thread: How much does labour REALLY hurt?

  1. #37
    Registered User

    Feb 2004

    I am torn between admiration of all you women that have gone through it and have come out the other end saying it was positive and doesn't require drugs unless life threating and shame that my own was not like that.

    My labour was traumatic and very painful for me and one month later I am still getting over it. I did the epidural thing - which wore off! And just didn't feel like pushing when I was fully dilated, so found that hard to do.

    I also tried to concentrate and tell myself that one contraction passed means bubs is here sooner and to try and relax but it didn't work for me.

    My hubby was my support person and he was fantastic. I put alot onto him and he was so supportive.

    I agree with the others though by arming yourself with all the knowledge. That's why this forum is so great - people have been there done that!

    Ellen - that's great that you've done a hypnobirthing course - have you checked the article HERE that's on the main site about hypnobirthing - great info there as well.

  2. #38
    Registered User

    Mar 2004
    Wales, UK

    Thanks sooo much for all these fab replies! They have been really helpful.

    I also like the idea of going with the pain of contractions, and not fighting them.


  3. #39

    Mar 2004

    Nellbe, I'm really sorry to hear that you feel shame about the way your childbirth experience turned out. Before our modern era with all its great medical technology childbirth was the leading cause of death for women (still is in many parts of the world) all the hypnobirthing classes, postive affirmations and deep breathing in the world couldn't have saved those women. Not only did women die but thier babies too. Now we're lucky enough to have the know-how and technology to save women and babies who otherwise wouldn't have made it through the birthing process and we're made to feel guilty for not being positive enough. Being positive doesn't make your pelvis wider, it doesn't stop your baby from being overdue and it doesn't make a non-progressing labour progress.
    IMO if your lucky you have an relativley swift, uncompliacted labour. If you're unlucky you have a really traumatic one and thats just the luck of the draw. If your one of the lucky ones, on the whole thats all it was..... luck!!! If your one of the unlucky ones its NOT your fault!!! You didn't fail at childbirth, you were lucky to survive a potentially life threatening experience. Two hundred years ago you may not have survived but your gravestone wouldn't have said 'here lies so and so, failed to have a positive birthing experience'
    Before I had Yasin I went to classes, read the books, did all my excercises, yada, yada, yada..... fat lot of good it did!!! I would have been better off reading about babies and childcare and letting labour take care of itself. I'm not even sure why women are expected to be martyrs in childbirth anyway. We don't try and suffer through a headache, toothache or menstrual cramps. No-one expects us to 'breathe through the pain' at the dentists.
    I'm all for empowering women and taking a natural approach to pregnancy and childbirth but I think that its gone a bit far when women are made to feel guilty for having a difficult labour or lower pain threshhold .
    Next time round I'm hoping for an easier labour rather than one that takes 66 hours but if I don't get it I won't feel bad about using every medical resource available to me and I won't wait so long before I ask for pain relief.

  4. #40
    *Megan* Guest

    Dachlostar - hear hear =D> ! I totally agree with everything that you just said and I have been posting about this in other forums....thank you for putting it so clearly. You are so right - we are not expected to breath through the pain for anything else that goes on in our lives except for childbirth - it is kinda weird and as these attitudes are historic they are slow to change!

    Thank you for writing your views......


  5. #41
    Registered User

    Nov 2004
    Giving the gift of life to a friend..

    I agree too, my labour with Maddy was far from ideal & went from Tuesday afternoon, until she was born on Thursday at 12:28pm...

    I was vomiting blood, she had pooed & was stressed, yet if this labour goes anything like that I will be happy, coz I know at the end I have a beautiful little girl, I asked for Peth & don't regretnit at all, i poo'd 7 spewed & still I never once wished that i was not going through it all.
    The moment I had my girl in my arms I was in awe of her & what i had created & given birth too...

    But if I needed more drugs & intervention I would in no way have been disappointed, just as if I had not had the peth, I would be no prouder of myself! I don't want or need to be anyones hero!!!

  6. #42
    *Yvette* Guest

    Wow, dachlostar, I admire your strongly felt compassion here. I totally agree that women should never be made to feel guilty or any sense of personal failure for having a ****ty time giving birth.

