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If you've had a natural birth. ..


MommaOfalotta
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I'm trying for a vba2c so I'm trying to prepare myself for a natural birth. I will have access to an epidural, but I don't want to get one due to fears it will cause a 3rd c section.

I'm still in the first trimester but I'm losing sleep and obsessing over the pain of labor specifically transition and pushing. My most recent labor I made it unmedicated to 5cm and I was completely fine but still scared and when the nurse was strongly pushing for me to get the epidural I caved. That vbac ended in a c section very quickly after that.

I'm at a new hospital with a midwife for this baby.

I'm having trouble committing to natural because I'm afraid of not being able to do it. If I really commit to it I will be meeting with doulas, taking classes, reading and researching, physically preparing, the works.. but right now I can't get over the mental preparing. I tend to get anxiety and I do lots of overthinking. Also, due to needed monitoring I'm pretty sure tub/shower would be out of the question (although I still need to discuss this with midwife-we've only had one appointment so far. )

 

Okay so, all that rambling to ask. . If you've had a natural birth was the pain better or worse than you had imagined? Was the pain manageable or did you feel completely oUT of control? What advice would you give to someone that wants a natural birth but is scared she won't be able to handle it?

 

One day I'll be thinking "I've got this. I can so do it. " Then (like this morning) I'll wake up at 3am unable to go back to sleep because I'm obsessing over the unknown. I really want to commit, go into this being educated, calm, and confident. I'm not thinking of anything else right now. Help! :) TIA!

 

Sorry for any typos, on my phone.

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I would highly recommend reading Ina May Gaskin's books 'Birth Matters' and 'Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.' She can be kind of "hippy-ish" but I love the positivity of her books and the stories she weaves in.

 

That said I've never had an epidural but I had pain meds during my third labor and I hated them. I much prefer being able to focus and relax myself than be all woozy and out of it. I would also recommend the Bradley Method book if you've never read it!

 

 

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Those suggestions are all on my list! So glad to see them recommended. Thank you.

 

Yes avoiding another unnecessary c section is top of the list for me, but I too desire to be my normal self in delivery and after. I definitely have a ton of reasons for not wanting that epidural ever again... I'm just afraid of failure and Of having pain so bad it's unmanageable.

Okay im done rambling. Just really in unfamiliar territory right now.

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I'm not sure how asking others about their pain perceptions is going to be helpful--every single woman is different and every single birth is different.

 

Can you do this? Absolutely! Women were giving birth for millenia before epidurals were available. If you commit to natural, take classes, get a doula, maybe try hypnobabies or some such--you will be just fine. How much will it hurt? I can't say. Could feel entirely manageable, could be horrendous--but even horrendous is something you can get through; it doesn't go on forever. If you can accept that you will be OK. I've had both "this is entirely manageable and I'm doing great" and "I wish someone would just kill me now I can't take this anymore" labor experiences. I ended up with healthy happy babies each time.

 

I think the trickier part is preparing yourself mentally for the possibility of a third c-section when you have your heart set on a vaginal birth. Being 100% gung-ho for natural birth while maintaining that piece of acceptance for things that may not go as planned is hard.

 

 

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Thank you for the replies.

 

I know I can do it. I know if I had no access to an epidural I would have no other choice. But this will be a choice for me since I'm delivering in a hospital. I just know that when things really get intense I don't want to cave. I'm afraid I will panic. I'm just looking for encouragement I guess.

Edited by Mrs. Hound
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Birthing is a "natural" pain.  I had both my kids completely natural with no meds.  They came quickly once labor started, so I never had the option for an epidural or anything else to dull the pain.  

 

It was absolutely painful- I know I was swearing and crying and not very charming at all.  But, I have broken bones in my body, and those were FAR more painful and "un-natural".   There IS a difference.  I cry when I stub my toe- I feel like I have a very low pain threshold, but it's different when the pain is supposed to be there.  

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I've had four vbacs and am due for my fifth any day. The pain sucks and there is no way around it, but it is totally doable. Really. It is intense, but it doesn't really surpass manageable - with the right coping skills. Hypnobabies is often recommended, or other positive affirmation tracks. Breathing helps - if I keep my face and lips loose and my vocalizations low it is amazing how much calmer I am and how much less the *same* contraction is in terms of intensity. Releasing my facial muscles aids a whole lot in releasing my bottom and thighs and keeping tension down, which directly affects pain.

