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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

themilkmonster Tue 11-Jun-13 23:44:27

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

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