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A particular pain I had during childbirth - is it the same as everyone gets?

(18 Posts)
NineUnlikelyTales Tue 02-Oct-07 11:28:08

I know this seems a bit of a bizarre question but I have been wondering.

I went from coping really well with labour with just a tens machine until at 7cm I had my waters broken due to very slow progress. At which point I went into screaming insane agony and had to have an epidural. It was explained to me afterwards by the senior MW that some women have a bad reaction to breaking the waters and it makes the uterus go into overdrive with no rest between contractions, and I was one of them.

Yesterday I had a really unpleasant flashback where I suddenly remembered ehat the pain was likeshock and my memory is of extreme agony until a tiny drop of fluid was pushed out of me. Once the fluid was out it wasn't quite as bad for a few seconds, then it was back to the beginning again. I guess the pain was all in my cervix.

Is this the same as everyone gets? I'm just wondering because I don't think I could manage that pain again even if I didn't have the overdrive thing, so maybe if I have another baby I will have to have an epidural from the start (which I would prefer not to do, seeing as the one they gave me knocked me unconsious).

Just curious, would be interested in your experiences - cheerssmile

VoodooLULUmama Tue 02-Oct-07 15:24:42

once the cushioning of the waters has gone, the baby's head comes right down onto the cervix, and you get more intense and rapid contractions.. that is why ARM is used to augment or even induce labour

also 7 - 10 cm is often the transition period, where your labour is very intense, as your cervix opens up the last little bit and you get ready for the second stage

that intensity, with no gap between contractions is certainly normal for transition and ofetn the time women do want an epi or ore pain relief

very often it is too late as your dilation is nearly over and the pushing is about to begin !

am very sorry you have had such a horrid experience and flashbacks, that would lead me to beleive you are still traumatised to some extent by that aspect of the birth

i would think that next time i would avoid ARM as when things happen spontaneously in labour they are easier to cope with as your body builds up and your endorphins build up too to help you cope

NineUnlikelyTales Tue 02-Oct-07 18:28:58

Thanks for replying Lulu.

I think I feel worse after reading your postsad I had such an awful birth experience and afterwards when I went through my notes the senior midwife and consultant were at pains to say that what happened to me was not the norm and that what I went through was exceptional. But I suspected all along that I was just a bit of a wimp.

My not coping after the ARM (which is an understatement - I was screaming the place down and completely out of my mind. I didn't even know it was me screaming) led to an epidural which as I said, knocked me unconscious as it lowered my blood pressure and I was already dehydrated. So that meant DS heartrate slowed and he had to have a scalp monitorsad And when I woke up there were a million people in the room all fussing. The epidural slowed things down and I was so exhausted that the pushing took ages. I was in the poles for 2.5 hours while they got the ventouse out (which caused nerve damage in my legs and elsewhere).

I was so battered physically and mentally by it all (and DS was shattered too) so when he came out he wouldn't BF and I just let him sit in a crib without really even looking at him for ages. And I got an infection which nearly killed me. So BF never worked out because of that bad start. I had been kidding myself that it was because of the ARM working differently on me but really it is as I thought - it's all my fault for being such a wimp in the first place.

I think you're right about me still being traumatised. I thought I was over it mainly but I am sitting here with tears pouring down my face.

Sorry about this long post and TMI but I needed to write it down. Sorry.

Spink Tue 02-Oct-07 18:41:51

I just wanted to say that I feel for you, and wanted to send a {{{hug}}}
if it makes any difference, I think you are doing the right thing in talking/writing about it - might feel worse to start with, but might help you to make sense of what happened, and put it in its place.

spugs Tue 02-Oct-07 18:42:25

im sorry you had such a bad time, my labours always change when my waters went. withh dd1 they gushed and i was in agony. with dd2 as she was so low down they trickled and it was more pressure. i know that you can have councilling and get support for birth trauma which might help but no 2 births are the same and the next one hopefully be a lot better.

