Is childbirth the worst pain you have ever felt? and some other questions. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 12:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So,I have been pretty calm. But now I'm getting worried about the pain of childbirth.

I have been worried about what contractions,transition and crowning feel like. I had been thinking maybe contractions felt like really bad menstral cramps? But then last night I had a really bad charley horse in my leg. And I thought,what if that is what contractions feel like except in my tummy. And then I got really scared. You know what I'm talking about? When you are sleeping and you get such a bad leg cramp you cant even move. Mamma's please let me know what your contractions felt like. And I want the truth. Even if the answer is yes they are that bad. I wont be as scared if I know what to expect and I am prepared for it. I know many women in my other post said they were really bad. But I was hoping you all could tell me what the pain is like? Really bad cramps? Is it like a charley horse in your tummy? Or is it like some other pain?

Also I have heard many women say that when you are in transition you feel like you are gonna die. Is this is because the pain is so bad?

And crowning? I have heard about the ring of fire. Does it sting? Feel like your being riped open? how long does it last?

I think it would really help me to know. My mom keeps telling me ohhh honey its not so bad. And everytime she says that it makes me feel worse cause the look on her face doesnt match what she is saying. I really do what to hear the truth. I know also everyone is different.

I have been reading but not much is said about pain really. I also wanted to know if you have had pain worse than childbirth? Maybe to give me something to compare it too. I hope this made some kind of sense.
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#2 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 12:26 AM
 
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No not the worst pain (dental work was) - I wouldn't describe it as pain either. I say it is very intense. I moved around a lot during labor - birth ball, hands and knees, shower and I remember thinking at the time just how intense the feeling was. I was surprised that I felt contractions more in my lower back than anywhere else. Having someone massage or press hard against my back was key!

Here's the thing - each contraction lasts for 60 seconds - and they start, peak, then end. You work with one at a time. Each one brings baby closer. How many will you have? You don't know, so work with one at a time.

The ring of fire - I didn't feel it. Pushing, though tiring, was awesome! It took me some time to get the hang of it. But, baby came out and only a very tiny tear. Heat and counterpressure as baby was crowning really helped.

I encourage you to read Birthing from Within and take a class in your area if you can. Its a good idea to explore your fears BEFORE labor . If think you can't afford the class talk to the mentor (teacher) about payment options.

Also, the birth stories in Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May's Guide to Natural Birth, both by Ina May Gaskin are great reading. Did you know that birth can be orgasmic?

Best of luck!
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#3 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 12:48 AM
 
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NO!!!!
Maybe it was because I don't look at childbirth as pain though? It's very intense, and certinly uncomfortable.

The worst pain? Getting stitched up after my 4th degree tear, getting the adhesions (sp?) burnt off with silver nitrate after I didn't heal correctly, vomiting from food poisioning and dental work.

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#4 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 12:51 AM
 
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It wasn't even close to worse pain I've felt, and I agree with the pp, dental work was WAY worse, and I had chronic thing in my shoulder that was absolutely excruciating! Labor was more tiring than painful with my second... first was back labor, and counter pressure made a huge difference... I think I wasn't prepared to feel pain in my back, and that slowed me down... took me a bit to adjust to that, but even then...I could literally give birth a couple of times a month..especially if it was choosing between birth and the chronic shoulder thing! It was awesome, it was exhilirating, it was INTENSE sensation, but only painful (in the can't cope with it sense) if I forced my body to do something it was in no mood to do.. say like, ride in the car to the damn hospital!!! And I assume that's something you won't have to worry about! But even there, moving around, LOVED the birth ball, LOVED the warm bath!

And again, just like pp, just consider each contraction for what it is: a rush of sensation that bringing your baby that much closer to your arms... it will only last a few seconds, then it's over. Making low moans and vibrating sounds helped me stay loose and calm, and for my transition... I was so out of it with focusing on the experience that I said the same thing 3 or more times in a row with both babies, and that was how my dh figured out something was changing. I only remember thinking I was having a REALLY long contraction. I didn't feel any ring of fire, I didn't tear, and I was just too caught up in it to really think about any "pain" I was in. Something my mom told me before my dd (first) was born that helped... "Just when you think you can't take it anymore, that's when the baby is about to be born"... and sure enough, literally seconds after telling my dh, "nothing is working to help with the pain!" I was pushing. And happily for me, both times I pushed for less than 15 minutes. So you never know... and everyone is different, but I think attitude makes a difference. Maybe try to equip yourself for the worst, but you might surprise yourself, so imagine the best scenario and keep that one in your head!! And while the back labor was strong with the first, with my second, no back labor and the difference was night and day... I don't remember ever feeling what I would call pain during our labor!

