Scared about giving birth - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Please, please, please, no flames. I really want to talk about this.

I had twins three years ago via c-section at 33.5 weeks. I was totally prepared for a c-section, and didn't experience it as traumatic or a loss of an ideal birth experience or anything. In fact, I was -- and remain -- completely terrified about a vaginal birth, and was (perhaps not-so) secretly hoping for a c-section.

I know that a VBAC is almost certainly the best option for this pregnancy. Barring disaster, I will heal more quickly and will be better able to take care of the new baby as well as my then-almost-4-year-olds. I know a vaginal birth is better for the baby. But, mamas, I am still terrified. I was looking through the 'mama swag' I picked up at the doctor's office today and in one of the magazines there was a series of pictures of a vaginal birth. I literally got chills, then broke out in a sweat and had to sit down.

What can I read? What can I do? I know a VBAC is the right thing (and my OB is, at this point, willing) -- I know my attitude of fear and terror is so far from that of a good MDC mama... I know I need help.

Please, mamas. Can anyone help?

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#2 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 06:48 PM
 
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I was scared of vaginal birth when I had my first child. I wasn't ready for it, and it was a bad birth experience. For my second delivery, I read "The Thinking Woman's Guide to Better Birth." Wow! It just made me think about the best way to deliver a baby. I also read Hypnobirthing. Even if you don't want to do hypnobirthing, I think it's valuable because of the focus on trusting your body to know how to deliver a baby.

Good luck, mama. I hope this delivery is free from fear for you. . .. vaginal delivery can be very calm and peaceful.
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#3 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 06:56 PM
 
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I would totally get the book "birthing from within" it talks in detail about addressing fears surrounding birth. How it is critical to a healthy, powerful and natural birth to face your fears BEFORE you get to delivery. I LOVED its methods and not just talk, it actually gives you a plan of things to try to face your fears and come to terms. I would RUN to amazon.com and order it!

You can do this, you are woman!

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#4 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 07:09 PM
 
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I've made the 180 from total terror to looking forward to it. Two things that really help me:

1. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - half the book is birth stories! They're calm, fun stories that are good'n'cheesy.

2. Watching birth videos on YouTube. I signed up to watch the "18 and older" videos. Totally awesome. I love the unassisted ones and like the midwife-assisted ones.

Both those ideas will put "good birth pictures" in your head. I think that's very important for crowding out the "bad birth pictures."

A 180 is possible!
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#5 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 07:30 PM
 
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I watched lots of birth videos to help me prepare when I was preggo with dd. (They were all of natural homebirths that my midwife provided.) It was nice for me because it showed me how every woman has her own technique. It gave me ideas for how I would deal with my own birth and just generally calmed me down about everything after I saw how relaxed all of these women were with their births. I also used to go to the used bookstore and just sit on the floor reading the pregnancy books. "A thinking woman's guide to a better birth" is a fantastic one, as afore mentioned. The calmer you are, the easier it will be so just spend as much time as you can over the next few months on this topic. It will be much easier than you think; you're body knows exactly what to do!

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#6 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 07:48 PM
 
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I too are terrified of child birth. I've watched the YouTube stuff and it freaked me out! How can I do it? I know our bodies are made for it, but Lord help me, how am I going to?! I'll certainly look into those books you all recommended.

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#7 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, mamas. I've got some reading to do!

Decluttering SAHM of three. Going for 2011 items in 2011.
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#8 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 09:53 PM
 
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I am sorry I have nothing to say that is helpful, but just want to let you know that you aren't alone.

I had a c-section my first time around as well - though mine was unexpected. So, I never had to get over my fear of childbirth. I want to be able to deliver vaginally this time, for sure. I am still so scared though. Totally irrational, because, like Monique said, our bodies were made to be able to do this. You can do it!!!!
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#9 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 10:09 PM
 
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I think you ladies are brave!!! I'm terrified of having a c-section!

I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about having to go under the knife, or having to have a needle in my spine... bleh!!!

I second the Ina May book, and her other book Spiritual Midwifery is awesome and calming. For my first labor, I had both of these books in the bathroom and everynight I would have a nice bath and read a couple of birth stories. It totally put me into a peaceful frame of mind.

Happy birthing everyone, we can all do it!

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#10 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 10:25 PM
 
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I think you ladies are brave!!! I'm terrified of having a c-section!
Same here!

I also think Thinking Woman's Guide is an invaluable tool. It's very educational and well researched. I would HIGHLY recommend taking a birth class. We took Bradley -it is ALL about education. Education is key to feeling empowered and having the birth your deserve.

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#11 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 10:31 PM
 
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for me, I'm more terrified of a c-section than an unmedicated vaginal birth. don't get me wrong, I'm scared of both. even though I have the book knowledge about it the thought of going through birth MYSELF scares the heck out of me!

