Belief in a no pain labor/birth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am reading a book now (Ina May's guide to childbirth) and it basically says (not exact words) that birth is only as painful as you think it will be. Well with DS, I totally believed he was just going to "fall out" and birth was not going to be painful. Long story short, it was painful.

Now this was a long time before I started reading this book (and hearing the idea that if you believe its not painful, it wont be) I still dont think it should be painful and think the reason I experienced pain last time was because I was induced. I believe that allowed to labor naturally, it wouldn't be painful. Am I right in thinking this? Or do I need to reevaluate my birth plan?
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#2 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 03:49 PM
 
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You should look into hypnobirthing or hypnobabies. Their belief is that childbirth without fear is childbirth without pain (basically, I think, but it of course goes deeper than that). I wouldn't discount it without looking into it. There are a lot of woman that have had pain free natural births.

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#3 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 03:52 PM
 
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I consider my births to have been pain-free. Not that I was sitting eating a lollipop and drinking mimosas; the contractions were HARD WORK...but not painful for me. It was "uncomfortable" but not painful.

FYI, I was raised by a mother who experienced an estatic birth with my sister. So, not only was I raised believing that natural birth was hard work (but doable), birth could actually be intensely pleasurable. I believe this shaped the way I approached birth and in turn, the way I experienced it.
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#4 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 03:56 PM
 
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I don't believe it. I'm a labor Doula and a firm supporter of natural childbirth and I've had two natural childbirths but there was pain. The second one was more painful than the first. It was very intense and lots of back pain, I think it was because of DS's position (hand on back of head). I wish I were one of those women who had an ecstatic birth!

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#5 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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I absolutely belileve it. I read a lot of wonderful books such as this while pg and. Maybe it was Laura Shanley (???) who said that some cultures don't have the belief that that labor is painful, and so it isn't. We have no other ideas, and so mostly it is. My first was so scary and painful, my 2nd so much less so. Still pain, yes, but maybe that was because I couldn't completely let go of the idea. Then again, Laura had all pain-free births. Perhaps some women just experience no pain and others will. I have heard women say there was no pain in their births.

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#6 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 05:18 PM
 
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I think some women give birth with little to no pain and other don't. We are all so different and there's probably a million reasons why is hurts so much or doesn't hurt much at all.

I really liked Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent...she talks about how she thought if you "did it right" there wouldn't be pain...her first birth was incredibly painful, her 2nd no pain until the very end. She thought she figured out painless childbirth, until she had her 3rd.

I wanted to be quiet and dignified in labor b/c I saw a video where the laboring woman was so calm and it was such a beautiful birth and I knew it was possible and I wanted to do it that way, but that's not how I handle labor. I make alot of undignified noise when I labor and push, but really that's okay b/c it's much better to honor who I am than to try to reach some "ideal" birth by being someone I'm not.

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#7 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 05:18 PM
 
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i don't believe it and i think it is a bad expectation to have. some women do have painless births. some women orgasm during birth. that doesn't mean everyone will. i think you can relax and accept the pain that you do have and not let it overwhelm you, but to say that every woman can potentially have a painless birth is false IMO.
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#8 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 05:19 PM
 
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I've had two pain-med free births (both in a hospital with a m/w attending). The first was definitely painful. I was *begging* for the epidural, and, without my doula, I surely would have succumb. For my second birth, I used hypnobirthing -- there are no courses where I live, so I was self-taught with a CD and the book. I would say that my labor was pain-free until the last 1/2 centimeter and pushing (about 20 minutes total). I think it was a combination of factors: (1) I wasn't afraid of the experience (whereas I was deathly afraid with my first), (2) I had an "easy" and short labor, (3) I practiced the hypnobirthing imagary and breathing techniques.

I NEVER in a million years would have thought a pain-free birth was possible. But it was for me!
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#9 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 05:21 PM
 
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What's an "ecstatic birth"? (Sorry if that is a stupid question.)
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#10 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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Not a stupid question!!! It's when you actually experience orgasm during birth.

