that was funny. A few minutes later I felt like my contractions were on the verge of being painful, so I stood up to go to the shower. Instead going to the shower, I squatted and pushed my baby out. It really didn't hurt at all.

I wonder though, if my first labor changed my definition of pain. The second time around I knew a lot more, but I didn't use any coping tools other than the birth ball (no shower, tub, massage, hypno, hot/cold pack--I was saving those things for when I needed them). I was at home, which I admit is huge, but I didn't have a doula and I promptly hushed anyone who tried to offer encouragement. I expected a great deal of pain, because my experience up until then was that birth hurts. It was the most surreal moment of my life when I realized that my baby was in my arms and I hadn't experienced any pain.

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#17 of 33 Old 04-10-2004, 12:46 PM
 
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Well, I have only had one birth experience so far and it was a pain free one (up until they gave me an episiotomy and used the vacuum) so I just thought I'd add my say.

My water broke as the start of my labor, so it is possible to have a pain free experience in that case too...I was surprised to read the other posts in that regard, never thought about the cushioning aspect of it at all! My first contractions after my water broke were like "little stars going across my back" at least that's how I tried to explain it to my mom who I was talking with on the phone at the time. It was just a weird, neat tickling sensation that I had about every 15 mins until the real contractions started...about 3 hrs after my water broke.

Now this is how I mentally prepared myself, and of course some might disagree but it worked for me.

One thing that my mom had told me years early when I asked about labor pain (and JFYI, she had very neg. birth experiences and didn't want me to fear it the way she did). She told me to flex my arm...you know bend and tighten...and asked if it hurt. Of course I said NO, and she said, welll that's just your muscle contracting. Interesting enough, when I took my Doula training course the instructer had had 4 pain free births and had the same mindset, I really surprised her when I told her this because I was the first person she'd met that thought the same thing going into it.

Another thing I went in focused on so to speak is that birth is a autonomus(LOL, is there a spell check on this thing?) process....like digestion, your body will just do it....you don't think about digesting your food as you eat it...and if you do think that something you have eaten won't agree with you it probably won't right??

Lastly I believed that I had done this before in past lives, probably time and time again. I figured, hey, it can't hurt to think this! LOL!

Now as I mentioned before I had an epi and they used the vacuum so while my labor was easy the delivery was far from a piece of cake....I pushed for 4 hrs and dd came out with her arm over her right shoulder holding on to the cord! Which I am sure is why my labor stalled out for an hour at 9 cms and why she had trouble decending, which is why they used the vacuum for 2 contractions. But the part that was more uncomfortable than the entire labor was being stiched up from the episiotomy without freezing.

So maybe this will help some of you or maybe it won't....my sister had pretty a pretty painfree birth too, though the pushing was painful for her (but she only pushed 3 times so I tell her she doesn't have the right to complain, LOL). So maybe it is genetics. I consider myself to have a high tolerance to pain as it is, at least the lady who waxes my armpits tells me so because I only found it mildly discomfortable, LOL.

I'll let you know how it goes in Oct. Hopefully I won't have to eat my words, LOL.
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#18 of 33 Old 04-10-2004, 05:28 PM
 
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My water broke at the beginning of my second labor, and that was actually (except for the back labor in the last two hours) the most pleasant, enjoyable labor I've had. It wasn't a gush though, maybe that would make a difference?

I've had painless contractions, but for the most part they were like mild menstrual cramping. Not a big deal. (By the way, for most of my menstrual history I have not had cramps *at all*. Only in the last couple years. Can't figure out why that changed. ) The pushing was also not especially painful, except for the "ring of fire". If it weren't for the damn back labor, birth would be a breeze for me.
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#19 of 33 Old 04-12-2004, 02:38 AM
 
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The gush thing is interesting...my water broke at the onset of active labor with my second, but the baby's head was well applied & only a little trickled out. There was a huge gush only as her body was born.

My water broke with the onset of early labor with my first, but she was still high (actually, she was born with a nuchal hand), so it gushed a lot throughout the labor.

