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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,<br>
I had my first child--DD--eight months ago. It was a hospital birth with an epidural. She came about three weeks before her due date, because I came down with sudden preeclampsia and starting contracting, so the hospital docs moved it along a bit with induction drugs (pit). The preeclampsia made me INCREDIBLY sick (nauseated, vomiting, terrible back pain, etc.), and I just couldn't handle the thought of not having an epidural after that and dealing with the pain of labor when I was so exhausted from all the sickness. I also had to have magnesium because of the preeclampsia, which made me pretty out of it. I did have DD vaginally though, with just a small amount of tearing, and she was perfectly healthy. We did have some trouble BFing at first, but we worked out the kinks, and she's still nearly exclusively BFed today <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br>
Anyways, during my pregnancy, I considered going natural and not getting any pain meds, because I'd read it would be better for the baby, the BFing relationship, etc. We won't be TTCing for baby number two until DD is at least 18 months old, but I'm thinking about having a natural birth, maybe with a midwife, with the next baby. However, I'll just say it--I'm a total chicken when it comes to physical pain. I have a very low pain tolerance, as all my friends and family members like to remind me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">, and I'm just really really scared of labor pains. There were definitely things I didn't like about DD's birth--I felt like some of the docs were pushy and condescending and took advantage of my slowed mental state after they put me on the magnesium and the anti-nausea medication for the PC, stuff like that. Plus I wonder if some of our BFing troubles had anything to do with the epi I had...But I did experience some transition contractions full force at one point before they upped the meds in my epi, and WOW, those were terrible. I felt like a complete sissy, but I just didn't think I could deal with them!<br>
So I was wondering if any of you have very low pain tolerance but still managed to have natural birth with any of your children? How did you get through it? What kind of pain relief (Lamaze, Hypnobirth, etc.) did you find to work best for you? Convince me I can do this, I'm scared <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"> Thank you!
 

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I am a huuuuuge baby when it comes to pain. But guess what - it's more the <i>fear</i> of pain that is the worst. Most tolerance/lack of it is mental.<br>
For example - ages ago, I stepped on a piece of glass. It was tiny. I was fine - until DH said the piece might be bigger than it looks and came at me with tweezers. I had a full on panic attack, shaking, sweating, crying, and almost threw up. He couldn't touch me. He gave up - and it turns out the glass was smaller than a piece of coarse salt. My body freaked out because my head did, not because I had a hurt foot.<br><br>
So, DH was a little wary of of choice to have a homebirth. But I educated myself. I read a lot of positive birth stories. I visualized. I kept thinking that labor would be like menstrual cramps, and the pushing part would be like a really intense bowel movement. Thinking of it that way really helped - not to be gross, but you've probably had a BM that was uncomfy, and you had to relax a little and not fight it - I thought labor would be the same sort of thing but bigger. And in many ways it was. I prepared for the "pain" not as pain = hurt, but as communication from my body.<br><br>
If you think you can do it, you can. If you learn to trust your body, then it is not pain. It's hurt, but not scary hurt. It's just a big cramp, and it ends. Preopare mentally and you can do it!<br><br>
I didn't do anything special in my birth, just did what felt right at the time. For me it was a lot of rocking, saying "open open open" a lot. I had moments of wanted to stop because I was tired, but the only part that actually hurt was the crowning and shoulders, and that was over in a blink, and the pain did not linger. Nothing to fear about that.<br><br>
Good luck, believe in yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice, Lit Chick! I appreciate it? Anybody else?? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent">
 

