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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:28 pm 
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We had group prenatal classes at our birthing center. They were sort of a mix of birthing techniques, but pretty heavy on Bradley. I thought it was very helpful, especially for my husband. He was so well-versed in what was going to happen that he was able to be calm and support me in exactly the way I needed. During labor I fell back on my Buddhist practice and used mindfulness and meditation and didn't use a lot of other techniques, but my labor was very fast and I skipped the first stage entirely.

I also read the Bradley book (though my husband didn't!), Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and Dr. Sears' Birth Book and they all helped prepare me. The "sphincter law" chapter is pure gold.

I was very scared of labor throughout pregnancy, but found that by the end I was so uncomfortable and sick of being pregnant I was practically praying for labor to start. :) Once I felt contractions I was psyched!

I totally recommend acupuncture, especially in the third trimester. It helped alleviate a lot of my aches and pains, was a huge emotional help, and I'm convinced it made for a quick and easy labor.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:45 am 
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I'm sort of a pessimist, so take it with a grain of salt, but I found some comfort in knowing that after a certain point, it was going to have to come out SOMEHOW, and doing it the traditional way was probably the least bothersome of any.. and also I found it very calming to realize, once I was in second stage labor, that in just a few hours it would all be over with, regardless of the outcome.

That said, the contractions for me were easy, I felt somewhat ill prepared for finding the pushing stage the most difficult. But at that point, it wasn't really the pain: once you get to that point, the pain is very bearable IMO because it feels like the sort of pain where once you push through it and get the whole thing over with, it will go away. But everyone's labor is different.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:13 am 
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LisaPunk wrote:
can people explain a little more when you say that when you get an epidural that you are "restricted?"
i just want to understand what that means.
i *want* to have a natural birth but i also understand things may not go the way i want to.
...
im terrified of the actual labor part. TERRIFIED.


Okay, first of all, labour is obviously different for everyone, but I was raised by someone who told me labour was the absolute worst pain in the world and that I would be a blubbering mess, unable to handle it, begging for pain relief and that getting a c-section was a way better option.
That said, labour was NO WHERE NEAR the worst pain I've ever had. The worst by far was getting burned -- a hot water bottle broke (the rubber ripped) under my arm while I was cuddling it and I had a huge triangular scab (that scarred a little) from the boiling water burn -- it felt like Satan had hot coals under my arm for 8 hours straight, horrible. The second worst pain I ever had was having a gigantic catheter inserted when I had a urinary tract infection (they said my samples were contaminated and that they only had catheters in that ridiculously huge size -- I made some weird, involuntary animal noise when the doctor inserted it, it was horrible, too). both of those were way worse. In fact, I'd rather be in labour than have a really horrible UTI (but some of my UTIs have been really, really awful).
It also wasn't the scariest thing Ive been through -- one time an ear-nose-throat doctor shoved these really long bent nose tweezers way the hell up my nose -- it was like a horror film!!
Labour is no picnic, but I think the worst part is not knowing when the baby is going to come, so you don't know how long it will be. The pushing part hurt more for my first labour (the ring of fire, oi! -- and no pain relief during pushing), but it was also a lot less scary than earlier in my labour because I knew the baby was coming.

OH! And please don't think your choices have to be epidural or nothing. Some places will let you have gas & air (laughing gas) and/or Pethidine -- pethidine is a really lame opiate which takes the edge off, while still letting you feel like you're in control. I had some for my first birth and it only lasted about 90-120 minutes, but it really took the edge off my panic. My labour came on hard and strong -- the midwives actually suggested I have the jab, since I was still pretty early in my labour, and I'm glad I did. I had gas & air for both births and it doesn't help that much, but it's better than nothing. I don't feel like my births were any less natural for having either pain relief option (although I know a lot of natural birthers who would say my births weren't natural for precisely that reason). Both my labours were midwife-led, without any doctors, pitocin, or interventions. They let me cut the cord after it had stopped pulsating and we delivered the placenta naturally (although after haemorrhaging pretty badly the last time, I'll get the placenta-delivering jab from now on after the cord has stopped pulsating), I got skin-to-skin contact, I got to room in with the baby, I breastfed right away, etc.

annak wrote:
...I felt somewhat ill prepared for finding the pushing stage the most difficult. But at that point, it wasn't really the pain: once you get to that point, the pain is very bearable IMO because it feels like the sort of pain where once you push through it and get the whole thing over with, it will go away.

That is a great description of what it's like! Spot on! I totally felt like it hurt more, but it was totally more bearable.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:41 am 
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LisaPunk wrote:

im terrified of the actual labor part. TERRIFIED.


