Help! I have 'the fear'!(62 Posts)
Having a bit of a freak out here! I'm 38 weeks and booked for a home birth and am having a bit of a panic. Background is dc1 was induced at 42 weeks for being post dates, very normal induction type labour- had the drip, too scared to have an epidural, got through on gas and air but was a tad terrified. Now hoping for a nice calm less screamy water birth with dc2, but due to fact still at work - cant go on mat leave yet- have had faff all time to do any mental preparation for it, especially not antenatal classes or birth preparation or hypnobirthing CDs or ...or in face anything much now I think about it.
Can anyone offer any top tips on coping with contractions- things that worked for them in labour? I could really do with a sort of 'mental tool kit' of ideas to try if I'm losing it. Especially anything DH can actively help with!!! I'm working myself into a state here :-(
I had such an awful first labour and birth experience I was determined to have as much control over the second one as possible. I read a Sheila kitsinger book (I can't remember the name) about giving birth and it explained how it all works and it made me feel more able to do it.
I was pretty much stuck on the bed the first time around so this time I made sure I was on my feet. I held on to the sink/ mantlepiece/ kitchen surface, feet apart deep breath through my nose and loud ooooooh out through my mouth and swayed
manically in a figure of eight until the contraction subsided (sudden recollection of my then 2.5 yo ds standing on the toilet next to me offering me a party biscuit mid 'ooh'!!)
I went to the hospital twice certain I was about to give birth but they sent me home saying to come back when I was in labour. When they finally checked my dilation - as they thought they would have to start induction - I was 10 cms. No one believed me because I was too calm (I actually believe my cx stopped because of the fear of being back in hospital) Anyway I pushed him out fine with a bit if gas and air (I was blooming going to have something - twas really joyful actual) and he had caput - where a bit of the head has been stuck out of your cervix and they get a very temporary bump. (which proved in my mind I was ready to push)
Sorry for the waffle. I was on a high for a week after. Felt amazing! Good luck with your home birth - you can do it!!
Stand and Deliver is a good book
Google positive birth stories - really helpful,
I found dd2's labour easier but I'd been there before iyswim.
Ive had 2 home waterbirths, and genuinely enjoyed them!
The very very best advice I had was "don't think about the whole thing, just focus on the moment and say to yourself, 'I've just got to get through this ONE contraction'. It helped me hugely with my long labour.
OH and and big long breaths in.
Also, my midwife at the time of 35years experience said that 2nd births are nearly always the best and most straightforward. In vast majority of cases.
yy to the 'one contraction' thing -- living in the moment only -- and to welcoming labour in. Hippy but true.
I told myself that I could do ANYTHING for 90 seconds. A contraction at its longest is only 90 seconds. I can hold my breath that long, I can swim underwater for that long, I can run really, really fast for that long, my body can do ANYTHING for 90 seconds.
A breathing technique I found useful was imagining a rectangle -- follow its shape with your mind's eye, breathing in on the short sides, breathing out on the long sides.
Keep moving about as much as you can.
Don't panic. You really can do it, and being at home will help.
Good luck. Soon you will have a beautiful newborn, and there is nothing like that feeling in the whole world. Focus on that if you can.
(PS Word of caution. There are some situations worthy of panic, however, if like me you end up giving birth at home alone because you were a little too calm about the whole affair! Just saying. It was a 'planned' homebirth, but I had actually planned to have the midwife and my DH around too!)
Third vote for Juju Sundin's book - it's the most practical thing I've seen for getting through labour. Go and get a copy, you absolutely will not regret it.
It really helped me to remember that the pain of childbirth is caused by the muscles. (nothing ripping or breaking thus eliminating my fear). As with any muscle, relaxing will lessen the severity of the muscle contraction. I did this for the last two births and in both labours my contractions remained effective but relatively easy.
I used to get cramp a lot in late pregnancy so would practice my deep breathing with this
The moment when I though "oh god I cant do this" each time was actually transition and baby was born within 15 minutes.
I had a natural labour and although it was of course painful it was not the utter hell I was expecting. I think it is probably true that the body responds more naturally to our own hormones rather than an artificial induction.
