traumatized by natural birth pain - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I gave birth 2 and a half months ago, and I still feel hypersensitive to the idea of pain. I prepared well for natural childbirth - I read a lot of books, and discussions and birth stories here on MDC, I had a midwife and a doula. I was highly motivated to have a natural birth, and I'm proud of myself that I did it. But it was painful! I'm still not over it. Just the idea of pain is giving me a lot of anxiety. I'm terrified of ever getting pregnant again, and I know if it happens accidentally, I would want an epidural as soon as possible. I feel so broken.

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#2 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 01:33 PM
 
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I completely understand!!! I was you after my dd's birth. I had pretty much full-blown PTSD as a result of the pain. It was unimaginable. It took me about 18 months to really work through it to the point where I was even able to consider having another child. I was completely messed up psychologically for so long....I cried daily, because I wanted more kids, but felt I could NEVER go through that again. But....after 2 years, I was okay, and now am expecting number #2 in about 8 weeks, and am dealing with the thought of another labor....a concept which would had leveled me 3 years ago.
It hopefully will get better, give yourself time to work through it. And don't be afraid to feel what you feel.

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#3 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 01:35 PM
 
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I think what you are feeling is competly normal. I have given birth 7 times and you know what? I feel terrified to get pg, when I am pg I am terrified of giving birth. I think I drive dh nuts constantly asking him if I can do it. I say over and over and over, I can do this, I can do this. I have had 2 very painful births, where I forgot I was giving birth the pain was so bad. There is no one word to describe how painful it was. I wished for death. I have talked to other women who say the same thing. Its nothing you did wrong. No amount of preparing can help you deal with some pain. I will give you some encouragment and say not every birth is going to be that painful. I have had virtually pain free births before. But its those painful ones that make me crazy. I decided that I couldnt let fear make my decisions for me so I did go on to have more kids but it doesn't mean I am all confident. No, even when I realize I am in labor I get scared. This last time I nearly had a panic attack when my water broke. I calmed myself down, and then got down to the business at hand but omg the fear is almost as bad as the pain! It paralizes you, you can't think straight. You are not broken, you are a normal momma. And you are definetly not alone.

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#4 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 01:38 PM
 
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I think what you are feeling is competly normal. I have given birth 7 times and you know what? I feel terrified to get pg, when I am pg I am terrified of giving birth. I think I drive dh nuts constantly asking him if I can do it. I say over and over and over, I can do this, I can do this. I have had 2 very painful births, where I forgot I was giving birth the pain was so bad. There is no one word to describe how painful it was. I wished for death. I have talked to other women who say the same thing. Its nothing you did wrong. No amount of preparing can help you deal with some pain. I will give you some encouragment and say not every birth is going to be that painful. I have had virtually pain free births before. But its those painful ones that make me crazy. I decided that I couldnt let fear make my decisions for me so I did go on to have more kids but it doesn't mean I am all confident. No, even when I realize I am in labor I get scared. This last time I nearly had a panic attack when my water broke. I calmed myself down, and then got down to the business at hand but omg the fear is almost as bad as the pain! It paralizes you, you can't think straight. You are not broken, you are a normal momma. And you are definetly not alone.
I just want to say that this is the sweetest, most loving comment I've ever seen on this forum : Thank you for sharing that
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#5 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 01:45 PM
 
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I can also relate to being traumatized by natural childbirth pain. It took me almost 2 yrs to get over it and feel like I could have another child. I am also due in 8-10 wks and have arranged a doula, but spoke very frankly with her and my midwives that if I wanted to have an epidural, they by gosh, I need them on my side. The PTSD and PPD I had after the first one affected my whole family so badly, I don't want to go through that again if I can make it easier on myself somehow. To me the benefits outweigh the risks psychologically. You're not alone. Give yourself time, talk, get counselling, process the experience. It takes time to heal.

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#6 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 01:57 PM
 
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I also had an extremely painful birth that was traumatizing. I had mild PTSD for months afterwards. I was semi-obsessed with trying to "figure out" the birth and couldn't write my birth story until my baby was about 7 mos old. It was too frightening to try and relive it through getting it down on paper, but like any really traumatic experience, writing it out was also a healing experience. It just took time.

