My third trimester starts on Monday, so giving birth to my #1 is not around the corner, but i have heard so many confusing informations about the pain itself i don't know what to think...
I hope you are gonna share your experiences here!
Liv, SAHM of 3 kiddos
I won't sugar coat it. It hurts. But it was also a really empowering experience. It's pain with a purpose. The pain ends, and you get a gorgeous baby to show for it.
Anyway... pushing was WORSE. Wow. It was the most horrible thing I have ever experienced. I never want to do it again. It felt absolutely impossible. My baby came out with her hand on her cheek... I guess that made it more difficult than usual. My labour was only about 5 hours, and I think I only pushed for.. 15 minutes? But it was the hardest thing I have ever done.
I'm sorry that I had nothing good to tell you.
Really, it will be ok- just remember to accept it and breath through it. Dow hatever it is that helps get through the contraction.
Labor hurt. It was like an intense hug around my belly and up into my back - squeezing and getting tighter and more intense. The pain would radiate from my right leg into my back and then be gone. I took each contraction one at a time and didn't loose my head. They come like waves and leave without a trace. There is time to recover and prepare for the next, whether it be a minute or 15 seconds.
When it was over, I was ready to do it again (after a nap, of course )
and my man . Momma to ds1 (11-'04) , ds2 (8-'08) , dd (3-'12) , and Mr Blue, Chiyo, and Fireball, our 3 .
For my first birth, I had "prepared", in that I took Bradley classes (with a very poor instructor) but I was still very scared going in, as it was a whole new experience. I ended up gettting pit, which caused me to panic, which caused a whole cascade of stuff to happen. I was scared, and as DH had never been through a birth either, he wasn't prepared to assist me in the way that I needed. So, that birth was a VERY painful birth. I ended up getting an epi, and DS was born less than an hour later. That birth just boiled down to the fact that DH and I were completely unprepared for the reality of labor.
For my 2nd birth, after the trauma of my first birth, DH and I were COMMITTED to going au naturale 100%. DH read and read and read about birth, we attended Bradley again, (with a MUCH MUCH MUCH better instructor), we had a doula, and we actively avoided any interventions that led to the disaster from the first birth. (My water had broken and labor didn't start, so we took measures to avoid that this time.)
Let me tell you, the experience from my 2nd birth was SOO different from my first. My labor lasted just 2 1/2 hours, and honest to goodness, there were just 2 contractions that were just absolutely horrid. Then immediately after those 2 contractions was the first pushing contraction, and that felt good! DH was WONDERFUL during labor, and said exactly everything I needed to hear, and did exactly everything I needed him to do. I'm 100% positive that his support throughout labor is what made it seem so managable and bearable. Really, it was just those last 2 contractions that I recall any pain.
I really think the key to pain management is having a LOT of great support!! (Incidentally, since my 2nd labor lasted just 2 1/2 hours, our doula didn't even get there until I was pushing! :LOL But DH was so wonderful during labor, I tease him that he ought to become a doula!)
But - of course it's worth it!
How does labor pain differ from other types of pain?
Labor pain differs from other kinds of pain in ways that make coping easier. Labor pain:
* is not a symptom of injury or illness: When pain signals that something is wrong, anxiety can increase painful sensations. Labor pain, however, is simply a sign that your body is working hard and well.
* is self-limiting: Labor rarely takes more than 24 hours.
* is rhythmic: Contractions last no longer than a minute or so and come in a regular pattern with one to several (usually) pain-free minutes in between them. This means you can predict and prepare for each contraction and rest between them.
* intensifies gradually over time: Contractions almost always start off mild and gradually grow longer, stronger, and closer together, thus allowing you time to adapt.
What is labor pain like?
The experience of labor pain varies markedly from woman to woman. It can also vary for the same woman in different parts of the labor and from one labor to another.
Nearly all women experience lower abdominal pain during contractions. Many also experience low back pain, either with contractions or, less often, continuously. Women may also feel pain throughout the belly; in the hips, buttocks, or thighs; or in some combination of these locations. Pain may radiate from front to back, back to front, or down the thighs. It may be felt in several areas at once or just in one specific place. Words women use to describe their pain include: cramping, sharp, aching, throbbing, pressing, and shooting. Pain intensity varies widely and generally increases as labor progresses.
