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How bad is the pain REALLY?


Forum: Natural Childbirth

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  #1  
October 11th, 2011, 01:42 PM
KiwiMommy's Avatar Ashlynn's Mama
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I want to have a natural birth. I want no interventions, no medications, no nurse telling me if I don't push harder, I'll get a c-section.
For once, I want to control my own birth.
I just found out we're expecting #2 and I'm considering either a homebirth or a birth center birth..
But how bad is the pain really?
When I was laboring at home for 6hrs or so, it wasn't bad at all. Cramps, at most.
When we got to the hospital though, things got worse.
Then again, I went from laboring on a medicine ball at home to laboring on my back/side in a hospital scared out of my wits.
It got to the point where I really couldn't take it and it was all downhill after that.
Meds after meds, epidural, it's all a blur..

So if anyone can offer advice or tips, I'd LOVE it. I want this birth to be the birth I want, not what they want.
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  #2  
October 11th, 2011, 03:49 PM
Sk8ermaiden's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I planned a home birth. Had a stuck/malpositioned baby, so after many, many hours of pushing, I ended up in the hospital and had a c/s.

I was also at my BFF's birth, and she had a kind of dysfunctional labor at home and transferred to the hospital and went on to have an epidural and a vaginal birth.

We both said the same thing of our labors at home. "It wasn't that bad." Like really, and truly manageable. The second though, that both of us had our backs hit a bed? (in the hospital), it was OVER. The immediate and total shift from manageable pain to overwhelming pan was astounding. And I immediately understood why most women giving birth in a hospital get an epidural. DO some women still manage a natural birth that way? Yes, but I can tell you I would not be one of them!!

SO that's what I have to say. In a place where you get to choose whatever position feels best to you to labor in? Labor is totally and 100% manageable. In fact, while I was scared going into my first birth, the fear of childbirth is not even on my radar for next time. I can totally do it. (And so can you!)

Oh, and just for reference, I labored to 10 and pushed for 9 hours at home, and my bff labored to 9, went in and had an epi, and then let it wear off and pushed naturally - so we both did get lots of natural labor experience.
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  #3  
October 11th, 2011, 04:34 PM
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I had a NCB with Lily at the hospital and it was fine. No pressure from the staff to get meds, etc. I labored for about 7 hours total and 30 minutes of that was pushing. I was only at the hospital for about 3 hours before she was born. They let me move around, get in the shower, etc so it wasn't bad at all.

Violet was a planned home birth with midwives. She twisted during labor and I pushed for 3 hours before getting her out. She got stuck on my pelvic bone and she was a face presentation where her eye came out first (less than 1% of births are that presentation, it's different from just face up). I was very close to needing a transfer, but got her out in time. The only painful part of her birth was when the midwives were trying to reach up and unhook her to help get her down.

Neither of my labors were that long (under 7 with Lily and then 9 hours with Vi) and my contractions were almost immediately less than 3 minutes apart and lasting for a minute and they just got closer together from there. But I never felt like I was in pain. It was just a lot of pressure on my body. And most of my family/friends would say I have a low pain threshold as well; most of them thought there was no way I'd have a successful NCB.

I think it's important to focus on what your body is doing and keep in mind that even if you do find it painful, it's not forever. I'm pregnant with my 3rd now and we'll be having this baby at the hospital again (DH is traumatized from Vi's birth at home since there were heart decels, I turned blue and some other things), but I'm not concerned. But then again, my hospital was fine when I had Lily there and they get a fair amount of women wanting a NCB, so they're used to it.
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  #4  
October 11th, 2011, 06:06 PM
Quantum_Leap's Avatar frequent flier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sk8ermaiden View Post
I planned a home birth. Had a stuck/malpositioned baby, so after many, many hours of pushing, I ended up in the hospital and had a c/s.

I was also at my BFF's birth, and she had a kind of dysfunctional labor at home and transferred to the hospital and went on to have an epidural and a vaginal birth.

We both said the same thing of our labors at home. "It wasn't that bad." Like really, and truly manageable. The second though, that both of us had our backs hit a bed? (in the hospital), it was OVER. The immediate and total shift from manageable pain to overwhelming pan was astounding. And I immediately understood why most women giving birth in a hospital get an epidural. DO some women still manage a natural birth that way? Yes, but I can tell you I would not be one of them!!