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#20 of 33 Old 04-12-2004, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. This input was *exactly* what I needed. From hearing all your stories, I'm feeling more and more convinced that whether or not you experience a lot of labor pain is pure luck! Yes, there certainly seem to be ways to lessen the pain, if needed (relaxing, water, counterpressure), but I'm pretty convinced that "mind over matter" isn't really going to work if there are some true physical sensations going on that are tough on your body.

Regarding the flexing your arm analogy, I bought that too, when I was pregnant. But you know, you flex your arm hundreds, if not thousands, of times each and every day, and truly, that is not a muscle contraction that is challenging. Having your uterus stretch itself open and back over the head of a 7+ pound baby happens only a few times in your life. And if there's a nose, or an arm, or a face pressing on your spine or your tailbone, then frankly, that's just gonna be uncomfortable.

Unmanageable? Certainly not. Horrifying? Doesn't need to be. And I guess that's where the play comes in . . . whether or not you freak out and tense up, thereby making it far worse.

But I'm going to stop blaming myself for it being painful. I didn't do anything wrong (except expect it to NOT hurt!) and I just can't accept that my experience of the pain was due to me being a wimp. Sometimes I think there's some victim blaming that goes on surrounding labor . . . we tell women that if they're just strong enough, or earth-mama enough, or unafraid, or truly relaxed, or truly sold on one particular method of coping, then they can have a pain-free birth. Kinds seems like the luck of the draw to me!

Thanks for helping to shed light on this, Mamas! I wish you pregnant people safe and tolerable births . . . painful or not!

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#21 of 33 Old 04-12-2004, 01:31 PM
 
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Some people say it only hurts because women believe it will hurt.

Then when women say they believed it wouldn't hurt and it still did, the response is "Well, you didn't really believe it, then."

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#22 of 33 Old 04-12-2004, 01:33 PM
 
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i went into my first birth unafraid, expecting labor and delivery to be moderately painful and brief. instead, the pain was excruciating and i labored for 4.5 days. my water broke about 5 days before eli was born, and labor started about 12 hours later. it was truly horrific.

this time, i want anesthesia paged as soon as i arrive at the hospital. i'm just plain not doing that again, end of story.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#23 of 33 Old 04-12-2004, 02:00 PM
 
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not to demean doulas who haven't birthed before, but i'm personally very glad i went through labor a couple of times before i began to do doula work...

i NEVER told a momma it wasn't going to hurt! i wouldn't ever say it WOULD hurt, either... but there's usually a point in each labor where the pain gets pretty intense.

and that's where some experience can help a doula be believeable: when i say, "i know this hurts, and i know you can get through it," i think it helps that i've done it myself.

on the back of my hypnobabies cd case, there's some text for decoration. and one line promises "no pain for mommy." i think this really stinks, because if a mom experiences pain, the company will just say, "oh, you didn't practice enough" or something. but with back labor or a displaced tailbone, no matter how much you relax, it's GONNA HURT! sure, you can deal with the pain in different ways, and some of those ways could exacerbate the problem, but there's just no getting around the fact that sometimes birth causes stretching, movement or tearing that will cause pain. and to promise otherwise, i think, is very irresponsible. still, i'm going to do the program and hope for the best.

in any case, in the back of my mind, i will try to keep some space open for the belief that maybe... just maybe this time... i'll get one of those "baby falls out when mom thinks she's only 3 cm" births. sigh!

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#24 of 33 Old 04-12-2004, 02:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Breathe
Wow. This input was *exactly* what I needed. From hearing all your stories, I'm feeling more and more convinced that whether or not you experience a lot of labor pain is pure luck! Yes, there certainly seem to be ways to lessen the pain, if needed (relaxing, water, counterpressure), but I'm pretty convinced that "mind over matter" isn't really going to work if there are some true physical sensations going on that are tough on your body.
Amen, Breathe. Personally, I think labor pain or the perception of labor pain, is a meaningless physiological variable, like nearsightedness, or an individual's rate of cervical dilation, for example. On the other hand, I do believe fear causes pain in labor. That's not the same thing as saying fear causes ALL pain in labor, a notion I find to be frankly ludicrous. Admittedly, I didn't use to believe other women truly experienced painless childbirth. How is this even possible? However, after experiencing the intensity of uterine contractions both with hypnobirthing and without, I can absolutely see how it's true. For me, it's as simple as acknowledging that in much the same way some women feel cramps during their period while others feel nothing, for some women, uterine contractions on their own just don't hurt. Take away the fear-tension pain, and all they're left with is a feeling of tightening, discomfort, or even ecstasy, if they're lucky. I wasn't lucky. Take away my fear-tension pain, and I was left with, well, Pain. But much less pain. Very manageable pain. Exciting Wow that was SOMETHING Pain. No thank you, I'm ok Pain. I can totally handle it for the duration of this one long breath Pain.

