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willwrite4food
07-18-2007, 05:24 AM
Okay, ladies, I need to hear your "contraction" battle stories. When the real ones finally started, were they as painful as you'd been told?

I told a pregnant friend recently that they felt like really bad menstrual cramps. She replied that she'd never had any of those, and said she didn't want to get an epidural because they couldn't possibly feel that bad. She's 30. I couldn't believe it. She was screaming for an epidural not long after she went into labor. Were you one of those ladies who had never had a menstrual cramp? Did you have a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions? Did your OB or midwife prepare you for what they would feel like? Please share, as I'm writing an article for a parenting website, on, you guessed it, contractions!

Mandy-Jane
07-18-2007, 06:49 AM
My contractions were painful, but bearable (yes like really bad menstrual cramps) until my water broke. After that, they became so full-on that I couldn't believe what I was feeling. I thought to myself "how do women do this and survive?" That was my first time. Second time around, I knew what to expect and it didn't seem quite so painful. Also a lot quicker.

Sandi LeFaucheur
07-18-2007, 07:16 AM
I've had worse periods. Really. From the time the taxi dropped me off (racing round the Catford one-way system on two wheels) to the time I had the baby was less than 3 hours. Mind, it wasn't a pleasant 3 hours! Wasn't allowed to use the toilet, so they gave me a bedpan--on a rocking chair, no less! (have you ever used a bedpan on a wooden rocking chair?) Killer diarrhea, which they thought was good, because at least it was out before the baby was born. Then, whilst still perched on my throne, I threw up (in a bowl, you'll be glad to know.) A student doctor walked in, and the midwife said he was going to deliver my baby--it would be his first. "Oh no he's not," I bellowed. "And get him out of here!" He scuttled out. (I did allow him back in to watch the birth. Look, but don't touch.) I did at one point say that I couldn't have the baby, it wasn't going to fit, so the midwife said that in that case, she'd send me home on the bus.

You don't get cossetted in English NHS hospitals.

(By the way, I was too far along for an epidural, and couldn't have gas-and-air because I was throwing up, so I had no pain relief, so I can truly say that the contractions weren't as bad as a period.)

Jersey Chick
07-18-2007, 07:18 AM
Mine weren't ungodly at first - my regular cramps were much worse. I actually had gone into labor about 6 hours before I really felt serious pain. I'd had three months of Braxton Hicks, so I knew when I walked nonstop and drank 5 gallons of water and the cramps still hadn't stopped that I was really, truly in labor. On the ride to the hospital it hurt a little worse (I asked my husband to please, please not hit any bumps on the road). By the time I got to the ER, I could barely stand upright until they passed. (There was a family there with a ten or 12 year old and I think I freaked them out a little - they inched away veeerry slowly. Dunno why, as I was quiet, just a little hunchbacked).

They got worse, but still not like you see in the movies - no yelling, no screaming, just an occasional "OW." And when they asked if I wanted an epidural, my momma didn't raise no dummy - I said yes. But there were a few complications with my daughter's delivery and the pain got absolutely horrendous and even the epidural didn't help. I didn't yell or anything, but I was in more pain that ever. My daughter ended up being delivered via emergency c-section and the pain was so bad at that point, I was happy to have the surgery.

The second time around I had a scheduled C - no labor pains. Good drugs. I was a happy kid. :D

Kadea
07-18-2007, 08:08 AM
Mine weren't that bad, but I been told I have a freakish pain tolerance... I think it's just being stubborn. I've had two natural births, my first son was 9'9" and my second was 9'2". I got to the hospital with my second when I was 8 cm dilated. Walked in, no screaming, moaing or any of the other stuff. You should have seen the nurses panicking- pretty funny. I was so calm, they didn't expect me to be very far along till the checked me. But how I KNEW I was in labor... my belly got ROCK hard with each contraction, but it was quite bearable until it was time to push out. Being determined to walk through the contractions made all the difference, the minute I sat down that was it, getting up was virtually impossible. Long story -the epiduaral wasn't my idea.