My tips are:
Tune out everyone and let your body take over. All the instructions from different people can be a bit overwhelming and distracting.
Don't push until your body tells you to (it sounds a bit woo, but it will). Even if the midwife is yelling 'push' at you, save your strength until you feel the signal.
Contractions come in waves, focus on the wave rolling down your stomach then push. I found focussing on this helped me concentrate and forget the pain.
Relax your head, neck and shoulders. You'll exhaust yourself and potentially tear your chest muscles (which I did) if you don't.
Of all of those the wave thing is probably most useful. I wish someone had told me about it, as I was probably about half way through labour before I 'got' it, and just worked with my body's rhythm. I actually started to relax and almost (!) enjoy it from that point.
Mine is walk ...keep moving as long as you can ...
I walked through the contractions and that actually helped get things moving - remember walking in circles around my kitchen (and got an image in my head of a horse in a stable in labour ...which I must have seen at some point but can't remember when!)...
Once a contraction is over - it is gone - you will never ever have to do that contraction again..
Also repeating in my head 'pain is not real' - you need to feel pain purely to stop you damaging yourself - or in the case of labour (as a primitive cave women) -to let you know /force you to find somewhere safe etc...
Think if it was painless you might give birth pushing a trolley round the supermarket - with baby crashing head first on the floor!!!!
Always think other mammals do this without gas and air etc etc...I think humans make it worse for ourselves by being scared/aware...
Second birth you know you can do it -you have already...(and I was more in control)
(I have medical history -so have to have hospital births)
Had DD2 within 40 mins of getting to hospital - just gas and air and had one I can't do this moment (for head - did same for DD1 -worse bit IME and lasts seconds)
(DD1 a whole other story -terrified - whole labour in hospital with midwifes not believing my waters had broken..and worried I hadn't stopped my blood thinning medication soon enough...)
Agree with listening to your body and the push thing too -
With DD1 I really really wanted to push and was told I couldn't and to wait (I was in a lift from ward on way to labour suite at the time -only just had a room for me). I really tried not to push and by the time I was 'allowed' to (installed in suite and paperwork in order etc etc) -the urge had gone - I tried to force it but I couldn't - in the end needed hormones to get it going again...
op is there any chance you can get hold of any ina may books?i read a couple and they are great,lots of lovely stories.
I also had an induced first hospital birth and the others have been water births at home,the difference is amazing!
Acupuncture two days before the edd helped me relax so much before ds was born that I managed a full night of sleep - no endless trips to the loo, it was amazing. I also read about visualisation, practiced breathing and relaxing my body whilst lying down in bed ( tense muscles in my feet then release, then calves the release right through my body up to the top of my head). I had a bath early on in my labour.
Second labour was so different than my first, being at home was good, and I loved the g&a which I never liked in my first labour. Good luck, I hope you have a lovely hb.
YY to the suggestions to read JuJu Sundin's book "Birth Skills" it is very practical and easy to read. Order it off Amazon today and you'll have plenty of time to read it. The skills in the book are all about what practical things you can do during contractions to cope with labour pain. They are not fuzzy "this'll take the pain away" techniques they are simple coping techniques. And they work.
I've had 3 babies, used the book techniques each time plus a TENS machine and nothing else. My last two were born at home - wonderful so much more relaxed and calm than hospital, makes a difference in itself.
The main technique that worked for me was to go "Haaaaaaaaaaah" during each contraction, the more it hurt the louder I went "Haaaaaaaaah", loud and deep, a controlled noise not just wild screaming. Also I had a focus object to stare at while I made my noise - a lit tiffany style lamp - I focussed on the red coloured bits on the shade.
You can do it. You've done it before. Remember a straightforward birth is normal not lucky.
I have two kids (2.5y apart). With the first, water broke at 37 weeks, 6 hours of weak contractions, 6 hours of proper pain. The pushing bit was about 5 minutes but totally fine with just local anaesthetics.
