When I was pregnant with J I had lots of people tell me stories about their labor. Most of them ended with “it’s the worst pain most easily forgotten.” That’s a hard thing to believe when you are awaiting your own impending “worst pain” moments. The anticipation for the impending pain makes you over think how the whole birthing process will go, and if you are choosing to use a epidural you will be sure that you have that plan locked in place with everyone that will be involved in the birth. My sister-in-law is only 4 weeks away from her due date and she was telling me the other day how she’s becoming almost obsessive about going into labor and can’t stop thinking about the pain part. I’m sure that I had the same worries and obsessions in the days leading up to J’s birth, but for the life of me I can’t really remember.
There it is. It’s been 11 months and I can’t remember anything about the pain. Not really specifically at least. I remember that when my water broke I was sleeping and I woke up with a start cuz it was a quick sharp pain. I remember feeling like they were the worst cramps ever when I started having contractions, and I remember that sitting in the bath tub didn’t help a *$&%*& bit with the pain. But as far as the severity of the pain, I don’t have an answer anymore for what it actually felt like. Bad cramps doesn’t translate when you’re trying to describe it to someone else who’s about to experience it for themselves. And “it feels like your insides are being ripped out” seems way to harsh and not even close to the truth. Yup, I’d say that statement is pretty accurate. Unless you’ve actually had your arm cut off while you were awake with no drugs, labor probably is the worst pain. And it’s also the one that you forget about the quickest and easiest.
Granted I did have an epidural, so I can’t compare myself to someone who’s done a natural birth. Then again everyone’s pain levels are different, so what was an 8 for me could be a 4 for someone else. I don’t think there’s really a way to compare or prepare for what you are about to experience. Thankfully you are so overwhelmed and distracted by everything else going on – pushing, breathing, getting to the hospital, all the nurses coming and going, the actual arrival of your little one – that you won’t really remember the pain after the moment that your little baby is placed in your arms. The greatest reward indeed. Thank goodness that all that crap you have to go through leads up to that little one. Otherwise I swear no one would do it…haha
I think the best thing to do is make a plan, if you’re a planner, so that you can be a little more relaxed going into the whole thing. It’ll keep you focused and give you some relief…at least leading up to going into labor. After that, it’s a total crap shoot. Sorry to break it to you, but chances are that no matter what you “planned”, it’s not going to go that way. But if making a plan gives you some peace of mind, then do it. Just also be aware that your plan will go out the window the second your water breaks.
Enjoy the ride though, it’s over far too quickly.