It's totally normal to feel that way. Being terrified of labour was one main reason for me why I never wanted to have kids. And now I have a one year old girl. And I am so forking proud of finally overcoming my fears. For me it all changed once labour started. All the fear I had before just went away. It's like mandycoot said. Once the contractions started I was all like "Oh, great, I am exited now!" From that point on I knew that it was just going to happen no matter what. Taking one step after the other and just trying to take things as they come. Think about what you want, what is comfortable for you, etc. But also think about alternatives and don't beat yourself up if things go into a different direction. No matter what, you are going to get through this, and there will be people to help you, support you, and give you advice.

For me the best part about birth was how strong I felt afterwards. For me it was a very empowering experience. And I am saying that from a non-natural birth perspective. I decided to go with an epidural even though I probably could have made it without one. But no matter if "natural" or not, I think the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your decisions.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:05 am 
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i had what i thought was a pretty easy labour and delivery with tzipi. in retrospect, i probably should have been more freaked out, given how nothing went the way it was supposed to and she could have had some more serious medical issues after birth than she did, but at the time, i was really not bothered by anything. i had a brief meltdown/good hard cry when my first contractions started and we realized we were going to have to call an ambulance and go to the hospital. it never occurred to me to get an epidural at all. i'm not sure i would have believed you if you'd told me it would help! it still is oddly something my brain just won't accept... i know logically that it's a really great tool for some people but it just seems like something that won't work on me.

anyway, we never took a class. i read a lot of birth stories from different places. i liked ina may gaskin's books, although i'm a bit more skeptical of her these days.

the biggest thing for me was remembering what one of my midwives said to me... every contraction you get through is one you never have to get through again. it helped me to remember that labour was finite and would NOT go on forever, something that was surprisingly easy to forget in the middle of things. i also reminded myself that every contraction was really only a minute or so, and i could do anything for a minute! those thoughts, plus hot water in the tub and my yoga breathing were the tools i used mostly, and they were sufficient for me.

pushing is the part i'm dreading most this time... it hurt a lot and really didn't seem like it would ever end, but it's also the easiest part in some ways because you're actually DOING something and everyone around you is energized and excited.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:08 am 
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actually, i lie. third stage is the part i'm dreading most. the labour and pushing part gets you a baby, but then there's still more work and pain to deal with, and i just wanted everyone to get out and leave me alone... but nooooo... you have to push the placenta out, and the midwife has to shove your uterus around for a bit, and then she has to stitch you up, and then they want you to get up and go pee, and ugh... you're just tired and want to hold your darn baby.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:14 am 
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LB, your post made me think of something:

I was holding the Emperor during the placenta etc part, and pretty much paid no attention to it. I could have cared less what was going on.

With the Magician, that stuff all happened when he had been rushed away to the mini-NICU, so I was pretty much off my tits with terror. And the same stuff (which was actually less complicated because my placenta and gunk all came out on its own, and I only got like 1 stitch) was unbearably painful. I stopped being in pain almost instantly two hours later when they said I could get up and go see M.

The experience made me think a lot about the relationship between pain and fear. Looking back at my labor with E, the contractions etc hurt a TON more even though M was posterior and I had back labor etc, and I now think it was largely because I was so scared. Which I had read but which made no sense til I was really doing it...

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:27 pm 
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I enjoy reading everyone's side to this. I've been thinking about my birth plan and for some reason an epidural scares me more than the thought of labor. Of course, I have never experienced labor so I could be willing to have someone knock me in the head with a frying pain once I feel the pain. I was wondering what the options were between drug free or epidural, so TheCrabbyCrafter your post helped a lot. My husband and I started watching Birth Stories on TLC and I get the sense he would rather stay in the waiting room until it's all over. Even if he is with me, I'm not sure how he will handle it (he's kind of squeamish about things) so I'm thinking I need someone experienced with me. I plan on giving birth at a hospital because there is a history in my family of difficult births. Both my grandmother and great grandmother died in childbirth and my mother had an issue with me where her blood pressure dropped so low she lost consciousness. But I'm thinking I would like a doula with me who can give support and explain things if I freak out or my husband passes out.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:50 pm 
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I don't think most US hospitals will give a laboring woman gas, unlike in the UK. The only non-epidural medical pain-reliever available to me was some sort of opioid (like the pethidine Crabby mentioned).


