Anxiety about labour. Ways to help cope?

(33 Posts)
Chloeisobelle21 Sun 10-Apr-16 19:19:08

I have 3 weeks until my due date and I'm really scared of giving birth.
I had a pretty horrible time with my daughter and this being my second baby I'm just positive it will all happen again.
Are there any tips to help me try and stay calm during labour? Anything I can do mentally in the next few weeks to try and help myself? The fear is becoming quite bad and I'm starting to even have nightmares! Please, if anyone has any advice. All my midwife says is Oh it will be easier this time because it's your second which doesn't reassure me at all..

Sparklycat Sun 10-Apr-16 19:26:08

Have you been under consultant care this time due to previous traumatic birth? If not then could you ask to be referred to one asap or a consultant midwife as they might help more with your fears and answer questions etc?

SnuffleGruntSnorter Sun 10-Apr-16 19:28:30

I'm a scientist and not at all 'woo' but I really found daisy birthing classes helpful - a mixture of gentle yoga with hypnobirthing techniques. It just made me feel better about the impending labour. If you have a local class they might let you pay on a session by session basis as you're so close to edd. I hope it all goes well for you flowers

Chloeisobelle21 Sun 10-Apr-16 20:49:28

I'm inder care for mental health and I've told them how bad my anxiety is surrounding the birth. i made a birth plan with my midwives help where I'll be able to labour in a warm pool and I've asked for no internal exams unless neccesery. She's tried to give me comfort as well by talking to me but I still don't feel any calmer.
I'm scared I won't be able to cope with the pain and my body will just give up or the baby will be unwell due to problems. The part that scares me the most is pushing baby out. I couldn't push my daughter out due to exhaustion and having a rubbish epidural which made it hard. I'm scared it's going to happen again and it's making me feel useless. I had to have forceps in the end which was excruciating and also my placenta broke up. Don't really want to go into more detail..
But anyway I'm petrified I won't be able to push him out. I don't want an epi this time as with my first birth I was pushed into having it done.
Just really don't want intervention with the forceps sad

Chloeisobelle21 Sun 10-Apr-16 20:51:26

I'm also really worried about the feeling of the head coming out and the rest of the body. It felt horrible last time with the forceps. Like the doctor was pulling my insides out of me. I was so scared and practically screaming. Just can't get the images out of my mind

Wolfiefan Sun 10-Apr-16 20:53:15

Have you had a debrief after your last experience? It could help.
How about a doula?

FlossieTreadlight Sun 10-Apr-16 20:59:02

You poor thing. I had a similar experience with DC1. I would highly recommend asking to see a specialist midwife for a debrief session. This really helped me come to terms with my traumatic delivery which was marring my life. Slightly unhelpfully for you, I opted to have an ELCS for DC2 as I couldn't face the thought of going through that again.

C sections aren't for everyone, but is it something you might consider given the depth of anxiety you allude to? If it's not for you, I would be tempted to look at hypnobirthing, to give you some tools and techniques to manage your fear. I wish you all the very best flowers

2ManySweets Sun 10-Apr-16 21:05:38

You poor poor thing.

May I say (and please excuse me dropping and dashing) but I ended up with an EMCS and I promise promise promise you it was 10000% nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be, and my recovery has been smooth, thanks to a swift and efficient operation.

Have you considered a CS? Have you spoken to a midwife, or better a consultant about this option?

It may also be worth contacting PALS in the hospital where you had DC1 as they could perhaps point you to the folk you'll need to speak to to get your voice heard.

Sorry I can't be of more help. Sending flowers

Sparklycat Sun 10-Apr-16 21:16:40

I echo that maybe a c section is the way to go, a friend of mine had a horrible first birth then a lovely calm c section.