SO that's what I have to say. In a place where you get to choose whatever position feels best to you to labor in? Labor is totally and 100% manageable. In fact, while I was scared going into my first birth, the fear of childbirth is not even on my radar for next time. I can totally do it. (And so can you!)

Oh, and just for reference, I labored to 10 and pushed for 9 hours at home, and my bff labored to 9, went in and had an epi, and then let it wear off and pushed naturally - so we both did get lots of natural labor experience.
I ditto the bolded 1000%. My first birth was in a hospital, and it is extremely obvious in retrospect that the transition from "hey, this isn't so bad" to "HOLY HELL" occurred the instant I got there and was asked to lie down in a bed. That's when I realized I couldn't do it, and that's when I asked for pain meds. With my home birth, there was definitely pain (and in some ways it hurt worse than my first birth had, because Beau was posterior), but I never for one second doubted that I could do it. Pain meds never even crossed my mind. (And the whole thing was so fast that there was no time for them to!) Mobility, and being in a setting where you are comfortable, make a HUGE difference, one that unfortunately I think most doctors fail to appreciate.

As for the pain itself: to be completely honest, and perhaps this is TMI, but it felt to me like being incredibly constipated. Combined with maybe a bit of cramping. Nothing that was at all beyond my ability to handle so long as I was able to move freely with my body. The crowning part did HURT with a capital "H," definitely, but it happened so fast that by the time I realized it hurt it was already over. Also, the SECOND after the birth was over, I felt this incredible, indescribable natural high. I don't think you really get that same feeling when you're recovering from an epidural.

You can totally do this, mama! The more you know about exactly what your body is doing and why, the better. Childbirth hurts (at least for the vast majority of women), but it's the FEAR of the hurt that makes that pain exponentially worse. Find ways to manage the fear, and the pain will be greatly reduced.
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  #5  
October 11th, 2011, 06:18 PM
Sk8ermaiden's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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You have no idea how many birth stories I have read where mom is coping OK and then she goes to the hospital, lies down, and "all of a sudden the pain became so much more intense and I couldn't take it anymore." Seriously - EVERY one. And it baffles me that no one else seems to make the connection.
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  #6  
October 11th, 2011, 07:26 PM
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My labor wasn't bad with my 1st, I don't remember being too much in pain...with my second it was smooth sailing until the end when the back labor became to much and i got an epi, my 3rd was my worst most painful labor. He was LOP and the pain in my legs and hip were something outta this world. I had a manual rotation with his birth and that was hell for me. My epi only worked for about an hour to hour and a half which was from about 7-8cm, then the end was "natural". My 4th was painful i'm not going to lie it was fast and intense, he was OP and toward the end back labor was a *****......but I tried to look at the pain as positive and rewarding which really helped me through it all(along with my husband). I would totally suggest a doula
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  #7  
October 12th, 2011, 04:40 AM
New_England_Girl's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quantum_Leap View Post
Childbirth hurts (at least for the vast majority of women), but it's the FEAR of the hurt that makes that pain exponentially worse. Find ways to manage the fear, and the pain will be greatly reduced.
I agree with this 100%

My first was posterior, and the back labor with her was killer. I had moments of wondering if I could do it, but I did. Pushed for 3 hours but she was born safe and healthy.

My second was a total breeze. He was positioned perfectly and I don't remember having any real pain. Pressure, and squeezing with the contractions, but nothing like pain. I was afraid to push, because frankly I didn't want to do it for 3 hours again, but because of his good positioning, he was out in just a few pushes, under a half hour.

My favorite places to labor were on my hands and knees in the jacuzzi tub, and sitting on the toilet And I pushed squatting, and laying on my right side with my left leg pulled up to my chest, which was surprisingly very effective.

You can definitely do it! In my hospital, you can choose to get just a hep lock instead of an IV, so you can be much more mobile, and you don't have to be monitored all the time, which makes labor much, much nicer. Do you know if your hospital would honor your wishes if you expressed them clearly, as in a birth plan?
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  #8  
October 12th, 2011, 05:23 AM
Momof4Boyz's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I agree it's the fear that makes it worse and when you fear it you fight and that makes it 1000% worse! I had planned so well for Hunter's birth and I can honestly say I didn't find it painful, it was intense but not really painful. With Carson, it got painful, real painful. But I had prepared myself for another fast birth and that didn't happen so 6 hours into labor I was tired and feeling really done and so I started to fight my body and that's when labor started to hurt and I started thinking "omg I want an epidural" lol. After some tears and a meltdown and DH reminding me of why I wanted a homebirth I pulled myself back to together and once I just stopped fighting and surrendered to my body, it was kind of like with Hunter again - intense but not painful. My husband will even vouch for that he said he could tell when I found that "place" again because I was quiet and mostly asleep and just out of it, he said he really regrets not getting pictures at that stage but he was afraid I might snap and kill him lol.
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  #9  
October 12th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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My first natural birth was in the hospital, induced with pitocin and stuck in bed for the most part (I consider it NCB because I didn't have pain meds).

