Help! I have 'the fear'!

(62 Posts)
quertas Tue 11-Jun-13 20:36:04

Hi all,
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 :-(

Hassled Tue 11-Jun-13 20:39:48

All I can really say is that my one induced labour was way, way, waaaay more painful than my three spontaneous labours. So to have that as your first, as your yardstick, I can see why you're stressing. If this one is spontaneous, you probably won't find it as bad. The best of luck.

ShesAStar Tue 11-Jun-13 21:58:21

Hi, don't be afraid or nervous, you can do birth, you've already done it and your body is completely capable. You've done it once, you know what to expect and your body is made for it.

I had 2 home births in birth pools. All through my contractions I walked around the room, at first on my own but as they got more intense I leaned on DH and we walked around the room together through each contraction, it really helped take my mind off the pain and focus on the walking. Take the contractions one at a time, they don't last long. I had such a lovely birth with my second child, I felt like my body really knew what it was doing. 'Don't be scared, your body is completely capable'. This is what I thought in my head every time I got nervous before the birth, and I wasn't nervous or afraid once during the birth.

quertas Tue 11-Jun-13 22:44:20

Thanks Hassled and Star,

Yes I guess you're right Hassled I have a bit of a wild yardstick here! DDs birth was shortish - but the pain was incredible, and I couldn't speak through most of my labour so I found that really hard, plus it was all back pain which was a bit grisly. The walking sounds like a good idea Star, I'll definitely try that! Thanks for your replies! I'm trying to calm down a bit smile

You got through your first birth and the evil drip on just gas and air, so I'm sure you'll find the next one much easier.
During some of my contractions I got through by leaning on DH or against the wall, sort of swaying my hips. And lots of loud groaning helped me too! Plus the knowledge that even though it was awful it would be over soon and I'd have a little break before the next one.
Good luck, you'll be fine smile

slugsonmypeasgrr Wed 12-Jun-13 02:26:25

Hi, I just had my second at home on Sunday night. It was very empowering but hard work! One thing that helped me was thinking to myself to relax and let the pain in every time a contraction was building. I had weeks of false labour and was terrified I'd end up with just another sleepless night and an induction in 5 days so was really motivated to welcome my labour! Also (this bit may be more personal and less helpful) I imagined the pain like hot water spreading through my pelvis and back, which made it less horrific! And when things really hotted up and midwife hadn't arrived so only pain relief was the pool, I got my DH to press incredibly hard on my lower back which helped me not to lose it with each contraction. If I can do it so can you!

ninjasquirrel Wed 12-Jun-13 02:43:55

A book I found really useful was Birth Skills by Juju Sundin, both practically and in terms of staying calm. Good luck!

Bumpsadaisie Wed 12-Jun-13 10:08:50

You'll be fine. Much easier second time around. I had an induction and quite full on time with dd. And a 30 hr labour!

Ds was 5 hours naturally in a pool. Can't recommend water more highly. It is such a help.

Good luck. smile

Bumpsadaisie Wed 12-Jun-13 10:10:11

Also getting DH to chuck jugs of water over my back worked a treat to distract me from the pain.

Although he did have a bit of a nerve complaining it had given him a sore arm the next day!!grin

quertas Wed 12-Jun-13 13:23:21

Thanks all! Great tips and will def try them. Fingers crossed for a quiet water birth and soon :-)

Minifingers Wed 12-Jun-13 13:30:28

Feal the fear and birth anyway! here

Second the vote to read Juju Sundin's book. I found roaring like a loon profoundly helpful in my third labour. I really did make the loudest noise I could and it was GREAT. And you know, roaring like that forces the diaphragm down (try it as you're sitting at the computer). You'll also notice that if you do it loud enough it appears to make your pelvic floor bulge out and relax hence me embarrassingly actually wetting myself a bit last time I had a massive shout at my children for leaving their sweet wrappers scattered all over the sitting room. grin

chaosagain Wed 12-Jun-13 16:05:31

I second the trying to welcome labour - and if if it's not too crazy - welcome each contraction seeing it as one step nearer to holding your baby.

