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Thread: In need of tips for staying focused during labour?

  1. #1

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    Default In need of tips for staying focused during labour?

    Hi Everyone,

    I am 34 weeks pregnant with my second child and after requesting an epidural for the last birth I would really like to have this baby without an epidural. Mainly because my OB walked into the delivery room last time, found out that I had had an epi and said to me "ok we'll have to use forceps and an episiotomy because you've had an epidural." He didn't even give me a chance to push first without this intervention.

    Anyway, I was hoping that some of you Mums out there who have managed without one may have a few suggestions for me and for DH to try during labour to try and keep me focused. Any and all suggestions are welcome!




    Cheers

    Jaime

  2. #2

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    The first thing that pops into my mind is to have a doula / birth attendant with you or to have your partner read up on support tips - you can't be responsible for keeping yourself focused all the time - can you imagine the energy it would require?! Especially when in labour, you often switch brains frequently, from the 'thinking brain' or cerebral cortex to the ancient brain stem which is responsible for the instinctive actions like birth. This is why we go foggy at times during labour. The people around you can offer great reassurance, distractions etc because we often doubt ourselves in labour, if we can really do it, get tired etc so it's hard to talk ourselves into thinking rationally and seeing the end in sight - I guess if we could we would have more natural births!!!

    So I think the key is the people you have with you I am actually finishing off a great article you might like to read (due to go live March 1st so make sure you are on the mailing list!) which talks about how we can make sure we have enough support and what we need from those people. Well done for thinking about this though - great stuff!!!

    A great book for hubby - The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin written for support people.

    **Edited to add: Remember too that second births are alot different to the first most of the time. I had an augmented birth from 5cms (oxytocin drip) and epidural with Marisa (but no assisted delivery), then a natural birth with Elijah - it wasn't specifically planned as I arrived at hospital at 9cms, but it happened that way for which I am very grateful and now feel extremely empowered! So it is very possible you wont need all that again ***
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  3. #3

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    I agrree with Kelly. You need someone there to support you and to help you experience the birth that you want. This person needs to be able to stand up and say no to suggested interventions by the OB and to ask for a full explination as to why the interventions are needed. A doula would be a good choice as they are able to understand all the medical jargon. Another good idea would be to make a birth plan and give this to all your support people, your midwife and the hospital.

  4. #4

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    Hi Kelly & Alan,

    Thanks for your reply it is greatly appreciated. Actually for this whole pregnancy I have been seriously considering having a doula present at the birth. No offence to my DH but he was just so blown away by the last birth and couldn't even managed to talk to me. So we just kind of stared at each other until he says my eyes started rolling back in my head. Eventually as mentioned I got an epidural.

    This time I want to do it naturally and feel the emopowerment you talked about, I know that I can do this with the right support from the right person. I have also asked my Mum to be present at the birth this time. I'm sure that she will be of some help but I am worried because both Mum and DH think that I should walk in and ask for an epi straight away. Clearly this is not what I want, and although I have repeatedly stated this to both of them I'm not sure that when the time comes they will fully support my decision.

    Thanks again for your help,
    Jaime

  5. #5

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    Jaime, you are right, both don't seem to be ideal support people if they think what you don't want! You need someone who is going to push you past that, if they think you need an epi now, how are they going to be when it comes to the crunch or if you havea crisis? Check out my Birth Support link in my signature, if money is an issue and you would like a student at lower cost, let me know and I can help. But it's well worth the investment especially considering birth is something you are going to look back at forever and tell your story over. It's precious - go for the birth you want and find the right people to support you!

    All the best for a wonderful birth!
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  6. #6

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    Hi! I definitely agree with the above posts - but if you can't get a doula, don't feel like your hopes for the birth you want are lost. A helper like a doula is a wonderful thing, but there are other things that you and your husband can do to help you feel in control of your baby's birth. ( to some degree of course.) Discuss with your husband and your doctor what you would like to happen. If your doctor is not going to support your plans (and not for medical reasons) consider switching. (although I realize it's getting close to the end here for you)
    I found that it helped immensely to try to remember with each contraction that the pain would go away again. (I pictured waves washing in, and out on the beach - maybe that would work for you) And try to breath slowly and deeply and tell yourself that you CAN DO THIS. Your body is made for it. The other thing that helped me a lot was to be in the shower or bath if you are allowed. The warm water felt wonderful.
    Other than that, read as much as you can about what happens during birth (although I'm sure you already know most of it, having done it once already) and have your husband do the same. Try to think about what helps you relax when you are in pain (ie. headaches, etc.) and see if you can do that when you are in labour.
    Hope this helps a little! I hope you are able to have the birth experience that you want - it can be an overwhelming time, and it's nice to feel like you can have some control over the situation! Whatever happens, I hope you and your baby are healthy and well when it's all said and done!
    All the best!

  7. #7
    *Yvette* Guest

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    Hi Jaime. It's really hard to stay focussed during really painful contractions and I agree you really need great support to do it.

    I strongly recommend having a doula or support person. I think it's also absolutely crucial to have a great midwife with you as well, someone who is experienced with natural birth & know's what she's doing & is confident with it and can make you feel confident and safe and be strong with you.

    I'm an absolute wimp with pain, but managed to cope through 3 births without pain relief. Having the twins is the only time I've demanded the anaesthetist, and among other things one of the factors was although I had great support, there was no 'proper' midwife with me. By proper, I mean one that I knew and who was to be with me through to the end, as I'd had with all the other births. I was scared!

    If I was having any more kids, I'd know for sure I absolutely had to have my own midwife.

    The main factor for staying focussed, I think, is feeling safe. If you have a great midwife with you, you will. When it's really tough, just think about getting through one contraction at a time, and remind yourself that each one is helping open your cervix. Don't be scared of 2nd stage, pushing baby out is easier than getting through the contractions (in my experience). As you build up to transition, it's easy to think you don't want to/can't go any further. The increasing intensity of the contractions is hard to accept, but you need to accept it! I've found when I get to the point where I'm saying I can't do it any more etc, I'm in transition & nearly there. And when you do get there, you might find it eases off for a bit before you push, the 'rest & be thankful' stage.

    Gotta go, baby crying, which is good because I could waffle on here for ages, lol.

  8. #8

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    My experiences are similar to Kelly's,
    #1 I was induced in hospital after waters breaking 2 days earlier & having only mild contractions really... So the oxytocin & full on contractions & then having Pethidine... ( I have been adamant NOT to have an Epi, I am more scared of that than childbirth!)
    So I knew noone was gonna talk me in to one....!!!

    #2 I laboured at home all day happily with Mum & family... Until it started getting crucial, when I then went into hospital & if it wasnt for my bulging membranes I would have been ready to push on arrival, within an hour or 2 of being at hospital my waters broke & I could start pushing, I had a suck on gas & threw that away & totally focused on what was happening within, I am happy to say I was not aware at the time that DD#2 had stopped breathing after swalling meconium, but when midwife said baby needs to be born now, may I cut you, I was so focused on having this baby that I agreed, no pain relief & I felt nothing down there at all, baby was born perfect & I also feel so empowered I cabnt tell you how thrilled I was to have been focused & in tune with my body to just let the wave of contractions guide me...
    I told the midwife I would not have an epidural & she said she wouldnt even raise the issue with me, it was my body, my baby & I was making the choices...
    I went to a public hospital, did not know this midwife at all. but she had been delivering at that hospital since 1976, so i was happy & confident with her!!

    I loved this birthing experience!!!!

    Tell them when you arrive, that you DO NOT WANT an epidural...!!!

    Good Luck.

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