Besides drugs, what helped you deal with previous labors and births? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 05-15-2006, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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I know different things bring comfort to different people. For me, I looooooved being in the shower during labor. It really helped me relax. The one good thing about birthing in a hospital is that they don't run out of hot water! *lol* So, I was standing, sitting and kneeling in that shower for a good 3 hours at least.

The rest of my hospital experience was extremely *unhelpful* as far as managing and relaxing. So that's why we're going for a homebirth this time.

I would love to hear about what helped you during your previous labors!
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#2 of 11 Old 05-15-2006, 10:13 AM
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Music and my mom I had a rather unsatisfactory hospital birth last time and the things that got me through it were one particularly amazing cd that I was just able to zone out and relax to and having my mother there, who had been through this before completely naturally and having her hold my hand.
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#3 of 11 Old 05-15-2006, 11:15 AM
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Quiet. Being left alone. No one bothering me or touching me. Being in my own home.

Water makes me uncomfortable when I'm not feeling well, so for me I knew I didn't want that. I just concentrated on relaxing every part of my body: my mouth, my shoulders, my hands, my legs, my feet.
When a contraction started I made sure all those "parts" were as relaxed as possible, then I'd pick a random word (sometimes an item in the room or on a book) and start rhyming it in my head, every word I could think of, sometimes methodically going through the alphabet, until the contraction started to ebb. It just took my mind off things, put me in a "zone", and let my body do its thing.

My second labor was really fast with transition type contractions immediately with no breaks in between them. Moving around really helped me cope (okay, more like jumping around like a crazy person at times!). And being in my own home I felt like I could make any noise I needed to. I actually liked being alone for most of that labor (well, my 15 month old was asleep upstairs, but otherwise I was alone until the last 20 minutes), even though it was so painful.

I think allowing yourself to do whatever comes naturally to you works best. Everyone has different things that make them comfortable.

- Krista

milk donation : mother to Ryan (6), AJ (5), Nate (2), Maia (1) all born at home, I have a kid-friendly food & bento blog, : :
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#4 of 11 Old 05-15-2006, 11:23 AM
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I too had a hospital birth with my first.

The one thing that helped me most was STAYING HOME! as long as possible. We did not even think about leaving until contractions were 4 minutes apart and 1 minute long for a full hour. By the time we got ourselves packed and out the door I was in transition, and at the hospital I was already fully dilated. Yes, the car ride was the worst experience of my life (and dh swears he is never doing that again) but it was totally worth it. There wasn't anything the hospital could do to me at that point except throw a gown on me and catch the baby. DS was delivered with no interventions at all.

In terms of dealing with pain during early and active labor, a couple things:

We had taken Bradley classes, and practiced specific positions and techniques. Lying on my side with every muscle as relaxed as possible, breathing slowly and deeply from the belly, eyes closed, visualizing the contractions working through my body, was probably the number-one thing that worked for me. I listened to a mix CD I had made ahead of time for labor. I felt that this really helped my body do what it needed to without me fighting it.

I also had a doula who made specific suggestions of things to try in between the stretches of relaxation. Taking short walks and sitting on the birth ball were two ideas that seemed to help move things along. My doula and dh also tried some lower-back massage with a tennis ball at one point.

Never did get around to the shower, although I had planned to. I have no idea why!

I'd definitely recommend the doula support (worth every penny!), and the book we used to prepare ("Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon) as well as remaining in your own environment as long as possible during labor so anxiety and stress and interventions don't make the pain worse or slow down the labor (who can relax with an IV in their arm??).

Am very interested in hearing ideas from others that we might try this time!
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#5 of 11 Old 05-15-2006, 11:34 AM
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I hated the shower (it was just sensation overkill) but loved being immersed in a birthing tub. My last two were waterbirthed and it was a huge difference from the first two births (which were unmedicated, but still medically overmanaged IMO). Also, having a midwife vs an OB made a big diff.

Having the room dim and the white noise of a fan helped me a lot, as well. I prayed a lot during my last labor.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#6 of 11 Old 05-15-2006, 12:40 PM
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Well, my labor and contractions were nearly non-existent until transition hit, but I liked sitting on the labor ball, concentrating on breathing, and having dh apply pressure to my back.