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:58 pm 
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helbury wrote:
I don't think most US hospitals will give a laboring woman gas, unlike in the UK. The only non-epidural medical pain-reliever available to me was some sort of opioid (like the pethidine Crabby mentioned).


Same. I'm pretty sure gas is almost totally unavailable in the US.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:19 pm 
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Yeah, I looked it up when I was pregnant with E and it's a depressingly low number, despite the fact that gas is extremely unlikely to cause complications and is also generally self-administered/puts control in the hands of the patient.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:44 pm 
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oh wow, that's something I didn't know. I'm pretty sure the gas is fairly widely used here - I guess I can see why epidurals become more common when there's no middle ground!


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:36 pm 
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I just read a study about nitrous oxide for labor pain relief and it said that it's only available at five hospitals in the U.S.- "the Birth Center at the
University of California San Francisco
Medical Center; the University of
Washington Hospital in Seattle; St. Joseph
Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, ID;
Okanogan Douglas Hospital in Brewster,
WA; and Vanderbilt University Medical
Center in Nashville, TN (which began
offering nitrous oxide in June 2011 after
this review was under way)."

As far as fear of labor goes-- unlike some other people here, labor was definitely the worst pain I've ever experienced, BUT it was also seriously the most awesome experience of my life!


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:38 pm 
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I agree with labor not being the worst pain - for me the (sort of recent) experiences of a kidney infection during pregnancy and my wisdom tooth extraction recovery were much worse. I'm sure some of that was mental - those were indefinite and not really working towards anything. First stage labor felt just like menstrual cramps but without the ability to take ibuprofen. (whether this means I have bad periods or easy labors I'm not sure)


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:12 pm 
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I had a planned epidural, but even with an epidural there is still use for the stuff you will learn in a class as well as a doula. Even if you want an epidural, it could be quite a while into labor before you actually get one (and if labor is going too fast you might not get one at all). I took a hospital class and the breathing exercises made a BIG difference. Also, I had a doula who was intensely helpful. For my epidural, they gave me a button to push so that if I was still having pain I could get more medicine. I pushed that button a few times and by the time the delivery came around, I didn't feel that baby come out at all (which is what I wanted)! I don't think everywhere has that option, but I liked it. My epidural worked great for the birth and was not enough for the retained placenta that they had to reach in and take out manually. I had a catheter to pee and my legs were numb. My doula helped hold my leg for me during the pushing part and helped massage my shoulders which were killing me because I was having trouble adjusting in the bed due to my numbness. After everything, the nurses had to try to transfer me to the bathroom, but my legs were too numb and they almost dropped me, which was pretty upsetting. They had to put a different kind of catheter in me temporarily once I got to the mother-baby unit until I could walk. I was told that my numbness lasted much longer than usual. Even with all of that, I loved my epidural. In terms of being restrained, I would have had to have that happen even if I didn't have the epidural, because my baby was having some issues and I needed some monitoring stuff. Also, I think they would have wanted me to get one after the delivery for the placenta issue anyway, but that wasn't something that I could have known ahead of time. If you want to be able to move a bunch, like to get out of the bed, then you won't want an epidural. I wanted to look into a "walking epidural" where I guess you have more freedom of movement, but that wasn't an option at my hospital. Anyway, if you want to do it "natural" or not, I think classes will help.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:09 am 
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Biodancer wrote:
I enjoy reading everyone's side to this. I've been thinking about my birth plan and for some reason an epidural scares me more than the thought of labor. Of course, I have never experienced labor so I could be willing to have someone knock me in the head with a frying pain once I feel the pain. I was wondering what the options were between drug free or epidural, so TheCrabbyCrafter your post helped a lot. My husband and I started watching Birth Stories on TLC and I get the sense he would rather stay in the waiting room until it's all over. Even if he is with me, I'm not sure how he will handle it (he's kind of squeamish about things) so I'm thinking I need someone experienced with me. I plan on giving birth at a hospital because there is a history in my family of difficult births. Both my grandmother and great grandmother died in childbirth and my mother had an issue with me where her blood pressure dropped so low she lost consciousness. But I'm thinking I would like a doula with me who can give support and explain things if I freak out or my husband passes out.

