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absolutely terrified...

(132 Posts)
MrsPatMustard Fri 18-Oct-13 19:22:54

I'm sure this is a topic that gets raised all the time, but I'm currently 25+4 with DC1 and I'm utterly petrified of childbirth. I've postponed pregnancy deliberately for years (I'm 39) because I'm totally freaked out by it. I've signed up to NCT relaxation/breathe classes to try and prep myself but, whilst the other women in the class seem to be fairly calm, I don't think it's helping at all. The course leader asks us to visualise a contraction and even thinking about it makes me feel panicky...

NCT seems to spend all the time convincing you that it's going to be a calming beautiful experience but all I can think of are those horrendous childbirth films they show you in school. None of the women in those films looked like they were finding it especially calming!

The things that are particularly stressing me are the thought of tearing whilst the baby comes out. I'd opt for an elective caesarian but I'm also terrified of the idea of an injection into my spine, not to mention the thought of catheters...

I feel such a coward. But I'm already at the point of crying every time I think about labour and I'm having nightmares.

Has anyone else been through this and can anyone offer any suggestions for coping with the fear and trying to minimise the stress? Especially would appreciate thoughts on different pain relief options - since NCT barely seem to talk about this...

plentyofsoap Fri 18-Oct-13 19:45:55

Sorry you feel like this. I had a fear of labour mainly the pain part. Its difficult to prepare for and I never made a birth plan as you never know what is going to happen. I did not want to feel like I had failed if it was not achieved if that makes sense. I focused on getting baby out safely no matter on the method. Have you spoken to your midwife about it?

havingastress Fri 18-Oct-13 19:49:04

To be honest, once you're 'in it' you really will feel differently. By the time they'd put catheters in me, they literally could have done anything! Ditto with the back injection.

I also just focused on getting the baby out - and safely. You will find that's your number one priority when it happens.

plentyofsoap Fri 18-Oct-13 19:49:24

I forgot to add I was happy to take as many drugs as possible to help with the pain. In labour I had the injection (not sure what it is called) and gas and air. It took the edge off but I did not like feeling out of control. I had a section then as I did with my first, but would have had an epidural otherwise. Remember though everyone copes differently.

scoutfinch1 Fri 18-Oct-13 20:05:57

Have you thought about hypnobirthing?. I didn't do classes I just used a cd to listen to at home whilst pregnant and I did a fantastic job of keeping me from worrying about labor. I ended up having an incredibly calm and relaxing birth so it can happen. Just to warn you though like your classes the cd I used did ask you to visualise the birth but it is done in a really positive way. Contractions are talked about but I don't think they used that word.

scoutfinch1 Fri 18-Oct-13 20:06:49

* it did a fantastic job

Littleredtree Fri 18-Oct-13 20:19:32

Perhaps see if you can get to a pregnancy yoga class too? Helps with relaxation and making you more comfortable during pregnancy as well as labour plus at the one I go to there's lots of sharing of fears/stories, all in a very positive and supportive way. I think the NHS has a leaflet on different pain relief options and their pros and cons?

IComeFromALandDownUnder Fri 18-Oct-13 20:20:10

You don't feel the catheters. The injection is a pinch. I didn't feel any of my episotomy's as I had the epi. I didn't even know I had one until afterwards. Honestly, I look at pregnant women who are term and feel jealous as it is such a lovely experience. As others have said you are so focused your body does what is needed. Just concentrate on meeting your snuggly new born.

emsyj Fri 18-Oct-13 20:22:15

I would second the idea of Hypnobirthing. The techniques worked brilliantly for me.

You may also want to consider hiring a doula. For me, my second birth was so much more positive and I think it was because I had a midwife that I knew. Having the support of someone you know and trust may help you feel more in control.

MrsPnut Fri 18-Oct-13 20:30:12

Women have been giving birth for many years, if it was so bad then we'd have come up with a better way by now.