I think at this point I'm resigned to the idea of another painful birth. I'm hoping it isn't like that, but I recognize that it could be as painful or more painful than when I gave birth to dd. Sometimes I still have moments of panic. I'm 21 weeks right now. Planning a homebirth and hoping for a better experience, but I also understand completely why someone would have an epidural. Last time, when we went to the hospital, I was so exhausted and in so much pain that I told dh if I had a long ways to go I was getting an epidural. I had already been in excruciating pain for about 7 hours at that point and couldn't manage another 6 or 7 hours. (All I had to do was push, so no epi.)

You're only two months from the experience now. It will get better. It won't fade into nothing, the way a lot of women say it does - because I think when you have an exceptionally painful birth it's seared in your memory. It's not going to go away. You'll always remember that it was very painful.

But I think there's also no guarantee for future births. They may be the same . . . they may be better. For me, despite the pain, I still feel NCB is worth it, and more dc are worth it. I'm perfectly willing to say that I hate NCB. I do it for the other benefits - less risk of injury, less risk of epidural-related or other complications, etc. I do not do it because I find anything appealing about the experience itself.

Give yourself time to work through this. It's not an easy thing, especially when you're well-prepared and expect pain or acknowledge the possibility of pain but not unmanageable or unbearable pain. I felt like my body had betrayed me in many ways, and that many of the NCB books I'd read had also lied to me/betrayed me. That level of pain was simply not manageable. And it wasn't short-lived, either - the extremely painful part of my birth was 8 hours long.

Health and healing to you. Time and reflection will help.
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#7 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:00 PM
 
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is pain relief in the next labor out of the question for you? i had an epidural with DD because the pain was so intense, and it was a wonderful experience. i know there's a lot of debate about the safety of an epidural, but i have researched it thoroughly, and i fully believe that all of the risks are to the mom, not the baby. and, risks to the mom are very small. i'm absolutely not afraid of labor pain with #2, because i know if it's really bad again, i have the option of pain relief.
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#8 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for commisserating! LOL It helps to read about and think about it.

Tis the season, for hot apple cider!
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#9 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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is pain relief in the next labor out of the question for you? i had an epidural with DD because the pain was so intense, and it was a wonderful experience. i know there's a lot of debate about the safety of an epidural, but i have researched it thoroughly, and i fully believe that all of the risks are to the mom, not the baby. and, risks to the mom are very small. i'm absolutely not afraid of labor pain with #2, because i know if it's really bad again, i have the option of pain relief.
If I would have had an epidural with this birth, it would have been bad. Baby had a knot in the cord where it was wrapped around his neck so it was pinched off when he entered the birth canal. He went into distress and I had to push him out as hard and fast as possible. If I had an epidural, I would have ended up with a C-section or instrument delivery, maybe a big episiotomy, and quite possibly a damaged or dead baby.

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#10 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:12 PM
 
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I don't know if this will help or not, but while my 2nd birth was as painful as my first, it was far less traumatic. I think, in my case, it was being at home. I was so much more in control that I felt able to stay on top of the pain much more than I could with my first. I think the self-hypnosis programs can be really helpful too. Hypnobabies seems to be the preferred method.

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#11 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:13 PM
 
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The pain from my first labor was traumatizing. I worked through my paralyzing fear of it the next time by doing hypnosis using the HypnoBabies program and by scripting my anxieties with the book "Feelings Buried Alive Never Die". Bach flower therapies helped, too. I also read the book "Back Labor No More" to help prepare on a practical level in the case of another back labor scenario.

My second labor was completely pain-free until I got to transition-- way different than the first time. The whole thing was relatively short and easy. I would DEFINITELY use HypnoBabies again.

♥ blogger astrologer mom to three cool kiddos, and trying to figure out this divorce thing-- Blossom and Glow ♥

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#12 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:13 PM
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Same here, and I'm also at 2.5 months.

I've felt so disconnected from my body, and traumatized. I wasn't afraid going into it and was very confident, but yes, it was 'ing painful!

Yesterday I took out an old self-hypnosis CD "Get more joy out of Sex-female" and it helped immediately in me feeling warm and more connected to my body and vagina again.

I've had issues with sex since giving birth because of the trauma.. I just hadn't felt the same on many levels, but its getting better the more I try and work through it.