I was also more afraid of an epidural than labour and the pain of labour -- the idea of something being stuck into my spine is horrifying!
I had my first birth in a midwife-led unit of a hospital with my very bored husband (who had passed out while watching a childbirth when he was a kid and was a bit squeamish about the whole thing, but not as wussy as I thought he might be) by my side. My second one was at a birthing centre (both my pregnancies were very low-risk) -- they wouldn't let my kid be there during the birth, so I left him and my husband at home and it was just me and the midwives. I actually liked not having my husband around while I was in labour, but I know I am in the minority about that. I didn't want sympathy or a hand to hold or moral support. I told the midwives to yell at me like drill sergeants and do whatever it took to get the baby out as fast as possible! ;p What can I say, sometimes I'm just not very sentimental. ;D Of course, immediately after giving birth, I got all hormonal and told the midwives that I loved them. They stoically ignored me. Thank goodness.

Ariann wrote:
helbury wrote:
I don't think most US hospitals will give a laboring woman gas, unlike in the UK. The only non-epidural medical pain-reliever available to me was some sort of opioid (like the pethidine Crabby mentioned).

Same. I'm pretty sure gas is almost totally unavailable in the US.

You can get both here even when you have a homebirth! When I told the midwives that homebirths in the US pretty much had to be drug-free, they said that was so mean.
It's too bad about the Gas & Air because it really did seem harmless and very easy to control -- you can stop huffing it any time and it wears off immediately.

annak wrote:
First stage labor felt just like menstrual cramps but without the ability to take ibuprofen. (whether this means I have bad periods or easy labors I'm not sure)

I had a friend who was working on a theory that if a woman has really horrible cramps, she won't think labour is so bad. She told me that theory years before I had a baby, but it certainly applies to me -- my cramps used to be somethin' fierce. Fortunately, post-partum cramps, while still annoying, are nowhere near as painful and debilitating.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:24 am 
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TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
I didn't want sympathy or a hand to hold or moral support. I told the midwives to yell at me like drill sergeants and do whatever it took to get the baby out as fast as possible! ;p What can I say, sometimes I'm just not very sentimental. ;D Of course, immediately after giving birth, I got all hormonal and told the midwives that I loved them. They stoically ignored me. Thank goodness.




You. Are. BADASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i have all these scenes playing in my head of someone giving birth and a drill sargeant screaming at them not to be a lazy puke and PUSH!

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:36 am 
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Yeah, I have always had extremely painful periods and was hoping that might have prepared me for labor pain somewhat, but no way. It was absolutely on another level. Like... twenty levels above menstrual cramps. For me, it was also just as painful at one centimeter as it was at ten, which was really hard because of course at one I had no idea it wouldn't get any worse, but I ended up being right that it just was not possible for it to get any worse. I think my experience is pretty unusual, though. I'm not trying to brag about what a badass I am or something, I just want to make it known that even if you do have an extremely painful labor, those damn hormones can still make you look back on it fondly and want to do it again someday!


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:02 am 
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TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
I didn't want sympathy or a hand to hold or moral support. I told the midwives to yell at me like drill sergeants and do whatever it took to get the baby out as fast as possible! ;p What can I say, sometimes I'm just not very sentimental. ;D Of course, immediately after giving birth, I got all hormonal and told the midwives that I loved them. They stoically ignored me. Thank goodness.



I think I love you.


I was of the terrified-of-having-a-big-needle-in-my-back camp as well. I liked being able to feel everything - it helped me realize how far I was, and I liked being able to feel what was going on. I think that helped me have such a quick labor. One of our midwives said that they were really impressed that I didn't ask for drugs when we ended up transferring to the hospital. The thought of asking for them just never occurred to me (most of their transfers are due to long labors, and moms usually get epidurals so they can rest.)

I did a lot of self degradation through labor. I remember thinking things like, "Oh girl, just you wait. You thought that contraction was bad. Wait til you get to the next one... and the next one!" For some reason that really motivated me. I really liked being a martyr in labor. Hold my hand! Look at me with sad, pitiful eyes! Tell me you're so sorry! That's the stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:57 am 
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i had an epidural (and i'm no fan of needles)... it was fine. I decided to "wait and see" and at that point where i was ready for some pain relief, the epidural needle could have gone into my eyeball and i would have said "fine just forking do it already!"
considering that after the epidural i had another 4? 6? hours of labor, followed by all sorts of weird manipulations and equipment getting shoved on up instead of babies sliding on out, I am pretty happy with my decision. Like Kimba, my epidural wasn't 100% and I needed some extra pain relief for certain areas. by three hours after the birth i was up and walking (against the nurse's wishes, but whatever)
I did have unbearable pitocin cramps, and it didn't do anything to speed my labor, and i wish i had known more about that and had stuck to my guns to not take the pitocin.
I think now, knowing what i know now, that just learning about all of the possibilities, and being prepared for (and okay with) all of them (as a means to an end) would have helped me a lot more than my endless and naive insistence on "trying for natural birth". I was TERRIFIED of everything. I remember at the end just basically being in full-blown panic attack. I wish I had read more and realized that the vast majority of women survive childbirth, that epidurals and C-sections are not failures or weakness, etc etc.

