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Don't try to fight it
January 22, 2013 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Dutch TV presenters volunteer to experience the pain of labour at a birthing center.

Dennis and Valerio, hosts of Gunea Pigs, sign up for a two hour adventure in electro-stimulus-simulated labour.
In the words of their supportive but no nonsense midwife, labour is no laughing matter. Via Gizmodo.
posted by Iteki (181 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have been watching this over and over again all weekend for it is fucking glorious.
posted by elizardbits at 11:16 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Best bit is around 6.20 when hat dude is curled up around a little pink pillow, wailing tragically and clinging to the other dude's arm.
posted by elizardbits at 11:20 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


this is why you don't get much sympathy from your wife when the doctor starts fisting you
posted by thelonius at 11:20 AM on January 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


This video is destined to become research material for generations of mpreg fanfic writers to come.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:23 AM on January 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


I wonder how they calibrate the machine so that they know it's a realistic simulation of labour pains?
posted by sparklemotion at 11:30 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


OK, so is this related to a similar "man experiences childbirth" video I saw a few days ago ? Both involve electrodes and zapping someone..
posted by k5.user at 11:32 AM on January 22, 2013


Yes, Hat Dude looked truly humbled and shaken by the experience. I imagine he went home and wept in his wife's lap, after stopping for a vasectomy on the way.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:32 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder how they calibrate the machine so that they know it's a realistic simulation of labour pains?

I read somewhere that they hooked a woman up to the electrodes and asked her. Hardly a precise calibration, but good enough for TV.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:33 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't do it don't do it don't do it don't do it don't do it... [Googling "mpreg fanfic"] ... ew.
posted by phong3d at 11:34 AM on January 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


this is why you don't get much sympathy from your wife when the doctor starts fisting you

Is your wife in the room during your prostate exam, or is it something else? In the event of the latter, I'd look into your doctor's credentials.

In any event, my wife did a epidural, despite the concerns of my "natural" leaning mother. Even then, the process was far from comfortable. I haven't once complained about taking the garbage out, since.

Oh, and leave it to the Dutch to do something like this. They're the only culture that could find a number of men willing to endure the pain of childbirth, punch the clock at the end of the day, and talk of the day's events over dinner and a glass of Jenever in the same way we would discuss the morning's traffic.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:34 AM on January 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


phong3d: "Don't do it don't do it don't do it don't do it don't do it... [Googling "mpeg fanfic"] ... ew."

It's fun to learn.
posted by boo_radley at 11:35 AM on January 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


I once answered a survey about vocalization in unmedicated birth in which one of the questions was, "Do you find that you make similar kinds of noises during labor as you do while making love?"

My answer was "Seeing as I dealt with every contraction by pounding my fists on the counter and yelling "REALLY??! Oh god FUCK this shit!!" at the top of my lungs, I hope not, if only for my poor husband's sake."
posted by KathrynT at 11:36 AM on January 22, 2013 [43 favorites]


I wonder how they calibrate the machine so that they know it's a realistic simulation of labour pains?

I'd wager that instead they calibrated the machine to generate an equitable degree of muscluar tension, and whatever pain came along had more to do with the men's muscle tone itself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:36 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also I came out of the video kind of shipping those two dudes.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:36 AM on January 22, 2013 [27 favorites]


I wonder how they calibrate the machine so that they know it's a realistic simulation of labour pains?

These go to 11.
posted by griphus at 11:37 AM on January 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


This video is destined to become research material for generations of mpreg fanfic writers to come.

Sokka shot first, thank you for making me laugh till I cried. I'm not an mpreg fan, but oh my gosh, I can hear the fangirling now.
posted by snowleopard at 11:39 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have been watching this over and over again all weekend for it is fucking glorious.

You may really, really dig this ancient Irish myth, then.

I do.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:40 AM on January 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Cool. I wonder if we can do a "kicked in the nads" experience next. It could be a whole theme park.
posted by Justinian at 11:40 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I had a kidney stone and was in more pain than I've ever experienced. I've been told by people who have experienced birth and kidney stones that the level of pain is similar.

I have no idea why anyone ever has children on purpose.
posted by cccorlew at 11:41 AM on January 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Holy crap, how is mpreg even a thing?

The #1 advantage of being a man is the fact our contribution to the reproductive process is easy, downright enjoyable, and over in 1-60 minutes.

Guys, we won. Don't do that.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:43 AM on January 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


this is why you don't get much sympathy from your wife when the doctor starts fisting you

O.o
posted by odinsdream at 11:43 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think what was most interesting to me was how the guys went from jokey and dismissive to coming across as quite invested in what was happening, the fearful anticipation of each wave. I was really fascinated by the work the midwife did about "not fighting it", and it seemed that that was a very alien concept to the guys, that they had a more adversarial attitude to pain, they would beat it, etc., whereas what they had to do was accept it, and go with it.

