If You've Ever Given Birth... - page 6

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,... Read More

  1. by   live4today
    Originally posted by shay
    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???
    Hello Shay,

    What does labor feel like? Labor is different for every woman, and even if a woman has several children, each labor may be different. I gave birth three times, and each time the labor was different. With my firstborn child, the labor was excrutiatingly painful...like giving birth to a hippo through a hole the size of a matchhead. OUCH, is right!!! I swore to NEVER get pregnant again, and to keep that promise, as she outgrew things, I immediately gave the baby things away right down to her crib. Well, four years later, I longed for another baby, so guess what? Yep! I did the very thing I swore to never do again. With the second child, labor started out great, then four hours into it - after losing the amniotic fluid no doubt -- the labor stopped. 24 hours later, pitocin was started. They first tried the pitocin pill, but because my mouth was so darn dry, the pill wouldn't even dissolve! :chuckle Okay, so the IV Pitocin was started, and four hours later, my second baby was born. The labor was bearable, and no where near as painful as my first pregnancy. On to baby three... Almost three years later, I was in labor for the third time. The third time, the labor wasn't bad until the Transition Phase, then Ohhhhhhhhh, my poor bottom! Whew! The labor was short, but made its' point loud and clear! Thank God! :chuckle

    Now, the big question: I'd do it all over again because once you hold your own flesh and blood in your arms, and smell it's odor for the first time, peek into its eyes, have the baby grasp his/her tiny fist around your little pinkie, and if you breastfeed your baby, when that baby latches on for the first time and gains its first satisfaction in the world of being fed, your heart will simply melt all that labor pain away. You won't be able to take your eyes off that precious little bundle of joy that came from your body....and THAT is an experience I feel so blessed to have experienced not just once, not twice, but THREE separate times!

    Don't be afraid to have a baby! If you and your husband are prepared to become parents, then the only thing to fear is fear itself. Nurture yourself during your pregnancy. Talk to your baby the entire nine months. Eat sensibly and nutritiously before, during, and after you give birth. Exercise moderately to stay in shape before you even think about getting pregnant, especially those tummy muscles that will come back to haunt you in a serious and ugly way if you don't. :chuckle Most of all, make sure you let your husband feel as much of that baby growing within you the entire time. Make sure he witnesses your baby's birth. Keep in mind that your pregnancy is not just yours, but your husband's too. Drink plenty of water during your pregnancy, and lay off the junky type drinks. If you prepare yourself for the labor and delivery of a lifetime, you'll enjoy every minute of it, even when the going gets rough. And, as Ken says, "that's my $.02!" :kiss
    Last edit by live4today on Apr 17, '02
  2. by   Charisse
    Just like cheerfuldoer, I would do it all over again..and again...if I could. Eight years ago, at the age of 40, 17 years after the birth of my last one, I was pregnant again. I come from a family where the women have babies near or in their 40's, so I wasn't that shocked. I lost her mid-pregnancy due to fibroids and never could repeat it again, but I would give anything do repeat it. With this one and another pregnancy I lost, I was a childbirth instructor and/or an OB nurse, so I was better informed and trained. With both, I woke up breathing automatically in response to the contractions.....good old Pavlovian theory..haha.

    Anyways, with both of my deliveries, while I was on the delivery table, I looked at the docs and said, "Boy! That was neat. I want to do that all over again!" No..I am not into pain and no, I have never had an epidural/spinal/saddle block/etc. But I do get into every aspect of labor. And there is nothing like the release and relief of feeling the baby come out. Of course, my thoughts are colored by short labors. If I had an 8 or 10 or more hour labor, I might be saying otherwise.

    Someone here mentioned something about birth being in the mind mostly (I am using my words here). I used to teach that childbirth is 95% psychological, meaning our social conditioning and how we face pain has a heck of a lot to do with how we deal with labor. If everyone around us said they screamed during labor, then you might scream. If they said they passed out, you might do that too. I used to teach that women are stronger than they give themselves credit for. But, most of all, in labor and birth, I would tell them to play everything by ear. See how it goes. You might have been a wuss all your life when it comes to pain and injury (like me), but when it comes to labor pain, you might be able to tolerate it (like me...surprised the heck out of my mom!). Labor is no picnic, but it is tolerable....barely...it hurts like heck...but you can cope...It is no picnic...but think of the reward you will have at the end of it all..and thank God that He indeed makes us forget the exact strength of the contractions and how the pain actually was...or we would all be only children!

  3. by   Grace Oz
    Dear Shay, Some advice from an "old bird" ( I'm now 51) :-) Just FORGET that you are a nurse! Go in, relish & "enjoy"(?!) the experience. Trust ( WEEELLL, to a degree) those looking after you
    & remember, we're ALL different! Each & everyone of us is unique & our experiences will be / are unique to US. I attended ALL the classes, thought I knew it all...went into spontaneous labour, ruptured membranes at 37 weeks. Ended up with an epidural & Keelins(?Sp) forceps were used on a baby that was TRANSVERSE ARREST!?!!... I ended up with an episiotomy from "a***h*** to breakfast! Baby was in respiritory distress, head a total mess & straight off to NICU for him! I ended up having a vag repair & now have scarring on the cervix ( makes doing pap smears VERY difficult! :-() spent 10 days in hospital. So, what the hell did I know??!! Whatever I DID know, counted for NOTHING!...Things can happen that are totally out of our control. Still, we both recovered. He's now 23 yrs old & a drop dead gorgeous naval officer ( PROUD Mum here! :-) ) I'm still upright & breathing & pounding the corridors healing the sick & injured!! LOL...BTW, I gave birth 14 months later to a beautiful 8lb 10oz daughter. Needed the vontuse that time! :-) No epidural & it was HELL!! Cervix wouldn't dilate & they had to artifically rupture the membranes. Never went back for a third!! NO NO NO !!.. LOL So, you see, we all have differing experiences. I was 28 1/2 & almost 30 both times. I've known some girls to go in, huff 'n' puff a few times & bingo!! A baby!! NO probs!!...
    GOOD LUCK, whatever you decide. Cheers.
  4. by   mamabear
    How does it really feel? If anyone told you that it feels like you are (defecating) a watermelon, they're right on target.
  5. by   Charisse
    That reminds me of the time I was "labor sitting" a client of mine when I was just a childbirth instructor. I was assisting this woman who was on her 3rd child and the first child that she was going to be awake to deliver (this was in the early 1980's in rural Texas). I was there with both the mom and the dad, along with her doctor. She was pushing and yelled out:"This feels like pushing out a giant turd!" I told her,"Yep! it sure does!" and laughed. The MALE doctor was offended and told me that it surely does NOT feel that way. I kept my mouth shut, but my immediate thought was, "...And when was the last time you had a baby?" What audacity! To tell us what WE are experiencing when he didn't have a clue!

