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Positive labour stories please... anyone?!

(57 Posts)
AS19 Fri 12-Jan-18 16:17:26

Hi all,

I'm pregnant with my first, only 17 weeks and already am getting so much unsolicited advice on labour. I hadn't even really thought about it yet (so much else to think about) but today someone at work spent ages telling me all about their awful labour and how I had no clue what I was in for and I should just have an epidural etc.

I am not against having an epidural or any pain relief if I need it but I just feel like it's up to me to know on the day what I can or can't cope with and make a decision, it's not really anyone else's business and it's really upset me because I just feel like everyone wants to tell me their negative horror stories and although I'm not naïve and know that labour won't be a walk in the park, I get to meet my baby at the end of it and I'm trying to focus on that and not get too scared in advance, I'm sure there will be plenty of time for that but at 17 weeks shouldn't I just be focussing on the excitement?!

I was before today but now I just keep going over what she said and I know other people want to tell me their stories too and I just don't want to hear them, it's not like my labour is going to be exactly the same as theirs is it? So I don't feel like they're telling me to be nice it's just like this almost bragging thing about what a terrible time they went through!

Anyway, I would love to hear from anyone who was able to stay positive or even (shock horror) enjoyed aspects of their labour and any advice on how to rebuff unwanted advice (that wasn't asked for, we weren't even on the topic she was obviously just dying to tell me!)

Thank you!

Lifeofpies Fri 12-Jan-18 16:44:38

people love to tell a pregnant woman birth horror stories! You’ll keep getting this, so just try to smile and nod.

For what it’s worth, I’d planned a home birth with DS but went into preterm labour and ended up having lots of intervention/problems but I still see it as a good experience in many ways. I snapped into ‘got a job to do’ mode and worked hard at labour, I found it intense but not painful in a way I experience in everyday life, and I was proud of myself. There are lots of ‘good’ labour vids on YouTube.

I wonder if people like to share their stories because it is almost superhuman to birth a baby, and they’re proud, even if it was horrific.

AS19 Fri 12-Jan-18 16:55:00

Thank you for that lifeofpies, perhaps you're right about pride being a factor in people wanting to share, I hadn't thought of that, I just wish perhaps people could wait until asked or something as the lady today just went straight into it from a completely unrelated conversation!

That's a great tip about positive videos on YouTube, I hadn't thought of that and will definitely look into it- thank you!

Captainladder Fri 12-Jan-18 16:59:28

I’ve had 2 labours and the were fine.... yes they were painful and hard work but nothing really awful and I had gas and air for both. First was about 8 hours and second was probably only 3 from start to finish. They just felt like I had the worst period pains in the world. If people start telling you their woe stories you are perfectly fine to tell them that you don’t want to hear them. I did!

artisticat Fri 12-Jan-18 17:07:35

It might help to try reading the Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill, or
The Good Birth Companion: A Practical Guide to Having the Best Labour and Birth by Nicole Croft.

I read both of these and it really re-defined how I felt about labour. It's so ingrained in our culture to fear birth, we're rarely ever reminded that our bodies are designed for this and it's the most natural process, not a medical emergency!

Also, don't feel bad to say to people giving you the unsolicited advice that you'll share stories afterwards, that you need to concentrate on thinking positively about your birth.

If you don't feel comfortable doing this I say to myself 'delete delete delete' and imagine it going into my computer's recycling bin.

Hope that helps smile

PemberleyP Fri 12-Jan-18 17:11:17

Labour and birth is just such a tiny part of the whole pregnancy/motherhood experience. I’ve had one “good” labour and one “bad”, I suppose, but both were successful in that I came out with my beautiful babies. It is what it is; many, many women have gone through it and come out the other side. And you forget those few hours/days so quickly!

Joskar Fri 12-Jan-18 17:12:26

Dc1 was induced and then emcs. We'll not dwell on it!

Dc2 was a long labour that I would do again in a heartbeat because it was so amazing and empowering. I stayed at home until I was 3 mins between contractions. Went into labour at 12 pm on the Monday. Laboured away with intermittent contractions. Got to six minutes between then they just stopped at about 6am. Had reflexology booked that afternoon and about 20 minutes after it we were cooking on gas. Managed ok just wandering about doing housework and cooking tea. Then Dh and I sat up watching Black Books and he did the timing of the contractions then later did the tens machine for me. I listened to David Sedaris on the radio. Very funny. Dh ran me a candlelit bath and we had candles all round the house. I was living very rurally at the time so at about 4am I went outside with the dog and walked up and down the track and bellowed at the moon. At about 5 we decided to go to hospital. Took an hour to get there. My contractions went from 3 minutes to 6 for the journey and then the baby was born at 1. It was fab.

Strokethefurrywall Fri 12-Jan-18 17:13:11

Dunna fret, I had 2 fantastic and positive labors and deliveries, I would honestly do them both again in a heartbeat.