Can't wait to hear how it goes for you!

It's such a relief to finally trust yourself.
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#5 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 12:52 AM
 
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I had food poisoning a few weeks ago, and I told my husband after one bathroom visit that I'd much rather be having a baby at the moment than having food poisoning.

I have always considering childbirth pain as pain with a purpose. And it's pain that is intermittent, not constant. You know when it's coming and can prepare for it as it comes.

My first birth was painful because I didn't work with my body. My second birth I consider painless, just lots of pressure. I worked with my body.

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#6 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 12:57 AM
 
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i second Spiritual Midwifery

hmm when i was in transition i felt like *flying* if anything, not dying! I didn't interpret much of it as pain, just an intense, omg-i-feel-like-i-have-to-crawl-out-of-my-body, thrilling, exhausting, exhilirating feeling... clear as mud? yep

and yes you do take it one contraction at a time. you have no concept of time. none. at least i didn't. my first, i felt like 45 minutes had gone by, maybe, and i was shocked to hear my midwife announce "8:43pm" as when Ian was born--i thought it was like 6! (and even then, 3-4 hrs is a pretty fast labor)

suffice it to say that yes i've experienced worse pain. i pm'ed you too

OH YEAH. after you have that baby, DRINK. becaue if you're dehydrated, peeing thru all that raw tenderness (even if you don't tear) is going to hurt WAY worse than any ring-of-fire stories!!

also, (imo) afterpains are more wicked than any contraction could ever be. I learned my lesson the first time--motrin on hand is essential for me after the birth.

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#7 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 01:03 AM
 
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NO. Not at all.

Change your wordings and how you picture what's happening. You really won't believe how much that helps until you're in the middle of labor. Call contractions 'surges'-instead of picturing yourself doubling over in agony, picture the long muscles of your uterus pulling back and the wide ones pulling up. Picture them pushing your baby down and out. Find a comfortable position (I ended up having three comfy positions in labor) and breathe and RELAX. Relax every muscle in your face. Have whoever is helping you watch your face and tell you to relax when they see any tension. It's hard to tense up in your stomach area when your face, neck, and shoulders are relaxed.

I was told to watch the 3 emotional signposts closer than the physical ones. Excitement (beginning), able to smile but serious (middle), and unable to smile/feeling that you can't do it (transition). I think that's a good way to go into it. It's more reliable than physical signs (water breaking, etc).

AND REMEMBER: If you're to the point where you think you can't do it anymore, you won't have to do it much longer-that feeling is part of the end. If I hadn't known that, it would have been much harder. You'll do great.

Oh, the ring of fire...for me it was a burning sensation like (TMI) when you have a BM that is too hard and too big . It burns from the stretching until it's out. It only burns while the baby's head is right there and it is over IMMEDIATELY after the baby is out.

The worst thing for me, and what I wish someone had told me about, was the afterpains-although they were much worse after this second one. OWWWWW.

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#8 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 01:28 AM
 
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Sortof - though childbirth is definately different than pain. I've had menstrual cramps that were worse that childbirth. I mean, I was able to think throughout my whole labor. In other painful situations, I can't really think well - if at all. And in it's defense, I was also able to forget about how uncomfortable I was awfully quickly - the new baby in your arms is quite a distraction to what just happened to your body and all the times you thought 'I just hate how this feels'.

As for women who say that at transition you feel like you are going to die - I think its more about everything being so much more simultaneous at that point, rush of emotions, less time inbetween ctx, etc than the 'pain' exactly. I recall time starting to pass very quickly around this point during my labor, and no sooner had I started thinking 'well gee, this whole baby thing was a stupid idea' was I ready to start pushing which was SUCH a relief.