 

Remembering it is temporary and when it hurts worst I'm almost done - that got me through my last two homebirths. And it was true, everyone knows about the time I freak out and say I can't handle another moment that I'm within ten minutes of being done :lol:

 

Biggest help for me this pregnancy, with intense birth anxiety, was seeking out a TON of homebirth and unmedicated, peaceful childbirth videos on YouTube. I watched dozens and it was such a balm to me. Ina May Gaskin and Penny Simkin's birth books are similar, but I needed the real time videos to ram the concept home. I'm no newbie to birth by any stretch but seeing other women doing it and doing it well gave me peace I was urgently seeking.

 

I may or may not have prayed my way through several births too, along with distracting myself in early labor with movies, chores, etc. when I was still vbaccing in the hospital instead of at home I would wait as long as humanly possible to go as well which helped SO much.

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I have had 3 unmedicated births...with number 4 hopefully happening any day now.

I highly, highly, highly recommend the book Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon. It is basically the only preparing for natural birth that I've had.

As for pain...labor is work. I went in with no expectations regarding pain and each birth has been different. The sensations are always manageable though. They can't overwhelm you because they are just a part of you. (Can you tell I've been telling myself this a lot?) As I read once "you can do this because you are doing this." 

I don't know what monitoring you need, but my MW had no issues monitoring me in the tub with birth 2. 

I can't recommend the above book highly enough. Well, that and having a supportive coach/husband and medical person (OB, MW, whatever) that you really click with. 

ETA:
As Arctic Mama hinted, for me dealing with first stage contractions is all about relaxing every single muscle that I can to get out of the way for the uterus to do its thing. It's hard, mental work. I focus on picturing what the uterus is doing and analyzing the sensations of the contraction while at the same time breathing naturally and keeping all muscles relaxed. Basically that's what the book I recommend covers.

Edited by barnwife
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I had all four naturally. The pain was less than I had imagined (each time.) I didn't get an epidural the first time because I had read some Robin Cook book and was afraid - not that I would admit that.  :) After the first, I decided it wasn't that bad and had all four naturally. And the best part was that once it was over it was really over. The pain was gone and I was holding a baby.

Edited by Melissa B
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and yes, if you need augmenting or inducing do consider an epidural with it. I've done it with and without epidural and I cannot tolerate pitocin contractions without it, they're just totally different in character and intensity. Unmedicated childbirth is so much easier to handle than an induction without pain management. If you're needing additional prodding or inducing with something other than a Foley catheter to manually expand your cervix do be open to pain management if you feel you need it - that is better than panic or exhaustion, I speak from experience. But if you don't need inducing? It's really doable. Intense, but definitely doable.

 

 

And my doula is worth her weight in gold. Even with midwives I cannot replace the invaluable service she gives me in keeping me calm, comfortable, and giving me ideas for position changes and movement to help labor along.

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Okay see, I was induced both times. Foley bulb, pitocin, you name it. I got the epidural both times not because I needed it, but from pressure and nagging from the nurses.

My midwife will let me go to 41 weeks. So Im really hoping I'll go into labor on my own. Which I highly doubt lol. I feel like I'd be one of those 42 weekers. But then again... two "failed labors" really does make you doubt on your body's abilities. Positive thinking, positive thinking.

Edited by Mrs. Hound
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Our last baby was a natural homebirth and I was over 38.

One of the larger ones at 8 pounds. Had a 40 minute time period where pushing was not showing much success. MY GOSH. That was so hard. If I had been in the hospital, the midwives told me it would have been C-section. But it was an okay experience. Yes, it hurt, it was childbirth. But the pain is soon forgotten when holding that new life, until he starts to nurse. 

I've never had a C-section but did have an epidural with my 6th baby. I hated that, HATED IT. They made mistakes. It made me feel so bad. I could barely deliver. Couldn't feel what I was doing at all. Of course not. So the next one I had at home. My daughter would come in and check on me once in awhile, even with 2 midwives and my dh there. So that was nice, she was only 7. We had another adult family member helping with the kids.

My other births, some were induced and miserable. The 7 year old was a natural delivery and I had her within 15 minutes of getting to the hospital. Sweet.

How do you manage pain normally? Do you have a high tolerance for pain? I've been told by many doctors and nurses that I do have a high tolerance for pain. (Flip through my medical charts).

Are you in good condition? Do you exercise? Do you eat well? Do you use drugs for any conditions? Do you have a support system, are there are other people in your life, at least one, not opposed to natural birthing? 

