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to think that everyone experiences pain differently

(29 Posts)
arolf Wed 04-Nov-09 12:22:56

and that ones previously known pain threshold is irrelevant during labour/birth?

My DP has said several times that the only reason I had an epidural whilst giving birth to DS was because I 'have a low pain threshold, and can be a bit pathetic sometimes'. luckily for him, I'm keen on DS having a living father, so have merely been imagining ways to test his pain threshold, but is it true, do you think? he says that because some women manage with no drugs, it must just be my feebleness that made me cave after 2 days of hell irregular contractions. he's making me start to doubt myself, and think that i failed somehow by not managing 65 hours of labour, induction, forceps, episiotomy AND tear with merely a stiff upper lip.

I met a woman yesterday who had exactly the same crap comments from her husband, so my DP isn't alone in his views.

the thing is, i never normally use painkillers for anything, and a headache, even one which makes my sight go funny, doesn't send me screaming for drugs, whereas he takes ibuprofen at the merest hint of a headache. so I'd guess that normally I have quite a high pain threshold, but labour pains were a) quite different from any other pain i'd experienced before, and b) my labour hurt. a lot. the first 24 hours were bloody agony, but I managed it, the second 24 hours were unbearable, but I somehowe got through them. I felt like I was being squeezed and ripped in half by an angry giant with wolverine-like claws with every contraction. a friend, on the other hand, said her contractions were just like period pains right up until the end.

so, do some labours hurt more than others, do some people experience pain differently from others, or was I in fact a wuss who has in some way failed as a mother? (not that I'm pissed off about this or anything...)

posieparker Wed 04-Nov-09 12:27:50

I'm sure people experience pain differently my dd was the only one that I knew when teeth were coming through as the boys didn't seem to mind. Yet ds2 is most likely to cry if he falls. Not only is pain threshold relative and individual but I am sure that some women have less painful births because they've gently contracted over days and so on.

Do you have a live baby? Then you haven't failed. I had 4 caesareans and am just as much a mother as everyone else.

Your DP sounds like a dick.

Iklboo Wed 04-Nov-09 12:28:29

Why does your DP still have his testicles?
Alternatively, shove a watermelon up his arse and say 'now, imagine that backwards'

borderslass Wed 04-Nov-09 12:30:10

everyone has different pain thresholds and all 3 of my labours where different although first 2 were backache labours if my husband had said anything like that he would be lucky to walk again.angry

OmniDroid Wed 04-Nov-09 12:30:28

Well I've had 2 labours - the first I had the epidural and was still groaning, shaking and vomiting with pain. The second I did at home in a pool without even G&A,and it was never unmanagable. So my vote goes for labours are different to one another, because I don;t think my pain threshold changed...

teameric Wed 04-Nov-09 12:30:53

I wouldn't say I had a low pain threshold either, but both my labours were complete agony from start to finish, (about 10 hours for both), I never had any let up between contractions and felt like I was being torn in half, I often feel a bit of a drama queen when I describe it like that, but its true!

Sassybeast Wed 04-Nov-09 12:31:24

Tell your 'D'P that when he's pushed a watermelon out of his arse, he'll be qualified to comment.

DaftApeth Wed 04-Nov-09 12:32:38

Tell him he must be a wuss for needing painkillers for only a headache. Hide the painkillers and let himhave them after he has suffered for 2 days.

YANBU and he is not being supportive or helpful. The pain relief we require during labour should not be used to measure a woman's strength or be used as a stick to beat your dw with.

Book him a 'back, crack and sac wax' for christmas and video it for us wink

gorionine Wed 04-Nov-09 12:33:57

Pain is a funny old thing. I did not have an epidural for any of my children and found it painfull but bearableble but...

... I cried in pain when the midwife who thought baby was destressed and preparing me for a c section (that I eventually did not have)inserted a canula in my hand blush.

Firawla Wed 04-Nov-09 12:34:09

i think your dp is being very horrible to you, can he not just keep those kind of thoughts to himself and appreciate that you have been through quite a difficult birth, it is not easy and the correct response from him would be to be proud of you that you have got through it and given him his ds!!
anyway no, i dont think it's just about being "pathetic" rolleyes some labours do hurt more actually. otherwise why do they offer the epidural to you straight away when bringing the drip for speeding up labour (syn something, i forgot the name but with being induced you prob had it?), because it makes the contracts come quite a bit stronger, they said to me that have epidural put in before we start that drip. also having a very long labour can make you exhausted, and more pain relief will help you to get through it. surely it is easier to cope with the pain when it lasts only couple of hours as compared to days. or if your baby was in a funny position it can hurt more, like my ds was "back to back" which causes quite nasty lower back pain during the labour, and also made it a bit slower.
anyway i have heard from people with more than 1 that some of their labours were better or worse than others, so how can they all be the same?? and those who have been induced with the first and needed epidural, have coped fine with 2nd one on gas and air as went into labour by themselves and the whole labour went smoother. it just depends on the circumstances.
it doesnt make you a wuss or a failure at all, your dp is just being a total idiot. im sure he could not have coped with it himself so he needs to be quiet, dont put up with these remarks from him!

throckenholt Wed 04-Nov-09 12:34:14

I think people do experience pain differently - and you can learn to live with pain long term.

But I also think labour pain can vary hugely. And the time factor comes in as well - 65 hours is a long time to have been awake and dealing with anything - and you are allowed to be exhausted.

SkivingViking Wed 04-Nov-09 12:36:05

Agree with posieparker and Iklboo.

Of course people have different pain thresholds. But pain isn't the only part of labour - there are heaps of other factors as well.

