The Five Stages of Dilation

Natural Childbirth

Stage 1: DENIAL. Mild discomfort starts to poke you where the sun don’t shine, as if you were having your period. Things are a little sore and tender, but it’s nothing to worry about. You get optimistic and hopeful, and even think your delivery will be pretty, even glorious. You know, like what childbirth might look like if the tampon commercial people were to film it. You consider the thought that it might not even hurt at all. Perhaps that mild discomfort is just your positioning. I’ll just adjust my legs over there. Or run through a meadow, Julie Andrews-style. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

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Stage 2: ANGER. “WHATTTAAAF…” You’re lucky if you even finish the sentence. Contractions spike into a whole new motherfucker of intensity level. You aren’t – can’t be — prepared for this. Like when you eat so much, and so many different types of food, that it’s all going rotten in your intestines. You want to scratch the wall, your breath is shallow and you can’t wait to shit it all out, because a pain a hundred times worse than food poisoning creeps out and around you. It’s a migraine in your gut, all-powerful, all-consuming. One pain to rule them all. Frickin’ ouch, mother fucker.

To aggravate matters, after hours of begging, pleading, swearing and sweating, you’re told you’re only dilated about one centimeter. Nine more to go, sweet cheeks, but hold in there. You’ve never felt more desire to punch someone more than in this moment. Wait, did I say punch? I meant to say rip the beating heart out of the chest of an unsuspecting, innocent human being. You croak out, “Honey, could you come here a minute?”

Stage 3: BARGAINING. You start questioning the integrity of the measurements. They’re subjective, even lazy. They’ve gotta be. C’mon! How can two fingers put together know that you are barely one centimeter dilated? You demand a re-count. Those fingers are huge! They’ve gotta be five or six centimeter, at least. Get a damned protractor up there. A tape measure, something. The ripening pain in your abdomen makes you think that a fallopian tube just exploded. “I know I said I didn’t want drugs until the last possible minute. But yeah, I want ‘em. Gimme.”

Hopefully you are in better luck, unlike me. My midwife, she said I should wait until at least four centimeters. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T HAVE DRUGS YET?”

Demand a recount.

Stage 4: DEPRESSION. You’re not progressing as your delusional self thought it would happen. The pain keeps increasing, as if someone is reaching inside your abdomen through your vagina, trying to detach your uterus with rusty, jailhouse-sharpened spoons. Repeatedly. Every four minutes.

By now, you feel there’s nothing you can do, other than… wait. Squeezing your eyes might help. Those massages, that breathing pattern, those pressure points, are your onlyhelp.




Stage 5: ACCEPTANCE. You realize you’ve managed to make it for close to 12 hours under all that shitting-fallopian-explosion-uterus-extraction pain. You don’t know if your body has given up or gone numb.

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You know help will come, you will only need to stay focused until that happens. Because it HAS to happen. It HAS to.

Months from now, you’ll hear stories about yourself. Stories that you have a starring role in. Stories that are vaguely familiar, but you don’t. Remember. Doing that.

Like when you release your husband’s ears and order him, on pain of death, to fetch the epidural guy…

Related post: Pooping During Childbirth: You’ll Survive It

About the writer

Nadia is behind Mama and the City, a blog about the juggling act of being a mom with one chiquita, a full-time professional and a photography hobbyist. In addition to sharing her observations from around the city, she discusses her family, which has fostered a special comfort writing about her mother and the experience of growing up with a parent who has Bipolar Manic Disorder. Also find her on Twitter @mama_andthecity  and Facebook.

From Around the Web


Imani 8 months ago

Funny article. I didnt have quite the same experience. My labor wasnt painless by any means, but I never felt like I was gonna die.

If I had to sit in a hospital bed for my labor I wouldve asked for meds. Cause no joke, contractions hurt. The only thing that kept me sane was movement. Walking, swaying, shaking. Lol. I was so tired, all I wanted to do was sit down and rest. But it made the pain almost unbearable. So I kept moving.

I think the pain has a lot to do with how you react to it. When women go in expecting the worst, they prep their body to have that kind of experience. You tense up. You create adrenaline. This intensifies the pain. Melatonin and oxytocin are whats needed to help further along your labor. Melatonin is produced when its dark. Like when you go to sleep. Oxytocin is the feel-good hormone. Light touches, kissing….stuff like that produces oxytocin.

I know its not easy to think happy thoughts when youre in labor, but it works. This isnt some crunchy mumbo jumbo. Its chemicals, physiology, science. Use it to your advantage!

Angela Mannix Collins 8 months ago

Ahhh I was exactly the same after my first…I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do a process that billions of women worldwide do everyday! I was in labour 2 days as well! With my second I was exactly the same too….terrified it was going to end the same! The funny thing is…my second birth DID end up the same…2 days in labour and emergency c section at the end, but my whole attitude was different! I was so determined to not slide into a depression that I went into the labour kind of expecting the worst! Even though the result was the same, it was so much more positive! Be kind to yourself…if it happens again, so what…you are no less a mummy than anyone else…it’s just your story! Good luck with the next birth and I hope you get your positive experience xxxx

Breah Gardiner 8 months ago

I didn’t realize was in labour until I was already a 7-8 but then I took forever (like 3 hours) to get to 10cm. With both my kids.

Meaghan Oldershaw 8 months ago

4-10 in an hour with both kids, everybody is different!

Kimberly King Cox 8 months ago

Had both my kids with no meds. Dr wanted me to have it but I refused

Kate Micklow Harwan 8 months ago

Oh man. And the back labor….awful.

Giovanna Capane Holden 8 months ago

Hope your water breaks first. They’ll admit you to triage & you’ll have plenty of time to dilate & get the epidural when the first twinge of contractions starts. Lol

Judy Burgess 8 months ago

Dont take any notice of it. Google positive birthing. It is possible to enjoy it. Yes its intense and yes it can be painful – the key is to stay calm, focused and breathe through each contraction…..this could be hours and hours but you can, SO do it! Try and stay active too – google active labour. Good luck.

Katherine Hunt Arabis 8 months ago


Meg 8 months ago

Had to laugh! When I was pregnant with my first child, my doctor asked if I was going to get an epidural. When I said no, he got a horrified look on his face & told me that beginning stages of labor are easy, until you feel your body is being ripped apart. He begged me to get an epidural because, “Giving birth is like trying to fit a bowling ball through a key hole!” I laughed until I was in labor, which was 12 hours of back labor, with barely any time between contractions & an evil nurse who kept saying, ” I don’t see so much pain.” 2 minutes after she uttered those extremely irritating words, my son was born.

Amber 8 months ago

I both understand this, and have trouble with it. I was in labor for a total of 34 hours. Was it fun? No. Was it exhausting? Yes. Was it painful? Of course. I had an epidural about 6 hours before I had my son because it took that long to get to 5cm and then get the guy up to do it. But I just breathed through it and held my husband’s hand. I wasn’t angry with him, or how long it was taking. In fact, I laughed when they’d come to check me because they’d bring a student to try first and he almost always got it wrong by 1cm. I got a fever, got sick, and had them try to tell me I wasn’t in labor because it was taking so long to progress. But you have to focus on the good. I’m about to do it again, and I know I can make it regardless of time or pain because my husband, and mom, will be there to help me, and to help each other.

Bran 8 months ago

Exactly, Hbombmom! I could have written this same post, including being induced for being way over due. My doctor tried everything to avoid inducing, including stripping my membranes at my last appointment (yaaay, that was fun), but nothing. The cervix softener kickstarted contractions, but my body refused to dilate. We moved to pitocin, which only got me about 1 cm. It felt like someone had attached chains to a bowling ball inside my abdomen and was trying to pull it out forcibly. Breaking my water only got me another cm. Throughout this my sons heart rate would occasionally tank during contraction deceleration. At the end it was happening regularly, with me still at only 3 cm. When my doctor took my hand and gently told me she was so sorry, but she thought it was best to move to a csection, I cried. Not because I gave a good goddamned about some precious birth experience. But because I was finally going to see my son, and no longer dying inside every time I heard his heart beat fall off.

