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-   -   Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB? (http://www.justmommies.com/forums/f257-natural-childbirth/2389386-do-you-think-some-women-incapable-having-ncb.html)

snlemon August 6th, 2011 05:13 AM

Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
I'm asking because I used to think it was perfectly within my capability to achieve an NCB, but after my last birth I seriously doubt my ability (and now desire) to have an NCB.

So...my first birth was an induction at 36w6d for long running pre-eclampsia. I didn't feel bad at all about my epidural, even though I had ideally wanted to go without. I labored for 24 hours, 8 hours of pitocin, 6 hours after breaking my water and I was stuck at 2cm. The only option left (other than a c-section) was getting the epidural. Once I got it, I progressed quickly and gave birth relatively pain free after two hours of pushing.

My second birth (this last one), started spontaneously and was going perfect. I was with a midwife and an NCB trained nurse in a hospital. It was the perfect environmnet for an NCB (truly intermittent monitoring, freedom of movement, no IV's, water available, a nurse that was by my side acting as a doula who was trained in both hypnobirthing and Bradley). I hit a really sticky situation though...my natural labor pattern was causing the baby to have occasional decels (i was getting contractions that were about five minutes long, like triple peaks...and then getting a break for about three to five minutes, but since the contraction was so long and intense it was bugging the baby). And I wasn't progressing and my midwife felt like she needed to break my water. I had to trust her because she couldn't give me a good "reason" to break my water, but it turned out it really did need broken (I had so much fluid that it was cushioning everything too much for the baby to come down...I lost an estimated 2 gallons of water. Then he was hand first so she had to reach up and move him)

Anyways...after my water was broken I labored another six hours without progression. And...the whole time I didn't even think of getting the epidural. I was screaming, I was moaning, I wanted to bear down with each contraction, I was cursing, I was sitting on the toilet wiggling my mother ***** feet in circles while keeping my jaw slack and the nurse coached me through every contraction.
If someone had asked me what my pain was on the pain scale I would have shoved an speculum down their throat. I was determined.
But like I said, six hours later, I was still at a stretchy 3cm. I felt like such a complete and utter failure but I was still determined to tough out the pain. My midwife and the nurse just held me and told me they really thought I needed to get the epidural. I cried and cried (and then collapsed and cried through a contraction) before finally agreeing. I had to wait another hour and half while I got the IV and fluids...and the pain kept increasing and I kept trying to progress. I got checked (per my insistance) right before the epidural and I was still stuck.

But this time my epidural wasn't so good, and while I progressed without a whole lot of pain, by the time pushing came around...I could feel so much down there. It burned, I could feel the catheter and when my midwife told me I was complete I told her I didn't want to push. I was so scared to push because it hurt so bad. When I finally started pushing...I again felt like a complete failure because it hurt SO BAD and I had the epidural. I got him out in fifteen minutes but I'm still (seven weeks later) traumatized over how painful it was.

So I tell you this long story to ask...do you think it's even possible for me to have a natural childbirth? After experiancing so much pain (without even a touch of those lovely endorphins afterwards) I am terrefied to give birth again, even with the epi! And I feel so weird...why was I in SO MUCH pain at only 3cm for such a long time? And why does it seem my body needs the epidural to progress at all?
I think I still really want an NCB, but I'm just so afraid now that I have had a sense of the pain, and even if I can get over that, I'm doubting my ability to progress without pain meds.

snlemon August 6th, 2011 05:19 AM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
ETA: I just wanted to add that I went into the hospital too early, but my contractions were strange and I just felt like I NEEDED to be there...which was my mommy gut kicking in because he was having decels. And even though I was "in labor" because I progressed from a 2 to a 3 in the hospital, my midwife couldn't send me home because of the decels, my very active labor pattern. Plus I was in so much pain I couldn't even walk down the corrider to another room let alone go home...but I just wanted to clarify that...I don't feel like it went ideal, but I don't know what else I would do differently. I dealt with the cards I was handed you know?

