birth: it's like pooping, it's like sex...NOT rocket science - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 115 Old 01-09-2007, 02:41 PM
 
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I do feel that just as women experience labor differently (and after attending hundreds of women, I firmly believe that labor feels differently and is in fact different for different women) women's emotional response to their births is different, too.
This is a great point and I meant to mention it in my post. Thanks doctorjen for sharing your insights and experience.

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#92 of 115 Old 01-12-2007, 01:05 AM
 
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Thank you for your kind input, dflanag2.

Yes, it is possible that my childbirth experience wouldn't have been painful; it's always possible I would have been one of the few who really have a painfree experience. I felt the odds of that occurring were so low that the risk was far too great to assume. Better to not suffer the physical and emotional damage of a traumatic birth, especially when the risk is PTSD and PPD. For me, it did not feel like a control issue, but rather an issue of unendurable pain.

Personally, I've never met anyone who had anything close to a painfree birth, although I am certain these cases exist. If anything, the birth stories have been too awful to contemplate. I realize that sometimes people exaggerate, but birth always sounds like torture to me.

But your point is well taken and well thought out.
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#93 of 115 Old 01-12-2007, 01:27 AM
 
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OK - So add this one to the bunch...Did you all really find it "painful"?

I have to tell you - after birthing my last 9lb dd via VBAC - I found it the least painful of them all (vs- a csec and an induced VBAC). Was it the hardest? Yes! Was it the most demanding? Yes! Was it the most strenuous, difficult, exhausting, emotional, draining, consuming thing I've EVER experienced? Yes!
But it was NOT the most painful -
I've slammed my toe (broke it) and hopped around for 10-15 minutes crying because it hurt sooooo bad - but that is not the same way I would describe labor. It's not the same "pain"...does that make sense?? (I honestly think we need a new word to describe the feeling of childbirth - its unlike anything you can ever experience. Probably along the same lines as trying to describe an orgasm. There isn't really the "right" word to describe it)
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#94 of 115 Old 01-12-2007, 02:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dukeswalker View Post
OK - So add this one to the bunch...Did you all really find it "painful"?
I probably covered this one already, but in my case, YES. It felt like someone was slowly sawing my spinal cord in half. I once fell downstairs and probably broke my ankle (never got it checked out ....) and just lay on the floor screaming for several minutes. That was less painful than a single contraction.

I guess that's why they say back labor is so much worse.
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#95 of 115 Old 01-12-2007, 02:48 AM
 
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It was excruciating while I was at home. It was 100x worse than getting the tattoo on my ankle. I was begging for a chainsaw so I could cut the baby out of me.
But, once I got to the birth center and was told I was far enough along to stay (6cm at that point), I was fine. I meditated through the pain, and it wasn't so bad at all. So, I strongly believe that the pain I experienced wouldn't have happened if I had already been where I was planning to birth, so I could give myself "permission" to labor in the ways that were best for me. My fear, my tension, my inability to even consider breathing through the contractions or meditating or doing the hypnobirthing thing or getting in the water or moving around instead of laying in my bed screaming - those created the pain. I am convinced of that. And that's one of the reasons that I'm having a homebirth this time. I don't want to wait until I hit that magic dilation number before I labor in the ways that feel best for me.

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#96 of 115 Old 01-12-2007, 03:14 AM
 
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OK - So add this one to the bunch...Did you all really find it "painful"?
It felt like a giant had a side of my pelvis in each hand and was twisting. I have never felt such incredible agony in my life, not a broken bone, nor a dying tooth, or a bleeding ovary. It was incredibly, mindblowingly painful.
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#97 of 115 Old 01-12-2007, 10:13 AM
 
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When I was pregnant, dh and I talked about it and I compared it to someone "helping" you poop. Imagine you see a doctor to make sure you're pooping correctly. He says, "Let's do some tests and make sure everything's ok in there." So you get an anal exam, which is uncomfortable and intrusive, but just to make sure everything is ok (which it is). Then the doctor recommends a u/s, just to make sure the poop isn't too big to come out. So you get the u/s, and your doctor says, "Wow, that's a pretty big poop! You'd better let me know when you feel the need to go so we can make sure this turns out ok." Well, you're worried now - you never had trouble with pooping before, but heck. This one's BIG! So you go to the hospital when you feel like you might need to poop (but before you really have the urge) and people keep sticking their fingers up your butt to tell you whether or not you're ready to poop.

