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Mrs. Hound

If you've had a natural birth. ..

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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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I have not had a c-section but have had three vaginal deliveries. The first one was an induction and I got the epi because I was really struggling with pitocin contractions. Then, the epi didn't take on one side and when they tried to "fix" it, the other side got double dosed. I couldn't feel my right leg until the next day. I was determined to have med-free births after that.

 

I did Hypnobabies for the next two. I was asked both times if I was sure I was in labor when I got to the hospital and was at 8 for both when first checked in. Yes, there was still some pain but DH massaging my back through contractions made a huge difference. I can't recommend Hypnobabies enough!

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I've had four natural births.  Two were home births with midwives attending, one was unassisted in the car, and the last birth was in the hospital.  Three 8-lbers and my second child was 10 lbs, and I am not a large person.

 

My advice... Optimal Fetal Positioning is important.  Check out spinningbabies.com.  I try to be mindful of posture from the 2nd trimester on, and I start the daily exercises in earnest around 30 weeks.  All of my babies were anterior and I credit a lot of that to positioning work.  I often wonder if I could handle a posterior labor without pain meds, but I don't want to find out!

 

I try to let my mind float above what's happening to my body and imagine myself as a buoy riding over the waves.  Sleep whenever you feel like you can/should.  Transition is very hard, that's for sure... but it is less painful (and IMO goes faster) if you can loosen through it and "open" down there, which takes a lot of focus and resolve.  Crowning is the closest thing to what I would call true pain, but then it is over very quickly.

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I've had 3 natural births and the last time tried an epidural. Natural births are no biggie. Yes it's pain but not in a "ow, there's something very wrong!!!!" way. More similar to the 'pain' involved in lifting something heavy or running several miles. It's a productive pain.

 

I'll say I am heavily considering a natural birth should I get pregnant again. Yes the epidural was nice but also kinda a hassle and it was painful being put in. Also, I really didn't need that much relief, it kinda felt like overkill to feel absolutely nothing.

 

I suggest reading lots of positive, normal birth stories. Nothing scary or unusual. Focus on those good, normal, natural birth stories and it will calm you.

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Both of mine were born just a few years before giving antibiotics prophylactically to prevent strep, which would probably have changed things for us:

 

#1 was an emergency C-section (due to distressed lowered heart rate, and strep infection)

 

#2 was VBAC, but due to the previous strep issue, because labor was leisurely and they didn't want a reoccurence of the strep, pitocin was required. I fell into that category of people for whom pitocin shoots you straight to the top peak of pain in contracting, with NO bell curve up to that point to be able to mentally prepare. I'm actually pretty good with pain management, and  managed about 6 hours of that type of "no-prep" contraction pain, but finally started to lose the battle and was tensing up and fighting the contractions, so I had to go with the epidural. It was amazing; once I had that I relaxed so much I was able to doze between contractions, and went from 5cm to 10cm in less than 2 hours. When it came time to push, while I didn't have feeling (due to the epidural still wearing off), I really looked inward and was very aware of when the peak of each contraction came and so delivery was gentle and controlled, and at my pace, after about 1 hour of pushing, with no tearing or complications. And because DS#1 was a C-section, DS#2 was a "first birth" vaginally. So, a very good experience. (Plus, DH, a paramedic on the fire dept., got to deliver, with the Dr. at his shoulder!) :)

 

ETA: And, no residual numbing or side effects or bad experience for me with the epidural, and no effect on DS -- he was hungry and demanding to feed almost immediately, and from then on -- almost couldn't keep up with his demands!  :laugh:

 

While that isn't the no-meds type of VBAC you're asking about, I just throw that in there to say that if for some reason you need an epidural, it doesn't mean an automatic C-section. And it doesn't mean you can't control the labor and delivery. :)

 

And, you have SO many more options of information and technique resources to prepare, and birthing pools, doulas, birthing balls, etc. during labor and delivery, that weren't around when I was having our DSs, so I think you'll do great! BEST of luck for a wonderful, peaceful birth experience, whatever way things go! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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My natural labor pain was more manageable than me medicated labor pain. Natural labor was just kinder to my body and smaller contractions were interspersed among the bigger ones. With my pitocin-induced birth the contractions only escalated and would stack on top of one another so I caved and got the epidural at hour 12. Natural labor wasn't a cake walk, but it was doable. I felt human much sooner and nursing was easier to establish.

 

I say go for it, but keep your options open. I wouldn't attempt a natural labor with a medicated induction again.

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I have five kids.

1 cs

4 vbac

 

3 epidurals - don't recommend.  I blame them for two of the babies have a really serious struggle to nurse because babies livers are not as good as an adult at metabolizing rx.

2 - nothing but demerol.

 

first - every baby, every pregnancy, every labor .. . is *different.* ruptured vs intact membranes is different.  hospitals birth philosophy is different too.  I delivered at two hospitals- one is more intervention oriented, the other more support the mom.

 

1dd - natural rom, inadequate contractions.  cs.  caudal.  she had a hard time nursing for three weeks.

2dd . . . easiest labor ever.  (she did decide she really didn't want to come out when it was time to descend.  she even tried to go backwards when she was crowning.)  however - because i was a vbac - I had to have an IV.  I *do* think it was beneficial because I was properly hydrated. I was using first level breathing, sitting in a rocking chair when things started getting more difficult.  I was 7cm.   things went well to full dilation - but she really was reluctant to descend and I used a squat bar.  (which I could do because I only had demerol - and not an epi.)

1ds . . . not quite as easy a labor.  hep lock - no iv (I asked for one. I wish I'd pushed.)  his attitude towards delivery was "get out of my way, I'm coming through." . . . 2hours after delivery - my bp crashed 60/40.  fortunately - I still had the hep- lock.  I don't know how many bags of saline they gave me.  they ran tests on me all day. . . . . they finally decided I was dehydrated.