I sort of had a mantra for DC2 for a lot of the contractions- focused on knowing and trusting my body could do this. I also found it helpful to focus on breathing, make sure I didn't clench my jaw(makes you physically tense up all over) and move around. In the most painful contractions I visualised a dial with numbers from 1 to 10, gauged what number the pain was at and visualised turning down the dial. Crazy but it helped!

DC2 was also lots easier and shorter for me although still a relatively long labour. The midwife who delivered him said that generally she thought second labours lasted half the time of the first which was true for me. It was a crazily empowering feeling to have given birth without intervention or assistance - not that I'd have cared a hoot if we'd needed medical input. Probably mainly hormonal but it rocked!

Good luck!

janek Wed 12-Jun-13 16:30:10

I can recommend two things that i did - the first is count through the contractions - with dd1's birth particularly i counted, it gave me something to focus on, but i also had an idea of when the pain would start to subside, as no contraction is ever massively worse than the previous one iyswim.

The second thing is RELAX. It sounds stupid, but i was in quite a state when i had dd2 and very tense. With every contraction the midwife told me to relax and i could definitely feel the difference. But i did need reminding every contraction, it was not the kind of advice i could keep in my head!

I'm sure all will go well for you, both of mine were homebirths and it definitely seems to be the best way to go.

daftywoman Wed 12-Jun-13 16:45:33

I've had two homebirths and just being at home makes you more relaxed believe me! You can poddle about and make a cuppa and get in and out of bath/pool as much as you like.

Try and turn the fear into excitement, as previous posters have said, welcome them. Remember the more it "hurts" the closer you are!

I've never done the hypno-birthing stuff, but I did read up SOOOOO much on what your body actually does in labour, watched tons of youtube videos and read just about every story on the homebirth website! I found that because I knew EXACTLY what was happening, I was more okay with it and not at all frightened.

Don't envy you at all though - I remember the last time I was in labour getting the sudden panic of "oh f**k- I remember this hurts!"

Hhhmmmmm Wed 12-Jun-13 17:13:08

I know it isn't true for everyone but I think second time round is generally easier just because you've done it before and it is no longer the 'unknown'. For me first time round, the panic of not feeling in control and not sure what was normal, made me tense and so drew everything out. I ended up in hospital when I was booked in for home birth. Second time I knew what to expect, knew if I'd done it before then surely I could do it again etc. So I got my home birth smile

I did lots of breathing through my contractions (I mean long out breaths, obviously you'll be breathing anyway blush) and focused on the more I relaxed I could be, the quicker I would have baby in my arms. Very powerful image for me smile

Liveinthepresent Wed 12-Jun-13 17:26:04

38 weeks here too - and have done far less prep this time around !
I think you could still buy/ download some Natal Hypnotherapy tracks to help you - I have the labour companion and hope it will help me focus on the day ..

clippityclop Wed 12-Jun-13 17:45:05

Years ago for me but lots of counting, imagining waves crashing onto a beach , washing the baby safely to the shore of our family, opening up like a flower, long slow breaths. It's just a day, it'll pass, try not to get stressy because you just worry everyone else and then you have to deal with their reactions too. Good luck!

ababycalledbrian Wed 12-Jun-13 17:52:37

I've only had one so nothing to compare it to but I can say that I did lots of hypno-type prep and when it came to it used absolutely none of the elaborate visualisations, complicated breathing techniques etc etc. All I did was concentrate on breathing very long, deep breaths from my stomach through each contraction (G&A helpful to do that). I've no idea if that was the reason my birth was 'good' but all I'd say is don't worry that you haven't had a chance to prep - just do one thing which is to do a bit of practice deep breathing which you can do anywhere - washing up, on the bus, before you go to sleep etc. Good luck!

TallulahBetty Wed 12-Jun-13 18:15:31

What helped me was concentrating on my breathing. It's a cliche but it really worked.