Ok, so that's kind of silly (I could continue the analogy but I'll stop there, lol - "Quick, he needs an episiotomy! Get the forceps!" ), and there is definitely more risk associated with childbirth than with pooping, but I do think it's a valuable analogy because it reminds us (as if we needed it) that birth IS a natural process the body is designed for, and if left unhindered and comfortable, will probably go much more smoothly than if interefered with. After talking with dh about it, he agreed that it would be pretty much impossible for him to poop with various people inspecting him and telling him what his progress was.

:

Having just had a beautiful hands-off, no vag exams birth, I LOVE this analogy! I LOVE this thread! I love all of you! (I have great hormones: )
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#98 of 115 Old 01-12-2007, 02:29 PM
 
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When I was pregnant, dh and I talked about it and I compared it to someone "helping" you poop. Imagine you see a doctor to make sure you're pooping correctly. He says, "Let's do some tests and make sure everything's ok in there." So you get an anal exam, which is uncomfortable and intrusive, but just to make sure everything is ok (which it is). Then the doctor recommends a u/s, just to make sure the poop isn't too big to come out. So you get the u/s, and your doctor says, "Wow, that's a pretty big poop! You'd better let me know when you feel the need to go so we can make sure this turns out ok." Well, you're worried now - you never had trouble with pooping before, but heck. This one's BIG! So you go to the hospital when you feel like you might need to poop (but before you really have the urge) and people keep sticking their fingers up your butt to tell you whether or not you're ready to poop.

Ok, so that's kind of silly (I could continue the analogy but I'll stop there, lol - "Quick, he needs an episiotomy! Get the forceps!" ), and there is definitely more risk associated with childbirth than with pooping, but I do think it's a valuable analogy because it reminds us (as if we needed it) that birth IS a natural process the body is designed for, and if left unhindered and comfortable, will probably go much more smoothly than if interefered with.
Ok, I admit. I laughed. It does sound silly. But it really is a good analogy. There are conditions that make pooping dangerous. Or lack of poop. A blood clot can cause constipation, its a serious condition that you need medical assitamce with. Sure most people don't have this but it does happen. Just like most women don't need help with childbirth but there are some that do. Or like my grandfather who nearly died from internal hemmoroids. Rare yes, again just like its rare to find a woman with true CPD. But it happens. It shouldn't be taken as the norm. But I love this analogy. I think Ina May used something similar didn't she?

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#99 of 115 Old 01-12-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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OK - So add this one to the bunch...Did you all really find it "painful"?
Yes, I found labor painful, though I think this was mainly due to the combination of the labor and the debilitating sciatica I was experiencing at the same time.

Even in combination, those things were not the most painful thing I've ever experienced. The most painful thing I've ever experienced was the time I threw out my back about 12 years ago. During that, it took me an hour to crawl about 15 yards to the toilet. Labor was not only less painful, but also had the advantage of not being a continuous pain.

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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#100 of 115 Old 01-12-2007, 03:49 PM
 
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OK - So add this one to the bunch...Did you all really find it "painful"?
With my first there was pain. He was posterior with his hand up & I don't think the hypnosis I did for it was very effective - HypnoBirthing. That said, it was about 1 1/2 - 2 hours of mindblowing pain. I felt like my back and hips were being pulled apart. Each ctx on top of each other was a fight to get through. I kept thinking drugs would be nice if it made the pain stop, yet I was so much in birth land, I didn't want to leave my homebirth. I thought it would be too much effort.

With my second I did a different hypnosis program - Imagery Birthing. I like it the best with HypnoBabies as a 2nd choice. I really did not feel pain. I felt intensity & exhuastion during her middle of the night birth, but not pain. I laughed as she was crowing. It was beautiful.

With my third, it was a fast furious birth. I again did Imagery Birthing from about 22 weeks, practicing daily. 1 hour and 40 minutes from my water breaking to me holding her in my arms. It was just as intense as my other births, just condensed into a shorter amount of time. If anything looking back, I was more confused than in pain. I wasn't sure of where my bearings were. I didn't quite know what to do with myself. I was glad my partner knew me so well, I really would have done whatver he suggested at that point. Glad he suggested cuddling in bed with him rather than swinging from the chandelier though!

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#101 of 115 Old 01-12-2007, 05:12 PM
 
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OK - So add this one to the bunch...Did you all really find it "painful"?
I am sure not "all" found it painful, but for those that have said they did, they mean . . . YES. I was surprised, too, at how horrifically painful it was. I had a properly positioned, 8 lb baby. But shortly after about 30 min of transition I said "I don't want to do this anymore." As that continued, it became more and more difficult to bear. It continued for over 7 hours, with ctx about 2 min apart and lasting about 60 sec. I'm not sure, because I wasn't paying attention except while we were in the car. Nothing much changed, in pain or intensity, during those 7+hours. They were all agonizingly painful. And I relaxed, and breathed, and waited through them until I couldn't wait anymore (and then I transferred to the hospital, found out I was ready to push, and had dd 25 min later). Pushing was also horrifically painful. Agony is the word I most often use to describe the pain. In addition to that, it just felt . . . HORRIBLE. My back, belly, uterus, and pelvic floor were all in horrendous pain during each contraction.