2ds - arom to start labor.  I had a epi.  I just didnt' want to deal with labor.  it slowed it down.

3ds- another natural rom.  (as I was going to bed.  of course.)  nurse ratchet as my l&d nurse, who wouldn't let me out of bed right after my "you can walk around now" dr left. 

 

bad L&D nurses should be moved to other depts.  they can slow labor.  she bruised my arm so badly - even after I told her to get someone else (like a labor nurse is going to be afraid of a laboring mother trapped in a bed.) that I had other nurses think my dh was beating me.  they best thing I can say - she left before I delivered.

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I had one medicated birth with an epidural (my first) and three unmedicated births after.  I had no intention of going natural with the first one.  I discovered that most pain medications make me vomit, which is not fun during labor, and I finally said yes to the epidural because the nurses kept telling me things like, "You think it is bad now?  This is nothing compared to transition & delivery."  I was terrified that it was just going to get worse & worse.  The epidural numbed 1/2 my pelvis, and one leg.  The doctor brushed a nerve during the placement and it felt like an electric shock.  Even when they turned the epidural off I couldn't seem to make my lower body respond which made pushing take way too long.  My legs didn't work correctly after delivery and I had to have help going to the bathroom because my legs literally wouldn't hold me up and my body couldn't figure out when I had to urinate.  I also had the worst headache of my life for the next two days.  I even dislocated my hip during delivery.  I was prescribed some pretty heavy pain killers to take home.  The baby & I were very sluggish and out of it for the first week.  It was dreadful.

 

For the subsequent births, I was unmedicated.  Yes, it was painful but it was manageable.  I would tell myself, "Just one more.  I can get through one more."  By the time I was ready to say, "I can't stand it any more,"  it was time to push.  The difference between pushing in a focused & co-ordinated way, the way I was able to in births 2-4 compared to the first one where my brain couldn't seem to communicate with my body was night & day.  And once it was over, it was over.  I was able to nurse immediately after.  After a little bit I could get up & walk around and go to the bathroom by myself.  The recovery from my unmedicated births was a million times better.  For each birth I went home as soon as possible and was sore but OK, except for the nursing but that is another deal completely.  

 

I had 4 miscarriages, and 4 high-risk pregnancies brought to (almost) term.  I often say that I am allergic to pregnancy, but when it comes to delivery, if I let  my body do its thing, it goes smoothly.  

 

Anyone who knows me knows I am a pretty big wimp in real life.  Maybe wimp is not the right word, but I go out of my way to avoid things that are painful.  So don't think I am some kind of Amazonian Superwoman with a high tolerance for pain.  I am not.  

 

Congratulations on your pregnancy :)

 

Amber in SJ

Edited by Amber in SJ

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I didn't spend time trying to figure out how much pain there would be.  I focused on how I was going to emotionally react to pain. 

If you primary concern is an necessary c-section, then focus your energy on finding out the policies and patterns of practices your birth attendant and your hospital.  Your attendant can only do what the hospital policy and patterns of practices allow.  If you're not in agreement with the hospital's policies and practices, then seek out a location that gets as close as possible to how you want things done.  Then focus on your birth attendant.  Don't ask if your birth plan is OK with them-that's not a legally binding agreement.   Ask how they have handled different scenarios-that's what they'll do with you of you have one of those scenarios. 

Choose your doula carefully.  My daughter has certification through 2 different, well known organizations.  One of those organizations cares about a woman getting as much of the birth experience she wants under the circumstances she experiences.  The other has a significant percentage of doulas who are so intent of natural childbirth under all circumstances that some have an epidural clause, where if you get one, they leave and don't stay for the rest of the birth.  That's nuts.  Don't hire them.

Absolutely nothing can guarantee a natural delivery, but if you have a birth attendant who usually does deliveries the way you want unless there's a good reason (not all birth attendants agree on what constitutes a great reason for a c-section, know what your attendant considers a good reason) you're birthing at a hospital whose policies and practices align with what you want, and your doula support isn't so rigid that you're considered a failure if you don't go natural, then the odds are as good as they get. 

My first was natural at home and my second was a hospital transfer from home for a c-section because of two simultaneous, life threatening complications.  Both of those births were a good as they could've been under the circumstances and I'm grateful for both experiences and the care I got at each of them. I didn't get a natural second delivery, but a c-section was the only thing that made sense.  That's what they're for.

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You've already gotten tons of supportive help, I'll just add my piece.  

 

I'm a doula, and I highly recommend doulas!  

 

My first birth was "out of control" because I got an epidural, it sucked, and I could no longer move or go in the birth tub, or anything.  After that experience, I decided to go natural for the three others- one in a birth center, two at home.  

 

I would much, much, much rather deal with the pain than deal with not being in control of the birth experience.  Yes, it hurts, yes, you get through it and the second the baby is born, you think, "Whew, that wasn't so bad" (Ok, ok, 45 minutes or so after...).  

 

I did hypnobabies for my second child because my first birth experience had left me with a lot of fear and some anger about the whole process.  It was a huge help.  They have special materials for VBAC as well.  After going through hypnobabies once, I didn't use it for the last two kids.  But I will say my hypnobabies birth was the most comfortable and peaceful.  

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One birth, completely unmedicated, and a basic birthing class was all I did. No books. No friendly advice. Nada.

 

I have a very high pain tolerance and labored on my couch for 6 hrs or so while DH slept. There I was, just silently breathing through what felt like attempting a crunch after doing too many sit ups the day before. It was uncomfortable but not awful until transition (which lasted less than 30 min). I guess I have fast labors.

 

Anyway, I was neither polite nor friendly. I was loud. I called everyone in there, doctors and nurses alike, stupid on multiple occasions. They survived and it was ok. That last bit hurt, a lot, really a lot, but it was short-lived and then gone as soon as the shoulders popped out. Breathing, lots of deep breathing, like I do when I'm REALLY angry, was my only strategy. I didn't have time for anything else anyway.