Great for people giving birth the way that works best for them. Shame on women who are so needy about validating themselves, they diss other women’s needs or experiences. The implication that somehow seeing your baby the first time is a deeper more moving experience because you labored drug free is so insane and narcissistic that I can’t even wrap my mind around it. I assure you that while I laid there behind that blue sheet, waiting waiting waiting to hear a cry, the moment I did, my joy was incalculable. Not better, not worse than anyone else’s.

Rachel Margaret Shively 8 months ago

Doing this for the third time in a few weeks. Last time I got to the hospital at 7cm and he was out in 4hours. This time the labor will be quick, I know it!!! This article though, way to freak out first time moms.

Jay Jay Bell 8 months ago

Yep lol my first i went from 6-10 in 30 minutes. My second i sat at 4 for over 20 hours

Cait Hauskins 8 months ago

Oh my god…horrifying!

Denise Ebel 8 months ago

I liken it to picking your nose through your cervix! So much fun!!!

Kimberly Thurston 8 months ago

The ring of fire was the worst for me. Everything else I could handle.

Lisa Marshall Alvarez 8 months ago

They did give me the option to say no but honestly, I didn’t want deny anyone a learning experience. :)

Mindy Aloes 8 months ago

“Get a damned protractor up there”- HA!!

Nancy O’Brien 8 months ago

I think ftms should read absolutely everything they can before they hit that delivery room, scary or not, it helps them be prepared for anything.

Going in thinking everything will be all perfect and according to plan is when people end up with bad experiences. Knowing what could go wrong and how to deal with it is important in managing their own labour and maintaining control.

Nancy O’Brien 8 months ago

I had back labour for 24 hrs, it’s usually when your baby is facing the wrong direction (face up). The nurse suspected it but the doctor wouldn’t check, just made
Me keep going til we ended up in surgery. Second time, dr was very supportive of vbac and I found spinningbabies, made sure she was facing the right way and ready to come out. Water broke at 3am, she was in my arms by 8am, only pushed for 12 mins. Try it moms, I’m convinced it helped me tremendously!

David Patti Carl 8 months ago

My middle daughter was a dry birth, and the RNs were telling me NOT TO PUSH because the doc wasn’t there yet, I screamed to CATCH THE BABY she’s coming!

Jessica Gardea 8 months ago

This will be my second. And last!! My sister is more worried about the recovery. I just want the kid out! :)

Bonnie Kulenkamp 8 months ago

Exactly. Thanks for scaring this mom to death

Bonnie Kulenkamp 8 months ago

Getting ready to give birth for the first time in a few months and stuff like this scares the crap out of me

Laura Hohm 8 months ago

fyi, as the patient ,you have a right to decline students and interns. they might get annoyed, but it’s your right.

Rebecca Workman 8 months ago

Lol. Yep. Even told my fiance to “quit fucking rubbing my hand like that!”

Sarah Brubaker 8 months ago

The pain for me was UNIMAGINABLE. I couldn’t believe it was real. I am also 5 feet tall, my baby was 9 lbs 13 oz and 22 inches long. Umm YEEAAAAHHHH.

Sarah Brubaker 8 months ago

Except this is totally what happens to me too! It COULD happen to them.

Elizabeth Sarsfield LeJeune 8 months ago

Mine did not have time to work and I don’t wish that on anyone!

Kaylie Jordan 8 months ago

I’ve been at 2cm for 2 weeks now, soo ready to be done. The contractions i can handle so far, it’s the stabbing my cervix with an ice pick that sucks!

Jacqueline Oliver Scotto 8 months ago

This sums up my labor perfectly… 70 hours of hell! Was 1cm for two days with full on contractions…. Hung in there until epidural bliss! And then the pushing started… Ouch! And some say is becomes blurry afterward and you don’t remember it. Yeah right!

Lisa Marshall Alvarez 8 months ago

Laurie – it was the same with me. I kept getting checked twice. Ugh! And the intern (maybe even resident) told me I had a “tight little cervix”. Uh, WHAT? Then stay out of there, lol!

Judy Burgess 8 months ago

My 1st was induced. My 2nd was natural, waters broke as I slept at 2am, off to the hospital for 6am, bub born at 7.20am! I insisted on the internal upon arrival….im so glad I was 7cms

Calliope Du Hymnia Gerber 8 months ago

I’ve gota say it really wasn’t that bad. My nurse literally overdosed me on pit & I labored for 25 hours until I was fully dilated before getting the epi. It totally sucked but I was in my own world doing my own thing. I never would have Gotten my epi if it weren’t for my husband getting the doc on his own terms.

Amy Sowers 8 months ago

Yeah, I was terrified going into it…because of stuff like this!
The pain part was really only in the last couple pushes and it wasn’t the contractions.

Amanda George 8 months ago

That last 1/2 cm was the longest of my life I swear it!!

Heather Holder 8 months ago

Some ignorant people around me got in my head and made me feel like a failure!!! In the end it doesn’t matter how we deliver our babies! They are healthy and loved… The end! I’m trying the vbac because I have a 2 year old and I don’t want the down time. In the end my son will determine how he wants to come into this world. Go with the flow, take the drugs and enjoy the ride.

Whitney 8 months ago

You need to add Coaching…or something. I clearly remember how I was in the bathroom, (somehow that became my place of labor comfort) encouraging myself…”Ok, you can do this. You got this. You can make it…ect” followed by the most swearing I have ever done…Labor was hell and heaven all at once… but then again, I was alone because my Dr kept telling my to “sleep it off” and see her in the office in the morning… (gave birth at 1:30am…walked into the labor triage room crowning…had to ask for directions for the husband while 10 inch dialed…woman (all females really) giving birth are amazing!! )

Melanie Lapensee 8 months ago

Same here but I had my daughter vaginally

Melanie Lapensee 8 months ago

I wouldn’t dilate for my daughter I was 3 days in labor but I dilated fast when I started

Erin Modjeski 8 months ago

Ftm and due today. Probably shouldn’t have read it. Just keep telling myself that everyone’s labor experience is different.

Lesli Metcalf LaDuke 8 months ago

I was 4cm and wasnt feeling a thing. I went in for my weekly checkup and was told I was in active labor and could go to the hospital if i wanted. I think I was at 6cm before I really even felt a contraction. I went from 6cm to pushing in about 4 hours. Had a great, all natural, birth experience! Not all stories need to be scary :)

Kim Haerter 8 months ago

I’ve had first time moms go from 5 to 10cm in 15 minutes so anything is possible Jessica Josh Pman. Same happened to me with my 2nd baby and that was with the doc checking me at 5cm. The only predictable thing about labor is that it is unpredictable!

Bree 8 months ago

This article doesn’t create fear, it’s true. Too many posts don’t talk about the reality of childbirth, they lead first time mothers, like myself, go in there thinking “Oh everyone said it wasn’t too bad”.

The word “Pain” doesn’t accurately describe what childbirth feels like. This post comes mildly close to reality. Yes everyone knows childbirth is painful, but why does everyone feel the need to mask exactly how painful it is? Lying to first time mothers does NOT help. Calling it a “positive experience” is utter bullshit.

It hurts, and it hurts like no pain you have ever felt in your life. You will want to re-define the word pain in the dictonary after you experience childbirth.

Let’s be honest, it is of course worth it in the end when you have your beautiful new baby in your arms, but getting to that point is horribly painful and lying about it, or calling it some “beautiful experience” is misleading and simply not true. It hurts…a lot.

Amanda Maria Snyder 8 months ago

Csections suck. I have had two.

Sarah Seibert Bytnar 8 months ago

Oh, my, Kate, that’s pretty much exactly what I did, too!

Tabitha LaPointe 8 months ago

You could always say no. Checking is so the Dr can put you on a clock, but your body doesn’t need a clock. :)

Jessica Josh Pman 8 months ago

I am 100% convinced that the nurse could not measure correctly with my last baby. She said I was 7cm then not 15 minutes later, after screaming for the doctor and saying some very ugly things to her, the doc check and amazingly it was time to push. I so don’t trust nurses now.

Noreen Muir 8 months ago

Yes! I could have gone grocery shopping until 8 cm lol. 8-10 is the real pain. I was stuck at 8 for hours with my first. You’re blessed if those cm go quick!