If you want more info... feel free to PM me.

kikazaru
07-18-2007, 07:04 PM
2 kids (9lbs 1 oz the first, and 8 lbs 3oz 2nd), no anesthetic here - and no shouting or screaming either. I too have a rather high pain threshold and since I come from a long line of very stoic women, I wouldn't have dreamed of disgracing my mother by hollering. Easier to conserve my energy to deal with the pain and to push that kid out anyway.

Yes the contractions were like bad menstrual cramps and I was entirely familiar with those. There was a difference though, cramps usually just waned off and on, when I was full on contracting, the degree of pain was no different only there was no let up - just wave after wave, on top of wave, of cramps.

Stressed
07-18-2007, 10:21 PM
I too have a very high pain threshold but found the last three hours of my 24-hour labor with my daughter to be excruciating. During the last hour I literally believed I would die of the pain and could not understand why I hadn’t had a heart attack. If my midwife had given me a gun I would have blown off my own head to end the suffering.

I wasn’t able to have an epidural because of scoliosis and having done it without I would wholeheartedly stand behind any woman who chooses to have one and tell her she made the right decision. Having said that, with my son, five years later, it was OK – partly because I knew what to expect. And, bless him, he only took two hours from first twinge to final push!

Stressed
07-18-2007, 10:23 PM
2 kids (9lbs 1 oz the first, and 8 lbs 3oz 2nd), no anesthetic here - and no shouting or screaming either.


I screamed so loudly and for so long that my voice had dropped a couple of octaves by the next day. I had that throaty Demi Moore thing going on. It almost made it worthwhile… ;)

Jersey Chick
07-18-2007, 10:28 PM
I also have a pretty high pain tolerance - the nurses kept telling me it was okay if I wanted to scream. Finally, I asked if it would make things easier, and got a puzzled look, followed by a "uh, no." So then I asked what would be the point.

They left me alone after that.

In my case, my daughter was hung up on my pubic bone. Buh-lieve me, there is no painkiller in the world that will dull that excrutiating pain.

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-18-2007, 10:45 PM
I thought this was a grammar question :(

jennifer75
07-18-2007, 10:57 PM
Okay, ladies, I need to hear your "contraction" battle stories. When the real ones finally started, were they as painful as you'd been told?

nobody really warned me about the severity of the pains.

Mine were very interesting....I don't quite remember how painful they were in my lower abdomen as much as I remember my lower back really getting the brunt of it. It was like a menstrual cramp combined with a stab wound. Jabbing....faster and faster for about what seemed like forever but I'm sure was only seconds...10 or so.

What I really remember is after I had my first (yes, first of three - refills rather) epidural the pain would start to come back first in my right hip. That was excrutiating. I felt as if my hip was gonna snap away from my body like it was being pried off of me with a crowbar. I had two refills as I like to call them of my epidural shots and was quite comfy the rest of the time.


Did you have a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions?

I did get them once in a while, and those were pretty disturbing. My abdomen hardened up to my boobs and the pressure on my breathing was scary sometimes. The first time I had one I though I had indigestion but noticed the hardening and common sense told me it must be a BH.
They never came as contractions though. Just one long hardening of the belly which lasted maybe a couple of minutes.


Did your OB or midwife prepare you for what they would feel like?

Nope. Thanks guys.

Jersey Chick
07-18-2007, 11:04 PM
My midwife was too hung up on delivering without resorting to the c-section. By the time I convinced her to get the OB, my husband was ready to kill her and, when the doctor arrived, he was so furious that I actually heard him say, "What the hell are you thinking? Why did you wait so long?" Not really a confidence booster, eh?

glendalough
07-18-2007, 11:10 PM
I was induced both times. I stayed in the hospital before BOTH births and they missed my eppy the first time! Can you imagine? I was there all night!

Anyhow...I always have mens cramps..or I mean mentrual cramps. lol I had horrible pain before my 2 ten pound watermellons squeezed out. I think most women who don't want an eppy have either never had real pain or think they can brag forever that they are superwoman. Give me the meds, that's why God made em.

Tish Davidson
07-19-2007, 02:26 AM
I passed a kidney stone a year or so ago and that pain was right up there with birthing pain except that it was continuous, not intermittent. In both cases, the old saying applied - First I was afraid that I would die, then I was afraid that I wouldn't.

mommyjo2
07-19-2007, 07:10 AM
I've had 7 kids. One failed spinal, one epidural, the others natural. I've also had lots and lots of pre-term and Braxton Hicks.