It does hurt, there's no getting round it but it's so different to other pains like toothache or earache. It usually builds up so you have time to decide when you need some pain relief and there are midwives there seeing to your needs.
What's great though is that the pain has a crescendo and then you have a beautiful baby that means you have made it. The pain goes almost as soon as you deliver your baby and the delivery of the placenta is usually a haze.
I've had 2 children with no pain relief, one of them was an induction, but I would never tell any other mother that my way was the right way. Do what you feel is right at the time.

martinedwards Fri 18-Oct-13 20:47:23

my mum gave my wife the following advice when facing birth the first time.

if it was THAT bad, how come there are families with more than one child?

every contraction is one closer to having the baby in your arms.

OK, I'm a bloke, so what do I know, other than being married to a woman who gave birth to 4 (all over 8 lbs) with no pain relief.

good luck!

SweetieTime Fri 18-Oct-13 21:20:10

OP i could have written your post. Like you I think my fear of childbirth was a factor in my leaving it late to conceive, I am also 39 and currently 29 weeks with twins.
It is the fear of the unknown, how long it will go on for, what will happen, how much it will hurt and the tearing. I am not sure I will get over this before I go into labour or get induced.

I have asked my twin consultant for ELCS which was refused as there is no medical reason, both twins are currently head down and same weight. Apparently my trust don't carry out ELCS without medical need, despite NICE guidelines and it not been stated on the trust website.

I will keep watching with interest at the advice given on here, there are good suggestions and positive experiences that I will keep in mind.

Littleredtree Fri 18-Oct-13 22:03:46

Re horrendous childbirth films etc, do remember that screaming and a dash to hospital after waters going in dramatic fashion followed by unbearable contractions makes fantastic footage for tv. Slower labour with mooing women managing their experience and choosing how to navigate the birth (with pain relief etc) much less so!

honey86 Fri 18-Oct-13 22:28:40

mooing women gringrin

Crista Fri 18-Oct-13 23:32:06

Hi, I gave birth 16 weeks ago, the normal way (not c-section that is), with gas and air and pethadine.
When I was 5 or so, my mother decided to tell me about my childbirth and her experience was horrific. Mainly because of the way she was treated by hospital staff, but to be fair, I was not born in the UK. But she also told me about everything that ripped inside, and how my head was sticking out of her for hours.... brrrrr!!!!! It really did scar me and felt like I was stupid every time I told health professionals about it, as they kept saying "you only hear about bad cases anyway", "we'll talk next time about birth options". Felt really unsupported in that respect and on top of it, I was on blood thinners, which meant there was a possibility I couldn't get epidural or needing general anesthetic if something went wrong. So yeah, I was terrified!
But once I got to about 33 weeks or so, I started to come to terms with it, because the baby needs to come out one way or the other. Also, going to ante-natal classes and finding out the ins and outs of labour was helpful. Knowledge is power as they say. In the end, I couldn't get an epidural as I dilated way to quickly, not because of blood thinners - which I stopped taking on purpose, as consultant kept on fobbing me off; felt the risk of developing ante-natal depression was much higher than the risk of getting a blood clot, so it was a calculated choice.
And when labour came, I just took each contraction at a time, and gas and air a lot! I had a really good midwife and that helped too.
But no, I wouldn't say it's a calming experience lol, some women feel like it's a wonderful experience despite the pain though; but giving birth is an extremely personal experience, so don't compare your feelings to others. Whatever you will feel about it during and after, it will be the right thing.

Crista Fri 18-Oct-13 23:41:56

@MrsPnut: my contractions started strongly straight away. They started at 8pm and haven't slept more than 5 min at a time, they were that painful. At 8am I was in hospital and only 3cm, but they decided to keep me as I was in so much pain. It might have been exacerbated by the lack of sleep. But I was hoping I'd have a longer latent stage to get used to the pain as it increases. So it doesn't always work like that...
@Littleredtree: I screamed like crazy! I didn't even care who hears me at one point. So it's not just put on for tv.
Sorry, OP, but it can go either way. After my experience and after being terrified, I would have rather people told me the reality than "it's only like this, the rest is just exaggerated/dramatised on purpose". No it's not lol, it can be extremely different from one woman to the next.

hazchem Sat 19-Oct-13 01:03:07

MrsPatMustard Can you see if there is a Positive Birth Group near you. the idea is to change the "wallpaper of fear" surrounding birth they are free and a place for women to discuss and explore birth which is positive.