VoodooLULUmama Tue 02-Oct-07 18:49:33

oh m y goodness

am so so so so so sorry

i did not mean to make you feel worse

what you have described in your second post is not normal, and not par for the course and you are not a wimp. unfortunately, without that detial in the first post, it was hard to see how bad it really was.

what you went through sounds horrific, and sounds like you could even have PTSD

it is not normal to feel that intensity , to pass out from the epi , also , you had a prolonged second stage, which is not normal, and what happened afer is not normal either

none of it is normal

did your hospital offer any counselling?

or any follow up?

sounds like ARM did trigger something that was way beyond normal transition type pain

did you get any explanation?

or explanation why your epi went wrong?

again ,i am so sorry for making you feel worse, that was not my intention at all

CorrieDale Tue 02-Oct-07 19:12:17

It isn't necessarily wimpiness, 9. You were coping really well, then there was an ARM and suddenly you weren't coping. I didn't have ARM - my waters went before labour started. Transition was certainly more intense and I might well have opted for an epi if one were available, but I don't think that they were actually more painful - they just seemed that way, I think, because I didn't get that blissful breathing space between the contractions. They certainly didn't become agonising - and I can assure you that I am no spartan soldier. I can whinge for England when I just have a cold.

I think Lulu is, as ever, right. Don't agree to ARM if you have another baby. And perhaps say that you don't want any vaginal examinations - if they don't measure your cervix, then they don't know you're 'only' 7cm, and then you can't be stressed about how long you're there for. Remember: if you're stressed, then your body will say 'whoops, time to run, best stop this labour thing from happening for a while'.

Perhaps go for a doula next time - you may find that the support means that you don't even think of an epi. My doula, protected me from well-meaning MWs, so that I wasn't being pressured to have a VE that I really didn't want. She was worth hiring even if that had been all she did - it wasn't btw.

ib Tue 02-Oct-07 19:12:44

Just wanted to say, my contractions didn't change at all when my waters broke. I was quite pain free between contractions (which were not constant), so much that I was chatting with dh and getting him to feel ds' head.

This was the main waters, the hind waters had gone much earlier and didn't even trigger labour.

So I don't think everyone has it like you at all. Sounds awful.

ProjectIcarus Tue 02-Oct-07 19:22:16

That sounds absolutely horrifc NUT. Not normal at all. I think the waters provide a masive cushioning effect. DD1 had v low waters and they went really early on and labour was agony.

DD2 my waters went during my second stage (8mins as opposed to 90 mins with dd1) and I coped no problem with tens only.

TBH I suspect you were the victim of probably unnecessary tampering by the midwifes and as in many cases one intervention leads to more.

Poor poor you. The birth Trauma association
here are very helpful.

I felt healed after an amzing birth with DD2 I hope you get the same,

NineUnlikelyTales Tue 02-Oct-07 20:42:16

Lulu I didn't mean to blame you for getting upset. It just came pouring out when I thought more about itblush

The hospital didn't offer counselling as such but they did get all of the senior people involved to spend at least an hour with me going through their particular involvement and my notes. It did help a lot at the time and I honestly haven't thought about it much for months. I think it might be my DS birthday that triggered thinking more, as all day long I kept thinking "This time last year I was doing X" and it wasn't nice memories unfortunately. The hospital did send a MW to talk to me who was supposedly expert in traumatic births but she just kept telling me about her bad births which didn't help muchgrin

The epi went wrong because the person who did it was a newly qualified person with no experience. He failed to put in a drip until afterwards for my dehydration and he didn't read my notes which explain that I am sensitive to anaesthetics. He gave me a whacking great dose because of the state I was in and I am a very small person, so it was too much for my body to cope with. He hit a nerve which made my leg spasm and had to have a couple of gos before it worked according to DH. In fairness to the people at the hospital they have been very honest about the mistakes that were made, so at least I do have some answers....just not what I am looking for which I suppose is to hear that the ARM definitely caused me to freak out like I did because of something abnormal. No one can say that for sure I guess.

Also in fairness to the hospital, they did everything to accommodate my birth wishes until the ARM was the only option before transferring from the midwife led unit to the consultant led bit and a synto drip to speed things up. I had already been in active labour for 14 hours and only progressed 3cm in that time. We didn't know because they weren't doing internal exams, again according to my wishes.

I think a doula next time would be a great thing. I am a bit worried about what extra interventions they might suggest because of the nerve damage. But mainly I am really worried that it is just me being unable to cope with what every other woman puts up with. I wish I could believe that I could do it next time.