For me, hypnobirthing was a safe and empowering way of relieving the part of my pain I had complete control over, which was MUCH more than I thought, as it turned out. So while labor wasn't exactly pain-free, the normal pain was put into a context where the pain wasn't the point. It was there, but more of a sort of peripheral sensation, unpleasant when I focused on it, but ultimately just one of many much more interesting sensations competing for my attention. Sort of like when you're running a race or dancing all night. You don't focus on the lbs per sq inch pounding your feet, or your lactic acid threshold, or whatever it is that makes intense physical activity unpleasant. You just experience the moment as it is.

Tanibani, your post took me back to my own hypnobirthing labor. "the storm stops dead." Yup, that was very much how I experienced it, too. Unfortunately, sometimes the hype surrounding hypnobirthing overshadows the very real benefits of it. That's why I tell women that hypnobirthing is an appropriate tool for women who want childbirth without aneasthesia, not childbirth without pain. For me, it was indispensable and I credit it with giving me the chance to have my HBAC. The hypnobirthing scripts and affirmations remind you to trust your body to do the work its designed to do. No doubt, fear of pain leads a lot of women to seek out hypnobirthing as a way to eliminate it. Pain in most other contexts serves as an indicator of illness, a harbinger of death, so it feels logical that if there is less pain, there's somehow less danger. Hypnobirthing trains your mind to separate the sensation of pain from the feeling that something's wrong. Not everyone knows how to do this instinctively and many of us, myself included, need *something* to counteract the relentless brainwash we're subjected to from Day One telling us that childbirth is dangerous and our bodies don't work well most of the time. As a survivor of 2 highly managed hospital births (one c-section, one hard-won VBAC), I needed some serious deprogramming before I attempted my HBAC.
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#25 of 33 Old 04-12-2004, 03:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by SamuraiEarthMama
on the back of my hypnobabies cd case, there's some text for decoration. and one line promises "no pain for mommy." i think this really stinks, because if a mom experiences pain, the company will just say, "oh, you didn't practice enough" or something. but with back labor or a displaced tailbone, no matter how much you relax, it's GONNA HURT! sure, you can deal with the pain in different ways, and some of those ways could exacerbate the problem, but there's just no getting around the fact that sometimes birth causes stretching, movement or tearing that will cause pain. and to promise otherwise, i think, is very irresponsible.
Many HypnoBirthing practioners agree with you (it's irresponsible to promise a "painfree" birth) and thus, don't... anymore. It's an individual thing from practioner to practioner.

As far as "not practicing enough" it is true for some women. Some women do not practice enough. Not the PC thing to say (and nobody wants to hear that), but even a Hypno mom who has done it twice (and didn't practice as much the 2nd time around) concedes this. So the practicing does make a difference (range can be painfree or making the labor much more tolerable.) A first time mom may not see it that way - for a variety of reasons.

And other times it's just not "anybody's fault." Things happen in labor that can't be controlled (like back labor).

And maybe the mom has more emotional baggage that wasn't dealt with in a typical class (more anxiety than most, more history) and that mom would have benefitted from more internal work, with the help of a counselor. Is that her fault? Nope. Is that the fault of the course? Nope.

For example, if a mom is convinced that her mother had a certain type of labor and she is destined to as well (thus can't relax during her labor because in the back of her mind is nagging little voice... ) I'm not going to blame her but I can't blame HypnoBirthing for trying to help either.

I wish women would get away from the self-blame that accompanies birth. All of us do the best we can with what we have at the time. (Though I blamed my OB and DH for stuff and that took me a long time to heal from. The wallowing and regret did me no good.)