Another difference between pain and contractions too is that there is (though short it may become) that brief rest in between them which you can keep your focus on throughout. Really helps to frame the whole experience differently.
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#9 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 01:41 AM
 
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It was the most intense experience of my life - and yes, the most painful. It was also the most beautiful experince of my life. After my labor was over, I remember saying "thank god that is over, i never want to do that again" over and over again. It did feel painful to me. I had some minor issues with dd's positioning that caused my cervix to get pinched between her head and my pubic bone. OUCH! Until that point, I didn't really think labor was all that painful actually - just intense and uncomfortable.

pushing is amazing and didn't hurt me at all...i felt no real pain but let me tell you, it was alot of work!!! i pushed for over 3 hours.

Just remember that you are made to do this. Read Spiritual Midwifery - it's soooo helpful to read those stories. Oh, and take a class if you can.
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#10 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 01:56 AM
 
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Back labor is awful, I'll admit freely. Compared to that, regular labor is cake walk. IME, migraines, collapsed lungs and probably a couple other things I can't remember going through, are much more painful. Labor is absolutely doable.

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#11 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 02:24 AM
 
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Probably the worst pain I have ever had was the epidural headache that I got after my first. I remember telling my husband that I would rather go through labor 20 more times than experience that. Of course, not everyone gets that, but if they stick you 7 times...
The second time around was much better. I labored at home, wasn't induced and walked and moved the way I had wanted to. Each contraction felt more like a tightening. Not like cramps at all. Now when I was flat on my back, that is what they felt like. But it was very freeing to move. Transition wasn't much for me, I remember freaking a little because I couldn't tell when one was starting or ending or what and I was concerned because I was susposed to be telling my husband: And the ring of fire, exactly like a pp said. It is stretching. I remember thinking, oh that's why they call it the ring of fire. All in all the worst pain I had the last time was when they insisted I be monitered for 20 minutes when I checked in. Which reminds me why a midwife in a hospital isn't always so great: To her defense though, she did get me out of there as soon as she could even though the nurses wanted me to stay for another 10 mintues.
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#12 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 02:28 AM
 
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Ok...I just went thru this 1 wk ago...here is my take.
This is my 2nd baby--and the 1st was more 'painful' WITH drugs (they wore off and couldn't give me more so I pushed ON MY BACK with back labor--that REALLY sucked.
It felt like a belt was around my lower pelvis--kinda where my legs connect to my torso...and it was being squeezed/tightened SO MUCH. I could feel it internally too--where my cervix is--just an internal dull, yet intense, pain.
The funny thing is that it is a 'pain' until you peak...then you start coming down and you are so thankful that you are coming down that it doesn't hurt as much--and once it is 'gone' you feel like a normal person again!

The worst part of labor was the sheer exhaustion of it. At some point (transition) you feel like you can't go on--not so much due to the pain (although that is part of it)--but due to the fact that you're too tired!

I felt the ring of fire with both births--this time I knew what it was--stretching, not tearing! And I knew that it was my body's way of pushing blood down to my vulva and lower vagina to aid in stretching--I was 'talking' the baby out during that stage of pushing, and I remember saying 'slowly slowly so I don't tear' and so I knew I was pushing 'lightly' instead of strong. Once the head is out I didn't feel the ring of fire anymore. I was comfortated by the ring of fire because i knew it was almost over!!
Pushing felt GOOD! No more 'labor pain' like feelings...just a strong urge that I wouldn't have had if I had had the drugs ya know?

Over all--once it was all over, I had no tears, and I climbed out of the birth pool, sat down, tried to nurse, and felt like a million bucks!

Mama--it is intense...the pain you feel is NOTHING like a broken leg or major injury like that--it isn't an injury! I would suggest Ina may's guide to childbirth and the hypnobirthing book by monagan...the hypnobirthing one talks of the 'science/biology' of what our bodies are doing---how the uterus works etc...which is interesting and may help you understand when you are going thru it!
That day I said I'd never have another baby
The next 2 days after birth I said I'd never do that again!
On day 3 I said, he is so cute! I'd love to do it again...the labor and birth is such a short time compared to the wonderful miracle that follows! And everyday after is filled with love!
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#13 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 02:40 AM
 
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Trying to walk on a newly sprained ankle was much, much more painful than childbirth!!

Contractions are intense, and often that intensity comes across as pain. I found that I did a lot of daydreaming while I was pregnant- daydreaming about life with the baby, about labor and birth, etc. Then that first contraction hit and BAM! daydream's over, I felt like I was jolted back into reality and I HAD TO focus on what was actually happening in my body. There was no other way to deal with it!

