close
SM-Stamp-Join-1
  • Selfish Mother is the most brilliant blogging platform. Join here for free & you can post a blog within minutes. We don't edit or approve your words before they go live - it's up to you. And, with our cool new 'squares' design - you can share your blog to Instagram, too. What are you waiting for? Come join in! We can't wait to read what YOU have to say...

  • Your basic information

  • Your account information

View as: GRID LIST

Natural labour v drug fuelled labour

1

My approach to the management of my second labour was quite different than my first. I had my first baby with only gas and air. On paper this labour was ‘good’ described by the midwife who was there as one of the ‘best’ she had seen. I was in a room in a birthing suite at the local hospital with access to a pool and lots of cushions. My body started pushing on its own, I didn’t tear, labour was about 12 hours. The (little mentioned) placenta didn’t come out afterwards so it had to be removed which was unfortunate but fairly common.

When

SelfishMother.com
2
I first found out I was pregnant I was very open minded about pain relief but after reading about all the different pain relief options that all came with an increased chance of intervention, it totally put me off. I decided I’d go drug free as avoiding intervention sounded like the way to go. So I bought into the dream, discussed at the NCT classes, of a water birth with flickering battery powered candles and a soothing, preprepared music compilation. I brought hypo-birthing and effective birth preparation books and listened to hypo-birthing cds. I
SelfishMother.com
3
watched One Born Every Minute and some amazing videos on YouTube where women seemed to push their babies out, almost asleep, in a birthing pool.

After my first I was was always pretty daunted by the prospect of going through labour again, so when I became pregnant with my second I was quite keen on having a caesarian. This to some medical professionals and some other mothers seemed quite confusing after my first labour. A doctor actually said, you did so well the first time, it would be EVEN EASIER the second. So really with such a ‘good’ labour

SelfishMother.com
4
why oh why didn’t I want to do it ‘naturally’ again? Because it hurt like fuck is why. It was still a traumatic experience and an assault on all the senses.

Also, instead of being really hardy since enduring my first labour I had instead developed a zero tolerance approach to pain or discomfort. My due date was, in my head, comparable to knowing that you would be getting your legs broken on a specific date and then having a choice whether to have pain relief or not.

First time round I had no idea, now I knew, I choose pain relief. I was

SelfishMother.com
5
much less scared of the statistics around intervention more likely with use of pain relief than I was the first time. Finding out that the cervix never fully closes after your first was reassuring. My priority was feeling as little pain as possible, over avoiding intervention, which was my priority with my first.

When I found out I had gestational diabetes, it seemed I could have an actual medical reason I could use to justify having a caesarian to the confused masses. It turned out the approach of the hospital was that it was not recommended to go to

SelfishMother.com
6
full term due to the risk of still birth associated with gestational diabetes so they induce you. Now, induction I had heard was hideous, so I’d always vowed that I’d rather have a caesarian that be induced. I said I would have a normal labour or have a caesarean which was scheduled a week before my due date. As the reality of what a caesarian would entail sank in, i was just as daunted. It was arranged that they would try doing a sweep a few days before my c section to see if that worked. Now everyone knew that sweeps rarely worked, but hey I’d
SelfishMother.com
7
give it a shot, by this point I didn’t know what I wanted. There was no easy way out of this. The sweep worked.
The day before my sweep I realised I hadn’t done a birth plan, I jotted 2 lines in biro on a piece of paper and put it in my file. My first birth plan was typed in a word document and a page long.

After a long, hard second pregnancy with various ailments to contend with including crazily itchy feet that I contemplated cutting off, urinary track infection, thrush, aches and pains eased only a couple of times by paracetamol, exacerbated

SelfishMother.com
8
by not being able to eat sugar or carbohydrates, I was quite excited about the plethora of pain medication I was allowed to take once in labour.

I was surprised how freely the drugs flowed on requested in the labour ward – it was simply a question of requesting, no on ever said – “come on now you can do it without.” which was the mantra for my first.

When I arrived and was told I was at 3 cm, I requested an epidural immediately but didn’t think I could have one at 3cm, but the answer was yes! As I had to wait for the anaesthetist. I got a

SelfishMother.com
9
shot straight away of something morphine based that I’d never heard of to tide me over.