What surprised me the most is, even the BH ones, I felt in my chest first - I'd get short of breath, then the contraction would come.

The worst labor contractions were during transition. There was a definite peak though and they were not so bad on the downhill side.

I'd compare labor contractions to the pain you get when you run and get a stitch in your side - sharp, crampy. But it is across your whole front, not just a spot in your side. Also, you pretty much can't move during them.

I had the epidural with my 4th baby and it did take away the pain... but I didn't like it. It was creepy getting it and I hated the recovery.

Carmy
07-19-2007, 07:34 AM
Yep, like really, really bad menstrual cramps.

JoniBGoode
07-19-2007, 08:04 AM
I did unmedicated childbirth once (12 hours and 9lb. 6 oz.) and I think the comparison to severe cramps is valid.

I had heard all kinds of horror stories about labor, so it was actually not as bad as I expected. (I'm told I have a fairly high tolerance for pain. And yes, I'm stoic, too.)

I would qualify it as moderate discomfort, rather than severe pain. For one thing, it starts off milder and builds up gradually.


I found labor pain quite manageable, mostly because it's intermittent. Even at its worst, you know that in one minute you'll have a break for one minute. (I actually find arthritis pain harder to deal with because there's no break. Ever. For the rest of your life.)

And holding your baby for the first time definitely makes it all worth it!!

RLB
07-19-2007, 08:06 AM
I thought this was a grammar question :(

That's what I think everytime I see this thread. Then I remember... "Oh, I shouldn't read through this thread lest it scare me away from ever having children."

Ruth Barringham
07-19-2007, 09:19 AM
I've had 2 children, one at 7lb 7oz and the other 9lb 11oz (and I only weigh 8stone - that's 112lb). The bigger one was incredibly hard to deliver for me and labour went from 10.30pm to 8.30am. Yep, the contractions were like incredibly huge period pains and I just wanted to die. If someone would have had a gun I would have asked them to shoot me. I think the longer that labour goes on, the more painful it becomes.

When it was all over the midwife asked if I'd like anything for the pain and I said, yep give me something for my sore throat. Honestly I've never screamed like that in my life before or since.

I would never have another child because I couldn't go through all that again. 2 kids and 2 incredibly painful childbirth experiences is enough for me. I also had to have stitches both times from being torn open although I didn't feel it at the time (thank goodness) because of the painful contractions, but it hurt like a b*stard for weeks afterwards.

Ruth Barringham
07-19-2007, 09:20 AM
I've had 2 children, one at 7lb 7oz and the other 9lb 11oz (and I only weigh 8stone - that's 112lb). The bigger one was incredibly hard to deliver for me and labour went from 10.30pm to 8.30am. Yep, the contractions were like incredibly huge period pains and I just wanted to die. If someone would have had a gun I would have asked them to shoot me. I think the longer that labour goes on, the more painful it becomes.

When it was all over the midwife asked if I'd like anything for the pain and I said, yep give me something for my sore throat. Honestly I've never screamed like that in my life before or since.

I would never have another child because I couldn't go through all that again. 2 kids and 2 incredibly painful childbirth experiences is enough for me. I also had to have stitches both times from being torn open although I didn't feel it at the time (thank goodness) because of the painful contractions, but it hurt like a b*stard for weeks afterwards.

kenzie45230
07-19-2007, 07:28 PM
My doctor induced labor at 6 a.m. Immediately I had what felt like really bad menstruall cramps (and I knew about bad menstrual cramps...sometimes I was home from high school for 3 days with them). They came and went, of course. About 10 1/2 hours later...when I was doubled over (hard to do with that huge tummy), the doc decided I needed an epidural. That just made things worse for me. Instead of having pains in the normal place, my epidural just moved them - to my chest! It felt like I was having my heart squeezed. I wasn't ready to give birth yet - only 3 cenimeters still. Baby started having problems. So...after 12 hours of horrible pains, I had a C-section. Totally knocked out.