That first contraction completely threw me for a loop. I'd read too many things romanticising childbirth that I felt completely unprepared. But I got through it. Then I had some breathing space, and then BAM! another contraction! By the end of that contraction I was getting into a routine, I'd stopped daydreaming and started focusing on the here and now, and I knew I could do it. In fact, it boggles my mind how anybody could want to go to a hospital during labor- you still have to get through those first two contractions alone!

Spiritual Midwifery is a great book but keep in mind that your experience may not feel like the ones Ina May Gaskin describes. I experienced one painless contraction during my 3rd birth, so I know it's possible, but all the contractions during my DDs' births were what I'd consider to be painful. In my case, romanticising birth made me feel LESS prepared when that first contraction hit- I had to forget everything I'd read and all my expectations of what I thought labor was going to be, and just focus on what was really happening with my body.

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#14 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 03:36 AM
 
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toothache was worse than labor. afterpains were worse, but only a little.

labor hurts like pressure, to me, gradually getting stronger and stronger, working into pain. by the time the baby is born, it hurts like hell! but then it's ALL OVER.

but my toothache made me cry. afterpains amde me cry.labor has never made me cry.

my 3yo is sad and needs me. i also recommend Birthing from Within, for a good assessment of labor pain, but I haven't read it in 7 years so it might be crummy and I don't remember! :LOL
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#15 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 04:59 AM
 
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The herniated cervical disk in my neck was much worse than labor, and far more memorable.

The feeling of not being in control, of having all choices removed from me and not being able to help myself was *far* worse than the actual labor pain (12 hours of back labor with an OP baby). Pushing felt fabulous, as I was finally "allowed" to participate in the birth.
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#16 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 05:14 AM
 
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The thing about labour pain vs. any other intense pain you'll ever feel is that labour pain has a purpose, a plan, a hope and represents the very end of one of the most spectacular journeys of your life. That makes the pain a lot easier to handle then say... a tootheache, which is pointless pain.

I can't handle period cramps, but I've had three natural (and posterior) labours.
A week after birth I told my husband I couldn't believe how loudly I complained over smashing my 'funny bone' on my elbow (I really did smash it hard...) after going through childbirth, but at the time the funny bone smashing sure felt a lot worse.
Childbirth is also a gradual build, it's exciting and exhilarating and you're pumped full of incredible hormones. Granted you're doing it naturally and you're not in a terrifying situation, that is.

My first labour was 44 hours and that was very hard, but I wouldn't say it was "terrible" at all!
My second labour was 2.5 hours and that was so easy I didn't really realize I was in labour until the last 20 minutes, and then he was crowning (breech). It was the non-birth (c-section) that was the awful part.
My third labour was my UC, 3 hours, and that was EASY! I know everyone makes the "well you're over it now" excuse, and yes to some extent you do forget the pain of childbirth... but literally right after I had him, as I'm sitting in the bloody tub, I actually said that out loud: "That was easy!".
Although I also think that without the other two experiences under my belt I might have thought that was 'really hard' - just because I'd never have experienced labour before and would have no comparison.

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#17 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 05:18 AM
 
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No, the worse pain I ever felt was the gas pain I had after my c-section. My stomach was so distended from the gas. It was horrendous. Truly, it was. I felt like dying would have been better. In fact, I called my brother long distance to tell him I wanted to die.

I was in back labor for over 25 hours with DD who was sunny side up. My labor pain was different. It came and went. I didn't feel it constantly. There was an ebb and flow, peaks and valleys, so it wasn't the same as the constant pain that's with you without any relief.

Normal is just a setting on your dryer.
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#18 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 05:20 AM
 
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Childbirth was the best pain I have ever felt.

I actually did feel like I was close to death during transition with my second baby. But it was sort of an ethereal experience which I wrote about later. It was like an opaque veil between life and death and I was peering through it. It was sublime in the tuest sense of the word: The terrible and the beautiful entwined. Birth is very similar to death in a way. It envelopes your body, mind, and spirit and you are, for a time concretely connected to all of these spaces in a very present sort of a way.

Labour was like extremely, indescribably intense menstrual cramps. I remember saying to my partner; "I will never complain about my period again!".

