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Tell me about your back to back labour?

(45 Posts)
Mybabygirl2018 Thu 08-Nov-18 13:18:54

Hello,

I am very lucky to have a lovely 4 month old baby girl. When I look back though I just want to understand what happened during labour a bit more. As with how intense it was I’m not sure I could go through it again.

I often hear that gas and air is enough (it is great) and that labour was bearable. For me, I don’t think I could have handled it without an epidural. Although I suppose looking back, my midwife didn’t reassure me much so I was panicking a fair bit.

I don’t feel like I have a low pain threshold but obviously I have nothing to compare it to.

So, basically I started contractions and spent a lot of time at home. It was painful and I was unable to sit down or sleep. It was very stressful.

Got to hospital after 24 hours, 1cm dilated. Had pethidine and managed to get to 3/4cm. Had no sleep at this point.

They broke my waters as nothing much was happening and DD heart was kept dropping.

After this I lost control and the pain became unbearable. I got an epidural and it was all fine, although I had to go on the drip for ages but luckily no intervention.

My midwife never explained that the baby was OP or what that meant, she didn’t want to keep examining me (fair enough) and I was kicking off so much she thought I was going to have the baby soon! But I was no where near.

Did anyone have a similar experience? I know birth is different for everyone, but I really didn’t expect it to turn out the way it did.

OP’s posts: |
Hidingtonothing Thu 08-Nov-18 13:51:25

I had no idea DD was back to back until weeks after she was born when DH mentioned she came out face up. It explained a lot and I wish I’d known at the time.

Labour was a blur for me, had been having contractions all day, painful but manageable but from the point my water broke (at home) everything changed. The pain was constant and intense, no break between contractions and I couldn’t bear to be touched, by the time I got to hospital I was totally panicking and in a world of pain, so different to what I expected.

There were 3 hours between arriving and DD being born but I remember very little, DH says I was very unsettled, couldn’t stay still and couldn’t/wouldn’t do what the MW said, she tried to get me in the bath but I couldn’t get undressed, was just in too much pain to do anything. I remember them putting the monitor on me but I couldn’t bear the sticky pads on my skin so I ripped them off. MW managed to examine me again at that point and I’d gone from 5cm at 1am to 10cm at 2.30am.

DD was in distress by then so they rushed me to the delivery room. I don’t remember much of that part either, despite having had no pain relief whatsoever, I do remember the MW shouting at me that I wasn’t pushing hard enough and asking if I wanted my baby to die. It ended with an episiotomy and forceps, none of which I felt for some reason, it was like I was numb by that point. They tried to put DD on my chest and I refused, something I still feel guilty about, but it was like I was in shock, I honestly didn’t know who or where I was by that point.

They took me off to stitch me up then and I remember crying while they were putting the spinal in because the anaesthetist was so kind to me and the first person not to shout at me since I arrived. It took ages for them to stitch me up and by the time I got back to DH and DD they’d given him a bottle to give her which upset me again as I’d wanted to bf from the outset. All in all it was horrendous and I felt traumatised for a long time, I should have had a birth debrief really, I think it might have helped but they’d closed the maternity wing at the hospital before I felt ready to face it.

I don’t know if any of this is useful OP, my story isn’t that similar I realise but that feeling of it not going at all the way you expected is familiar, I hope you’re doing ok and congrats on your DD flowers

Mybabygirl2018 Thu 08-Nov-18 14:01:19

Thanks hiding. We have some similarities there! I remember breathing in the gas and air constantly so I would pass out and not have to feel contractions!

I was never actually in active labour so god knows how much worse it would have gotten.

I’m sorry you weren’t treated very well and didn’t get that first feed with your baby. I had a shift change over while there and the first midwife just left us to it- I don’t think she reassured me at all. I am lucky it ended in a positive way though as the second midwife was much better (or maybe I’m just saying that because I’d had an epidural by then!)

OP’s posts: |
Sipperskipper Thu 08-Nov-18 14:02:07

My back to back labour was tough. I had done hypnobirthing and felt calm and excited for labour.

I had a few hours of contractions at home. They were short but very very frequent, and were getting really intense. Went to hospital after speaking with midwife on the phone, and was only 1cm! They kept me in though as the contractions were very intense, and I couldn’t sit down.

I also couldn’t wee, it was like something was blocking my bladder. I had to try and wee standing up in the shower, but it was total agony.