When I started to get uncomfortable, I got into the shower and that relaxed me SO much! I remember telling dh that I couldn't even feel the contractions anymore, then transition hit.

During transition, it helped me to have dh remind me to relax every part of my body (in which he'd start at my neck, and work down). Then he'd remind me to breathe deeply and would then go into my visual imagery (which is the technique I just KNEW wouldn't work for me ) But anyway, my image was of floating on my back in the ocean while we were honeymooning in Mexico. He described the water rushing over my body, the warmth of the sun. And, I imagined the rushing of the water as the contraction going through my body.

We also took Bradley classes, and they were great! In the workbook, there is a page that describes what mood/actions are typical for a woman in each stage of labor - THAT helped my dh know how to best handle me and now, looking back at those pages - I really see so many things that I did.

Steph, wife to C, mama to O :, E , and I :.
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#7 of 11 Old 05-15-2006, 01:16 PM
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I had a drug free birth last time. I didn't do anything that I thought I would. I thought that I would be really mobil, but I ended up spending most of my time in bed with my eyes closed breathing and concentrating. I also focused on little things, like I'd play with my hospital braclet or focus on the dots on the ceiling. I had always thought the "focus" techniques sounded outdated and cheesy, but I ended up using them during labor. I loved my ice chips! Never did try the water, but I'm not a huge water person anyway. I guess my personal labor technique is to be really comfy. This time I will be at home on my big couch, I even plan to rent a movie or two. That wouldn't work for someone who's labor might stall from not moving around though. With me, it wasn't an issue, the birth was hard and fast. Good luck
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#8 of 11 Old 05-15-2006, 01:57 PM
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Well, I have to say, the fetal monitor (external).

DH and I are both techno-geeks (he more than I). We both were really fascinated by being able to see the contractions. He liked having a better idea of what was going on with me, and I liked having something to focus on, being able to tell when a contrax was nearly over.

Of course, it was less fascinating once we went for pitocin-and-epidural. Something about DH saying, with EVERY contraction, "whoa, look at how high that one went! That would have been a BITCH without the drugs" just kinda bugged me. : By that point, I'd been laboring for 36 hours, and DH was losing any tact he might have had to begin with.
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#9 of 11 Old 05-15-2006, 03:26 PM
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I had planned on being upright for the whole labor thing so it surprised me when I kept craving my bed. I felt like I need permission to lay down. I had a quick 2 hr labor and was up for the first hour but I just kept looking at the bed and thinking that is where I really wanted to be.

I think the biggest thing that helped me was knowing that pain is a message from our body telling us to do something different. So I would have a ctx and would know that I was tensing up in a certain place but not be able to fix it during the ctx so after the ctx I asked dh to help me remember to keep that spot relaxed during the ctx.

When I birthed in the hospital I also appreciated having the machine hooked up because then I would know I was on the down side of the ctx. I would ask dh to let me know when it started going down. It just helped me know that I had gotten past the peak and the worst part of the ctx was over.
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#10 of 11 Old 05-15-2006, 04:19 PM
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Having my girlfriend with me (she has since become a doula) was my only comfort -- and being in the tub. She knows all the pressure point (massage therapist) and she helped me so much., And she is a really gentle quiet person, and she didn't talk, she just held my hand and rubbed my back and put pressure in all the right places. I can't do it without her
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#11 of 11 Old 05-16-2006, 10:09 AM
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This may sound completly crazy but I remember in my last labor when I felt really exhausted that my other two children coming in and I could literally feel their happy energy. After a day and half my husband was sort of a knot of responsibility and he would shoe the kids back downstairs... and I remember really wanting him to just leave them be... But I knew he was really trying to be helpful and I couldn't come up with the words to tell him "it's okay." <- HA! seems simple enough now, lol.
I am sure I wouldn't have much wanted them there the entire time (heck I barely wanted my dh there the entire 36hours). But switching up the postive birth energy was really really refreshing. He knows for this time to "let them help" ...they really wanted to last time and they are excited to do it again...especially now that they know that they won't be shoed back to the TV.
Oh and for the record my kids are now 6 (son) and 3 (daughter)......They were 5 and 2 the last time.

momma to 7
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