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AbbyMN needs your "pain relief in labour" thoughts.

84 replies

AbbyMumsnet · 01/10/2008 16:20

More site stuff going on Chez Abs. Oh, it's been a laugh a minute here, what with tales of flying ventouse, vile forceps and other gory bits and pieces.

But now, at last, a less thorny subject: drug use.

So, did you have pain relief? If so, did you plan to have it beforehand or was it something you decided on during labour. At what point did you have it - and what methods did you use? Did they work? If so, how long for? Were there any drawbacks for you, your labour or your baby?

And if you didn't have pain relief was it because you were adamant that you wanted a "natural labour" (and before anyone gets uppity about my using that term, you know what I mean, so let's not go down that route, eh? ) or was it simply that, for you, labour wasn't as painful as you expected/you have a very high pain threshold etc.

So, bring on your tales - I'll be most grateful.

OP posts:
newforold · 02/10/2008 12:30

went into labour at 30 weeks.
hind waters broke and dd had restricted growth so was given the old steroids in the bum for her lungs but also put on a drip to stop the contractions.
Was kept in for 5 weeks and kept going into labour, was losing water all the time and dd stopped growing at 33 wks.
Was finally induced at 35 weeks after a sweep didn't work.

I knew absolutely nothing about the labour process, i had no clue what transition was or any of the stages really. The midwife led me through it all.
They gave me pethidine when the first pessary did it's job straight away as both dd and i were not too well so needed to rest.

The labour got really heavy but then stopped, so i was given cyntocin (spelling?) and the glucose drip thing but i was also given a epidural at the same time as they said the contractions would get very intense very quickly and they thought i was a bit too tired to cope with the pain.

I fell asleep for a little bit, when i woke up i told the midwife there was something between my legs and she told me not to be so daft, but i persuaded her to have a look and she then blanched, ran out of the room and returned with another midwife, a paed for dd and a consultant for me.
Dd's head was just about to crown!

Pushed for 20 mins and there she was.

Both of us were very sleepy afterwards, i was completely out of it, dd went to special care and didn't feed for nearly 48 hrs which i think was probably because of all the drugs i had.

If it were physically possible for me to have another i would have had a home birth i think with preferably no pain relief.
I feel cheated that i have no idea what a normal labour is like and never will.
Throughout the process the midwives didn't speak to me, they spoke to my mum and they were convinced that i was very young because i don't look my age.
I found that really patronising and wish i had been able to stand up for myself better. They were even bringing in groups of students throughout the day without asking me if it was ok. At one point i lost my temper when a group trooped in when i was being examined.
I told them they could at least have the decency to introduce themselves before staring at my fanny.

Phew! Sorry,you probably didn't want the entire birth story but that was really rather cathartic for me.

AbbyMumsnet · 06/10/2008 17:57

Hi again - thanks for all this.

Few more queries - did anyone have a "mobile epidural" - if so, were you remotely mobile? Also, did anyone have a combined spinal epidural? If so, what was it like?

OP posts:
AbbyMumsnet · 10/10/2008 12:06

Bump re mobile epi's etc

Oh, and while I'm here, can I respectfully request some thoughts on "natural pain relief".

For instance, did you use any of the following and were they any good or just pants?

waterbirths/breathing techniques/massage/music/hot water bottles or wheat bags/hypnobirthing/homeopathy etc etc

OP posts:
Anna8888 · 10/10/2008 12:12

I had absolutely no pain relief whatsoever except for a long hot bath for the one and a half hours that preceded me starting to push.

It was all absolutely fine and if I were to give birth again I wouldn't want any pain relief other than a hot bath.

Anna8888 · 10/10/2008 12:14

I should probably add that I have quite a high pain / goriness threshold - I had my short-sighted eyes lasered with no sedation at all; had a varicose vein op under local. So I wasn't particularly anxious about pain in childbirth - I knew I would be able to bear it.

PuzzleRocks · 10/10/2008 12:14

Anna8888 - was that a homebirth? I am considering one myself.

Anna8888 · 10/10/2008 12:15

No, it was a hospital birth (which I very much wanted). But I did everything the MWs had told me to speed up labour - lots of walking around/sitting on a birthing ball for the early part. I really didn't want an episiotomy/ventouse/forceps if I could possibly avoid them.

