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How could you override the body's ability to stall out labor naturally?

Last post 11-02-2010 3:18 AM by marlenecpm. 3 replies.
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  • 10-28-2010 12:13 PM

    How could you override the body's ability to stall out labor naturally?

     I need info help!!  Here's my situation in a nutshell...I am pregnant with my 11th child, have had 2 vbac, and have had trouble with labor increasingly with my fears and tenseness stalling labor out.  My last labor was in a hospital hours away because of the whole vbac politics, there is only one dr in my state that would accept me and allow a trial of labor, the problem is he is no longer accepting my insurance, medicaid.  So....I either homebirth or schedule a section.  I was not able to keep labor going.  I tried so hard!  I knew that it was my fears stalling me out because I could feel a contraction coming and despite my best efforts when it got to the peak I would fight it and it would just peter out.  Then it would be a long time before another would come.  Also, labor was much more painful than before.  This sounds crazy, I know, but trust me, I've felt labor 9 other times, I am no stranger to what it feels like and I've had pitocen labor, too.  It was just SO painful and I couldn't stop myself from fighting it and shrinking back even while I was urging it on and willing it to progress and bring me my baby.  I am at a loss!!  I feel like my body is betraying me and I no longer possess the ability to labor without help.  I ended up getting an epi because I was told at 12:30 pm that the dr would be in at 2 to perform a section if I hadn't delivered by then.  I decided to try an epi and see if it relaxed me enought to allow labor to progress without me in the way stopping it.  It worked and my baby was born before 2.  Granted, the nurse did a whole lot of monkeying with my cervix and broke my water and pushing things back, etc.  But I had a vbac. 

    Why is this happening?  How can I stop it from happening this time?  How common is this?  I asked the OB at my postnatal appt and he said he sees it all the time in multips.  Help please??  Could I homebirth again, or is that not a safe and wise option for me any longer??

  • 10-28-2010 1:44 PM In reply to

    Re: How could you override the body's ability to stall out labor naturally?

    i'm just a mother, not a midwife, but here goes:

    I would consider a homebirth.  I am terrified in hospital, i know the adrenalin i produced there in fear WOULD make my labour much more painful and WOULD interfere with the oxytocin which causes contractions and cause my labour to peter out.  Hormonally a birth is a lot like an orgasm - imagine trying to have one with a stranger standing at the end of the bed tapping their watch and telling you "the doctor will come and cut you if you don't hurry up and have this orgasm!" - impossible!  NO ONE could "perform" under that pressure, and yet millions of women are expected to every day in hospital labour wards and the medical descriptions of the inevitable outcomes of that sort of fear and pressure are written up as failures of women - "failure to progress" "failure to descend" "failed induction" "failed VBAC".  Unlike the previous 9 times, you HAD, this time, the very recent memory of the cs, the recovery and no doubt the fact that you didn't want it again - that is GOING to increase your fear and stress.  When before had you laboured not only under such pressure but also with the complete knowledge of the threatened unwanted outcome, a csection, so fresh in your mind?  Fear causes adrenalin, adrenalin suppresses oxytocin and suppressed oxytocin increases pain.

    In my non-medical opinion it is NOT a failure.  Your emotions, of fear, stress and worry, told your body, through a complex mix of hormones, that it was NOT safe to birth.  Your body, able to respond to hormones (which tell the "truth" - it is scary just now and not the "thought" i must get the baby out) protected your baby by trying to keep it inside you where it would be safe until you could find a calmer and safer environment to give birth.  That is an incredibly clever trick for a body to do - stop labour and allow mama to find a safer spot, deemed a failure in our society only because the doctors want the babies to come out when THEY say, not when us Mama's know it's right.

    My most recent baby had a true knot in her cord - a fact which we discovered of course after the event.  But her whole labour i could talk, if i was thinking (and i was very able to) the contractions were weak.  I had to decide to "allow" a contraction then focus on it hard to let it have its full strength.  I spent much of my labour sleeping in a dark room and waking to contract or in the bath, alone, with my fingers in my ears so nothing could distract me.  Even the last few contractions, where i was pushing, i had to block my ears to concentrate.  I really honestly believe that her descent was dangerous and she knew she needed my ENTIRE attention during labour and birth to be safe.  I believe she communicated this to me hormonally, which caused my strange sporadic labour (i only had regular contractions for 55mins) and very fast 2nd stage (6mins, and she came OA not turning to deliver her shoulders, in a big rush basically).

    So i don't think your body is broken at all.  I think that your baby and body worked in sync very well, and that because unfortunately you had to stay in the hospital, breaking the hormonal interactions with an epidural was a very wise choice at the time.  Now you have HAD a VBAC, there is no reason to think that in the peace and sanctuary of your own home, with people who love you and a skilled and familiar care provider at your side, you won't be able to birth perfectly joyfully.

    Me 32, DH 41, DD 2006, DD 2010, DS 2013
  • 10-28-2010 2:59 PM In reply to

    Re: How could you override the body's ability to stall out labor naturally?

    I have had students and clients who do this "come/don't come" labor dance, too.  What they have found helpful were two things:  massage with a therapist who is also a counselor (don't know if that's available in your area) to talk about what's going on  and the others used hypnosis.  Perhaps finding a Hypnobirthing or Hypnobabies instructor would be helpful.


    I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult. --E.B. White
  • 11-02-2010 3:18 AM In reply to

    Re: How could you override the body's ability to stall out labor naturally?

     if I were you, I'd stay home & relax! I know, this is easier said than done, but relaxing is so much easier at home than in the hospital! From what I've seen, taking a "Hypnobabies" course is  the most effective way to eliminate that fear, pain & tension, followed by the "Hypnobirthing" course. Waterbirth is also a great relaxation tool, that can be used w or w/o the hypno tapes.

    Also, so what if labor "stalls"? It will eventually pick up again. Having Pitocin makes the ctx so much harder than naturally produced ctx, which is exactly the opposite of what you need!

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