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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, as my 2nd VBAC approaches, I'm getting more and more nervous about the idea of going through labor unmedicated. Just to give some personal history, I took Bradley classes during my 1st pregnancy and fully intended to have an unmedicated labor and delivery. As it turned out, my son had a lot of positioning issues (asynclitic, OT, short cord wrapped around his neck several times) and after 12 hours of excruciating back labor, during which I tried every birthing position in the book, including sitting in a birth Jacuzzi, sitting on a birth ball, kneeling, swaying, on all fours, you name it, I finally got an epidural. That birth ended in a C-section.<br><br>
Cut to my second labor and delivery -- this one went a lot more smoothly, with no back labor, no weird positioning issues, but when I showed up at the hospital after 3 days of prodromal labor, they told me that they strongly recommended an epidural for all VBAC patients, which I hadn't been expecting, and I just caved in and said okay. I did have a successful VBAC, though.<br><br>
So, here I am almost ready to deliver my third baby. I want an unmedicated birth, and this time I've talked to my OB beforehand about pain medication and he said there's no reason I have to get an epidural if I don't want one. I have his signature on my birth plan so I feel confident that it won't be a problem to just tell the hospital staff "no epidural" when I show up in what is hopefully the later stages of labor.<br><br>
But I've never had an unmedicated birth and the idea is freaking me out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">: I keep reading birth story after birth story here about people who had successful unmedicated hospital births, and that helps a lot, but then I remember my previous experiences, especially my first birth, and how out of control the pain felt even though I had a lot of good coping techniques and sometimes I find myself thinking, there is no way I can get through a labor and delivery without pain meds. I don't know. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to work through this fear?
 

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Honey, it will be okay. Right before I had my son I was very afraid of labor seeing that it was my first pregnancy but everything went smoothly. I had an unmedicated hospital birth while on Pitocin and AntiB's for GBS. I suggest having a birth plan to all hospital staff know exactly what you want. To work through your fear I think you should learn to breathe through the contracts, find your happy place, and go into what I call labor land. Make your birth about you, your baby, and your body. Don't listen to what people around you are saying. Do what feels right, and connect with your body. Your body knows what to do, trust it. The pain will only last for a little while. Breathing through contractions helped me.<br><br>
I hope I helped some. I'm here if you want to talk .<br><br>
Chelci
 

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JanB I don't have much to say <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">. A friend of mine had her 3rd baby in January, third unmedicated, and she was posterior. She told me that was more painful than anterior births. So I wouldn't assume that just because you had so much pain the first time that you would have it again.
 

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Oh! I know what you are going thru! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> My first dd was induced epidural, blah, blah, blah.....Then I got preggo with my 2nd dd unexpectedly and decided I was going to get my natural, drug-free birth and I DID! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
The only advice I have is to just think positive thoughts and when you feel those negative thoughts try and make there way in, just push them out of the way with more positive ones! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Also, during early labor during every contraction I would repeat to myself over and over again, I CAN do this! I think that really helped get me in the right frame of mind, I never once even thought about transferring to the hospital(I birthed at a free-standing birth center) for pain relief.<br><br>
FWIW I also used the Bradley Method and it was a life saver! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Having lots of good support(I had my dh and an awsome m/w) helps tremendously!! What about hiring a doula?<br><br>
Well, enough of my rambling I hope I helped a little! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
eta: having someone during contractions reminding me what to do (i.e. breath, relax, etc.) helped a lot also and just verbal encouragment and or even putting there hands on my shoulders to remind me to relax, etc.
 

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I hear you, mama. I'm 30 wks pg with my third baby, due for hba2c in July. My first c/s was likely partly due to a posterior/asynclitic baby.. my mw says the labor pattern I had was what happens often w/ a posterior babe. I hear moms say all the time that labor with a posterior baby is a totally different experience.<br><br>
I was pretty traumatized by the pain of my labor with ds1 and I found that EFT helped. the site is emofree.com and the instruction book is a free download - it sounds kinda silly but it really has helped me.
 