Anyways, I'm committed to doing this CD again for a week or month,however long, but it really helped. I just plugged this guy yesterday on this forum, he's awesome! There might be other CD's of his that are more appropriate for you, but I'm broke (even though they're only $20) and this one has already gotten me to feel good again. I think he might have some for PTSD.

DH and I only want to have one child, he's getting a vasectomy next month, so I'm actually relieved that I won't go through it again. Its the most amazing expereince, but once is good for me

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#13 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:14 PM
 
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Just want to chime in and say, I feel you! My birth BLEW MY MIND with how painful it was. I had done Hypnobabies and prepared myself for a pain free birth. HA! Although to be fair I will say... NOTHING on this earth could have "helped" when I was in so much pain I literally wanted to crawl through the walls, anything to get away from it.

Luckily I was home, or you bet I would've had an epi! I will never judge a woman who gets an epi after my birth.

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#14 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:15 PM
 
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I am all for natural birth - but I'm not in any of your shoes and plus I can tell you are all for natural birth too. There are other things that can be given that are not as intense as an epidural but will help deaden some pain. Ask your midwife... I remember my midwife saying they could give a shot of something - or maybe they couldn't but you could transfer to the hsptl and they could. Also, I'd look into some homeopathic as well as herbal stuff too. You could always try that stuff first. Herbal for the Childbearing Year I remember had something for intense labor pain in it.

Good luck!!
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#15 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:17 PM
 
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Yeah, hypnosis can be so healing. I highly recommend it.

♥ blogger astrologer mom to three cool kiddos, and trying to figure out this divorce thing-- Blossom and Glow ♥

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#16 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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I was traumatized by my 4th birth. My first 3 had been unmedicated so I knew what it felt like. But I had a prolonged pushing stage and it was devastating emotionally and physically.

I had an epidural for my 5th and make no apologies. I knew the chances of a brutal birth happening again probably weren't high, but I needed it psychologically, to calm down. I had a beautiful birth.

Not sure what I'll do this time around, but I will respect my emotional needs as well as my physical.
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#17 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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I always found this poll very interesting:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=334426

While it looks like those in a hospital had a much higher rate of horribly painful births, if you take each section (homebirth, birth center, hospital) in isolation the rates of horrible pain are 32% 33% and 40% respectively. So there is not tremendous discrepancy, and the average is 35%.

I think this is probably what the chances of being hit with a horribly painful birth are (35%). Some births are just more painful than others... otherwise there's no explanation for why the same woman could handle some of her births but not others. Same woman, same pain threshold.
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#18 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 02:55 PM
 
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I don' think it's just a random thing-- I don't know if that's what meowee was saying, though. There's a reason my second birth was so much shorter and easier. I had studied a lot about the effects of deep relaxation, emotional calm-- the kind that takes months of practice, you can't just think "oh I need ot be calm" which is how I went into my first birth-- and possibly most importantly, positioning of the baby. I worked on positioning of the baby a LOT the second time. The baby's head needs to be evenly lined up over mama's cervix to ensure a quick, less painful or painless, and efficient labor. And yet, most women don't know much about fetal positioning-- I was clueless about it the first time around. If you don't know much about fetal positioning, then labor could be a crap shoot.

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#19 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Luckily I was home, or you bet I would've had an epi! I will never judge a woman who gets an epi after my birth.

Heck, I would have taken a hit of crack if someone had offered it to me during transition!

Tis the season, for hot apple cider!
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#20 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 04:38 PM
 
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i had 4 births. first was a traumatic c/section, next were homebirths. 3rd was an especially painful birth, much more so than i remembered my VBAC. by the time i was pregnant with my 4th, i dreaded the thought of going through birth again. i often secretly thought of going to the hospital for an epidural. i sure felt reassured when i read a birth story by a woman having her 6th baby who said she felt the same way.

i never did go to the hospital although i was a really huge baby when i was in labor. i just kept reminding myself a million times over that the amount of time i would be in labor to birth my baby was such a small amount of time compared to the amount of time i would live that i could get through it. and i did

i just wanted you to know that you are not alone in your fear.

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#21 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 04:46 PM
 
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Give yourself time, at least a year. I totally fell for the "it won't be a BAD pain" bullcrap too. And that was my undoing, I think. I really didn't expect that it would be so horrendously agonising if I had the right mindset going in.