 

Good luck! Everyone's different.

Edited by Sneezyone

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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.

Do you have the option of laughing gas? I had an epi for my first and had some complications so went natural for my second which was ok. For the third I ended up using laughing gas for the last couple of pushes. It was magic - took the edge off the pain but could still feel everything. In a weird way it felt like the pain was still happening but I was outside of it.

 

But I agree with everyone that the point where I hit a feeling of not being control was transition and then it was over. In my first birth the midwife didn't correctly realise it was transition which is partly why there were complications because I had the epidural too close to birth.

 

The only thing that would make me go for epidural again is if I had to have an Induction and it was going to be long.

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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?

 

 

 

Posting without reading ahead.

 

I've had 1 epidural, 1 stadol, and 3 without pain meds.  I felt *the most* in control with my natural births.  Yeah, the pain isn't exactly fun, but I did the whole mental preparation (specifically reading lots of Bradley books) and felt much more aware of what my body was doing and that I was an active participant in the progress.

 

For me, previous experience played a big role.  I absolutely did not want to be immobile like I had been before.  And I had hated my experience with Stadol, so it wasn't a temptation.  (The Stadol allowed me to sleep between contractions, but the result was that I felt as though I had one single, hours-long contraction.)

 

FWIW, two of my no-pain-drugs births were induced.  Even though that's supposedly more painful, I found them much more comfortable than the Stadol torture!

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I will say that length of labor makes a huge difference. For me, it typically takes hours and hours and hours of hard labor to get to 5 cm, and it gets really old well before anything that could be called transition. After 5 natural births I opted for an epidural for #6 because I just couldn't face the lengthy labor again; also numbers 4 and 5 had big heads and poor presentations (my babies really like to be posterior) and pushing was absolute complete utter (insert every intensifier you can imagine here) agony--far and away the most awful pain I have experienced in my life and I had to just keep going to get the baby out because particularly with #4 he wasn't tolerating things well and if I didn't get him out soon it would have turned into a c-section and a supportive midwife and doula and every imaginable position change did nothing whatsoever to help. Not something I wanted to do again. Of course baby 6 had a much smaller head and slid right out with just a couple of of pushes :) After expounding on those horror stories, I will say that my third birth was one of the almost magical experiences where everything went just right, pain was entirely manageable, and I had a perfectly lovely complication free water birth that left me on an amazing high for the entire day. And even the super crazy long hard labors and painful births were something I could do and I did. After the first one I was even up to going for it again with #5 and managed fine. After two in a row like that I was really grateful to have the epidural option for 6, but really that was mostly a psychological thing; I knew I could do it naturally but I didn't want to and didn't have to.

 

I'm guessing that since you made it to 5 cm still feeling like things were manageable, you will likely progress just fine with a future labor. And if all is favorable you will experience what many of these ladies did--when things feel really hard and unmanageable you will be almost done and will have your baby in your arms in no time. 

Edited by maize

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I think the pain was better than I imagined. I had a c-section with my first and 3 VBACs (the last being a homebirth). I think after the c-section I was willing to put up with a LOT during labor to get an end result that wasn't another c-section, but the first VBAC was really a breeze.

 

The second VBAC was a little more rough because I had to be given pitocin after labor stalled at 6 cm for hours. I dilated from 6-10 in about 35 minutes and that 35 minutes was pretty rough, but hey, it was delivery after that and over.

 

The homebirth was fabulous - my water was intact and I really barely felt pain until the midwife broke it because I was lingering around 9 1/2 cm with a cervical lip. I had a few intense contractions after that but then I was pushing and it was all good.

 

I'd recommend books, classes and watching The Business of Being Born documentaries. They have a series they did after the first one; one is all Ina May Gaskin (VERY interesting), one is celebrities sharing their stories (I really love listening to birth stories so I like this one a lot), and then there are a couple more. Well worth watching!

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Thank you everyone. I love reading all of your birth stories,advice, and encouragement. I have committed to trying for a natural birth. I've told my husband, best friend, and even contacted my doula friend (she was super excited and encouraging, and suggested all the books and methods you fine ladies did).

 

So I guess we're really going for it!

Thank you all so much. You ladies rock!

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My second I did opt for an epidural, but I dunno they screwed it up and the thing fell out.  So it was basically natural.  It was pretty terrible.  They had to use forceps and my tail bone broke.  Despite that it's weird because there is this sort of amnesia that you have to the pain.  I'm talking about this like it happened to someone else.  I remember it, but I don't FEEL it.  Somehow I survived. 

 

Either way, I think it's very normal to be scared and wonder how you'll make it through this.  I guess you just take it one moment at a time when you are in the middle of it.  I would ask though if having an epidural really increases the chance of a c-section.  I'm not sure why that would be.  And midwives seem to be less likely to resort quickly to a c-section.  I had midwives and with my first I was in labor for three days.  They still never did a c-section. 

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My second I did opt for an epidural, but I dunno they screwed it up and the thing fell out. So it was basically natural. It was pretty terrible. They had to use forceps and my tail bone broke. Despite that it's weird because there is this sort of amnesia that you have to the pain. I'm talking about this like it happened to someone else. I remember it, but I don't FEEL it. Somehow I survived.

 

Either way, I think it's very normal to be scared and wonder how you'll make it through this. I guess you just take it one moment at a time when you are in the middle of it. I would ask though if having an epidural really increases the chance of a c-section. I'm not sure why that would be. And midwives seem to be less likely to resort quickly to a c-section. I had midwives and with my first I was in labor for three days. They still never did a c-section.

Epidurals can do whacky stuff to mom's blood pressure, possibly that can lead to distress for the baby?