My second was at a free standing birth center and most of the labor was in the car on the way there actually

With my birth center birth I was able to deal with the pain better because I got in the tub pretty soon after I got there. I could completely relax between contractions. I LOVED having a water birth and if I ever had another baby I would totally do it again.
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  #10  
October 12th, 2011, 09:53 AM
lunarmagic's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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It really wasn't bad with either of them... to the point that with Kate I didn't realize I was in full heavy labor until I hit transition. I was at home sitting on my exercise ball... and not even doing anything, just stopping what I was doing and breathing through each contraction.

Laying down definitely DEFINITELY makes the pain go through the roof. I had to be hands and knees or sitting up leaning forward.

My first labor (stillbirth, induced with cytotec) I spent the entire thing *sitting* in a hospital bed cross-legged, meditating and leaning forward. Same thing.... no problem until I hit transition.

Transition sucks, but it's thankfully very short!
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  #11  
October 12th, 2011, 09:57 AM
quietsong's Avatar Just Another Slacker Mom
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I think it varies depending on the person, but for the most part, the really bad stuff doesn't hit until transition - and then usually you're in the home stretch without much further to go. Heck, until transition hit, I did a lot of lounging (not laying flat, but reclined with my legs up) and I was fine with the pain, totally manageable... I agree with the person who said that, a lot of the time, it's the FEAR of the pain that tends to get most women long before the pain itself actually would... You can really psych yourself out!
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  #12  
October 12th, 2011, 10:42 AM
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I think the ladies have you covered. And I totally believe in the body's ability to birth naturally without intervention. And I would venture to say that pretty much anyone can handle the "pain" of NCB as long as interventions are kept to a minimum (aka: absolutely necessary).

That said, I had one all natural and one pitocin w/Nubain (mild narcotic that lasts about 30 minutes and calms the mother down, not really for "pain relief." But still that birth was not a NCB). I can say that the NCB, even though I was in the hospital, I never thought about pain medication. It was fairly easy and I was up and moving right to the end. There was no "on my back" or "in a hospital bed" involved. His birth was very close to the ideal hospital birth.

My second had totally different circumstances and I did what I could to deal with them (we had issues with blood clotting, meconium, and the cord) and I agreed to pitocin over a c-section down the road. I was in a bed and those contractions hurt like I could not believe. It is very hard not to fight what your body is not prepared for (aka: pitocin contractions).

So yeah, you can do NCB. Absolutely. It won't be the same as your previous birth, even if you are in a hospital. Get a doula (ours was great) and read as much as you can. We are planning a home birth next time, if the circumstances are okay for it (blood clotting under control). And I don't doubt my ability to handle the contractions at all. Even after giving birth painfully 3 weeks ago. Hospitals are not the ideal place for birth to happen. Too many people are afraid of them, too many "rules," and not enough emphasis on the beauty of birth. But if you get a good hospital, a good doc, a good doula, and do your homework, you CAN have a great birth in a hospital. If I could combine Liam's labor with Kieran's "24 hours following birth," I would classify that about as good as it gets.
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  #13  
October 12th, 2011, 02:37 PM
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On a scale or 1-10, I would rate the worst of it at a 5. I used Hypnobabies, so that made a huge difference, but during my "panic" moment I lost focus and got scared, hence the 5. But for the majority of the time, I was probably at a 3, and that was only during a contraction. I was a 0 for all the rest of the time. Oh, and the panic moment? That happened when baby was having heart rate issues and they made me lay down. So the other ladies were totally correct in the "once I laid down in the hospital bed" thing.