    Nellbe, it’s awful that you would feel any sense of shame related to your birth experience. I hope you can use the experience to have a better one next time &/or to help others by talking about it on the forums. However it went, you did an amazing thing, something to be very proud of! Have you written your birth story?

    Dachlostar, I would never want to judge anybody and I’m sure none of these other lovely mums would either. You can ***** slap me if you like (lol, this is just the kind of thing I would say) for having a “positive birth experience”, but they were all about 13 hours and at least 6 hours of it hurt like hell, even though I try to paint it in a positive way. It’s true I’ve been very lucky like lots of women, and also true that many things can happen which are out of our control and can’t be fixed by moaning or water or aromatherapy, and these things could easily happen to me too, despite my apparent pain threshold. No way I could have endured the amount of time you laboured for. This stuff does happen.

    The thing is, I think I am the biggest wimp with pain ever. I had my first two babies at home with excellent midwives and I have to say though, that if I had been in hospital with my first, chances are (and I seriously believe this) I would have been diagnosed failure to progress, given gel or drip, lost control because of then going too fast, been given an epidural, then been cut and forceps used because epidural slowed contractions, couldn't push, had a much worse tear because of over pushing, being sent for C-section after 12 hours because they thought my transition went for too long or baby didn’t drop into the pelvis til the last minute, or they may well have just intervened because I was too noisy and complaining so much, or because I was so scared (my fear being compounded by the attitude of the hospital). I also believe (ducking for cover) that if I was in a private hospital my chances of C-section would be higher than the already quite high Australian rate. Maybe I’m paranoid about hospitals, and none of this stuff happened when my son was born in one, but I have heard over and over and over again of all these sorts of things happening. If my baby is in distress at all or my life is in danger, or I’m just in too much pain to cope I would not hesitate to accept all the medical help available, and If I wasn't into the whole experiencing the birth thing, I see absolutely nothing wrong with going the epidural.

    Like you say, we shouldn’t feel obliged to go through it without pain relief if we don’t want to. Mum and baby’s health and safety is what really matters. However, there are still lots of women not getting the right care and support, having things go wrong without due cause, and putting too much trust in the medical system when they often get it wrong.

    Vanita, very glad to hear your twins were born without any probs, I feel very encouraged. DH (retired nurse) freaks me out sometimes with his horror stories and trying to get me to be prepared for the worst. I keep telling him “yes dear, but I might be fine, it might go really well, why wouldn’t it?”

    He’s distressed by the idea of me having no pain relief & doesn’t understand why I would want to. I don’t think I’m into martyrdom at all, I hate pain. But it is an amazing thing to go through, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to and cope, why not? It can be kind of a spiritual thing (don’t ***** slap me) and a very special personal memory (if you write out your birth story while it’s still fresh in your mind).

    I’ve read lots of birth stories on other sites and will read the ones on BB and add mine soon. Some of them are annoying when they say they had no pain and it was really quick, caught baby themselves etc, although I’m sure it does happen sometimes. The ones where everything went wrong and it was awful are equally as valuable and important to read as the good ones, but I especially like lots of detail and descriptions of emotions etc.

    Megan, yeah there are attitudes which need changing, but not all in one direction. The difference in attitudes between different hospitals and health professionals and women themselves is vast.

    Let’s keep empowering ourselves with knowledge and options and attitudes which support each other and whatever choices we make. Birth – do it your own way!

  7. #43
    Registered User

    Jan 2005
    Down by the ocean

    Go into it with an open mind!

    If you can't cope then have drugs if you have to. There were certain complications with Angus' birth that have me thinking of an elective cesarian if we are blessed enough to have another baby.

    The important thing to remember is that yes it will hurt, but countless millions of women have done it before you and will after you. You end up with the best prize in the end. Every contraction will bring you closer to meeting your baby!

  8. #44
    belmarks Guest

    Hi girls, these stories are fantastic!

    I have a couple of questions

    1. is there some recommended reading somewhere that I can get my hands on to prepare me for the stages of labour, I like to be well informed

    2. some of you have said that you "prepared" for labour, does this mean that you physically prepared, if so, how, what methods

    Im a bit nervous about it all and I am now 26 weeks, so I want to get myself as prepared as I can be.