The sources and sensations of pain are different in the dilation and pushing phases of labor, and your experience may differ substantially as well. The pushing phase may be less painful.
Some women reporting intense labor pain prefer not to describe their pain in negative terms. This suggests that the sensation and interpretation of pain may be distinct from each other. There are various reasons why this may be so.
What factors affect my experience of labor pain?
Pain is widely viewed as being nothing more than the perception of unpleasant sensation. The reality, however, is much more complex. Your experience of pain depends on many factors, including:
* your belief in your ability to cope: Confidence in one's ability to cope with the pain strongly influences how much pain women report experiencing in labor. Overall, more confident women report less pain.
* societal expectations and beliefs about labor pain: A woman's experience of labor pain and what she thinks is necessary to remedy it are influenced by popular and cultural beliefs, including images in the media.
* your labor environment: Elements affecting how much pain you experience include:
o who is with you
o their verbal and nonverbal communication with you
o the quality of support you receive
o the philosophy of care and the practices of medical staff
o the familiarity and comfort of your surroundings, including noise, lighting, and temperature.
* your previous experience with pain: If labor is not your first painful experience, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed and more likely to have developed coping skills. These experiences can reduce fear and pain.
Does pain relief make for a satisfying birth experience?
True or false: "If you have total or nearly total relief from labor pain, you will be very satisfied with your childbirth experience"? Many women and maternity caregivers may answer "true." However, women's labor pain experiences are often quite different from other experiences of physical pain. Labor pain need not involve suffering, and it can bring a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
When a woman feels she is successfully meeting a challenge and that she is the center of loving attention, she may experience a sense of exhilaration and zest even while in great pain. If she feels helpless and unable to cope or that people are not treating her with respect, she will suffer regardless of her pain level.
Pain and pain relief play at best a minor role in satisfaction ratings, except when expectations go unmet. Women are most likely to feel satisfied with their births when they feel a sense of accomplishment and personal control and when they have a good relationship with caregivers. A good relationship includes such elements as being treated with kindness and respect, getting good information, and being given the opportunity to participate in decisions about care. (The page on best evidence about pain relief provides support for this important information.)
What factors affect my choice of pain relief options?
Your choice of pain relief options is limited by where you decide to have your baby:
* type of birth setting:
o If you choose to have your baby in a hospital, as opposed to a birth center or at home, you will have access to pain medication, but may have very limited help with drug-free methods. Most women who give birth in U.S. hospitals use one or more types of pain medication.
o If you choose to have your baby outside of the hospital, a much wider array of comfort measures and non-drug techniques are likely to be available, but epidural analgesia is never an option and injected narcotics (also called opioids) are usually not available.
* hospital practice patterns: You are much more likely to have epidural analgesia if you have your baby in a hospital where epidurals are the norm than in one where they are not.
* hospital size: Epidural has become the leading method of labor pain relief in hospitals handling a large number of births. By contrast, narcotics are more common than epidurals in hospitals where fewer women give birth. (View trends in use of labor pain medications in the U.S.)
What explains this variation in available options?
* caregiver beliefs:
o The staff in larger hospitals that train residents and serve women at higher risk are more likely to take a high-tech approach to birth, including preference for epidural analgesia.
o Hospital caregivers in general are more likely to believe that labor pain is best managed by medication of some kind.
o Out-of-hospital caregivers tend to view pregnancy and birth as normal events that rarely require medical intervention, including pain relief drugs.
* staffing and equipment: Large hospitals usually have anesthesiologists available at all times, which tends to promote epidural use. Many smaller hospitals don't, making narcotics, which can be administered by nurses, the order of the day. The administration, monitoring, and possible complications of an epidural cannot be handled outside of the hospital. Some birth centers offer narcotics, but most out-of-hospital practitioners regard the need for pain medication as reason for hospital transfer.
* economics: Hospitals with around-the-clock anesthesiology services have an incentive to spread the cost of these services over many procedures and may encourage epidurals. Staff time is an economic factor as well. Once epidurals become the norm, support for other options often falls off because it is most efficient to have a similar routine for all. Unmedicated women also require a different set of skills and need more time-intensive nursing attention.
