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Calling all mums who had a "good, easy, nice, pleasant labour and birth"

(58 Posts)
Summersun1983 Sun 08-Sep-13 21:48:26

Hi, I am expecting baby number two in January and already worried about the labour and giving birth as my experience the first time was quite honestly horrific. So rather then focus on the bad stuff and what horrors may happen I am looking for positive guidance and inspiration.
Anyone who says they had a a good, easy, positive labour and birth. Please tell me why you think this was? Any key factors that helped? Any recommendations or pearls of wisdom to share please? Or anything in particular to avoid?

Thank you xxx

bundaberg Sun 08-Sep-13 21:55:08

i had a crappy labour with ds1 and swore i'd never do it again.

just short of 3 years later there I was again grin

had the BEST birth with ds2 despite him being back to back and rather large lol
things taht I think helped:
i had a homebirth. i felt SO much more relaxed at home. i get easily scared of authority figures and was quite nervous of saying what I wanted in hospital, so being at home was much better for me

talking to lots of other people who'd had "good" births about how they got through it, how they dealt with the pain etc . I had a lot of pain relief with DS1 which I think led me down the whole "cascade of intervention" route. I wanted to avoid that if possible with DS2, and having a homebirth planned I knew I'd only have gas and air available.
I didn't even end up using that!

listneing to my body. I know it sounds a bit hippy, but I really tried to take notice of how things felt. for example at one point the midwives said to try lying down, I did and it just felt wrong. I just felt so uncomfortable, so i got straight back up. I eventually found a position, kneeling up leaning over the sofa that felt good, so went with that. turns out that's a great position for having an OP baby although I didn;t know that at the time

i also laboured in water for a while and found that quite comforting and relaxing, the water was warmer than I thought it would be and it definitely felt good!

glorious Sun 08-Sep-13 21:56:37

Congratulations! I found [[ tellmeagoodbirthstory.com]] really helpful (so much so that my own story is now on there). I found Juju Sundin's book Birth Skills really helpful too.

williaminajetfighter Sun 08-Sep-13 21:57:57

I had a great first labour! Reasons below:

1. It was fast. Arrived at hospital at 7pm baby born at midnight

2. Very little drugs - just gas and air. So while painful I felt in control IYKWIM

3. Midwife very hands off. Just came into room occasionally to check on me but I pretty much got to labour on my own.

4. When baby born it was just me, DH and midwife. She was really relaxed. It did not feel 'medical' at all.

5. 3 pushes and 5lb15oz baby was out! Not once did anyone have to bark at me to push.

6. No tearing or problems.

7. Toast and a hot bath after. Lovely.

Can't say it's not painful but think my experience is as good as it gets for a hospital birth.

NationMcKinley Sun 08-Sep-13 21:59:01

I've had 3 easy births, the second especially was lovely. I had my first in hospital and the other 2 at home. I found doing a pregnancy yoga class hugely helpful as it enable me to stay calm and focused. I also found gas and air really good as it helped me to relax and concentrate on my breathing. Best of luck!

strawberrie Sun 08-Sep-13 22:00:04

Pretty crappy birth 1st time- long labour, augmented with syntocin, epidural, back to back baby, foetal distress, theatre, forceps, PPH.

2nd time, fabulous water birth, only gas and air, pain totally manageable until transition, a minute or two of panic followed by me getting my shit together and pushing out my 9lb 10 boy, in my own time and catching him myself. awesome.

What made the difference? Mostly the luck of the draw I believe. I had fantastic care on labour ward; 1 midwife, 1 student midwife and 1 med student who stayed with me. The midwife gave me total confidence in myself; she told me I was having a straightforward labour and made me believe her.

She slightly defied the doctors' advice that I was to get out of the pool to deliver; this was a doctor who hadn't clapped eyes on me, but ruled on the basis of my history. The midwife used her own professional judgement that this labour was shaping up differently, and she was right.

I don't think there are any more children on the horizon for us, but my God I would love to experience another birth like that one. It was the most powerful and exhilarating thing I've ever done in my life.

Liara Sun 08-Sep-13 22:00:46

I had two lovely births. In fact they are the only part of the whole pg/baby experience that I would willingly go through again.

Both were home water births. Although they were very different (one was 20 hours, the other was 3!) the key thing I think was that I felt like I was in control and dh and the midwife were accompanying me, but that ultimately what happened was up to me.

I hate hospitals and know I could never really relax in one, so having a hb was really important to me. My lovely, lovely mw was helpful too.

strawberrie Sun 08-Sep-13 22:03:18

Reading the other replies has reminded me - mobility and being upright. I paced the floor for most of my early labour, and once admitted I couldn't bear to sit down, not even to have a cannula sited. I'm not suggesting that's right for everyone but it was definitely what my body was telling me.