Victoria Staples 8 months ago

Shoot I hope so too! Lol

Robyn Bourgoin 8 months ago

My second was very similar!

Chris Weilacher 8 months ago

No baby’s yet. And this made me feel sick

Jennifer Schepers 8 months ago

38 weeks pregnant and read it. Perhaps I shouldn’t have. First timer too.

Laurie Braslins 8 months ago

I was at 10cm for over 12 hours and the epi wasn’t working. doc wanted to “try” a vacuum. uh no, page the surgeon. he’ll get this kid out of me on the first try.

Heather Booth 8 months ago

This is oh so true!

Christina May 8 months ago

I labored at home until I was 9 cm–but I was in denial the whole time, lol. I definitely didn’t hit any stage but one and five I think…but still did it without an epidural… :)

Dara 8 months ago

Very true with my first. Only checked twice with my second…I waited too long witg him and was almost 8 when I arrived. The last time they checked me they said I couldn’t have epidural.

I cried.

Mom2three 8 months ago

Thank you Halcyon. My last child we tried everything to birth naturally but still wound up with a c-section after 3 days of labor. That was 16 years ago, and it still hurts that my body failed me so miserably. But I am thankful everyday that I ended up with a health 10lb baby girl.

Brooke Volkers Rogers 8 months ago

I am sitting here in my beautiful nursery rocking and every 4 minutes getting a contraction. At this point I’m in the bring it on stage cause I just want to meet my baby! I already had one false alarm so I’m laboring at home until I absolutely can’t stand it.

Naomi Michelini 8 months ago

With baby 2, I was arguing that I was less dilated.

‘Mam it looks like you’ll be doing this on your own. You’re at 9cms!’

‘No, I’ve done this before, I know I’m totally only 4cms. I’ll have the epidural now please’

She born about 15 minutes later…

lisa 8 months ago

Mine went fast. I had light contractions all day. Went to the hospital and got sent home saying baby would come in 2-3days. Discharge at 630pm. Went home laid down, hubby got about a 10 minute nap and i was beating him. My water broke and they went from 10minutes apart to about 4. We got back to the hospital around 850, in a room about 10 and he came at 10:20. I had them do the blood draw for the epi but they didn’t even get it out of the room. I was glad after the fact that I didn’t have anything. My first one I did and it HORRIBLE to recover. 30minutes after the 2ed I was walking around

Golden Child 8 months ago

I didn’t get checked more than twice and while in labor only once. It was nice. I wasn’t thinking about how dilated I was, I was able to focus on getting through the contractions with no pain meds.

Lisa 8 months ago

You will be absolutely fine. Labor and delivery is different for every woman. Do what works best for you. I had my first 3 months ago and was pretty scared about actually giving birth. I did choose to have an epidural and it was the right choice for me. When that baby is in your arms, you’ll be one happy mama and that’s all that matters! Good luck!

Jennifer Denson Black 8 months ago

Felt it to an 8.. More than I ever wanted!!!!! I was yelling, and screaming at that point!

Laura Koblinski Rubio 8 months ago

I guess I’m one of the lucky ones? It certainly was very painful, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I arrived at the hospital dilated to 5cm and had a beautiful baby girl 6 hours later. I didn’t curse of feel the need to punch anybody…but it did hurt, a lot.

Casey Mawson 8 months ago

….or in my case when they tell you that you’re 5cm ready to rock, they can see your baby has hair, what colour it is, and your body STILL wont kick off.

Frustrating to hell

Linda Ode 8 months ago

So me. Lol.

Megg Geiger 8 months ago

I’m sitting here laughing, crying, laughing at this. Dilated to 1cm, 20 days out. Please send help….ugh.

Jodie Lintern 8 months ago

Dead set worst thing is being 5cms dilated AFTER 24hrs with a Cervadryl implant followed by EIGHT attempts at a CRB insertion. Did I mention the contractions a minute apart whilst 5cms dilated??!!!

Kirsty Sweeting 8 months ago

I went from 2cm to baby out in 30 min…. midwife went out room said ill be a long while hubby had to find her

Tania Carfa 8 months ago

Me too! 3 hour labour and 40 min labour for my second. Talk about fast and furious!!

Tania Carfa 8 months ago

I didn’t have time for epidural for either of my babies! Intense but over pretty fast!

Heather Holder 8 months ago

Awwww, Congrats!!!!! You guys are giving me hope! Fingers crossed!!! :)

Jessica Gardea 8 months ago

I’m thinking I’m lucky to have a c-section scheduled for Sunday. Don’t have to worry about it. Lol

Karen Parsons Malpass 8 months ago

My first was an emergency c after several hours of labour which I had a similar reaction to – just had a successful VBAC a month ago with my second – hope you get the birth you want Heather

Angie Ciccati 8 months ago

I was given my epidural then checked and I was still at at 0! Began dilating immediately after. Nurse said it was because I was relaxed.

Jessica Mota 8 months ago

I was induced on a Thursday and she arrived Saturday night. (Almost 2 yrs ago) I HATED! checks! I didnt dilate til they gave me pitocin Saturday morning. At the end I was hurting so bad from constant checks I told them No! Last check nurse said “get the doctor! Her head is Right here!” 3 pushes and on the last push with a loud thunder from the incoming storm she born =)

Megan Ruse-Sullivan Blamires 8 months ago

I think based on what I read in that article that I can’t find now (ha, ha) that all of our OBs and hospitals should be aware of this. Fingers crossed. I’m 26 weeks and have a history of 24 hour labors with 20 hours before 4cm. :p

Ashley Boyts-Oyler 8 months ago

Awesome attitude! My first was a cesarean section after 30+ hours of hard labor, but my next pregnancy was twins and they were and to be born VBAC, as were the next two births (both of those were textbook deliveries but thank goodness for epidurals!)

Judy Burgess 8 months ago

Nothing worse than a scary birth story to freak women out! Poor form!

Val Dukaj 8 months ago

Funny how you forget all the pain and do it again and again …

Lisa Wise 8 months ago

I ended up having a c-section with my son due to pre-e and not being dilated at all. The day he was born I was checked twice. Ouch! The doctors just go in there like it’s no big deal, but man!

Heather Holder 8 months ago

Oh I will! I was just kidding… I’m nervous as HELL though! I don’t want to go through all that pain and then end up with another section. I was sooooooo depressed last time. I felt like I failed, like I wasn’t strong enough. I had a midwife, went to hypnobirthing but no luck. I had to realize it didn’t matter how my daughter got here, she’s was healthy and beautiful. Besides she was 9.1lbs— god saved my who-ha! Lol
We’ll see what happens this time… I have no control over it. I’m just going to enjoy the ride.

Diane Stephenson 8 months ago

I remember that too, I hope next time I can keep them from doing a check every 2 hours

Mandy May 8 months ago

I implore you try again. Every birth is diff! My second was amazing and perfect compared to my first. :) GL!

Jimmie Van Buskirk Saccomanno 8 months ago

This chick is hilarious! Love it.

halcyon 8 months ago

I thought about jumping out of a window to escape the pain at one point, and about cutting the baby out myself at another. The pain was what I imagine torture during the Spanish inquisition must have been like.

Lerato Goge-Pettersson 8 months ago

My water broke and I didn’t go into labour for 12 hrs. It took 6hrs in the 12hrs to progress from
4 to 6cm. From 6 to full dialate and pushing him out took 45min. However I didn’t feel much till I was 6. Felt like Braxton hicks all the time. Contactions were not even 30secs. This was my second child.

halcyon 8 months ago

Amen, this happened to me. I ended up feeling like a total failure which caused bad postpartym depression. I kept wondering why my body had failed me when I had done so much prep work and really believed all the natural birth hype. I used to be really judgy of other moms who were planning for pain meds until my birth experience. I wanted a natural birth so bad that when i finally broke down after 15 hours of natural labor i kept crying and appologizing to everyone in the room becuase i felt like i had let everyone down. I had a birth plan that said my doula, my midwife, and my husband were not allowed to let me have pain meds just becuase i asked for them unless they all agreed I needed them, as an added precaution. On the plus side my awful experience was humbling and made me less snobby about natural birth. It also helped me decide to become a postpartum care nurse and a lactation consultant. I never want another woman to have to feel like I did. I don’t think posts like these are scary. Sometimes the truth is scary. I think it’s better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Lerato Goge-Pettersson 8 months ago

My water broke and I didn’t go into labour for 12 hrs. It took 6hrs in the 12hrs to progress from
4 to 6cm. From 6 to full dialate and pushing him out took 45min. However I didn’t feel much till I was 6. Felt like Braxton hicks all the time. Contactions were not even 30secs. This was my second child.

