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*BEFORE READING THIS, PLEASE KNOW THAT I KNOW PEOPLE PERSONALLY THAT HAVE NO ISSUES HAVING NATURAL LABORS, IN FACT I DON'T KNOW ANYONE THAT HAD SUCH A ROUGH EXPERIENCE AS I DID*
I am due to have my 5th child in May. With my 3rd I had complications with an epidural and it was suggested I not have another one. I have bad reactions to narcotics. With my last baby I didn't have any other choice but to do natural. 12 hours of labor. I couldn't even breath through contractions, it felt like the air had just been pushed out of my lungs. By the end I was crying for any pain relief. This was the most painful thing I have ever done. I can still remember the pain. Thinking about it makes me want to throw up. I can't even *think* about what is going to happen in May.
I'm looking for some different coping with pain methods that have worked for you.
The jacuzzi didn't help, my DH was useless. The nurses were really great, though I'm going to a different hospital this time. Different breathing techniques don't work if I can't get a breath out. What I really need is a way to deal with the pain.
Honestly, my birth hurt. Hurt like a *****. But, I had a bunch of tools in my tool belt that helped me stay calm and ultimately I walked away with a really positive birth experience. Staying calm is rule number one when it comes to managing pain. How you do that is a personal thing. Some women find visualization and affirmations to really help (see methods like Hypnobirthing). Some women focus on relaxation techniques. Some women use vocalization. Still others find their own unique methods. I was sort of a relaxation/vocalization mama. I focused on keeping my muscles loose, especially my jaw (which is surprisingly effective at inducing whole body calm) and keeping my tones looooooow.
Rule number two is freedom of movement. You'll never know ahead of time which position you're going to prefer as it varies from birth to birth. Make sure your care providers will give you the freedom to move around as you please. Have your DH practice different laboring positions with you. He'll need a lot of coaching ahead of time in order to be a good birth partner. Don't let yourself feel pressured to use any one position because you've heard it was great. I tried the birth ball and immediately wanted it to DIE. The tub was my savior. Some women like to run the halls when they're in labor (no joke I had a friend do that with her surprise breech baby). Find what works.
Rule number three is support. If you're struggling to cope its a sign you need help refocusing. A doula might be a great option for you since your DH wasn't much help. A doula can provide counter pressure, verbal reassurance, suggest positions, etc.
I also say that knowledge is power when it comes to labor. What helps me is knowing as much as I can about pregnancy and labor (I forget a lot of it after I have the kid and then have to re-research darn it ) and REALLY empowering myself and getting all "I am woman hear me roar" type of thing.
Because I psyched myself up so much with #1 it was painless all the way up to 10cm. I'm not exaggerating, it was PAINLESS.
I didn't "prepare" myself as much with #2 b/c I was having a homebirth so I figured it'd be like #1, well since I didn't do the whole "empowering" thing I wasn't as enthusiastic and all "LET'S DO THIS!" with the birth and it was painful, not terribly, but it did hurt some and oooooooooooooh so exhausting.
1.) Educate yourself on EVERYTHING in regards to natural labor techniques etc....
2.) Read about different birthing relaxation methods as previously said. The book I love and use with each pregnancy is Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way (it really involves the hubby), it is chock full of information and this book made me fall in love with WANTING to give birth.
I cannot wait to do it again! Best of luck to you!!
I wish I could help more. I honestly don't have a lot of pain in labor. The last bit, the pushing contractions, are insane and I don't love them. Pushing a baby out hurts kinda. But labor pains don't bother me.
I also agree that educating yourself about the process helps tremendously. I love essential oils, doulas, and movement. Relaxing as much as possible. And prayer. Lots of prayer.
My first was a very painful labor the entire time. I had back labor that was unreal. My doula has been my life saver during both labors. I for sure could have not made it without her during my first. I wanted drugs by the end but luckily i was at a birth center. Having someone knowlegdeable at your labor will help you immensely. My hubby didn't know what to do. My doula led him and made it an interactive experience for him.
My second labor went MUCH better because my hubby knew what to do and my doula was there as well. We labored pretty peacefully up until transition. It hurt yes, but it was still calm and relaxing. I never felt out of control even with this labor being longer. Now, transition hurt like hell!!! But it was only an hour thank God!!! I'll never tell people labor is pain free. For me it's not! But it can be managed without drugs.
I think it helps to know that birth is just like any other challenging life event. The things that help you get through tough times are often things that will work in labor. I think it would be really important to focus on breath since you know that you have a hard time with it. This one coping technique is not just important because we've all heard about it but because your body is going engaged in physical activity. Your muscles and the baby are working very hard and they can only do this when you provide them with a steady influx of oxygen. By allowing your body oxygen, your muscles will work more efficiently which will help to decrease the pain. It is also helpful to know that as the pain increases, your body has some really wonderful endorphins that rise correspondingly. They are responsible for providing you with pain relief. However, they can not be released you feel scared, panicky, cold or unsafe.
Ultimately, I think it might help to take a look at any and all fears that reside within you regarding this birth. Giving a voice to them helps to gradually break them down. You can have a whole slew of coping mechanisms in your tool box but if you are scared or fearful, they will do little good.
How do you deal with life's problems and how have you gotten through the tougher things life has thrown at you? Capitalize on your strengths and know that your body will not give you more than you can handle.
Best of luck!