I gave birth on my knees, leaning over the edge of the pool so gravity was helping there too.

lemontwist Sun 08-Sep-13 22:06:03

I wouldn't call either of mine pleasant but both fairly short and just on gas &air. Partly I think I was lucky but I know what helped me was the thought that the pain I was experiencing was not there because anything was wrong or that Iwas ill but just what my body should be doing. I kept telling myself that and I think it helped me to be less scared of the pain.
Also one thing the midwife said that helped was that for every contaction you go through its one done and gone that you will never have to feel again, just one step closer to your baby.
It all sounds a bit silly reading back but definitely helped me to have that mindset. I did feel a lot more in control the second time as well as I'd done it all before.
Congratulations! Two are fab.

SnoopySnoopyDoggDogg Sun 08-Sep-13 22:06:12

I had a very full on induction with dd1 that was the opposite of what I'd been planning, and I just knew there was a better way to cope so when I fell pg with dd2 I threw everything at trying to get the good birth I'd wanted before.

I did a hypnobirthing course, had reflexology, joined NCT and did a huge amount of visualisation focussing around the feeling of a good birth not just the situation iyswim. Something worked, although she went two weeks over just like dd1 and I was booked in for the induction I was so scared of repeating when they came to examine me pre-pessary I was actually 3cm so they let me go to the birth centre for ARM which lead very quickly to a wonderful relaxed water birth. It felt so different, the water was amazing and I really did listen to my body and it was a fantastic experience.

Good luck, try everything and above all stay positive xxx

rootypig Sun 08-Sep-13 22:06:22

My experience was to ask for an epidural as soon as I got to the delivery ward. A friend had given birth in the same hospital a month before and waited two hours for an anaesthetist. I had the benefit of her experience and was insistent right away-it was in 30 minutes later. I was 4cm, had been contracting an hour or so, 3 mins apart from the off, the pain was, for me, unmanageable. The epidural worked beautifully, I had a pain free few hours resting, then let it wear off to push on my mw's advice. It was bloody agony, but no further intervention - possibly because I could feel what was going on.

If I were to do it again I would have said no to the two sweeps I had - the first on my due date, the second at 41 weeks (labour started that night). My mum, aunts, grandmothers all quite surprised at the modern practice of sweeping - I suppose it's related to inducing at 42 weeks (or 41+3 here in Hackney). Anyway, they were so uncomfortable - aggressive really - I'm sure that's why my labor came on so fast and I couldn't cope.

MintyDiamonds Sun 08-Sep-13 22:07:12

I had an amazing birth with my dd. it was a home water birth, I feel that the reason it went so well was that I felt in control the whole time. The contractions hurt but not as much as I was expecting, but when I felt the pain I went kind of into a trance and wasnt really aware of anything or anyone and just kept repeating over and over in my head another contraction down one step closer to my baby. I also think being upright and on all fours helped, my labour was 6 hours start to finish.

CreatureRetorts Sun 08-Sep-13 22:08:44

Second time around I wasn't afraid to do what I wanted and ignore suggestions from the MW that I didn't think were sensible. Well they may have been but to me were insane (eg move from my comfy position on my knees hanging over the sofa to the birth pool, which would require walking during contractions. No way!). I basically entered a zone where everything seemed far away and I just focused on what my body wanted!

Balloonist Sun 08-Sep-13 22:13:04

I had a fantastic birth second time round.

Laboured in water for two hours in hospital. No other pain relief expect TENS early on. Pain was always bearable. I don't like the pressure feeling later on but it was manageable. Felt a bit whoozy, clammy during transition.

Ring of fire was the worst bit and the only bit that made me cry out.

I felt invincible afterwards- the biggest rush I've had in my life- was high for hours afterwards.

Think the key to my great experience was being totally calm throughout. I was older, wiser, read lots about birth and was able to understand more about what was going on. My midwife was very hands-off and just let me get on with it and trust my body.

When I started mooing involuntarily I was amazed rather than frightened by it and could actually accept each stage as being a step closer to the birth. Not having any drugs I felt more tuned in to what was going on.

Good luck to you.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sun 08-Sep-13 22:18:53

I had 2 good births.

First ds was induced, but I felt well informed and consulted on decisions all the away. He arrived 8 hours after I had the pessary and I had gas and air so was in control throughout.

Ds2 arrived about 5 minutes after we arrived at hospital. No time for even gas and air, and the MW was so lovey and happy to have got in another delivery before her shift ended. She hated leaving ladies mid-labour and I was happy to have obliged!

Good luck op

lottiegarbanzo Sun 08-Sep-13 22:25:21

Um, luck? I'm sure I could have had a terrible experience for whatever reason yet everything I'm about to say would have applied then too. However, for what it's worth:

- Being reasonably fit (though SPD so not especially but still swam).
- Experience of running races and tricky hill-walking gave me a mental model for a long race / route, that once committed to you can't leave but which will end. That sense of 'the next section is going to be really difficult but keep going, focus on going forward a short section at a time, keep going and the whole route will look after itself' was very helpful.
- TENS machine was good and allowed me to progress a long way at home. Then G+A too.
- walking around, then kneeling up leaning on pillows worked for me and my back.
- closing my eyes and settling into my own quiet mental space, once settled in the delivery room worked for me. I spoke to request water from DP and didn't actually see the midwife until afterwards, as they'd changed shift part way.

