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thinking about second labour.

(12 Posts)
weebairn Sun 24-Aug-14 17:27:10

I am 8 months pregnant with my second. Just been resting today and thinking back over my last pregnancy and birth. I'm planning for a home birth, same as last time, but if I'm honest I'm feeling a bit wobbly about it sometimes.

I was lucky enough to have a straightforward labour and a home birth, but it was long and I found it so very painful. I recognised the "transition" bit where you lose your mind, but it lasted several hours for me - the books always seem to imply it's a few minutes.

My first sign of labour was my waters breaking and contractions started immediately after that - baby was 30 hours later, some of that was manageable, the last 12 hours or so were very intense and very painful. A friend of mine who is a midwife says labours are more painful without the cushioning of the waters- I don't know what anyone here thinks about that.

I guess I am wondering if I can do it again. In terms of pain relief lsat time I had a tens machine and I used gas and air between 7 and 8 cm but after that it just didn't help any more and I just used my breathing. I used a pool for about an hour at one point but the midwives said it was slowing things down and as I was already progressing so slowly they made me get out. I was gutted because it really eased things.

The last 4 or 5 hours between 9 and 10 cm were just so extreme. I don't know if I can face going back there. I am unpleasantly jealous of anyone who had a short labour, even if it was a tough one. I feel I could cope with pain if it was short lived.

I wonder if I was unrealistic last time about how much it would hurt, or whether I had a tough labour, or whether I am just kinda feeble… of course I am hoping (and frequently fantasising) that this one will be shorter and easier but I'm not sure I really believe it.

I'm not sure why I'm posting, just feel a bit wobbly today, just wondering if I should go to hospital after all, get an epidural or something, if I'm not cut out for the home birth. I know lots of women who didn't seem to find their labour that tough (though, equally, I do know lots who had a really hard time).

WaffleWiffle Sun 24-Aug-14 17:44:39

Firstly, you are not feeble.

It is not uncommon for first time mums to underestimate how intensely painful it will be and I don't believe anyone can understand the loss of control "losing your mind" until you have done it.

I have long labours (57 hours, 23 hours and 26 hours - in that order for my three children). I won't sugar coat things, I do not believe labour and delivery got any easier.

DC1 - Second hardest labour - failed epidural and gas and air
DC2 - Best labour by far. Working epidural was fantastic and made everything so calm and tranquil.
DC3 - Worst labour. Over confidence from DC2 meant I went for just gas and air. Horrible. I refused to push, refused to accept the loss of control. Had to be put in stirups and forced to get on with things.

All that said - you managed a home birth last time so you can and will manage again. All of mine were hospital births. I would have loved the calm and settled environment at home.

Jenninlw Sun 24-Aug-14 17:46:56

I think if you did at home the first time and you 'coped' you can do it again as it is likely to be easier and shorter the second time around. Did you have gas and air - I know it does bugger all in transition but is something to do to keep you busy. I was in transition for 2 hours after my water broke and it bloody hurt and I was panicky and it's impossible to predict how long that stage will last but I'm more confident this time around as at least I know there is an end point! I'm planning a home birth because i want the comfort of my own home after the birth and am worried about baby coming fast.

You can plan for a home birth then when your contractions start you could always go in if you are worried

weebairn Sun 24-Aug-14 17:56:46

Thank you both

Wiffle I like to daydream constantly about having one of those swift second labours you hear about but I suspect my situation will be more like yours. My mum has had three kids and hers didn't get any shorter either (though they weren't as long as mine).

"Coping" is a strange concept: I read my notes afterwards because the midwives forgot them and picked them up the next day, they kept saying "coping well" - I felt I coped terribly! Towards the end at least, I was alright for the first 20 hours maybe. But I guess I was pleased they wrote that, rather than upset - that they thought I was. I didn't think I was.

I found gas and air very helpful for a few hours, but then nothing helped so I just threw it away.

There were lots of positives about the home birth - I thought my care was excellent, really caring and experienced and calm - and being at home afterwards was brilliant (believe me I have heard about the postnatal ward from mates!) And obviously you can't always get an epidural when you want and they don't always work. I don't think I want an epidural, I just don't know if I can do it again. I feel more tired and less fit than last pregnancy, also.

I feel a bit ashamed for even thinking all this as I was so lucky to have straightforward first birth when it seems like not many do. People always seem to think I must have found it really easy when I say I did it at home.

BendyMum15 Sun 24-Aug-14 19:24:02

I had a similar experience with my first.
My waters went at home and contractions started about 30 mins later and were no more than 3 mins apart which midwife at the maternity unit didn't believe. Went in anyway and was only 1 cm dilated after about 90 mins of contractions every 2 - 3 mins (we all expected more). Was sent to the labour ward at the hospital and was still only 1cm. After very intense and close contractions all night waa only 2cm dilated.
Was sent for an induction - drip had little effect!
Was given morphine after 12 hours to allow me to rest and then more at about 20 hours so I could rest again. At 26 hours I had an epidural and finally DS was born assisted ny forceps at 30 hours. Was exhausted and DS was very dopy.
Was induced with DS as had GD ans labour was 40 mins and only had gas and air. It was a really positive experience but had been to Lazy Daisy classes which helped me feel more confident and we did a bit of hypnobirthing.
I was so scared before my induction that it would be like last time but it was totally different! If you did it last time you can so it this time too! xx

MarlenaGru Sun 24-Aug-14 19:32:59

First labour was about 36 hours but only 17 established. Second labour was 8 hours from first contraction to birth and only an hour established. I wanted a home birth but had meconium in waters so ended up with full monitoring. I wish I had been able to go straight to my own bed afterwards but other than that second birth was text book. It really can get quicker! Good luck. I am slightly jealous even though I have an 8 week old! blush

weebairn Mon 25-Aug-14 07:44:20

Thanks both, those are really encouraging stories!

