Advanced search

Got questions about giving birth? Know what to expect and when to expect it, with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.

tunnel/cave feeling???

(24 Posts)
motherpeculiar Fri 14-Jan-05 19:19:28

I started this thread but my original message seems to have disappeared - how weird.

What I wanted to ask was - and it sounds silly - did anyone else feel like they were trapped in a tunnel or dark cave during labour? I felt like this during my labour with DD and it totally freaked me out - it all felt very claustrophobic and primevil (sp?) and really panicked me and made me throw up.It came after hours of painful but irregular contractions, when they were getting REALLY fierce. I had oxytocinon (sp?) and an epidural shortly afterwards as mw thought babe was back to back and I needed help getting fully dilated.

I'm now trying to prepare for second birth (due end March) and wondered if this was a normal feeling and whether I should be expecting to feel this way again. If so I need to psyche myself up big time. Also (if is is fairly common and I am not just barmy ) does anyone have any recommendations on how to cope?

I'm hoping to avoid epidural this time (as I damaged my back during the pushing stage last time and am nervous epi would make me miss any warning signs this time round) and G&A made me puke last time so I really need some other mechanisms for coping.

Help - I'm terrified! (just read this again - sounds completely confusing - hope someone can make some sense of it!!!)

amynnixmum Fri 14-Jan-05 19:22:59

Sorry no experience of this myself. My sister used relaxation and meditation techniques and she says they worked really well for her. I think it takes a bit of practice though so you may want to start now so that you're ready by the time you go into labour.

motherpeculiar Sat 15-Jan-05 17:38:41

so I am barmy then?

bubble99 Sat 15-Jan-05 19:58:33

Hi motherpeculiar

I'm no psychoanalyst but if I were I would probably suggest that you were experiencing the ultimate in empathy for your DD during the process of labour. The birth process is fairly arduous for the baby, with good reason as the release of adrenaline causes many processes to 'kick in'- respiration etc. There are midwives on this forum better qualified than me to fully explain this. I would imagine that the birth canal must feel cavelike to a newborn. I wonder if your own birth was difficult or prolonged. If you had a syntocinon drip during labour the contractions can be fierce - I had one during my second (induced) labour. If you need to have a GA next time, the anaesthetist can give you an anti-emetic (sickness) drug at the same time although if you have been eating and drinking prior to GA you will probably still throw up when you wake up. I think the most important thing is to try not to anticipate a difficult delivery next time, every labour is different.

Lonelymum Sat 15-Jan-05 20:03:13

No experience of this but wanted to reassure you that no matter how terrble your first labour was, you are unlikely to experience anything as bad second time around. I had a difficult first labour (baby was back to back and needed a forceps delivery) but babies 2 and 3 came out quite easily and baby4 was also back to back and the same weight as baby 1, but because my body had been through labour before, it coped much better with baby4 and delivered him, still back to back with no trouble at all. Hope this helps you to feel calmer about your impending delivery.

Amanda3266 Sat 15-Jan-05 20:07:41

Hi motherpeculiar,

Well - I used to be a midwife and some women described very vivid imagery experienced during their labours. One woman for example told me afterwards that she had falt like a waterfall (true). She told me that during each contraction she had the feeling of falling with the water and as the contraction ended she felt herself pulled back up again.
Other women described "going inside" themselves - these women often hated being spoken to during a contraction as it interupted this "internalisation" (think that's the right term)> Just a quick question - had you had any Pethidine or been using any Gas and Air prior to this experience? Both of these can make women experience hallucinations and bizarre imagery.
Also bubble99's post is another possibility.
It may also have been caused by fear, anxiety and just sheer exhaustion if you'd been in labour for a while.
I would tell the hospital that you had this experience and are terrified of experiencing it again.
Another quick thing is that often second labours are quicker and easier than the first. Hope so much that this is the case for you


gish Sat 15-Jan-05 21:42:19

I would say "Birthing from Within" by Pam England will be be a really useful resource for you mp, it may help you to understand your experience and prepare for labour this time round. hth

motherpeculiar Sat 15-Jan-05 23:17:49

it definitely felt like "going inside" myself and was fairly scary tbh.I had also had a couple of days drawn out early labour before this with no sleep and was fairly exhausted by this stage. Had probably had some G&A within the preceding hour too so maybe I was hallucinating slightly. I was also extremely frightened by this stage and convinced there was no way I could cope anymore. I'll talk to my midwives and see if they've come across this before. Will also take a look at that Pam England book - thanks for the tip.

Don't know what my own birth was like, but that is an interesting theory bubble99,also the empathy one - although I can't remember even being aware that there was a child involved in all of this at that stage tbh, still I suppose something may have been going on at a much deeper level. Must remember the tip about the anti-emetic drugs too.

