Moms, is giving birth terrifying and painful?

Velma –

That’s quite a story! I’m glad you didn’t panic and passout, as I’m sure I would have.

What you described would be enough for me to be happy with just the one child, why go through that twice!

When the baby is about to be born it is ideally head down and facing your spine, but in some cases it is facing the other way.
Here’s an explanation of what happens in back labor.

I had a lot of back pain because of it that I thought was by far the worst part of the contractions. Luckily for me I spent a few hours on my hands and knees and baby turned over in time for delivery so I didn’t need forceps or anything. That’s why I am hopeful that next time will be easier if baby is in the right position.

Graham, the epidural is administered by a shot in the spine, but I did not find it that painful. It hurt but nothing unbearable for a few seconds. It brought blessed relief for a few hours and allowed me to rest. They give you a local to numb the area and once it is in place you can’t even feel it. The hardest part is staying still for them to get the needle in, but they wait until you are between contractions to do it.

First Time –

I’ve heard they’ve done studies that show women can take more pain than men, and I guess you prove it … thinking 40 hours of back pain is nothing!

Thanks for sharing!!!

I’m fond of saying “the third trimester is God’s way of making you think labor can’t be that bad.” By the eighth month you are just so eager to 1) have a baby and 2) get the whole thing over with that you don’t care if its going to be painful.

By the way, one of mine is adopted, one is bio. The adopted one was way easier. But that doesn’t mean the bio one wasn’t worth the effort. As someone who didn’t think I’d have a genetic child, there is something about a genetic child that is undeniably appealing for most people. There is also something about the experience of giving birth that is really attractive.

I shudder just reading these posts.

It seems like a mean trick Mother Nature does to us by building in a powerful attraction-mechanism, and then putting us through such hell when we fall for it! Makes me think sex isn’t worth it. :slight_smile:

I thought being pregnant was a hoot, actually, especially when you start feeling movement. It’s cool to be able to do something that, when you think about it objectively, is pretty surreal. What was far harder for me was the six months before the kid was sleeping through the night. I don’t know how people go through that more than a few times.

I’m glad God made me a guy; get to have the fun of helping to make a baby without the agony and suffering that you gals go through.

heldia –

Thanks for sharing!

And Norway’s beautiful!

Lotsa work, intermittent hard cramps, no way is it agony for most of us, especially if we are appropriately prepared. I can think of a number of things that are worse: toothaches, sinus infections, post-surgical pain, and my husband’s kidney stones (apparently). The key part to really bad pain is its unrelenting and interminable nature. A toothache or sinus infection hurts, a lot, and constantly, and you don’t know when it’s going to end, if ever. Labor, OTOH, has a definite end point – these days. Almost no one (in countries with modern medical facilities) dies in childbirth after a week of labor like in the “good old days.” Labor normally starts with a mild cramp that lasts about 5 seconds and repeats in 10 or 20 minutes. It gradually changes so that, at its peak, the contraction lasts a half a minute and repeats again in, say 15 seconds. (Milage varies all over the place.) That’s how some women will say “I was in labor for 24 hours!” while skipping over the fact that for the first 20 of those hours they were completely comfortable most of the time.

Preparation, in the form of relaxation exercises, can often help eliminate one cause of pain: tension. If you can train yourself how to relax everything else when just one part of you is working, you can reduce the vicious cycle of tension causing pain causing tension. For example, in my Lamaze classes, we learned to relax completely, head to toe, and then tense up just one arm while keeping everything else loose. When it gets to where you can clench your right hand and flex your left foot and truly keep your neck, left arm and right leg entirely relaxed, you have gone a long way to being able to avoid tensing up unnecessarily while your uterus contracts.

Plus, these days, one can get good pain meds without having to sedate the whole body, which had the unfortunate side effect of sedating the child being born as well, decreasing his/her respiration and circulation.

Obviously, there are individual circumstances in which intense pain occurs, for a variety of reasons. These circumstances are not typical.

Thank you MSL. That was a good read.

Gee, where do I start? I gave birth the one and only time in 1969, which was before epidurals were offered. My choices for anesthetic were either gas, a spinal block, or nothing. I chose to have no anesthetic as gas causes sleepy (or worse) babies and had heard bad things about spinal blocks. I was scheduled for induction because my doctor suspected I was having “twins, possibly triplets” (no ultrasound in 1969, either) because of my enormously distended uterus. I measured my waist the day before my scheduled induction and I was 54" around. BIG.

Anyway, when I arrived at the hospital for the big event I was examined and found to be 4 centimeters dilated already - yay! I hadn’t had any discomfort or regular contractions at all at that point. They ended up breaking my water and that caused labor to begin. Yes, it hurt, but as a poster above said, after 9 months of essentially being a werewolf (enduring all manner of bizarre changes to my body and mind), I was ready to be not pregnant and most of all ready to see my baby.