Thanks again Lulu and everyone for your kind words. I haven't even been able to talk to my DH about this today as he is not home yet so you are helping me through a hard time and I appreciate it.

CarGirl Tue 02-Oct-07 20:53:18

I have had 2 ARM, I don't remember much about the first one (10 years ago) although I did get an epidural pretty soon afterwards. But the 2nd one (my 3rd birth) did have me screaming in agony and demanding an epidural very quickly!!!! It had taken them 28 hours to get my 2-3cm dilated to do the ARM - my tens machine had gone through 2 batteries and ran out - lol!!!!! Yes that feeling of the contractions just never having a gap in between them etc etc

It sounds like you had a horrific time, very different to my births (inductions) but I do distinctly remember being hysterical with my last ARM and they never did get the epidural effective enough to block the pain! My last birth I delivered using tens/gas & air only - it was a doddle and I'd do it again tomorrow so it just shows you how different the same woman can experience the pain of labour & birth. You are not a wimp!

Lulumama Tue 02-Oct-07 21:51:45

oh i know you weren;t blaming me, i felt bad that i had sounded a bit 'oh, that;s what happens, it is intense', when clearly there was more to it than that!

birth crisis

is another useful link, you can talk to someone over the phone, which can be useful in conjunction with birth trauma assoc which is email based

whatever you decide for next time, eachj birth is different, and you cannot be forced to do anything, feeling confident and secure in your choices, and you do have them, is half the battle, whether you go for a home birth, hospital birth, c.section or whatever it might be!

such a brave and important step to address what happens

you may never have all the answers, but at least you will have asked the questions and dealt with things as best oyu can


HonoriaGlossop Tue 02-Oct-07 21:59:29

NUT, I'm so sorry to hear what you went through. That clearly was not a normal labour or normal pain.

I wanted to tell you about my mum, I had a traumatic labour with ds and what my mum told me has helped me to accept that I was NOT being a wimp.

Mum had a 24 hr labour with my brother, her first labour, ending in a forceps delivery; she said it was truly awful, frightening, traumatising pain....her second labour with me, she tells me she had ONE contraction that felt like that. ONE - and then out I was. The other pain she had with me was just totally different and more bearable....

So I hope you can see that it isn't down to you being a 'wimp'. You'd already coped well for alot of hours, and then the ARM triggered a part of labour that I wouldn't class as normal labour.

Talking about it is so good. Best of luck.

mrsdarcy Tue 02-Oct-07 22:08:37

What a horrible experience sad

It's nowhere near as bad as yours, but I remember when I was in labour with DD (my 4th labour) they broke my waters when I was 6cm dilated and I went from coping just fine, to seriously thinking I was going to lose my mind. I can't really remember much about it save thinking that I understood how people could be tortured into insanity and that I was about to go insane.

I didn't have the other complications you had but I remember how frightening it was.

spinspinsugar Tue 02-Oct-07 22:13:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

spinspinsugar Tue 02-Oct-07 22:17:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NineUnlikelyTales Tue 02-Oct-07 22:21:49

These stories of second or later births being okay despite horrible first experiences are really cheering me upsmile I might get DH to read some, as I think he is almost more scared than I am poor thing.

Mrsdarcy I remember thinking I was being tortured too. And the small part of my brain that was still conscious was terrified that my uterus was going to rupture and that what I was going through was causing permanent damage. I know now it wasn't, but it is a horrible horrible feeling.

I think next time I might aim for one of these 1.5hr, 1 contraction birthsgrin

ProjectIcarus Tue 02-Oct-07 22:33:50

Totally recommend hypnobirthing for next time either a class or the cds.

My second birth was fantastic at home, dd1 asleep upstairs. Active labour of about oooh 1.5 hours.

I used homeopathy too it kept the contractions going nicely when they were irregular. Also turned breech baby at 37 weeks, she still stayed OP though hmmit must just be the way I am shaped as dd1 was op too.

I will never forget feeling dd2 rotating and descending into the birth canal, a strange totally serene moment.

One of my first remarks was "oh I could do that again" I really felt like I had achieved.

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