  9. #45
    Registered User

    Feb 2004

    Thanks for your words guys. I may feel a little different about Matthew's birth in time to come, but for now, I try to focus on my little man, he is such a treasure and a delight, I am really lucky to have him.

    Dachlostar - I hadn't thought about the whole thing about pain as well. You are so right and I am glad you pointed it out. I have to have my wisdom teeth out in the not too distant future and I definitely wouldn't think about breathing through the pain for that. I will either ask for an epidural or ceaser next time, I don't intend on chancing a repeat performance.

    Yvette - I am so glad that my hubby isn't a retired nurse - eekk! I have posted my birth story and tried to be positive as well as explaining what happened. I don't want Matthew to think that I hated labour so much that I am not glad he is here. You guys and my close friends know exactly what I went through, if anyone else asks, I just say it was long and painful but it was all worth it to get Matthew - and it was!

    Belmarks - are you attending antenatal class? There are some great videos that they generally show and they go through the whole labour thing and what happens. Reading other birth stories as well helps make you aware that anything can happen and this site of course! There are some great articles on the main web site.

  10. #46
    Registered User

    Jul 2004

    Bel, I got all my information off internet sites and of course bellybelly! Just type in a search engine, stages of labor, or coping through labor, something along those lines. It helped me soooo much to know a bit about what i was in for. I even read up heaps on induced labors. Luckly I did! I think if you go in there blind then it is going to be a lot harder then if you know bit about what your body is going to be doing, different methods of pain relief and different positions that you can try out, etc. The only thing i didnt know and wasnt prepard for was the amount of love i'd feel when i heard that first cry!

  11. #47
    Scarlett Guest

    Thanks for pointing that out Dachlostar - your 100% right and it is a comforting thought.

    I found the contractions whilst in labour very hard to handle, but I had had my waters broken after 24hours of bleeding and minor contractions. Because of this things went from nothing to extremely painful and 1min apart in about 20mins. I think if I had of had more time to let the contractions build up on their own I would have found more effective ways to deal with the pain. In the end I had an epidural for 10min before it was time to push. The midwife told me afterwards that she feels that women who have an epidural push more effectivley as they don't feel the contraction pain (just the stretching and burning) so they don't pull back while pushing. Based on my experience I would agree with her but don't have anything to compare with so I could be wrong. I was really worried about the pushing but found it was almost exciting as I new it would be over soon and I had something active to do which took my mind off the pain. The best thing I found though was that it was easier to concentrate when pushing if I kept my eyes shut.

    The good thing is even though I remember the pain and it was the worst pain I have ever felt it is absolutley worth it and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

  12. #48
    Registered User

    Aug 2004

    Wow - this post has progressed alot since I last looked at it!!

    I was really interested to read Dach's message, and in alot of ways - completely agree with everything you have said.
    Yes we are not expected to cope through other pain without medication, but accept that paracetamol affects your liver, anti-inflammatories lead to gastric problems, HRT may be leading to cancer etc, etc.
    Some smart people in the world have invented these drugs to be beneficial to us, and to help in the modern world, but when have we gone too far?? Next time you are in a pharmacy, look behind the counter and see how many drugs there are in little while boxes that are there ready to give to people.
    I feel its the lesser of the evils. Yes, there are ways of dealing with pain using drugs and medical intervention, and these are needed with alot of women that say may not have been able to give birth naturally 100 years ago. But there are far more people who can give birth without any complications, and perhaps many of people who could be doing this that aren't because the system supports drugs?
    My niece was born after 31.5 weeks, and her mum had been hospitalised since 19 weeks pg. She had a stitch to hold her in, and was delivered by ceaser when she went into premature labour. Had the dr's not intervened, this woman would have lost her 3rd baby at a late pregnancy stage because the previous c/s scar was about to rupture. The girl would have been dead in less than a day if this had happened. This situation is something you never want anyone to go through. But now there is a gorgeous girl of 13months who is beginning to walk, talk and loves chocolate!! I'm all for medical intervention where required.

