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Could someone describe what a contraction/tightening feels like?

(144 Posts)
victoriascrumptious Fri 23-Oct-09 21:19:13

I've never had one. Had an c-sec with no labour last time.

Can you describe them to me so I can live vicariously?
I'm sad that I may never know what they feel like-expecting another cs due to bp this time round.

slowreadingprogress Fri 23-Oct-09 21:40:32

I'd imagine that lots of people will have very different experiences.

For me, early labour was very low down in my body (not at all like period pains as is often said) and basically it was like someone had a knife up there and was twisting it to try to open the cervix

went from that to feeling that someone had both hands up there and was tearing open my cervix

and from that to all over my bump from bottom to top - a huge, out of control wave of pain that felt like I would never get to the 'top' and literally took my breath away and made me feel frightened

HTH grin
I did have a particularly long and painful labour though (3 days)

Mine was more like period or diarrhea pains that started off barely registering and just got worse and worse until it was totally overwhelming... towards the end I could feel immense pain radiating all over my body (in the same way you feel an orgasm wash all through you, iyswim?) and then pushing was like involuntarily vomiting downwards. Plus the whole "ring of fire" thing. Fun!

MrsHappy Fri 23-Oct-09 21:46:27

Proper contractions for me were like the bones in my lower back/pelvis were being squeezed together. They started out uncomfortable and became painful (a noticeable peak) before dying away again.

Rather hoping I won't get the back-squeezing type again this time...

Georgimama Fri 23-Oct-09 21:56:41

good lord is all I can say to knife/tearing open anaology.

Early contractions which went on and on and on felt like bad period pains. As labour progressed and I started to actually dilate the pains changed and moved round to my back - started in the small of my back and like a band of tightening stretching down and round to meet in the pelvic girlde and then release.

Did not experience ring of fire discernably. Did vomit, but that was probably due to combo of masses of tea and hot buttered toast made by lovely midwife with lashings of entinox.

slowreadingprogress Fri 23-Oct-09 22:43:19

Georgimama, I think I said 'good lord' a few times as well, or something like grin

Talking to people and reading things on here, I have realised that my pains were bad from the word go. From the first contraction on, it was horrible - no slow build up for me.

7 years on now, and I still remember the trauma of that pain. IME, you SO don't 'forget it all the moment the baby is here'.........

Georgimama Fri 23-Oct-09 22:45:06

My labour was that long too but my god, that sounds like a horror movie! You poor thing!

ShowOfHands Fri 23-Oct-09 22:50:16

My contractions hurt with the same intensity from the first to the last (28hr labour). They were 2 minutes long with a 30 second gap for the last 12hrs. The pain was everywhere and nowhere. It was in my teeth and in my hair and in the tips of my toes. It neither radiated nor centred but washed right through me and held on. It was the single most terrifying experience of my life. I seriously thought I must be dying. No ring of fire as after all that I had an episiotomy, ventouse and eventual em cs.

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever again.

slowreadingprogress Fri 23-Oct-09 22:52:51

It was really bad. I still feel a strong pang when I hear of dream births....not jealous, am always happy for people but it makes me sad that my experience bringing my gorgeous boy into the world was so brutal. Ended up after 3 days with me under GA having a 'crash' CS so it was pretty bad. I count myself really lucky though that I bonded well with DS and never had any depression or on going issues. There are always positives, the biggest one being the baby you get of course!

Grendle Sat 24-Oct-09 10:43:38

Hmm... I've been trying to remember... Mine just felt quite odd to begin with and I wasnt sure what was going on, but 'something' was happening at intervals. As they became more regular and a little stronger, they felt a bit like a wave of something taking over my body a bit, with a definite sense of everything tightening in my middle area and some downward pressure towards perineum/bottom.

My labour was a bit odd though, as it only took 2.5hrs from "that feels a bit odd & why have I done 3 poos in 10 mins?" to dd being born. It was almost an hour of that before I was convinced it was actually labour, and because I used hypnosis, it didn't hurt, was just a bit uncomfy/overwhelming.

With ds, when I was induced I knew I was in labour as I awoke with the very first contraction and literally jumped off the bed to my feet as it was so strong that I couldn't sit or lie down. They were painful and very frightening at the time and again, it was a strong pressure/pain towards my cervix and also like period pain/back ache. That time there was no mistaking it.

Comma2 Sat 24-Oct-09 21:17:58

Mine were like period cramps starting in te back and moving all over belly. Sort of major cramp that balls up belly. Bad, but not overwhelming or anything. Bad enough I couldn't talk because had to concentrate on getting through, and got a bit desperate once there wasn't much of a break in between anymore. It wasn't so much painful as exhausting though. Then I had an epidural, so no ring of fire, and frankly, quite glad about it.

cheerfulvicky Sat 24-Oct-09 22:16:28

I was induced with a syntocinon drip. When the contractions started they felt like a cold area where I normally got period pains. I thought of it as a "minty fresh' feeling. Like there was a little icebox in my belly and someone kept periodically opening the door and wafting the cold around. Then it just got more and more strong, the ache of cold (like when you hold an icecube) got more and more until it consumed me, and I kept my eyes tight closed, couldn't be touched, or talk, couldn't think about anything else. There was no real break between contractions, it would get slightly better and then revert to hellish, but it didn't ever stop. I had an epidural at 3cm blush When I remember it now I'm all 'What was the problem? I could do that again, definitely!" but at the time I was seriously contemplating the idea of leaping out of the window. And we weren't on the ground floor.