I think that's where I failed - I wasn't prepared to want to die, so when I did I was traumatised. I had an epidural then, and I did need it, but I'm still hoping that next time I can out-think the pain and not get drugs.

I'm 2+ years out, and going to have to go through it again in a month or two, and I dread the thought, but am trying to stick very hard to the "it won't kill me" philosophy. I can't really remember exactly how bad it was, except that gas pains and muscle cramps make me laugh now, which helps.:

Quote:
I had studied a lot about the effects of deep relaxation, emotional calm-- the kind that takes months of practice, you can't just think "oh I need ot be calm" which is how I went into my first birth-- and possibly most importantly, positioning of the baby. I worked on positioning of the baby a LOT the second time.
check, check, check. I've been practicing self-hypnosis for about 15 years now. I followed the optimum foetal positioning rules religiously for the last month. It may not be random (I think the pain I had has got a lot to do with your anatomy), but doing al the right things doesn't mean you're going to sail through.
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#22 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 04:53 PM
 
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Heck, I would have taken a hit of crack if someone had offered it to me during transition!
:
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#23 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 05:04 PM
 
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It wasn't the pain for me so much as the craptastic pregnancy and NICU aftermath that makes me want to stop at one...

But I will say that my first period cramps postpartum had me on the floor FREAKING out. It felt sooo much like early labour and I didn't realize that I was kinda post-tramatic about it. I still take drugs the second I feel cramps coming on to avoid thinking about it.

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#24 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 05:12 PM
 
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Heck, I would have taken a hit of crack if someone had offered it to me during transition!
LOL! I ABSOLUTELY used to say this!!! It was almost my mantra after dd's birth! I would say "If a door-to-door crack salesman had come to my house during labor, I would have taken whatever he had!!" (And sadly, that happening not entirely out of the realm of possibility in our neighborhood... !!)

And by "transition", I mean all SEVEN HOURS of it......:

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#25 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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While there are some things that we can't directly control and some births are more difficult than others I found Hypnobabies to be enormously helpful! I would NOT give birth naturally without hypnosis. I had an epidural with my first because it was so painful. When I decided to home birth with #2 I had to find some way of reducing or eliminating the pain. I learned hypnosis and practiced daily for 10 weeks. I had a wonderful, easy, pain-free labor. Fantastic!

My next birth was acutely painful due to complications but the hypnosis allowed me to stay calm and breathe for my baby and I think I was probably still more comfortable than I would have been if I didn't have my hypnosis background. I'm very grateful that I was able to stay present enough to tune into my instincts and figure out what the safest thing would be. The mind-numbing pain could have completely consumed me if I had let it and I believe that would have negatively impacted the outcome of the birth. My baby and I were fine even though probably most people would have insisted on an immediate c-section. I knew I could birth her quickly and safely by tuning in to my body, which the hypnosis allowed me to do. And that's exactly what I did.

My last birth wasn't totally pain-free but 22.5 out of 24 hours is still great and I was so thankful to be able to take a nap at 8 cm, completely comfortable.

I don't think it's at all "broken" to think pain sucks. I certainly think it does!

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#26 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 09:32 PM
 
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I don't know if it is good or bad that I stumbled across this thread. I just posted in the Nov DDC about this very thing. I am due in 4 weeks. I had a very late loss last time (over 35 weeks) and the pain was awful but the emotional part was SO much harder than the physical. I was thinking today that at least this time around, I will only have to deal with the physical part. But, my son was only 3 lb. With this pregnancy she will most likely be average- 7 lb or so. I had an internal exam today and almost went through the roof, it hurt so bad- I was really tense. I don't want to feel like a failure if I go for an epidural but I know it would be good for me and the baby if I went natural again. I am so afraid of the pain (even moreso now). I just don't know if I will feel worse if I DO get the epidural or if I don't. :

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#27 of 54 Old 10-31-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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Hey there,