With the second, at 39 weeks, was totally a different experience. They decided to induce me. Honestly, the contraction caused by induction was way much worse than doing it naturally. I was not really dilated (not even 2cm) I think added the pain. I threatened to yank out the induction med (tampon type thing) if they don't take it out. What a terrible patient I was! Anyway, they broke my water, and I dilated from 2cm to 10cm within 15 minutes and this was the most painful bit.
My advice is: keep moving as much as you can so you can dilate naturally (by gravity pulling the baby down). Find some useful exercise on you tube. Honestly each delivery can be so different it is hard to compare and its not worth worrying about.
I had a home birth which was great! There was a real freedom of being at home and just doing whatever I wanted. If I had been on a ward then I would have driven people mad and ended up concentrating on pain. Hubby was in the house but not following round or bugging me in early stages.
What I found helped was having a little shuffle run round the rooms when a contraction was coming (no way would I have got away with that in hospital). Oh and raising my eyebrows and smiling during the later stages. Sorry know both tips sound crazy, and the smiling thing did freak the midwives out a bit but I'm sure the extra endorphins helped.
Enjoy the day and have biscuits at the ready post birth and pre nap.
The thing that helped me the most was deep breathing, and saying to myself on every cx 'your body is doing exactly what it should.' Also remember that you will never have that contraction again and that your body is made to do this.
I have an Ina May book (a bit hippy-ish but full of good natural birth stories) that I can post to you if you like.
Wow... thanks for this thread. Added to my watch list!!
Date getting closer now... @ w36 tomorrow and ooooh boy are things starting to feel close/a tad VERY real now!! :D
Thank you all.
Definitely look at the natalhypnotherapy stuff, I'm sure it helped me (I was terrified!). Also, my second birth was so much easier and less painful than my first, I think your body is ready and knows what to do. You'll be great, good luck!
Just wanted to add please don't be scared. I was so bombarded by people's long drawn out birth horror stories I delayed motherhood until the last possible minute out of 'the fear'. Try to remember the majority who have straight forward births don't tend to talk about them as they don't make for a good story, and the horror stories often improve with the telling so to speak.
Child birth isn't something you'd want to do every day of the week, but actually it is ok, not frightening, feels remarkably natural, and the second your baby arrives and you hold them, I can honestly say you completely forget any pain and are bowled over sideways. It's special.
Good luck to everyone
I agree - childbirth is natural and your body knows what to do. Trust it and don't fight it.
had all of mine at home. First was slow but fine -- second was a slow start and a very fast finish. Do your own thing, be open minded about where you'll end up labouring (it may not be where you expect) and you will probably just find yourself wanting to push without any midwife encouragement. I am always puzzled by TV shows where people are being shouted at to push -- not pushing would have been harder, I thought.
My first lot of contractions really hurt. With second baby it was all fine - I could bear them much easier. Your cervix has been stretched to buggery once; the second time it will be much more compliant. So don't worry.
Sigh Out Slowly
you wont forget to breathe in but make sure you exhale deeply and slowly,
Someone told me "you can control your labour, don't let it control you" I though of this whilst in labour and it helped, also it is just one day of your life it shall soon pass.
Further to the counting thing, I recall with my first there was a big beech tree outside the window when I was in labour with my first. I focussed my gaze on the top and counted backwards down from 20 in my head as I breathed slowly and sweeping my gaze down the tree to the ground. It helped me feel in control. Good luck again!
Although there are real limitations of home births don't be afraid to consider hospital if you're unsure. I hope it all goes well.
Wow, thanks everyone. So many great tips! I've got a great list here and this is exactly what I was hoping for. I was thinking that probably each thing I try will only work for a while but if I have enough 'whiles' I'll make it through without overly scaring the neighbours (lady next door is expecting her first in a few months so don't want to terrify her!!). Thanks for the offer of the book Childofthe80s. I've managed to dig out a copy second hand and it looks good! Thanks!The juju Sundin also looks brill and is on the way. Worcestershiresauce- ouch! I will bear that in mind! that sounds excruciating!!! OMG, NoSquirrels, that woudl scare the heck out of me! Congratulations on coping with it! Thanks again for all the replies and tips, I am feeling a lot calmer now
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