Eniddo · 10/10/2008 12:19

no pain relief apart from g and a, and didnt bother with that in third labour - the pool was great

although I dont recommend a high forceps/ventouse delivery with no pain relief a la dd1 unless you want post traumatic stress syndrome

Eniddo · 10/10/2008 12:19

i also believe I have a high tolerance to pain and a gutsy attitude


Monkeytrousers · 10/10/2008 12:25

I had an open mind. If I felt I needed it I would have it.

I did need it - I was 'over contracting' - having full blown contarctions from the start with only seconds inbetween with no respite. I got gas and air as soon as in the delivery suite. Asking for pethadine which I finally got three agonising hours later. It didn't help, so I asked for an epi which I got an hour later.

The epi was miraculous with the pain of contractions - had a very odd 10 hours watching the contractions happen on the monitor and hearing the screams of other women giving birth..I kept asking, 'They haven't had an epidural have they?'. I never got an answer, just a shrug of the shoulders and a sympathetic smile.

When I began to puch him out it was as if I had had no pain killers at all. He was a very big baby though, 10lbs +

choosyfloosy · 10/10/2008 12:25

TENS - Good thing.
Water (hospital birthing pool) - incredible - the only thing I had that actually reduced the pain.
G&A - outlet didn't work - One thing I would recommend for midwifery training is that they learn how to actually fix the bloody things - quite often it's not just the mouthpiece IMO.
Breathing/relaxation techniques - very, very good idea if well-practised beforehand - you can't learn how to do it in labour IMO.

Spinal block for stitches - absolutely bloomin incredible. Lay back and listened to radio while being pieced back together in theatre. Now that's a version of motherhood I can handle.

Monkeytrousers · 10/10/2008 12:25

Sorry yes, and it was a venthouse deivery.

Monkeytrousers · 10/10/2008 12:28

Your painthreashold goes up anyay when you become pregnant.

But befefore we get all cometitive over birthing, it's worth remembering that some women expereince more pain that others and indeed, some nearly die and some do. Very often it's nothing to do with a 'gutsy attitide' - I have that in droves.

expatinscotland · 10/10/2008 12:29

really keen on trying the pool this time round.

am also hypobirthing.

got caught out with DD2 and wound up giving birth with no pain relief at all (G&A made me sick) and really didn't feel empowered or any of that - just felt trapped by immense pain and panicked.

Niecie · 10/10/2008 12:31

DS1 - started with TENS machine which was probably no more than a distraction device.

Had an epidural as soon as I got to hospital (was thankfully already 5cm dilated). Asked for a mobile one but they didn't do them. Planned to have one as I didn't want anything that might make me sick (emetophobe) and was very glad that I could have one straight away as I had been in labour for 12 hours by then, no sleep that night and 8 of them were established labour. Worked like a dream but I had a 4 hour second stage which I suspect was the fault of the epidural and DS was delivered by forceps. Only dodgy moment was when they let the epidural wear off for better pushing and gave me a mega dose of drugs to speed up the contractions at the same time so I ended up continuously contracting with no breaks and no pain relief. Needless to say I made them top up the epi sharpish.

DS2 - Tried having a bath in the early stages, thinking that if I was in labour it would help as water births are supposed to be good. Made absolutely no difference, if anything more uncomfortable from being in a bath, despite the fact it was a bigger than average bath and I wasn't cramped.

Tried the TENS again - don't know if it worked or not this time but it was certainly a distraction and something to get a grip on when the contractions kicked in.

All progressed very quickly once I was sure I was in full labour and I had convinced the hospital I should go in. Dealt with it mainly by breathing and making sure I didn't hold my breath and breathed through the contractions as they say. I was very calm (surprising for me) and I do attribute this to the breathing. It was something to focus on.

Fortunately, my waters broke before I even got out of the bedroom and DH phoned an ambulance and DS2 was born 20 minutes later with the aid of gravity. The nice ambulanceman offered gas and air but I refused as it was a bit late!!

Minor tear, no stitchs, big baby and only mild after pains so no more pain relief was needed. I was very lucky.

cafebistro · 10/10/2008 12:50

Had Tens and G&A with both my labours.
1st labour I waited until I couldnt handle the pain anymore and then screamed for an epidural- the midwife smiled and left the room. No chance, I was already 9cm dilated. DS was born 4 hours later. After this experience I was dreading 2nd labour. By the time I got to the hospital and had a couple of puffs of G&A and DD was born. A much nicer experience 2nd time round. I wish I'd just asked for more pain relief sooner in my first labour.

AbbyMumsnet · 10/10/2008 13:25

Cheers for all this. Am just trying to fill in some missing gaps so, for any of you who missed my later postings (and don't like to shout but think post will get overlooked, otherwise)


OP posts:
BCNS · 10/10/2008 13:39

well i was going to take any pain relief offered. ( although not keen on the idea of the whole needle in the back bit)..