Having a doula, do it! As long as you don't have other issues going on, healthwise, I'd highly recommend natural birth. It's childbirth, of course it hurts. Finding your way to do the breathing and having a focus point when the contractions are going on is key. I used my dh's eyes to stare into. Worked for me.

Start drinking herbal teas that are safe for pregnancy, might help you sleep too. 

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I had two naturally (at a free-standing birth center, so epidurals/pain meds weren't an option).  

 

My first labor was very slow to progress and drawn out. I found the mental exhaustion (and fear of the pain to come) to be the most difficult part of that labor. Also the fear that I'd do something "wrong."  Eventually (hours and hours later), baby came when she was good and ready.  It was bearable.  I bounced back very quickly (oh, to be young, LOL).

 

My 2nd labor: afraid to have a repeat of the first birth, I stayed home as long as possible.  I felt more in control (though still anxious because...baby....vagina....)  But we showed up at the birth center at 12:45am and baby was born by 1am. :p  We almost waited too long, but it was fast and furious and over before I realized what happened.  (I felt like I was hit by a Mac truck when it was all over!)

 

 

Anyway, I totally recommend those Ina May Gaskin books! I found them very informative (and empowering).

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Thank you for the replies.

 

I know I can do it. I know if I had no access to an epidural I would have no other choice. But this will be a choice for me since I'm delivering in a hospital. I just know that when things really get intense I don't want to cave. I'm afraid I will panic. I'm just looking for encouragement I guess.

 

That's where your team comes in. When you get to the hospital, ask for a nurse familiar with natural birth. Some are great others would rather you get the epidural, so ask right away for one that will cheer you one. They are out there!

 

And your doula will be invaluable. you need one with VBAC experience if possible. And who will tell you "you ARE doing it" when you get to the "I can't do it" phase. Which you will. But you can. 

 

And you only ever get one contraction at a time and they only last a minute or so. You can do anything for a minute or so. 

 

Also, honestly, even with an epidural many women lose control and focus during transition. It's not really the pain that is unbearable, it's that out of control feeling that freaks people out, and having a doula there to be in your face iff need be, riding out each contraction with you, hand in hand. 

 

I've had 2 unmedicated VBACs, and they were worth every moment of pain. Planning my 3rd now. 

 

Oh, and honestly? Knowing there may be pain sets you up well. My first VBAC was hard because I imagined I would have some painless birth experience, and was MAD when it hurt! The next one I knew it would hurt and it was SO much easier to deal with. 

 

Also, many hospitals have waterproof monitors now for the shower, so ask. 

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Just when you think you can't take it anymore, it's over. Really.

This. I had four natural home births, which are highly regulated in Ontario. My own experience is that it is painful but possible right up until it isn't... and that's when you have the baby. And then? The high is amazing. And I felt great instantly afterwards. And yes, I always forgot the pain... until the end of the next pregnancy. 😕

 

We aren't sure if we're having more and if we don't, I will feel a sadness about never feeling that "baby high" again.

 

I used a birthing pool and had three water births (with one I couldn't due to meconium). The water was AMAZING for pain management and freedom of movement.

Edited by indigoellen@gmail.com
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I've had four, 3 in the hospital and 1 at home. 2 were induced by breaking my water (no further intervention.)

 

The very best thing we did to prepare was take the 12 week Bradley classes. It was a big time commitment (but we didn't have any kids yet, then!) I think that the more informed the mother is and the more she understands the actual physiology of the birth process the better she will do when trying to have a natural birth. Learning techniques that don't just distract you from the pain but help you actually work with your body is really important.

 

In addition to "Birth the Bradley Way", I found the book "Birthing From Within" to be very helpful when I was brushing up for another birth. I used a lot of ideas from that book.

 

Having a solid birth coach (your husband, a doula, a good midwife) to advocate for you and support you when you are exhausted and want to quit is really important, too.

 

The good news is you have plenty of time to prepare. I hate when someone who is like 37 weeks tells me they think they're going to try for a natural birth without having done a single thing to prepare, not even a hospital childbirth class. That's probably not going to turn out well.

 

You can do it! Read a ton, surround yourself with a good team, and you can do it!

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I've had three babies. My first was a planned natural birth at a birth canter. I ended up transferring to the hospital and having an epidural because my water broke and the allotted time elapsed for the birth canter (12 hours after water breaking, they wanted to transfer because of risk of infection) and I needed pitocin and then the epidural.