The actual contractions didn't hurt me, they just squeeze and take my breath away. The cramping that comes with it at times is what bothered me. But the more I relaxed and focused, the more any discomfort with it would go away.
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  #14  
October 20th, 2011, 09:55 AM
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So by natural childbirth standards I did it all wrong...I was in the hospital in a bed, on my back with coached pushing. And it wasn't that bad, I wouldn't exactly call it a day at the beach but it wasn't terrible excruciating or intolerable. You have to do what works for you, I tried walking, standing swaying my hips, sitting on the toilet and getting in my bathtub. I was happiest in the bed laying on my side and staring at the buttons on the hospital bed, it had pictures of pregnant women. My sister who had a natural birth also laid in the bed we both had washcloths on our faces, it is what worked, you will have to figure out what works for you, but you can totally do it! I would recommend a doula mine was amazing!!!
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  #15  
October 20th, 2011, 01:39 PM
QueenCrafty's Avatar Courtney
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I didn't think the pain was all that bad. I've had worse diarrhea cramping than my labor. My contractions were totally manageable. I sat on the toilet for most of them and then stood and kneeled in the shower for others. When transition hit, things got real fuzzy. I could feel the sensation of the contractions but didn't actually register them as pain. I'm sure the amount of screaming I did made others think I was in pain, but I just couldn't speak in any other tone or volume
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  #16  
October 21st, 2011, 06:25 AM
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I had a homebirth with ds2 and it wasn't painful. It was intense during transition, but not painful. Contractions before transition were annoying.
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  #17  
October 21st, 2011, 07:00 PM
KiwiMommy's Avatar Ashlynn's Mama
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I've been watching homebirth videos and I think I've traumatized myself It looks possible, but looks difficult too. I'm a wimp when it comes to pain, but in the end if it's pain, it's pain. And it would be a NORMAL pain.. I'm hoping mind over matter will help. And that this baby will stay out of my ribs! DD had her feet in mine, which made it hard to breathe.
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  #18  
October 21st, 2011, 07:57 PM
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What I tried to tell myself which helped me, is to just deal with it as it comes. Labour is pretty individual, depending on so many factors, although definitely moving around and not lying down helps.

But don't try to expect anything, good or bad. Just deal with it as it comes, one contraction at a time. You can do it.
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  #19  
October 21st, 2011, 08:20 PM
Sk8ermaiden's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiwiMommy View Post
I've been watching homebirth videos and I think I've traumatized myself It looks possible, but looks difficult too. I'm a wimp when it comes to pain, but in the end if it's pain, it's pain. And it would be a NORMAL pain.. I'm hoping mind over matter will help. And that this baby will stay out of my ribs! DD had her feet in mine, which made it hard to breathe.
There is one thing I learned from my own birth, that was reinforced by my best friend's birth.

Birth looks so much worse from the outside.

I actually LOVED my labor. It hurt, yes, but it was totally manageable. I was fine. The fact that I was doing it without pain meds made me feel powerful and strong. It says a lot that for my next baby I hope for a labor just like my last one.

My mother was traumatized. She was so traumatized by the amount of pain I appeared to be in that she went upstairs and threw up. (I found this out later.) She is STILL traumatized by my birth. My words to her were that "it wasn't that bad." She still doesn't believe me I don't think.

Then I was at my BFF's birth 6 months later. It was really, really hard to be there and watch it. During transition she honestly sounded like she was dying. Like she wanted to die. Like shooting her to end her pain would be a gigantic favor to her. It was HARD to watch and support her, feeling like she was in so much pain, when I knew she could just go to a hospital and get an epidural and stop hurting. (At this VERY moment I understood both why my mother was traumatized, and why L&D nurses frequently push epidurals.)

Do you know what my friend told me right after the birth and still says now? "It wasn't that bad." She ALSO hopes for a second birth like her first (though a bit shorter would be preferred!)

It really taught me that we as birthing women make the sounds we need to make, and move the way we need to move, but inside we are on top of it. I know that what a birthing woman looks and sounds like is no indication of what she feels like. Like we let the worst of the pain wash out with our moans and so others see and hear it, but we don't experience the brunt of it. It's interesting to me.
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  #20  
October 22nd, 2011, 08:35 AM
bostoncreampie's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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pain is all in your mindset. my first son's birth was medicated and it was pretty painful, my second birth was natural but pain free because i used hypnobabies. i HIGHLY recommend it. my birth story comparing the two is here if you want to read my experience, Marvelous Kiddo: Birth Story of the Week: A calm, trusting & peaceful Hypnobabies birth

The worst part for me was my baby was a bit large and when I had contractions he crushed my ribs and it made it hard to breathe.
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