Now that I'm approaching a halfway point in this pregnancy, I'm starting to think about Labor and Delivery (never to early to think about your birth plan IMO) and I'm very worried about the pain. I like to think I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but I'm sure labor will be above that. I can't take an epidural. I have an extreme phobia of needles to the point that just getting a regular shot has me hyperventilating and I bit a nurse one time who tried to hold me still for a tetanus shot. I know there are other ways to help relax you and to help with pain relief, but it's hard to find good information on them. I'd love it if there was something I could do that wouldn't require a shot, but I don't know if there's anything out there. And if I can't avoid a shot, what about just avoiding a shot in my spine?
My mother had a natural birth with my sister that I was in the room for and she claims it wasn't that bad, but that was about a 48 hour labor with me, so I can't feel like that means much :P
I do have 2 tattoos, which in my opinion didn't hurt all that badly, and I've been told to use the same breathing method to relax myself during labor as during the tattoos. Is this even going to work the same? I've also heard that laughing gas can be used. That would be great for me as laughing gas gives me a calm, numb sort of feeling all over.
Other than my own questions, what did you all do to help with your pain?
I hate needles too, but the epidural wasn't nearly as bad or scary as I thought it would be. They give you an initial shot to numb the area and that was all I felt, and it was only for a split second.
I plan on having a c-section with epidural.
My sister has a HUGE needle phobia (But also has tattoos?! I don't understand that?! lol) and she had the epidural and was fine with it. She just asked them not to let her see the needle beforehand!
Laboring in water has been called "nature's epidural". My understanding is that many hospitals have tubs available to labor in, just don't want you to push the baby out in them. It's worth looking into.
I'd also strongly recommend taking a birth class. Mine covered relaxation and pain relief techniques, both that you can do and that your partner or doula can help with. They also went over the risks and benefits of various medical interventions, the epidural included, and explained what it entailed. Some of the recommendations were massage and changing positions frequently, finding what's most comfortable for you at the time.
My birth class instructors also said to keep in mind that it's not continuous pain, it comes and goes with your contractions. For me, knowing there's short breaks in-between is very comforting.
Some people are going to give you a hard time for having a needle phobia when you've got tattoos, but I have almost half my body covered and still am prone to faint when they draw my blood. I just wanted to throw it in there that I get that it's different.
I am not a fan of shots but I am even less a fan of pain. Seriously. I actually have pallid syncope where I can pass out when in extreme pain. Needless to say I was TERRIFIED by the idea of giving birth. When lots of people here in Sweden were telling me to relax and not to worry about it, that my body would know what to do, I found that reading and understanding more about what was going to happen was the only way to calm myself down. I read a book called The Doula Guide to Birth: Secrets every pregnant woman should know by Lowe and Zimmerman. It had chapters about Lamaze, different pain medication options etc as well as pain relieving labor techniques. I found it a helpful tool to manage my fear.
My birth plan was to have a walking epidural. This was my doctor's recommendation for anyone having twins but especially someone with such a strong aversion to pain. However by the time I got to the hospital the most painful position was lying down and they told me that I would have to remain like that an additional hour and a half if I wanted the epidural. I decided that I could do without it. I did have nitrous oxide gas though but I think it depends on where you live. Some of my friends had never heard of that option. I am not sure how much it helped (and I had temporary(?) nerve damage in my hand from griping the mask too hard) but it did give me some feeling of control over what was going on, whether that was real or imagined.
As a side note we spend a lot of time in the labor and delivery ward before the births because I was having problems with strong early contractions. One time while we were there, a midwife came in to the room we were waiting in (a normal delivery room) and asked if we would mind going back out to the waiting room so that she could show the room to a woman who was absolutely terrified of delivering. They wanted her to see what it was like to try to help her manage her fears. (Apparently birth classes used to tour the labor and delivery ward here in Sweden until recently.) I don't know if it is possible where you live, but I think familiarity with the locale (as well as the staff- yes we were there that much! 9 times before delivery) really helped us too!