  6. by   mattsmom81
    Char, I've always wondered why men docs would gravitate to OB/gynecology in the first place....audacious sounds about right... add a little 'vagina envy' too maybe? A God/creator complex?

    My own pregant FPP delivered mine....if she had backed out I would have chosen a female midwife. Sorry, guys, but the last thing I want to see in hard labor is a MAN...LOL! (said in my best Exorcist demon imitation.) My DH ran for the hills about transition time...hehehe.

    Girlfriends of mine told me how their male OB/gynecologists would joke about the 'husband stitch'...I was totally disgusted....does this kind of stuff still go on! (I hope not)
    Last edit by mattsmom81 on Apr 18, '02
  7. by   Charisse
    Yes, the husband stitch is still being talked about as the doc repairs his/her handiwork. I think the God complex is around as much as ever, even among some of the female docs (which totally astounded me!). I think, though, now the God complex is more subtle. A few words here and there under the breath, instead of the strutting that was done in the past. I have heard docs take credit for the birth, when it was the mom who deserved all the credit.

    You got me thinking about the "vagina envy" bit. I never thought about it, but I wonder if that is what is going on nowadays. I have seen an increase in gay men becoming OB's. I often wondered what inspired them to become OB's.

    Needless to say, I now have a female doc, after dealing with the aforementioned incident. I kind of am somewhat gunshy about male docs.

    Originally posted by Charisse
    Needless to say, I now have a female doc, after dealing with the aforementioned incident. I kind of am somewhat gunshy about male docs.
    I had always had a male OB my entire life (OK, only 8 years )

    I recently switched, not by choice, but because my doc moved back to Greece. I changed to a female doc in the same practice. There was never anything I disliked about the male doc at the time, and still isn't really, but are female docs different!!!! MUCH BETTER in my opinion!!

  9. by   Charisse
    I know! Mine really listens to me like I have a brain! And discusses things when they need to be discussed. She never takes offense if I disagree about anything. I cannot believe I
    waited this long.

  10. by   Pammy
    I delivered 5 children, 4 of which were born "naturally". My oldest is now nearly 24, and while I don't remember ever detail of the birth, I remember the devastating pain that was involved!! I am a very petite person, and my daughter weighed 8 and a half pounds and was 22 inches long. I spent about 36 hours in labor, 8 of which were spent in HARD HARD labor.. and all back labor. The hospital that I had my daughter in was a "backwoods" hospital, and I don't think that they even considered a C section!
    (Besides, the only anesthesiologist was busy).

    The pain that I endured was SO great, that when my own mother walked into the labor room, I screamed cuss words at HER, and promptly tried to climb outta that bed so that I could "get away" (from the pain). When I try to describe labor pain to someone, I usually describe it as having a horrible session of stomach cramps , only about 1000 times worse.

    My other children were a BIT less painfull, and each was delivered faster than the one before..my last child was delivered 4 hours after my contractions started, and I almost didn't make it to the hospital.

    The key thing to consider and remember here, is that we are each made differently, and the labor/delivery process will vary from woman to woman. I had a friend that thought she had a mild kidney infection, and went to her doctor; he discovered that she was 8cm dilated, sent her right to the hospital, and she delivered soon thereafter. She told me that she never got more than a minor ache, and even during delivery she only felt a little "burning" sensation! Mind you, my friend has a low tolerance for pain.. so it wasn't as though she was just a tough gal, or anything.

    So..what do you tell someone, when they ask just what labor REALLY feels like? Well, typically, it HURTS! But the pain can be better tolerated if you are PREPARED for it, and if you have PLANNED for it, so that you can MANAGE it.
    My mom has always said that labor is the closest you'll ever come to death, without actually dying. Needless to say, I am an only child.

  12. by   Charisse

    I had to laugh at what you said! I used to teach moms that when you get to the part of labor where you felt like it was inhumanely possible to tolerate any more pain, where you felt like you were going to die, in most cases, you are at or near the end of labor!
    I do remember that feeling of wanting to go elsewhere than where I was with my first labor. Anywhere but where I was!

    All in all, though, it was well worth it! I was blessed with 2 children!

  13. by   mattsmom81
    I used to dread going to male OB gyns for an exam (when I was young and foolish) I couldn't put it into words until I was examined by my male OB Gyn's new female nurse practitioner who was so gentle and respectful...put me at ease immediately.

    I mentioned this to her and she confided that many male docs actually think we LIKE the exams, but we women know different..... I thought that was quite telling....