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Another wimp here saying Hi. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
My first two births were in the hospital with epidurals. They were great births, I didn't have any complaints at all. But still I decided to have a homebirth for my third, mainly because I didn't want to deal with the hassle of not being home (if that makes sense). I was really, really nervous about the pain, though.<br><br>
I did do Hypnobabies, but wasn't actually able to enter hypnosis during labor. It did really ease my tension during the pregnancy, so much so that I was actually really looking forward to birth with a super positive attitude, rather than fear.<br><br>
I said all along, though, that the birth would be so much easier because I'd be more mentally/emotionally comfortable at home, that I'd be able to move around as I wanted, etc. And it was certainly true for me. My hospital labors were so much more painful because I was tied to the bed. For the homebirth, I needed to be standing up, leaning forward with my hands planted firmly on a desk (or something similar). Any time I tried to be in a different position (even in the birth pool), it was unbearable. That lasted through all of early labor. For active labor and pushing (which was only an hour total), I decided the toilet was the place to be.<br><br>
The pain wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. I still feel like I cheated or something, because nothing I heard about natural childbirth was true for me. I mean, it wasn't easy.. but the hardest part was the exhaustion from getting pretty much no sleep for over 50 hours.. the pain was nothing compared to that. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I don't have any specific techniques to offer you, but I just wanted to say that, for me anyway, there was a WORLD of difference between birthing confined to bed, and birthing the way I wanted to.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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I'm a huge baby and have no idea how I have even done natural birth b/c it's so not me to tolerate pain with patience, etc. I think it has to do with the body's natural hormone system taking over.
 

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With my first daughter, I had interventions galore which ended in a c/s<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: With my second dd I was determined to have a vbac.....and I was convinced all the interventions including pain control helped to lead my to c/s. I was petrified of the pain because I had severe back labor with my first and so welcomed the epi. So with my second, I refused all pain medications even though I was scared of having back labor like my first and I have a low tolerance. I found the pain incredible but it was as if my body expected it and was familiar with it (not like breaking an arm or anything). I noticed that if I didnt fight it, and let the waves wash over me, I could handle it ....even in transiton. I was just so bound and determined not to have a repeat of my first labor that I accepted and even welcomed the pain because I knew countless women had gone through the same thing and if they could handle it I could....and I did handle it. I should add that I also had a doula who helped me immensely.
 

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Women come away from natural birth surprised by their high threshold for pain, which they never knew existed. They come away from it with a new confidence, in most cases, in themselves and their bodies. Natural birth is worth every minute of pain (my births DID hurt, I won't lie!). You CAN do it.<br><br>
You set things up right in your pregnancy, and you'll be fine. I'll tell you that labor is so much easier to deal with at home. Plan a homebirth, or at least labor at home until you're about to push! Hire a VERY SUPPORTIVE midwife no matter where you give birth. Birth attendant is crucial. Hire a doula. Read lots of positive birth stories, take a good natural birth class.
 

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<b>SublimeBirthGirl</b> makes a great point. The after effects of natural childbirth are GREAT.<br>
For me, there was a blissed-out peaceful few hours before the exhausting really set in and I conked out. My MWs said most women and their newborns have that because of the hormones. It felt wonderful. And after, even when dealing with the aches and pains (that you have after any birth, natural or not), I was totally high on this wave of pride. Still am, acutally!<br>
And my body... I have way more respect for it than I ever did.
 

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I am a TOTAL wimp when it comes to pain, but I've had two drug-free births and am about to have another one.<br><br>
YES! You CAN do it.<br><br>
My suggestion? Have a birth with a midwife (as you suggested) and have great support from your partner, a doula, friends, .....whoever helps! Having that support really makes a difference.
 

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I had a natural birth, and now I have PTSD for my trouble.
 

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my thinking is that everything in life falls on a bell curve. some people who labor naturally fall on the left end of the curve and experience painless labors. people on the right side of the curve, i don't know, have ptsd from the pain. but have you ever noticed that it's women who had epidurals who tell you that you need them? women who labor naturally (whether by choice or by accident) generally tell you that - yes it's painful but - if you play your cards right and with some luck, you can do it.<br><br>
i'm a huge baby with a low pain tolerance. labor (at a birth center with a midwife) hurt me moderately for the first 30 hours at home and there. then there were about 90 minutes when i was in excruciating, unmanageable pain and begged for drugs and, if i could have begged to die, i might have! it turns out that was the last part of transition, of course. then it hurt much more reasonably again for pushing and delivery. i will admit that the 90 minutes were horrible, but they were only 90 minutes of my life. for the 90 minutes of terrible pain i perceive that i got lots of upside in the form of better medical care from midwives and increased mobility.<br><br>
so the bottom line is this: you CAN do it, particularly if you aren't in a place where an epidural is easily available or you have good labor support that helps you decide against it.<br><br>
PS: you know, there ARE other pain-relief options besides epidural. i wonder why no one talks about these. ask your OB about pudendal blocks and the other pain medications if you want medication but not total immobility.
 