Just when I thought it couldn't possible get any more intense, just when I thought I would absolutely dissolve into exhaustion, I felt the fluttering sensations of wanting to push. The relief! Contractions no longer felt like crazy, tightening, stretching...instead they felt like waves of movement that washed over my entire body and felt like they came right from the very depths of my soul. That, to me is the most difficult sensation to describe or recapture in my mind.

The ring of fire was very painful and horrible sensation for me. Like a burning and ripping feeling (although I had no significant tears with either of my very large babies). A warm washcloth held to the perenium helped immensely.

I had back labour with my second and that really put a cramp in things as far as pain goes. (pun intended hee hee) That was greatly relieved with hard pressure in the spot on my back that felt like the bones were being crushed together and pulvarised to chalk by the pressure. Not a pretty feeling.

But in the end. The utter relief, awe, joy, bliss, hunger, exhaustion, giddyness, sorrow, euphoria that fills the space where labour lived such a short time ago is like the sweetest punctuation.

I could never compare my labours with any other experience I have gone through. What a wild and beautiful ride.

It is about so much more than the pain
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#19 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 07:36 AM
 
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I agree with what some others have posted--Labor is intermittent, so you have time to regroup and adjust as you're laboring. My mother (who has had four UCs) had a kidney stone a few years ago and she said that it was worse than anything she experienced in labor.

As for me, labor pain was more like a really intense pressure feeling, with a hint of pain. It was very strange! I didn't feel the "ring of fire" because the doc gave me an episiotomy (which tore). Pushing felt fantastic to me, though and it never hurt--I ended up pushing for about 15 minutes. In transition, I did freak out, not because it hurt more (which it did), but mostly because I was scared and felt so out of control.

The worst pain I've ever felt was the recovery from the episiotomy and also recently when DH tried to help me with my bikini wax---I do NOT recommend that.

Best birthing wishes! You'll make it alright and then within a few days, all the discomfort will become a distant memory as you hold your little one.....
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#20 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 07:57 AM
 
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No, it wasn't the worst pain I've ever felt, but it was the hardest work I've ever done. Like many others, the word I'd use is "intense" but I remember thinking it was nothing at all like I imagined it and it didn't HURT, really. It felt absolutely nothing like my period cramps, not similiar at all, and that surprised me.

A bad stomach ache with intestinal cramps is 100x worse than labor was for me, so are toothaches, backaches - but the difference is that with those something feels wrong, and labor just felt intense and strange but it felt right too.

Crowning - for me the urge to push and get the baby out was way huger than the feeling of her crowning. It did burn but it lasted such a short time and my mind was on other things. I was really fearful of 'the ring of fire' too and then barely noticed it.

I worried alot before giving birth about the pain, and would I be able to do it? You will be fine, you were designed to do this!

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#21 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 08:07 AM
 
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It was definitely the worst pain I've felt. I didn't feel like I was going to die during transition, but I was absolutely miserable. I was incredibly hot, having contractions that seemed to never stop with back pain, and then I also felt like I was going to throw up. I kept thinking that if I could just remove one thing from the equation, I could handle it better - if I could just stop feeling nauseated, or just stop the back pain, it would be better. Thankfully, that period was short.

Pushing hurt for me, which I was a bit surprised at. I think women either feel intense relief at being able to push, or the pushing hurts. (I was the latter.) One thing I was very pleasantly surprised at was the length of time between pushing contractions. I would HAAAAAVE to push, and then would get a nice long break with almost no pain at all (like a couple of minutes) -- that was heaven. The crowning didn't hurt too much for me -- I think the fact that I pushed her to almost crowning and then the contraction stopped made it a lot better -- she sat there for a few minutes and stretched everything out.

The afterpains were actually worse than labor for me, which I was not prepared for. However, since this is your first baby, they may not be that bad for you.

After the birth (other than the afterpains) I felt completely exhilarated -- like a total high -- for weeks. (Not to say I didn't have down moments while my hormones adjusted, but just that the birth high I had after my natural delivery was unbelievabe.) I've also had a hospital birth with an epidural, and even though the birth with the epi was less painful, I would never go back to the hospital for birth. I didn't feel a birth high after delivery at all, and had a harder time bonding with my baby... I think the drugs had something to do with that.
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#22 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 01:33 PM
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many women have pain free and ecstatic births. why not try to cultivate one of those?

that's what i'm doing.
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#23 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 01:56 PM
 
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I spent my entire pregnancy with dd convinced that I could handle anything labor could throw at me. I had a bone marrow biopsy years ago that was horrific ... the nurses told me that the pain of that procedure was much worse than labor. I wasn't afraid of labor at all and was sure that my relaxation techniques, etc., would get me through. And they did, until I went to the hospital. : Big mistake. HUGE mistake. I was coping great until they refused to let me get up, refused to let me get in the shower ... basically all the stuff that was helping me to cope they took away. From that point on, I laid in the bed and screamed my way through 19 hours of contractions. I remember trying to describe the sensation as a "wall of pain" ... I couldn't get over, under or around it, I just kept slamming into it, over and over.