I wish I could find my birthing from within book, I loaned it out and I'm not sure if I received it back.. I think it may have exercises to work through this. there are art projects and exercises to do, and what not.
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#12 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 10:36 PM
 
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One thing to add about classes:

Many hospitals offer "childbirth classes". Really, lots of them are just "how to be a good hospital patient" classes. They tell you all about the layout of the hospital, how all the medications work, where they do csections, the nursery, etc. But they don't tell you about NORMAL childbirth. They sometimes mention how crazy unmedicated childbirth is, which just makes you less secure in your choices. They usually avoid showing the NICU, which would have been nice for me, because I had an NICU baby. I would NOT do another of those classes if I could do it all over again. There is no reason to listen to the hospital's rhetoric about the best way to have a medicated birth.
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#13 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I did take a birthing class, hospital-sponsored, but run by a doula.

I should admit here that I'm cynical and negative by nature, but I really left the class feeling more terrified than I had been going into it. I remember thinking "A 'focal object,' a hand massage, and my choice of music are NOT going to get me through this. Holding an ice cube for increasing periods of time is NOT adequate preparation for contractions. This is NOT working for me! Help!"

Of course, if I'd brought my own music, I wouldn't have had to listen to "Crocodile Rock" during my c-section, but that's another story...

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#14 of 29 Old 01-16-2008, 11:30 PM
 
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I've had a "nice" planned c-section that was not traumatic and a natural vaginal birth.

I can say from experience that the vaginal birth was much less painful.

Yes, it was intense during the process. Yes, it was painful. But the pain was gone so much faster.

I didn't realize how much the c-section hurt or how out of my head I was because of the drugs until I had a natural birth.

I won't lie and say it didn't hurt to have a natural birth but its not like the kind of pain from surgery or being wounded. For me it felt like I was on a raft on the ocean I was going up and down on the waves. It was a feeling akin to throwing up but the other direction. Just waves of intensity. Not like any other kind of pain, quite different.

My suggestion is to have a great provider that can comfort you and get in a nice warm tub. Before I got in the water I was starting to freak out and thinking I couldn't handle it. Once I was in the tub I really felt a lot better and it was manageable again.

This is something you can do. It is something you were made to do. Do not be afraid!

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#15 of 29 Old 01-17-2008, 12:10 AM
 
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Hey, I'm right there with you. I am pretty cynical myself, and a lot of the more imagery related natural birth stuff not only does nothing for me, it sends me in the other direction. Personally I've stopped looking at pictures and videos. It just freaks me out, and I imagine it as more painful than it is, and I'm not going to be seeing it when it's me, anyhow. I'm not that bendy. I'm going for med free this time, and I am focussing on the rhythmic aspects (assuming no back labor. Pleeeeaaase no back labor.) as well as the fact that it's really not that long of a time. Just a few hours, and the part I'm scared of (crowning) is a few seconds. Not nearly long enough to go to all the trouble of an epidural, right? Right.

FWIW, no matter what, your recovery is almost certain to be easier this time. I had almost identical births with the first two, and my recovery was 50 billion times easier with number 2. It just is. I've had friends who had both c-sections and normal births, and they all say whichever one they had second is the far superior way to give birth.
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#16 of 29 Old 01-17-2008, 12:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Before I got in the water I was starting to freak out and thinking I couldn't handle it. Once I was in the tub I really felt a lot better and it was manageable again.
Well, this was me during my c-section. Except for "water/tub" in your story, substitute "morphine." I jokes, I jokes.

Thanks for all the great advice, mamas. Lots to think about, lots to read, lots to learn. I want to do the right thing.

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#17 of 29 Old 01-17-2008, 02:35 AM
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I read a book called Childbirth without fear by Grantly Dick Read and it totally empowered me. I had an emergency csection with my second child and a vbac with my third. TOTALLY AWESOME!!! The only thing that hurt was my back. I went into the whole labor experience with no fear knowing that my body was made for giving birth. I'm so confident now that we are going unassisted for the pregnancy and birth. This book is a must read. I got mine from the library. Good luck and God Bless!!
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#18 of 29 Old 01-17-2008, 12:03 PM
 
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Wow you have had a lot of feedback - in addition to the great reading suggestions I wanted to add that it sounds like you have some true anxiety surrounding the vaginal birth experience and a lot of women have actually had success with deep-relaxation and visualization programs like hypnobabies or hypnobirthing to get through their fears. If you truly want to try for a VBAC any stress, anxiety or fears you have will make it harder so its best to address those fears sooner rather than later - even if you end up with a C-Section the time you spend practicing deep relaxation (most of these programs come with CD's) is good for you and your baby.

Good luck!

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#19 of 29 Old 01-17-2008, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, relaxation isn't one of my strong points... does it show?

Thanks, mamas.