Also, working out how long my contractions were (for example if they were lasting til I counted to 30) and "counting" up in my head. That way I knew how close each one was to being finished.

(I had an induced labour with next to no pain relief - not through choice! But I coped.)

quertas Wed 12-Jun-13 18:28:55

Wow! Thanks for all the replies! The idea of counting seems like something I could really go for, and maybe DH can help a bit with that. I'll have a look out for the Juju book too. On one level I sort of know I can do it but on another I'm just getting a bit weird about it- an odd disconnect. I can see what others mean about welcoming labour and contractions. I know I couldn't do that in my first labour at all. Every time I felt something might be happening I'd get stressed silly and so of course it all stopped (probably a factor in my needing the induction in the end hmm). In labour I could only think of trying to physically get away from the pain and because I was effectively tied on the bed with the monitors it was hard. Hoping to use movement a lot more this time smile thanks for all your tips, I'm writing them all down to talk about with DH when he gets back from work smile

kaybee75 Wed 12-Jun-13 18:53:51

have a look at hypnobirthing website i think - loads of different ideas for things to visualise / think about to help you relax. i discovered very late in 1st pregnancy as was very nervous and worked wonders. Good luck - you'll do great

TwitchyTail Wed 12-Jun-13 19:02:52

Get an ipod or cheapo mp3 equivalent from Argos like me , load with your favourite songs, preferably cheesy 90s boy bands, and sing along loudly through contractions. I got to 8cm with no pain relief on this grin I was amazed I had never read about it before, it was so effective.

Confused40 Wed 12-Jun-13 19:59:12

Just to reassure you. Had my dd just over a week ago. She is my second child and I had a water birth. Everything went calmly and labour was four hours. You'll be fine! I was working/studying up until 37 weeks. Like you I didn't have much time to mentally prepare. I needn't have worried.
Good luck smile

MummytoKatie Wed 12-Jun-13 20:41:39

Had DS (DC2) 2 weeks ago.

One word for you. Shower. I spent most of my earlier labour standing dripping in the shower switching it on and pointing it at my back every time I had a contraction. Then switching it off and standing there dripping before the next one!

Much better than a bath / pool as I instinctively stand up in labour which means I kept getting out of the water at the crucial moment!

birdbrain21 Wed 12-Jun-13 21:42:19

I got DH to 'talk me through' each breath. I don't mean just saying "concentrate on your breathing" which is what the mw was unhelpfully saying, rather as I breathed in he said "innnnnn" and then "outttt" if that makes sense. It really helped because then I could focus on what he was saying but without having to have a conversation to take my mind off it.
Good luck apparently it's easier second time round, wouldn't know though as just had my 1st wink. Definitely want water birth next time the pool wasn't free this time....

bumpsadaisie DH fanned me with a magazine the whole way through, I was boiling!!! Every time he stopped to rest his arms I frantically motioned for him to carry on (was too busy sucking g&a to talk) and he just kept saying 'but it hurts...' confused wink

stottiecake Wed 12-Jun-13 22:18:41

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!!

LaChaiseVerte Wed 12-Jun-13 22:23:45

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!

wigwam33 Wed 12-Jun-13 22:27:28

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.

NoSquirrels Thu 13-Jun-13 00:09:31

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!)

Ladybee Thu 13-Jun-13 05:11:02

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.

4athomeand1cooking Thu 13-Jun-13 09:13:42

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 grin

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.

unlucky83 Thu 13-Jun-13 09:54:09

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...sad)

unlucky83 Thu 13-Jun-13 10:07:26

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 hmm (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...

AmberSocks Thu 13-Jun-13 12:14:38

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.

MoonHare Thu 13-Jun-13 13:49:51

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.

MamaM76 Thu 13-Jun-13 14:54:02

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.

AllRightSoFar Thu 13-Jun-13 16:22:29

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.

ChildOfThe1980s Thu 13-Jun-13 17:25:20

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.

