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Noreen Claire

*UPDATE in post#1* anxiety over giving birth again...

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And some of the members of my family who had all of their babies with no epidural (all of them but me, I think - but then, I've had a lot more babies!) said their pain at delivery was no higher than a 5.

 

5!

 

I could deliver 10 babies unmedicated with a max pain level of 5.

Me as well. Some of us do have worse labors for varying reasons, from muscle tone to pain tolerance. I've had one baby who maxed out at a seven until she was essentially crowning and that rocked. I've also had screaming, run away from it panic from the horrific pain of inductions and exhaustion and malposition over other babies. My birth anxiety with this one is absolutely centered on experiencing that severe pain again but there are other ways I have to approach it not involving meds, unfortunately.

 

Here's to hoping positive hypnosis and water birth and being anal about positioning will help :p

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Busy mama thank you for that name of the track you used!!!!! I have the hypnobabies ones, but for me, being told it wouldn't hurt, and then having it hurt, made me ridiculously angry. But I like the hypnosis aspect, so I've been torn about using it. Going to get that one and give it a try!

Lol I did the whole Lamaze classes and signed up for the epidural and everything with my first.

 

Went into labor and got to the hospital to be told it was too late for any drugs or epidural.

And I had back labor.

And I pushed for the next 6 hours.

 

It was not my proudest moments. I screamed and cussed and cried through that entire delivery because seriously I felt totally screwed over and confused and like no one was even trying to help me. I had been told if I just breathed right and had an epidural and did things "right", I'd have a pain free wonderful beautiful birthing experience and that for sure is not what I was having. To my much younger inexperienced self that meant things were going awful and I was being mistreated and just for the love of would someone, anyone, DO something about what felt like my back being broken?!?!?

 

And then he was born and put in my arms and I said, "OMG. He's amazing. We have to have more."

 

And I kid you not, every medical person in the room groaned and the OB said, "WE need you to give us a bit of time to recover from this please."

 

It's something we can laugh about NOW, but at the time, I felt so lied to and betrayed.

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Yes, but if you wanted general anesthesia for a filling, they'd look at you oddly. 

 

General anesthesia is very safe for an adult, if done properly, but even then there are significant risks. Which is why so many things are done with local if possible. It is much riskier the smaller you get, with an unborn baby certainly being small. Drugs can cause complications with the baby, and for many women that risk isn't worth it, even if they would risk the normal adult side effects for themselves. 

 

Edited to add: An amputation of a finger wouldn't be a minor procedure in my mind. It would be major. A mole removal would be minor. 

 

Yes, because with a filling, you can do other anaesthesia that provides 100% pain relief.  With mole removal, you can get anaesthesia that provides 100% or close to 100% pain relief.

 

Very few people are willing to, nor is there ever any pressure to, endure significant and prolonged pain for anything in my experience except labor.

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ArcticMama (and others, of course), I *totally* get that there are good reasons not to have pain relief, or certain types of pain relief, during labor.  They make sense to me and they are so valid, all of them.

 

What I am saying, I guess, is that I went through unmedicated labors not for those good reasons, but because the societal pressure (especially from some sectors) to have an unmedicated labor was so strong.  The reasons those people gave (you won't be able to bond with your baby, the risks are so significant and so scary!, it makes you a weak person, it makes you a bad mother) turned out to be, for *me*, complete BS.  

 

So it makes a lot of sense to me for some people to have unmedicated labors, either because they want to or because they have to for a variety of reasons. I just want those people (and other people who have never been in labor!  grr) to stop saying that it is the morally superior choice, or that it is very risky to have an epidural, or that it will affect mother-child bonding, or whatever.  

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Yes, because with a filling, you can do other anaesthesia that provides 100% pain relief.  With mole removal, you can get anaesthesia that provides 100% or close to 100% pain relief.

 

Very few people are willing to, nor is there ever any pressure to, endure significant and prolonged pain for anything in my experience except labor.

 

First, in no other procedure are you giving anesthesia to somone NOT having a procedure done (in this case, the baby.) 