DS1 - hypnobirth. I didn't need pain relief, he was an optimal birth in the most optimal position. I had a small episiotomy and recovered brilliantly.

DS2 - epidural birth. I had to be closely monitored (he wasn't well in utero) and went into labor at 9pm. Decided on epidural at 10.45pm as contractions were coming very close together but with slow dilation (I was only 4cm) and I wanted to rest so had my epidural placed at 11pm. Was woken up to push at 6am, DS2 arrived in 3 pushes.

The reason why both deliveries were such a joy to me, is because I felt listened to all the way through. Whatever I wanted or needed, I got.

That being said, I didn't have my baby in the UK so you may have to wait for pain relief depending on your trust, but going into it with a positive mind and one that is open to changes is good.

Don't be scared to ask for what you need and don't be intimidated by anyone telling you you "don't" need something. You know yourself, keep your power and don't try and be a hero. There is nothing to be gained from refusing pain relief under the misapprehension of it being "better".

Childbirth hurts, of course it does. But there is a massive difference between "pain" and "suffering" - with DS1, I told myself that as soon as I tipped from "pain" into "suffering" I would request the epidural. It just so happened that it never did, but with DS2, became very painful at the very early stages.

Every labor is different, even for the same person (me as a case in point!) - but going in with a positive frame of mind and excitement rather than terror and fear will go a long way with how you see it after the fact.

And each time someone tells you a horror story, ask them what, in fact, they hope to gain from sharing that kind of negativity? It serves no purpose to scare the shit out of pregnant women under the pretense of "letting them know what they're in for.." - it's cruel, and the reason why so many women are terrified.

cantlivewithoutcoffee Fri 12-Jan-18 17:14:05

You have the perfect attitude towards it. Have an idea of what you would like in ideal circumstances but be prepared for it not to go to plan and healthy Mum and baby are all that is important.

I felt just like you and fortunately had a nice straightforward labour. No, I didn't enjoy it and yes it was long. I considered intervention but in the end, managed with gas and air. Baby was delivered in water in a birthing centre and most importantly, she and I were fine.

Ignore all the horror stories, many seem to think they are helping you but I preferred not to know as well. NHS antenatal taught me all I needed to know and I was happy to take the rest as it came.

Chocolatear Fri 12-Jan-18 17:20:22

I was induced as I went past my due date.
2 pessaries several hours apart. My waters broke at midnight, DS was born just before 6am.
I only used entonox. I did ask for something stronger but it just as DS was about to arrive. It hurt, but unless you have an epidural it will.
We were home by 8pm that day.
All very straight forward.

AS19 Fri 12-Jan-18 17:21:19

@strokethefurrywall thanks so much that's so reassuring, completely agree there seems to be this culture of scaring pregnant women and I'm sure all the build up and being tense and scared before you even start doesn't help at all, thanks for sharing x

Almondsupreme Fri 12-Jan-18 17:24:50

Great labour here - 12 hours start to finish. Yes, painful but not unmanageable. I had gas and air, no need for an epidural. And in fact there was never even a point where I considered epidural, it wasn't that bad. I would do it again tomorrow. And I have a lovely baby at the end of it. I wish I had known beforehand what it would be like so I didn't have to worry!

Read Ina May Gaskins book for positive birth stories

AS19 Fri 12-Jan-18 17:25:35

@aristicat thanks so much for the book titles I will definitely look them out, completely agree about the attitude of a 'medical emergency' rather than a natural thing that's been happening for thousands of years! All depictions you see on tv or film are always hysterical women screaming and writhing in pain and while I'm sure this is the case for some women and some births I do think there must be other experiences and that this culture of scaring first time mums is just really unhelpful. Thanks for your post x

PeaceLoveAndDixie Fri 12-Jan-18 17:26:26

I loved giving birth! Yes it got very painful at the end but it builds up gradually and is over with before you know. It’s such an amazing experience though. Every labour is different and it’s possible that if the baby is in the wrong position it can be difficult but generally it’s not. I think the key is to be well informed and to not fear it. Just let nature take it's course grin

AS19 Fri 12-Jan-18 17:28:13

@cantlivewithoutcoffee thank you! A really sensible reply, just what I was hoping for! You've really helped me x

AS19 Fri 12-Jan-18 17:33:29

@almomdsupreme thank you, so nice to hear something positive about birth for a change! Will definitely look out the book

Trampire Fri 12-Jan-18 17:34:33

Labour with my second child was a good experience.

I was induced 2 weeks early and was told all the horror stories about induction and how there would a 'cascade' of intervention and it would be even more painful etc.

I went into labour very quickly after a second pessary and a sweep. The contractions continued quite quickly. It was intense, but it was all over in just over an hour from first contraction to baby in arms. No time for epidural (which I had with my first) which panicked me at first but soon discovered that gas and worked good and proper the second time around.

I had less tearing than the first time and was up and about within a couple of hours. All in all, I felt good about and still do 10 years on. I know plenty of friends who've had positive, straightforward births.