The contractions were sort of like someone riding over my back with a digger. I felt calm but it was just insane. I was waiting until I got to 5cm to use the pool. I got to 5cm, but then started bleeding, so couldn’t use it. At this point I requested an epidural, as I was holding out for the pool, and it was now unbearable. Sitting for the spinal was the most pain I have ever had. Not the spinal itself, but just having to sit with my bum on a surface.

Epidural was amazing, but DD wouldn’t come despite 1 hr of pushing at 10cm. Ended up with an emergency section. Was difficult as she was partially in the birth canal, so she came out very bruised. One of her feet was all bent up from her position in the womb, and she had some physio for it a few months ago (now 18 months old).

I wasn’t panicking, was very calm and felt very in control thanks to hypnobirthing, but it was still total fucking agony! Don’t worry, it’s not you or a low pain threshold or anything like that. Back to back labours can be pretty rough.

cantstopfreaking Thu 08-Nov-18 14:06:42

My back to back labour sounds similar.
When people say you can cope with a normal labour with gas and air I know for a fact I could not cope with back to back labour on gas and air.
I didn’t have a single pain in my stomach, no period type pains, just felt like a tractor was repeatedly driving over my back.
And I didn’t dilate very quickly for the amount and pain of contractions I was having.
I remember feeling like I could not go on and I was only 2cm dilated. I had an epidural quite early on as I panicked and could not cope with the pain.
It was nothing like period pain or braxton hicks, just felt like by back was being bulldozed!

Mybabygirl2018 Thu 08-Nov-18 14:13:08

Sipper I could have written a lot of that!

After about 10 hours on the drip being 4cm, they checked and were surprised to see I was 10cm. I’m lucky I didn’t end up with a c section.

I would have liked to get in the water but I was just too scared. I remember sitting down getting the epi squeezing the midwifes hand so hard. It was not dignified at all, DH says I was all over the place and he won’t ever forget it! I think the fact it hurt so much but I wasn’t ‘progressing’ just left me feeling completely deflated.

OP’s posts: |
Mybabygirl2018 Thu 08-Nov-18 14:15:07

I struggle to remember the pain. I think it was upper thighs, back and groin. Don’t remember bump tightening at all. Sitting in the car driving to the hospital was hell. It was 30 degrees during the heatwave too which didn’t help.

OP’s posts: |
Mrsfrumble Thu 08-Nov-18 14:15:25

I’ve had one back-to-back and one not, and it was a completely different experience! The back-to-back labour was very long and excruciating. I was in too much pain to eat, drink or rest; by the time I was 2cm dilated my body was so drained the midwife insisted I have an epidural so I would have enough strength for the birth.

For my second birth the baby was the right way up (or down, I suppose) and was born in water with no pain relief at all! (I did try g&a but it made me vomit profusely, which isn’t a good idea in a birthing pool). The labour was much quicker and pain was still intense, but manageable. I felt much more in control because I wasn’t exhausted and terrified.

4 months is no time at all OP, and I’m not surprised you still feel traumatised! Time does heal, and 8 years after my first difficult birth experience I can look back objectively. Do you think you’d benefit from a debrief?

Hidingtonothing I’m so sorry you had such a distressing experience. I know that the NHS has no time of money for it, but I think it would be good for every new mother to get some sort of debrief, even if it’s just a brief written report delivered at the 6 week check.

BillyAndTheSillies Thu 08-Nov-18 14:19:31

My stand out thing from a back to back labour was minute long contractions every other minutes but Midwives not believing I was in labour because my contractions were not showing on the monitor strapped to my stomach.
I was being induced after not going in to labour after my waters broke.
The contractions went on for 28 hours. I hypnobirthed for the first 16. Then begged for an epidural because I was exhausted and felt like my body was being torn in two - with no one believing me.
Epidural failed, gas and air for dear life. Thankfully, the actual birth was very quick. Started pushing at 11:30am and DS born at 11:40am on the dot.

Hangingbyathread12 Thu 08-Nov-18 14:20:18

I had B2B labour, lasted 3 days after my waters went, I failed to dialate properly and Eventually had an EMCS. My epidural failed and was the most unbearable pain.
I was given a debrief immediately afterwards as all the details meant it was ‘unusually traumatic’ I found this helpful, can you request one?

Looking back I definitely had PTSD after, I wish I’d got more help.