I wish I was one who could have one too!!! (I know it's possible, but seems SO far away from what I experienced, I really can't imagine other than my mom explaining what she felt....).
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#11 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 06:12 PM
 
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I dunno. Your cervix is dilating, your uterus is trying to expel its contents, and a baby's head is being squeezed through your birth canal. I can't imagine that it would be pain-free. There's gotta be some discomfort there. I think that is natural, and for it to be pain-free (though there are degrees of pain) would be unnatural.
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#12 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 06:14 PM
 
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I love this article: http://www.compleatmother.com/articl...ain_free.shtml

(If you only read positive birth stories, don't read the following cesarean birth experience.)

There is a real connection between what we believe and pain (or lack of). I've experinced it first hand. I had a 60 hour drug-free natural labor. I never percieved it as pain, my biggest complaint that I was absolutely and completly exhausted. It was more than uncomfortable at times, but I wouldn't call it pain. Not sure there is a good word to describe it. Most of that labor was also back labor which was made things more difficult. But like I said, I wouldn't call it pain. Unfortuely, my DD was unable to drop (because of the cord) and after 60 hours of labor and making it to 9+ cm... I agreed to a cesarean birth. When I agreed (to the cesarean birth) and lost all hope in getting my natural VBAC.... I have never felt pain that intense in my entire life. I was in complete agony!!! It wasn't because I was in a different stage of labor, the only thing that had changed was my hope and belief that I was going to be able to have my baby naturally. So in my experience, one minute I was dealing with labor well, then after all hope of getting my VBAC was gone, I was in complete agony. The mind plays a big role in how we deal with labor/ birth.

The mind is the difference between pain and suffering. What happens when you stub your toe? Obviously, your toe is hurt (but most likely not seriously hurt). Most people will grab their toe or "shake off the pain". Some will hop up and down and may say a few words. Well, when you hurt your toe and you grab it (shake it, etc), you are using physical measures to counter the pain. It's your body's automatic response to dealing with pain. You can usually get the pain under control by using these measures, and it soon becomes an uncomfortable sensation rather than pain. But have you ever been around a person who carries on and just swears it's the worst pain of their life and they are convinced they're going to die from the pain? This person is suffering...it's not just pain anymore. They're making the pain much worse....and much harder to deal with. This same principle applies to childbirth. You need to deal/ work with your body during childbirth to make it tolerable. When you fight it and believe you can't do it...you're working against your body making it more painful than it really is. Tensing your body will always make things more painful (remember the shaking the pain off when you stub your toe makes your muscles more limp and less tense). So prepare and have many different pain relieving techniques available to use during labor/birth. (Birthing From Within, my DH and doula made mt labor tolerable.) Staying positive and confident is a must...not only for the mother, but her birthing team as well. The birthing team should be supportive, encouraging, and knowledgeable.
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#13 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 06:41 PM
 
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I had a VBAC last week...I can honestly say it was "pain" free. But it was not "discomfort" free or effortless. DD2 did not just fall out, my body didn't push her out on it's own, and it's not the way I would have choosen to spend a random afternoon!

However I know it was pain free since the birth ended in shoulder dystocia and a 4th degree tear...and the local pain med they used during the repair didn't "take" completely. So I felt a lot of the suturing. And THAT was painful. VERY painful. Nothing at all like the discomfort of labor and birth.

So yes, I think different women have different birth experiences and the same woman can have different experiences in different births. It's a complex physical and emotional dance! And it's important to know that there isn't a "right" way or a "wrong" way...it's all about being flexible and working with the birth you are having instead of focusing on the birth experience you didn't.

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#14 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 10:11 PM
 
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I believe it is possible for some women. After all, mamas in this very thread have had the experience. I do not believe it is possible for me. I am hypersensitive to any stimulus, and that is what makes me up. Heat bothers me a lot more than others, tiredness bothers me a lot more than others, and pain affects me a lot more than others too. Given biological differences we all have (and who can deny those?), consider the pain perception process. Yes, it is mental, but there is also a physiological factor and our myelin sheaths are more or less effective, our nervous systems are all different, and our brain chemical levels all vary.
We do not all experience any sensation the same way; pain is no different and I have learned that I am sensitive and experience pain with more intensity than others in similar situations. Plus, our bodies all labour and birth differently. Some births are actually easier than others--shorter, more efficient. Our bodies are all different and I really do not believe that if only we thought it our labours and births wouldn't hurt.