With dd, I was in labour for 48 hours (so less than your 65!) and I was so physically exhausted that the hospital strongly advised me to have an epidural so that I could rest before the active phase as the active phase can be bloody hard work (doh!) as well as painful.

Why does it matter so much to your dh anyway? Tell him you're not quite sure what he means, can he show you please to give an example?!

You did not fail - it's not a bloody exam anyway! Was he expecting the midwife did give a grade out of 10 after the birth?!

(I know of one mother who said that having a baby for her was a bit like doing a huge poo - not that I'm envy or anything!)

borderslass Wed 04-Nov-09 12:37:21

I've always said that if men had to give birth there would be loads of one child families.

SkivingViking Wed 04-Nov-09 12:37:45

and also agree with all the other heaps of posters who managed to post in the age time that it took me to slowly type my post!

Pheebe Wed 04-Nov-09 12:39:22

Your DH is an arse! wink Ask him to let you give him a chinese burn on his nob...

I have a high pain threshold in normal life but was utterly overwhelmed by the intensity of labour pains with DS1 and ended up with an epidural. It was absolute agony. DH thought I was dying, I thought I was dying.

DS2 was a different matter, I coped with tens and g&a and the actual birthing contractions and crowning were utterly painless. I didn't do anything differently, I fully expected to be in agony and need an epi again, in fact when I went if for the induction I asked what the criteria were for a section as thats what I'd prefer please.

whoisasking Wed 04-Nov-09 12:40:32

I need an "Eyebrows shooting into the hairline" emoticon

What exactly is his point? Have you asked him? Because, to be honest, if the father of my children had even vaguely intimated that I was "weak" during labour and birth, I would be wearing a fetching cock necklace with matching bollock earrings.

This is troubling me TBH. WHY? Why would he say such a thing? To what end?

mumtoem Wed 04-Nov-09 12:43:09

Congratulations on the birth of your DS. As Posie said, you have a baby therefore you have not failed. I don't know of anyone who has gone through the labour you describe without pain relief.

I do think everyone experiences pain differently and has different thresholds. I also think every birth is different. We are all different shapes and sizes, as are the babies. All it needs is for a baby to be in a particular position where it presses on a nerve and anyone, no matter how 'tough' they are is going to feel severe pain.

There are no medals for getting through childbirth without pain relief. It is the end result that counts.

shonaspurtle Wed 04-Nov-09 12:52:45

I've got a very, very high pain threshold and I was asking for an epidural after only 3 hours of proper labour. Didn't get it as I was almost fully dilated, but the thought of going through that pain for the next 10 hours or so made me want to chew my own arm off just for the relief.

Massive kudos to you for 2 days worth!

I was able to put up with a lot of pain for a fairly short time, but long term like that would have been much, much harder.

cory Wed 04-Nov-09 13:01:10

It's not just about your pain threshold in general terms: every labour is going to be different, as anyone who has done more than one will be able to tell you. I hadn't magically turned into a more whimpish person with dc2; yet the intensity of the onset of labour pains took me completely by surprise and I was hugely relieved when they decided to do a caesarian for other reasons. I only had to do 4 hours of it (not 48!), yet I can tell you, I wouldn't have lasted much longer. Yet I did manage to push dd out three years earlier on only gas and TENS and the pain was nowhere near as bad. You just can't compare one labour to another.

ellipsis Wed 04-Nov-09 13:08:03

Reading the thread about what a contraction feels like you really see how different labour and birth can be, even for the same woman. Some of the posts scared the pants off me and I've done it once already!

arolf Wed 04-Nov-09 13:08:30

thanks for the responses - thought i'd get support here

DP isn't really an arse, he just hasn't got a scooby about how painful labour can be (who has, who hasn't been through it?) I think the ante natal classes left him thinking that if it's possible to get through on merely teeth gritting/position changing, then any further pain relief is down to the individual woman's pain threshold rather than some labours being more painful than others. he seems to think that every labour is the same for some reason.
he's only made these comments when i've told him of friends who've had babies recently and been lucky to not need pain relief.

teameric - there must be something wrong with our expectations of ourselves - i feel like a drama queen when recounting my birth story too- yet, as several folk have said - live baby=successful birth - what's not to be proud of?

oh, and the sense of failure is my own, he hasn't said anything about me failing - wouldn't kill him to say well done, but he certainly hasn't deliberately implied that i've failed

posieparker Wed 04-Nov-09 13:14:19

Your DH is an arse! Ask him to let you give him a chinese burn on his nob..

I love this post!!! made me laugh.

gobsmackedetal Wed 04-Nov-09 13:22:30

My father used to say exactly the same your DH says, accompanied with "my mother had 6 of us without any help".

Luckily for me, I'm not his mother, so had an epidural during my three day birthing experience with my first and had the opportunity to enjoy a pain-free planned (basically demanded) c-section with my second baby.

Now, this is just my dad though, my dh was there every second during the hell of my first baby's birth and has been my rock through all the problems I subsequently faced. I don't know what I would do if it was my dh saying such things to me. I'd probably fantasize about kicking him on the balls and shouting as he's rolling on the floor in pain "do you think this hurts? You're clueless".

andagain Wed 04-Nov-09 13:25:25

Posieparker - you made me laugh out loud with your suggestion! Brilliant.

Of course a bloke would come up with a simplified idea that "every labour hurts the same". What a ridiculous suggestion. How the hell would he know!?

My view is, never compare yourself to others when it comes to labour and certainly don't feel you have failed if you take pain relief. You know your body better than anyone else so do what you think is best for YOU.

posieparker Wed 04-Nov-09 13:36:58

I could take the credit but it was By Pheebe Wed 04-Nov-09 12:39:22

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