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#20 of 29 Old 01-17-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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I'm not sure if this is helpful, but I've had two c-sections and in both I labored naturally. The labor was by far, by far, the best part of the experience. In my last c-section, when I was being repaired, my midwife who stayed with me through the surgery said, off the cuff, next time you should schedule a c-section. And I protested loudly, NO, that was a GREAT labor, I did such a good job, it was SO GOOD for the baby, it was amazing, I feel so strong. That was literally a half hour after a 16 hour natural labor culminating in surgery. The labor was intense, but for me it was a transformative experience each time. Floating in the tub, staring into my partners eyes (it helped me to press my forehead against his through the more intense contractions), finding this deep mellow voice, this chant through the waves of contractions. I felt very connected to my baby. I was so happy that I labored. And this time, it looks like I can't have a vba2c, so far anyway, but I was thrilled to find a midwife who will support me in going into labor naturally and laboring for a while with the baby before the section. I wouldn't schedule one for the world. (And just as an aside, I'm not a physically fit or active person and I'm a total baby about pain.) The section pain felt like being cut, being wounded. The labor pain felt like winning some sort of athletic event, ache-y, sore, intense, but it was just my muscles working, nothing felt "wrong", it just felt very interior and very powerful and strong.
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#21 of 29 Old 01-17-2008, 03:59 PM
 
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It was a feeling akin to throwing up but the other direction. Just waves of intensity.
This is exactly how I felt but I've never heard anyone else say it! :grin
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#22 of 29 Old 01-17-2008, 04:13 PM
 
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I apologize if someone else has already mentioned this...

It might help to try and figure out what specifically scares you?

Is it the pain of laboring?
Is it transition?
Is it actual delivering pain? or pushing?
Is it tearing/episiotomy?
Is it recovery afterwards?
Is it feeling out of control?
Is it thinking that you might not be able to give birth vaginally?

These are all real fears and should be addressed. If you can figure out what you're afraid of and focus on alleviating or coming to grips with that particular fear, that might help. Even if you're afraid of it all, putting down specifics may help you to address them all one by one. The books are all good choices too- and stay away from too many horror stories! :grin
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#23 of 29 Old 01-18-2008, 08:05 PM
 
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No advice here, but you're not the only one. I am absolutely terrified, either way.

I am so scared I am bawling as I am reading this thread
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#24 of 29 Old 01-18-2008, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is it the pain of laboring?
Is it transition?
Is it actual delivering pain? or pushing?
Is it tearing/episiotomy?
Is it recovery afterwards?
Is it feeling out of control?
Is it thinking that you might not be able to give birth vaginally?
It's all of this, and probably more, with the possible exception of recovery, which is almost certain to be easier after a vaginal birth than a c-section.


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#25 of 29 Old 01-18-2008, 08:26 PM
 
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About 20 years ago, I wanted to be a midwife. When my friends had babies with midwives, I begged to go along (I promise I won't interfere). In the end, I actually got to help and comfort women and family members.

When I got pregnant I knew the range of behavior I might go through because I had seen so many natural births. I do feel that familiarizing yourself with NORMAL natural birth would be a great idea. NOT TYPICAL births (like the sensationalized traumatic births on TV). Birth is primal... and we could be a village. I would say to you, surround yourself with people who know natural birth, and can support you 150% Read as many natural birth stories as possible... and educate yourself on options for birth in your birth place of choice. At least there won't be any surprises. I might say more...
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#26 of 29 Old 01-18-2008, 09:17 PM
 
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It's all of this, and probably more, with the possible exception of recovery, which is almost certain to be easier after a vaginal birth than a c-section.

You might be interested in the "How do you know when to push?" thread over in the UC forum.

Near as I can tell, from reading tons of birth stories, the keys to a non-traumatic birth (that is one with no bad pain) are patience and the woman listening to her body.
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#27 of 29 Old 01-18-2008, 10:55 PM
 
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I would highly recommend "Birthing from Within" - I read it when I was pg last time and it's geered more towards women who didn't have their "ideal" birth the first time around, but are trying for a better go. It had a lot of techniques for getting in tune with your body and conquering fears.

I have to say that the childbirth class I went to at the hospital really helped me mainly w/ breathing techniques. The rest was kind of crap, but the breathing is what kept me going and made it possible to have an unmedicated birth w/ DS (among other things!). I'm sure you'll do great - just read as much as you can, and learn relaxation & breathing techniques. Birth can be scary - but it's a natural process that women have been doing forever! Your body will know what to do, you just need to listen to it
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#28 of 29 Old 01-21-2008, 12:08 AM
 
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I think what helped me was realizing the age of our species. Humans have been around for a long time and we all have come into this world the same way. I just remembered that when I got scared during labor I though "wow if this worked for millions of years for billions of people no matter how awful and scary this is right now this really just must be NORMAL and NECESSARY ". I still was scared cause the sensations were painful and new but it helped sooth my mind when the self doubt would creep in and I would think "I really can't do this". I did it in the end and it was an amazing high, I felt like I was the most powerful amazing woman on the face of the planet!

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#29 of 29 Old 01-21-2008, 01:08 AM
 
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You might be interested in the "How do you know when to push?" thread over in the UC forum.
Just read this thread - very worth the 5 minutes! One particular post - about #18 and long - is VERY worth your time! Gotta check it out. It'll give you more confidence in your body.
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