 

I know that anecdotally some women find that labor progresses more quickly once an epidural is in, possibly because they are able to relax; that could help prevent the need for a c-section.

 

A lot of natural birth advocates are very vocal in promoting the idea that getting an epidural increases the likelihood of a c-section, but I haven't personally seen much research on that. It is a medical intervention with potential side effects and complications though.

 

I suspect that the biggest thing that contributes to higher vs. lower c-section rates among populations with comparable risk factors is the attitude and policies of the hospital and the birth attendant.

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Epidurals can do whacky stuff to mom's blood pressure, possibly that can lead to distress for the baby?

 

I know that anecdotally some women find that labor progresses more quickly once an epidural is in, possibly because they are able to relax; that could help prevent the need for a c-section.

 

A lot of natural birth advocates are very vocal in promoting the idea that getting an epidural increases the likelihood of a c-section, but I haven't personally seen much research on that. It is a medical intervention with potential side effects and complications though.

 

I suspect that the biggest thing that contributes to higher vs. lower c-section rates among populations with comparable risk factors is the attitude and policies of the hospital and the birth attendant.

 

I was willing to take whatever pain relief was possible! 

 

If they could have knocked me out completely I would not have minded.  I guess I don't understand the allure of enduring the pain.  I suppose there is the aspect that maybe it's not as safe or whatever, but me being a raving maniac is not really safe either. 

 

I actually found a lot of what they did at the hospital made it worse.  IVs and poking and prodding...and monitors shoved up my wazoo.  They do things to you that make it more painful.  And they call this "natural".  It's not all that natural.

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Look into intrathecals (?). Basically, it's one shot instead of a continuous epidural. It takes the edge off a bit but doesn't make it so you can't move. I also wasn't feeling drugged up. I had it with each of my kids. With each, it worked on half of the pain (either contractions or the nether regions). While not pain free, it was enough pain reduction to make it bearable.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Look into intrathecals (?). Basically, it's one shot instead of a continuous epidural. It takes the edge off a bit but doesn't make it so you can't move. I also wasn't feeling drugged up. I had it with each of my kids. With each, it worked on half of the pain (either contractions or the nether regions). While not pain free, it was enough pain reduction to make it bearable.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Thanks for mentioning this! I've been wondering what the options are for something less heavy than a full epidural. I think I'll talk to my midwife about this possibility.

 

I'm guessing this doesn't carry the same risk of spinal headache that an epidural does (I've heard too many horror stories about that, they sound awful).

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Just stay away from Stadol. That stuff is horrible. I'd rather endure labor pains than take that stuff.

Gotcha, no stadol!

 

If this baby were a girl I might opt for natural again, I don't particularly enjoy laboring but really love how great I feel after the baby is born--no lingering effects of anesthesia and lots of natural endorphins; I can get up pretty much right away.

 

Baby is a boy though, and my boys tend to be big babies with big heads.

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Epidurals can do whacky stuff to mom's blood pressure, possibly that can lead to distress for the baby?

 

I know that anecdotally some women find that labor progresses more quickly once an epidural is in, possibly because they are able to relax; that could help prevent the need for a c-section.

 

A lot of natural birth advocates are very vocal in promoting the idea that getting an epidural increases the likelihood of a c-section, but I haven't personally seen much research on that. It is a medical intervention with potential side effects and complications though.

 

I suspect that the biggest thing that contributes to higher vs. lower c-section rates among populations with comparable risk factors is the attitude and policies of the hospital and the birth attendant.

Yeah, it really depends!

 

If you've have a successful vaginal birth and your bishop score is good an epidural isn't a big deal for many moms. But giving them too early, with a baby in a poor position, or to a mom who is progressing slowly or doesn't tolerate it well can be an issue - first timers especially, or first vaginal births. It can also increase the risk of complications in a vbac just because it is limiting your feedback loop to move around and adjust accordingly. Again, not a huge issue with Moms who have labored before.

 

My first vbac did end up needing augmenting after I was getting exhausted from back labor and slow progress and the epidural allowed me some rest and relaxation to dilate when I began panicking from the pain, but I was almost half a day into active labor and over 24 hours from first good contraction at that point, so the exhaustion factor was huge. The epidural did allow me to give birth vaginally but I pushed for three hours and had fourth degree tears, unfortunately. Without it I have NO doubt I'd have had a repeat c-section andnwould have had all my other, much less difficult vbacs. The malposition and first time vaginal birth made it worse but the epi was the absolute best choice with the pitocin and exhaustion!

 

I know Moms who have had five and more unmedicated home births and end up in the hospital with pain meds for the last however many children, and have no desire to go unmedicated again. I've also seen the exact opposite. It is SO individual and there really isn't a right or best choice since each birth is unique.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I guess I don't understand the allure of enduring the pain.  

 

 

 

See, that's the thing. I just didn't have that much pain. My contractions were usually not very painful--just a tightness. With my second birth, they were more painful, but not all of them, so it was bearable. I'm not a martyr, but I had practiced relaxation techniques a lot with the Braxton-Hicks contractions early on, and it just wasn't that bad. Or at least the bad part was short-lived and then it was over.

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Just stay away from Stadol. That stuff is horrible. I'd rather endure labor pains than take that stuff.

Agreed. Hated that stuff, it just made me high and made my ability to manage my pain much more compromised.

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See, that's the thing. I just didn't have that much pain. My contractions were usually not very painful--just a tightness. With my second birth, they were more painful, but not all of them, so it was bearable. I'm not a martyr, but I had practiced relaxation techniques a lot with the Braxton-Hicks contractions early on, and it just wasn't that bad. Or at least the bad part was short-lived and then it was over.

 

Some women are lucky like that. I know one mom who never felt more than two contractions--obviously something had been happening before that, but it wasn't anything noticeable to her. Two contractions and whoop! she had a baby. I think she was at the hospital only because she had gone in or a prenatal appt and was found to already be significantly dilated.