Thanks also for the confidence boosting on second labours being easier. I keep telling myself this but the nearer it gets the more I feel like puking...maybe I should start the anti-emetics now...

motherpeculiar Mon 17-Jan-05 10:46:18

anyone in the daytime Mon-Fri MN gang have any experience of this?

littlemissbossy Mon 17-Jan-05 10:50:03

Sorry no experience of this either. Have you spoken to your midwife about this? and have you included your previous experience in your birthplan?
Good post by bubble BTW, very interesting viewpoint

lockets Mon 17-Jan-05 10:51:59

Message withdrawn

nailpolish Mon 17-Jan-05 10:54:21


when i was in the final stages of labour, even though i had my eyes wide open i couldnt see anything. (i remember thinking to myself, i cant see, its dark in here, and opening my eyes really wide consciously) i wasnt frightened, i just imagined it was the pain blocking everything out. i remember thinking, my body needs to focus on the pain and contractions and blocking out vision (external stimuli) was one way of focusing on that.

do you remember everything the midwives were telling you during labour? could you actually hear what they were saying, or was your body blocking it out? vision, as is hearing, is just another sense. maybe its like that, but the darkness is scarier than the lack of sound.

i am maybe talking complete and utter sh*te, i have never actually mentioned this to anyone, but its my thoughts. dont be frightened, it may happen again, but this labour may be completely different to the 1st

lots and lots of luck anyway!

motherpeculiar Mon 17-Jan-05 12:35:41


LMB - I haven't spoken to midwife about it yet but will when I see her next and will talk to her about the birthplan then too.

Lockets and nailpolish - glad someone else has experienced something similar and made something positive of it. I think I was just so tired and it was so unexpected that I reacted fairly negatively last time. I'm hoping to psyche myself up this time so that I can harness any feelings like this in a positive fashion. Although I'm none too confident just now. Hopefully the midwives will help with some suggestions when I talk to them. I'm booked in for a home birth this time round in the hope that I will get more support from the midwife during labour - although I know how "off-plan"labours can go from experience.

I've ordered the Pam England book which sounds good.

Any other ideas/advice more than welcome.

Thanks for the support.


motherpeculiar Tue 18-Jan-05 19:48:41

anyone else got any thoughts?

Tipex Tue 18-Jan-05 20:03:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

motherpeculiar Tue 18-Jan-05 21:32:10

Thanks Tipex

will ask Midwife about this too. Oddly enough, I think my midwife group (Brierly in SE London) specialise in people with anxieties/mental health issues as well as general home births so they are probably exactly the right people to ask. Not sure why I didn't think of this earlier - I think I assumed that this was a very common experience and so just didn't raise it with anyone. It was just recently it started weighing more on my mind and I thought it worth exploring a bit more. Thanks again.

gish Tue 18-Jan-05 21:41:17

There is also a Birth Crisis helpline that Sheile Kitzinger set up, there is a link on the childbirth counselling thread.
Best thing you can do is keep talkng through your experience - have you ever written it down?
You are likely to have a very different labour this time, and IMO cope very differently as you birth your baby in your own home.

motherpeculiar Thu 20-Jan-05 23:01:51

Thanks gish

any chance you could post a link to that site _ I haven't been able to find it

Hope 2nd time round will be better - I believe I'll be more relaxed at home and also crucially with m/w I know. Problem is I know things may not go according to plan and I may end up in hospital, still ,unless they are really busy with home births my known midwife will come with me and help me there too.

Fingers X'd

mears Thu 20-Jan-05 23:52:28


gish Thu 20-Jan-05 23:58:03

thanks mears
Hope there is somone in your area you can call and chat to mp. Have you thought about having a doula who you can talk to about this past exp and will then be able to help you if it should re-occur? Or anyone who you know and trust who has been through labour and may know where you are coming from?

motherpeculiar Sat 22-Jan-05 18:19:46

thanks you two

Gish - have thought about a doula but I've heard mixed stories. Maybe I'll see if there are any in my area that I could meet for a chat and see what I think after that. Or see if there are any MN recommendations ...

I feel a little more confident because I am with a team of just three community midwives since I opetd for home birth - before that I was going to Kings Hospital and seeing a different busy and overstretched midwife each time. Repeating myself each time. I hope that the continuity of care will stand to me during the labour.

Thanks for your helpful messages

SofiaAmes Sat 22-Jan-05 19:50:04

motherpeculiar, I felt like that during both my labors. My first labor was 40 hours followed by emergency cs and was altogether naturally I was petrified about the second one. In fact it was only 5.5 hours and I had a natural birth. The second time around I had a wonderful midwife who nurtured me through the whole thing. I think that the tunnel feeling was mostly due to incorrect breathing...if you breathe too fast and quick you don't enough oxygen into your blood and it plays lots of tricks with your mind. When the midwife reminded me to take long deep breaths then I felt much better and calmer and more relaxed. I would highly recommend (if you can afford it) getting a doula to be with you through the labor as she will be able to remind you to breathe steadily.
I think the puking is just a hormonal side effect of labor. I think most women puke during labor regardless of the pain control methods that they use. I had it coming out every orifice....that's pretty least there was someone else cleaning it up for me.

motherpeculiar Sun 23-Jan-05 10:33:19

Thanks Sofia - glad I am not alone and so glad to hear about your easier second labour. Very interesting what you say about the breathing - I think by the stage I got to I was just panicking and had forgotten all about long deep relaxing breaths. My midwife at the time was concentrating more on persauding me to have the oxytocin and epidural so didn't mention anything about changing breathing patterns. I probably would have just screamed at her anyway!

You and gish have persuaded me to look into the doula thing more seriously I think. I've also had a recomendation froma woman I met at ante-natal classes about a good yoga teacher who focuses a lot on breathing techniques for labour. Although, it is so easy to forget all that good stuff when it is actually happening...

thanks again

SofiaAmes Sun 23-Jan-05 22:58:01

I did lots and lots and lots of yoga before having babies. In fact I did yoga all the way through my first pregnancy. And yes the yoga breathing (and poses...did a lot of down dog in labor) helps, but in the thick of things you do forget and it is really useful to have someone to remind you.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: