Natural Birth

At wk 36 and nervous about a lot...

I am at week 36, and I am nervous about a LOT! I have heard a few stories about the epidural, like
1) not being able to feel what's going on and the doctors having to pretty much push for you.
2) the drug not kicking in until you've pretty much already had teh baby.
3) spinal leakage.
I want to try and do a natural birth (this is my first), but I am so nervous, because no matter how much I read up on it, I will never truly know what it's gonna be like until I experience it myself.
I am pretty small, and don't want to rip. But when they cut me, since I want to do a natural birth, how bad am I gonna feel them cutting me? It's so sensitive, anyway, as it is! I know I'll probably just be focused mainly on having the baby and getting her outta there, but I would like some suggestions on medditation, or the way I should go about this.
I also have been thinking about doing water birth, because I think that would help relax me a whole lot more, but I don't know if I'd be able to hold myself upright in a tub while giving birth.
I wish she would just be here already :P
Feedback would be nice(:

Re: At wk 36 and nervous about a lot...

  • Just because you're small, that doesn't mean you're going to tear.  I'm not a large woman and I've had three babies without tearing at all (and two of them were posterior).  Just focus on breathing through your pushes to let yourself stretch.  Also, try pushing in a position other than flat on your back.  The waterbirth will help also, because it softens the tissue.  IMO, I wouldn't let the doctor cut you just because you're scared of tearing. 

    As far as the waterbirth, I'm assuming you're delivering in the hospital.  Most of the tubs in the hospital are like big whirlpool tubs - the kind some people have in their master suites.  They are shaped so that you can recline in them and push lying down if you're tired.  You don't have to hold yourself up and can push in about any position in a tub - hands/knees, squatting, on your back, etc.

    In my experience, if you're scared going into it, it's going to hurt more.  The more you allow your body to relax, the easier it is.  You just need to find what works for you - meditation, prayer, soft music, low lighting, massage.  Ask yourself when you're sick what makes you feel better - a hot bath?  having someone with you to cuddle or comfort you?  do you like to be alone?  I think this is usually a good indicator of what you'll want in labor.  

    I would suggest watching some NB videos and even waterbirth videos on youtube before you deliver.  This will give you a realistic idea of what to expect and may give you ideas for how to push in the water or how to create a relaxing birth environment.

    Good luck, mama!  You can do this.  You just need to trust your body and let go of the fear.

  • It is totally natural to be scared before giving birth the 1st time. I was all for the epidural the first time around, and while I didn't have any complications from the epidural itself, I certainly had a horrible recovery because of it. Natural childbirth means you'll be more likely to let your body do what it is meant to do, and that means you'll be less likely to tear then if you are completely numb and just pushing like a bat-outta-hell.

    I'm currently 35 weeks prego with baby #2, and this time around I'm using a midwife and planning a waterbirth at home. The way I'm looking at labor and delivery is that yes, it is absolutely going to hurt. BUT, the female body was meant to give birth, and I have every confidence that my body can do it. Just breathe through every contraction, relax as much as possible and remember that the more you fear it and tense up, the more it will hurt. Just let your body do what it was meant to do.

     While I had an epidural with my first son, I didn't get that epidural until I was 9 cms dilated (and in hindsight, could have totally done without one altogether!) but up until then, I was laboring normally. Everyone in my family thought I would be this massive wuss and cry and scream and carry on. But I wasn't. I barely made a peep, I smiled in between contractions and I quietly breathed through each one. Something happens to us women in labor that is totally instinctual, and it makes us capable of being able to handle anything. You WILL surprise yourself.

    Oh and positive affirmations do wonders! Saying "I can do this" or getting your partner to say that to you, can REALLY help!

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  • I agree it's completely normal to be nervous going into your first birth. You hear the horror stories, and how it's the worst pain you'll ever experience yada yada yada.

    The thing is that it's not pain like a broken leg. It's pain that's getting a job done. If you made me choose between childbirth and one of those leg cramps that wake you up in the middle of the night unable to move with pain, I would pick childbirth every single time.

    You won't necessarily tear badly or need to be cut just because you are small. DD1 was 9 lbs and I needed 2 stitches and DD2 was 10lbs with no stitches.

    I found water fabulous for pain relief. Like pp said the tubs are pretty comfortable, but also you can labour in the tub and push on dry land if that's what feels most comfortable to you on the day.