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#15 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 10:27 PM
 
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I do think that we are socialized to expect that labor is painful and frightening - and therefore, many women go into the experience expecting (and fearing) that.

When we are scared, sensations are more vivid IMO. So, we are scared - and that magnifies the pain we're experiencing.

NOT that that happens for everyone. Mom had 7 of us. She told me, "Labor is like menstrual cramps." And, honestly - that's pretty much what it was like for me. I'd wondered whether she and my sister were sugarcoating it, but really it was like that for me. Despite back labor with Ina, it still wasn't *that* painful. Maybe it helps that my family tends to have quick labors, too ...? I've certainly experienced more pain (like, afterwards, my tailbone KILLS for several weeks/months).

And, I wouldn't say I'm 'tough' or have a high pain threshold. I have a very tender mouth, I hate going to the dentist for instance.

I think the keys are to really understand/know what happens during labor, to mom and baby - what to expect from your support team - and to think through what you'll need (and recognize that you may not "know" til you're there, so do lots of research). I'd read that lots of women become prickly and don't want to be touched etc. towards the end of their labor - not for me. DH hoped (and fortunately was correct) that humor would help me relax .... we talked about what I'd read *might* happen in terms of not wanting to be touched or etc., but just relaxed and went with it and were fine.

I tell moms - relax. Do your research, take some classes if they're available, write a birth plan, and remember - women have been doing this since the beginning of time. So we can do this!! Relax, relax, relax.

I do know it hurts more when I don't consciously relax - when I was being distracted by staff at dd2's birth (I have a heart condition and require an IV) - the contractions were much more painful than when I stopped, refocused, and embraced the contraction/relaxed.

Mom said one of the OBs she had over the years tried to get her to do hypnobirth (he did it with many patients) but she didn't do it ever - NCB'd all 7 of us.

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#16 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 11:31 PM
 
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I dunno. Your cervix is dilating, your uterus is trying to expel its contents, and a baby's head is being squeezed through your birth canal. I can't imagine that it would be pain-free. There's gotta be some discomfort there. I think that is natural, and for it to be pain-free (though there are degrees of pain) would be unnatural.
To me, discomfort doesn't equal pain. I can be uncomfortable without it being painful. Pain-free (IMO) doesn't mean it's a walk in the park. It can command focus, it can demand my attention, it can be hard; but not painful. Your body's doing what it's supposed to...not some crazy, outlandish activity.

Also, so are you suggesting that because my mom experienced orgasm during birth that my sister's birth was somehow un-natural? I don't get it!
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#17 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 11:41 PM
 
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I also believe in painfree birth, and agree that birth is not meant to be a comfortable relaxing experience.

Somehow, when people hear "pain-free birth", they think it is without discomfort or effort. There is a huge difference between pain and discomfort.

Fear, and being unprepared mentally/emotionally, can really bring out the pain. Also, most women in America give birth while flat on their back, which is one of the most painful, unnatural methods of "natural birthing" I know of. Looking at birth from that perspective, one would definitely wonder, "How is a pain-free birth possible?"

The mind is a powerful thing, and removing our negative thoughts and fears can do wonders for our birthing experience.

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#18 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 11:45 PM
 
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nak

I think a lot of it depends on the birthing environment as well. You should cross post this in the unassisted forum. There seems to be a higher incidence of pain free/orgasmic births among that circle. Perhaps a lot of it has to do with how uninhibited you can feel in your birth space. In the book Unassisted Childbirth a nurse (maybe a dr.? cant remember) is asked what the difference is between an orgasmic contraction and a labour one. Same body parts contracting after all. The person could only reply with one hurts and the other doesn't. All sorts of things that can go into aside from belief though that does impact it a lot.