Hangingbyathread12 Thu 08-Nov-18 14:22:35

My contractions were 3 mins apart for about 60 hours and on top of each other for the final 4 of those hours prior to the EMCS. dr said this and the failure to progress can be caused by b2b labour. Felt all my contractions in my back and very low stomach.

Mybabygirl2018 Thu 08-Nov-18 14:24:11

I might consider a debrief. Overall I look back on it in a positive way though and the actual giving birth, I loved. It was just the latent labour, being at home and the feeling of being out of control before epidural- I don’t know, I think all the NCT natural birth stuff got to me a bit and I feel like I failed? I know that’s ridiculous as I have my beautiful baby girl! So obviously didn’t fail smile

OP’s posts: |
Sipperskipper Thu 08-Nov-18 14:29:29

I know what you mean about feeling like you have failed. It was similar to how I felt - months of hypnobirthing, affirmations, visualisations etc, and I still ended up with an epidural and EMCS.

But we haven’t failed, we still gave birth or course, just not how we had hoped or expected. I also don’t think it is helpful when people say ‘but all that matters is that you have a healthy baby’ - of course that matters, it’s the whole point of it all, but sometimes birth can be traumatic, and scary, and it’s ok to say that.

Jackiebrambles Thu 08-Nov-18 14:31:40

I would really recommend a debrief.

I only found my labour was so horrific because my son was actually back to back - and this was after I'd had an emergency section!

No midwife explained to me (that I can remember anyway!) that he was in an awkward position after examining me.

But like yours my pain was unbearable from very early on in labour, like within 30 minutes! I had 12 hours of almost constant contractions - all the nct/info said that contractions were really hard but that you get a break between them. Er - did I fuck! Honestly they were every minute from right at the beginning.

Gas and air did nothing (made me sick in fact) and I begged for an epidural at 4 cms. It only partially worked, but it did help a bit.

After 16 hours I had an emcs. That spinal block was one of the happiest moments of my life.

Mybabygirl2018 Thu 08-Nov-18 15:26:18

Thanks Jackie.

It’s a relief to read that others had a similar experience! But a shame at the same time. I just wish I had been more prepared, I would have tried much harder to move her into a better position for birth.

OP’s posts: |
SilverbytheSea Thu 08-Nov-18 15:45:10

My waters broke but no contractions, went for an induction the next day due to the infection risk, contractions started at 12 mid day, but my body wasn’t reacting well to the hormones so was having lots of contractions very close together, put me on the drip about 6pm to try and lengthen the contractions (I was still only 1cm at this point) didn’t lengthen the contractions just made them more painful, at 9pm I was 9cm and stayed this way until 7am when it was decided a emcs was needed.
I didn’t find out he was back to back until I was home from the hospital 4 days later and my community midwife was discussing the birth. I also have a really far back womb and cervix which didn’t help things either.
I did feel like such a failure, I had done hypnobirthing/prenatal yoga and I generally have a high pain threshold, but once the hormones kicked in the pain was unbearable.
I had actually forgotten the feeling of failure until recently (currently pregnant with DC2) and the expectation that I will have a VBAC from other mums to be that I have met, even though my consultant said that given my risk factors a VBAC would have an 80% chance in ending in emcs for me anyway, I still feel like I’m failing in some way :-/

Jackiebrambles Thu 08-Nov-18 18:30:10

I felt exactly the same, I was scanned at my last midwife appt because she wasn’t sure if he was breech or not. Why didn’t she say he was back to back?! I guess maybe lots of babies move in Labour so no point, I don’t know, but I too felt unprepared.

For my second child I went straight for an elcs and they were very supportive about that.

thethoughtfox Thu 08-Nov-18 18:34:59

4 day labour. All contractions went into my horrific back pains. The contractions felt insignificant because they at least ended but horrific back pain continued constantly. Contractions kept getting ready till they could admit me and then became irregular. Had to get augmented, epidural, prepped for section and them forceps.

Leftie624 Thu 08-Nov-18 18:38:17

DS was back to back. Initially labour progressed ok, my contractions started at 5pm then I was fully dilated at 9.30am the next morning. Seemed to take ages to get to 5cm then I went from 5cm to 10cm in 3 hours - apparently this was much quicker than they were expecting. I was off my face on pethidine by then!

The problems started once I was fully dilated. I pushed for 3 hours but my contractions slowed down so I was transferred up to the delivery suite and put on a drip. Contractions re-started and I was pushing but after an hour they came in and said I had to go to theatre and it would be forceps or C-section. It was 4pm by this point and I was absolutely exhausted.