 

Second, lots of things hurt that are not medical procedures and that you don't get pain relief for. Marathon runners don't get shot up with pain meds before enduring what is a painful race, rock climbers don't get pain meds despite rock climbing being painful, gymnasts don't get narcotics to deal with rips on their hands, etc. Labor is much more like those things than like an amputation, especially from the baby's point of view, who gets whatever drugs mom gets, in varying amounts. 

 

I'm not saying no one should have pain meds. I've had them with one of mine. I'm saying that labor is not analogous to surgery. If you have surgery, including a c-section, we pretty much all opt for anesthesia. 

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Like I said before, you all please do what you want with your own births. It's your body and your baby. However, I do think we would also all opt for pain meds while passing a kidney stone, or while recovering from a broken bone, for example. Those aren't surgeries but are natural bodily processes. I don't think it helps moms who are worried about their own ability to withstand labor to say that they are somehow always harming their baby by accepting any pain meds. Especially if the result of this fear is ongoing anxiety over months. Who knows how that might affect baby? It's probably not good for baby. I had three babies via c section : the most medicalized birth possible. They are all fine. I'm fine. They are bonded to me, they ate fine, they were not in the NicU. Again, please, you all please do what you want with your own labors. But your baby will be okay either way.

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That's definitely true. If you were having an extremely minor procedure or surgery, you'd have anesthesia without a thought.

I'm one who much prefers things like minor dental work (fillings) be done without anesthesia--for the simple reason that it's a bit painful while in process but there are no lingering effects to deal with afterwards

 

I've much appreciated that aspect of my unmedicated births as well. I've been up and walking as little as ten minutes after a birth, feeling quite good (or in one case, feeling really great).

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Like I said before, you all please do what you want with your own births. It's your body and your baby. However, I do think we would also all opt for pain meds while passing a kidney stone, or while recovering from a broken bone, for example. Those aren't surgeries but are natural bodily processes. I don't think it helps moms who are worried about their own ability to withstand labor to say that they are somehow always harming their baby by accepting any pain meds. Especially if the result of this fear is ongoing anxiety over months. Who knows how that might affect baby? It's probably not good for baby. I had three babies via c section : the most medicalized birth possible. They are all fine. I'm fine. They are bonded to me, they ate fine, they were not in the NicU. Again, please, you all please do what you want with your own labors. But your baby will be okay either way.

You are sounding defensive and I am not sure why. The vast majority of women on this thread have expressed support for the choice of medicated birth, many of us have made that choice gratefully at one point or another. This is hardly a "shame on you if you choose anesthesia" thread.

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Yeah I've never liked the comparing of birth to a medical event like a root canal. Birth just isn't a medical event in any way comparable to dental work or an amputation.

 

I was awake for my wisdom teeth removal at age 28 but of course had locals. It was by far a more painful WITH anesthesia than birth had been without. It was true suffering and I needed pain relief. Some women experience birth that way. I sure wish I had had pain relief available for #9. I think everyone woman is smart enough to make these decisions for themselves. My desire has only ever been to make sure women know what they are deciding. I do believe there are risks to the baby, to bonding and to breastfeeding from what I have seen and experienced but that doesn't mean that many many women don't have safe and pleasant birth experiences with epidurals. For me the biggest risk is that first baby and having it lead to a c section. An unnecessary c section increases risks for both mom, baby and future babies so that link needs to be carefully considered. But most women birthing in a hospital are fighting such an uphill battle, many times confined to bed etc so yeah, pain relief is often the most reasonable choice. But not risk free either.

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Like I said before, you all please do what you want with your own births. It's your body and your baby. However, I do think we would also all opt for pain meds while passing a kidney stone, or while recovering from a broken bone, for example. Those aren't surgeries but are natural bodily processes. I don't think it helps moms who are worried about their own ability to withstand labor to say that they are somehow always harming their baby by accepting any pain meds. Especially if the result of this fear is ongoing anxiety over months. Who knows how that might affect baby? It's probably not good for baby. I had three babies via c section : the most medicalized birth possible. They are all fine. I'm fine. They are bonded to me, they ate fine, they were not in the NicU. Again, please, you all please do what you want with your own labors. But your baby will be okay either way.

Ummm no. A kidney stone and a broken bone are pathology. Those are not natural bodies processes. A better comparison would be intercourse or having a bowel movement.