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i don't have much to say except that YOU CAN DO IT! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> if you really want an unmedicated birth, you can do it! all women can! i do suggest trying to do everything you can before labor to prevent posterior position. i had back labor (20+hours of a 30 hour labor) with ds and i did do it without meds (only cuz i was at home and there weren't any <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">), but i was traumatized after the birth and it took a while to work through it all. this time i had no back labor and it was SO much better! i actually got to rest pain-free between ctx...<br><br>
wishing you the best!
 

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All I can say is that my first birth with an epidural was so much worse than my subsequent unmedicated births. Not even in the same ballpark. When they handed me my baby after the epidural birth, I was like, eh. Oh, I guess that's mine <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> It's SO amazing how exhilirating and empowering birthing normally and naturally is. There's NOTHING like it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> You can do it!!!! You were made to birth this baby, Jan! For me, something that helps is just taking the idea of pain relief off the table. It's not an option. I don't *need* it, and it's not good for the baby. Birth works best when left alone...if we don't go messing with the physiology, nature's blueprint is just <i>so</i> amazing. It's sooo worth it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
Have you read these Mothering articles yet?<br><br><a href="http://www.mothering.com/articles/pregnancy_birth/birth_preparation/ecstatic.html" target="_blank">One</a><br><a href="http://www.mothering.com/articles/pregnancy_birth/birth_preparation/hidden-risks-epidurals.html" target="_blank">Two</a>
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I go through the same fears. I am just shy of 36 weeks and I'm finally starting to realize that the only way to "get over" this fear is to go through it. There's not much mental preparation you can do, aside from positive thoughts and surrounding yourself with supportive, positive people. When it comes down to it, it's you and you alone that has to go through this, and you will!<br><br>
I agree with the notion of just saying it's not an option. Generally if you say something like "I'll have an epidural if I need one" you'll find a reason to need one. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> I think it helps into it with the attitude that this is your show, you are taking control and getting through it, and you don't need any help from medications.<br><br>
Every birth is different. You may find that this pain is far different from the pain you experienced with your first child.<br><br>
You will do great! You can do it!<br><br>
(Can you tell I'm typing this out as a self-talk exercise? LOL!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you so much, everybody! This really helps.<br><br>
I will say that one of the things worrying me is that during my first labor, I did consider pain meds to be off the table, and my entire support team, including the nursing staff at the hospital (I had a great hospital) respected my wishes in this respect. They kept suggesting different positions, trying the Jacuzzi, etc., but nobody breathed a word about pain meds until I finally suggested it myself in lieu of what I really wanted to do, which was throw myself out the window. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
This time around I do have a doula, and I think that will help a lot. My DH is also really good at labor support, and I'm trying my best to do exercises and posture for optimal positioning (although again, part of my nervousness is that I did all that stuff with my first and he still wound up in like THE worst position -- I know that doesn't mean it will happen again, it just worries me).<br><br>
Georgia, thank you for the links! Part of the reason I am so against the idea of getting an epidural this time around is that with my daughter's birth, I had a nightmarish 24-hour ordeal in the ER a week after she was born because I had a blinding headache that wouldn't go away and my OB wanted to rule out the possibility of it being a spinal headache. It was excruciating, and spending all that time in the ER really didn't help. (It was inconclusive whether or not the headache was related to the epidural but the point is, if I hadn't had an epidural nobody would even have considered that it might be a spinal headache and I wouldn't have had to stay overnight in the bleeping ER.)<br><br>
I am going to go do some pelvic tilts now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I think it helps to have a full understanding of what is causing the "pain." Talk to your doc or doula about the physiology of labor, or at least about why the contractions feel the way they do and what they are doing, kwim? In my experience, personally and as a doula, moms who have a very clear knowledge of what their body is doing have significantly less fear going into labor, and don't complain of pain, necessarily, but use words like strong and intense.
 

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My third birth was my first unmedicated birth. I definitely had doubts about my capabilities to get through it but I didn't even feel the needs for meds. I was in a warm, supportive environment and it was a great birth!<br><br>
Happy birthing!
 