My second two were born at home in the tub. My third was unassisted.

The only birth I felt out of control for was my first. I had a WONDERFUL midwife with the second two. Very relaxed and hands off. She was very strong in her encouragement of MY body being capable to birth a baby and to know what to do when. My home births were so wonderful, I immediately wanted to do it again. 😳 I remember thinking 'wow, that's it? It's time to push??' And then wanting time to slow down a little. It was truly amazing to feel my baby make her entrance into the world.

I say you can do it!!! Get the labor support regardless of what you end up deciding, good midwives and doulas are worth their weight in gold. Truly.

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Also, make sure your hubby knows your plan and is on board. My hubs was incredulous when I told him I wanted a home birth, but he was a support to me, and even though he was a bit panicky when the midwife didn't make the last baby's birth (she lived about 45 minutes away, and I waited until I was pushing to call😜baby was born in four pushes) he did amazing and we were both ready to conquer the world after. He will always be proud to say he caught our last baby!

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I've had two VBACs, one medicated, one unmedicated. I highly recommend getting a doula and doing lots of reading on natural birth (lots of great suggestions here).

 

I also did Hypnobabies. It was amazing for keeping me relaxed and unanxious during my pregnancy. The first birth I got an epidural but the second time was great. I think the difference for me was that the first time I was thinking I will do this unmedicated as long as it doesn't hurt (haha, I know!) But the second time I decided that I wanted to do it unmedicated even if it did hurt. And it did, a bit, but it was totally manageable. The part I remember hurting the worst was my OB fiddling around down there. I was totally "in the zone" for everything else.

 

Good luck, I hope you get your VBAC!

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Oh, and honestly? Knowing there may be pain sets you up well. My first VBAC was hard because I imagined I would have some painless birth experience, and was MAD when it hurt! The next one I knew it would hurt and it was SO much easier to deal with.

 

 

:iagree: Yes, this!

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I could have almost written your post right down to the many type of induction (I had 8, including pitocin,  between my first two babies, clearly they didn't work very well on me, only one of them actually started labor and it wasn't pitocin).  Both of those babies were c-sections, I've had 4 vba2c since then.  Things that helped for me:  Doula - absolutely the best thing I ever did.  She met with me beforehand and discussed my wishes.  She helped me practice positioning exercises to make sure baby was in best position possible, she helped me learn about different pressure points.  She had me buy a pair of plain old hair combs.  I used those combs for 4 births.  If I took nothing else to the hospital I would take combs.  I can't explain the science behind it but there is pain receptors for the uterus in the palms (if I'm remembering it correctly), and by squeezing the combs it really alleviated the pain.  So much that the few minutes I had to release the combs so they could put the IV in my hand were the worst moments of the entire labor.  I kept those combs in a death grip.  I had deep grooves in my hand from squeezing so hard and yet my hands didn't feel a thing.  And the pain was much more bearable.  Other things she did,  helped with counter pressure on my back, had hot rice bags and did this message thing on my legs when I start shaking uncontrollably during transition (shaking stopped almost immediately after she started).

 

Another thing with my first Vba2c, I was lying on my back in triage and feeling like I just couldn't take it anymore,  I was only at a 6.  I caved and asked for epidural because getting to 10 seemed so far away.  Well they had to put me in a room first and had me go to the bathroom.  In the process of all that baby crowned,  I ended up delivering her in the bathroom on my hands and knees less than 30 minutes after being told I was only a 6, with only my doula there because they hadn't even finished checking me in let alone giving me the epidural. But getting off my back made all the difference if my ability to cope.  Flat on my back was SOOOO painful but hands and knees was doable.  I chose that position for all my others.  Not all staff likes this though.  During a different pregnancy I had 1 nurse try to forcibly flip me over saying "Oh you will be so much easier and more comfortable on your back" (I wasn't really uncomfortable and baby was already crowning),  DH happened to look up when the doctor walked in and seeing me in that position the doctor gave the nurse a very dirty look.  It was quite clear that HE didn't like delivering in that position and the nurse was trying to avoid upsetting him.

 

I did find drawing inward was completely necessary,  talking and having extra noise going on around me was hard and distracting. I learned to count when I was breathing.  It was the only way for me to keep track of time.  So I could mentally tell myself, I'm on 11 this thing will peak about 13 I can get through this one.  Somehow having an idea of when the contraction would end made it easier for me to get through.