Melanie QwnMel Larocque 8 months ago

Maybe we should question this. My first 2 it took forever to dilate then with my 3rd I almost lost her because they thought I wasn’t dilating but my daughter was pressing her face into my cervix and it was swelling. Almost lost her!

Dani Victoria Cooper 8 months ago

I wasn’t dilating. Had an epidural and an hour later was ready to push!

Kate Winebrenner 8 months ago

Or you go into labor with your second at 4am and give birth at 5:49am. Which still hurts…like a bitch. And you’re like, what just happened?!? But I would do that again in a heartbeat over being induced with my first, having an epidural, and pushing for 2 1/2 hours.

halcyon 8 months ago

All of you who got to have natural unmedicated births don’t know how lucky you are. For many women who wanted to have a more natural birth experience but didn’t get it, you all pointing out how easy your births were, or how powerful you felt, or how high your pain tolerance is, like a slap in the face. This post was obviously not meant for you, it was for the rest of us who didn’t get what you got. You’re not better, you’re so lucky and you don’t even realize it.

Christi Clever Anderson 8 months ago

:( I never dialated past 1 1/2 centimeter with my first. She was an emergency c-section after 28 hours of labor. My second, my blood pressure shot up.. another emergency-section.. my third.. I picked the day she was born. Lol!! It was still a massively fucked up day. Feeling lucky.. I have 3 healthy girls. <3

Jessica N Jesus Criado 8 months ago

Wow.. That had to suck..

Michele Martinez 8 months ago

My water broke and YDD was born less than an hour and a half later. Would have been sooner had the hospital been closer to home.

amy 8 months ago

Most women can make it all the way to 3cm with out feeling contractions at all. I made it to 4cm and was stuck there for two weeks without feeling one contraction. After 5cm and being induced yes it hurt like crazy. Usually two weeks prior to birth most women make it to at least a 2cm without even noticing.

Heather Holder 8 months ago

Labor for 2 WHOLE days and only made it to 4cm. I had back labor the entire time!!! Every time they went to check to see how dilated I was, I wanted to slap a nurse in the face. Ended up getting an epidural/pitocin on the third day and it caused me to have an emergency c-section. Don’t ask me why I want to attempt a vbac this time around. I have 2.5 months left until my due date. Thank you for reminding me of the pain.. I’ll schedule my c-section tomorrow!

Nicole Van Hoose 8 months ago

The only part that I thought really, really sucked was transition. The rest was expected and tolerable. I kept listening to the girl in the next room screaming and I just kept saying, those screams are not productive. The nurse said I mooed, like a cow. I felt like those low groans used less energy than yelling and the low vibrations were comforting.

Stephanie Terkelsen 8 months ago

OMG I would cry!! I’m sorry, that is so frustrating! Good luck and safe delivery to you both!

Kylee Harwood 8 months ago

This was my first delivery!! My second little girl came 4 hours after the induction started!!! No time for pain meds!!!

Laurie McCampbell Bornstein 8 months ago

Nature makes us forget a lot of this, or no one would ever have a second baby.

Stephanie Terkelsen 8 months ago

That sounds about right, I’ve heard from a number of friends and every one of us has of course had different experiences. But one thing we’ve all had more or less in common over multiple pregnancies for each of us, is that the timing of the epidural had little overall effect. So I definitely believe it, I just wish more places would adopt that thinking. I’ve had at least a couple friends and relatives that were pressed by nursing staff to hold out as long as possible because it was “better for them and the baby” which is just nonsense.

Vanessa Reynders 8 months ago

Sounds exactly like my delivery, only mine was shorter.. But hey, after a while you forget most parts

Lisa Marshall Alvarez 8 months ago

I think the worst part of dilating is when they keep checking you to see how dilated you are!

Natalie Wojcik 8 months ago

I went from zero to 6 in 45 minutes and then it took about another ten hours to get to 10 :(

Denise Ebel 8 months ago

Ha I’ve already been there twice and sent home because I wasn’t progressing! I am having some contractions, but nothing major. Like maybe 5-7 the whole day! And even then they are more like Braxton hicks contractions. My doctor is amazed that true labor hasn’t started yet!

Lisa Marshall Alvarez 8 months ago

My nurse was pretty doubtful when I went in, too. She did the check under the microscope though. Not cool nurse. Not cool!

Megan Ruse-Sullivan Blamires 8 months ago

It’s a new statement by one of the governing bodies of obstetrics (I think) in the US. The problem with citing our own experiences is that it’s anecdotal not data driven. The statement I read came to me through a surrogacy support group I’m part of. It’s based on a large body of data.

Lizzeth Valdivieso 8 months ago

I am due March 1 and I am petrified that this would go down so fast that I would not have time for an epidural … :S

Lisa Marshall Alvarez 8 months ago

Whoa! You might just want to check into the hospital now, lol. Good luck with your labor. :)

Amy Sowers 8 months ago

Whoa! I’m glad I didn’t read this before giving birth, I would have been terrified!
I guess I got lucky because my labor was short and no where near as painful as that! Whew!

Stephanie Terkelsen 8 months ago

Bring towels for the car!! My water broke with my first one at home, and any bump in the road I felt like I was wetting myself!

Melisa Hennessy 8 months ago

Not what i wanted to read 21 days to my due date, but better to be prepared, right? …is it too late to back out??

Stephanie Terkelsen 8 months ago

I’m about 6 weeks out, and honestly after my second one, that is the part I’m dreading most. That and being cooped up in a hospital bed for that long!

Stephanie Terkelsen 8 months ago

I got mine upon arrival with both of my kids, hopefully this one too. I think it might come down to hospital policy. My first, I had an epidural within 45 minutes and was only about 2. They were more concerned how far apart the contractions were. The second, it took about an hour and a half because I had to wait for the anesthesiologist on call (who screwed up the catheter placement, requiring a second epidural later) to finish up with a c-section. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one. After the labor I went through with the last one, I don’t want to feel feelings with this one!

Denise Ebel 8 months ago

Well I hate to say it but I’ve been walking around (relatively pain free) dilated to 6 for the last week… I’m pretty sure when the time comes, I will go so fast that I won’t have time for drugs. Heck I’m worried about making it to the hospital!!!

Audrey Clark 8 months ago
Kylee Logan 8 months ago

With my first, my water broke and we went to the hospital. Nurse spent 1/2 hour trying to convince me that it wasn’t serious and I should go home. Doctor came in, told her I was in labor and to admit me immediately. Nurse finished her check up to tell me I was 6 cm dilated. How quickly her tone changed… -_-

Teresa Howick Wilson 8 months ago

My experience and my mom’s experience with 5 children (me 3) opposite. Just like Sara’s

Sara Follett Wilson 8 months ago

What study is this? My experience was the opposite.

David Ashley Terry 8 months ago

Happened to me with my first, only I went from 7 back to 4. They said it was because I was pushing, but I swear I wasnt…

Rachael Bowers 8 months ago

For me it was stage 1- crazy pain and no sleep for three days; stage 2- you’re not making progress too quickly so we’ll just ignore you for an hour; stage 3- uh-oh, someone come catch this baby.

Miriam Lokelani Smith 8 months ago

My first 2 were 18 and 12 hour labors, and I had epidurals. I just had my 3rd on Wed and experienced what you did! I was in painful labor for just under 1.5 hours and pushed baby out with about 3 pushes. Ouch!

Kasey Anne McComas 8 months ago

Especially questioning the measurements…. “9.5….??? Really… I’m pretty sure you meant 10….”

Kristii Myers 8 months ago

Hahah yes

Camille Parker Grow 8 months ago

Rusty, jail-house sharpened spoons? You’ve got to be kidding me. It is not that bad.