ETA: i don't mean that last part to be critical of anyone trying for natural birth- more power to you. It seems to sound a bit snarky and that's not how i meant it. Good on you for exploring as much as you can before you go into labor!

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:00 am 
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Crabby, you're amazing! I can't imagine going though labor without my husband (although I'm well all husbands respond differently to birth and some may be less helpful)! I also did NOT want any Bradley-style coaching or encouragement or anyone telling me that I looked like a goddess. We rarely talked during the whole labor -- it was almost totally silent, except for the few big contractions near the end when I had to be reminded to breathe and . Otherwise none of us talked if we didn't need to! It was exactly what I needed since I just wanted to focus inward.

I barely noticed the third stage at all. I don't even remember pushing out the placenta, though I do remember asking the birth assistant to show it to me.

I felt like I was on such a high after pushing out a baby. I'm actually really excited to do it again next baby. Crazy! I told my husband to remember and remind me of how much I hated pregnancy, and how hard labor was, so I didn't get too antsy for a second.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:09 am 
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torque wrote:
i had an epidural (and i'm no fan of needles)... it was fine. I decided to "wait and see" and at that point where i was ready for some pain relief, the epidural needle could have gone into my eyeball and i would have said "fine just forking do it already!"


Oh, gosh, that reminded me - the anesthesiologist took a loooong time to explain the side effects/risks before giving me the epidural, it felt like forever! Also, I was scared of getting the epidural because of the needle situation, but it ended up not being a big deal, at least when I think back on my birth, I hardly remember that part at all. Certainly the contractions were much more vivid in my mind. Before I actually went into labor, I thought I was going to be a screamer or get mean, but doing my breathing techniques with my husband counting from 1-5 really helped. We just did it how we practiced. I was pretty quiet, I think.

Good luck to you however you end up giving birth!


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:30 am 
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This thread has been so interesting to me since I'm due in less than two weeks! I'm hoping for a natural/drug-free birth, though my midwife (everyone here has a midwife, unless they are very high-risk) says she reminds everyone that it's OK not to, that isn't any kind of failure. You get a baby! So how can you lose? Trying to keep that in mind too.

I don't mean this to sound smug and of course I know that labor is going to be HARD WORK. But like some others said, everybody has been having babies for a million years, many in less-than-ideal circumstances. And I am lucky to have this healthy body that I try to take care of and that has done other amazing things, so I have been feeling really calm. Of course we will see what happens, but that is my fall-back position.

LisaPunk wrote:
ive been having a lot of back pain when i wake up and it sounds like maybe it can be helpful in general.


I swim laps 4-5 times a week, and that for me has really helped with the back pain and stiffness. When we were on holiday and I couldn't get to the pool I really noticed the difference. So you might look into that too. It's just nice to escape the gravity and verticalness that we are used to for a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:27 am 
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torque wrote:
by three hours after the birth i was up and walking (against the nurse's wishes, but whatever)
I did have unbearable pitocin cramps, and it didn't do anything to speed my labor, and i wish i had known more about that and had stuck to my guns to not take the pitocin.
I think now, knowing what i know now, that just learning about all of the possibilities, and being prepared for (and okay with) all of them (as a means to an end) would have helped me a lot more than my endless and naive insistence on "trying for natural birth". I was TERRIFIED of everything. I remember at the end just basically being in full-blown panic attack. I wish I had read more and realized that the vast majority of women survive childbirth, that epidurals and C-sections are not failures or weakness, etc etc.

ETA: i don't mean that last part to be critical of anyone trying for natural birth- more power to you. It seems to sound a bit snarky and that's not how i meant it. Good on you for exploring as much as you can before you go into labor!

They made me get up about an hour after my s-section. I was not given a choice.

I think that pain is experienced differently by different people. If you find/found that childbirth was more than you could handle without assistance, you have not failed. I hate seeing the threads in which a new mom is depressed and down on herself because the birth required medical assistance. Like ScandinaVegan pointed out, the object is to end up with a baby.

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 Post subject: Re: Hypnobirthing / natural birth techniques
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:13 am 
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The object is to end up with a baby, but labor and birth is also an important experience in women's lives and if it doesn't go how a woman hoped it would, she needs to process it and not be told to just get over it because she has a healthy baby.


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