If You've Ever Given Birth...

  1. Okay, ladies...I have some questions here...

    I'm an OB nurse. I deliver babies for a living. I have never personally given birth or ever been pregnant. So here's my question....in all honesty, what does labor really and truly FEEL like....other than painful?

    I mean, is it crushing, stabbing, ripping, aching, WHAT? I can't exactly ask my labor patients these kinds of questions...so I want to hear from you.

    Because I'm approaching 30, and although I want children very much, to be quite frank, labor scares the bejesus out of me...all of my friends, with the exception of ONE, had totally drug-free childbirth. I just want the lowdown....what does labor FEEL like???
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  2. 123 Comments

  3. by   whipping girl in 07
    The first 12 hours of my labor were not bad at all; no drugs were necessary. However, after the pitocin drip was started due to my failure to progress at the rate they were expecting (don't even get me started... ) it really hurt. My hair was tangled from writhing my head on the bed. It radiated from my back, thobbing, stabbing, ugh! Not pleasant, not something I want to think about even now, 5 years later! My best advice is learn the breathing, it did help, but do not be afraid to take the drugs, whether IM, IV or epidural!
  4. by   SharonH, RN
    Originally posted by shay

    I mean, is it crushing, stabbing, ripping, aching, WHAT? I can't exactly ask my labor patients these kinds of questions...so I want to hear from you.


    All of the above.


    Both of my labors lasted about 12 hours and I had natural childbirth with both. The first 10 hours are not bad at all, I neither needed or wanted any pain meds. The last 1-2 hours are hell, no pain medicine which leaves you conscious will suffice!(assuming you don't have an epidural of course) Not only are you in constant pain, you can't breathe well because there's this huge person pushing up on your diaphragm, you've got to work during the whole thing, pushing and pushing. It's unbearable. You really can't imagine it until you experience it. But once you have the baby in your arms, all the pain is forgotten. It's true!
  5. by   shay
    Originally posted by SharonMH31

    The first 10 hours are not bad at all, I neither needed or wanted any pain meds.
    Okay, this is what I want to hear about....why didn't you need pain meds? I mean, does it just feel like strong menstrual cramps, kind of warm and heavy and pulling? And the last 2 hours (transition and pushing, I assume)....how do you get through it?? My friends say they just kind of withdrew into themselves and just kind of tranced out and got tunnel vision...

    I want so much to deliver at a birthing center....I HATE hospitals. But I'm so scared I'll fail....
  6. by   kittyw


    Kitty
    Last edit by kittyw on Apr 19, '03
  7. by   JillR
    My labor wasn't too bad until the pitosin was started. Here are a few beliefs I have now. Pitosin is he$#. Demerol (or whatever is the drug of choice in the area you are in) is your friend, although it really doesn't work that good, I'll take what I can get. If I ever have another child, I will have an epidural. I did not forget the pain. Can't explain the pain of contractions.

    The pushing is a kind of relief. Have you ever had someone give you a snake bite on your arm? Well, pushing the baby through the vagina feels like a very intense snake bite, but that is not as painful as the contractions.

    The contractions I had when I was having my son were very intense and hurt all the way to my knee's, I had not expected anything like it, even though I had another child.
  8. by   allevi
    I only had labor with my first and it was induced, pitocin. Awful. I wanted pain meds right away, but did get through it, the pain, with minimal pain meds. Breathing really did help, ended up with c-section, and second one was repeat. Spinal anesthesia for both, third was emergency section, was sposed to be my vbac, but placenta abrupted.

    One thing i know that recovery is definetly faster after spinal than general because everything has been numbed, better pain relief.
  9. by   kaycee
    My kids are now 16 and 18. Both of my labors were fairly short with the uncomfortable only being 2-3hrs. It was very intense deep pain that came in waves and I had some nausea and vomiting with my first. I had no pain meds, not even an IV. I felt so happy and high afterwards that I forgot the pain quickly. The pushing is also very intense but just remember the results are a beautiful baby and believe me it's worth every pain you feel when you're holding your child for the first time and look into their eyes. The two most wonderful moments of my life was by far the birth of my two children!!!!!
  10. by   maire
    All three of my labors were 8 hours or less. This last one was Pit-induced, and it felt no different from the previous two, in all honesty.
    Hmm..to try and explain labor pains...to me, they start out like a dull ache in your lower abdomen. As they get more intense, they do feel like reallllllly bad menstrual cramps. The first few hours were not bad, because the pains were tolerable. I'd just grimace and deal with them. It's when I hit transition and they are coming one on top of another and I feel like my guts were being pulled out through my navel that labor got a little harder to deal with. Yes, stabbing sounds about right.
    With my first labor, Demerol took the edge off transition so I wasn't so wound up (tension makes the pains that much worse), with my second, transition lasted maybe a half hour so I made it through naturally, and with the third I decided to try the "epidoodle" and see what all the hoopla was about. I asked my anesthesiologist to marry me about 20 minutes later. What a great way to go through the last hour or so of labor.
    In all honesty, even if 50 women told you how it felt, you'd get 50 different answers. It's just something you either "know" or you can't imagine, IMO!
  11. by   TopazStone
    I had back labor with both of mine. The contractions started as mild pains, like cramps, from my back radiatng to the front. They quickly changed. Have you ever fallen and hit your tailbone on cement? I would have a strong contraction, a sharp pulling, then the baby's head would bounce off my tailbone-- every 2-5 minutes for 7 hours the first time, 3 the second. I got lucky with the pushing, both took less than 10 pushes!
  12. by   catlady
    My child was born 12 years ago at gestational age of 28 weeks. I never had labor, and I had to have a general anesthetic for my emergency C-section. I first saw Kelly two days after she was born. I would have given anything to have gone full-term and to have experienced the pain of labor, if it would have meant a normal delivery and a normal baby. I never had any other children.

    OTOH, Kelly herself has already decided that she never wants to give birth because labor would be too painful!
  13. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    OK, I already typed this once but it wouldn't post, so now you get the brief version!

    My entire labor (that I felt) was 3 hours and 4 minutes. I progressed very quickly and got absolutely ZIP for pain. But if you have to feel it, fast is good

    I had back labor. Contractions felt like extreme cramping/aching/twisting,tightening from mid back to my thighs. But with the end of each contraction was such heavenly relief! I even dozed off between them.

    Pushing was a relief also, but at the height of each contraction was a burning, ripping sensation. The only pain I remember feeling in my perineum. This was odd to me, as I thought this is where all the pain would be at. Whether the ripping was actual or just a sensation, I don't know. I did have an epis, and those are a b**ch, recovery wise. Do what you must to avoid them. With a labor as quick as mine, (or an 8 1/2 pounder) there was probably nothing I could have done.

    Even with all the vivid descriptions of pain here, it IS a pain you forget quickly. Otherwise we'd have a shrinking population!

    Heather
  14. by   VickyRN
    I think state of mind is very important for any woman approaching delivery date. If you are very scared, apprehensive, expecting the worse--this is not good. Concentrate on being relaxed. Try to be as peaceful as possible, this will facilitate the whole process greatly. An uptight state of mind produces a cervix that is much harder to dilate. Do whatever necessary to become relaxed. Avoid as much medical intervention as possible, such as pitocin drips and induced labor. Try to secure the services of a midwife. Birth is a natural and wonderful process, NOT a disease for a doctor to manage.

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