I was very lucky in that my labor only lasted 4.5 hours from first pain to birth. When I was in the delivery room they restrained my arms and legs with big leather straps (did I mention that things were VERY different in 1969?) and kept trying to put the gas mask on my face. It was hard to avoid the mask but I just kept moving my head around and they finally gave up, partly because the baby was being born and they had to get busy with other stuff.

The episiotomy hurt like hell, but only for a couple of minutes, but the really amazing thing to me was that at this point in labor, I felt no labor pain as long as I was pushing! It’s not like I could resist the urge to push anyway (it’s really much more than an urge - it was an imperative), but the pain relief added extra incentive to keep pushing. Yes, the pain of the actual birth was considerable, but was also short-lived. And then the doctor held up the most incredible, completely amazing and unbelievably beautiful thing I’ll ever see in my life: my son.

My first thought the next morning upon waking was “Wow! I have a BABY!”. The next thought was “Well, I don’t think I’ll marry a Catholic or a Mormon, but on the whole, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!”

So there ya go. Childbirth (for me at least) was at times painful and scary, but the most worthwhile thing I’ve ever done.

Tooth extractions? :screams and runs:

Not terrifying. Not painful (epidural and a God-like anesthesiologist!).

Loved every minute of both. Wish I could do it a few more times.

Thank you Dr. Woo.

I wonder what you mean about not marrying a Mormon …?

I adored all the changes of pregnancy, and felt no fear of childbirth either time, probably because I’d educated myself very well on the subject. However, in both cases there was a single moment during labor when I really wanted to tell everyone I’d changed my mind about having a baby.

I gave birth naturally twice, both without any kind of pain relief - this was in 1987 and 1993. In my case the worst pain was due to “back labor”, not the uterine and vaginal sensations of contractions and passing through the birth canal. It was the equivalent of having somone hold my spine in their fist from the inside, and then yank it into another position. I don’t remember ever feeling the pain of passage through my vagina. With my first child they let me labor on hands and knees to relieve my spine, and later on my side when I tired (different story: I was hemorrhaging internally for hours with a retained placenta, but we didn’t know it at the time). With my second child they would not let me labor in any position except on my back (the most painful position) because my BP would rise with any other. When my son passed through the birth canal it felt like my spine was being ripped out of my body and I screamed until I damaged my throat. My ex-husband and the nurses laughed in embarrassment. The next day the other women kept asking me if I was the one who made all the noise. No one, not even the doctor, cared to understand why. Both births were followed by severe migraines.

I have to say here that most women do not experience back labor, and if they do it’s not this severe. Now that I know what I know about my body, if I were to have babies in this era I would seek some form of pain relief that wouldn’t depress the baby. At the time I felt that I would be willing to endure anything to give my babies the best possible chance.

brightpenny –

Wow, you’re another amazing woman! Why in the world did your husband and the nurse laugh??? (It was mean of them!)

I enjoyed being pregnant, and yes, by the time you’re 8 months along, you can’t wait for it to be over, labor or not. Just get that baby out! is the feeling.

I didn’t really get to finish labor–I had 24 hours of labor and the kid never descended, so I wound up with a c-section (by that time, I was all for the idea, and was so exhausted that I shook through the whole thing). She was over 10 pounds and turned over, which explained a lot. So I can’t say how it would have gotten later. But afterwards, I said it wasn’t so bad (to my husband’s shock)–that might have partly been that whole forgetful thing that happens to moms so they’re willing to do it again.

I think the gallstones were scarier than birth was. They went undiagnosed for a while, and I had 3 or 4 attacks without knowing what the heck was happening. It was this terrible pain on the left side of my ribcage and my left arm went numb–I thought it was a heart attack and that I was going to die. We wound up calling 911 twice, and I got an ambulance ride and everything. That pain was worse than labor contractions, and scarier too. With childbirth, I knew what was happening and that I most likely would not die (though I certainly would have 100 years ago).

I guess they were embarrassed. I’d never made a sound up to that point, and didn’t expect the severity of the pain that ensued. It distinctly hurt my feelings at the moment my son was born, and took away much of the elation I should have felt. He’s my ex-husband for many good reasons.

I’ve always suspected that there was a little bit of natural amnesia going on as well. The absolute joy of having a child just sort of wipes out the worst parts.

It wasn’t terrifying or painful. It was pretty uncomfortable, though. No drugs in either delivery.

I was single when my son was born. And although I was thrilled beyond description with the whole experience and found it less . . . taxing than I had anticipated, I sure didn’t want to have a baby every 10 months or so.