Genevieve Ward Swenson 8 months ago

After two false labor starts with my 4th baby (2 months ago), I conservatively stayed home during crazy intense and painful contractions because they were random and never close to 5-7 min apart. Some were 15-20 min apart and I didn’t have a single one en route to the hospital (after I finally decided enough pain was enough!!). Turns out I was close to 8cm when I arrived at the hospital!!

Lisa Hockin Spletter 8 months ago


Katherine Moody 8 months ago

Oh my gosh this was so me. I was in excruciating pain and was SURE I was at least four cm dilated by the time I got to the hospital. Nope, ONE.

Celina Kreps 8 months ago

Omg that’s hilarious!!

Megan Ruse-Sullivan Blamires 8 months ago

On a positive note they’ve decided it does nothing to make you wait til 4cm for the epidural. Giving it earlier doesn’t slow labor nor increase your odds of a c section…

Shaye Boucher 8 months ago

Labor hurt less than my monthly cramps with stage IV endometriosis…maybe because I knew light at end of tunnel…no, endo just is that awful!

Jessica N Jesus Criado 8 months ago

Who the hell dilates backwards from 2 to 1..?… This girl.. Is that even possible.. I have 5 and never heard of this happening..

Ronnie Bruens 8 months ago

lol– (Don’t hate me please, we all deserve faster labor) I had my 3 kids without epidural because they came too fast. I realllllllly wanted an epidural– maybe 2 at the same time! Baby #1: At the first check up, doctor said I was at 1 cm, and I wanted a recount as well! and drugs… next time he checked me, he said it was too late for the epidural- I got so mad!!!!!!

Diane 8 months ago

I gave birth 4 times and had a D&C all without meds. It really does have a lot to do with accepting that your body is going to do it anyway and relaxing really does speed things up. I also get that it was comical, but it would have scared me even if I were still pregnant with my fourth. Labor and delivery is something easier seen on this side of things, no matter how many times you’ve gone through it already.

Cali Judson 8 months ago

Love this!!!

Jessica Bolling 8 months ago

I worked part of the day while having contractions and dilating. Got to the hospital when dilated 5-6. Heck yes it hurt!

Mel Cook 8 months ago

haha i thought that this last time. my midwife announced i was only just 4cm and i thought, surely not. but half an hour later he was born so i was worrying over nothing as i dilated super fast :)

Trisha Cahill 8 months ago


Stephanie Vought 8 months ago

Well this brought back memories. Lol. So much pain yet such an amazing experience ;-

Amanda George 8 months ago
Katie Schriver 8 months ago

I seriously love this page!!

Camille 8 months ago

I accept that pain is different for every woman, so her experience may be very different than mine. But at no point did I feel like rusty spoons were being used to detach my uterus (seriously???). I had two unmedicated births, and yes, they hurt. But I wonder how much the pain has to do with what you are visualizing.

I run, and running can hurt. Especially when pushing yourself – there is always a point when you want to give up and your mind starts to doubt, throwing up suggestions like ‘what if my lungs cave in? What if my legs really are giving out?’ But you know what? Runners know that at that point you are about to power through to the new level, when endorphins take over and you feel like you are flying. So, when I reach that point where I wonder if I’m doing some serious damage here, I stay my fears. I know what this feels like, and I know it’s nothing. I visualize the sensation of flying, NOT of my lungs collapsing.

When I was in labor, I drew a lot on that physical knowledge – I trusted the medical professionals to stay alert to if something was truly wrong that I couldn’t feel (baby’s heartbeat, for example), but I felt the contractions and knew they were doing the physical work required to birth my baby. I visualized them opening my body and helping baby down. I needed help, sure, from my husband and midwife – reminding me to relax my jaw and stop clenching my teeth, stop clenching my butt – but I focused on realistic physical visualizations of what was occurring in my body. NOT rusty spoons. Oh my God. That is a ticket to worse pain if I ever heard it.

Next time, try being realistic. If you need pain medication, go for it. But you are making it worse when you focus on completely unnecessary and irrelevant visualizations.

Also – out of genuine curiosity – why were you in the hospital prior to active labor? I understand there are situations where you need to be, but the advice to labor at home in early labor is sound for healthy, low-risk women. Stay in an environment comfortable and familiar to you, release timetables and expectations of how dilated you are, move as you need (walk, sway, rock) and let your body work. Laying there demanding repeated cervix checks sounds like you are making it worse on yourself mentally, not to mention increasing the chance of introducing bacteria to the cervix with each check.

Ace 9 months ago

My labor was 3:45 long. And it was glorious! Sure it was painful. I was in labor suddenly without warning with crazy strong contraction right on top of eachother! I was in denial at first.

My husband got home about 30 minutes into my labor. I wasn’t sure if it was the real thing. He assured me it was. I spent most of my labor in my bathtub. Hubby says I was roaring during contractions! I felt like a roaring lion. :)

After a bit of contracting (yes it was beyond painful and I was getting tired) I went to the bed on my hands and knees and started pushing. Crowning didn’t really hurt. I could feel a tingling like it should hurt. But the sensation was so dull. The contractions did hurt. I thought to myself that the only way out is through it. And I was able to focus on pushing. It took me 15 minutes.

And then the flood of endorphins hit. I was tired and sore while I labored. But the moment she was out I was as high as a kite. I was over the moon. I felt like I could do anything.

Yes labor was hard. Sure it hurt. But I’m not afraid of pain. It comes and then it goes. I spent some of my labor bighting on a rag and it helped so much! I moved around. I roared. I felt powerful and in control of myself. I felt more in love with my husband than ever. I was never angry in my labor.

Labor is hard work. Sometimes there is a great amount of pain involved. But that doesn’t mean it is awful. If my next labor can be something like the one I recently had I’m all for doing it again.

Neveah 11 months ago

I am a first time mom and the veryblast thing this article does is instill fear or.make me think this is exactly how my labor will go. What this article do for me, however, is assures me that no matter what happens, that eventually I will be able to come to a point and look back on my delivery and poke fun at myself and see that its all a natural part of the process. OBVIOUSLY not every labor is the same…thankfully though this woman took the time to share HER experience in a humerous way…and again, me being a FIRST TIME MOM whonis delivering in 2 months this article does the absolute opposite of instilling fear. Your response is more fear inducing because its just cold and straight to it. Lighten up!

Neveah 11 months ago

Wow you completely missed her point and managed to not make a new point at all…like Kimberly said: lighten up!

Brandi 11 months ago

Thank you SO MUCH Jen for your response. I am a first time mom and due in about 8 weeks. I do have a lot of natural fears over labor but articles like these help lesson the fear and make me see it for what it all is…a part of the process! A natural process. And I am glad that after that process I can one day look back and laugh and realize it isnt as bad as I make it out to be. Thats what this article does for me…makes me actually less scared.

And honestly I think Deena just wanted to boast her credentials. So..yea. debbie downers for sure!

Angela 11 months ago

You are a labor & delivery nurse and you’re comparing birth to getting your teeth drilled and having your appendix removed?

Let’s break it down…

Having a cavity filled (I assume that’s what you are referring to) is not a natural process. The pain from the drill and in your tooth is constant, unlike the pain of labor. There are no endorphins to help you cope with the pain.

Appendicitis…again, the pain is constant. No breaks. Surgery is *required* and again, not a natural process. No endorphins to help us cope.

Contractions hurt. Pushing a baby out hurts for most women. But it’s normal, and healthy to do so. Labor is not a disease. If a woman wants to have an epidural, so be it…but let’s be honest and not compare the process of birth to a process of disease and decay.

And her “happy place” stretches to allow the passage of the baby, and the fetal head molds…unfortunately we have no such processes in place to deal with rotting teeth and organs.

Peace out.

Brandee 11 months ago

This is a funny article, but I feel some what differently. I have had three children. All three of them being completely natural with no pain meds or epidural. It was an amazing experience for me. Yes painful but amazing. Women in my opinion are meant to feel those things. With my second child I rember saying I’m don’t I don’t want to do this but when I seen her beautiful face all that pain was so worth it.

Kimberly 11 months ago

Perfect answer! As a labor and delivery RN of over 23 years I can tell you that I’ve seen it all. Medicated, unmediated, screaming, sobbing, laughing, humming, moaning, begging, self hypnoses, pushing on arrival, and being sent home still pregnant to everything else. Having a sense of humor can really help coping with pain.

