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Helpful hints to get me through labour.

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Since I am now only 3 weeks away from my due date, I am becoming fearful of the actual delivery. I have had kidney stones many times before and I hear the pain is similar. The problem is I may not be able to have an epidural due to the fact I have had 2 spinal taps in the past and my body reacts extremely poorly to them. An epidural can cause the same reaction, so they may not give me one. I am going to try to be as unmedicated as possible and I would appreciate any ideas or techniques anyone can provide to help me through.

Thanks so much!
post #2 of 28
The good thing about labor pains is while they are here, though they can be excruciating- once they are over you completely forget about them and concentrate instead on the jpy they brought- that new little baby nestled in your arms.

I was told all the tricks- focal points, deep breathing, panting, meditation, and I still swore like a truck driver, ranted like a demon and cried like a sissy. The only thing that really helped was when Don would roll a rolling pin down my back. He had to be careful and not let me get ahold of that rolling pin, because at that precise time, I would have laid it up the side of his head! He even went to the gift store downstairs and got me a card apologizing for putting me in the spot I was in.......

There does that help you feel better? By the way, I did not have what was classified as normal labor and delivery. So you should be FINE!
post #3 of 28
You dont need no durn epidural! (jus kiddin) Just plan like you are going to have a natural/medication free delivery, just prep your self for that. If they are able to give you the ep., then it will just be an added bonus. I always hear that a woman scared of labor should remind herself continually that it is as old as time and perfectly natural. Just think of all the women that have gone before you and all the women that will come after you. ( there is also the cliche that I am sure you have heard,,,about how some asian peasant farmer woman work until they are literally in labor, go lay down and have the baby, and go back to the feild to work the very same day!!!) Isnt that amazing? I will NEVER EVER be that strong,, Im a sissy. Although it isnt a bowl of cherries Adrienne, and it is painful, you wouldnt want it any other way,, it makes the end result so much more rewarding!!! (singing)--"your gonna be a mommy!" "your gonna be a mommy!" Yea!!!!!
I am excited for you!!!
post #4 of 28
alrighty. I did this 8 years ago. I gave birth without ANY pain medication. I have a very neurotic reason, too::::: I HATE NEEDLES !!!!!!!!! :::::::: So the thought of that 12-inch long Epidural needle made me PUT IN WRITING to my OBGYN: NO NEEDLES.

Hints for you:
Have a PARTNER help you with BREATHING. Surely you have taken Lamaze classes? This is the only thing that saved me. My hubby at the time had zero interest in helping me with the breathing and relaxation techniques necessary for a drug-free birth; so, I hired a woman named Mary Jo. She was the teacher of the Lamaze classes I went to.

Have a WOMAN help you with the breathing. Men will get bored of it or not be able to see such pain in your face. Trust me. Women can handle pain way better than men. Pain like childbirth? You want a woman who has been there/done that, who can tell you step by step what your body is doing. This is what Mary Jo did for me.

Use a heat pad for your back. Labor pains are mostly in your back. I hardly felt a thing in the front; it was all in my lower back! The heating pad really helped to take 'the edge' off of the contractions.

As you dilate more and more -- your contractions will peak higher and come closer, last longer. You will not have much time inbetween contractions to 'focus' or do much other than breathe and anticipate. I didn't have a focal point; instead, I had soft music playing (this relaxation stuff) and I kept the lights down low; I closed my eyes and just focused on my breathing and my body. However if you are a really visual person and there is a favorite picture or something small you want to focus on, use that vs. closing your eyes.

As you get closer to being able to push -- you will notice it will feel GOOOOOD to push. Your body will start to push the baby out 'all on it's own' (kind of like when you go to the bathroom... not to be gross but when the baby comes out it feels like you are having a BM). It feels natural, there is some pressure, but weirdly enough it feels GOOD to push. Go with it and remember to breathe.

As the baby passes down and through the birth canal, there is a nerve or something that is supressed -- your legs will sort of feel numb and your 'area' down there will feel a bit numb. If you have to have an episiotomy --- the doc will numb you locally by dabbing this stuff on you. But as the baby nears the opening it will be naturally numb (so it doesn't hurt as bad at this point).

Delivering the head was no problem; it's the shoulders that hurt -- but the shoulders pass pretty easily --- it's all over in a minute. Then POOF the pain is pretty much gone. You'll have to deliver your placenta, but it just feels kind of googly. Plus you will be tired, exhausted, and happy, because you will have a brand new baby laying on your chest!!!

I can't stress enough about the Lamaze breathing... it was the ONLY thing that helped me. If Mary Jo was not there with me to help me through, to coach me and to explain what my body was doing - I'd have freaked out and had no choice but to use drugs (since my hubby had no interest in helping).

