Post # 1
- Wedding: September 2008 - A tiny town just outside of Glacier National Park
It’s poll time! Ladies who have gone through unmedicated labor or progressed through labor pain before requesting pain medication, I’d love to hear your experience of how SEVERE the pain was in your perception, based on whether you have a self-ascribed LOW or HIGH pain tolerance. I’ve added an additional variable because I’d like to see whether there is a correlation between NOT being able change position (laboring in bed on monitors, etc) vs those who COULD change position while laboring (walking, squatting, holding onto something ,etc).
For the purposes of the poll, consider SEVERE to mean awful, terrible, intolerable, worst thing ever, felt like I was dying, etc. Consider MANAGEABLE to be painful, intense, difficult, but workable/tolerable.
I realize that a lot of this is totally subjective and self-reporting pain from memory (or rating pain tolerance) isn’t really quantifiable, but I’d love to see some results!
Post # 3
Well, I have a very high pain tolerance and was allowed to change positions, but I ended up needing pethadine about 16 hours into labour because I was still only 1 cm dilated and was vomiting with pain. I was in back labour with 2 babies, which may have made it worse? It was definitely severe pain–I’ve broken several bones, gotten dry sockets from wisdom teeth, gotten migraines, gotten 2nd degree burns… I think the reason it was so bad was because my contractions were coming in sets of 4 strong ones one on top of the other with maybe a 1-minute break in between, every 10 minutes, for a good 10 hours before I requested pain relief… it felt like 8 minutes of extreme pain out of every 10 minutes because I couldn’t really catch my breath during the sets. It was relentless, and the reason I wasn’t dilating was because of dd1’s brow presentation– her head was basically banging against my pelvis instead of dilating my cervix with each contraction. I ended up with an epidural at 29 hours in. 🙁
Post # 4
I have low-pain tolerance and my labor sucked. I had to be induced two weeks early with pitocin, and for many hours I wasn’t progressing, even though I was having horrendous contractions. I, too, have had a number of pain experiences to compare it to, but labor takes the cake. I stopped after one kid.
Post # 5
I have a high pain tolerance..
Its litteraly the worst imaginable pain in the world – actually you can’t even imagine it, it’s not possible. I was puking just because the pain was so intense my body didn’t know how to handle it.
I would suggest not scaring yourself with questions like these. The truth is, it’s going to hurt more then you will be prepared for, but everyone makes it through it…nobody dies from the pain, even though it’ll feel like you want to in that moment.
Post # 6
I would say I probably have a low pain tolerance.
I was induced with pit. I was hooked up to the monitors/IV, but was able to change positions from back to side, and they offered the birthing ball to me. My contractions felt intolerable to me, as in I feel like I wouldn’t have been able to get through labor without my epidural.
I felt like my contractions were more uncomfortable on my side than when I was on my back, which really surprised me. I had gone into labor expecting to ask to give birth on my side. I thought I wanted to try the birthing ball, but when they brought it in for me I lost all interest in it. I just felt like the pain was so bad that I couldn’t/didn’t want to get out of the bed.
I tried Fentanyl to take the edge off of the pain, but it did nothing for me. I got the epidural when I was about 5cm. I’m so glad I did! I was still able to move my legs and support my own weight, I just felt numb. My pain went from a 10 to a 2. I was able to sleep off and on from 5 cm to 10 cm. I was able to have a vaginal delivery despite the interventions.
More power to anyone who can go without meds, but I’m glad I had the option!
ETA: I am glad that I allowed myself to feel so e of the labor pains, so I could know how that felt. I’m also glad I was able to make my goal of making it to 5cm before getting an epidural. I probably didn’t start really feeling painful contractions until I was about 3 or 4 cm dilated.
Post # 7
Oh my goodness, some of these responses are scaring me. Did you ladies who say it is unimaginable have an epidural?
Post # 8
Has anyone had kidney stones and then had a child? Im wondering if its similar in the pain department. Ive passed kidney stones a few times and woooowweeee its uncomfortable. Wondering how close it is in relation to giving birth?
Post # 9
I will say that I only think the pain became intolerable for me because my labor was so long. I was in labor for almost exactly 48 hours and I had an epidural less than 6 hours before giving birth. also the way they do it at my hospital is that they do a low dose so you can still feel your contractions a tiny tiny bit, and they give you a button you can push to give you more meds if you need it. I never needed to push the button, so I could feel it a bit when I was pushing, which was good
I have a farly high pain tollerance, and I also have endometriosis so the pain was familiar feeling although worse. for me the really bad part was thatI had bad back labor.