10x_A_Mommy August 6th, 2011 05:53 AM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
Wow what an ordeal to go through. I don't think you are out of NCB forever, I think you had a couple of just not so ideal situations and some bad luck. With my 5th baby I was scared (she was coming at 35 weeks), and frustrated because my labor was taking so long (I was only into like 4 or 5 hours but my previous labor had only been 22 mins). Plus I was mad at dh for falling asleep. So the midwife suggested I get a dose of nubain to help me relax because I was 'stuck' at 3 cm. After an hour I finally agreed and once I got that nubain and relaxed, things moved along rather quickly.

I wish I had suggestions that could help you but I"m just drawing blanks right now. Plus I'm not all that awake yet lol.

Kelllilee August 6th, 2011 07:10 AM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
Every pregnancy/birth is different, you shouldn't count yourself out. A few things that stand out to me: The first time around you were induced. That can cause harder labor, a higher probability of not progressing because the baby and your body just aren't ready. Sometimes the epidural is necessary to relax your body enough to do its job.

The second time around I have to wonder if fear played a factor. It's well known that in mammals the "fight or flight" instinct is very strong with birthing mothers. Any other mammal will only give birth if she feels safe. If there is any disturbance at all her labor will stop until she feels safe again. I believe it is the same with humans. Perhaps at first it was the excess fluid causing labor to stall and the pattern to be weird. Your midwife having to manually manipulate the baby could have put your body into "fight or flight" mode and caused further stalling. If you were in that mode then you were likely fighting the pain. The position you described of sitting on the toilet wiggling your feet says to me that you were tensing your body. Both of those can exacerbate the pain. The epidural again served to relax your body. Even though it didn't work perfectly. It's what you needed given the circumstances and you shouldn't feel guilty for it. One other thought, some women just have long labors. Sometimes women stall for hours and it's still perfectly normal. Often when labor is stalled it's because of the baby's position as well and the body is using those contractions to reposition the baby.


This is pure speculation and please don't feel I'm judging you, I'm hoping to just offer some insight and encouragement. Sometimes circumstances don't allow a woman to have a NCB. It doesn't mean they aren't capable of it or that something is wrong with their body.

My suggestion is to try and find someone to talk to about your experiences and the emotions surrounding them. Work through it. Then consider doing something more than just wanting a NCB. You say your nurse was trained in bradley and hypnobabies, but were you? Next time it might be beneficial to take classes (and I strongly suggest hypnobabies because in my view your setback is mindset) and have a doula who you spend some time with and feel completely comfortable and in tune with.

I don't think you should count yourself out. But definitely take some time to heal emotionally and when you feel ready, start doing some research to prepare for the next one.

ashj_1218 August 6th, 2011 12:03 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
I definately agree with Kellilee. I think that *we* (women in labor) can set ourselves up to be tense, scared, and ultimately ineffective during the labor process. I still swear that the ONLY reason I was able to have a natural childbirth with my first is because I did not know I was in labor. I was told it was NOT labor and that I would "know" when I was in labor. So dealing with the discomforts, I was in a completely different mindset. Which ultimately helped me not have that fight-flight response and I did not fight against the sensations.

I do understand the pushing fears. I am dealing with some of them myself with my midwife and doula this time around. I found that out of a 60 hour labor, the worst part was the 30-minutes of pushing...where I felt stressed, scared, in lots of pain, and was completely overwhelmed. My doula is helping me understand that it does not HAVE to be that way and we can work with relaxation techniques, positioning changes, and more understanding support to make that stage easier and less painful.

I think you have great beginnings of being able to have a NCB. You said you DID believe your body could achieve NCB. So figure out what changed that thought (the labors that did not progress) and use what helped you achieve a vaginal birth (the pain relief and sense of relaxation that came with it) to help you have a natural vaginal birth. I agree that reading, doing your own studies, and surrounding yourself with positive childbirth videos/books is really, really important. It totally bolsters your self-beliefs and I think can make a huge difference in labor. Now, my theories are entirely untested. I have not given birth to my second child and I can not predict how this is going to go. But I have prepared in all the ways I can think of and I have addressed my fears with my doula and counselor to try and find ways to combat them. I def think you need some emotional healing time...but I do think you CAN have a NCB.

