I’d like to reiterate about the willingness to walk thru hell that many of us experience by the end of a pregnancy. A great book I read once compared the experience of pregnancy making you ready for labor/delivery to boot camp making soldiers ready to rush off to the front lines. (Yes, I’m aware that it’s not 6 weeks of boot camp-shazam-Army of One, it’s an older book.)
I think the author chose boot camp because it’s always held up as an example of something so unbelievably tough to survive, eh? She asserted that pregnancy, at least for many women, was much harder. It’s 9 months, not 6 weeks. At least in boot camp when you’re told to hit your bunk for some hard-earned rest, no one is using your internal organs as a trampoline. In boot camp you might not like the food served to you, but you don’t have heartburn, no matter what you eat, for months. Muscles may ache from excess exertion in boot camp, just as feet ache from swelling in pregnant women and the back/side/stomach/uterus/whatever aches from the pressure of the baby, but at least boot camp is only 6 weeks, etc.
For many women pregnancy is a wonderful experience, for some it’s torture. One never knows which camp they’ll land in until they’re there, and reliable birth control is a fairly recent innovation. So women do it, have always done it, because they have to. Now we’ve got choices all over the place, sure, but aren’t a majority of pregnancies still unplanned?
However, the various discomforts of pregnancy don’t happen all at once, or all the time, or to all women. I, for example, never had one instant of nausea, but others are sick ALL the time. The first 3 months, for me, were pretty much symptom-free. Around the 4th, I started getting tired really easily, and then came the heartburn. Ohhh, the heartburn. My luckiest day was when my doctor told me about Mylanta. Later came the backaches. Given that I’d had to resort to a long series of diagnostic tests and pharmaceutical intervention in order to obtain that condition, though, I did not complain very much. At all. Really.
You do realize that Mormons use birth control, right? I’m LDS, and we’ve got two. That’s going to be it. Nobody bothers me about that.
Speaking of choices, and going through hell: I know one woman who wants another baby, despite the way her body reacts to pregnancy. She gets sick enough to be hospitalized, and it gets progressively worse with each baby (she has 3). Personally, I’d be adopting if I was her, but some people are like that, I guess.
Episiotomy used to be standard procedure. I did have one friend who gave birth without having one, but she was the only one I knew of. Doctors back then really did think they were doing you a favor by providing a nice clean scalpel cut rather than a ragged tear. It’s only in very recent years that I’ve heard that the tear is actually safer and heals easier. I bet in another 50 years some expert will decide the opposite.
Is the pain of childbirth more or less than having a kidney stone, because I’ve had kidney stones 8 TIMES already!! I just want to know if I’ll be able to handle childbirth someday because even though it was painful to have kidney stones I could handle it and never paseed out.
Well, I’ve had 2 children, and nary a kidney stone. However, the suffering my usually-stoic husband endured in his kidney stone battles seemed far more than my own during childbirth. This is a guy who normally won’t take a pill for a headache. Who drove himself to the hospital with 3rd degree burns on his hand. Who referred to pre-heart attack symptoms (caught in time, fortunately) as “these chest pains I’ve been having.”
When he got his latest kidney stone, he was taking percocet as often as permitted, and had to be cautioned by the doctor to under no conditions take them at closer than the prescribed intervals. He wasn’t crying, but he was white as a sheet during his most recent attack, when he went to the ER rather than endure the pain any more. So yeah, I’d say kidney stones are far worse than labor, with the added problem that the situation went on for weeks.
Okay , I am not trying to scare any expectant moms, so read until the end of you start m’okay?
I was terrified of giving birth. Really. For my first trimester I would cry when I thought of it. Then I got serious, took a prenatal class, read “A Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy” and made a birth plan. I explained that I would prefer no drugs.
Fast-forward a few months. Every single appointment I was having with my OB she was saying, “Boy this is a LONG baby.” She wasn’t kidding. I went into labor one early afternoon and went to the hospital that evening. They sent me home. Again (it was the third time). I was only 1.5 cms. Okay, I labored all night at home. No sleep. By the next morning I figured I must be at least seven cms. On the way to the hospital my DH asked me, “Are you still going to go no drugs.” I answered if I was far enough along, yes. HAHA!
I was 2.5 cms. They admitted me out of pity. They gave me read Jell-O because I was so hungry. I asked for drugs. We tried Demerol. Now I was in pain and throwing up, red Jell-O. Tried the shower. Now I was wet, naked and in pain. Tried massage, I can’t be touched when I am in pain or I may kill. Tried walking. Now I was up, walking around and in pain. Eventually I asked for the epidural. I was lucky, the anesthesiologist was right there. He said it would take 15 mins to take effect. I thought, but that’s like five more contractions! It works pretty fast. They weaken in intensity the whole time.