One thing I will say, I truly dislike when women say they were a failure and gave in, and got an epidural. You wouldn’t let your dentist drill on your teeth without local, or a surgeon remove your appendix without anesthesia, or at least most wouldn’t. I can tell you all this, your baby is bigger than your appendix, and it’s coming out of your happy place! That is not a give in, not a failure, it’s a beautiful thing to witness, no matter how you coped with your pain.

Labor is hard enough, lets just remember to smile, laugh, and lighten up.

ske13 11 months ago

I guess I was lucky – only 7 hours and not that horrible. The Norwalk virus 3 day before was worse (and on my birthday to boot)

Jen 11 months ago


Such debbie downers. No, my labor wasn’t like hers. I didn’t ask for or want meds. I wasn’t mean to anyone or want to hurt anyone, I hated having my dilation checked, yada yada.

But this article is funny and it’s obviously written in jest. I doubt that any first-time pregnant mom’s are going to read this and think that this is a scientific article meant to teach people how it is.

Smile. Laugh, Lighten up.

b 11 months ago

As someone who has come close to tube (and other organ) rupture, and had food poisoning, I don’t find this piece remotely amusing. I’m sorry that your birth was traumatic and your provider withheld pain medication that you desired (even though withholding was according to the best evidence that epidurals should be withheld until active labor in the 4-6cm range). If you found it that traumatic, perhaps you should consider a cesarean next time, to maintain your mental health, since it doesn’t seem by this piece as though the known benefits for both mom and baby of a vaginal birth were/are something you found as valuable to you.

bex 11 months ago

Oh man…I was in labor with a pitocin drip…and that was put in at 6am…july 7th and I found out about 5 hours in I learned that my PLAN to get an epidural was not gonna happen.. my bood was too thin…I could have been seriously damaged if I had one….so no yummy pain relief. ..and much to everyones disappointment the baby wouldnt ever move down from thw womb.. a million years later. ..I am wheeled off to the OR and I am PUT TO SLEEP to have an emergency c-section. Birth plans are funny. .

Danielle 1 year ago

This is just ridiculous fearmongering. Yes, some women have pain throughout the entirety of labor, and yes some need the relief of pain meds (especially if labor has lasted a long time and she needs to rest), but not all labor and births are the same. This article is completely misrepresenting what some women experience as what all women experience.

With both of mine I didn’t even realize I was in labor until I was 5 cm dialated. My contractions were completely painless until I got to six, and the pain didn’t get to the “I’m going to knife the next person who touches me” point until I got to 9cm. Both of my labors (from the 5 cm point on at least) were four hours long. I have no idea how long it took me to get to the five. With my first I was dialted 3cm two weeks before he was born, and 2cm two weeks before with my second.

My point is, you don’t know how it’s going to go for you until it happens, so if you’ve never given birth, don’t go into it with the impression that it’s going to absolutely be as described in this article.

Mo 1 year ago

I didn’t have an epidural, there was no time. But that shit hurt. It hurt so bad I only did it once. I never forgot the pain. It’s been 16 years and I can still feel it. Do I need to get over it? Perhaps.

Rachael 1 year ago

I have done this both ways. Fairly accurate either way :) It turns out, labor hurts! Anyone who says differently is full of it. But it’s oh so worth it.

Kimberly Furnell 1 year ago

“Get a damned protractor up there” lmao. Yep. This about sums it up.

sassymamma 1 year ago

Mac – scary mommy is about sharing experiences. If you need encouragement go to baby center. I died laughing at this post because I have been there and am ready to go there again in a few months. The reminder gave of the torture I will experience yet again is invigorating and exciting and I can’t wait to go through it again.

hbombmom 1 year ago

This is my first time actually leaving a comment on here. Not because I’m new to the site, but because your comment pissed me off that bad. I’m honestly curious about your birth if you don’t mind sharing. Were you induced due to the fact that you were at 43 weeks? Did you spend 8 hours (with the whole birth lasting 12) going the natural route with 7 ½ of those hours having contractions 3-4 minutes apart only to be told those eight hours later that you were only one centimeter? Yes? Nope, probably not is my guess. Everyone’s pain tolerance is different. “Suck it up”. Seriously??? Did you read this article just so you could leave a belittling and judgemental comment??

Sam 2 years ago

Oh please! i laughed my ass off reading this and im about to go in for a hopefully drug free vaginal birth next month. Childbirth is going to hurt like hell- I at least want to be able to laugh about it.

Sara 2 years ago

Get the stick out of your butt.

Kristine P 2 years ago

Not me. I gave birth 4 times without an epidural. I was young and naive. Nobody ever offered one and I didn’t ask. I was taught to be afraid of the drug – that it could harm the baby. The pain I went through was enough to make me delirious and I have very little memory of any of the births. In fact, after my first, very long labor with the baby positioned backwards, both the baby and I went into shock. I was extremely unskilled in my ability to relax and breathe. And that followed through for the next 3 births, although they were all a bit easier than the first. However, I think an epidural would have helped someone like me and I wish I was more educated about my options. (I gave birth before the internet. I went to library constantly to try to learn everything I could.)

P.S. I think you could have “taken offense” to this article in a more positive manner. This is a humorous account of somebody’s true experience. We all have the right to vent and say things as we feel they should be said. :)

Mama 2 years ago

I sure wish I had read this pre-twin delivery. My idiotic first time mom self would have figured out the mild discomfort that required me to roll up a heating pad and sit my crotch on it during the work day was pre-labor. That crampy feeling? Not Braxton hicks contractions, actual contractions you big dummy! By the time I was examined that night I was dilated to 5 and hysterical when I found out the labor wasn’t going to be able to be stopped. I keep telling myself next time, next time I won’t be so ignorant.

Cindy 2 years ago

Totally agree!

Kristine 2 years ago

Wow, feeling pretty blessed that I’m “part of the 1% of women” who can labor to 8 cm without much discomfort. First baby was a little tougher but this second one (a week ago today actually) had the docs scratching their heads. How in the hell can she do it? honestly dont know dont care just happy i did. The screaming woman in the next room would definitely agree with this blog post though! Poor thing. Laboring is HARD as Chinese algebra!

Kate 2 years ago

I had the unimaginable pain until I got to 4 centimeters and begged for drugs. That took 11 hours. I got the epidural and was ready to push in 20 minutes. It could have been faster if they would have believed that I needed to push. I think if you give your body a rest it will do what it needs to do.

Sooveritall 2 years ago

Everyone’s experience with each Labor is different. Nadia is just telling everyoen how it was for her, on her blog. While mine were nothing like this, for many it is. Telling everyone “they can do it”, “it doesn’t hurt that bad” or “you don’t need drugs”, is just as harmful as telling them it’s always horrible, painful, etc. I know more mom’s who feel like failures because they needed the epidural, because they went to a doctor/ hospital instead of a mid wife, etc. I know very few who feel like failures because they did it naturally. It’s not us against them, we should just support all moms no matter what.

MAC 2 years ago

Labour and delivery is not pink and fluffy for anyone. Period. If women were better prepared for the realities of childbirth, if knowledge was passed down from more people like midwives, and if women had more confidence in themselves then perhaps we could reverse the very frightening trend towards serious medical interventions. Handing out drugs and c-sections like candy is a very American trend, and it’s dangerous that little thought is given to the consequences. Try watching the documentary The Business of Being Born for a little perspective on why c-sections, epidurals and other medical interventions are on an alarming increase.

Yes, labour and delivery are difficult…but the current dialogue on how to numb it is sad and dangerous for the health of thousands of children and mothers. Let’s change the channel ladies. We can do it.

Laura Cady 2 years ago

This was me – two days ago – in the hospital with contractions that were rapid firing at a rate of every two minutes. One centimeter? I about died! 3 hours later I got sent home at two centimeters, and here we are two days later with less contractions, but still no baby! This is the hardest part for me – waiting for my body to do something on its own that I'm convinced I could have done in a matter of minutes if I had any say in it! Thank you for this post though. It made me realize I'm not alone in how I feel through this – and that the crazy insane thoughts I have about wrapping the TOCO cord around my nurse's neck aren't nearly as insane as I thought!