Chloeisobelle21 Sun 10-Apr-16 21:21:08

Do you think they would listen to me and perhaps give me a section due to the anxiety around the birth? I really haven't got long left to go so I'm sort of panicking now. Only probably with a section is my daughter is 2 and I don't know how long it would take me to get back onto my feet after having the op.
One of my mums friends also had an infection in her wound after a section which worries me too.
I just feel like a rabbit in headlights, and also like an idiot because labour is suppose to be a natural thing but it does scare me so much after DD1. The midwife and my mum have said it should be a quick labour and I'll be up on my feet quickly whereas with a section it's a lot of bed rest and you cannot pick baby up can you? Thanks for all your supportive and friendly replies flowers

2ManySweets Sun 10-Apr-16 21:50:37

I had a CS and was able to pick my baby up within 24hrs. But the key to CS success is a supportive partner who can do everything for you and DD (and baby) whilst you take the time you need for your body to recover from the surgery.

You can't drive, you can't do housework and unfortunately you won't be able to lug around your two year old which I imagine will be the hardest thing.

Do you have any family/friends you know and trust to be able to come and act as an unofficial doula for you? Alternatively, if you have the financial means maybe hire a doula if you do have a CS?

Taking absolute care of yourself in the first fortnight is key. After that it's four weeks until you can drive again and all going well by eight weeks you won't feel you've had surgery at all.

Please seek advice on this soonest. I'd imagine that if you do hit up the right people sooner rather than later you'll be prioritised given your pregnancy is so far along.

Be clear, be calm and don't dictate. Just explain what you went through ten times if you have to.

Good luck x

Sparklycat Sun 10-Apr-16 22:29:21

Yes of course they should consider you for a elcs after a first traumatic birth especially as you're having such anxiety etc. I'd phone the hospital first thing tmo and ask to speak to someone about it.

NotNob Sun 10-Apr-16 22:51:38

I was the same as you facing the birth of DC2. First was very traumatic- back to back, foreceps, PPH. I was under constant care with my second and my biggest regret was not being assertive enough. I enquired about a CSection as I was convinced it would happen again. I was dismissed with the second time round, pre-stretched wave of the hand. Basically, suck it up, you'll be alright.

I tried some hypno birthing and did everything recommended to get my second back to back in position.

To cut a long story short, I ended up with an emergency section anyway.

I would recommend requesting a c section (if this is what you want!), explaining your anxieties. If you can afford it get a doula, I wish I got one as a strong advocate can really help when you feel overwhelmed.

Thinking of you. flowers

Chloeisobelle21 Sun 10-Apr-16 23:06:17

I'm a a single mum so the only people that could help me are family/friends. My mum will also moan at me if I chose a c section as then I would be hauled up for a few weeks. And yes my toddler is very cuddly and I and she would struggle with not picking her up. My self esteem is so low right now I'm even afraid to voice my opinion in case I get knocked back or my midwife thinks it's stupid. It's so hard to know what to do, the hospital would tell me to contact my midwife so I think my first port of call would be her and then she would refer me to talk to a consultant at the hospital

Chloeisobelle21 Sun 10-Apr-16 23:07:17

I couldn't afford a doula, if I could I would definitely hire one.

Junosmum Sun 10-Apr-16 23:11:09

How do you go about getting a debrief in regards to traumatic birth?

cocochanel21 Sun 10-Apr-16 23:20:47

I think every birth is different. With Dd1 i was young (15) i was scared and didn't really know what to expect. Labour lasted 19hrs i honestly thought i was dying hmm. It was horrendous.

23YEARS later with Dd2 my water's went in the car park of my mum's care home. Just made it in the hospital doors when she was born all within 40mins.

Good Luck flowers

Chloeisobelle21 Mon 11-Apr-16 09:30:58

I really hope my birth goes that way coco. My DD is only 2 and a half so I can still remember the birth vividly. I would prefer a normal birth I just want to be able to stay calm. I was having panic attacks with my first because everything just went wrong. I had to have oxygen on my face, it was awful.

RedToothBrush Mon 11-Apr-16 09:53:34

Have you looked at the statistics for an assisted birth for 1st time mothers versus women who have previously given birth?

The figures are very different. They might offer some of the reassurance you are looking for.

I had an ELCS for anxiety (different circumstances as first time mother) so I sympathise. However you don't seem totally adverse to the idea of a vb. Just very anxious about it, so I'm not totally convinced an ELCS would be the best solution in your situation. It might, but reading between the line I think that you just want to have a birth where you feel more in control and isn't as traumatic but don't care about the method.

Bue Mon 11-Apr-16 10:10:29

Hi OP, midwife here. I'd just echo what RedToothBrush says - the chances of an assisted birth with a second baby are minimal, even if you've had one with a first baby. I can count on one hand the number I have seen personally (whereas I've seen many, many, many instrumentals with first babies, and indeed had one myself).

I know it doesn't help all that much when you're feeling this way (the idea of a second birth makes me anxious too!) but please believe me when I say that second labours are nearly always far easier and more straightforward than firsts. The body has done it before and knows what to do - try to trust that your body can do this. It doesn't really sound like you want an ELCS. I think the plan to labour in the pool is a good one, and in the meantime, have you tried a form of hypnotherapy or hypnobirthing? The Maggie Howell Natal Hypnotherapy CDs are brilliant for relaxation and managing anxiety. I didn't find them particularly helpful in labour for me personally but lots of people do, but they were great in the leadup to the birth.

muddymary Mon 11-Apr-16 10:22:08

The only thing that's ever stuck in my mind was something I read in a book - it's your body making the pain; do its not going to give you more than you can deal with.

Loraline Mon 11-Apr-16 11:10:30

Juju Sundin's book, Birth Skills has brilliant suggestions for coping with labour pain, as well as effective pushing etc if you do have an epidural. I'd buy it and speed read it if ib were you.
A few points stand out.:
Contractions are healthy pain. If you exercise loads your muscles will ache same goes for your uterus.
Your mind and body can really only concentrate on one sensation so distraction is the way to cope stomp, Squeeze stress balls, make noise, count... All help to distract
When it comes to your baby coming out of imagine it does feel worse with forceps but without them it feels like your body working to push baby out, as it's supposed to. Probably will sting or burn (it did for me) but your muscles can stretch an awful lot. They're made to do so.

Runningupthathill82 Mon 11-Apr-16 15:35:05

OP - just to reassure you that a horrific first birth doesn't mean it'll be the same second time round.

My first labour was horrendous and very traumatic. In a nutshell - back to back baby, 24hr labour, failed ventouse and forceps. I'd wanted a hypnobirth (ha) so felt like an utter failure. Afterwards, DS and I were also in a bad way physically and it took a while to recover.

I was petrified of giving birth again and started a thread on here very much like yours, wondering if I should go for an ELCS.

In the end, I'm so glad I didn't. My DD arrived in the birthing pool with just a bit of gas and air, four hours after first twinge and an hour after arriving at hospital. It was calm, painful, but utterly amazing - the absolute opposite of first time round.

My advice to you would be to reassure yourself that there's every chance it'll be easier this time. It's not about mindset or pain thresholds IMO, it's largely luck and positioning. A bad experience last time definitely doesn't have to mean a bad one this time.

I sincerely hope that if you do go for a vaginal birth you're as lucky as I was,but I also completely get why you'd want an ELCS.

Runningupthathill82 Mon 11-Apr-16 15:41:06

As for it's your body making the pain; do its not going to give you more than you can deal with as someone who has been through an utterly hellish labour, that's bollocks. Sorry.

By contrast, the pain of my second labour was very intense, but manageable. All labours are different and yes,some are too painful to endure. Hence drugs.

Chloeisobelle21 Tue 12-Apr-16 11:11:38

I was just scared of the sensation of pushing? Even though I couldn't feel it properly because of the epidural . Yeah I don't really want a section of I'm honest, I just want to know that assisted delivery won't be needed again and obviously no one can promise me that 100% as with all births it just goes the way it goes.
Just hate being so scared about it, I feel like as soon as I feel contractions and the start of labour I'll be going into a full blown panic attack. I'm trying to be positive but I just don't trust my body to be able to deliver on its own sad

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