Post # 10
I had my first child without any pain meds at all. And it wasn’t a quick delivery either I was in labor for 16 hours. I consider myself to have a high pain tolerance. When I had my second child I expected to do the same thing but that delivery was nothing like my first. I had to be induced so the contractions came fast and hard but was still determined to do it without pain meds. I made it about 14 hours into my 16 hour delivery before telling my midwife I was going to die if I didn’t get some pain meds. She gave me something “to take the edge off” but honestly I don’t think it helped. I ended up tearing horribly and was in so much pain throughout the night I kept calling the nurse in to tell her I was dying. LOL I don’t know if I would have two kids if I had that experience first.
Post # 11
I don’t fit into your categories, but I thought I’d weigh in.
I have a low pain tolerance. Contractions for me were not painful AT ALL. They felt like period cramps that came and went. More uncomfortable than painful. However, I got an epidural as soon as humanly possible (2 hours into “labor”, 2 cm dilated), so I really didn’t feel any pain at all during labor until his head was out and I had to wait for another contraction to push his body out. Longest 2 minutes of my life!!
My entire labor was 8 hours from first contraction to baby being born. It was so easy that right after I turned to my husband and said “that’s it?”
Post # 12
I voted “Other” because I’m due in 10 days so I don’t know yet!
Post # 13
I have a high pain tolerance. I went drug-free specifically so that I could move around freely during labor. I was not induced, in fact I went 8 days past my due date and went into labor spontaneously.
I found labor pains manageable, but ONLY when I was using the yoga ball, on all fours, swaying while hugging my husband’s shoulders, or in the labor tub.
I had two cervical checks and I had to lay back for each of them. Those two contractions made me feel like I was about to die. As soon as I was back up and moving, everything was bearable again.
I moved a lot, used hydrotherapy & counter pressure on my hips (thank you doula!!), and vocalized through contractions. Without those tools, I would never have made it.
Post # 14
@Ms.Pink: I wanted an epi, but my doctor would not allow as my labor was not progressing. 🙁
Post # 15
- Wedding: September 2013 - Lake Anna Winery
I had a VERY high pain tolerance. i had already been in preterm labor 2 times before I actually gave birth. When it was finally time, it was like bad period cramps that wrapped around to my back. It was very tolerable until my water broke and that’s when the pain really started. I got to 8 cm dialated and decided that I didn’t want to be in screaming pain when my baby came out so I opted for the epidural. The stupid anesthesiologist hit a vertebrae and nerve while try to put in the tubing and gave me nerve damage (didn’t find this out till after the epi wore off). But the epi made it easy and she was born 4 hours later. I also had a button in case I needed more meds. Pressed it once after she was out before I could feel them stitching me up.
Just make sure if you get an epidural, PUSH INTO THE PAIN when the doctor tells you to. It’ll make it go faster and more bearable.
Post # 16
I’d say I have a pretty high pain tolerance (just from exercise etc; but I’m a wimp so I rarely put myself into painful situations!) Bur I really think moving around made a HUGE difference. It also helped the labour progress more quickly, which makes a big difference too. I tried sitting or lying down occasionally and I couldn’t stand it!
Labour was nowhere near as painful as I expected! Even with a forceps delivery, I didn’t need pain medication. My techniques were:
* moving! Stomping up and down the hallway or swaying my hips. My body knew the right way to move to reduce the pain.
* singing! This is a weird one but it worked for me. Shouting is a great adrenaline release but shouting “oww” just drew attention to the pain. Shouting song lyrics was distracting! And the hospital staff found it a refreshing change, haha.
* staying home as long as possible. I’m not sure how your system works but in New Zealand they encourage you to stay home as long as you can stand it. We showed up early (3cm dilated) and went home after an hour because things weren’t progressing. A couple of hours at home and I was fully dilated and ready to push! I think being comfortable at home and having a huge space to move in makes a big diffence.
* being mentally prepared. Knowing what the different stages of labour are and knowing that labour pain is normal and just a muscle working, like in exercise (a really big horribly painful muscle, but still!)
I read a fabulous book called Birth Skills by Juju Sundin that I recommend to everyone now. It teaches you ways to distract yourself from the pain, and also teaches you what your body is doing so you’re less afraid. My friend who recommended it to me said she had a ‘wonderful’ labour, which I didn’t think was possible… but now I say I had a wonderful labour too! You wouldn’t go into a marathon without doing some preparation, so why go into possibly the most physically demanding eveny of your life without doing some reading and preparation?