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I had an unmedicated hospital second birth after an epidural with the first. I would have to say that prepping your support person with what to say to support you is important. I spent a large part of my unmedicated birth thinking, "What the h*ll am I thinking? Why not just get drugs???" When I said it to my husband, he just sort of looked at me like, "I don't know, crazy lady." I think if someone had reminded me of why I wanted to do it, I would have been more positive about the whole thing. Luckily, though, it was definitely do-able so I could get through it without being 100% positive in my thinking (and by the time it got really hard, it was too late to get anything, anyways).<br><br>
Keep positive. If you want this, you can do it!!!
 

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I would say a support person is the key. I have one of those husbands who will do anything to make me happy. I asked if I should get the drugs (I was bed confined with pre-eclampsia and a tramatic birth - in IV's and all that) and DH said I should. He could not bear to see me in pain.<br>
I told him afterwards I was disapointed he was not my "Rock" if you will. But he said he did what he thought was best for me at the time.<br><br>
(also, becuase my BP was so high, 200 something over 120, they wanted me to try an epi to lower it, which it did do.)
 

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Back labor is no joke, I know. But every labor is different. Just because your first labor was very hard doesn't mean this one will be the same. You might consider hiring a doula to help you stay calm and focused.
 

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I had an unmedicated hospital birth with my daughter. She was posterior. As others have said, that is no joke. I am going to do everything I possibly can to avoid that this time. At one point I think my head was spinning around, and I was begging for drugs, then accusing the nurses of giving me drugs without telling me...um, transition? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I was very surprised by the pain. But I went into it KNOWING that I could do it, that my body was made to do it, and that the baby and I would both be better off doing it the way nature intended. Let me tell you, the endorphins at the end are REAL! When you get interventions like pitocin, narcotics, or an epidural, they mess with the natural chemicals that your body produces to help you through labor. There is a picture of me after DD was born, like right afterwards, and I look high. I AM high! But the very best part is the absolute exhilaration of surrendering to a power that is so much greater than yourself, a primal force, that you commune with during childbirth. Some of my friends, not MDCers, say that unmedicated childbirth is about control, but they are so wrong. Unmedicated childbirth is about surrender. IMO you cannot give birth to a baby naturally without surrendering to the power of labor. I remember not even caring about the pain anymore during the pushing part. I pushed right through it, I was so happy that I was actually doing it! It is an incredible, empowering experience. I wish we treated birth as the right of passage it is. I am forever changed by my experience.<br><br>
You can do this! Just keep telling yourself that and go into it very positive and convinced that you can, not doubting and not afraid.
 

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i had stadol with my first two. i never had and epidural. the thought of having no control of my legs scared me more than feeling pain. i had a drug free birth with my 3rd. i felt that i was able control my pain better because i wasnt looped on pain meds.also the meds dont seem to really help anyways. i also found it is more painful to be confined to the bed. walking helps the pain managent.i walked the whole time i was in labor. i only layed down to try to rest. it felt worse. just remember the pain goes away after the baby is born.
 

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I recommend a doula. You can handle regular labor pains. The combination of fear and labor pains is another story. Start working on the fear issues now and find a doula who is confident.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">I think it helps to have a full understanding of what is causing the "pain." Talk to your doc or doula about the physiology of labor, or at least about why the contractions feel the way they do and what they are doing, kwim? In my experience, personally and as a doula, moms who have a very clear knowledge of what their body is doing have significantly less fear going into labor, and don't complain of pain, necessarily, but use words like strong and intense.</div>
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Absolutely. I spent a lot of time learning how and why a birthing body does what it does. I can't even use the words "pain" or "hurt" when talking about my daughter's birth. Every sensation was important and meaningful--especially the ones that were more challenging to handle. If you are prepared for it, when you feel pain you will be able to understand what's happening and that you can trust your body to do it. I think the closest thing I had to "pain" was crowning, but I was so ecstatic that my baby's head was almost out I didn't mind at all. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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