* women's preferences: In many U.S. birth settings, women appear to be given limited information about pain relief options and to have limited choice among various options. Nonetheless, many who use hospitals prefer pain medications, and many who use out-of-hospital settings prefer drug-free methods.
Wife to and mama to: dd(14) ds(12)twin ds'(10)
Given that, it was the absolute worst pain in the entire world, for me. It was like being in a long, dark, unceasing tunnel of pain with no end in sight. Baby? I could barely think that there was a point to all of this, that there would be something positive at the end.
Given that, I am so scared of flying, that everytime I'm on a plane, I think, "I'd rather be in labor."
But water takes away about 80% of that pain for me.
And then, the pushing part hurts for me. Some people say it doesn't hurt at all and they love it. It's the only part, for me, that I would call painful.
Do you know what's worse? The pains AFTER the birth. But they aren't as bad after the first birth, so you probably don't have to worry much about that.
with #1 it was awful in every way - hospital birth with induction, drugs that didn't even take so just got in the way, lethotomy position, strangers, fluorescent lights and of course, NO preparation. so that one hurt in unhappy ways. but number 2 was testament to the fact that mother nature/god takes care of us when we do it the way it should be done.
#2 was a homebirth - i was in a lot of pain when labor kicked in and was miserable, until i got into the tub after i realized it was not more false labor that was going away. i labored in an aquadoula tub, pushed him out on the bed b/c i couldn't get into a good position. i took hypnobirthing classes and even with the true modicum of practice i had done beforehand, i was easily able to bring myself to a place of peaceful pain for the experience. each rush was really that - a rush. the only part that was PAINFUL in a really big way that i couldn't be too positive about was the actual crowning and that was over so fast. time distortion helps tremendously. and he was a 10 pound baby with a 16 head.
don't fret - the pain can be so enjoyable if you let it be. some women don't even experience pain. i was shooting for that, but when the time came, i let myself ride with the pain and it was beautiful.
I'm looking forward to doing it again in a couple of months. That hour or so after I saw my baby for the first time was the most exhilarated I've ever felt.
But, once he was out, I was totally oblivious to everything else
I had planned to have my baby (#1) at a birth center, drug free, with midwife and doula. We took a natural childbirth class, read a ton of books (I especially recomment Ina May's Guilde to Childbirth - this is such a wonderfully positive birth, you will really start looking forward to birth and excited to take part in this process!!! I loved this book!!)
I started contractions on a Wednesday evening, very light, very faint, they didn't affect my activities at all (we ate dinner, went for a walk, cleaned up, the usual evening stuff). That Wed's night, I slept until maybe midnight, woke up, got up, wondered if it was really the real thing, decided it wasn't so bad, went back to sleep. Woke up again maybe around 3 am. When I was up and moving around, I thought it was totally rediculous to be up at 3 am, the contractions were really mild. But when I tried to lay down, they were moreintense. Just really uncomfortable, like i had a really bad belly ache that would come and go. I finally just got up and started my day early. Ate breakfast, went for an hour long walk... obviously, I was not in great pain here. I was excited, happy, looking forward to this birth, wondering what would happen next. My DS was great, very supportive, etc.
Okay, so it gets to be mid afternoon, we were watching a movie, I would have a contraction every 3 to 5 minutes, and they were starting to be intense where I had a hard time watching the movie, so I went in another room and leaned over some pillows and tried to doze. (hahaha) Still I wouldn't say anything hurt, just really uncomfortable, but WAY better as long as I was up and moving around.
Around 2 pm my water broke (that was really weird! like I just stood up from a sitting positition and there was a little pop and this liquid just dribbled down my legs, like, I don't think I just peed on myself but... ), so I went to sit on the toilet, and had my first REALLY uncomfortable contraction. Like really big belly ache. But still the discomfort just comes and goes. So at this point we call the birth center, tell 'em we're on our way, and I think I went through transition in the car (it was a 45 min ride) - so that was REALLY uncomfortable too, I wanted to be up and walking around but I had to sit in the car and I had this big bad belly aches every minute or so, it really helped me to just go with the flow and if I felt like moaning through a contractoin, to just moan through it and not care what else was going on around me.