ReikiMummy Thu 13-Jun-13 18:09:23

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

flowers Thank you all.

MarathonMama Thu 13-Jun-13 21:34:15

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 smile

ChildOfThe1980s Fri 14-Jun-13 11:38:11

I agree - childbirth is natural and your body knows what to do. Trust it and don't fight it.

gnushoes Fri 14-Jun-13 12:14:32

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.

EugenesAxe Fri 14-Jun-13 13:28:43

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.

Charleymouse Fri 14-Jun-13 14:41:48


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.

clippityclop Fri 14-Jun-13 16:05:35

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!

snowprincess1 Fri 14-Jun-13 18:34:50

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.

quertas Fri 14-Jun-13 20:04:19

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 grin

MrsWooster Fri 14-Jun-13 20:51:46

after a hard 1st labour - back to back etc - 2nd was a breeze: recommend not having back to back baby 1st and foremost, but seriously, use TENs if you can or if water isn't in the offing and, most of all, have a mantra for every contraction. Mine was singing/chanting Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as contraction began and I knew that by the time I got thro the song, the contraction would be over/waning. It sounds absurd but with normal contractions it worked amazingly and stopped that out of control, overwhelming thing as the contractions built up.

spiderlight Fri 14-Jun-13 20:56:31

I had DS at home and having been terrified all through my pregnancy, I was amazed at how calm and in control I felt on the day. I walked through most of my contractions - up and down the hall and kitchen, up and down the stairsm, round the house in a circuit. It really, really helped. I also kept reminding myself that my body knew what to do, that women have been doing this for millenia, in caves and mud huts all over the world, and that helped me to tap into a strength I didn't know I had. Being at home, with all my CDs and DVDs and snacks on hand and friends popping in and the dogs tootling about made an enormous difference....being able to go to my own loo!

Good luck! You can do it.

tasmaniandevilchaser Fri 14-Jun-13 21:56:38

My 2nd labour was so much quicker and easier than the first. It was great actually! Another vote for juju sundin's book- I was worried I hadn't practised enough for it to be useful but I just swayed from side to side and silently said some mantras through each contraction and at the end started to roar/moo very VERY loudly.

I think if you can handle the drip without an epidural then you are as hard as nails and can absolutely handle anything!

tasmaniandevilchaser Fri 14-Jun-13 22:01:12

Also with your second , it is a lot more real that you'll have a baby at the end, so I just kept thinking about each contraction bringing my baby. That really helped. After my first labour (drip, baby was back to back) I couldn't have imagined just swaying and thinking about my baby would get me through labour but it was very different the 2nd time, hope it's like that for you.

Protego Sat 15-Jun-13 13:23:41

Both my deliveries were fast and not at all painful - very powerful though! I was not even aware of first stage and when the rippling tightening contractions began they were immediately 3 mins apart. I have met other women who have had painfree labour and sadly we dare not speak up in case others take it as a criticism! Mumsnet does allow us to come clean.
I do not know why it was like this but my theory - which I will pass on to my daughter - is that this whole endeavour was a show being run by the part of my brain of which I am not usually aware. Both DS and DD were planned and on implantation (3 days later) I started getting my 'orders' - coffee smelled unrecognisably foul I drank lots of water and in fact was totally obedient. I was sick every morning got incredibly tired and had to nap in the afternoons and had a lowered resistance with my daughter so even got sinusitis - but I was more cheerful than when I was not pregnant. I never needed a pregnancy test!
During labour I had my husband - a sheep farmer who knew all about delivery - and my Mum - a former nurse and health visitor as my 'Team' so my conscious brain was marginalised so much that I cannot remember much except the delivery - I was 'away with the fairies' and they had to call me back to ask me things! I had gas and air to maximise my blood oxygen levels - and as something to do.

So for what it is worth - and we are all different - I offer:
'go with the flow'
'trust your brain to get on with the job - for once in your life get out of the way!' and
'pick your team so you can leave them to look out for you'

It may be though that for you brain not to clobber you into submission with pain you might have to convince it early on in pregnancy that you are totally compliant and not going to be difficult!