A midwife even said, when I asked for a top up on my epidural, that she did not want to see me in pain. I did not feel a thing and even went to sleep. I was still mobile so could pop to the loo when I needed to and get into different positions (who knew there was such a thing as a mobile epidural!) and when I was fully dilated I was told to start pushing, this took more concentration and a slight effort compared to my first. 20 minutes later the baby arrived. If

SelfishMother.com
10
someone had told me I needed intervention or a caesarian I would have been extremely calm simply because I wasn’t in any pain.

Looking back now I find it strange that you have to choose either to have a natural birth before you really know what you are committing to or how you cope with pain as usually they only have gas and air available in birthing suites which are separate from hospital wards.

I was trying to remember what I learnt at NCT the other day and i really couldn’t remember much. Out of the 8 women in our NCT group – none of us had

SelfishMother.com
11
lived the birthing pool dream that we’d all described in detail on our birthing plans. Was an unobtainable picture painted?

Should NCT scare people with the possible reality or let everyone continue to believe that they can have a pool birth with their favourite music playing. Should they talk about pain relief and how it is fine to use it, that ever one has different pain thresholds.

I’d had access to a pool, had music on, had flicking battery powdered candles – seemingly held by some as the holly grail of child birth, or maybe that is just

SelfishMother.com
12
what NCT made me think, or what all the middle class women in their 30’s who live in Walthamstow seem to want. No one ever said, ‘’I’m planning to take all the drugs available to me – I don’t want to feel a god damn thing’’.  The impression I got was that it was better to go pain relief free – almost like it was the right thing to do – its like mum guilt starts even before the birth of your child! I had the pool, but I got out, it wasn’t working for me, I ended up on all fours with my face in a bean bag where I didn’t have to see my
SelfishMother.com
13
partner, midwife or student midwife at all, a bit like a cat finding a dark, warm corner. This experience was also helpful in my confident decision to take all the drugs with my second labour, as I wasn’t left thinking – if only I had a pool birth with flickering candles, it would have all been perfect, serene and pain free. If only I’d have breathed in the golden light harder.

Personally I’m glad that NCT didn’t emphasise the pain or that the birthing pool dream was slim and that the chance of intervention and tearing high, I’m glad i

SelfishMother.com
14
went in blind the first time as I was quite relaxed and just got on with it. Knowing that I pushed a 9lb 9oz baby out my vagina with only gas and air gave me a lot of confidence to know that no I do not want to do that again thank you very much.
SelfishMother.com
Janet Stone

By

This blog was originally posted on SelfishMother.com - why not sign up & share what's on your mind, too?

Why not write for Selfish Mother, too? You can sign up for free and post immediately.


We regularly share posts on @SelfishMother Instagram and Facebook :)

- 25 Mar 18

My approach to the management of my second labour was quite different than my first. I had my first baby with only gas and air. On paper this labour was ‘good’ described by the midwife who was there as one of the ‘best’ she had seen. I was in a room in a birthing suite at the local hospital with access to a pool and lots of cushions. My body started pushing on its own, I didn’t tear, labour was about 12 hours. The (little mentioned) placenta didn’t come out afterwards so it had to be removed which was unfortunate but fairly common.

When I first found out I was pregnant I was very open minded about pain relief but after reading about all the different pain relief options that all came with an increased chance of intervention, it totally put me off. I decided I’d go drug free as avoiding intervention sounded like the way to go. So I bought into the dream, discussed at the NCT classes, of a water birth with flickering battery powered candles and a soothing, preprepared music compilation. I brought hypo-birthing and effective birth preparation books and listened to hypo-birthing cds. I watched One Born Every Minute and some amazing videos on YouTube where women seemed to push their babies out, almost asleep, in a birthing pool.

After my first I was was always pretty daunted by the prospect of going through labour again, so when I became pregnant with my second I was quite keen on having a caesarian. This to some medical professionals and some other mothers seemed quite confusing after my first labour. A doctor actually said, you did so well the first time, it would be EVEN EASIER the second. So really with such a ‘good’ labour why oh why didn’t I want to do it ‘naturally’ again? Because it hurt like fuck is why. It was still a traumatic experience and an assault on all the senses.

Also, instead of being really hardy since enduring my first labour I had instead developed a zero tolerance approach to pain or discomfort. My due date was, in my head, comparable to knowing that you would be getting your legs broken on a specific date and then having a choice whether to have pain relief or not.

First time round I had no idea, now I knew, I choose pain relief. I was much less scared of the statistics around intervention more likely with use of pain relief than I was the first time. Finding out that the cervix never fully closes after your first was reassuring. My priority was feeling as little pain as possible, over avoiding intervention, which was my priority with my first.