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I'm sorry anyone was bullied about their choices. I think people should consider pros/cons but not in a shaming way. I actually felt the opposite kind of pressure... I was scared for people to know I had planned on not having medicated births. I didn't want them to try to talk me out of it or tell me how crazy I was or how wonderful their epidural was. Especially the first time since they would probably tell me I didn't know what I was doing. Of course I didn't exactly know what I was doing Lol but I felt that it was an option I wanted to be open to, not talked out of. So for that reason, I didn't bring it up or I tried to downplay it if it came up. At the time of my first child's birth (probably second child's birth as well), the only person I knew personally that had had an unmedicated birth was my mother and she didn't have all her babies the same way so I never felt like "this is the only way" pressure there.

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 I don't think it helps moms who are worried about their own ability to withstand labor to say that they are somehow always harming their baby by accepting any pain meds. Especially if the result of this fear is ongoing anxiety over months. Who knows how that might affect baby? It's probably not good for baby. 

 

Um no one is doing that. People said there are risks, not that it will definitely harm the baby. Let alone always. 

 

I personally said she should look into scheduling an induction with an epidural placed first, because in the risk benefit analysis, the months of anxiety are way more of a risk to baby than the risk of the epidural/induction. Believing that doesn't mean I should pretend there are no risks to epidurals or other medications. I think women are grown ups who can handle hearing the truth, and then make an informed decision, weighting the pluses and minuses for themselves. 

 

The ONLY reason the risk of anesthetics got brought up was that some people were implying that the only reason women avoid pain meds is to try to make a point/win a medal/be morally superior. So those of us who prefer unmedicated births responded, saying that no, we go without meds not because we like pain but because for us the risks don't outweigh the benefits. 

 

In the OP's case I think the risk of anxiety to her unborn child is a serious thing that should be taken into account, and that if planning  a different type of birth alleviates the anxiety when other approaches don't, then go for it, plan a different birth. 

 

Saying anesthesia is always a bad idea is just as ridiculous as saying there is no risk to anesthetics. Neither statement is true. There are risks. And there are benefits. And how those play out will vary for every woman, and in every birth. 

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Ok, so how big was it, you have to say!

 

 

Sorry - I just remembered that I was going to reply to this! Baby #4 had a 15" head also... Baby #3 was 14.75", baby #2 was only 13.5". Can't locate baby #1's measurements, but he was teeny. (He was the 0-5th percentile until about age 13!)

 

Here's hoping this baby is slightly smaller... but I'm not holding my breath!

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Sorry - I just remembered that I was going to reply to this! Baby #4 had a 15" head also... Baby #3 was 14.75", baby #2 was only 13.5". Can't locate baby #1's measurements, but he was teeny. (He was the 0-5th percentile until about age 13!)

 

Here's hoping this baby is slightly smaller... but I'm not holding my breath!

 

Our kids are head twins, lol :)

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My lady bits hurt just thinking about it! My kids are always malpositioned in some funky way but have blessedly normal head sizes, actually on the 30th percentile range generally. I'm impressed, ladies!

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My lady bits hurt just thinking about it! My kids are always malpositioned in some funky way but have blessedly normal head sizes, actually on the 30th percentile range generally. I'm impressed, ladies!

My last one shocked me by having a 50th percentile head. Which actually looked sort of odd and wrong to me since I'm used to 95th+ percentile heads.

 

Sure did make pushing easier!

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I actually tore less with the kid with the big head. Probably because of position. I spent too much time on the birth still with my 9 lb baby and the tissues were swollen. 

 

Hoping for a smaller head this time though. 

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Laughing gas is good. I had an epidural for my first and it didn't do a great job and caused problems however with my last I had literally about two breaths of laughing gas and it was great. It took the edge off but you could still feel to push and everything. Totally worth it.

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Hugs to you.  :grouphug:  I think my anxiety level went up with each pregnancy, so by my fourth I was really, really ready for it to be done. I had 4 c-sections, but went into labour with my fourth. My anxiety level was pretty huge with that experience, even though they got the baby out without anything bad happening. 

 

You will deal with the situation as it arises, and probably just fine, but the anticipation and worry can be torture. All the best.