    I would like a natural labour - not to be a matyr but because I'm hoping I'm one of the lucky ones who can give birth without intervention. My god - it will be the hardest thing I've probably ever had to do, but I'm committed to it. IN saying that, if for one second the baby goes into distress, I'll do exactly what they tell me to make things better. It will be disappointing for me, but nowhere near the level of grief I'd feel if something happened to me or bubs because of my pig-headedness to not listen to medical experts.

    Nell - My mother often comments that she hated my sister when she was born. And thats a pretty tough thing for a mum to say. But it was a ghastly labour. In saying that, her next two were easy, and there were no problems at all. Have faith that maybe Matthew was a once off, and there is every chance your next one will be a positive birth experience.

    Now - lets see what I think of this post in a couple of weeks time when I've popped spud out!! LOL - I may be singing a different tune!!


  13. #49
    Registered User

    Feb 2004

    Dachlostar, I agree 100% with what you said in your post, I wish I could articulate that well! I too, nellbe, came away from Kaleb's birth feeling upset and traumatised, and it took me a good month before I could write the birth story. I think it also affected my ability to cope with him in the beginning, and definitely had an impact on my breastfeeding. I remember when I took him to the GP for his 10 day checkup and the doctor asked about the birth. I told him it was a C-sect and he asked why and I was so ashamed telling him about it - I mean, 'failure to progress' - even the terminology, 'failure', makes you feel useless. The doctor totally picked up on this and told me in the 'good old days' when the baby was occipital posterior, as Kaleb was, I would have died and the baby would have died, end of story. It was a bit of a wakeup call. Anyway, all I'm trying to say is that it is wonderful that a lot of women have a positive, empowering birth experience - I can even look back on mine now and think fondly about parts of it. But be prepared to go with the flow and be open to whatever it takes to get to the end of it with a healthy mum and a healthy bub. And like Dachlostar said, I wish I'd spent more time finding out about baby care and breastfeeding before the birth instead of focusing solely on the labour, it would have been way more beneficial! Labour and childbirth, although a momentous occasion, really is just a tiny speck in the whole scheme of motherhood.

  14. #50
    Registered User

    Nov 2004

    So great to read all your posts.

    I plan to give birth without any pain relief.

    But then saying that, just say I am 20 hours or more into labour and am just thoroughly exhausted and at the threshold, thinking I can't make it......what does one say to oneself at that point? It is so impossible to know how things will work out, i really don't know. I guess I would ask my support people to try and help me through...I dunno.

  15. #51
    belmarks Guest

    have any of you girls written out a birth plan yet or are you keeping it all in your head...

    I wrote one yesterday, I figured it would give me a chance to research some more and speak to the Obstetrician about different issues....

  16. #52
    belmarks Guest

    yep I agree, I couldn't understand why some women / doctors make a big deal of writing a birth plan, as if you know what you are going to be faced with!!

    Mine basically just says that I am up for anything and just basically says what I would like to happen after the baby is actually born, not theactual birth I guess....

    My main reason behind it was so I could jot a few bits and pieces down to ask the doctor next time I go, like how he would deal with bla bla, what his intervention methods might be in this scenario...

  17. #53
    Registered User

    Aug 2004

    Bel - we did our birth plan after I got handed a piece of paper from the midwife at the 36 week appt.
    I gave it back at the 38 week appt, and they barely looked at it.
    Apparently at Geelong, they aren't really referred to - at least thats what Deb said. Even when we looked through it, the midwife said its just to keep you thinking about things.
    I was very vague about things like pain relief and what positions for birth - better to be vague than miss out when the going gets rough! I have said I want to try heat therapy, showers, and depending on how things are going, a water birth. I guess it will depend how things pan out though.
    One thing I would say is important to specify is visitors and students. Definitly be clear on how you feel about that!

  18. #54
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2003
    Kilmore Vic

    Hi girls,

    I wrote a birth plan 4 times, all were much the same, but I guess the main reason I did it was just so DH and the midwives got an idea of what my general idea was. eg Dh to cut the cord, lights dimmed, quiet room, door closed (bad experience with no.3 and my scraming scaring the other mums as midwives left the door open), heat pack etc. just stuff i wanted clear in my head. Of course the actual birth is unpredictable, but the main aim is a healthy baby no matter which way it arrives.

    Cheers michelle