So, yes, I really did find it "painful" from transition on forward. Before that, while there was pain with a contraction, mostly it just felt like deep penetration during sex. That part was very manageable and just fine. I would even say I liked it.

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#102 of 115 Old 01-12-2007, 06:56 PM
 
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Wow...I have to totally, honeslty say how surprised I am....really! EVen with my face up - coming with her hand covering her face out baby - I still never really thought of it as painful. My induced VBAC - He** YES! That was PAIN! Felt like I was being gutted, literally. I had an epidural by 4 cm. With my last - I didn't even go to the hospital until I was about 8 cm - As long as I stayed off of my back (hands and knees or side postion for me, thank you very much) I wouldn't decribe it as painful. Granted there WAS a moment after getting to the hospital, that I looked into dh eyes and said "I can't do this!" DH and my MW looked at me and said "You ARE doing it - and you're doing great..." But still - not painful.

The stiches afterward???? PAINFUL!
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#103 of 115 Old 01-13-2007, 01:07 AM
 
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In my first birth, I thought was actually dying, and I welcomed it.

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#104 of 115 Old 01-13-2007, 01:23 AM
 
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I don't understand how anyone can feel safe while they're experiencing pain that makes them want to shoot themselves. Maybe we have different definitions of safe. In my case, I didn't CARE that I was loved or supported. I'd rather have been unloved and in less pain if I'd had a choice.
I think that before I'd given birth I would have said the same thing. Even now, thinking about it, it makes sense, shouldn't I just be able to shrug off the negativity and it would be lovely as long as it wasn't excruciatingly painful. But it wasn't like that. All I can think is that I was so emotionally vulnerable and open -- not like I am normally -- that the negativity was able to wound me in a way that the physical pain could not. All four of my births were similarly painful. But it was only the first for me -- in which I felt attacked and desperate and scared and unsupported -- that was traumatic.
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#105 of 115 Old 01-13-2007, 01:53 AM
 
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For those of you who believe that childbirth is essentially an instinctive process for which conscious thought on the part of the mother is counter-productive:

Given that, before the advent of modern medicine, women and babies used to die in childbirth in much larger numbers than they do today, is it your contention that while the mother should avoid thinking during childbirth, it is the job of her birth attendants to do the thinking for her? For example, by identifying situations in which some assistance may be required?
Before the advent of modern medicine, there was also a "before the advent of widespread nutrition and sanitation." The death rates would have gone way down without obstetrics involving itself with the majority of births, and I believe that if we were to stop routinely managing births they would go down even farther, and complication rates would go WAY down.

So no, it's not my contention that birth in general needs somebody to think about it in order to happen optimally.

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If it were possible for the mother to take drugs which would disassociate her conscious mind from awareness of her body altogether, do you think that would lead to better birth outcomes?
By "conscious mind" I assume you mean neocortex, since there are different kinds of consciousness. If those drugs had no other effects, yes, it would be lead to better birth outcomes. Absolutely.
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#106 of 115 Old 01-15-2007, 04:09 PM
 
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Birth 1: Birth center attended by midwives: Contractions felt like large menstrual cramps, it was very intense and you couldn't think about much else, but quite tolerabe. Intense like riding a really good roller coaster. The pushing part was extremely hard work (I'm small and had to stretch around my 10 lb ds w/14.5 inch head but it was painless because I was just numb after awhile (I pushed for 2.5 hours) I didn/t feel Ring of Fire or when I tore or anything, in fact I had the MW put her fingers where I needed to push towards so I would have a target. There were other discomforts, like feeling like I was going to throw up (didn't want to--I was too busy trying to get the baby OUT) and being completely exhausted.

On the other hand, like dukeswalker said, the stitching afterwards was extremely painful even with local anisthetic. My muscles ached (arms, legs, back) for days afterwards. For four hours afterwards I was thinking to myself, I'm never doing THIS again... but the that oxytocin kicked in and stained all my birth recollections in a more positive light... hey, that wasn't so bad!

Second baby was a homebirth and dd beat the midwives by 5 min or so... again heavy menstrual cramps and INTENSE--I felt like I was running a marathon, working up a good sweat, hitting a good pace. Transition felt like my body was a lawnmower or motorcycle, vibrating growling shaking... for a few minutes I was thinking that I was going to run out of steam, it was so intense. Then when I realized it was time to push (hooray!) it felt great--like a really big satisfying poop, as a matter of fact! The only discomfort was the burning of Ring of Fire and dh gave me a perineal compress which felt awesome. DD was born in 3 pushes, no tearing or anything, and SHE was bigger than her brother! Her labor was 2.5 hours total.


Observation: I think one factor in the pain question is whether you are in good physical shape (along with obvious factors such as baby's position, etc.) I did Jazzercise when pregnant with both up to a couple days before she was born--low impact of course-- and I think that had a lot to do with the ease of birth and the mother's perception of pain... since pregnant women in our culture are advised to 'take it easy' and Americans are pretty sedentary in general I think that contributes to pain in childbirth along with fear, ignorance, intervention, etc. I say get out there and work up a sweat! Walk, swim, ride bikes, yoga, aerobics, the muscle tone will come in handy, as well as the cardiovascular benefits that will supply more oxygen to you and your baby.

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#107 of 115 Old 01-25-2007, 07:58 PM
 
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Did I find it painful? Yes, but like a PP said, it's a different kind of pain. It's a productive pain that is working towards an end, instead of a pain where your body says to you "hey you did something wrong". Before birth, the worst "female" pain I'd had was menstrual cramps, but even then I knew that labor would be different. The menstrual cramps just came and stayed. Labor pains started out with the intensity of menstrual cramps, but they came and went and came and went. I found it helpful to just keep remembering that the individual labor pains as well as labor overall would not last forever.

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#108 of 115 Old 02-01-2007, 01:10 PM
 
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Rocket science? Maybe not. Worst pain I've ever experienced in my life? Yes. First experience I've ever had that made me wish I were dead? Yes. There's no possibility of feeling safe and secure when you're in that kind of pain. There's nothing nice or sexy about it. I had the hot tub, dim lights, CDs of my favorite soothing music, a good birth plan drawn up. When the time came, I realized that I couldn't care less about the lighting or the music or any of the rest of it. Poked and prodded? Sure, whatever. I didn't care what anyone did. Nothing mattered to me anymore. I'd have taken heroin if you'd offered it to me then. Anything to stop the pain.

Simple process, maybe, but it sure as hell isn't easy.
I am truly sorry about your experience.

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#109 of 115 Old 02-01-2007, 08:13 PM
 
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On pooping...my friend recently had a baby and was telling me about it. This is what she said:

"What they don't tell you about is the pressure. Evie, remember when you were constipated in college and had to have an enema because you were bursting blood vessels in your face; I kept thinking of that."

It made me laugh to think she had flashbacks to MY constipation experience.
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#110 of 115 Old 02-02-2007, 04:35 PM
 
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I don't mean to take away from this thread's original message, but I would like to see more support and validation in the natural birthing community for women whose labors are excruciatingly painful and difficult despite their preparation and best efforts. I get depressed when I see so many threads saying things like "labor is easy and natural!" and "it doesn't hurt that much!" because reading that kind of thing over and over left me unprepared for what I actually experienced.


Mama, my labors were easy, but I GET you 100%. How? For me, BFing, especially my 2nd DD, seemed anything but easy and natural. I had BF my 1st for over 2 years-- I was experienced. But my 2nd refused to nurse longer than a minute, suffered from no weight gain, and I had a very difficult time with it all. It was like a nightmare. 3 lactation consultants, about $1000 later (IBLC fees, supplies, etc.), and countless hours of research, she learned to nurse. That didn't exactly feel "natural and easy" to me.

Let me tell you, that experience left me with a whole new outlook about everything-- to not be so flip about so-called "natural" things. Nature does NOT work perfectly. It does in the larger sense (survival of the fittest) but that doesn't mean it works perfectly for us as individuals. As per the OP's example, some people actually DO have issues with sex and pooping. Does that make them inferior?

I think it is very, very dangerous to look at any issue in black and white terms. While many people into NP and AP are horrified when judged by the "mainstream," some of them feel it is OK to judge others. I don't get it.

Re: did I find it painful? At a certain point, yes, I wanted to die. Thankfully, that was a brief period for me, right before I had to push. I experienced gallbladder attacks that were just the same, though (so, men CAN feel what it is like to be in labor if they have them!) and I didn't have any pain medication . . .so I figured if I could do it without getting a baby at the end, it would be OK.