Theresa 2 years ago

Tammy, this is exactly how my labour with twins went. I had gone full term and finally the doctor brought me in to be indused. I didn’t want the epidural but there was this one nurse who kept increasing the drip that it was just too much for me. I must have had a student put the epidural in because they had to try twice before they got it in. My friend who came with me was sitting in the corner of the room shocked what was coming out of my mouth. No one told me that with extreme lower back pains that the epidural will not work. The doctors had to keep coming back because it just wasn’t working. After the first twin was born, did they realize that they other one would have to come out breech! Not fun. It would have been way easier to have that C-section. I agree that child birthing is not all glam and happiness. Congrates to those women who did have the best birthing experience.

Heather 2 years ago

I felt the same way reading this. Yes, it’s funny but that wasn’t really my experience either. I labored at home as long as I could manage (home alone with my 7 year old). Then I called my husband and best friend and said it was time to go. I was having a VBAC and didn’t want anyone giving me pitocin or getting an epidural too soon as it might slow things down and land me in the ER again. I got an epidural at the last possible moment, rested for a couple hours after that and then pushed for about 45 mintues. If I had the chance to do it all again, I wouldn’t get the epidural. So, this is not quite how it is for everyone and would put fear in the first timer. But, yes, it is comical.

Tess 2 years ago

I disagree with the ladies claiming this blog is scaremongering. I went into my first labour with the Mary Poppins attitude of, and I blush to think back now, “Oh, it can’t be as bad as they claim, if it were so terrible, why, there’d be no brothers or sisters in the world…..” Which left me totally unprepared for a horrific 72 hours. Yes, I’m sure that there are women who have labours that are pink and fluffy, where their hair and make up remains immaculate and bluebirds flock to the labour ward windows and sing the baby into the world… but people need to be prepared that it could go either way…

Elisha 2 years ago

I was 16 years old when I had my first daughter and I didnt have any kind of pain meds nothing and I went in on a saturday and on saturday night I started labor and I had my daughter on monday at 3:27 pm! I did it! I have 3 kids and never had a drop of anything while I was in labor, Now afterwards I did, but not during!

Becca 2 years ago

Dude, I pretty much woke up and had my daughter. I wanted the drugs. I knew what I was in for after a previous miscarriage, which ended with surgery. Now let me tell you! I was uncomfortable, but contractions were 5 minutes apart. I decided to pee and saw blood in my panties. So I called the hospital as I was packing and my mom came to drive me. A whole half hour had passed and the contractions KILLED. I remember asking my mom how far we were yet because it felt like my butthole was going to fall out. We get there, and I’m calm and collected, and able to walk fine. The nurse asks if I want meds, I say “Yes, an epidural please.” She sticks her fingers up there and says “I’m sorry honey, you’re fully dialated, so you don’t get painkillers.” WTF?! I push for about 20-30 minutes, and out comes my daughter, tearing my labia off in the process. Literally. Plus several other 2nd and 3rd degree lacerations. But pushing made the pain go away. It was the only relief I had. Then I was hemorrhaging, so they had to reach up in there up to their elbows to pull out the clots that didn’t detach, and THEN she sews my labia back into place. All sans painkillers. I didn’t feel the tearing, but I sure as hell felt that needle! Since I lost so much blood, I couldn’t get out of bed for several hours to bathe. I took 9 weeks of maternity leave, and when I went back to work, I still had stitches, and if I stood too long, it felt like it had only been days since I gave birth. So yeah, the birth sucked. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t glorious. I had almost zero joy. But her face was angelic and the very second she cried I was happy/relieved/comforted. And the recovery lasted months, and I couldn’t sit for weeks. And I would totally do it again.

Heather Leann Fall 2 years ago

I watched too much A Baby Story on TLC and thought my daughters birth would just happen with most the bad stuff edited out. When they put the cervidil in I experienced slight discomfort and said "Oh this hurts too much" and the nurse said "Yeah it's labor, you can't really run from." Sure I can and I'd like a fentynal lollipop. I questioned how those woman who quietly have their babies in a bathroom stall and throw the baby in a dumpster actually do it. C section happened mostly I think because I really didn't think the whole process through and didn't try hard enough. I went into it all wrong. lol

Sandy 2 years ago

Or they can induce labor by breaking your water, which sent me right into strong contractions. The whole process for baby number one took 5 hours from start to delivery, which was by a nurse, not my doctor, because she told me later that I was “too polite to be in transition.” There was no time between pains, just one rolling in on top of another. Truly, nothing like the classes at all, including the part where the epidural didn’t work because of prior disc damage from an old back injury. I’m sure focusing on breathing and minimizing pain works for many people, but it’s truer to my own nature to tough it out and endure, which was lucky, because my high pain threshold did more for me than panting ever could. Bottom line is you get to keep the baby, and no one cares about the details.

Emma 2 years ago

My water broke at home and I made it to the hospital about an hour later. The contractions started pretty much as soon as I got there and they were back to back. I only had about 30 seconds between the end of one contraction and the beginning of the next. By the time they checked me I was already 5cm and I begged for drugs! Got the epi and felt great :)

Mary 2 years ago

I have to say you got off easy in the Depression stage with contractions four minutes apart. First baby, by hour 6, the contractions were two minutes apart with 9 cm. and 13 hours to go. Second baby they started at two minutes apart and only got closer from there for the next fifteen hours.
I laugh when I see actresses on tv saying they are five minutes apart, better go to the hospital! Baby will be here any minute!

I will admit I made it through both labors without yelling or crying. With the second one having no drugs.

Both were back labor which I hear is worse. But I don’t have anything to compare it to.

Jean 2 years ago


Amber 2 years ago

I got the epidural early on so I was pretty comfortable. I basically walked in and was like, “And I’ll be needing that epidural. Thanks.” I know my tolerance for pain is pretty low.

Although with my first kid they turned DOWN my epidural when it was time to push. That hurt. A lot. I did curse then.

Maureen Garland McCann 2 years ago

It has been 20 years and this is so true. I waited too long and by the time I wanted the epidural it was time to push. I swear my son took my back bone with him on the way out/.

Frankie Lawson 2 years ago

We took Bradley Birth classes, and every time, as soon as the baby’s head came out, the rest of the body just swooshed out. I pushed for 3.5 hours, and FINALLY my son’s head was out, and I thought, “Why the hell am I still pushing?” His arms were straight down the length of his body so I had to push until his cute round bum came out. Good times.

momofeveryone 2 years ago

after seriously contracting for WEEEEEEKS!!!! yes, weeks, i was ready for mine when i had#1. i had labor stopped 4 times before they let me deliver at 37 w 2 days. i had morphine and magnesum and it was hellish. you best believe when my water broke i was getting an epi.
now with my dd? COMPLEATLY diffrent!!!!! night and freaking day! minor bh, not labor and i was induced at 39 weeks bc her heart rate would not come up. scary 24 hrs but, i got my pitocen and epi and and 5 hrs later, out she was. i could have done her w/o drugs but i had already begged them not to do a C and my dr was worried my bp would spike bc of the pain.
this time i shooting for no pain meds at all, but im also hoping i make it to the hospital before im pushing so we will see!
BTW: every delivery is diffrent and bitching about the other side isnt helping. grow up ladies.

Marta 2 years ago

Lol. I did a lot of bargaining. And a lot of regret — “Wait please I take it back, I don’t want this baby. Keep it in me!”

MAC 2 years ago

I’m reading increasing numbers of posts on Scary Monmy that are not funny. This tops them.

This kind of dialogue is probably the reason why 1 in 5 women in America have c sections. The repercussions of inducing and numbing labour are not fully understood nor have they been studied in great detail. No doubt there are many.

Women for millennia have given birth. It is natural. It is not medical. We need encouragement. We need knowledge to be passed along. We do not need more dialogue that fuels the trend toward medicalized childbirth.

This post is not helpful and not funny.

kc 2 years ago

I have a hard time believing that anyone REALLY needs drugs PRIOR to reaching one centimeter…come on. Suck it up. You’re the one that decided to get pregnant and have a baby–did you think it would be fun and pleasant? One centimeter is nothing.