nilla August 6th, 2011 12:43 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
Another thing I didn't really see in your stories was mention of a support person (husband, mother, close friend, doula...). You said your nurse was trained in natural birthing techniques, but did you have a support person with you? Someone you really trust and really knows you? My support person was crucial to me having a natural birth. My husband watched me the entire time, looking for clues that I was tensing up. He was in my face when I needed him to be, reminding me to breath and breathing with me. I trust him 100% and knew he would keep me going through labor. I honestly believe it was this that allowed me to birth naturally.

snlemon August 6th, 2011 01:20 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
I did really prepare this time...I mean, I did with my first but even more so this time. Everything was going really well for me until my water was broken. That event was so traumatic....with the amount of fluid, and we all thought the cord had prolapsed before we figured out it was his hand. I was an emotional mess after that so maybe it did trigger something that shut my body down from responding.
Thats the thing though, I feel I did everything in my power, and had such great support and I could tough out the pain...but my body just wasn't cooperating and there was no reason for it not to.
I'm really afraid to try again...mostly because if pushing was that horrific with the epidural...I don't even want to think about it without. That fear makes me not want to give birth again ever.
Will this fade do you think?

Kelllilee August 6th, 2011 02:44 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
For most I think the fear fades. It's so hard when our bodies respond a certain way and its not something you can control. Just remember that every birth is different and all you can really do is get yourself in a situation where you can find a safe quiet space to regain your body if something comes up again. That can be a person, a place, a song, anything really that is calming to you.

Pushing with an epidural is much different then pushing without one. Now, personally, I have not had an epidural so I can't speak from experience, but here's what I do know: With an epidural you are generally on your back, which is one of the least effective positions for pushing. It makes pushing harder on you and on the baby, can make your pelvis narrower, and generally takes longer. Directed pushing (where they are counting and you are forcing your body to push) also leads to stress, additional pain, and a harder/longer pushing phase. Many, if not most moms having an unmedicated pushing phase will push instinctively and WITH their bodies. Your body takes over and pretty much heaves the baby out. Certainly that doesn't happen with every natural birth, but frequently.

ashj_1218 August 6th, 2011 06:47 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kelllilee (Post 24564170)
For most I think the fear fades. It's so hard when our bodies respond a certain way and its not something you can control. Just remember that every birth is different and all you can really do is get yourself in a situation where you can find a safe quiet space to regain your body if something comes up again. That can be a person, a place, a song, anything really that is calming to you.

Pushing with an epidural is much different then pushing without one. Now, personally, I have not had an epidural so I can't speak from experience, but here's what I do know: With an epidural you are generally on your back, which is one of the least effective positions for pushing. It makes pushing harder on you and on the baby, can make your pelvis narrower, and generally takes longer. Directed pushing (where they are counting and you are forcing your body to push) also leads to stress, additional pain, and a harder/longer pushing phase. Many, if not most moms having an unmedicated pushing phase will push instinctively and WITH their bodies. Your body takes over and pretty much heaves the baby out. Certainly that doesn't happen with every natural birth, but frequently.


^^That is exactly where I went wrong and why I am dealing with fears around pushing this time. I was not given time to let my body decide when to push and was in the "epidural" position with a nurse screaming at me to hold my breath and push for 15 seconds (and I couldn't breathe). So I can say that I bet your pushing stage was just as painful as a non-medicated mother because of your positioning and the fact that your epidural was not working properly. It might have even hurt WORSE than a NCB pushing stage. Given you were probably fighting your body, like I was. My plan is to do it 200% different this time around. And try not to be scared to let me body do it's job. Instead of listening to someone who has no clue what my body needs.

Depending on when you plan to have your next child (not sure if that is in the works and that is why you are dealing with these thoughts)...you could have time to heal some of those wounds and also maybe look into some different coping skills during labor. Maybe the techniques you focused on were pain-coping for contractions...where you really need coping for the fears around something going wrong in labor (KWIM?) Or coping for when/if you need an intervention and not feeling discouraged at that point. I think that different people absolutely need different kinds of support in labor. Some women need less "in your face support" (like a previous poster mentioned was her saving grace) and some women need more "physical support." So maybe look at these labors as trials for figuring out what you need for future labors. It would be really sad if you let these experiences prevent you from having another child if you and your SO want one.