We arrived at the birth center, walked in, answered a few questions, and within about 15 minutes I was pushing (totally involuntary, that was really cool too) about an hour later I pushed out a healthy baby boy. I don't remember the pushing or actual crowning or anything hurting at all. It was uncomfortable, very VERY intense, but I was so into it all, the whole naturalness of it (I actually kept waiting for an orgasmal birth, like some i Had read about ) and really trying to FEEL what was going on inside me. It as so cool, I could feel the baby move down, I could hear the midwife tell me she could see the head, I could hear myself make a lot of primal noises, it was like I was there and not there all at once, but I would never say it "hurt" just really super intense, not like anything you've ever experienced before.
I totally think that if you think you can do it and really really want to do it (drug free birth), and maybe having a high pain threshhold helps?, and you know what's going on and you are expecting all the feelings that happen, you can have a great birth experience. Obviously if there are complications or if you're forced to lay down (laying down would have been aweful for me, I was upright the whole time, it felt SOOO much better that way!), you could have a totally different experience. But this is YOur experience, and I am so happy to have had the entirely positive (intense but no pain) birth experience I had. I think it really helped me too, that I wasn't really expecting pain. Again, that Ina May book was great. So many positive stories, I wanted mine to be just like that, and it was!
Best wishes for quick, easy, and pain free!
(wow, I just looked at my message, that was long!)
What helped me alot was oxygen and also allowing myself to vomit made me feel better. Also bringing videos of movies that you love.
Mother of 3, welcomed a new baby girl July 2011
Bottom line - yes it hurt, but it wasn't anything that I couldn't handle (though I may have said otherwise when I was in transition ). I'm glad that I didn't have meds and will do it the same way next time, though hopefully at home.
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One more question if you still have time and energy to read and answer:
I want to go to the hospital, when shall i go if the labor starts at home? After my water broke? How did you decide when to sit into the car and go?
(Honestly, i don't want to spend the entire labor time at the hospital, i have heard that at the beginning it is so much better being at home.)
What do you think?
Liv, SAHM of 3 kiddos
I have THE lowest pain threshold around; cry at a paper cut (they HURT!); go into an absolute panic about getting blood drawn. AND I have had three babies absolutely natural, without any drugs or interventions of any kind. And it was not hard to do. I second the poster who said that it was intense but not really painful.
I grew up worrying about how in the world I'd ever have the kids I hoped for - since you hear so much about how awful labor is. I understand that many women experience it this way and I feel so sad about that.
To up my chances of a good experience, I took classes that taught me how my body works, how to help the process along instead of fight it, how to avoid interventions that lead to pain and trouble. Best decision we ever, ever made - to take Bradley classes. Do please find an instructor you click with as they are all different. (Bradley classes are NOT taught in hospitals - the rare one may include some Bradley ideas but you want the real deal! I believe the link is www.bradleybirth.com - might be .org? They are small group classes taught in the instructor's home.)
If you know what to avoid, what your options are, how your spouse/partner can help you - you are well on your way to a much easier time. It doesn't guarantee you a pain-free labor but it most certainly can reduce the pain at the very least.
Stay home as long as you can - there is a chart in Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way (by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg) that helps you figure out where you are in labor - what to look for in many ways, not just timing and length of contractions. My contractions were the length and time between so that I should have been much closer to birth than I knew I was. They were long enough and close enough together but I KNEW (on my first baby even) that they weren't strong enough to get a baby out of me. We hung out at home til I was unsure if/when the contractions were stopping.
Walk and walk and walk (during labor). Rest between - just sit wherever you are and lean forward onto your partner's shoulder (my dh kneeled in front of me when I sat on the couch, chair, bed). Drink plenty of water, just sips every few minutes. Stay as relaxed as humanly possible - I tried to go limp during contractions. This helps immensely!!!!! You want your head, your arms, your stomach (especially your stomach!) to just HANG down as you lean forward. Have your partner stroke your arm gently (I liked down my forearm from elbow to wrist, over and over, lightly - kind of like "any stress/tightness/etc. down and out"). If things got intense, I'd just kind of chant "muscles working, muscles working" because that is WHAT IT IS! If you think "ouch! OUCH!" and tense up, it will be awful. If you go limp and let your body work, it will be so much better, I promise.