10 - boy
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#26 of 33 Old 04-13-2004, 03:32 AM
 
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Both of my labors were induced. My first was Bradley and I really liked the classes and did lots of practicing, but although I was able to do it without any pain meds, it was really tough. I was in transition for 4 hours-- having Miss Nasty-Nurse-from-Hell didn't help any. I think the only reason I didn't have an epi was that I'm too bloody-minded.

My second was HypnoBirthing and was almost compleatly pain free even with pitocin and back labor and a sunny-side up DD. The only time I had trouble was when the nurse was rushing around to get things set up for delivery (I was at 2 cm for 7 hours and then complete in about 20 min.)- I lost focus for a couple of contractions (sorry, I just could never think of them as surges).

I was really bad about practicing, just did relaxation tape once a day at bedtime and fellasleep most of the time before the end, except for the last couple of weeks when I got a little more serious about it (the anxiety attack I had during class when we did fear release helped me get more serious about practicing!)

I thought the Rainbow Relaxation tape was a bit "fluffy" for me and DH kept giggling at Marie's Boston accent: Our instructor did an alternate tape for us that used an elevator and beach imagery that was really nice and I also did a private session for fear release (horrible first nurse).

Overall, my second birth was everything I could have hoped for-- except for needing another induction.

Oh, yeah-- popped tailbone. It didn't hurt during birth but it took close to two months before I could sit down comfortably afterwards.

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#27 of 33 Old 04-14-2004, 03:37 PM
 
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FOr what it is worth:

My 1st was very painful, I was induced w/ pitocin at 41 weeks & ended up with pretty much every intervention short of a c-section. It was awful.

My 2nd was pain-free, and I am completely serious here. I, too, did Hypnobirth. I wasn't silent & meditative during labor, I moved & talked & grunted a lot. I didn't even believe in it up until the day I went into labor--thought it wouldn't work. But it must have on smoe level because I had a 4-1/2 hour labor from first tingle til baby was born--completely unmedicated--and never felt anything that could be described as pain.

Not sure I would belive this if it hadn't happened to me, so all I can do is relate the info! I wish every woman could experience birth the way I did.

Also, for teh record, my water was broken at like 1 cm with the first birth, and ruptured on its own at 9 cm the second time.
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#28 of 33 Old 04-16-2004, 01:14 PM
 
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BACK LABOR! I think it's futile discussing pain free labor when you're having back labor. My dd was OP and I had natural labor for about 16 hours. Even with a doula, I couldn't cope. My cervix wouldn't dilate past 6 and I was exhausted from the pain and caved and got an epidural.

It didn't feel so much like the contractions were hurting but I had this one spot on my right side (not my back strangely enough) that was excruciating. It began hurting about 2 days before labor started and got worse and worse. I think it was nerve damage or something - I was going through the roof with this pain. BTW nothing else hurt much! I'm sure it was due to dd's position and even after the c/s, she came out with such a cone head - she was 21 inches when she was born and lost about 1 1/2 inches later on.

And after my eventual c/s for non progression, I continued to have excuciating pain in that one spot. The c/s scar didn't even hurt this much. After a CAT scan, the OBs thought they'd sewed a nerve into my suture. Maybe, but it didn't explain why this spot had hurt so much before the c/s. I had to be given steroids and painkillers injected into that one spot.

I feel pretty confident that I could have a natural med free birth with manageable pain SO LONG AS IT'S NOT BACK LABOR.
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#29 of 33 Old 04-16-2004, 02:01 PM
 
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That's funny, my dd was OP as well and all the pain was in my sides. It felt like I had a major kidney infection. My back didn't hurt at all. (Or maybe it did and I just didn't notice because of the side pain.):
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#30 of 33 Old 04-16-2004, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds was NOT posterior (he really wasn't -- I've had someone of these boards argue with me that he must have been and that all my caretakers must have been wrong!: ), so I was pretty confident going into labor that I couldn't possibly have back labor. Well, guess what?!? They tell me half-way thru that *anyone* can have it, depending on your own body type/shape/size, etc. And I agree that the actual contractions were not so bad once I got used to them and stopped tensing up, but the unrelenting pain in between each and every contraction was what was exhausting. And just damn annoying!

All I can do is expect it next time, so that if I don't have it, I can be pleasantly surprised!
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