Now that I've given you that lovely description ... here are the lessons I learned.
* Don't go to the hospital! Duh ... not a problem here in the UC forum, but still ....
* Listen to your body! My body was screaming to me to move, but every time I did, a nurse scolded me for messing up the monitoring stuff. If I knew then what I know now, I'd have told her to (*^$% - off and would have gotten my butt up and gotten in the shower.

Hang in there ... clearly, from all the posts here, every labor is different. Listen to your body and you'll do GREAT!

hippie.gif+reading.gif= Peanut (2004), Pumpkin (2007) and Butter Bean!! (2011)

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#24 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 02:00 PM
 
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I have not read all the responses but wanted to give my take on it.

I would like to preface this by saying that the one thing I've learned is that all women experience the pain (or lack thereof) of childbirth very differently. So reading what other women say may prepare you for a range of sensations, but it can't prepare you for what YOU will experience. I think you should try to mentally prepare yourself for ANYTHING. I was inadequately prepared for how intensely painful my labor was because I thought it would be easier than it was - I thought I would experience "intensity" without great pain so long as I was comfortable, secure, and in touch with my body. Don't EXPECT pain, but don't DISCOUNT it as a possibility, either.

First, it was not the worst pain I've ever felt, and for the simple reason that it never felt "wrong." I have endometriosis, and in college more than once I experienced menstrual cramps so bad that I literally thought I was going to die. I became completely irrational, I was in such extreme pain. All I could do was writhe and tears were falling out of my eyes and I just thought "This is it, I'm going to die - no one could be in this much pain and survive." But I lived through it, as unpleasant as it was, and once the pain was over it was pretty much forgotten. That was different from labor because the bad cramps felt like something was wrong, but labor just felt difficult, busy, etc. - not "wrong." When something is wrong, it's frightening; and labor wasn't scary - just incredibly painful.

Birth was different in many was from that menstrual cramp pain. Until transition, the pain was very manageable. Present, but manageable. It was coupled with an intense sensation in my cervix - felt like really deep penetration during sex. It was very intense, and accompanied by pain in my belly - but not BAD pain. I wasn't afraid, and even though I was making lots of noise, after a contraction I'd stop and tell dh "It's okay, I'm not bad - it doesn't hurt that much."

Transition was overwhelming and very painful. Like bad diarrhea cramps, menstrual cramps, and someone trying to wedge a bowling ball down your rectum (going out, not going in). At the same time, I began to have a lot of pressure and pain in my back. It helped some to put pressure on my lower back.

I won't lie to you - the pain was awful. However, I was sane, rational, and unafraid through 7 hours of those bad contractions. IT WAS MANAGEABLE. Extremely, extremely uncomfortable. I would use the words agony, suffering, excruciating, horrible. But I never thought I was going to die.

A lot of women say pushing feels better. When I finally started pushing, it didn't feel any better - just the same as all those prior hours. I remember thinking I just wanted it to be over, and that she clearly wasn't going back up so the faster I pushed her out the sooner it would all be over.

What I remember about her descent and crowning was that I kept thinking "She must be crowning NOW, it feels so bad" with each contraction, but she wasn't crowning yet. Crowning was very painful, but there was so much other pain that I didn't care all that much. What I was concerned about was that it felt like I was tearing upwards. There was bad pain and stinging by my urethra etc. and I was afraid I was tearing in that direction and no one was telling me (I did NOT tear upwards). Crowning felt like very intense, painful stinging, but I did not get the "ring of fire." It was a relief when her head was born. Birthing her shoulders hurt, too, and I tore (2nd degree). I did not feel myself tear; everything hurt a lot. Lots of pressure and pain the whole time.