Oh yes, and I would also compare it to that tearing, assaulting agony when you pull a muscle, like in your calf or something, and it sets your nerves a jangling. Kinda like that.

victoriascrumptious Sun 25-Oct-09 15:56:25

Thank you everyone for sharing. Is it weird to be jealous of something which is plainly so awful? I really really hope I get at least one contraction this time sad

Anymore stories?

VenusInfers Sun 25-Oct-09 16:57:13

Yoikes!! I'm due in a week with my first and there is NO WAY I should have read this thread. [trying-to-forget-what-I-read-emoticon].

newarrival Tue 27-Oct-09 14:54:04

Yeah I'm 34 wks with my 1st! And yes what you read is a bit scary... but I've just had my 1st taste of braxton hicks, which was not funny. Similar to what people have already said on here... like bad period pain/stomach cramps, and feels like a tightening belt round your tummy.. fortunately mine were just the warm up & have gone away... not looking forward to them coming back though! yikes!

pipWereRabbit Tue 27-Oct-09 15:04:15

Did anyone see 'The Witches of EastWick' with Jack Nicholson as the devil?

There's a bit when he is squashing fruit and vegetables which affects one of the female characters... my contractions made me think of that scene.

Basically period pains that came and went, but got tighter/harder/more crushing as time passed until I didn't think they could get any stronger, but they did. They always seemed to last a few moments longer than was bearable, leaving you oddly pain-free but very aware that it was only a temporary reprieve.

Comma2 Tue 27-Oct-09 17:44:02

Victoria, not weird at all. I was constantly being scheduled for cs, and then had a vb. I was so grateful to have the experience (and I, unlike many others, loved every second of it).
Now I'm scheduled for csec again, and bawling my eyes out over it. I want the real thing, not stupid surgery.

victoriascrumptious Tue 27-Oct-09 20:58:43

Comma2, I wasnt expecting the CS. I was having a dream pregnancy and then suddenly my bp went up (although it wasnt pre-enclampsia). I sat around in the hospital for 7days when they were trying to induce me and during that time I must have worn the ball out through bouncing and must have walked about 9miles a day around the hospital. Despite 3 rounds of gel my cervix never shifted and the baby never dropped. The c-sectioned me at t+5 I thought until the last point that there was hope for a vb but nope....


I wish you luck with this birth but the fact that you had a vb should tip the odds in your favour x

Comma2 Tue 27-Oct-09 23:13:40

Oh poor thing. It's just mean isn't it.

I know there are tons of girls out there that are very happy with cs, but not us then.
I am pretty sure I'll get a cs this time- its this friday and baby is transverse, not much hope at all that it will shift. I hate it.

victoriascrumptious Wed 28-Oct-09 15:35:11

Sorry to here about that Comma. HAve you looked at that spinning babies website? Looks a bit dippy hippy to me but people are always putting links to it up from this site so maybe it works for some

BalloonSlayer Wed 28-Oct-09 15:49:11

My waters broke and a few minutes afterwards
I had my first mild contraction. It felt like the cramp you get in your hand when you have been writing - it hurts but you can see why and it's bearable.

12 hours later - at the point at which I gave in and had an epidural, it was like the cramps you get in your calf in the middle of the night which wake you up screaming in agony. And a uterus is many times bigger muscle than a calf muscle.

I expect it gets worse than that before it gets better grin.

I had an emergency CS in the end. I thought Bugger That, and had elective CSs the next two times.

CantThinkofFunnyName Wed 28-Oct-09 16:04:19

My first I was induced with a pessary at 10 days overdue. I hated that labour. At 1am I woke with the period pain cramps and they just got worse and worse - or at least more frequent and that I found more wearing than the stronger proper contractions IYKWIM? After many hours I guess they got stronger but I know I was climbing walls asking for drugs by then, vomitting and just not able to cope - but from all of my recolections of first labour it was period pain style and in my back. I had an epidural and then everything was pure bliss!!

With my second, I had what can only be termed as an electric shock down my right leg. About 15 minutes later, I got another. About 15 minutes later another, then my hind waters went, and boy did the contractions come! It was an intense tightening, which you could see and feel from the centre of the back right the way around to the front of the bump, the whole bump and was excruciatingly painful - but in an odd way, bearable if I took a stance and breathed through it. The next contraction was 2 minutes after, and so it carried on for the next 7 hours. The contractions never intensified or got closer together - regular 2 minutes apart from the first one. I did, however, rush to hospital within about 15 minutes because of how many contractions I had, the duration/frequency etc. I was gutted when I was told 1cm dilated (at 9 days overdue). 7 hours later, beautiful DD was born and I remember thinking, ah, you know, that really wasn't too bad!

victoriascrumptious Wed 28-Oct-09 16:20:24

Thanks both feeling exhausted just reading that

Comma2 Wed 28-Oct-09 16:32:23

Exhausting it is. grin

BustleInYourHedgerow Wed 28-Oct-09 16:41:15

Almost like diarrhea cramps. Had a very nslow build up, labour lasted 40 hours.I did'nt find the contractions that painful, it was just the pressurs and the urge to push. Which I wasn't allowed to do until the consultant was finished with the woman in the next room, who I could hear screaming. Nice.

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