I only yelled once, and it was when the nurse stuck her entire arm (or so it felt) up inside of me to help push the cervix back over my baby's head. I called her the B word and yelled at her. Then while I was delivering I screamed at my doctor to "get it out" because -- it was the shoulder-delivery -- and like I said that is the only kind of painful part.

Docs & nurses will understand if you curse like a sailor... the nurse I called a B just let it roll right off her back (from what I remember).

Good Luck, and sorry this is so long, but I'm excited for ya! It was fun, childbirth... call me crazy but it was the coolest thing I ever did.

-- Stephanie
post #5 of 28
I understand. That's why I don't want to have children as an adult. The thought of the labour pains itself. Don't be scared, think about the sweet baby you're going to have. Get as much advise as possible. Try to relax. Pamper yourself! You're going to be a mommy soon!
post #6 of 28
Stephanie, your post was wonderful, informative and it made me laugh! Thanks for sharing
post #7 of 28
Well it's been a few years since I did l&d, but my best tip is to (as long as they will let you) if unmonitored, walk the halls...during a contraction, stop and do some gentle rocking side to side. If you are having constant fetal heart rate monitoring,so long as there is no distress, they should allow you to sit in a rocking chair at bedside with the monitors on...rock through the contractions.

These tips will help with getting the baby to move down, and the lower the station of the baby's head, the more pressure it will put on the cervix to both thin and dilate. Once the cervix is 100% effaced (thinned) generally speaking, you'll have a faster rate of dilation...especially if the head is at a lower station.

Breathing...yes!! Do lamaze..if you didn't take classes, ask your nurse for a crash course. In the early stages - up to 4 cms dilation - try doing effleurage - gently NON-presssure massage of your abdomen during a contraction (it helps block the pain message)...here is a little explanation of it: click here

I'm not sure what kind of bad reaction you had to a spinal, but the epidural is placed in a higher space along the spine, there is no risk of a spinal headache ...I'd have a good discussion with your doc or an anesthesiologist ahead of time, so you will know if this is an option or not.

Did I ever push these? No...but for dang sure, if you get into a plateau...staying at one dilation, and if appropriately dilated for an epidural (given too soon it can stall labor) the relief of tension, the getting some rest, allows the contractions to work more effectively..especially if that plauteau has been reached despite an augmented labor (pitocin drip). It's still you and your body doing the work, you've simply got a tool to help you relax enough to let everything progress...and that to me, is better than a c/section any day. I've seen epidural's make the difference between having a non-surgical birth or not.

Ah...now I've written a book, so will quit here. Hope you'll consider the walking/rocking and effleurage tips, they do work.

I wish you all the best, ps...have an extra coach lined up..someone to support and spell your husband during the early hours.
post #8 of 28
stephanie will you want to be my partner for when i have children??

Adymarie i cant wait for your baby!!! i dont know why but i am so excited and i barely know you

i hope the labour all goes well.
i would agree with stephanie about the pushing feels good. i mean when you gotta go, its like ahhhh thats so much better!!

just dont think so much about the pain just think of the outcome
good luck
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much everyone! I am learning the breathing (my last class is Sunday). It really helps to have you all talk me through this. With spinal taps I leak spinal fluid and my brain "slumps" and then I can't even sit up without throwing up. I will use all of the techniques that you guys have advised!

You are all the best!
post #10 of 28
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pick a focal point and focus on that while you breathe. I found it helpful to have another person besides my husband to help coach me. For some reason, I tuned him out until the baby came. I wanted him in the room, but I didn't want him to coach me. Not sure why that was. I had an epidural (thank God for them!). I'm the biggest pain wimp ever.

You'll make it through and then you'll labor with that child the rest of their childhood. lol But it truly is worth it. The thing is, they can't stay in there forever, so just set your mind that you can do it. And you will! Bonus points for not cussing the nurses.

Is it a boy or a girl? (If you don't mind sharing.)
post #11 of 28
Walk around for as long as they will let you. Also, choose a good focal point to concentrate on and use it. I know a lot of people talk about a picture or something in the room, but I found you really need something that you can focus your mind on, like maybe one of those books where you are supposed to be able to see other images in the pictures or a Where's Waldo-type thing. You need to be able to take your mind as far away from concentrating on the pain as you can.
post #12 of 28
I did not have a natural delivery but let me tell you - I really wanted to belt Jake about the head, especially when he was telling me over and over to breathe - I WAS BREATHING!!!!!!!

The epidural was a godsend.

It doesnt matter to me how Gabe was born, as long as he was healthy.