 

I can totally understand the uncertainly of where you are but what I learned was just to trust my body because it really did know what to do and I was strong enough to get through even if I doubted myself. 

 

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Wow, I am so thankful for each and every response. So encouraging. I thank you ladies so much. A lot of you are reaffirming what I've been thinking /feeling.

 

I do need to work on a birth team. My husband will support whatever I decide, but he really gets nervous with anything medical related involving me, so I'm not sure how he would do under pressure ;)

My best friend thinKS I'm totally crazyfor wanting to go natural.

 

I would love to hire a doula. Cost is an issue. I have a friend that offered her services for my last baby, she charges $300 (which I know is great compared to most) but I don't think she's ever assisted a vbac and I don't know how I feel about someone I know, but am not THAT comfortable with being there for that. I'm already using a midwife from our homeschool co-op, lol. I'm VERY introverted and private. I'll most likely be messaging "doula friend" though. I know I need the additional support.

 

I'm feeling very encouraged. I think I'm ready to really commit to a natural birth.

(Although, I thought the same thing yesterday until I woke up at 3am LOL.)

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Thank you cjzimmer1 it makes me feel so great that someone else was unsure and anxious as well and went on to have successful vbacs!

 

I'm definitely a pushover which is another reason I feel I need a doula. If my midwife is there, sweet deal. But there's a chance she might not be and I don't trust myself to stand up to pushy nurses and doctors.

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I had 3 births and only the first had unbearable pain and that might have been because of the pitocen. Transistion was painful and longer for my first labor before the pitocen too but it crossed over into unmanageable after pitocen. I ended up with an epidural for that one.

 

I did not use pain meds for my last two births. At the point where I did not think I could take it anymore I was at the end and the baby was coming. Before that point at end for both the pain was tolerable. I did not even push with my last two they came out on their own. Every birth and everyone is different and has different amounts of pain though. Most parts of labor for me was very manageable.

 

I liked having a doula for my second birth just as a go between for the hospital staff. I used a doula in training. For my second birth I was going to use my friend but baby did not wait until we got to the hospital.

Edited by MistyMountain
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Each person and each pregnancy are different. Yes it's painful. It's a transitory pain though in that it comes & goes and isn't constant. I only had an epidural with my first and that's because my cervix was swelling. I had no pain meds with the others. My last 2 I had pitocin to augment because my labor stalled. I did a tub with my 1st and 2nd. I took the Lamaze class with my first and just used the breathing. My husband was very helpful to help keep me focused at the end.

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did I feel 'out of control'?  Not really. You lose what is often called your 'social self'...you aren't polite. You have a job to do and you don't have any time for 'please' and 'thank you'.  I don't mean to say I got rude or anything, just...focused. Did I make some noise?  Yes but I didn't care, it helped so that was all that mattered to me. And yes, just when it starts to feel unmanageable it's over.  And as soon as the baby is out the contractions stop. OMG, you really feel SO much better, it's quite amazing. It just...goes away and you feel like yourself...a tired yourself, but yourself. And you have a BABY so you get to focus on that.

 

I just reminded myself that every single woman in my DNA..every woman before me had done this without drugs, without a c-section. If they could do it, then I could.

 

You might also tell your midwife that you don't want to be offered drugs and to not bring it up etc. That does help a great deal. When I helped a couple friends during their births I made it clear to the staff that my friend did not want medication and to please not offer it. With one hospital I went as far as to tape a sign to the door with "unmedicated birth in process"

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you aren't polite. You have a job to do and you don't have any time for 'please' and 'thank you'.  I don't mean to say I got rude or anything, just...focused. 

I'm sorry, but the above made me laugh. My MW gets a kick out of the fact that I have (with the 3 current kids) gotten super, extra polite during labor.

 

I use extra "pleases" and "thank yous." I apparently ask permission before changing positions.

 

I should note, though, that this only applies to my MW/her assistants. With DH, all bets are off.

 

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Thank you. My midwife is very supportive and understand although she warned me that nurses may be pushy with the epidural. They like to be prepared for worst case scenario. So doula/husband dealing with them would be helpful.

 

 

Also, forgot to add, midwife said they allow me to go to 41 weeks. I can have trial of labor as long as I have one contraction on monitor no matter how small, and then they can call it labor and "help me along" with pitocin if needed.

