It’s amazing that women are so fearless and tough that one never hears of expectant moms leaping off buildings (like I probably would) in order to avoid going through what must be one of the most excruciatingly painful ordeals there could ever be!
How do you do it, ladies? Or maybe a way better question is WHY would you do it? … why get pregnant when you know the hell you’re going to be in for? (There’s a lot of kids waiting to be adopted, yes?
And just out of curiosity, Moms, picking a number between 1 and 100, with 100 being the most agonizing, where would you rank the discomfort you felt when you delivered?
I didn’t find it terrifying in any sense. I didn’t have an epidural the first time and it was very painful and tiring, but not frightening. The pain is intense, but it’s predictable, not random. There are also things you can do to help you get through it, like breathing and relaxation techniques, changing positions, etc.
There’s also no need to have it be a painful experience. Epidurals are safe and effective. Going through natural childbirth is a choice, these days, so many women see it as an accomplishment, like running a marathon, rather than just meaningless pain.
I’m not good at picking numbers, and I haven’t had much pain in my life, so my estimate probably wouldn’t mean much.
You’ve been watching too much TV – while giving birth is exhausting and somewhat painful, it’s not that bad. Usually, I mean – there are certainly people who have bad birth experiences. My son (my first child) was born after less than 7 hours of labor. My water broke around midnight and he was born a little after 7 the next morning. The contractions started out fairly far apart and fairly mild in strength – really more like strong cramps. More uncomfortable than actually painful, I think. The situation became more difficult as labor continued – the contractions come closer together and are stronger. And pushing, once it’s time to actually give birth, is very tiring. The birth itself (the kid actually coming out), I don’t recall as painful at all. I never took any pain medication of any kind for his birth, BTW.
As for numbering the pain – well, I don’t know. Again, it never got so bad I asked for pain meds. My husband had kidney stones last year and once, during an attack, he nearly passed out from the pain. None of my labor pains were as bad as that.
I was quite afraid of giving birth, but when it actually gets underway your body just sort of takes over and I’m sure adrenaline plays a big role too. Afterwards you look back on it and say, holy crap did I just do that?
I did find it very painful but not more than other very painful things, just a different kind. And I knew it would be over as soon as that baby came out, which is a plus…you have a concrete goal to work for and a big big reward a the end!
That said, I did panic during some difficult pushing and had to be told to breathe and the Dr. and my husband had to talk me down from hyperventilating. During the event I was thinking “I will never ever do this again” but I know I want another someday so I guess I will!
Yes! Except for the blonde on Newhart, who said “Ew” and out popped the baby, TV childbirth is always portrayed as a screaming, sweat-soaked ordeal. (And so is intercourse, but we’re not talking about that.)
I’m one of those people who trust the doctors and hospital staff to take care of me, so I was relaxed and calm through four deliveries. I remember the pain as an intense backache, not nearly as bad as when I broke my hip. That hurt.
I was talking to a friend who had spent a week doing one of those eco-races for cube dwellers. He’d voluntarily signed on to push his body to the limit, to run and bike and swim and repel down a mountainside. To take his body and mind outside of his own comfort level. We aren’t talking about a guy who runs marathons - this is a guy who is not in great health, is a little overweight, is older than 40. But he said the rush when he crossed the finish line was worth it - just amazing. “You should try that!”
Well, it’s pretty obvious why one would want to go through labor- how else are you going to have a child? If you want your own offspring either you go through labor or have major surgery with the pain and scarring that goes along with that.
People put themselves through far more painful ordeals with a lot less to show for it on a very regular basis. Why climb Mt. Everest ? Why try to sleep while dangling from some little ropes hanging off the side of a sheer cliff in -40 degree weather? Give me 48 hours of back labor any day.
Why run an ultra marathon? Or the iron man? Why compete in a football game with a fractured sternum or bruised ribs?
Come to think of it - of all the silly reasons the Pro-Life folks list for why women have abortions, fear of the pain of labor isn’t even mentioned.
Back in my wild youth, I took a course in paragliding. I remember hanging up there in the air, feeling this exhilarating feeling of flying, while at the same time looking down at the ground below me, knowing that I have to land, there’s no way back, and landing is scary and potentially dangerous. Being pregnant, knowing that there’s a child (yeah, I know, “fetus”, not “child” – I’m pro-choice all the way through, but that’s the way I thought of it when carrying it inside me, OK?) growing inside and it has to get out, and there’s no way back – it was something of the same feeling.
Giving birth was more painful than I’d expected, but also less bad than I’d expected. I don’t know if that makes sense. It wasn’t a scary pain. And I knew it would be over relatively soon. Still, I’m pretty sure it’s the most painful experience of my life, possibly matched by the time the painkillers wore out after my elbow operation.
The worst part of it all wasn’t giving birth, though – the worst part (and probably a signifcant contribution to why we have two children, not three) was that during my second pregnancy I spent several months being extremely sleepy. I’d get home from work and collapse on the sofa. I didn’t even have energy for reading. It’s the most boring months of my life.
As for your “why” question: Both I and my husband wanted children, and (at least here in Norway) adoption is very expensive and it takes a looooong time to be approved as an adoptive parent. I suppose there’s a strong component of mindless instinct somewhere in there as well
About two weeks ago, I watched a good friend of mine go throw labor. It was her first. I wasn’t a member of her “birthing team,” so I left once it was time to push, but it sure gave me second thoughts about natural birth. She had an epidural, but her contractions were clearly quite painful nonetheless. I was waiting outside her room while she delivered, and I didn’t hear any screams, but there was a lot of loud groaning. I think two things made her labor more painful than most: it was very long (40 hours from first contractions to delivery), so even though her contractions weren’t getting stronger for a long time, they seemed to become more painful as time went on; and after her baby was born, the doctor realized that he’d been at a slight sideways angle in the womb, which is why she had such trouble delivering him (he had to be pulled out by suction).
After he was born and I was allowed in to see them, though, she was the happiest person I’ve seen in my life.
I don’t care what you ladies think – you ARE brave as all heck!
Is an epidural a shot they give you in the spine? I ask because this lady at work was telling me that when she gave birth they stuck a needle between her vertebrates and she said that the pain “WAS JUST UNBELIEVABLE.”
When you are 9 months along, you are as big as a house and feel like a stranger in your own body. And even if you enjoy being pregnant, it’s quite evident that ONE of you is going to have to vacate your body soon or you will explode like a Gallagherized watermelon.
You realize that labor will be painful (though not enormously so, thanks to drugs), and altogether undignified, but you are soooo looking forward to meeting your new baby and reclaiming your own body again, that it’s all worth it.
Sorry about your water breaking. It’s really something to hear you ladies say that you spent so many hours having contractions, but not making a big deal about it. Several months ago I was walking around with really sore feet because my work shoes (Georgia Boots) were of too poor quality, and so because I made it a point to whine to everybody that I could, I felt much better.
My hat’s off to all who have gone through this, bad or otherwise. My wife had three relatively easy deliveries, less than three hours after the first contraction. Nevertheless, I’m glad we men don’t that to do that!
I recall the description of childbirth Carol Burnett (sp?) once made: she said it is like grabbing your upper lip and pulling it up over your head.
I had an epidural the second time because I was just getting worn out. It wasn’t any more painful than any other needle and the relief was quick and glorious. I think it was a bit harder for me the second time because I had some perspective on just how long I might have to endure and things didn’t appear to be progressing very quickly. I didn’t want to get exhausted. As it turned out, the baby was born about 20 minutes later. The doctor almost didn’t get there in time.