Pam 2 years ago

I’m right there with you both.

leela angelina 2 years ago

thats what i kinda feared would happen to me, sorry it happened to you.. at least if your not having epi, you can move and relive some pain but jeeese….

september 2 years ago

Thank you, excellent reply. I just gave birth last week. 21 hours of labor. 1 hour of pushing. No meds. Nothing. I was prepared. I had taking Bradley classes and had options for laboring. It was not like this post at all. Was it hard? Yes. Painful? Yes. But doable. I didn’t fight the contractions. I’m glad I felt my daughter being born as I pushed. It was wonderful and I would absolutely have an unmediated birth the next time too.

I too see the humorous side of this, but agree that stuff like this just perpetuates the notion that its hell to give birth and we must immediately ask for drugs. I think most women could labor longer than they think without drugs if they were prepared and not scared.

Tiffani Brunson 2 years ago

I got my epidural and another drug during my second stage. My eyes crossed and invited everyone to "get weird." Honest, the pain was so bad I would have injected, snorted, and inhaled anything they gave me.

samymammy 2 years ago

I thought I was going to stick to a birth plan with no epidural- no drugs. After the back labor ripped my back apart and I couldn’t sit, lay or walk. When my doctor said “You sound like your in alot of discomfort, would you like me to have an epidural ready” I practically kissed her.
When I went into labor with my 2nd child I totally was in denial because she was a few weeks early, I remember thinking WTH was I thinking getting pregnant again, how did I forget this part. I am not going to say it is impossible to go with out drugs or discourage anyone. You have to live through the experience and at the end it is worth all of it when they place that beautiful baby in your arms.
I will say you will have no shame during it, I remember dropping to a squat position during a contraction while I was in registration and I had a dress on. There was a gentleman infront of me and I could careless. You know what to do, and what you can handle.
Just my two cents

leela angelina 2 years ago

hee hee slayed out like a chicken, got that right.. i didn’t feel my stiches being put in, but right after they were done they walked me naked across the floor to the shower so i could clean up , i felt drunk/ high, but i remember looking at the floor and seeing a ton of blood and i asked out loud ” am i gonna die…lolz its weird not to take drugs yet feel high, and not give a crap that i am naked, bleeding, sweaty and make-up everywhere,, wretched mess, but after that shower,, i felt great, in pain but better than i was minutes before.. :)

Sabrina 2 years ago

I had a botched epidural with my first and it only numbed my leg. My water broke so I had to be put on pitocin and I went from 4cm to 9cm just by sitting up. It was AWFUL.

I figured, what are the chances of my water breaking prematurely with my second? I’ll be able to do a natural birth no problem. 4 in the morning, my water breaks and I’m pissed. I wait 8 hours, am about 2cm dilated and not feeling a thing. The doctor put me on pitocin (to my total upset) and I was fine …until I wasn’t (at 4cm again). Not having an epidural (or at least one that worked) with my first was so awful that I screamed for one this time. By the time the doctor was done numbing me up (the whole process took about 20 minutes) I could feel pressure and was fully dilated. WTF kids?! Thank God I had that epidural.

leela angelina 2 years ago

poppin out babies is def sucky and it really depends on your pain threshold, mine is on the higher end i found out, my first kid i rushed to the hospital when the contractions were 4 min apart then i had a 7 hour wait till my boy was born ( i know, not really that long, but freaking long enough when your contractions are every 2 minutes, Thank gawd for the hot bath i jump in and out of about 100 times. i didn’t want meds. i like to torture myself, I’m kinky like that,, if i could have had drugs i only wanted ones that would make me forget that i was gonna be completely exposed with 10 strangers my mother and my hubs, that scared me to death so between the pacing , hot baths and the awful ripping and moving of bones and muscles so my kid could get out, they broke my water which set a hell loose, the most immediate feeling of having to poop sweeped over poor husband went so white, the dr, birthing my son, stopped with me and told him to sit down, cause they didn’t have time to pick him off the floor. By this point i didn’t care who saw me naked in the most awkward position, it was the last think on my mind, i was just concentrating on pushing that damn kid out. finally the ring of fire ended, head was out and once they get the shoulders out, i said, THANKGAWD!!!!!!! never so relieved in my life.

2nd kid came 18 months later, this time i knew what i was in for, which put the fear into me, but this time, when i started having contractions i went to my tub and sat and red a book for 4 hours and relaxed.. then i hollard for my hubs and said,, “time to go”!!!. took us 8 minutes to get to the hospital, rushed me up stairs and the nurses said, “glad you got here when you did or your husband would have delivered the baby on the side of the highway” took me 6 minutes to pop bubbers #2 out. he was super easy. both kids weighted the same to which was weird enough. 7lbs 3oz. but what i learned from it all was, do what you want, you know what you can handle.. i didn’t take any drugs just so i could know what it was really like, because i would love to deliver babies some day and i want to know what it would be like. just so i would know both sides… people have given birth since the dawn of time, so its not gonna be that bad, or the human race would have ended, but hell, if you can get drugs and want drugs… more power to you.. its your body and your baby :) that kid is still gonna come out screaming and looking for you and thats the craziest high i’ve ever been on.

Tammy 2 years ago

Wow can I relate to this.. I dont care how many baby classes you take and breathing lessons.. Child birth SUCKS.. yep.. and Men should have to do it too!!! I went into labor with my daughter while I was at our last baby class touring the maternity ward.. little did I know I would be in it 12 hours later.. Got home at 10:00pm and by midnight realized I was in labor.. was at the hospital at 8am and did not deliver until 7pm that night!!! My epideral man is on my Christmas card list.. YEP!! I love him.. I still love him.. I did not get my epideral until 4:00 that afternoon.. I had 100% BACK labor which breathing doesn’t do a frigging thing for by the way.. I felt like my ass was going to explode with each contraction.. So for anyone who wants to glamorize child birth.. there really is nothing glamorous about laying splayed out like a chicken while they stitch you up and your new bundle of joy is passed around the room to all who got to witness.. :) I LOVE my daughter with all my heart.. dont get me wrong but the child birth thing you can keep.. :)

Autumn 2 years ago

Deena’s reaction was ALMOST as funny as the article!

KatyBug 2 years ago

Oh, I begged and pleaded…threatened, even. But that darn birth plan :)

I tease, because my husband and doula talked me down from my drug demands when I was 7cm and facing down transition. I would have paid any amount for the epidural but now, with 10 months in the rearview, I’m glad they didn’t listen and I had my kid without the epidural.

But I still went through each stage, just as you describe. And it sucked.

Joanne 2 years ago

Thanks for reminding me of what I’m about to go through again. At least I got my epi as soon as I got to the hospital: didn’t even get triaged I was screaming so much.

Deena Blumenfeld E-RYT, RPYT, LCCE 2 years ago

This may have been *your* labor, but it’s not that way for many women… myself included. As a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, I take issue with this post. This creates fear. We don’t need to gloss over reality – labor hurts! But at the same time, we don’t need to tell women it’s impossible to do it without an epidural. If you need an epidural, you should get one. But, wow… this post is a potentially damaging shock to the system of a pregnant mom. I see the humor in it, I do. But I also am a childbirth professional. Humor is often a way to cover pain or fear. This post mentions nothing of the joy, the expectation the preparation and the great support of a partner or doula. If you are open to it, I’d love to write a rebuttal for you… the stages of dilation from the positive perspective.

Jamie Knupp 2 years ago

Oh man this is scary accurate. Only, with my second baby i waited too long to get to the hospital and they wouldn’t let me have an epidural. I could write part two of this one – the stages are the same – Denial that you’re really about to push something (HOW BIG???!?!) out of your hoo-ha, Anger at your significant other/ doctor/ mother/ the world, Bargaining with your doctor to just cut you and make it easier, Depression when you realize you can’t push anymore and you’re going to be pregnant FOREVER and then Acceptance when the head finally comes out

Ariana 2 years ago

OMG its all true, I laughed. And I laughed at the memory #3 conjured. I was in labor 3 days with my twins, and if I recall correctly, they measured my dilation about 1/hr. I had this one nurse with really short, really really really fat fingers. Every time she walked in I wanted to cross my legs and bar her from my bedside. Never so glad then when she would go off duty!