ETA: Also, I think we, as people, are very out of tune with what is considered "pain" and what isn't. I think a lot of people (especially first timers) assume the pressure in labour/childbirth is pain. While it can be it isn't always. We are so trained to think birth is painful that we assume everything we feel during that time is in fact pain.

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#19 of 139 Old 06-17-2007, 11:52 PM
 
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I would describe my own labor as fairly easy as labors go, but certainly not pain-free, though I was quite confident and prepared, with little fear. But I think too many people have experienced pain-free birth for me to think it isn't possible. It certainly wouldn't hurt to look at what people who experience pain-free births did, and try it for yourself. Even if you do have pain, I bet it would be less than you would have had otherwise.

That said, I don't think pain has to be a bad thing. Pain is a part of the world, just the same as pleasure is, and you can't get through your life without experiencing both. So I think it's a good idea, if you do have pain, to accept it if you can't change it, and learn from it. I'm glad I had the pain I did in labor - it's helped me to be stronger. If I have to do something (like go to the dentist) that will hurt and be scary, I can tell myself, "This is nothing. I've already gone through a natural labor. I can do anything."

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#20 of 139 Old 06-18-2007, 12:12 AM
 
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If I have to do something (like go to the dentist) that will hurt and be scary, I can tell myself, "This is nothing. I've already gone through a natural labor. I can do anything."

hapersmion

Oooooh, the dentist. Now THAT is pain...I'm scared of the dentist...
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#21 of 139 Old 06-18-2007, 12:28 AM
 
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I don't believe it. I do think that our expectations can shape our perception of pain, and I think that a lack of fear can even reduce the pain (due to less tension). However, I think that saying, "if you don't think it will hurt, it won't" is a gross over-simplification. I've almost never experienced menstrual cramps (only a few times during puberty, and my first couple post-partum periods with ds1). That doesn't mean I get to claim that the women I've known who are in excruciating pain every cycle only feel that way because they expected to. Cramps may not be the same thing as labour, but they're definitely related.

FWIW, my second miscarriage was the single most physically painful experience of my life - worse than my sections (although it didn't last as long), worse than a torn ligament in my knee, worse than the labour I've had. I wasn't expecting it - my first one had hurt, but not that much. My third one didn't hurt that much. The second - I wanted to die...not just because I was losing another baby, but because I was in soooo much physical pain. My labour with ds1 hurt...and I didn't even realize it was labour for the first 5-6 hours. I really don't think my expectation had anything to do with it.

ETA: I do believe some women have painless labour. I just don't think it's something we can make happen through mental preparation.

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#22 of 139 Old 06-18-2007, 12:31 AM
 
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I had a VBAC last week...
OMG!! How did I miss this??? Congratulations!!

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#23 of 139 Old 06-18-2007, 12:40 AM
 
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I really liked Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent...she talks about how she thought if you "did it right" there wouldn't be pain...her first birth was incredibly painful, her 2nd no pain until the very end. She thought she figured out painless childbirth, until she had her 3rd.
This is SO true. I have had 7 children with labors ranging from really overwhelmingly painful to just uncomfortable, much like the above. My first was manageable with painful moments, my second merely uncomfortable and my 3rd knocked me over. I don't think I suddenly developed fear after my second. If anything, I "thought I had childbirth figured out"!

As for "some cultures experiencing painless childbirth", I think that argument has been debunked many times over. I am unaware of any culture that experiences no pain whatsoever in childbirth across the spectrum. Don't veiw it as the horror show that most American women do, perhaps. But not a painless walk in the park either.
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#24 of 139 Old 06-18-2007, 12:53 AM
 
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I am reading a book now (Ina May's guide to childbirth) and it basically says (not exact words) that birth is only as painful as you think it will be.
Birth is not inherently painful. Pain often has a pyschological basis. That does not mean, however, that birth pain necessarily has a psychological basis.