I wish you all the best for the big day. I know you will be a wonderful mum! And dont forget to post photos!
post #13 of 28

You've gotten alot of good advice! I'm an L&D nurse, and I can tell you that the breathing/focusing helps tremendously. You may lose focus on this during the process, but if your hubby has paid attention in class, he will be invaluable! Hopefully your nurse will be able to help you as well (I do, but I can't promise all will).

Some people do hire a doula (birth coach). They cost a bit, but they will be with you during the entire process. I'm personally so-so on them based on my experience. Some are pains in the patootie, but some are wonderful!

I've seen others hire an acupuncturist. I personally have not had a patient who employed this method, so I can't say how well it works.

I couldn't say whether or not they will give you an epidural (have you discussed this with your doctor?), but it is different than a spinal tap. The spinal tap actually goes into the sac of fluid surrounding the nerves, and they extract cerebral spinal fluid for testing. The epidural (optimally) never enters this space. It is a very thin tubing that is placed in the space just next to the sac. Sometimes the sac is punctured, however, so it will be up to you and the anesthesiologist whether or not you get it.

Also, remember when that voice in your head tells you "I can't!!!", remember that you can, and you will. You will get through it!

If you have any other questions, feel free to pm me. If I don't have the answer, I will find out from those who do!
post #14 of 28
Ady - OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How the heck did I not know or remember that you were pregnant? I am SO embarrased!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't have a clue about labor, but I HAD to say CONGRATULATIONS! You will be a FABULOUS mom, and I could not be happier for you and your growing family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #15 of 28
I had both kids, naturally. My first one weighed 10 lb 1 oz. and I went home the next day. They let me walk, during most of my labor and it did help. The only problem was my ex - HE was too "tired" to walk with me. I needed his arm, for support, when a contraction hit. Needless to say, I blew up and informed him that I hadn't gotten myself into this condition alone and I wasn't getting out of it alone - he walked!

I was tied to a monitor, with Mark (different hospital) and hated it. I had to fight, to go to the bathroom (I cannot use a bedpan). HIS father wouldn't rub my back. I threatened to neuter HIM. I started to deliver, in the labor room. The nurse didn't believe me, when I said, "The baby's coming." SHE said that it was too soon. I said, "Who's having this kid - me or you?" She decided to check and said, "Oh, S****! Let's go!" Mark had crowned. The doctor wasn't scrubbed or gowned and nobody was ready, except for Mark and me.

Looking back, 30 and 26 years, it doesn't seem so bad and I get a lot of comedy material out of it.

Do the best, that you can and, if you hurt, there's no shame in asking for relief. After a year or so, you'll even let hubby back into bed
post #16 of 28
I am a self-proclaimed weiney when it comes to pain and I had no drugs whatsoever for both of my kids.
Hold out as long as you can, tell them you want to try it without, but want it nearby if you change your mind.
Way back when I had my 2 kids if they gave you the epidural you had to keep your head perfectly still for like 8 hours afterwards or you got a severe headache. Not sure what that was all about, but the girl in the room with me when I had Jake had the epidural and she got the headache.
I dont know if they put something in it nowadays to prevent that.

Just keep telling yourself it will be over soon and you will have your baby in your arms!
post #17 of 28
Originally Posted by katl8e
The nurse didn't believe me, when I said, "The baby's coming." SHE said that it was too soon. I said, "Who's having this kid - me or you?" She decided to check and said, "Oh, S****! Let's go!" Mark had crowned.
I only said that to a patient twice in my 13 year career...once when I was dealing with a very young teen....I regretted both those times enough, that I never said it again. I always checked...the doc could have left the room and headed to dinner because she or he was so sure it would be hours and I'd go insist another exam had to be done.

I even once began quickly taking my patient in her stretcher bed down the hall to the delivery room yelling as I went that by golly the patient was ready, would someone like to come deliver the baby?

post #18 of 28
My Mom said I was coming out and
the nurses said that to her too.
They left the room and she had me with no one in the room!
They believed her then!
post #19 of 28
I didn't get the chance to go through labor, but here's some of the stuff I've read:

drink labor water (there's several different recipes, try a Google search)
get as much sleep beforehand as possible
relax, relax, relax
focus on the baby and when the pain gets worse listen to your body, what does it need? to change position? fluids? what?
change positions as often as needed and don't be afraid to try odd ones
try water--I've heard wonderful things about it
walk, walk, walk (they used to do this all the time in the middle ages)
be there--focus on what's going on (not the pain)

I hope these help.
post #20 of 28
Originally Posted by Sanctie
there is also the cliche that I am sure you have heard,,,about how some asian peasant farmer woman work until they are literally in labor, go lay down and have the baby, and go back to the feild to work the very same day

This actually happens in the book The Good Earth, which is said to be pretty darn accurate to the times of pre-revolutionary China.