DS born at 5.26pm after forceps, episiostomy and I lost 1.3 litres of blood.

I managed on gas and air got in the pool when we got to hospital at 5am, then had pethidine when the contractions got really intense. There were definitely points where I felt the pain was so bad I couldn’t cope.

One positive though was despite the whole saga DS was never distressed at any point and that did help to keep me calm. The doctor said he turned at the very last second on his way out.

My waters had also broken hours before my contractions started, and I felt like a failure for being unable to push him out without help.

Soubriquet Thu 08-Nov-18 18:39:00

My ds was back to back

He was my second born so I knew to expect pain but his was worse

He kept pressing on a nerve too so every other contraction caused my leg to cramp up which was agony

It was only when he started to crown did the midwife say “oh look, he’s sunny side up! No wonder it’s hurting so much”

MumUndone Thu 08-Nov-18 18:54:29

DS2 was born 6 weeks ago, he was back to back. Very painful and intense contractions and could feel them in my lower back much more than first labour. Made it to fully dilated without pain relief (couldn't bear the taste of the gas and air even though used it loads during first labour) but was only about 2 hours from when labour first started, it all happened very quickly. But, DS2 got stuck so I had to be prepped for C section, though managed to get him out with ventouse. Annoyed I didn't get to have a natural birth, as DS1 was delivered by ventouse also.

RiojaHaze Thu 08-Nov-18 20:37:57

I've had 2 back to backs and 1 not.

The b2bs were awful: long hard labours, blue lighted to hospitals rather than midwife led units, epidurals, failed forceps and ventouse.

The first one I didn't know about her being b2b, and no one explained it could make things harder. With the third I kind of knew what to expect.

In contrast, DS1 wasn't b2b and almost literally flew out in one big push.

chickywoo Thu 08-Nov-18 20:56:35

All 4 of mine were back to back first was in labour from 6am born at 11pm all the pain in my back, no pain relief only gas and air, they kept showing me this stupid model of the stages of dilation - like “ your almost there” but in reality was in unbearable agony for hours needed to push while they were having handover, they fobbed me off then feelings had gone was pushing for ages but nothing happening - in hindsight I know it’s because I should of started pushing when I felt it anyway ended up with episiotomy and forceps the worst pain ever in my life.
2nd back to back also a few hours shorter labour but just as painful - this time was sensible and had diamorphine was determined to push the baby out myself this time - which I did - and with no stitches!
Number 3 was overdue, on the day I was due to be induced labour slowly started - they insisted I still come in for induction hmm anyway was in established labour by the time I got there but they didn’t take me to delivery suite they Fannied about for ages, I was in labour on a maternity ward with the curtains round while other people had visitors shock no gas and air as it’s not plumbed in on the ward (although they could have brought me portable one) when my waters broke and they realised time was of the essence they wizzed me in agony in a wheelchair to delivery suite - when I got there I finally got the gas and air and was ready to push.
Number 4 also back to back! Shorter again but the most painful of all! Just gas and air delivery suite tried to send me home when I arrived at 6am but they gave me an hour to see if it progressed and it really did!! Dc4 born at 9am!

Sipperskipper Thu 08-Nov-18 22:08:54

mybaby I did everything to try and make sure DD was in a good position for birth - I didn’t sit on a chair for 6 weeks beforehand, only used my birthing ball! Every excercise in the book and she was still back to back. So please don’t beat yourself up - sometimes things really are out of our control.

Dinosauratemydaffodils Thu 08-Nov-18 22:58:01

I labour in my back regardless of baby position because I have a rubbish pelvis.

Dc1 I thought I was dying, I've never felt pain like it. His giant head was pressing against my sciatic nerve and with every contraction, my legs would go under me. By hour 65, I would have sold my soul for pain relief. He was eventually born after 75 hours of contractions by emergency section as he was well and truly stuck, couldn't be pushed or pulled out. He was back to back but turned during labour (which didn't change my contractions at all).

Dc2 wasn't anywhere near as painful but still hurt a lot. I went into labour before my planned section date and the trip to hospital was agony as I was contracting every 2/3 minutes in my back and pelvis although she was apparently in an "optimal" position.

Both of them ended up as emergency sections and I didn't need any pain relief once the anesthetic for the surgery wore off. My labours were a 1000x more painful than recovery from the sections.

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