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can anyone suggest ideas to cope with labour pain? am about to have a meltdown

(52 Posts)
arolf Fri 25-Sep-09 18:04:38

contractions started yesterday morning and have been on and off, getting progressively worse, so muhc so that I went in to hosp this morning after a few hours of ctx 5 mins apart which icouldn't talk or move through.

midwife told me to go home and take a paracetemol, and not to come back until they were truly unbearable with a very very clear 'stop being pathetic' subtext (wrote in my notes 'patient claims cannot cope with pain, have explained labour pains to her and suggested she tries paracetemol'). as they had lessened a bit at the hospital, plus was only 1 cm dilatd after 24 hrs of them, we came home.

since coming home they've been getting worse and worse. I've had a hot bath, and a shower, tried paracetamol, got TENS machine cranked up high, and still every contraction is bringing tears to my eyes and the most awful pain i've ever felt. I don't want to make a nuisance of myself at the hospital, so want to stay at home as long as i cn, but am not sure how much longer that'll be.

they're still about 5 mins apart, sometimes a bit closer together, and the only position i can tolerate is sitting on the edge of the bed or a chair. I'm feeling very distressed by them, and really unable to cope, but am trying to maintain as stiff an upper lip as possible as i know other people survived much worse etc etc. not sure i can thoiugh. my DP is getting more worried by the minute but isn't sure what to do.

I know they are going to get a whole lot worse, but I', wprried I will just meltdown soon and be too exhausted to push if and when it comes to it. midwife thought it'd be a few days yet, and has said hospital policy is not to induce until term +12 anyway (which is nex friday)so I'll have to wait until then if i do need an induction. she also refused me gas and air as it was too early in the labour for it.

sorry this is so long - but does anyone have any other ways to survive the pains which they can recommend? just want to get throuhg the night.

arolf Fri 25-Sep-09 18:05:27

oh and am not judging midwife, just feel so utterly crappy and not sure hat if anthing i can do about it, and anted to tell whole story.

rubyslippers Fri 25-Sep-09 18:08:34

if they are bringing tears to your eyes and are every 5 mins that sounds pretty full on

it is not up to your MW to judge how much pain you can take - or that others can go through worse .. this is how you feel

you may have dilated more since you got home

you won't be making a nuisance of yourself - please call the hospital back and explain

EldonAve Fri 25-Sep-09 18:08:45

try to keep breathing when the pain comes - try not to hold your breath
count or chant through it
remember each cx will not last forever - it will be a wave

vacuouslocuous Fri 25-Sep-09 18:08:51

Oh arolf, I really feel for you, but If you can manage such a long post I'm afraid it looks like you still got a way to go.

If it helps at all, I have to say that when the contractions got worse I actually coped better because I was almost out of it (without pain relief). I had a doula for DC3 and that was definitely the easiest to cope with. She let me hang from her, arms around her neck and she made me relax completely, just let me hang on her and she made me breathe deeply and make a low noise, not high pitched. It really helped.

Best of luck.

rubyslippers Fri 25-Sep-09 18:09:15

try to get your partner to apply pressure to the small of your back whilst you are having a CX or lean/squat against him

Hassled Fri 25-Sep-09 18:11:53

We all have different pain thresholds - agree that the MW shouldn't be deciding what is and isn't bearable. If it's distressing you, get back to the hospital and ask for some pain relief. And keep moving around - will speed things up.

vacuouslocuous Fri 25-Sep-09 18:12:06

And don't get yourself into a panic thinking about the fact that they'll get worse and induction next Friday, etc. etc.

Oh god you just sound exactly like me in my first birth, just got myself into a complete panic about the pain and that definitely makes it worse. The more relaxed you are and the more you work with the pain (instead of against it) the easier it'll be.

Take each contraction at a time and don't think of the next one. Just concentrate on the one you're going through. Focus on what your body feels exactly, concentrate on the pain as it were, whatever it takes rather than think too much. Does that make sense?

try walking around and rocking, making a moooooo sound helped me grin

maybe have a walk round, hang off your DP - listen to some relaxing and calming music and listen to your body, if you think you need pain relief, then you do - call back, get them to listen to you - they dont know how much pain you're in

be strong

I shall be thinking of you

good luck

vacuouslocuous Fri 25-Sep-09 18:13:09

Yes, I agree about the walking if you can manage it.

artichokes Fri 25-Sep-09 18:15:11

Try going for a walk, it helped me cope with the pain and speeded things up. Also listening to music on headphones and trying to block out the rest of the world. I think the early contractions are the worse because you are still so "with it". Good luck!