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Originally Posted by CMcC
But have you ever been around a person who carries on and just swears it's the worst pain of their life and they are convinced they're going to die from the pain? This person is suffering...it's not just pain anymore. They're making the pain much worse....and much harder to deal with. This same principle applies to childbirth. You need to deal/ work with your body during childbirth to make it tolerable. When you fight it and believe you can't do it...you're working against your body making it more painful than it really is. Tensing your body will always make things more painful (remember the shaking the pain off when you stub your toe makes your muscles more limp and less tense). So prepare and have many different pain relieving techniques available to use during labor/birth. (Birthing From Within, my DH and doula made mt labor tolerable.)
Ironically, Pam England believes that pain is normal and important to the process...

As for the idea women who make a lot of noise and complain etc. in labor are making things worse, it sounds so very reasonable, doesn't it? Negativity breeds negativity and all that? But what if emoting is rather a letting go?

With my first I had a midwife who was insistent that I labor like the women in Spiritual Midwifery -- quiet, soft, calm, "giving some" to the attendants. What my body wanted me to do was be loud, swear, jump around, grimace, but I tried to suppress that as best I could. It was stressful. I felt betrayed by my midwife because she believed that I was making my labor long and difficult because it was so painful and I couldn't "just relax" ("But have you ever been around a person who carries on and just swears it's the worst pain of their life and they are convinced they're going to die from the pain? This person is suffering...it's not just pain anymore. They're making the pain much worse....") and I felt betrayed by my body because it was telling me to do something that was "wrong". It took a tremendous amount of energy to try to do it "right". It was a traumatic birth not because of the pain itself, but because of the conflict. The result was physical injury and severe postpartum depression.

With my second I had done some reading and educating myself and decided that I was going to trust my body this time. My new midwife supported me in doing so, however that happened to look. I also had done a lot of reading about ecstatic and pleasurable birth and felt very confident about having a good birth this time. And indeed the first part of the labor was great. But then the baby dropped and the head pressed against my sacrum and it felt like my back was splitting apart. It was excruciatingly painful, torturous. I wailed. I swore. I screwed my face up. I bit the edge of the tub. I roared. I said things like, "HELP!" and "OH GOD!" and "I DON'T LIKE THIS." Interestingly, the labor was relatively short, and second stage was spontaneous and instinctive and quick and lovely. I loved the feeling of my baby coming out and tried as long as I could to hold onto the visceral memory of it. I felt like superwoman, powerful. 'Empowered' is an understatement.

My third was unassisted. My labor was longer (which I suspect the baby required) but followed the same pattern, with it becoming very painful at the end. Second stage was again fantastic, with a classic fetal ejection reflex.

My fourth, again, became excruciatingly painful toward the end despite a completely undisturbed labor, positive attitude, and enjoyable early labor. Three hours before the baby was born the torture began. But here's where it gets really interesting, and is the part I see as especially relevant to this discussion:

Two hours before the baby was born, the pain stopped. Completely. I sat back in my nest of cushions and felt up inside myself and was pleased to feel myself lubricated and engorged. I was flooded with endorphins that had been created in response to the pain, and now that I didn't have the pain demanding my attention, I was aware of them. It was rapturous. I thought to myself, ahhh, maybe I am going to get my pleasurable birth after all! Smiling, I nodded off to sleep, which also felt so incredibly good. I felt safe and secure and content. I estimate I slept for about an hour.

And then WHAM! I was hit with a fast-building contraction and was literally propelled onto my hands and knees and wailing through the agony. And again, because I did not hold back, and let myself yell and swear and thrash around etc. as my body compelled me to, I had a quick, lovely, normal second stage, and again felt great afterwards, emotionally and physically. No PPD.

The pain was psychological? Bullshit.

Here's what I think happened: there is something in my physiology that makes birth painful for me. I think I know what it is, but that's not relevant. What is relevant is that in my case it is not psychological, and it is insulting for people to imply that it is. Quite simply, they don't know what they're talking about. For me, to wail and shriek and scrunch my face up and say, "this hurts so bad," is the way I deal with the stress of the pain. That is what releases the tension, not trying to be calm when everything in my body is screaming out to do the opposite.