Kelllilee August 6th, 2011 07:26 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
one other factor I just thought about. An epidural will mess with your body's natural pain relievers. Normally during labor your body goes through a cycle of hormones that cause contractions and trigger endorphins that relieve pain. When you have an epidural it disrupts this cycle so that when/if it wears off the pain is much more intense. Kind of like if you were seriously hurt and taking painkillers and suddenly stopped them completely rather than weaning off them slowly.

snlemon August 6th, 2011 07:43 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
I'm on my phone so pardon any errors. My pushing phase was very short, I had no directed pushing and I was free to move as I wanted....course I didn't want to do anything except not push because I was so afraid of the pain....my midwife just suggested I try pushing and see what happened and then my body just kind of did it and it was so painful no matter what so I had to push into the pain. Oh it was awful. It was only fifteen minutes.

I think the fear of other things might be a big thing. I was completely prepared to handle pain....but I was distracted the whole time by other worries....like during pushing the nicu team was waiting outside and an extra nurse was called in because my first was only six pounds and change and it took me two hours...and this baby was significantly larger....eight pounds and like nine ounces....and they were concerned his shoulders would get stuck. I don't remember anything except pain and those little details that had me worried about getting him out.
You guys give me hope...

nilla August 6th, 2011 08:15 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by snlemon (Post 24565524)
had me worried about getting him out.

One of the things that I still remember distinctly from my natural birth class was our teacher explaining to us how much of a "mind game" labor is. Worries and fears release hormones that slow down labor. She talked a lot about ways to physically relax during labor but she also mentioned that some women may need to work out their fear and anxiety before going into labor in order to keep these fears in line during labor. It seems like you have a good idea of what was worrying you during your last labor and it may be worth it to find someone to talk who can talk through these worries with you.

Quantum_Leap August 6th, 2011 10:13 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
Have you read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth? I would highly recommend it. It provides many very positive accounts from women of all shapes and sizes who were able to give birth naturally, even when medical professionals doubted it was possible. It also discusses the mind-body connection fairly extensively. I think you might enjoy reading it. One of the stories that springs to mind immediately is of a woman whose labor had stalled much the way yours did. When her midwives started talking to her to find out if there were any fears that were holding her up, she admitted that she had some insecurities about her marriage and about how well her husband would do as a father. As soon as she started to discuss these openly with the midwives she dilated to ten in the next fifteen minutes. So definitely, the mind-body connection can be a lot more powerful than we want to admit.

In answer to your original question, I think that there are probably a very limited number of women who actually 'can't' give birth naturally. Like, if their pelvis was truly misshapen, if they had a serious heart condition that made natural childbirth too dangerous for them to attempt, etc. But obviously, the vast majority of women are capable of having a natural childbirth or else the human race wouldn't have survived for as long as it has. For thousands of years all women from all walks of life were expected to give birth naturally. Did they all enjoy it? Obviously, no. Many found it extremely painful. But they managed it, because once pregnant there was no other option for them.

Now, whether or not all women SHOULD give birth naturally is a different story. Ultimately what's most important is that you have a positive, empowering experience in labor, one that you look back on later fondly rather than with regret. That might mean taking pain meds, or it might not. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like you got that with your first two labors (especially not with your second), even though you did have pain meds. As others have already mentioned, that might be because the epi, under certain circumstances and for some women, can make things much worse. It might also be because some of the fears you were having made the labor just a less positive experience in general. It's up to you to find out what the reason was, and I think that counseling could definitely help you to do that. But I just wanted to point out, that pain meds aren't something that are evil in and of themselves. They're something that I personally choose to avoid because I think they would make my labor into a less positive, less empowering experience. But that's not the case for every woman.