FannyBazaar Sun 08-Sep-13 22:29:42

I had a relatively easy labour and birth, it was a homebirth with an Independent Midwife who I had come to know and trust. I don't think I could have coped with the hospital environment or a random unknown midwife.

OrganixAddict Sun 08-Sep-13 22:34:22

I've had 3 short, straightforward and relatively pleasant births. I think second 2 were because I trusted my body after the first one, and I think first one was ok because I expected it to be soooo bad I assumed I was in early labour for ages and selfmanaged at home - upright mobile or on birth ball. By time I felt like I needed to go to hospital I was at 10 cm and probably in transition. Was a blur but on notes first midwife obs were at 9.30pm, baby born 10.18pm.
But I do also think luck (and in my case a wide pelvis!) has a lot to do with it too.
Trust your instincts, congratulations and good luck!

ShowOfHands Sun 08-Sep-13 22:35:39

I've had two emcs with two stuck babies after 30+hr labours each time.

One was a terrible experience. One was fabulous.

The actual birth is down to the luck of the draw in a lot of respects. What made the difference for me was feeling in control. I couldn't help the fact that I needed a repeat emcs but I made sure that I was present mentally, making choices within the confines of what was available (lowered screen, dh able to watch, surgeon/anaesthetist telling me exactly what was happening etc). I felt confident in my caregivers, consulted, cared for and important. It wasn't anything to do with the mechanics of the birth. I knew from first time round that going into believing that only one method of delivery could be positive, would mean an automatic feeling of sadness/failure/trauma if it didn't work out. And I couldn't help the fact that ds wouldn't fit through my pelvis so emcs was the only option. And it wasn't a failure so I went into the whole thing knowing that there were things I couldn't change but I could know my options, I could choose positivity and I could choose not to chase a foolish 'ideal' because it was out of my hands.

Hermyninny Sun 08-Sep-13 22:42:20

I had an appalling first experience of labour and the post-natal period. Dc2, however, was a dream. Natural water birth after a mobile labour with a lovely midwife in a MLBU, despite severe SPD and a 10lber! not only did it give me a massive high, it helped to heal the psychological trauma of DC1's birth.

I'm even a little sad that I won't experience it again as our family is now complete... You wouldn't have caught me saying that after the first time.

My tip was Ina May Gaskin's book. It changed my life.

PeacockPlumage Sun 08-Sep-13 22:51:37

I had 2 lovely, lovely home waterbirths. Being at home definitely helped me. As did pregnancy yoga classes, hypnobirth cds, visualisation and mantras (sounds woo but I'm not), and feeling utterly safe and supported by mw, dh and dm.

I found books by Janet Balaskas, Ina May Gaskin, and Stand and Deliver all good. Also liked the 'Call the Midwife' books for reminding me that so many women had done it before me.

I'm so sorry that you had a bad time with dc1, would it help to discuss it with you mw or supervisor of mw?

Wearytiger Sun 08-Sep-13 22:54:01

Hypnobirthing - just fabulous. So good for keeping you relaxed and calm.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 08-Sep-13 22:59:20

My first birth was horrid. Started with an induction and went downhill from there.

Second birth was a completely different experience, because I had it at home. In my case avoiding the hospital made all the difference.

lagoonhaze Sun 08-Sep-13 23:02:35

First birth horrific and long

Second birth a breeze.

read lots of ina may and read positive birth stories second time around.

adagio Sun 08-Sep-13 23:03:29

Agree with Hermyninny - Ina May Gaskin. Really inspiring and lovely birth stories in there. Personally I also enjoyed Lazy Daisy antenatal classes, which taught me to breathe, and actually reading a pregnancy bible book my SIL gave me so I understood the physical mechanics - was my first so in all honesty I hadn't really paid much attention to the detail of labour and birth previously (I certainly can't remember biology all those years ago in school going into much detail of precisely how a cervix works, but I may have blanked it!).

I suspect it was partly luck, I laboured at home as long as I could, which turned out to be 6cm. As OrganixAddict said I expected it to get much worse so stayed home with TENS machine. I actually 'popped' to hospital MLU to confirm I was in labour - I expected they would say I was 2 or 3 cm and send me home again (I live round the corner) also thought it would take longer.

As with williaminajetfighter I had a lovely, calm and hands off midwife who popped in from time to time once in hospital, and for the birth it was just me, DH and the lovely midwife so didn't feel at all medical.

I was in a pool and felt very safe and private. I arrived in hospital mid morning, delivered mid afternoon, and home mid evening. This was perfect - I hate hospitals. I had no drugs, I remained in control which suited me.

To be honest though, I think a lot of it is luck and be mentally prepared to take it in your stride and not get too stressy if things don't continue on your plan, and being reasonably clued up on anything you particularly don't want and make sure your DH/birth partner knows and agrees.

Good luck flowers

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