My first midwife thought she was right in her judgment of me and my situation, and that she was right to admonish me to not move around and make noises like a wild animal and to express that it was painful. But she was wrong, and it was that that made my first labor so awful, not the pain itself.
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#25 of 139 Old 06-18-2007, 01:56 AM
 
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I wanted to be quiet and dignified in labor b/c I saw a video where the laboring woman was so calm and it was such a beautiful birth and I knew it was possible and I wanted to do it that way, but that's not how I handle labor. I make alot of undignified noise when I labor and push, but really that's okay b/c it's much better to honor who I am than to try to reach some "ideal" birth by being someone I'm not.

Christa
Before birthing, I felt this exact same way too. I saw the video of the Russian woman (who I think was also a midwife herself?) who delivered her own baby in the glass tub and I thought it looked so peaceful and pain-free and not "messy" that I began focusing on having a graceful birth like that. Then, I went through Birthing From Within (based on Pam England's book) classes which helped me get rid of this crazy ideal. I'm not saying that wanting a graceful birth is crazy, but through the classes, I found out that for me personally, one of my hang ups was that I was a little scared of becoming a mess, wigging out or making a lot of noise during labor. I am SOOOOOO thankful I took those classes because funny enough, the pain-coping technique that I ended up utilizing was moaning through each contraction, which originally was the opposite of how I pictured myself in a serene, candle-lit room, not making a peep while pushing my baby out!

My midwife said to me once, "Whenever I go to a birth where there are candles lit and soft music playing, I think 'Oh sh*t...' because it makes me feel like the woman doesn't know that there's work to be done." Of course, some women do know that labor is well, laborious, and they still want candles and soft music playing, but I think her point is that you have to be realistic and know that there might be pain involved and to be prepared mentally, if there is. I love the way that Birthing From Within looked at it - it phrased it like, "What does the birth fairy have in store for you on the day you go into labor?" I think it's great because as much as you put positive vibes out there and focus on a pain-free birth, you might be that special someone who gets dealt back labor (like me!) or something more complicated.

Personally, preparing for birth reminded me of a bumper sticker I once saw - something like, "You can't prepare for war and prepare for peace at the same time." There's a fine line between focusing on a wonderful, pain-free birth, but also letting your mind explore what you might do or feel like if you did have a painful or complicated birth. I think letting yourself mentally explore the painful or complicated birth and then putting it behind you and focusing on a positive, pain-free labor is a good way to go. That way, you are intending for a wonderful labor, but if the "birth fairy" doesn't grant you one, you are at least somewhat prepared mentally for the alternative.
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#26 of 139 Old 06-18-2007, 03:04 AM
 
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I was convinced that labour would hurt maybe half as much as it actually did.

I think that people who gloss over how much it really hurts are doing first timers a disservice. The main reason I collapsed and asked for drugs was how totally unexpected the pain, and the *wrong* feeling of that pain was. I fell hook line and sinker for the "it's just hard work" line, and of course ignored anyone who patronisingly said I'd scream for drugs.

If just one person had said "yes, it hurts like nothing you'll ever feel again, and you will be convinced it's going terribly wrong, and will want to die from the pain, but you can do, just aim to be alive at the end". Then I would have had better preparation.
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#27 of 139 Old 06-18-2007, 03:04 AM
 
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My last birth was excruciating until I let go and relaxed. My husband told me not to be afraid and I looked right into his eyes during the contractions. Then it was so incredibly intense but was not painful. It was definitely different than anything I have ever experienced.
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#28 of 139 Old 06-18-2007, 04:08 AM
 
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To me, discomfort doesn't equal pain. I can be uncomfortable without it being painful. Pain-free (IMO) doesn't mean it's a walk in the park. It can command focus, it can demand my attention, it can be hard; but not painful. Your body's doing what it's supposed to...not some crazy, outlandish activity.

Also, so are you suggesting that because my mom experienced orgasm during birth that my sister's birth was somehow un-natural? I don't get it!
I think you are reading too much into my post. I have no idea about your mom or her experience.