    Good luck with your upcoming birth. Your body is built to do this, and you'll get to meet your baby. Hope it all goes smoothly. 

    Elizabeth 5yrs old Jane 3yrs old

  • Epidurals certainly have their risks.  They also serve a purpose.  I had an un-medicated birth with #1 and it was wonderful.  You must let go of the fear, because that will cause you more pain. 

    If you think of the birth in terms of one contraction at a time, instead of "I'm only dilated to x" then I think it goes much better. I actually only had one internal check my entire pregnancy, and that was an hour before I gave birth, I was dilated to 7 cm after laboring at home for almost 10 hours. 

    Being small has nothing to do with the fact that you're giving birth to a baby and tearing.  I'm 5' tall and I did not tear with my almost 7 lb baby. You should talk to your care provider about perineal support (my midwife held warm cloths there to allow easier stretching) and birthing in any other position but on your back will help. I think being on your back makes your pelvis about 30% smaller than other positions (because your pelvis literally comes apart for baby to come through, if you're laying on your sacrum, there's nowhere for it to go and you're working against gravity) if I remember the stats correctly.  I would also have a very serious conversation with your care provider about episiotomy.  It is my understanding that tearing is better for repair and healing than being cut.  Also, if you're cut, there's no guarantee that you won't continue to tear.  

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  • I had DS about a week overdue and he was 6lb 9oz.. I'm pretty small too and so was he but I had an episiotomy sp? because they said I would have torn which is Definitely worse than being cut due to the inconsistency and lack of clean lines to stitch. I hardly even felt it. They said what they were doing and I did feel it, but there was no pain or anything, and if so, at least not enough to distract me from pushing the little guy out! Labor is painful, but like pp said, it is a purposeful pain and when it's over, it's over. I remember now that it hurt a lot, but am going to do another natural with this one.. that's how little the pain effected my birthing experience. It was beautiful and I would and will do it again every time. Good luck!
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker IAmPregnant Ticker
  • Have you prepared?   Did you take natural childbirth classes with your DH/SO or hired a doula?  Have you read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth or Natural Childbirth the Bradley way or Birthing from Within or taken Hypnoclasses (birth or babies)?

    A lot of what you are nervous about are answered in those books and in classes.  I know you can't experience it, but you can prepare and be prepared, which is your best method when you feel out of control.  Heck, I'm headed into my 3rd natural childbirth and I'm still a little nervous b/c every birth is unique. 

    Oh and as for episiotomy vs. tearing...I've had both and tearing was WAY better with much less repair work.  A good OB/midwife will help you slow down during pushing and so you only get a small stretch/tear (I am small and had two 7lb babies).  Here's a good article on that if you want:

    Good luck and keep preparing - you still have time to learn more and feel more educated when you go into your bith. 

    Two boys already - ages 5 and 3... #3 is here...

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

  • I am also worried about tearing.  From what I understand as long as they let you push at your own pace and you take direction from someone who knows what they are doing then you shouldn't tear, or tear very much.  However, if an episiotomy becomes necessary they can do a "pressure episiotomy" and you shouldn't need any pain meds for that until they go to stitch you up. 
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • I know what you mean, about being a FTM and being nervous--I just had my first almost 2 weeks ago!

    1) Forget the horror "stories"; stories are anecdotal, and by no means the God given gospel. Instead, do your research on the epidural and make an educated decision.

    2) If you want to go natural, don't focus on how much it'll hurt. It's gonna frickin' hurt, I won't sugar-coat it, but for me, it wasn't nearly as bad as what I'd anticipated. And I didn't take any child birthing classes, I just read up on the different stages of labor and some different coping mechanisms for the pain. You really do figure out what positions and suchwhat work for you, I promise!

    3) I'm small and didn't tear at all. Further, from what I've researched, tearing is usually preferable to getting an episiotomy.

    4) I definitely recommend a water birth. It won't take the pain/pressure away completely, but it can take it down a few notches. And due to the buoyancy in the water, you'll find a few more positions that are more comfortable to labor in.

    Here's the biggest thing, though: when you're in labor, make a deliberate effort in relaxing--it helps so much. Me, since I could only tolerate contractions while on my feet and walking around, I relaxed by rotating my shoulders and slightly swaying my hips from side to side during a contraction. I also made sure to make deep vocal noises instead of high pitched ones. I did this by humming "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies and the deeper parts of "Wither" by Dream Theater.

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