People will fall over themselves to tell you how bad they had it. I went for Home birth with my first and found people unbearable with their stories - basically telling me that me and my baby would obviously be in danger at home hmm. Just grin and say Hmmmmmm.

AS19 Fri 12-Jan-18 17:40:10

@captainladder that's really good to hear and especially the period pain description, thank you for replying x

firsttimemum89 Fri 12-Jan-18 17:48:45

I would really recommend reading about hypnobirthing...

I was in the same position as you with my first baby very worried about birth and labour. Your right people love to tell you bad stories! My advice stop them and say you don't want to hear it unless it's positive.

Anyway I really followed advice in hypnobirthing book and had a great labour with no pain relief... did as much as I could at home was 9cm dilated when I got to hospital. Midwife was preparing me with I don't think your in active labour... I must
of looked very calm she couldn't believe I was 9cm.
Totally helped me change my mind set about labour... can't recommend it enough

Best of luck

mrsprefect Fri 12-Jan-18 17:54:40

I loved my labour. Honestly. I was induced and was really nervous but it was calm and well managed throughout. I took pain relief when it was offered (gas and air and diamorphine) but never felt the need to ask for more. Bad period pains is also how I would describe the pain, I found it totally manageable. I was in active labour for about seven hours and pushed through three contractions then had my gorgeous DS in my arms. I have only positive memories, hope it is the same for you.
Relax, and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy smile

Hulaballoo Fri 12-Jan-18 18:18:18

I loved my 2nd labour! I went on a hypnobirthing course, which really helped with anxiety and knowing that my body can do and how not to fight it but go along with it etc, I listened to the hypnobirthing CDs, and opted for a home water birth...I felt like my body knew what to do and I just breathed through (used a tens machine first) and then the water helped too... Listened to the CD whilst in labour...(although near the end of labour it irritated me a bit!) ... And DD born in 2.5 hours... Just good memories from it. I really recommend hypnobirthing and watching videos on hypnobirthing...I remember one incredible story where a woman was in a coma and successfully have birth... Her body controlled and did it all! Xx

AS19 Fri 12-Jan-18 18:37:48

Thank you @mrsprefect honestly this has been so reassuring, it's so great to hear from people with a positive experience or just wanting to share that it isn't all awful, thank you for responding x

NC1990 Fri 12-Jan-18 18:42:42

My labour and birth were really pretty good, don't get me wrong the contractions bloody hurt but it was straightforward and I didn't need any intervention at all. Went into labour naturally at 38+6, used the birthing pool and was only in established labour for around 3 hours (so while that meant my contractions were incredibly intense, I didn't have to put up with them for long!). I managed with just gas and air and only needed one stitch for a small tear.

Speaking to other mums I realise now how fortunate I was to have had such a positive experience.

peachypips Fri 12-Jan-18 19:11:51

DS2 shot out - 45 mins from first contraction to birth. Was awesome although very intense pain. Could have jumped off the bed straight afterwards and gone home.

My advice is to go with the flow, not listen to other people, and not have really fixed ideas on what you want the birth to be like. Neither of my births went how I expected them to- DS1 was an EMCS.

I always think it’s not worth worrying about how the baby gets out. It WILL get out in some way, and it will only be one or two days of your life. It’s soon over. Very very few women have something go seriously wrong- we are extremely lucky to live where we do.

Just let it go and wait and see what happens. And when people give you horror stories just say you need a cuppa and walk off!

Lemontwist Fri 12-Jan-18 19:34:55

I remember the horror stories well! I haven't told anyone that I'm pregnant yet so they haven't started this time round.

I've had two straight forward, relatively easy labours and I hope the trend continues. First one I'd had slight period type pain much of the day so thought something might be happening. A bit later about 7.30 pm I was going downstairs when I had a sudden contraction. It was obvious what it was and I had to sit down on the stairs until it passed. We had something to eat then waited for a bit but called the labour unit quite early on as the pains were fairly frequent (but totally manageable). The car journey was probably the worst bit as I felt every bump.
When I got there I was checked and was, if I remember correctly, about 7cm dilated. I was allocated a room with a pool which was lovely. A couple of hours in I had my waters broken. There was meconium in there so I had to get out of the pool but then z couple of hours later DS1 was born. Gas and air only and of course it hurt like he'll but never anything I felt I couldn't manage. Worse bit was when midwife threatened intervention as I'd been pushing quite a long time and not getting anywhere but actually he arrived soon after.

2nd was very similar though slightly quicker and no pool available. I remember one moment when I panicked and thought the pain got too much but the midwife was very reassuring and I got through it (think it was transition)
This time I didn't even make it to postnatal ward and was quickly discharged straight from the labour suite. Was at home with a cup of tea within 5 hours of him being born.

Sorry for the essay, try not to worry. Even if the birth does and up more difficult the main thing is your baby at the end. Good luck!

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