I know what you mean. I also thought that birth was overwhelming. I had taken Bradley Method classes to prepare for my son's birth, and they helped me get through the labor. It was still very painful, though. After a year and a half, we decided to have another baby. I got pregnant again, and I miscarried. By the time I conceived my daughter, I was ready to go to hell and back to have a second child - so I was ready for the pain mentally, but not emotionally. Then we decided to look towards the Bradley method teaching again. I retook the classes and training. There are exercises that they teach (which I did not do faithfully with my first pregnancy) and relaxation techniques that are important in reducing the cycle of pain. Sometimes it isn't enough just to read and have a meditation/ pain handling plan. It is better to work to be physically fit and ready for the birth, and to teach your body to consciencly relax and work with the contractions rather than around them. I'm not trying to sell you on any classes. I would just encourage you to look at the book "Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth" by Susan McCutcheon and consider doing some physical training before your next birth. My daughter's birth was still intense, but it went much quicker (a benefit of a consecutive pregnancies) and I had more physical endurance than with the first birth because I was faithful at actually training months in advance with tailor sitting, squatting, pelvic rocking, kegels, etc. I hope that helps. I really know what you are going through Congratulations on making it through your first birth and on your new baby!

Mandi - Doula/Childbirth Educator, Loving my DH, DS, DD, DD, missing my three (last m/c 4/2010)
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#28 of 54 Old 11-01-2007, 12:39 AM
 
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Emily,
I remember reading your birth story and thiking wow that sounds hard, but I don't think you had had the time to process it yet. Your first time was rather a whirlwind too, wasn't it? I had so been hoping for this time to be the peaceful and amazing experience that we all deserve/want/hope for, because I think I know how much you have invested in it... I know how much I invested in preparing for #2 so I can imagine(-; And from what I remember, you had a lot stacked against you to be in the ideal environment/situation-- plus you know almost too much about things but birth is somewhat about the unknown and letting go of control/what you know.
.
Just know you are an amazing woman to have birthed two beautiful babies and that your experience is YOURS in all that was wonderful and all that was challenging and all that is to be. Maybe your birth story just hasn't ended yet?

((Hugs))

Jessica
(who's been meaning to see how you were doing anyways)

Jessica..lady.gifintactlact.gif Falling in love all over again..... 
Dhprivateeyes.gif, Joshua rolleyes.gif Rebeccagrouphug.gifand dog2.gif.    candle.gif for Laura
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#29 of 54 Old 11-01-2007, 01:06 AM
 
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Boy, traumatic births can really floor you - I didn't process through my first one until a year and a half later (and that's b/c I had birth #2 at that time). They were night and day but I kept thinking that I had missed some magical key to ease the first time - like everyone else got this "difficult but awesome labor" and I got "heck on a stick labor" and um, not right!

I was in transition for 14 hours, it sucked. We transfered for an epidural. I will say the ability to labor as long as I did at home kept me from a cesarean. The ability to labor with an epidural at the hospital kept me from a cesarean too. At that point I realized why there are epidurals. Sometimes you need one.

When my 10 min. of transition hit the second birth I said "ahhhhhhh, this feels like labor #1 did for all of those hours - I WASN'T a wuss!!!". It was healing. As was the book Birthing From Within. I had to give myself permission to feel all the feelings I had before I had that second baby. And even to this day I say, "I can do 38 hours or less for sure" b/c I did it. I don't want another impossibly hard labor... but at least I know I can do it.

Give yourself time, it will get better.

Mama to 4 amazing little people, another little expected 3/6/12!
Avid Unassisted Birth supporter/Mama

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#30 of 54 Old 11-01-2007, 12:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post
I don' think it's just a random thing-- I don't know if that's what meowee was saying, though. There's a reason my second birth was so much shorter and easier. I had studied a lot about the effects of deep relaxation, emotional calm-- the kind that takes months of practice, you can't just think "oh I need ot be calm" which is how I went into my first birth-- and possibly most importantly, positioning of the baby. I worked on positioning of the baby a LOT the second time. The baby's head needs to be evenly lined up over mama's cervix to ensure a quick, less painful or painless, and efficient labor. And yet, most women don't know much about fetal positioning-- I was clueless about it the first time around. If you don't know much about fetal positioning, then labor could be a crap shoot.

My most brutal birth was my most studied for and well prepared-for birth. Home waterbirth, herbs, most of labor alone, a midwife everyone swooned for.

There is indeed an element of chance. I resent it when people say, "Oh, if you have just done ___ or ___ like I did." There is no guarantee.
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