So, no one ever said that Labor and Delivery was fun or a piece of cake! It's long... except in the case of my good friend Amanda or my Niece Anna, both of whom seem to have nice short labors! It's painful, you are pushing out a baby after all! And, it's tiring!
For my labor, I'd had all these plans of toughing it out quietly, going without an epidural and having a spectacularly supportive husband to get me through it all... the only part of that that didn't fall through was the supportive husband part!
After almost 41 weeks of pregnancy and no sign of natural labor in sight, I was induced. After a few rounds of Cytotec, I asked for IV pain meds. After my water broke and soaking in a bathtub did nothing for the misery I was in, I asked for the epidural. But, throughout it all, my husband was great!
So, here's a few tips on what I found to help with pain and comfort... it didn't erase it of course, but it helped some!
- Cool or Warm washcloth on your forehead or neck. It's a personal thing. For me, I wanted warm. I was cold, and when I get cold I tense up my body. This did NOT make the contractions any less painful! With a warm washcloth on my head, I was able to relax a bit. I also used one of those scented rice 'neck roll' things. This isn't me, but this is what I'm talking about! It helped to relax me, and also gave me a little more comfort when I was trying to sleep in more of an upright position.
- Extra pillows for under your knees etc. You can assume that you may be able to sleep at some point during your labor or induction, especially if you get some pain relief. If you needed some extra cushioning to help you sleep during your pregnancy up to this point, it's a good assumption that you'll need it now too!
- Have someone help support you physically during pushing. They had me lean up and grab some handle bars on the sides of my bed. They kept telling me to stick my elbows out while pushing and keep my chin down. I was using SO much energy and strength to hold my head there that I was getting woozy. I asked my husband to help hold my head forward for each push, and had much more energy to put towards the pushing then!
- Epidural... I'm putting this last because I know that there are many women who want to go epi free. I was one of them, and really think (hope maybe?) that if I hadn't had an induction, I'd have been more successful. I had a great nurse, who basically told me flat out: "I can help you do this without an epidural if you want, but you need to make a commitment pretty soon as to how you want to do this." She was right. I was in major pain, and if I was going to go without and epi, I needed to figure out how to work through the rest of the labor. If I was going to get the epi, there was no reason to put it off and go through the pain if I didn't have to. Whether you choose the epi or not is your call, but, it will help with your comfort!