Nettee Fri 25-Sep-09 18:15:17

Hi Arolf - poor you, it sounds awful. This latent phase is a nightmare (I had a long one too) and it really does hurt - the midwife should have acknowledged that. On the other hand you are in the best place at this stage of labour (I am a midwife btw) and take advantage of being able to move around in your own environment for the moment. Have you tried a hot bath? I am sure they suggested that already - hot water bottle, focused breathing, concentration on the parts of your body that don't hurt (I found that helpful.) If you really can't tolerate it don't be afraid to ring up and go in again - and ask for some pethidine - you might have to go to the antenatal ward which is not ideal(you then have to attract the attention of a busy ward midwife to get back to labour ward when things get going and your DH wouldn't be able to stay at night probably), but it might get you some rest in this bit of labour.

Good luck

arolf Fri 25-Sep-09 18:22:36

thanks will try walking more

ThePrettiestStar Fri 25-Sep-09 18:35:19

God it is awful at that stage - I found that rotating my hips in circles standing up helped a lot, but it is really what suits you... good luck with everything.

ThePrettiestStar Fri 25-Sep-09 18:36:54

Oh - and rotating on the bithing ball was great in my previous childbirths...

ThePrettiestStar Fri 25-Sep-09 18:37:40

Was meant to say birthing - d'oh!

amtooyoungforthis Fri 25-Sep-09 18:51:21

long time ago for me but what helped was focus on something, for me forehead on tiles or window, I focused on the cold. Breathe in deeply through your nose, exhale through your mouth, speeding up to height of the contraction. Try to keep in your head that this one will soon be gone

I would also call the hospital back, if it hurts, it hurts and only you know what pain you experiencing, sod what they say, at least in hospital you can get some decent pain relief

I hope you are now progressing nicely and it will soon be over

StealthPolarBear Fri 25-Sep-09 18:54:41

well I'm judging her. What a horrible thing to write in your notes. Don't some women have epidurals almost straight away? When I went in I assumed I was 3cm dilated but that's not why I was going in, I was going in because I couldn't bear the pain any longer.
BTW - pain relief, I found shouting F^%K at the top of my voice really helped. Obviously I only did this one at home when DS was out Also getting DH to put his hands out and me to kind of hang off them by the elbows (back to DH) got me through the last few before the blessed gas and air.

StealthPolarBear Fri 25-Sep-09 18:56:14

Sorry, so the point of that is that I agree with the others - you know what you can bear and if you're truly at the limit of that then you need something to help.

AllotmentMum Fri 25-Sep-09 18:58:58

Worst bit of my labour was MW telling me it didn't hurt that much. Really feeling for you, it is tough.

MrsHappy Fri 25-Sep-09 19:05:46

Do have a bath if you can - it might not really help the pain but it should relax you a bit (which might indirectly help some).

Sit/stand/rock in any position that helps. One friend of mine found sitting upright cross-legged helped and another got on all fours and rocked forward and backwards. Anything you can do to relax is a good thing.

Some people recommend laughing... have you tried watching something really purile on tv?

And if you really are at your limit get back to the hospital and tell them you need gas and air or something more than paracetomol.

Hopefully it will all be over before you know it.

warthog Fri 25-Sep-09 19:12:33

this is what helped me, some of which has already been mentioned:

- breathing deeply - focus on that all through
- move inbetween and try and move through contraction. i used to stand by bed, head on arms (this was high hospital bed) and gently rock my hips.
- visualize the sea at sunset, very beautiful and calm. imagine the waves washing the pain away. remember the sound of the waves.
- try not to think 'this is unbearable and i can't take more / worse.' you might be at the most painful bit. try instead to think 'that's one more contraction i've got behind me'.

good luck.

and don't feel bad going back to hospital and asking for pain relief. no-one else can tell you how much pain you can take. no-one.

CalypsoFlame Fri 25-Sep-09 19:14:07

I'm in an on/off labour myself, nothing unmanagable yet, but as I'm planning for a home birth, I attended a yogic birth practice class a few weeks back.

One home pain relief method they suggested which the tutor said was very effective (but I'm yet to try it myself!) is towel swapping:

You need: hot water, 2 tea towels, I clean bucket or bowl.

- get yourself comfortable over a birth ball or leaning against the side of a bed / sofa.

1) fill the bucket with body temp water (ie around 37C - birth partner can guage this by dipping the ELBOW in the water).

2) at the start of the contraction, get one of the towels which has been soaking in the bucket and place it across the lower back so it's nice and hot

3) leave it on your back cooling as you wait for the next contraction.

4) as soon as the next contraction starts take off the cooling tea towel and pop on a nice hot one.

5) keep swapping and make sure bucket of water stays nice and hot.

Tutor said the change in temperature was much more effective as pain relief than the constant hot-water bottle.

hope this helps (someone!), lots of luck

StealthPolarBear Fri 25-Sep-09 19:15:03

I was joking about what to shout but notjoking about the shouting - thatdid help me

cluckyagain Fri 25-Sep-09 19:17:08

I would echo walking, standing up, walking and then more walking - you need the head and gravity to work on opening the cervix - painful but def works......but not relaxing after no sleep. Sorry honey - I remember it well but such a lovely ending!

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