how did you prepare yourself mentally for the --agony-- --pain-- er, I mean intensity of childbirth...?

(104 Posts)
makipuppy Mon 03-Aug-09 18:10:55

I'm hoping to deliver our baby without an epidural.

How did you prepare yourself for the pain, or what did you do with your mind to help you through it?

Dp will be outside the delivery room. I respect his decision and have never tried to sway him on it, but it's quite daunting to think I have to face it essentially on my own (SIL will probably be there, but we're not incredibly close - I just think she's very nice and down to earth and has done it twice herself).

I've got two weeks to go <trembles>

I didn't prepare myself for all for ds, didn't really think about it. I'm a bit sceptical of the idea that you have to prepare, to be honest.
DS came very fast and my mind was occupied with worrying about dh getting another speeding ticket as he whizzed me to hospital.

sorry, that should say 'at all' not 'for all'

JustcallmeDog Mon 03-Aug-09 18:15:07

Message withdrawn

ChasingSquirrels Mon 03-Aug-09 18:15:51

I didn't - I was in complete denial that either of them were actually going to have to be born.

ladyofshallots Mon 03-Aug-09 18:17:38

I had hypnotherapy which was brilliant. Apart from that I used a birth ball to bounce on during contractions and breathing and counting through each one. It did work, but I also had an fairly easy labour and delivery at home.

ladyofshallots Mon 03-Aug-09 18:19:14

Meant to add, dh was there, but i wouldn't have cared if he wasn't at that point as I went into my own zone when dealing with the contractions and preferred the quiet!

poppy34 Mon 03-Aug-09 18:21:02

Hypnobirthing or relaxation. Draw up a plan with sil about what you want to happen re pain relief, moving about etc. To be Honest I would rule nothing out (I didn't want an epiural bit had one and it was entirely positive) - you don't get any medals for pain relief free birth and if it eases things along then go for it. Have you been to antenatal or read up so are you feeling sufficiently informed re your options on giving power? I think knowlede and having some kind of game plan at least gives you a little confidence .

and above all it's pain for a reason so you know it will end. Fwiw it wasn't nice but it ranks up there with gastro enteritis and a particular nasty polsih vodka induced hangover ( i know that it's personal and every experience is unique but what I am trying to say is that it was comparable pain rather than off the scale). That said ability to try to relax and visualise was good

CarGirl Mon 03-Aug-09 18:21:48

dh was there but for the last one I got the midwives to support me and told them he was just there to carry the bags, it was much better!

I was very chilled the last time around as I was so petrified about having one screaming 24/7 for 6 months like the previous one that the birth paled into significance. The birth turned out to be fab.

poppy34 Mon 03-Aug-09 18:23:02

Meant birth not power - was about to type having a plan even if it came to nothing made me feel empowered

stubbyfingers Mon 03-Aug-09 18:23:27

I read and watched Touching the Void (bear with me). Reading about how that guy dragged himself down a mountain with a crushed leg over a couple of days made me think, well you just do what you have to. he describes the little mind tricks that helped him get through the agony and I thought maybe I could harness some of them

HA! grin

How deluded was I?! As soon as I was in proper labour I was a quivering, screaming banshee begging for drugs. the nurses had to remind me to stop screaming in between contractions as it doesn't actually hurt then.

In retrospect (always a fine thing) I would have been better doin some hypnobirthing or something.

Sorry, don't mean to scare you, but it is, er, very sore.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Mon 03-Aug-09 18:27:43

I had my best friend there (DH said he would not be in the room, but he could not stay out), who helped with practical things, like demanding I got the gas and air i asked for, fetching drinks for us etc. She walked me up stairs and down again on each contraction.

To prepare beforehand, I made sure I was as well rested as I could in the days before, did not embark on anything too mad (apart from making a million dinners for the freezer the day before!), I stayed at home on the day I was in labour for as long as I could, watched football with DH, watched a film, had a bath, faffed with my bag to make sure I kept my mind distracted a bit.

As it wore on, at home I concentrated on monitoring the contractions, wrote them down, more as a way of concentrating but not dwelling on the pain.

In th hospital, I moved around as much as I could, so when the pain became harder I shifted positions to vary it (although mostly on all fours).

I kept telling myself it would be over before I knew it (and it was)

WoTmania Mon 03-Aug-09 18:31:04

I didn't really for DSs (and didn't really find labour painful) for DD I read 'Childbirth Without Fear' by Grantly Dick-Read. Explains lots.

Oh did you do the freezer thing too Pavlov? I made loads of fishcakes for no discernible reason. Afterwards I realised it must have been nesting.

babyphat Mon 03-Aug-09 18:34:23

the best thing for me was leaving it a bit late to get to hospital - not intentionally exactly but i think it's easier to manage the pain of a lot of the first stage at home as there's more distraction. i got to the hospital at 8cm and by then it did hurt, i cannot lie, but i wasn't worn out from the first half, so i had the reserves to get through the second half.

i also ate a whole box of filled pasta about an hour before going in (so about 5 hours before dd was actually born) - and swigged some red wine blush, which i wouldn't have done if i'd realised how far along i was, but i think it gave me the energy to squeeze her out (the pasta, not the wine)!

but i second everyone that says keep an open mind - i didn't but once i had the baby i realised that how it gets out really isn't that important, and you don't want to be beating yourself up if it doesn't go quite how you plan.

pasturesnew Mon 03-Aug-09 18:34:48

I didn't do any mental preparation really apart from attend the antenatal classes to find out the facts but on the day itself had what I assume was massive hormonal surge where I suddenly felt quite confident it would all be ok and somehow up for a fight, like "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough". It was weird.

Then when actually in labour I kept reminding myself there was no hurry and that it would all happen in good time, so no need to try and push etc.

I put down the great birth experience I had with DS to his positioning, my physical and hormonal readiness (DS was a bit overdue), to DH's help and support and massaging my back and to TENS and gas and air. The birthing pool was nice too but I really really loved the gas and air, I would totally take it recreationally if I were a Victorian lady. In between contractions in 2nd stage labour I felt like I was in a holiday swimming pool drinking margaritas, it was so nice. Of course, the contractions were not so much fun!

Sounds like your SIL is a good choice of birth partner, perhaps it would help you to go through it with her?

minko Mon 03-Aug-09 18:36:08

Just chill and think it's gonna come out one way or another and most people don't die in the process...

pasturesnew Mon 03-Aug-09 18:38:54

True minko. Not a nice analogy but I think it is like worrying about how to vomit or have the runs if you have food poisoning - well, your body wants it out so it will come out!

fishie Mon 03-Aug-09 18:41:40

makipuppy have you considered getting a doula? i would get one like a shot if ever have another baby.

i found the worst thing was not really knowing what was going on and it would have been far better to have someone clued up and supportive on my side. i did end up with a whole load of interventions and cs, which of course is not very likely to happen to you.

just nice to feel like you aren't the one having to take everything on, then you can just get on with having the baby.

juuule Mon 03-Aug-09 18:41:40

I didn't really think about it.
Did the breathing exercises at relaxation classes but to be honest I didn't really associate them with pain. They did come in handy though when things got going.

moondog Mon 03-Aug-09 18:41:47

You can't prepare.It's like preparing to get pissed.You think you are in control and then bam!!! you are legless. It's like that really.

You don't have to have someone with you.I had noone for 2nd baby [dh abroad] out of choice and do yuo know what? It was great!

I tried to prepare the first time, with dd - I watched a video in which a mad posh lady told you to imagine you were climbing a mountain and every step would get you nearer to the top. Unfortunately when I was actually in labour the midwife kept telling me I wasn't getting any more dilated, so the mountain metaphor turned out to be rather unhelpful - if I was climbing anything it must have been this hmm

weegiemum Mon 03-Aug-09 18:51:59

There is no way to prepare yourself!

I didn't have an epi as I have had back probs including a very bad experience after a lumbar puncture ... but I had coipious gas and air, and a fab husband (as a doc who had worked in Obs he had a fairly good idea of what would happen) and 2 fabulous midwives!

Dd1 was a very hard labour, 37 hours, augmentation, posterior baby, and almost 10lb. No epi is actually something I am pretty proud of (though on MN I have been flamed for this before) as I knew it could once again land me flat on my back for 3 weeks (as after my LP for suspected meningitis that wasn't!!).

There is nothing like childbirth!!!

weegiemum Mon 03-Aug-09 18:54:10

And you know what - the first contraction with the second baby (and third, come to that ....) makes you think

"oh <<bad word>> I remember this now!!"

juuule Mon 03-Aug-09 18:56:57

Possibly the only way to prepare for labour is to have experienced it. And even then different labours can be different experiences. But once you've done it then you have an idea what to expect.

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