I too was really scared of tearing (or in fact the stitching). I didn't realise that they give you Gas and Air and a local which numbs it. I genuinely didn't feel the stiching. I was worried about the epidural too but ended up just using hot water and then some Gas and Air.

ceara Sat 19-Oct-13 09:05:15

OP, I'm another one who could have written your post (and am 26 weeks and - nearly - 39 having left it (almost too) late for similar reasons). I can't offer much more than hand holding as I'm in the same boat.

I have found it helps to talk things through with an empathetic professional ie not one who fobs you off with "everyone gets anxious". Is counselling an option for you? Or one to one hypno-birthing (so you can explain your fears and have tailored support?)

Also watching this thread with interest for good advice. Thank you for starting it.

Choos123 Sat 19-Oct-13 09:12:11

I was terrified too but the epidural was fantastic, didn't feel the catheter, I did get a 3 rd degree tear and beforehand this was one of the things that made me feel sick but it healed fast and was fine, I'd do it again if I could, the end result is well worth it! Talk to your midwife for a professional that can help you. Goodluck op!

SquidgersMummy Sat 19-Oct-13 12:28:20

Hi - I was really frightened - I managed to get myself under consultant care as I was so scared of something going wrong etc. BUT the near it got strangely the happier I was and when it started I fought hard to go to the midwife unit smile I found hypnobirthing book and CD REALLY helpful. I didn't do a hypnobirth - I used a TENS (amazing), pool, G&A but the cd made me so much more confident and made it all feel normal. Please, please try one. When labour started - after a sweep - I was grinning from ear to ear and mopped and hoovered the whole house to stay on my feet. My approach was totally different. Honestly before the cd I was the most frightened person ever. It gave me things to do and I felt in control. Contractions do hurt but I genuinely hope I go through it again one day as I felt so proud of myself afterwards and in labour it's a totally different state of mind and you think differently about it all. It's like trying to compared being pissed with bring sober - it's totally different how you think and feel. Water births are supposed to help prevent tearing - I had to get out for a bit of assistance at the end - they all shout PANT - and if you listen it will help. Honestly PM me if you need a shoulder. X

SquidgersMummy Sat 19-Oct-13 12:35:10

Forgot to add G&A is AMAZING!!! Biggest breath you can AS SOON AS you feel the contraction start (there's a few secs delay to it taking effect) and bingo!!! smile

I got to 8cm with just TENS and I am no hero. As soon as the small period like cramps started I got it on. The early you get it on the better and the more effective it is. You wouldn't look at me as they didn't think I was in 'proper' labour. Then they did and it was a rush to fill the pool. Getting into the pool was heaven. It took away so much of the heaviness and pain - and of course I had my G&A when it then got more intense. I would def say book a TENS and try for a pool. X

MrsPatMustard Sat 19-Oct-13 16:37:37

Thanks everyone - can't see a positive birth group near me but will definitely look into hypnobirthing.

I really want to talk to the midwife about all this in detail, but you don't seem to get much midwife time at ante-natal appointments. I seem to get 15 minutes each appointment which isn't long once they've done all the checks. In your experiences, did you get much time to talk to the midwife about this sort of stuff?

MrsPatMustard Sat 19-Oct-13 16:38:19

Will book a TENS too. Thanks for the tip.

Crista Sat 19-Oct-13 20:05:07

I second the opinion about gas and air. Magic stuff!
My midwife was always late with her appointments, bless her, as she liked listening to everyone's concerns. If yours is more regimental with her time, maybe book an appointment just for discussing things with her?
Oh forgot to add, that now after I've given birth, I feel like a superhero especially since I wondered a lot of times if I could cope. If I could do that, I can do anything! And when you hold your baby in your arms, it's so totally worth it! x

bigbrick Sat 19-Oct-13 20:09:17

The time of labour will pass and you will have your baby. You will be strong and you will surprise yourself that you coped and got through it all. Best wishes

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