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My dh doesn't think I have a high tolerance to pain, but I gave birth to our dd without pain meds of any kind. I got a lot of determination going through alot of sheeot (4.5 years of infertility, an almost-failed adoption) that made me stand up and say to hell with labor pains. I wanted to kick labor's a$$ and I did. I was pretty sick with hyperemesis the whole pg - it got better at the end, but lots of things could set me off - I just learned to avoid them. My labor was painful, intense, fast (12 hours from start to finish). I did not deal with it in the best way (I was not a zen-like mama), but I made it through with the help of my doula, midwives (freestanding birth center), and my dh, who learned alot from me, books, and the doula. I wanted drugs about 1 hour before dd was born, but the birth center could not offer me any <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> and I planned it that way. You can DO IT! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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I said from the beginning that I wanted to try to have an unmedicated vaginal birth, but told my doula that if I asked for meds don't talk me out of it. She also said the labor contractions serve a purpose, to always work with them and not fear them, and that they hurt about as much as your worst menstrual cramps. My midwife suggested I read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin. I changed from a traditional ob-gyn to the midwife mid-pregnancy at a birth center that would allow me to labor in water and potentially give birth. The tub was going to be my pain management.<br><br>
But I went into labor at on 3/29 at 36 weeks, and the birth center only catches babies there at 37 weeks. So I went into the hospital to give birth. Our childbirthing class was scheduled for 3/30, so I had no clue how I was going to manage the pain. I ended up humming and singing my way through contractions, and by the time I was beggin for drugs it was time to push, and my daughter came 10 minutes later. I was alert and elated for her arrival, and glad to not be groggy for meeting her and receiving visitors. I didn't think I had a high tolerance for pain, but I made it through the labor and birth without pain meds.<br><br>
You can do it!!!
 

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Not sure if anyone has said this yet--but I think that experiencing transition contractions without having felt the contractions that came before might actually be harder. I felt like the natural building of labor helped me to deal with the gradually intensifying pain. So, don't base your expectations on the contractions you did feel.
 

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SublimeBirthGirl makes a great point - the feeling of pitocin-induced (artificial + more intense) contractions while strapped by tubes and monitors to a hospital bed is NOT going to be the same. Imagine feeling natural labor contractions when you are in your own comfortable space, well-supported by a doula and/or midwife, and able to move around and deal with the contractions in whatever position helps you best. Don't let your fear from your past experience hold you back.<br><br>
I had two natural births in hospital but the trick was that I stayed home as long as possible so by the time I got there I was already fully dilated and the time for pain meds was past. At home I was able to do what I needed to do to deal with the pain - relaxation, sitting on a birth ball, walking, taking a shower, leaning on my husband, getting LOTS of back rubs, etc.<br><br>
I was very committed to not having any interventions so I never considered drugs an option and was just mentally focused. Like, okay - I have to deal with this, so I will. I am strong, I can get through this, one moment at a time. You can't think ahead and worry. You can't be afraid. You have to trust that your body is working hard and go inside yourself to help it do its job. It is a very mind-body thing - you CAN do it.<br><br>
I was very much helped by the book Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way and by taking Bradley Method classes. (Other women have been helped by other techniques. Bradley focuses on deep relaxation and husband-support which worked for us). The book describes the "emotional signposts" of labor. When women are in transition, about to start pushing, it is universal to feel a sense of panic and self-doubt, to feel out of control and unable to continue. KNOWING this is a huge advantage! When you feel it, you (or your husband) can tell you: hey, its good news that you feel this way because it means you are on the home stretch! Hang in there! And you can tell yourself to just wait a little longer, see what happens, don't give up. Next thing you know, you are pushing - and the ring of fire is the worst thing ever, but ohmygod, woosh, the baby is here! And the ecstacy of that moment (you did it!) is the one that makes everything worthwhile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the advice and stories everyone! It's really made me feel a lot better.<br>
But, QueenofthePride--I'm concerned about your post. Did your PTSD actually come from your birth experience? What went wrong, and what would you change? I'd like more info if you don't mind...If you'd rather, feel free to PM me. Thanks!
 