With my old OB he admitted me and induced with pitocin right away which I always read shouldn't be done with vbacs.

So I guess all of this is for nothing if I don't go into labor by 41 weeks.

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I've had 4 vaginal births. I had an epidural late in the labor with one because the midwife thought it would bring my blood pressure down (it did not). I refused to ever use any drugs after that and had 3 drug free births. By the time I was asking for an epidural with them, and yes, I asked for one with every single child... I was ready to push. I remember telling them, "Give me the epidural! NO, no, don't really... BUT I WANT THE DRUGS!"  My husband was there to be like, "No, she really doesn't want it... it's time to push." All of the babies were earth side within 40 minutes of asking for the drugs.

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I've had 4 natural births and they were all a bit different. Excluding details from my fist, just because it was 21 years ago and my memory isn't great - my second was very overwhelming and was a hard labor to get through. I was very upset, afterwards, because of how I felt so unprepared for it. I had done a Bradley class and read all the books, so it shouldn't have been a surprise, but it had many moments of feeling like I was drowning a bit. But I was at home and knew there was nothing going to save me from it so I pushed through.

 

Next baby I committed to doing Hypnobabies 1000% and that worked so wonderfully. That was a completely pain free birth. So awesome. I can't even slightly describe how amazing a pain free labor really is. Like wow!

 

So I did it again for the next birth and it helped a lot but it wasn't as pain free awesome as the last. Some moments felt like they were a little much but still doable. In hindsight I had a lot more doubts and concerns and worries with my last pregnancy so I felt like that held me back from really trusting the program.

 

I highly highly recommend Hypnobabies to anyone that has experienced labor before. Sorry, first time moms or those that haven't experienced labor, I do reserve the recommendation to someone that knows just what they have to deal with in labor and how hard they'll have to mentally work to convince themselves it isn't painful.

 

And for VBAC success, having the right care providers and support is essential. Around here, that would often mean having a great and knowledgeable doula and also avoiding inductions and waiting as long as possible before going to the hospital. But we don't have the most supportive providers willing to work with VBACs especially after more the one. It sounds like you may have more supportive options.

 

Good luck!

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I had two births unmedicated, the first augmented with pitocin. The most amazing thing was that once I was into labor, my body knew what to do! I knew what position I needed to be in, what coping mechanism. Like pps, I needed to relax all muscles and count through the contractions. I totally get the pressure for an epidural. I had someone asking me every 30 minutes if I were ready for an epidural yet. It was incredibly annoying to have people coming in and out, wanting to interact. I needed to go go deep inside and be left alone.

 

Trust your body. Trust its wisdom. Prepare in a general way, but be open to throwing away all your preconceived ideas about what you "should" do and what techniques "should" work and go with what your body is telling you in the moment.

 

Hospitals and their requirements and routines that are designed for their convenience and efficiency make it difficult to follow your body. I hope having a midwife will help avoid some of that. I was fortunate enough to have an OB that was laid back enough to go along with me delivering on my side, because that was what my body was telling me.

 

You've got this!

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Five natural births here. All of mine have been born out of the hospital, so meds haven't been an option.

 

I agree with the person who says that when you think you can't do it, you're really about at the end. One contraction at a time, and each one is one fewer you have to do. I tend to close my eyes and breathe deeply during contractions, and then when they get really hard, I vocalize and groan, and I know I'm near the end.

 

Having a variety of ideas on hand helps a lot IMO. If they'll let you move around, that helps. Heating pad, massage, deep breathing, counterpressure by your partner, birth ball, water -- the more of those sorts of things they'll let you try, the better. Your partner can get face to face with you and make low groans for you to mimic, and that really helps keep your body from tensing up, which helps with pain.

 

If you can keep away from induction, that should help too. Also, tell the hospital you want a drug free birth, and see if they can provide a nurse who is experienced with drug free support. You could also consider having a doula there as support. She can show your husband good ways to comfort and support you.

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All three of my births were unmedicated and yes, they were painful.  The key for me was making sure not to resist or fight the pain, but just let it happen.  I kept telling myself that the pain was a good thing because it meant the baby was on its way, and that every moment of pain meant that the baby was one moment closer to being born.

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I also recommend Bradley. Did the classes, read the book over and over again.

 

I've been induced every single time. The first one I did Bradley for as long as I could. Then got an epidural on the advice of my teacher. I had 8 more hours of labor. But I love bradley; comes in handy for other things.

