About Pain

Day: 37+4

Pain becomes an area of study during pregnancy, and it is one of the main reasons many women choose to have a scheduled C-section for delivery. The media definitely plays an important role in showing the public how painful and miserable labor pain is, just watch “maternity ward”. Yet from many videos we watched, birth can be a beautiful experience, if women let nature takes it course (meaning no cold surgical lights and medical devices) if it is a normal healthy pregnancy, which takes up about 90% of all the pregnancy, it might be a life-altering experience. It’s not that there’s less pain in a more natural birth, it’s how we manage the labor pain that makes the differences.

My neck pain is probably a warm-up for the labor pain, and it’s killing me already. Elissa said everyone has different pain receptors, and each labor  or even each delivery presents different levels of pain, I believe it, therefore we shouldn’t judge others for that matter. I was hoping that my neck pain would get better because if labor starts today I don’t know if I can handle both! We visited Dr. Gil, the initial assessment was that I could not move my head at all. For acupuncture, he put at least 10 needles on both of my feet and did some adjustment, at the end of the session, I was already making great progress, Michael was surprised to see how much more I could move. The verdict was the air-conditioning and the fan, and the cold compress we put on made it worse. The cold gets into the neck, made the neck muscles contract to release heat therefore causing the neck pain – kind of like labor pain but its non-stop though. Dr. Gil said this is a good thing to find out now, since after delivery, it may cause worse consequences for me and the babies if we have the air and the fan on. So Mom was right, the one-month after delivery I should not be exposed to cold air and wind directly…so we adjusted the air-conditioner to 80 degrees at night, and left the fan off before we went to bed.

To relieve the pain, Dr. Gil asked us to get the EPSOM salts, which contains magnesium and sulfate (same thing used to stop pre-term labor), dissolve in the hot water then use a towel to apply around the neck, then use tiger balm, covered with a heat pack (we use the rice sock), that’s what we did all afternoon, it really felt great when the heat is on, less pain is noticeable!

While pain hinders everything we do, in my case, I have no desire to eat or walk as I normally would,  I believe it is greatly associated with one’s perception. Fear of pain usually makes it worse because our muscles naturally get more tense with it. The breathing, relaxing techniques taught in the classes we’ve attended are aimed to cope with the pain using our mental capabilities. I am anxious to know how the labor pain compares to the neck pain, and what techniques will work for me. Maureen, from the home birth meetup group, told me that the worse pain is the injury with bones that ruptures the membranes around the bones, which I have already experienced (and that IS terrible pain) is much worse than labor pain so there’s confidence there! Ina May Gaskin talked about the key is to accept the pain, not to fight it, and labor pain is probably the only good pain that rewards with a happy result.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “About Pain

  1. Kim

    Does the hospital offer a bathtub to labor in? A warm bath or even shower can REALLY help ease labor pains. I found that the key for me was, like you’ve said here, to make sure and keep every muscle in my body relaxed while having a contraction. If I tensed up any part of my body, the contractions were much worse.

    Mark and I spent time before labor practicing. I would try to relax my whole body and he would study me to see if he could find any place of tension. I found it most difficult to relax my face and shoulders.

    Another practice technique we used was for me to close my eyes and relax and Mark would put ice on random parts of my body. I had to try to not react to the feeling of the ice and keep my body relaxed. You may not want to use the ice since you are sensitive to cold right now, but you could try some other way.

    Like you said, maybe trying to relax the rest of your body despite the neck pain is good practice.

    Good luck!

    • Yes WakeMed Cary actually has Jacuzzi tub, we are planning on using it until its time to push.

      My neck is doing so much better today, it’s amazing! The heat pack really helped and takes away almost all the pain when its applied. I am thinking about bringing in the Epsom salts as well to mix in the bath at hospital.

      It feels great being able to sleep at night again 🙂

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