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So, I'm still pregnant...

 

Due date is in 9 days. The last month went pretty well; my anxiety calmed down and I absolutely crushed my to-do list of all the things that needed to be done before baby arrives. The last week or so, though, the anxiety has come back with a vengeance. I've been having on/off gastro-intestinal issues and each time it happens I get a 4+ hour span of time where I have horrible contractions accompanied by what I guess is adrenaline surges that make me feel dreadful and exhausted.

 

Next U/S is Tuesday afternoon (39wks+1day) and I'm only slightly hoping that they say I need to be induced immediately so that I can get this over with! (I honestly don't want to be induced yet - I usually go over 41wks and I don't want to set myself up for more interventions/possible c-section if it really is too early.) I am going to do some research before my appointment on laughing gas and other pain-relief options. I finished the Hypnobirth book but never opened the CD - I'll do that tomorrow and hope that maybe it will help.

 

Thanks again for all the responses to my original post - I appreciate everyone's stories and perspectives.

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What is the ultrasound for? Growth ultrasounds aren't reliable at that stage...so is this more a biophysical profile, or?

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What is the ultrasound for? Growth ultrasounds aren't reliable at that stage...so is this more a biophysical profile, or?

 

I see the midwives in my OB/GYN office. The office has recently become affiliated with one of the larger hospitals in Boston and have one of their Maternal Fetal Medicine docs on staff who, I guess, is *technically* in charge of my case due to my advanced maternal age (I'm 42). Because of my age, it was recommended after my 20 wk scan that I have ultrasounds at 24, 28, 32, & 36 wks, and then weekly there after. After discussing it with my primary midwife, I declined several of the earlier scans but have agreed to the weekly scans after 36 weeks, as 37wks+ is when things tend to go south for women my age. I know that they are grading the baby on an 8pt scale at each scan, with overall movements, breathing movements, and amniotic fluid levels being three of the things that they are looking for.

 

It was also estimated last week that the baby was around the 75th percentile, and 7lbs 10oz +/-1lb. The tech kept talking about how 'big' the baby was. I said, "Honey, my last baby was 10lb 12oz - this baby is a peanut!" She nearly fell off of her chair!

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I see the midwives in my OB/GYN office. The office has recently become affiliated with one of the larger hospitals in Boston and have one of their Maternal Fetal Medicine docs on staff who, I guess, is *technically* in charge of my case due to my advanced maternal age (I'm 42). Because of my age, it was recommended after my 20 wk scan that I have ultrasounds at 24, 28, 32, & 36 wks, and then weekly there after. After discussing it with my primary midwife, I declined several of the earlier scans but have agreed to the weekly scans after 36 weeks, as 37wks+ is when things tend to go south for women my age. I know that they are grading the baby on an 8pt scale at each scan, with overall movements, breathing movements, and amniotic fluid levels being three of the things that they are looking for.

 

It was also estimated last week that the baby was around the 75th percentile, and 7lbs 10oz +/-1lb. The tech kept talking about how 'big' the baby was. I said, "Honey, my last baby was 10lb 12oz - this baby is a peanut!" She nearly fell off of her chair!

 

Yup, that's a biophysical profile. That makes way more sense. I think starting at 24 weeks is insanity, but agree that late in pregnancy it makes perfect sense. I did them with my last two at 41 weeks, and now that I'm 40 I'll do one at 39 weeks probably, and weekly after that. 

 

Thanks for explaining. 

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UPDATE:

Long story, short: My anxiety got so bad that I couldn't cope anymore, so I asked to be induced 2 days before my due date. Second day of induction I asked for an epidural, which took my anxiety away the minute my toes got all warm and tingly. (However, the itching was horrible and there is still something wrong with the nerves in my left leg.) Baby was born with a grand total of 2 pushes.

:wub: I am now the proud mama of FIVE boys!  :wub: 

 

Congratulations!!!

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Congratulations! I  :001_wub: epidurals, in spite of the side effects. Hope you feel better soon!

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Yeah! Enjoy your babymoon (baby+honeymoon). Those first few days are just sooo precious.

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:hurray:  :hurray:  :hurray: congrats on the new baby :hurray:  :hurray:  :hurray:

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