All I am saying is that given the fact that your body is doing its darndest to expel something from your uterus, it seems normal that there would be some discomfort (or pain.) Yes, your body is doing what it is designed to do, not some outlandish activity, but it is something that doesn't happen to your body every day.

I'm glad your mom had an orgasmic birth. Un-natural - not necessarily, extremely uncommon - yes.
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#29 of 139 Old 06-18-2007, 03:11 PM
 
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I was so convinced that birth would be a mostly painless natural process that when I went into labor with my first I didn't even tell anyone... I seriously thought I could just easily handle it at home myself. Even when it started getting more and more painful than I expected I wasn't at all worried since I was used to having painful menstrual cramps (and until I experienced that I had never even heard of painful menstrual cramps -most people I knew didn't even know when they were menstruating and I had horrible pains half a day or so before I saw blood so it was several cylces before it was even realized it was menstrual cramps I was experiencing). Fortunately (to my mind) my dh was working long hours and slept through anything so all my agonizing went unnoticed by him, but the pain just kept getting worse and worse for me, I eventually literally lost my mind because the pain got so intense (and due to lack of sleep from the pain) -when I did have a small moment of clarity I realized I needed help and it was at that point I finally went into the hospital. I thought something had to be terribly wrong and therefor I needed to be in the hospital because how on earth else could birth be this horrifically painful? Everything was fine though besides me being completely out of my mind in pain (knowing everything was okay was reassuring but that didn't take away the pain). One good thing I suppose is that because the pain of labor was so bad when I tore that was like nothing. I never in my wildest imagination believed labor could possibly come anywhere close to the pain I experienced -it was quite a shocker!

Even with my second I wasn't expecting it to be that bad because I thought the second would be easier. I was planning on getting meds for that one though because there is no way I would ever consider having more children if I had to go through what I went through with my first again. I ended up in back labor (and no meds because the hospital was positive I wasn't really in labor...??? and even when they were finally convinced they couldn't get an IV in me correctly), but the back labor was actually welcome for me because by focusing on that pain, as horrific as it was (and I think it took me almost a year for my tailbone to fully recover) it helped take my mind off the other labor pains which were just too intolerable (that seems so crazy I know, I guess it's like squeezing someone's hand, or pinching your wrist or biting on leather to endure some other pain -I just needed something with a lot more punch to take the focus off my contractions).

With my third I fully expected it to be beyond painful -I ended up with an epidural but only because of some traumatic hospital experience not really the pain itself, so I can't say how bad it would've gotten, but I was definitely able to handle the early pain better with my third not having the expectation that it's not going to be that bad. I still got surprised with the afterbirth pains... I'd never experienced that before and never even heard of afterbirth pains and those were excrutiating for me, just like being in labor... so for me it doesn't seem like it's my beliefs that caused me to experience pain considering I had no idea the pain should even be there, but rather the experience of pain caused me to believe in it.
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#30 of 139 Old 06-18-2007, 03:36 PM
 
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The first one was difficult as I'd never gone thru it before and was not sure what to expect. Also it was long (started Saturday 8pm & labored lightly until Sunday at 5PM and then did not deliver until Monday at 3AM)...finally someone asked me what I was afraid of and it was mostly that I might tear. Once that was said things moved along faster and I did tear a little.

My DS's birth was only 7 hours and when it came time to push I could not believe that it seemed like only about 10 really hard pushes. I think I cracked a tooth during his delivery and some of the photos showed a dark line under my chin so I guess I really was bearing down. But as someone said in another thread, once you have that beautiful baby on your chest it all gets forgotten. Both my kids were drug free deliveries which makes me incredibly proud since they were totally drug free while inside me for 9 months too.

I cannot say enough for my doula (a great friend who was a delivery nurse for 20+ years). She reminded me to relax and breath. With the first birth we also did stretching exercises with DH during the transition phase and also several long soaks in the tub.

Just Ibuprofen after the delivery and not for very long. I think waiting until I was really ready to be at the hospital was the best suggestion I was given. Don't go there too early or they might try to interfere with the process.

WOHM (Formerly SAHM) - 2 cuties, 1 old man and a few animals
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