Everyone is different - listen to your body. I felt best (during contractions) to be sitting and leaning onto dh, as limp as possible. Kneeling over a birth ball. Sitting backwards on the toilet, leaning on the back. Eyes closed, going limp, thinking or saying things like loose, limp, open, over and over.
This honestly worked so incredibly well for me that I was shocked myself. Pushing was tiring but no worse than running a long way - your leg muscles "hurt" - you can feel them and you are tired but you are ok. Ring of fire at the end (as baby crowns) was a sharper feeling and really the only part of labor that I'd call painful. That is over quickly.
I have helped two of my friends through their second labors and used the same Bradley techniques I learned. I really cannot recommend it highly enough. I know I'd not have had the wonderful births I had without learning those techniques/that information.
Fear will only tense you up and that makes the pain worse. You can do it; women have done it forever. Just learn what to avoid, what to do to help yourself, how to relax, how to work with your body. You can do it!!!!!
I also grew up terrified of the idea of labor and giving birth, uh uh not me no way. I would rather die. Because of movies and tv and all the screaming and drama.
By the time I was actually pregnant I had learned a lot about the strength of women around the world and throughout all of history, not just here and now. Obviously, if labor were that terrible, we would have gone extinct a long time ago.
I had a great childbirth instructor (NOT from a hospital- they teach you how to lie down, shut up, and demand your epidural) who was also a hypno-birth instructor. I homebirthed with a midwife and my hypno-birth doula, in complete confidence and very peacefully. My contractions were less than 5 minutes apart for the first 12 hours and not painful at all. It was like being squeezed just to the point of pain, then slowly released. My DH said when I had a contraction, I looked like a deflated balloon-completely limp and not moving. I was really tired, but not in serious pain. When the midwife said, if you want to have the baby, you can push whenever you want...I pushed. It hurt a lot. I said to myself, you have to do this, get it over with and you will have a baby. Yes, crowning was really, really painful, but it lasted for just a few moments.
I had more pain the next morning than through the whole labor and birth.
This was the best advice anyone ever gave me! It hurts- I know there are some women who have non-painful births but for me- yes it hurt- my water broke before contractions started then after it broke they started coming one minute apart and lasting one minute long! This lasted for 18 hours- however they stalled at one point then got incredibly intense at others. BUT I just took each contraction as it came and tried to get through it- and I did- you just have to turn your brain off- don't try to reason through it- don't say "well I'm 4 cm and it took 6 hours to get here I can't do this anymore!" don't look for a way out- don't allow yourself the option of "getting an epidural if you can't take the pain" because you will end up with the epi. Most importantly remember you CAN do it- it will hurt but you are STRONG and you will be so happy you didn't get pain meds when you experience the rush of euphoria that comes after birth and lasts for a week!
also WATER- being in a pool of warm water was like heaven- it helped so much when the contractions were so intense I didn't think I could take it!
Jen Mama of 2 precious boys (9) (6) and still in with my Matt after 12 years together.
Domestic Violence Children's Advocate and Counselor
Somebody asked me after my dd was born if labor was the most painful thing I ever felt. I said no. When I hurt my knee the previous summer it hurt worse. My contractions started out two minutes apart and stayed that way throughout my entire labor. (about 11 hours) The contrax did hurt but it was bearable pain. They didn't feel any worse during tranistion, I was just a little more emotionally fragile right then. I stalled at 9 1/2 cm for awhile and i felt pushy. They threatened me with a c/s if i pushed. That was the worst part was to not push. Once i started pushing that baby was out in an hour. i was actually surprised when a baby came out. :LOL i was totally caught up with pushing i had lost all sense of time and why i was there. it felt good to me to push. though, i didn't have a birth orgasm or anything like that.
Thanks for the great advices, and keep on saying them, I am here to read and learn from you!
Liv, SAHM of 3 kiddos
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