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Five births, one induction (with epidural), four w/out pain meds. Probably couldn't have done the induction w/out the epidural.

 

I agree with previous poster who said that when you think you can't handle it, you are right there at the magic time of arrival. (DH says that when I say I can't do this anymore, so why don't we just go home & have the baby another day, he knows it is time to get the doc because that baby is ready to come out!) 

 

Good luck!  :grouphug:

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I'm a pain wimp. Total wimp.

 

But I had two unmedicated births and did fine. You *must* read the books that people have recommended. And you should take some sort of birthing class. We took Bradley classes. They helped a ton. I read a boatload of books so that I fully understood what would be happening to me.

 

I had a midwife in the hospital and she (two different midwifes in a different hospitals for each birth) made sure I did what I wanted to do.

 

The pain. Yes, it's pain. A lot of pain. At one point I felt like a rat trapped in a cage unable to get away. Labor pain is different than any other pain. Usually when you have that level of pain it's because you have a serious, possibly fatal, condition. But with labor pain that's not the case. So you know mentally that nothing is wrong with you and it's pure sensation and not injury. That goes a long way to being able to endure. It's just muscles contracting and it hurts, but you won't be damanged from it. I never once lost control. I never once yelled at anyone. I felt no need to. Well, wait...there were two contractions that were so outrageously horrible that I blurted out, "What was THAT?!?" And my body shook uncontrollably. The pain took over. And that's when I said, "I have to use the bathroom now; I think I'm having an accident," and the midwife looked alarmed and said, "Hang on...you don't have to use the bathroom. That's the baby coming out of you." And it was. No one realized we were already at that point. Those two humdingers of contractions were because the baby was rightthere coming out.

 

Why did I go with a natural birth?

 

Didn't want the interventions. Didn't want the catheter or a UTI from it, didn't want a sleepy baby that couldn't nurse, didn't want to be stuck on my back without gravity helping and then need monitors or a forceps or a c-section, didn't want to risk one of those spinal headaches that last 3 months. I figured I could live through a day of horrible pain if it kept me from 3 months of headaches.

 

I was one who had a crazy-hormonal high after each birth. Never felt anything like it before or since.

 

For me the key was being able to moan in a low voice and being able to shuffle around the room (gravity really helps with things.). And my dh kept pressing on my back during the contractions and that was wonderful. A doula would probably do that sort of thing for you. And dim lights were lovely. I didn't think they'd matter until someone dimmed the lights and I felt relaxed.

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I had four births, first two naturally, third was twins and I had a late but not full epidural so the doctor could maneuver the twin who was transverse, then another natural. The only time I felt out of control was with the last one. I was in transition but didn't know it (I was overseas and they didn't check you), and had been induced, so the pitocin made for harder contractions. The most helpful thing for me was a Bradley book (not sure which one) in my first pregnancy. The key idea was that the contractions are to move the baby out, so don't fight them--relax into them and let them roll over you so they can do their work. It made the biggest difference when I saw it like that, and instead of tensing up with a contraction, tried relaxing into it. Except for the second twin, my babies were all in the correct position, so I didn't have any back labor or difficulties of that sort.

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I've been induced twice (for preeclampsia and PIH) and had one spontaneous labor, all attended by midwives and without pain meds. We did the full Bradley course before the first that turned into the preeclampsia induction at just over 40 weeks. It helped a lot. DH went into it thinking it was a lot of hippy woo, but he learned so much. I also had my sister as an unofficial doula.

 

I honestly first considered unmedicated birth because the idea of a big needle in my back scared me more than the natural pain. I never seriously considered asking for the epidural, although at times I didn't think I could continue. I just wanted to skip getting the baby out altogether. I don't have entirely rational thoughts during labor. :-).

 

I think what helped the most was that I felt I could completely trust my midwives and my DH and sister to take care of everything else, and I could just focus on getting through the next contraction. I knew the pain was temporary, I just needed to deal with it, and they were there to support me in whatever way I needed it.

 

I'm going to add another vote for Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. The birth stories are so empowering, if a little hippy-ish. The Bradley Method books and the Birth Partner are also great reads. It's even better if you can get your DH to read them too.

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My first was c-section. My next was suction but without painkillers and the following 3 were o'natural vbacs. I'm a vbac fan-girl. You can do it too! The pain was really only horrible during my extended transition and of course when they were descending. I'm not one those blessed ladies that deliver super fast.