Also.. keep in mind that there are other pain-managing medications out there for labor than the standard epidural (while, It may not completely NUMB you like an epidural does, most will take the edge off of the pain of labor.

Good Luck!!
post #21 of 28
If you have long hair, braid it on the way to the hospital. It took days to pull all the knots out of mine after my daughter was born.
post #22 of 28
Originally Posted by krazy kat2
If you have long hair, braid it on the way to the hospital. It took days to pull all the knots out of mine after my daughter was born.
I had forgotten about that. Wash off any makeup, too. When Richard was born, my mascara and eyeliner had run. One of the nurses was more concerned with wiping my "black tears" than with getting that baby born.
post #23 of 28
I don't have any advice for you Ady but all the best!
post #24 of 28
post #25 of 28
Heya sweetie... I know exactly how you feel. I was utterly petrified of my delivery - that's only natural, but you know what? Once you're actually there, you'll be surprised by how calmly you deal with it. I won't say it doens't hurt, because it does, but the difference between labour pains and anything else, is that they are constructive pains. They're pains that are doing something in your body, not there because there is something wrong, if you know what I'm trying to say. The very best you can do, is do it YOUR way. That's very important, because it's you listening to your body and it's a way of keeping control in a situation where you might feel that you don't have much control. The breathing exercises are there for a reason - to keep you calm - do them. I can't stress that enough. If there are people who want to be at the delivery that YOU don't want there... tell them. Anything that will stress you out more isn't helpful. Obviously you'll have a birth plan already drawn up, but if it doens't feel right for you at the time, you say so and it's easy to change it. I really wanted a water birth, because I was frightened of the pain but also of the drugs as well. Unfortunately, there wasn't the facility available at my hospital to have that.... although I could take a bath to ease the labour pains. I gave birth to my son sitting up in bed after trying prett ymuch everything else.... I'd tried being on my hands and knees, sitting in a special chair, I'd walked around.... but in the end... good old tradition won out and, I hasten to add, I did it without pain relief! It is possible. And it you can believe in that, you'll do just great. It's a very natural thing. Women have been doing it for years and years, and they know what's best for them, Instinct sorta kicks in after a while, even if you do feel scared. It's really easy to stress out and panic, especially if you have a partner with you who's about as much use as a chocolate tea-pot, but keep your head. Make use of everything available, walk around, breathe deeply and it'll go fine If you want to message me and talk about anything, you're more than welcome to. You've got another three weeks (ish) to put your feet up and calm down. Oh... don't read any books about the intimacies of problems, because they can be really stressful. And any relatives telling you it's excruciating... ignore them too. I listened to my grandma, and I was almost horrified when I went through it with next to no pain.

Trust your instincts. There is absolutely no substitute f it. If you want to eat, eat. If you want to drink, drink. Don't let these nurses (most of which haven't had kids of their own) tell you what is and isn't right for you. I wish I had saved the link, but there is a study that shows that the women who need pain relief, are the women who panic and don't listen to their bodies. Women who stress over the pain, are more likely to feel the pain. It's all about positive mental attitude! You're a strong woman, and you'll get through it without any trouble. Oh... and never underestimate the power of swearing at the man who put you there in the first place!!!
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I am feeling much better after all of your advice and my last Childbirth Prep class yesterday. We actually took a tour of the labour and delivery department and that was very re-assuring. I will labour and deliver in the same room. Each room has a shower which will help with the labour. They really encourage walking around or doing whatever you need to to get through the labour! It is more home like then hospital like - it even has a DVD player. I was joking with my hubby that we should bring the Lord of the Rings trilogy in to help pass the time. I can't wait to see our little boy! At least they told me it was a little boy.

My hubby has really been into the childbirth classes with me. He keeps asking if I have been practicing my breathing and pelvic floor exercises - which I have!

I can't wait to post some pics once the baby is here. All we need now is to decide on a name!
post #27 of 28
I wouldn't discount bringing a movie to pop in the DVD player, especially one that you haven't seen, but want to. It would probably be a good way to focus your attention.

Now, if you could only get in a laptop and keep us all informed of your progress step by step. The world's first cyber-delivery!
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Deb25
I wouldn't discount bringing a movie to pop in the DVD player, especially one that you haven't seen, but want to. It would probably be a good way to focus your attention.

Now, if you could only get in a laptop and keep us all informed of your progress step by step. The world's first cyber-delivery!
We probably will bring a movie - but I told him it will not be Rosemary's Baby!

I already have people at work wanting a call update every half hour while in labour. Internet would probably help distract me! Maybe they will let me go on-line at the nurses station!
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