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#111 of 115 Old 02-02-2007, 05:30 PM
 
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I don't mean to take away from this thread's original message, but I would like to see more support and validation in the natural birthing community for women whose labors are excruciatingly painful and difficult despite their preparation and best efforts. I get depressed when I see so many threads saying things like "labor is easy and natural!" and "it doesn't hurt that much!" because reading that kind of thing over and over left me unprepared for what I actually experienced.
During labor, I vowed to myself that I'd never think any less of a woman who chose an epidural, 'cause boy was that pain a nightmare. I even started thinking to myself "this is why women do non-medical planned c-sections!"

However, after all was said and done fortunately the pain became a blurred memory while the excitement of it all stayed. That's why I find myself glossing over the pain when discussing my birth with others. My dh had to correct me one time when I was telling my sister about it and I said, "Yeah, it wasn't that bad..." It was like I had forgot that part of it and only remembered the positives. It makes me wonder if many of those "it doesn't hurt that much" posts are actually of the same nature.
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#112 of 115 Old 02-02-2007, 05:44 PM
 
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It makes me wonder if many of those "it doesn't hurt that much" posts are actually of the same nature.

nak

For me? No way - I remeber my induced VBAC - hurt more than anything I had ever experienced....My natural 2nd VBAC was nothing like that.
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#113 of 115 Old 02-02-2007, 06:52 PM
 
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I agree, but I think that different "signposts" would be more helpful. For example, when DS was born, my mother was attending me. She didn't do cervical checks, but because she understood how birth works, she said things that made me know I was "progressing" like, "Baby can only come out further now -- there is only one way out!" "Baby is almost here!" I would say, "I can't do it." She would say, "But, you *are* doing it." I am sure that I felt reassured and perfect (in the process) because she is my mother and I trust her completely.
I just want to say how sweet this sounds.

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OK - So add this one to the bunch...Did you all really find it "painful"?
I have found my births painful, but not so painful that I was going out of my mind, iykwim. As long as I could move around, it was manageable. I labour at night, and it gets difficult near the end when I am more tired and need more to move around to help with the pain. But I've had headaches that were more painful than labour, and I don't even get migraines. But the problem is that there isn't much that I can do to help those headaches, save for big doses of tylenol and going to sleep. Pacing, squatting, hot showers, etc. don't really help.

I think us natural, birth-doesn't-have-to-be-so-painful types come on strong because we hear *all the time* IRL how painful birth *always* is, no exceptions. I think it's easy to forget that there are also exceptions to the idea that, if you have a better birth environment, the pain will be more likely to be manageable.

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#114 of 115 Old 02-02-2007, 07:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dflanag2 View Post
Observation: I think one factor in the pain question is whether you are in good physical shape (along with obvious factors such as baby's position, etc.) I did Jazzercise when pregnant with both up to a couple days before she was born--low impact of course-- and I think that had a lot to do with the ease of birth and the mother's perception of pain... since pregnant women in our culture are advised to 'take it easy' and Americans are pretty sedentary in general I think that contributes to pain in childbirth along with fear, ignorance, intervention, etc. I say get out there and work up a sweat! Walk, swim, ride bikes, yoga, aerobics, the muscle tone will come in handy, as well as the cardiovascular benefits that will supply more oxygen to you and your baby.

-dflanag2
Yep I really disagree. I was in fabulous shape with my first two and i still had pain during labor.

For the pain questions absolutely I had pain. Was it because both were posterior? Quite possibly so but it was painful and I was at home and relaxing and breathing and thinking that I could do it and not being hampered by anyone else's perceptions and it was painful. And pushing wow the pushing was waaaay worse than I expected because everyone else talked about how good pushing felt. I did not feel that way. It felt bad and painful and burning. Now what felt totally totally awesome was the feeling when their bodies slipped out of me. Wow what incredible fantastic relief and the huge burst of endorphins and the high of knowing I did it yeah that was all great but I was ready, I was prepared, I trusted my body and it still hurt like hell and I absolutely would do it again. It was pain but it was worthwhile pain. It was bearable pain.

I don't really agree with the entire it's not rocket science, it's like sex or pooping. It's just not like that for me. Birth is a big thing. Sex and pooping are not. Sex feels good and for me birthing does not (until afterwards) and it is not something that needs to be private in the sense of only me or only DH. And pooping yeah just not at all the same. It may not be rocket science but I just can't agree that it's this wonderful orgasmic experience if you just open yourself up the right way so I have to say that I do agree with PPs who objected that it can make it seem that the implication is that those of us who gave birth without meds or interventions but did feel pain somehow did something wrong. It's like where does it end? If I didn't do it in a hut on a plain by myself then it's painful but if I would just do it there somehow it wouldn't be? I just doubt that somehow.
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#115 of 115 Old 02-03-2007, 12:21 PM
 
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What I find really interestying is that, in general, most other cultures do not describe child birth as painful....
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