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Labor pain is different than any other pain you have felt. You know exactly what's causing it, you know it won't hurt you and you know your baby is the reward. I used to be a huge pain phobic but after experiencing my son's birth I feel so empowered and strong! Women have been birthing naturally for millions of years. Pain medications are only a very recent development in human history. My labor really wasn't painful at all until about 8-10 cm. About 3 hours of intense pain. Pushing wasn't painful either (I felt the "ring of fire" for a few seconds and then everything pretty much went numb).
 

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I wasn't sure I could handle it after being induced, and having an epidural.<br><br>
It hurt, but I didn't keep thinking about wanting drugs. I didn't even shoot my husband when he was talking about names for #3 later that day.
 

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I have a high pain tolerance, but I had two extremely painful births. I'm considering an epidural for next time.<br><br>
I think if you want to go natural, first of all, know that OF COURSE you can do it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Whether you ultimately want to or whether it's the best birth for you is something only you know. In considering an epidural, I worry about effects on baby's alertness and breastfeeding also. But both of my natural births were horrible experiences, so I'm certainly not one to laud the natural birth because it was such a lovely experience. (Don't get me wrong - usually it is a really good experience! I'm clearly in the minority.)<br><br>
I believe natural birth is best for me and the baby, and that's why I did it the first time and why I did it a second time (homebirth). But it was so bad the second time that I'm considering a hospital birth with an epidural. All that is just to say that if you have a natural birth and don't like it, or start out natural and choose to get an epidural during the birth, that's okay. You have to do what's right for you and only you know what that is. That said, I still feel that natural birth is better for moms & babies and that's why I did it.<br><br>
If you want to have a natural birth, I would first look for a supportive HCP, preferably a midwife. Then I would think about setting. You're much more likely not to get an epidural if you have a homebirth or freestanding birth center birth, because you would have to transfer to a hospital for the epidural. Preparation is so important, so I would recommend taking natural childbirth classes (a lot of people say good things about hypnobabies and I found the Bradley class we took to be helpful). Having a number of supportive people and coping strategies can really get you through it.<br><br>
I would also hire a doula, someone who would be there to support you during labor and help think of ways to make you more comfortable/deal with things like back labor or a malpositioned baby.<br><br>
I noticed you asked another poster about her PTSD; I'll answer for myself that I had mild PTSD after the birth of my first baby due to having an extremely painful birth (7+ hrs of transition). It was a very unpleasant experience, to say the least, and I had problems dealing with it afterwards. I tried natural again hoping that the second time would be easier, knowing I'd be having the homebirth, etc. - but it was actually more painful. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"><br><br>
That said, my experience is not the experience of the majority of women who have natural births. It's just that sometimes NCB is extremely painful, even when nothing is "wrong" and mother is doing everything "right." My babies were born healthy, I was and am healthy. There's no real explanation for why my labors/births were so awful. And that's just not how it is for most women or you wouldn't see the general trend of women loving NCB once they try it and not going back to medicated or hospital birth. I would feel wrong not telling you honestly what my births were like, though, because there are some that are just way off the normal pain scale.<br><br>
I think it's definitely worth giving it your all to give NCB a real shot - with commitment to a natural birth and lots of preparation and support. Heck, I did it a second time even though I was unhappy with the first. I say I'll try anything once - or twice, just to be sure. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>QueenOfThePride</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11590473"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I had a natural birth, and now I have PTSD for my trouble.</div>
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I'm sorry you have PTSD because of your natural birth.<br>
Would you care to elaborate on this?
 
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