Mind you I wish now that I had had CS both times as I needed surgery to get repaired after my second - anyone who gets really bad stretch marks ought to go for CS as the inside is as damaged as the outside and the doctors couldn't care less! One said to me 'Well what do women expect?' angry
With every good wish! smile

DrSeuss Sat 15-Jun-13 13:43:52

I just got quietly stoned.

Ushy Sat 15-Jun-13 16:19:53

I would find out a bit more about epidurals - I found them great. Made labour completely painless. If you need an emergency c/s you would need an epi (hope you won't but there is always a chance xx) and it is a shame to be so worried about something that is very low risk (65% of French women have them and nearly 90% of US women. ) You are more likely to be struck by lightning than to have a long lasting effect from an epidural. Here are the risks (proper evidence based ones)

MumsKnitter Sat 15-Jun-13 16:41:05

Haven't read the whole thread, so apologies if this is repetitive:
Count backwards from 10 ( in elephants, as in 10 elephants, nine elephants etc), and the worst of any contraction will be well over by no elephants. Each contraction is one nearer the end, and your beautiful baby being in your arms, even if they tell you that you are not progressing at any time. Still nearer to it all being over!

chocomolic Sat 15-Jun-13 19:21:38

I found a Tens machine brilliant. Doc was happy for me to use it.

quertas Sat 15-Jun-13 21:25:07

Thanks everyone, I love the elephants idea too! Ah, but the odds on being hit by lightning are actually quite high, Oshy. 1: 10,000 over your lifetime as calculated in relation to the USA - as against the 1:13,983,816 chances of winning the lottery (but who bought their ticket this week!). So essentially for every 1 lottery winner, given odds of 1: 250,000, 56 women could be permanently paralysed as a consequence of an epidural. I also like the doubled risk of an instrumental delivery (leading to the 4x increase in inter-cranial bleeding in the baby, the 1: 100 risk of 3rd or 4th degree tear, and greater risks of permanent fecal and urinary incontinence in the mother) associated with epidurals. I like the 1: 28,000 risk of convulsions and slurred speech and drowsiness through poor insertion, the 1: 100 chance of a headache lasting up to 6 weeks. I'm glad you were happy with yours. I feel I have found out quite a bit about them, thanks, and I don't like those risks at all.

Ushy Sun 16-Jun-13 10:24:29

Quertas Absolutely accept that you may not want an epidural - I was only suggesting it as no one can be sure that a vaginal birth will work out well and you seemed a bit unduly worried about it. If anything did go wrong and you needed a caesarean, an epidural is infinitely safer than a general anaesthetic.

Some of the figures you have got there are not right - epidurals do not increase 3rd and 4th degree tears. They do increase instrumental deliveries very slightly but dramatically reduce tears caused by uncontrollable pushing. Also the anaesthetists association link I sent shows a risk of 1:250,000 risk of permanent paralysis. That is so vanishingly small you would never get out of bed if you worried about risks like that.

I completely understand you don't want an epidural but I still think hope for the best and prepare for the worst is a good strategy. Good luck whatever you decide to do.

coraltoes Fri 19-Jul-13 12:09:16

i had a waterbirth, and laboured at home before going in to the midwife unit. I found a tens machine worked really well for the first few hours. I would def use one again. Breathing in and out slowly, controlled, just let the pain come and breathe in and out through your mouth/nose whatever you prefer, steady, loudly whatever. it is something to focus on but keeps you from losing the plot. Gas and air worked well later on, and the water- well it was amazing, removed so much of the pressure and pain.

i am certain if you are complication free, you will find 2nd labour tolerable. Just look on you tube for some brathing techniques, practise them

try lots of diff positions in early labour. Lying down was HELL for me, but standing and swaying from leg to leg helped (like a slow dance in a bad movie). SOme people like to kneel, others crouch, lots of things you can try. Good luck!!

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