After she was born, I was still uncomfortable. I felt better after both the placenta was delivered and I pushed out a bunch of huge clots.

Afterpains were bad - they hurt as much as some of the contractions, without the pressure. (Yes, this was my FIRST baby, so it could happen to you too!)

Again, I think the most important thing is to remember that every woman experiences childbirth differently. We may share some sensations, but not all. I experienced tremendous - extreme - pain, and for many hours without relief, but I was never afraid - I somehow knew all along that everything was okay. I hope you have the same comfort zone with your labor, whether it is easy or hard (IMO there are very few "easy" labors, esp. for FTMs!). One thing I said repeatedly after she was born: "That was the hardest thing I ever did in my entire life."

Julia
dd 8mos
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#25 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 02:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Romana9+2 View Post
First, it was not the worst pain I've ever felt, and for the simple reason that it never felt "wrong."
That's one of the best descriptions of painful labor that I've ever heard.

I think it's fantastic that you're getting everything from "painless and ecstatic" to "oh, that hurt BAD", and nobody's telling you you can't do it.

Homesteading, unschooling mama of three.
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#26 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 02:50 PM
 
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#27 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 03:11 PM
 
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Pain is subjective, so for some it is and others it's not. For me, no, it wasn't painful like I assumed it would be. My contractions felt like waves of pressure, which only became uncomfortable when I was really close to delivery. Crowning, there was a burning sensation and the urge to push was intense, but was such a relief once she was out.

I pretty much start labor in transition, so that's all I feel contraction wise. I also didn't fear the birthing process, I embraced it and welcomed it. My first labor was just over 3 hours and second just under 1 1/2 hours, both were pretty easy.

My Norplant removal wasn't a fun experience at all, worse than childbirth for me.

Aeona - married to super hot nerd Toby . . . mama to Grace (9) Evangeline (7) Duncan 11.14.08 angel2.gif  and rainbow1284.gif Henry (4) born at home. Expecting again December 7th! baby.gif 
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#28 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 03:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
many women have pain free and ecstatic births. why not try to cultivate one of those?

that's what i'm doing.
Yep, I agree.

Aeona - married to super hot nerd Toby . . . mama to Grace (9) Evangeline (7) Duncan 11.14.08 angel2.gif  and rainbow1284.gif Henry (4) born at home. Expecting again December 7th! baby.gif 
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#29 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 03:15 PM
 
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No, my ectopic pregnancy was the worst. However, I KNEW what was going on with my body during labor and with the ectopic I was just SCARED. That might be why.

Jessica, wife to Mark, homeschooling mama to Micah (2006), Noah (2009), Owen (2012) and another on the way this August (20014)
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#30 of 124 Old 11-28-2006, 03:19 PM
 
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For me labor pain was like intense menstrual cramping except instead of being constant it came and went. It does hurt -- I really get annoyed by this nonsense about "Oh, I just didn't regard it as painful therefore it wasn't." It either hurts or it doesn't. This hurt. Working through it, though, I felt powerful, and I felt a mounting sense of expectancy because I knew I was getting closer to seeing the baby. State of mind and perspective does matter. If you're freaked out about it, it's going to be worse than if you're accepting it and powering your way through it.

I actually really enjoyed early labor. Where it got not so fun for me was in the last few hours when the baby dropped and the head was pressing against my sacrum. It literally felt like my back was splitting apart. (And no, I wasn't laboring on my back, and I'm pretty sure, at least with later babies, that they weren't posterior.) I don't know if it's the way my uterus is positioned or if it's due to a past back injury, but that level of pain does seem to be uncommon and I think most of us probably don't need to worry about it getting that bad.

Regular labor pains were FAR easier to be with than a migraine, even just a headache, stomachache, backache, pinched nerve in my neck, toothache. With those (if you're not incapacitated) you're grouchy and want to just curl up in a little ball and have everyone go away. With labor pain I was laughing and dancing and making love. My (what I think of as) non-normal labor pain was the worst pain I can imagine feeling.

The first time I pushed a baby out it was a very managed and constipated second stage. I never use that as an example unless someone is planning a managed and constipated second stage. My normal second stages felt amazing. For months after the birth I revisited the feeling of the baby emerging from me. The memory faded and I can't remember it at all now, but I remember just loving that feeling and trying to hang on to it as long as possible. It did burn a bit as the widest point of the head came through, but that was brief.
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