When I found out I had gestational diabetes, it seemed I could have an actual medical reason I could use to justify having a caesarian to the confused masses. It turned out the approach of the hospital was that it was not recommended to go to full term due to the risk of still birth associated with gestational diabetes so they induce you. Now, induction I had heard was hideous, so I’d always vowed that I’d rather have a caesarian that be induced. I said I would have a normal labour or have a caesarean which was scheduled a week before my due date. As the reality of what a caesarian would entail sank in, i was just as daunted. It was arranged that they would try doing a sweep a few days before my c section to see if that worked. Now everyone knew that sweeps rarely worked, but hey I’d give it a shot, by this point I didn’t know what I wanted. There was no easy way out of this. The sweep worked.

The day before my sweep I realised I hadn’t done a birth plan, I jotted 2 lines in biro on a piece of paper and put it in my file. My first birth plan was typed in a word document and a page long.

After a long, hard second pregnancy with various ailments to contend with including crazily itchy feet that I contemplated cutting off, urinary track infection, thrush, aches and pains eased only a couple of times by paracetamol, exacerbated by not being able to eat sugar or carbohydrates, I was quite excited about the plethora of pain medication I was allowed to take once in labour.

I was surprised how freely the drugs flowed on requested in the labour ward – it was simply a question of requesting, no on ever said – “come on now you can do it without.” which was the mantra for my first.

When I arrived and was told I was at 3 cm, I requested an epidural immediately but didn’t think I could have one at 3cm, but the answer was yes! As I had to wait for the anaesthetist. I got a shot straight away of something morphine based that I’d never heard of to tide me over.

A midwife even said, when I asked for a top up on my epidural, that she did not want to see me in pain. I did not feel a thing and even went to sleep. I was still mobile so could pop to the loo when I needed to and get into different positions (who knew there was such a thing as a mobile epidural!) and when I was fully dilated I was told to start pushing, this took more concentration and a slight effort compared to my first. 20 minutes later the baby arrived. If someone had told me I needed intervention or a caesarian I would have been extremely calm simply because I wasn’t in any pain.

Looking back now I find it strange that you have to choose either to have a natural birth before you really know what you are committing to or how you cope with pain as usually they only have gas and air available in birthing suites which are separate from hospital wards.

I was trying to remember what I learnt at NCT the other day and i really couldn’t remember much. Out of the 8 women in our NCT group – none of us had lived the birthing pool dream that we’d all described in detail on our birthing plans. Was an unobtainable picture painted?

Should NCT scare people with the possible reality or let everyone continue to believe that they can have a pool birth with their favourite music playing. Should they talk about pain relief and how it is fine to use it, that ever one has different pain thresholds.

I’d had access to a pool, had music on, had flicking battery powdered candles – seemingly held by some as the holly grail of child birth, or maybe that is just what NCT made me think, or what all the middle class women in their 30’s who live in Walthamstow seem to want. No one ever said, ‘’I’m planning to take all the drugs available to me – I don’t want to feel a god damn thing’’.  The impression I got was that it was better to go pain relief free – almost like it was the right thing to do – its like mum guilt starts even before the birth of your child! I had the pool, but I got out, it wasn’t working for me, I ended up on all fours with my face in a bean bag where I didn’t have to see my partner, midwife or student midwife at all, a bit like a cat finding a dark, warm corner. This experience was also helpful in my confident decision to take all the drugs with my second labour, as I wasn’t left thinking – if only I had a pool birth with flickering candles, it would have all been perfect, serene and pain free. If only I’d have breathed in the golden light harder.

Personally I’m glad that NCT didn’t emphasise the pain or that the birthing pool dream was slim and that the chance of intervention and tearing high, I’m glad i went in blind the first time as I was quite relaxed and just got on with it. Knowing that I pushed a 9lb 9oz baby out my vagina with only gas and air gave me a lot of confidence to know that no I do not want to do that again thank you very much.

Did you enjoy this post? If so please support the writer: like, share and comment!


Why not join the SM CLUB, too? You can share posts & events immediately. It's free!

Janet Stone

Jack of all trades, master of none, mum to toddler, Erin and baby Jack living in Walthamstow, East London. Butcher, baker, body scrub maker. Part time officer worker, now dabbling in blog writing - www.fullfatmilk.london - about life since we moved to full fat milk, read mostly by my mum.

Post Tags


Keep up to date with Selfish Mother — Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media