Now my biggest problem wasn’t the contractions. It was a freakishly long baby whose feet were coming through my ribs, and because of the epidural I couldn’t move around to get comfy.
One good moment was when my in-laws walked in without knocking. They were putting in the Foley. HEY THERE MOM AND DAD!
Okay, fast-forward a little. I managed to doze a little. They kept topping up my epidural. They broke my water and gave me pitocin (apparently the contrax were slowing down).
Eventually they tried forceps. My baby was OP, which was causing my horrible back labor. Episiotomy, although I couldn’t feel anything. I remember my leg slidding off the OR table while they were prepping stuff. I couldn’t do anything except lay there yelling, “My leg, my leg…” while it dragged me off the table like a boat anchor. luckily they caught me.
She was a last minute c-section. Teeth chattering (all the drugs) and throwing up (all the drugs) I was so happy when I finally saw her wrinkly little face. Interesting side note. She was crying when they rubbed her and when I said hi to her she quieted right down and rolled her eyes in my direction, like “Hey, I know that voice.”
My baby was and still is a wonderful, calm girl. She slept through the night at three weeks and is an all around cuddly, smart loving child. I would take a miserable labor over a colicky baby any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
And I would’ve done it again an immediately after if I had to. You don’t realize what you can do until you do it, but the only way through is the labor at the end. It’s worth it. You’ll see.
I would rank the pain at around an 87. I could still talk and it was horrible, but at least I knew it meant good things. The migraines I get are much more hopeless, demoralizing pain - mostly because no baby eventually comes out as a result of all the pain.
Mother nature is a trickster. When the anticipation of labor and delivery is terrifying, she takes it out of your hands, once labor starts, the soon to be mom can’t will it away.
Then after all is said and done, Mother nature takes the memory of the pain and anxiety and wraps them into a little package hidden away. We remember, but we never remember the worst.
This quote tells all of the bravery of women vs men.
" If nature had arranged that husbands and wives should have children alternatively, there would never be more than three in the family." Laurence Housman
WhyNot should be in here sometime to tell about how she had an orgasm when she gave birth…
Wifecat said the pain was bad, and I saw that it was, but that it was manageable. There are certainly a bunch of chemicals going through the body at that time, so I bet for some it is worse, for others not so.
We were reading a book that was describing birth in other countries and in history during her pregnancy. There are some women who give birth, clean up, and go back to working in the fields…For many women throughout history it was not this “magical moment in life’s ongoing saga…” but more like “Oh! Here it comes, better hurry, gotta a lot of work to do today.” Supposedly Wifecat’s grandmother gave birth in the bathtub and had dinner on the table 3 hours later for her husband.
On a scale of 1-100 ( 100 being the worst) …
with #1, the most painful part was when my sons head decided to ram against my sciatic nerve. It felt like electricity going up and down my leg every time he did. I’d say that was 60. The rest of the pushing a 20-. and the final push a 75, that lasted about the span of a breath.
The first two or three days of breast feeding has to be a 90 until your nipples toughen up. Tylenol is your friend. #2. A freakin’ breeze. I would have to say the entire event was near pain free until the final three pushes. Even then I would say possibly in the 70’s of pain and again, lasted for the span of a breath.
I had an epidural both times. I loves me some drugs.
I would go through it all again in a heart beat.
It is one of the coolest experiences of life.
HAHAHAHA–That’s almost exactly what I’ve been saying for the past couple weeks. I’m 37 weeks pregnant with twins, and sooooooo ready to get this over with, I’m more than willing to go through childbirth to just not be pregnant any more at the end of it. Oh, to be able to roll over in bed again!
I didn’t have an episiotomy either time. I tore a bit the first time around, and I can honestly say that the stitches were probably the worst part of the entire process, other than delivering the placenta. Not that they were painful, but excruciatingly cold.
Kegel exercises can help so you don’t tear. I had a very tiny tear when Ivyboy was born, but it wasn’t bad enough to mess with and healed on its own.
IIRC, the brain produces lots of endorphins during labor and delivery, so women don’t actually “remember” how bad it is. If they did, none of us would have brothers and sisters. For me, I remember it being intensely uncomfortable. I’ve passed a kidney stone and delivered two children, and childbirth is much easier. Besides, kidney stones aren’t very cuddly.
Sometimes episiotomies are just needed, no matter how much you prepare. I did Kegels and stretching and massages and everything and still ended up with 30 stitches when my daughter was born. The second time it was much better–only 3 or 4 stitches, but there really was no help for it. I just have big-headed kids.
My sister gave birth to her daughter at home. No drugs, midwife, the whole “natural childbirth” thing.
About an hour after delivery, she is lying in bed resting. Her oldest son, who was about five years old at the time, came into her bedroom and said, “Mommy - when are you going to start dinner? We’re hungry!”