 

I did have one labor that was not back labor, and those contractions were way more manageable than the kind I usually experience. All the relaxation exercises I'd practiced that hadn't done a thing for the back labor contractions actually worked that time.

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Since you asked...

 

I don't know if you are a Christian, but here's how it happened for me.  I was quite fearful, because I'd had a sibling who died after many terrible things in a hospital (not birth-related), and I was under this impression that you could only give birth in a hospital, a place I associated with death and destruction after several losses.  I didn't even get pregnant, because I was so fearful (I believe).   Anyway a bunch of moms at my church were having home births (not the relevant thing) and as we talked, a mom of 10 decided she needed to give me some scriptures to study.  Well,  I took that to heart, figured it was God's answer to me,  and my husband and I studied and memorized these scriptures as if we were having an exam on them.

 

What goes in comes out.  When I got pregnant, I found this great Christian midwife and decided I was doing a home birth. When I was in labor, I walked nonstop around my house for hours and hours and recited these scriptures out loud.  I had no pain!  Pressure, yeah, but not pain. 

 

I didn't even lie down until time to push.  I was exhausted and had not eaten (mistake I didn't make again!) and pushing took a long time. It was exhausting but did not hurt.  It was merely like trying to lift a car, you know?  Hard work with grunting!  ;)  The only thing that was a momentary pain was that ring of fire thing when the head emerged, but it only lasted a second or two. 

 

So that's how I did it, and I didn't start until my late 30's.  

 

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.† 2 Tim 1:7

 

So that's my story.   Just thought I would share. 

Edited by TranquilMind
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See, that's the thing. I just didn't have that much pain. My contractions were usually not very painful--just a tightness. With my second birth, they were more painful, but not all of them, so it was bearable. I'm not a martyr, but I had practiced relaxation techniques a lot with the Braxton-Hicks contractions early on, and it just wasn't that bad. Or at least the bad part was short-lived and then it was over.

This was me. The contractions were easy. After they broke my water, I went from 2cm to 10 in less than 10 min and DS was out after 4? pushes. They weren't kidding about that ring of fire business but my labor was so short it's hard to complain...much.😳

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Congratulations on your pregnancy!

 

I am a natural optimist, I went into labour thinking that millions of women before me had done it, so I probably could too.

 

I had my first 3 in a hospital using laughing gas for the first 2. Like a previous poster, I was more afraid of a needle in the spine and possible complications, than of the pain. Someone once told me that 'you can do anything for just 1 minute' so I took each contraction as it came and just rode it out.

 

I got quite methodical about it, I calculated that one contraction every 10 minutes means only 6 an hour, every 5 minutes equals 12 an hour. Even if labour went on for 8 hours that's probably less than 100 contractions to get through! Thinking about it like a countdown helped me to know that it wasn't just endless pain!

 

With my first, I was induced and stuck to the bed with monitors. My waters had broken and I'd run out of time to go into labour on my own. I really pushed that time limit, we didn't tell them that my waters had broken for a long time and they scolded me about that but I am still glad we did. We were assigned a trainee midwife who was lovely, we had the benefit of someone with us the whole time but who couldn't suggest or do much of anything without asking another midwife first - that whole labour was about buying us time to let my body do it's thing. I distinctly remember feeling scared and out of control at transition - I didn't know it was transition at the time. I didn't have that fear in my next 2 births. Everything else was manageable.

 

Okay, so that this doesn't turn into a novel, I'll skip to my 4th birth. It was a planned homebirth, because #3 had come so fast he was nearly born on the side of the road.

 

#4, completely drug free, ended up being my first posterior baby, and was over 9lbs like his brother. Posterior labour was hard, my most painful labour by far, and I wasn't mentally prepared for it to be that hard.

At home, I had no access to drugs and just not having the option easily accessible helped me to dig deeper with coping. I got through the first 5 hours, but I had hit transition in hour 3 (about how long my previous labour was) with back to back, very painful contractions. I started to struggle then because I knew that something wasn't right, that transition fear from birth #1 was back.

My midwife suggested trying the bath - I had never been interested in water birth - but at that moment it sounded right. The water was bliss. It allowed my muscles to relax enough to make progress again, but it was still very hard and mentally I was struggling. My faith in my body had been rocked, I was almost ready to give up and transfer for some drugs. Dh is a practical, tough love sort of guy. He told me that by the time we transferred it would all be over anyway, reminded me of all the reasons that nit-transferring was important to me, and that I just needed to suck it up and get that baby out. We made a deal that we'd give it one more hour.

Having that goal post in sight took the pressure off and reminded me that the pain wouldn't last forever so I was able to refocus. My baby was born 45 minutes later - still posterior, he never turned and was born facing the wrong way!

 

Having a good care team that you trust is essential. My midwife was the one I saw all through my pregnancy, we built a relationship, she knew what was important to me. Dh was incredible, strong and supportive.

 

You can do it!

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Big baby boy heads twice here (95th percentile, four weeks preterm for both of them) with no pain meds.

 

It hurts. Labor sucks. Expect that, be grateful if it's not as bad as you thought.

 

Find a rhythm. Don't let anyone interrupt. Nurses questions can wait, doctors can wait. If they touch or adjust or ask during a contraction, push, kick or ignore until you are done. It's not that important that they can't wait 30 seconds. If it is, they would have said so. But have someone who is ready to help you find it again during transition. I spent transition repeating, loudly, "I don't want to do this anymore," until my midwife breathed with me. The nurses didn't realize that talking meant nothing. Show me, cause in transition, I'm a stupid, vomiting, half pushing mess.

 

Push at your speed, not theirs. Your body sends feedback information that tells you it's too fast. Obey your body. Tell the nurses to shut up unless baby is showing signs of distress. Big. Heads. Take. Time.