Greenstone Mon 25-Aug-14 09:44:51

OK, well first of all, you're not feeble. That's surely been established! I just don't think there's any such thing as being feeble in labour, no matter what kind of birth you have and how medicalised or not it might be.

My labour was quite like yours - except that it was 15 hours from waters breaking to delivery of placenta, and 6.5 hours of established labour - so, it was half the time of yours, and I found it really pretty tough - like you said, some of it manageable, some not.

Don't forget how long you were without sleep. Because of late-pregnancy insomnia and also the timeframe labour all happened, I was about 36 hours without sleep by the time I delivered, and then it was still many many hours before I slept again afterwards. So, remember just how hard that 30 hours' work must have been for you.

And I can confirm that my midwife also said (after it was all over, mind you!) that labour without the cushioning effect of the waters can indeed feel a lot more painful and intense. (Aunt who had 5 labours and one of them like this also agreed.)

I'm behind you by about a month, but will totally be having a little wobble about round #2 closer to the time (and yes, also get the feeling like a fraud thing because it was a 'good' labour). I'm reading a really old pregnancy book of my mother's at the minute and it makes all kinds of claims for second labours being much quicker than first. Here's hoping!

Finally, you said that you liked being in the bath last time but that midwives felt it was slowing things. I wonder would a long hot shower be better? I had 2 long hot showers before I went into hospital and it was the place I felt best and safest.

Good luck flowers

Bolshybookworm Mon 25-Aug-14 10:01:23

I had a long labour first time around (40 hrs- it was very stop/starty and I needed an epidural and a drip in the end).
Second time around, however, was only 12 hours start (they broke my waters as I was 41+6) to finish. Also, the pushing was much, much quicker (2 pushes!). It was so nice not to have the exhaustion from 40 hours of very little sleep.

Good luck, and try not to dwell on it too much (asking the impossible, but hey!). I had an epidural again 2nd time around as they thought I wasn't progressing and needed a drip. As soon as it kicked in, my labour ramped up- I think I'd become so worried about the pain and having a slow labour like last time, it was actually hindering labour (it didn't help that they time you once they break your waters).

weebairn Tue 26-Aug-14 13:08:25

Greenstone thank you, I do feel lack of rest/sleep was a major problem, the exhaustion as much as the pain. I possibly tried to be too active in the early stages - did some pacing round and up and down stairs a few times to try and get the contractions going, etc. This was mainly because I was on a timer - they said I'd need inducing if I hadn't gone into active labour within 24 hours of the waters going. But maybe rest would have been better? Or maybe that would have made it longer and it would all have ended up in hospital and possibly unnecessarily interfered with?? Who knows!!

Good luck with your birth too!! I will try and pop back after baby and tell you how wonderfully fast and easy it all was grin

thanks bolshy -another encouraging story. I agree the timing is so off-putting! I was excited and confident at the start but so worried and demoralised by the end, and it was mostly me fixating on the length of it that was the problem I think. I kept asking "but it's been x hours, why am I only x cm, etc" - I think this time if all stays straightforward I will ban clocks from my sight and not have any internal examinations.

thank, you, you have all been very helpful.

weebairn Fri 03-Oct-14 19:09:00

Here's an update!!

Baby born 30 September (her due date!) She was born at home. It was still pretty fucking painful, but a completely different experience. I didn't have hardly any latent stage labour. Contractions started very mildly at 4pm by 6pm they were close and painful and not stopping! Called the midwife, got through the next 2 hours with TENS and gas and air, got in the pool, then had a fairly weird transitional phase which went on a bit - sometimes I felt pushy sometimes I didn't. Midwife was AMAZING, I had no internals, she had complete confidence in me and just told me to do what my body was telling me to do, so I did, pushing with some contractions and just breathing through them with others. Though the pain was incredible I was far more in control and able to talk and even joke between contractions. I made a lot more noise!

My waters broke in the pool and I passed my show and 2 minutes later I delivered the head, very slowly and painfully, all by myself. One more push and body was out. The moment was incredible!!! I can't even remember the actual birth from my first labour I was so shattered and out of it. I picked my baby out of the water myself, saw that she was a girl, cuddled her, cried, laughed, it was magic. It was all over so soon!

It was 10pm and I was in active labour for 4 hours. I had a small 2nd degree tear which didn't need stitching. Baby was 8 lb 9 oz! (My first was only 6 lb 14!)

In conclusion: just as painful, but infinitely better experience, I feel powerful rather than traumatised… been on cloud nine since basically.

ps. Baby is pretty damn cute too smile

weebairn Fri 03-Oct-14 19:10:25

Oh and toddler went to bed in the first hour of this and slept through the whole thing! Legend.

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