 

I have a few tips. First and foremost try to keep your mind on the prize to be had at the end. The labour won't last forever in the grand scheme of things. There will be a special little person to snuggle in the end. After a vaginal birth you get this special euphoria that just isn't there after a c-section. My second vbac was so much easier because I had that to look forward to. It's really special.

 

My second tip, and I only figured this out last time, was to try to work with the contractions. With each contraction try to push yourself to find the most effective,even if it's more uncomfortable, position to encourage descent. Your job is to wiggle, gyrate, roll around, crawl or whatever makes you feel like the baby is being helped out. Try to work with the contractions rather than just trying to get it over with. Now obviously this is easier said than done but even if you can accomplish this for some of the contractions it will help you out.

 

Really, it's worth a try. If you don't try you'll regret it. I also have a friend that has had 6 c-sections and 5 were attempted vbacs. She would try again if she were to have another. She doesn't regret trying. There are some ladies that just can't deliver vaginally. You might be one but then all you can do about it is to be thankful that you're alive due to our modern medicine. Just give it a try. If you want to talk privately about it or even on the phone just pm me.

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Okay see, I was induced both times. Foley bulb, pitocin, you name it. I got the epidural both times not because I needed it, but from pressure and nagging from the nurses.

My midwife will let me go to 41 weeks. So Im really hoping I'll go into labor on my own. Which I highly doubt lol. I feel like I'd be one of those 42 weekers. But then again... two "failed labors" really does make you doubt on your body's abilities. Positive thinking, positive thinking.

I've had two no-pain-meds pitocin inductions - definitely more intense than a non-induced labor, but totally doable. My number one rec is to *not* have your water broken early on - I've done it both ways, and pitocin contractions are much easier to handle with the amniotic sac intact. With my third, I didn't ok having my water broken till I was at 9cm (and baby came 2min later).

 

My first labor was an induction for pre-e, and it was kind of a textbook example of the "cascade of interventions" that leads to a c-section. Water broken first thing, stuck flat on my back in one position (if I moved, the fetal monitor slipped so the nurses said don't move and first time mom me meekly listened). The nurses were unhelpful and unused to natural birth (I was the first natural birth one nurse had seen in a year) and I had no labor support but my supportive but unknowledgeable dh. But I was terrified of a needle in my spine more than anything else and I held out and I did it. And for my third, a planned induction, I planned too - hired a doula (huge, huge help) and was fortunately at a much more supportive hospital. Even with an induction, you can do it!

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I have a friend who raves about hypnobirthing. She had two unmedicated births, the second with hypnobirthing. She said it worked beautifully. She also had some experience in college with self hypnosis for studying skills...? It was a free class offered at her college and she took it and found it very useful. So, she had some experience with  hypnosis and was pretty sure it would work for her.

 

Birthing isn't just a physical game, it's a mental one as well. 

 

And it should be your doula who runs interference with the aggressive nurses, not you and not your midwife. The midwife often can't due to political concerns, she cant fight with the nurses. But a doula is supposed to do that for you...and your partner. Birth time shouldn't be battle time, at least not for the person doing the birthing.

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My first birth the epiural came out so I had a natural childbirth. I can say, honestly, that it was natural. Sure, it hurt, but it was mangeable pain. I had support from my husband and my Obgyn (he was awesome) and my mom. I never felt scared. It was very clear that I HAD to birth this baby without medication. 

 

My second baby was also natural, partially by choice, partially by a series of unfortunate events. Same situation as above; I had to get through it so I did. It hurt but it was over. 

 

Third baby I got an epidural 40 minutes before she was born. I was induced with her another series of unfortunate events that meant I had to endure a great deal of pain while they tried to break my water to put a heart monitor on the baby... somehow that unnatural pain is worse than the natural pain. 

 

I have also had three foot surgeries - woke up during one... and had a gall bladder blockage that pain caused me to pass out. 

 

I guess my advice to you is that your body was made to endure the pain BUT that does NOT mean you have to endure it! I did not get a special prize or even a little gold star by name on my chart for having natural childbirth. I can tell you that you should NOT worry about it. Childbirth hurts but you can get medication if needed. If you are judging yourself based on your medication needs, I kindly say, "stop." You should do what you need to do in the moment. I have never once, not one time, judged another woman based on her ability to give birth without medication. I do not consider myself a stronger person because I had natural childbirth twice; it is just something that happened. 

 

Best of luck!

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