 

Spinning babies. Find the website. Do it. Get baby into a good postion. If you are havin back labor, request an ultrasound. It means something isn't quite right. Things would have been very different for us if people had investigated.

 

Also, the hunger after. My SIL said she couldn't believe how much hungrier she was after her natural birth vs epidural.

 

ETA: where the heck are y'all getting laughing gas?? I have never heard of it for here in the US, but maybe they are changing it?

Edited by Elizabeth 2
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Congratulations~

 

:iagree: Read and try to find a Bradley instructor for preparation mentally and physically.

 

Recovery was so much better and much less painful after a natural delivery than the c-sec; I'll admit I was pretty shocked by how much easier it was vs. the c-sec. 

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 If you are havin back labor, request an ultrasound. It means something isn't quite right. Things would have been very different for us if people had investigated.

 

Also, the hunger after. My SIL said she couldn't believe how much hungrier she was after her natural birth vs epidural.

 

ETA: where the heck are y'all getting laughing gas?? I have never heard of it for here in the US, but maybe they are changing it?

I'm bored tonight and so I thought I'd read other people's experiences as we await the arrival of LO4 (LO4, feel free to come out at anytime).

 

If you take anything away from this thread, remember every experience is different. A supportive birth team and preparation is critical. Prepare mentally and physically.

 

But remember every experience is different. For example, the reason that I quoted the above post is that all 3 of my labors so far have included back labor. Only 1 has been in an odd position (nuchal hand). FWIW, counterpressure/back massage has been key to my handling back labor.

 

Also, the ring of fire/crowning? For me that area has always gone numb at the time. It has involved no pain whatsoever. Heck, pushing doesn't involve pain for me. As long as I push with each contraction I can't feel them! Is this a bad place to admit that I actually love the pushing stage?

 

Recovery from my first was awful. As in, I wanted/did cry in pain each time I went from sitting to standing or vice versa for weeks afterwards. Contrast that to recovery from the third time, when I felt just fine pretty much immediately afterwards. I had to keep reminding myself not to do too much because I felt so good.

 

So again, remember that each experience is different but you can do it! Congrats on the pregnancy!

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I had my first in the hospital with an epidural. I had massive recovery complications, so decided to have homebirths for any future children.  I figured any pain I endured during labor would be better than the terribly painful 18 month recovery from this birth.

 

Labor #2 was a successful homebirth with pain that was manageable. It was a six hour labor and right at the end I remember looking out the window to the early summer morning sky and wishing so hard that I was out there, out of my body. I just didn't want to be there any more and would have done anything to separate mind and body. Baby girl was born shortly after that thought, with 5 minutes of pushing. She was born in the caul and I think that helped contribute to a less painful experience. Pushing with her didn't hurt at all. I felt amazing afterward.

 

Labor #3 was also an unmedicated homebirth. I was anticipating pain similar to the previous birth, but this one hurt more. As I was in labor I regretted getting pregnant, I regretted having a homebirth, and I wanted all the drugs. The thing that made this birth a little different was that it was so short (less than 3 hours from waterbreaking/first contraction to birth) that the intensity was over whelming. Those were some serious contractions to move that 9lb 10 oz baby out in such a short amount of time.  The baby also had a hand up when he was coming out and that made pushing more painful than the last time. I didn't think I could live through it and didn't think I particularly wanted to. However, pushing only lasted 9 minutes and was fewer than 5 contractions.  When it was over it was such a relief. As soon as the baby was out I was telling my midwife and husband that that wasn't so bad, even though a few minutes earlier I thought the exact opposite. Everything just changed immediately, once the baby was out.  I also had a great recovery, without even so much as an ice pack. For this one, even though the pain was intense, it was over so quickly in the vast scheme of things.

 

We aren't planning any more children, but if I were to get pregnant again, I would be more dismayed at the pain of 6 months of heartburn than the pain of labor and delivery!

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I also would recommend Ina May Gaskin books. I reread Spiritual Midwifery with each pregnancy. It is completely a hippy book, but it really helps get your head in the right place. It helps you to feel strong and confident about the process. So much of pain is a mental game. If you can stay calm and collected, the pain will be much more manageable.

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Since you asked...

 

I don't know if you are a Christian, but here's how it happened for me.  I was quite fearful, because I'd had a sibling who died after many terrible things in a hospital (not birth-related), and I was under this impression that you could only give birth in a hospital, a place I associated with death and destruction after several losses.  I didn't even get pregnant, because I was so fearful (I believe).   Anyway a bunch of moms at my church were having home births (not the relevant thing) and as we talked, a mom of 10 decided she needed to give me some scriptures to study.  Well,  I took that to heart, figured it was God's answer to me,  and my husband and I studied and memorized these scriptures as if we were having an exam on them.

 

What goes in comes out.  When I got pregnant, I found this great Christian midwife and decided I was doing a home birth. When I was in labor, I walked nonstop around my house for hours and hours and recited these scriptures out loud.  I had no pain!  Pressure, yeah, but not pain. 

 

I didn't even lie down until time to push.  I was exhausted and had not eaten (mistake I didn't make again!) and pushing took a long time. It was exhausting but did not hurt.  It was merely like trying to lift a car, you know?  Hard work with grunting!  ;)  The only thing that was a momentary pain was that ring of fire thing when the head emerged, but it only lasted a second or two. 

 

So that's how I did it, and I didn't start until my late 30's.  

 

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.† 2 Tim 1:7

 

So that's my story.   Just thought I would share. 

 

Not my thread, but I really needed that verse/story tonight.  Thank you.

