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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 :-(

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!!

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.

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.

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

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

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!

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)

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

I just got quietly stoned.

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

worsestershiresauce Thu 13-Jun-13 22:46:19

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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