As it happened all births were quick.

Ds1 I had to keep asking for something.. and was told to try and hang on a bit later on... I yelled at them.. when DS1 got all twisted and stuck..and his heart rate dropped very low very suddenly.. they ( now a team of midwives.. students peads obs and medical student) forgot to give me anything... so I naturally gave birth via a ventouse!! no he was a "natural birth" as such!

Ds2 also very quick.. tens machine came off and I was too late to have anything but G+A and all I could do was hang on tight to the mouth piece.. I never actually got to use it.. so there was "natural birth" number 2

DD was the quickest.. was 8 cms on arrival into the delivery room ( having just got to the hospital in time and contractions having only started 20 mins before hand).
I was determined to have Some pain relief.. was offered G+A.. took three big lungfuls.. giggled.. and promptly threw up. I gave up on the idea LOL.. and DD arrived "natural" LOL

I am not an earth mother and the only thing that got me through the births was actually getting to the point of thinking it can't go on forever and get the thing out and stop the pain NOW!!

hop that helps LOL

tassisssss · 10/10/2008 13:46

My 3 births were much the same.

With my first I had no idea what to expect but hoped to hold off drugs for as long as possible. I started on the old TENs fairly early on, gas and air after a while and that was me. TENs was just a distraction really, G&A was wonderful just took the edge off.

I'd read about "active labour" before having my first so was keen to stay mobile and upright. I'm sure that helped.

Subsequent labours I had more fixed ideas about what I liked - dim lights, don't talk to me, don't touch me. I was very focussed and pretty quiet. I really concentrated on breathing and my dh's role was to hand me the G&A and then pass me the ice chips. He was my spokesperson, I would grunt or nod or whatever. Poor midwives, I pretty much ignored them, I can barely remember them being there but they were very tolerant and got that I just wanted to be left to get on with it. They did insist on monitoring contractions from time to time and I think I was quite rude about this...

Bramshott · 10/10/2008 13:49

I'd vote for everything available, but nothing pushed on you. With DD1 I had G & A, and with DD2 nothing as it was so quick. It was important to me to know that pain relief was available though.

policywonk · 10/10/2008 13:54

I had a pretty-much drug-free birth with DS2 - but did use TENS (so don't know whether this is what you mean by 'natural' pain relief?) I had read Sheila Kitzinger's New Experience of Childbirth before the labour, and tried to put it into practice, plus had attended active birth classes.

I went into the labour quite confident that I'd be alright with TENS/g&a, as I had been fine on DS1's birth (although obviously I was open to changing my mind if I needed to).

Got through the contractions with vocalising, circling the pelvis - lots of pacing around between the contractions.

Arrived at hospital 15mins before DS2 was born, and spent a good ten minutes trying to find the labour ward, so only just got there in time - but the pain was pretty manageable so I didn't realise I was so close to pushing.

I think I had one puff of g&a before I delivered DS2.

Very very positive and powerful experience - but I think I just don't have terribly painful labours.

MamaG · 10/10/2008 13:58
castille · 10/10/2008 14:29

I had no pain relief during any of my three labours. Partly because this is France and here it's epidural (which over 90% of women have IIRC) or a big fat Nothing - gas/air and pethidine just aren't on offer.

But I had fantastic ante-natal classes which taught me excellent breathing techniques for managing contractions. Highly, highly recommended if you don't want pain relief. Quite brilliant.

I get quite emotional in a good way thinking about my 3rd labour and birth in fact

SixSpotBonfire · 10/10/2008 14:32

DS1 - had pethidine - he nearly died. More details available on request!

DS2 - just gas and air. He was fine.

DS3 - no drugs, not even gas and air, but had a doula. He was fine.

flourybaps · 10/10/2008 14:35

I was induced, 10 days overdue. Waters broke after first pessary.

Used a tens machine and rolled around aon a birthing ball, not sure if tens machine actually did much pain relief wise but i would def recommend it, gave me something to focus on when contractions were coming.

That combo worked well until I was about 5 cm the had gas and air (fantastic) by the time I was asking for an epidural I was 10cm so didnt need one and got on with the pushng.

Unfortunately after 2 and half hours pushing and no baby I had episiotomy and forceps then the placenta was stuck so taken to theatre and given a spinal. Horrid experience ended up with a drip, catheter, couldnt get out of bed until the next day.

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