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I remember the brief ring of Fire, as in, "oooh, that must be crowning," in a couple of births, maybe the first two. It wasn't horrible, just a different sensation. With my third, I had sudden pressure of the "baby is coming NOW" sort just like I'd had with my second (my first was posterior, which wasn't bad, just a slow descent), so I pushed twice and said, "Ow, that hurts!," figuring it was crowning, but DH said, "That's because the head is out." Out?!?! (And then while I was waiting for a contraction for his shoulders, because I couldn't push without one, even though I tried, he just slid out.)

 

I didn't feel the fire with my last two babies. Number four was "I can't do this for several more hours" (because it had only been four hours, half of any of my others) so they filled the tub to take the edge off for me. I got in and went to see if I could feel his head since my water had broken. Sure enough, it was right there. Hmm, could I push a little? Hey, look, I could, oh, hello, Baby, nice to meet you. One huge push, and I was scooping him out of the water. DH stepped out to get the other kids and almost missed the birth. I almost missed it, and I was doing It!

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But remember every experience is different. For example, the reason that I quoted the above post is that all 3 of my labors so far have included back labor. Only 1 has been in an odd position (nuchal hand). FWIW, counterpressure/back massage has been key to my handling back labor.

 

 

You're right!  Every experience is different.  Back labor happens because the baby is in a sub optimal position, which includes a nuchal hand, a need for baby to turn or to tuck a chin.  These aren't always potentially life threatening situations, but it is a good piece of information to know.  Counterpressure does make a huge difference for back labor.  Hot compresses such as a rice sack helped me as well.  

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Oh, and some advice for every pregnant woman out there-

 

Do NOT tell people your actual due date.  Tell them 2 weeks after your due date because it's irritating to hear things like, "OH!? You're still pregnant?" Also, tell yourself 2 weeks after your due date.  Never think of your due date as around the time you'll have your baby.  Assume you will go a full 42 weeks and that your labor will be long and hard.  Plan accordingly.  If it does happen, you're ready for it.  If it's earlier and easier, you'll feel like you got a bonus. 

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Oh, and some advice for every pregnant woman out there-

 

Do NOT tell people your actual due date. Tell them 2 weeks after your due date because it's irritating to hear things like, "OH!? You're still pregnant?" Also, tell yourself 2 weeks after your due date. Never think of your due date as around the time you'll have your baby. Assume you will go a full 42 weeks and that your labor will be long and hard. Plan accordingly. If it does happen, you're ready for it. If it's earlier and easier, you'll feel like you got a bonus.

Downside of this is when you get surprised by a 37 weeker after a bunch of 39-42 week babies. I was happy we found our desires model of car seat to expedite shipping. I was doing the same thing and I advise it only if you don't also tend to go early because we were totally unprepared and people also have expected me to be more active or feel better than I do with weeks of labor.

 

I generally advise the same thing but it bit me in the butt last time :D. Now my labor has tapered off for the third time in two days but at least everything is cleaned and prepped because I'm not expecting to make it another two or four weeks, but I'm still telling people it's a firm maybe ;)

Edited by Arctic Mama

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Bradley, Gaskin, get a doula and consider drinking red raspberry leaf tea in 3rd trimester to strengthen your uterus. Get your head, relaxation skills on. Let go and let the baby be born! You always have time to practice relaxing. :)

 

4 great, easy homebirths, all a little different. 3 water and 1 dry. :)

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Bradley, Gaskin, get a doula and consider drinking red raspberry leaf tea in 3rd trimester to strengthen your uterus. Get your head, relaxation skills on. Let go and let the baby be born! You always have time to practice relaxing. :)

 

4 great, easy homebirths, all a little different. 3 water and 1 dry. :)

Red raspberry leaf tea! Yes! Went from 8-12 got labors to 3 hours! That stuff works... :)

 

 

Sent from my U9200 using Tapatalk

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I wanted drug free births because I didn't want the drugs. I didn't want their side effects on me or on the baby. 

 

Getting into a deep tub helped so much when the pain was getting too much. That, and massage. Oh, the "leg labor" It's been less than a year and I still don't want to think about it, but it was worth it to avoid the hospital and associated interventions. 

 

My experience is hospital midwives aren't able to help as much as a homebirth midwife or doula is. And my suggestion would be doula whether you plan a natural birth or not. They are trained in helping women with epidurals too. They can even help you get into good/different positions if you do have an epidural. 

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Oh, and some advice for every pregnant woman out there-

 

Do NOT tell people your actual due date.  Tell them 2 weeks after your due date because it's irritating to hear things like, "OH!? You're still pregnant?" Also, tell yourself 2 weeks after your due date.  Never think of your due date as around the time you'll have your baby.  Assume you will go a full 42 weeks and that your labor will be long and hard.  Plan accordingly.  If it does happen, you're ready for it.  If it's earlier and easier, you'll feel like you got a bonus. 

 

Totally off subject but this seriously made me laugh because I usually have to spend time convincing people not only that I'm pregnant but that I'm as far a long as I say I am.  With my 4th baby I had a 5 minute discussion with a lady from church (who I see 3 times a week) whether or not the baby I was holding was really mine because there was no way I could have been that pregnant and she not know it.  She was sure I was holding someone else's baby and trying to fool her.

 

With my 5th baby, a close friend of mine walked up to me on my due date and said, this is the first time you have ever even looked pregnant. I said good because it's my due date and time for her to get out.  Friend says You look "pregnant" not ready to "deliver".

 

I carry is such a way that I just don't look pregnant (nor can I wear maternity clothes because they are just too big).  I've never had anyone ask me if I'm still pregnant more like are you sure you ARE pregnant?

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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, pgositive thinking.

 

I was induced with my first two and induced myself with castor oil the third time. Not being attached to monitors and tubes from the get-go was a huge blessing for us in terms of "birth management." YMMV. Please consult your medical professional. This is not medical advice. Etc etc don't sue etc.