I also want to point out that an epi isn't the only form of pain relief that's available during labor. It's the form of pain relief that most doctors in the U.S. jump to use immediately, which I think is unfortunate. But it's not the most common in other parts of the world. When I had my first son in Kuwait, I used gas and air for pain relief, and it helped relax me enough to make it possible to avoid all of the other interventions that might have been recommended. It didn't affect my pushing in an adverse way, it didn't pose the risk of a spinal headache or any of the other side effects that an epi can have, it didn't leave me numb and immobile (which would have totally freaked me out). I wouldn't choose to use it again, because now that I've given birth once without it I have more confidence and know that I don't really need it. But at the time it was a good choice. If you just need a little bit of extra help to relax you, you might want to look into something like that as an option instead of the epi. (Although, unfortunately, it's not available at most hospitals in the U.S.)

:dothug: hon. Kudos to you for working so hard to have a natural childbirth. You should be proud of what you accomplished, even if the outcome wasn't totally according to 'script.' Definitely find someone who you can talk through your feelings with before the next pregnancy, and definitely check out Ina May's book if you haven't already!

Kelllilee August 6th, 2011 10:27 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
Wonderfully written Molly :)

And I totally agree!

BobbityBoo August 8th, 2011 09:16 AM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
Honestly, those triplet contractions is an indication of baby being malpositioned. In which case breaking the water could have worsened the situation by not letting baby rotate in the way they needed to. (Question: Did the triplets stop after the water breaking?) Even if it did help the triplets, everything else you are describing fits baby being malpositioned as well. Not progressing, etc. If baby isn't applied correctly to the cervix it will not dilate. Those labors are so hard and so difficult to make through! There are some position changes that you can do in labor to help encourage baby to turn, if it were to happen again next time. But honestly, many mama's just get exhausted and the epidural helps them relax and rest while baby negotiates his/her way out. The epidural can actually save you from a c-section! So I truly believe epidurals have their time and place and it sounds like you were one of them.

But that does NOT mean that you are doomed this route again! Baby being malpositioned might have just been a fluke, but if it were to happen again you can change positions in labor and such to help baby turn. This is where having a doula would be a great help! They can help recognize the labor pattern and encourage you and help you get into beneficial positions.

I"m sorry you had a hard time, but remain hopeful!!! :hug:

snlemon August 8th, 2011 03:43 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
I thought he was positioned wrong for weeks. I had a lot of start and stop labor where I knew I was in labor but he just wasn't in the right position. I did so much spinning babies, every tip I could glean off Ina mays books, my midwife did everything she knew and we couldn't confirm but it never looked like he moved.
But yeah, after she broke my water and manually moved him the decels stopped but the triplet contractions didn't. They warned me just to stay prepared for a c section since they thought something was up with him but couldn't figure out what it was. Oh and because he had been breech for most of my pregnancy...he was born with a super short cord but thankfully no other problem materialized.
I live Ina Mays books....the mind body connection with birth seems incredible. I kind of feel like there may be some emotional issues I won't ever be able to work out in order to relax and progress without pain meds....but hopefully. I wish they had birth therapists.

mgm78 August 8th, 2011 05:32 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
I would reread Ina May's "sphincter theory" chapter and that sounds exactly like your situation. Yes you probably need someone to talk to between now and the next labor to work thru your fears and whatnot from the first two deliveries. Also, maybe finding a more NCB friendly atmosphere like a birth center, which is not home (which may give you more fear with your history and reaction to it) but not quite the hospital, but with most of the equipment you would find at a hospital. Also, having a care provider who is more attuned to your body and can refer, prior to birth, to an acupuncturist or webster chiropractor, to ensure the baby is in the right position. I do not think NCB is out of the question, but it will take work and finding the right environment and care provider.

And to add, I dialated very slowly. 6 hours after my water broke and my contractions were every 2 minutes and hard to talk thru, i was only finger tip. At 24 hours, I was at 6cm. I spent almost all of my labor walking up and down the stairs and took 2 bottles of castor oil (per midwife's rec). I ended up having a c-section, but because DD turned breech after 26 hours of labor, which maybe she was not fully engaged, hence not dialating fast, just like your baby was malpositioned and you were not dialating either. hindsight is 20/20 for sure.

nilla August 8th, 2011 08:11 PM

Re: Do you think some women are incapable of having an NCB?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by snlemon (Post 24578201)
I wish they had birth therapists.

Maybe there are?


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