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I think a lot of it is going to depend on the person and their baby's size. I was a pretty small person with my first (weighed 108 lbs at beginning of pregnancy) and birthed a large (to me) baby. The doctor seemed to rush me through pushing and I tore and had to get stitches and it was a pretty awful experience. There were other things going on as well.. they had to drain my bladder and break my water. The pressure from all that was really uncomfortable. I don't think they used any kind of oil to soften/lubricate the perineum. They also pressured me into pitocin to "hurry up the placenta" which was ridiculous. It comes out easily on its own (especially if you put baby on your chest) and the pitocin was painful.

 

Then, for my second pregnancy I requested olive oil or such and they told me they always used mineral oil (?) so I was relieved this wasn't some oddball request. I printed out a more detailed birthing plan including patient-led pushing (totally different hospital and practice so no odds of getting the same dr. who was actually not even my dr.). I asked what things the hospital had on hand like birthing ball, etc. They had a thing called a trapeze bar. I requested that. It helped a lot. There was a minute there where I felt completely out of control and doomed. Luckily that moment was brief and we were at the finish line. Overall, the delivery went very smoothly. It felt like this was my birth plan, not some pushy doctor's. I didn't tear. The baby was born 2 weeks early and smaller than my first. I think that had a lot to do with the delivery being easier on my body. I felt great, actually. I told dh he could leave and get back to ds and I could manage on my own, whereas after my first delivery I was a wreck. There was some pain on the second birth I forgot about til just now but probably won't apply to you. It was antibiotics I was forced to take because at some point in the pregnancy I tested pos. for Group B Strep. It felt like I was on fire when they were running that IV.

 

I didn't have a doula or midwife for either birth. I didn't go to any special classes for the second, but we did attend a small birthing class for the first. They gave us a notebook with pictures and descriptions of each phase of labor. We really liked having that book, but it actually didn't match my body. I was in active labor without having contractions spaced the way the book described. I did, however, suspect I was in active labor and got confirmation from the dr. Given that you've already birthed babies, you may or may not feel the need for extra help. I'm not anti-doula (I love the idea), but I think you could go either way in some cases (I couldn't afford one and in my case I don't think it would have really changed anything except maybe pressuring the hospital to find that bar sooner or my meal after birth LOL). I am an anxious person, but I felt much more prepared/in control with the second birth.

 

You can find different websites with birth plans. I found the check list more comprehensive than coming up with my own from scratch. I think my ob/gyn suggested babycenter? Anyway, I'd look into those. That's what led me to have the discussion about what items were available at the hospital like the bar.

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My first was with an epidural that was strongly encouraged by my doctor because he really liked to turn up the pit once the epidural is in place.  I couldn't feel to push and had an unwanted and unnecessary vacuum extraction and an episiotomy that tore from here to kingdom come.  I'm still dealing with consequences from that birth. 

 

With my 2nd, I wanted to do things differently.  I had heard from a mom at La Leche League that she had an induced birth without pain meds and I asked her how she did it seeing that I wanted it over when I found out I was only 4 cm after walking around for 3 weeks at 2.  She told me that she took Bradley Method classes.  I didn't believe her, but I knew I wanted things to be different so I reluctantly signed up.  While I didn't agree with everything in the class, the main thing we did was that we very consistently practiced relaxation - at least several times a week and we included my then toddler in my relaxation practice.  I had almost no pain during labor if I cooperated with what my body wanted me to do (lie very still, supported on my side by pillows, and no talking.)  We had to get out the door and that was painful.  By the time I got to the bottom of the stairs, I had a ton of pain, but it was different.  I didn't realize it at the time, but they were pushing contractions and I was  having flashbacks to the very painful recovery from my first birth.  That birth went so much better, but there were still things I was unhappy about at the hospital where they did things that we agreed would not be done. 

 

I was so impressed with what I learned in my Bradley classes that I studied and became an instructor.  I taught for 12 years. 

 

With my third, things came so fast that I didn't have time to get into a rhythm with dh about relaxation. I felt like I was on a roller coaster going 90 miles an hour and I was just hanging on for dear life.  This was a planned home birth, so I was able to be as as I needed to be.  Lots of loud, low vocalizations, moving how I wanted (I could not sit or lie down at all.)  I remember telling dh and my midwife that I just couldnt do this anymore.  Then, I said "but I have to, don't I?"  That is when the midwife knew that the baby was coming and quick.  I had turned the corner and had gone to that mental space I call "birth planet."  I had very little sense of my surroundings and got mighty irritated with anything that interrupted me in that place.  Dh and my midwife worked at keeping me protected and in that place.  This birth was more painful, but I felt so much more protected due to having more control over my surroundings.  Since you are having your baby at the hospital, work with your doula, midwife and your SO about creating a protected space ... lower lights if possible, quiet surroundings, encouraging anyone entering to talk softly and soothingly.  Birthing is so much more efficient of you do not have to use your higher order thinking or have to process any anxiety. 

 

Speaking of anxiety, one of my favorite books dealing with anxiety in pregnancy is Mind Over Labor by Carl Jones.  There are relaxation exercises and guided meditations that can help with mental and emotional relaxation during pregnancy as well as preparation for actual labor.  This book is one of my all-time favorites.  It is available at Amazon and you can pick it up used pretty cheap.   (I would link it here, but my mouse is broken and I can't seem to copy things with my touchpad on my laptop) 
You have received a lot of good advice. 

Edited by dirty ethel rackham

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Honestly, my one natural birth was excruciating. I didn't plan it to be natural-I was told it was too early for an epidural and then too late. Thankfully, it was all over and done with in about 3 hours...but I honestly still remember that trauma. I kept asking the nurse to check my vitals after he was born because I was sure I was dying. I couldn't hold him or even function for about 6 hours. That was 8 years ago. He was my first vbac by the way. The 3 after him were all with an epidural and I pretty much think epidurals are God's gift to women. 

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