Then of course, they stuck it out for 2 hours, while an average first labour is apparently about ten hours, they weren't actually stretching their cervices around the head of a human being, and they didn't have to take into consideration how the whole process was affecting their baby. Fair play to the lads all the same, I feel both informed and entertained.
posted by Iteki at 11:46 AM on January 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


I wouldn't mind trying this. I'd also like to see what it is like to be tackled in an NFL game. There may be something wrong with me.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:46 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I'd like to point out that that dude went through that for 2 hours. My first labor, which was EXCEPTIONALLY speedy, was four and a half hours. My sister in law was in labor for thirty-six hours.

Also, neither of those guys needed their taints stitched up afterwards.
posted by KathrynT at 11:47 AM on January 22, 2013 [39 favorites]


Holy crap, how is mpreg even a thing?
[...]Guys, we won. Don't do that.


Far and away the majority of all fanfiction is written by women.

...which, actually, answers your "how is this even a thing" question.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:48 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Holy crap, how is mpreg even a thing?

The #1 advantage of being a man is the fact our contribution to the reproductive process is easy, downright enjoyable, and over in 1-60 minutes.

Guys, we won. Don't do that.


1) Not everyone agrees with you that (cis-gendered) guys ended up with the awesome half of conception. I've known more than one dude who was pretty envious of pregnancy, or at least sad that it's not an experience he'd ever be able to have.

2) Most fanfiction is written by women anyway.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 11:49 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


This video is destined to become research material for generations of mpreg fanfic writers to come.

I'm pretty sure there'll be a dozen fics about this actual scene by the end of the week. On elizardbits's blog.

Holy crap, how is mpreg even a thing?

Have you seen the Internet? mpreg is not even at the top of the list of things that a person should wonder about how they are even things.
posted by cortex at 11:51 AM on January 22, 2013 [41 favorites]


Carol Burnet once told Bill Cosby that to get some idea of the pain of childbirth,

"take your bottom lip and pull it... over your head."
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:52 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know why this has just occurred to me, but there should be more mpreg fics where the couple both get pregnant and go into labor at the same time, and have hot smex right afterwards.
posted by fatehunter at 11:53 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's good how those guys went to months of training classes beforehand, so as to learn breathing techniques that... oh. Oh, right. So, basically, it's just some zapping with electrodes and calm women? Like a nicer, Dutcher, episode of Jackass?
posted by The River Ivel at 11:53 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have you seen the Internet? mpreg is not even at the top of the list of things that a person should wonder about how they are even things.

Seriously. Rule 34. Or even just elizardbits's tumblr page. God I love elizardbits's tumblr page.
posted by The Bellman at 11:55 AM on January 22, 2013 [24 favorites]




The River Ivel, let me tell you: the breathing doesn't do shit. I got through my second birth with serious hypnosis, which DID help a lot, but even then, I threatened to stab the midwife at one point.
posted by KathrynT at 11:56 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The stupid comments from the Gizmodo link are funny. It seems it hurts a lot of the male commenters' egos to consider that giving birth might be more painful than anything they'll experience.
posted by discopolo at 12:00 PM on January 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Like, Derek and Stiles both get magically pregnant? Because of a wofl thing? Maybe it's a, like, Mother Moon, some shit someone will explain, the main teen wolf guy who nobody cares about's wolf hunter family girlfriend's aunt or whatever has a book about it? And Derek and Stiles will both have like moments of weakness complemented by the other's moments of strength and it'll be super nurturing and then they'll have little magical babies together?

Is what I'm assuming someone is writing about right now.
posted by cortex at 12:02 PM on January 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


related, from a few years ago. (my post)
posted by gaspode at 12:02 PM on January 22, 2013


Cool. I wonder if we can do a "kicked in the nads" experience next. It could be a whole theme park.

Doesn't Universal own MTV? How is there not a Jackass ride at Universal Studios Florida?
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:06 PM on January 22, 2013


Damnit we lost cortex
posted by The Whelk at 12:09 PM on January 22, 2013 [32 favorites]


Also, neither of those guys needed their taints stitched up afterwards.

Not to mention being able to just stand up and say "I don't want to do this anymore, let the other guy deliver the baby."
posted by ambrosia at 12:11 PM on January 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'd agree with you, Cortex, except part of the mpreg thing as it's traditionally written ha ha why do I know this is the explicit feminization of only one of the guys, as part and parcel of the imposition of biological heteronormativity on a male-male couple.

What I'm saying is you can't have each other's assbabies at the same time, that's not how the kink works
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:11 PM on January 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


The birth class I took for my first child said that screaming and yelling equals fighting during labor and fighting labor is bad. You want to breathe and relax.

Fucking bullshit.

Screaming and yelling were the most unbelievably wonderful things in my second labor with my daughter. It helped so much to yell and scream.

I vote for tearing the shit out of your vocal cords during labor. It's so much more relaxing than breathing in and out and focusing on calm blue seas or whatever. And better than tearing up other areas of the body.
posted by zizzle at 12:12 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Damnit we lost cortex

I've been doing a lot soul-searching about my traditional ironic distance from fanfic ever since Larp Trek started. You can only explain so many times why your invented alternative history surrogate event for the Borg attack at Wolf 359 better sets up Picard's emotional self-destruction while roleplaying as both himself and Commander Sisko before you start to realize that you've lost the moral high ground.
posted by cortex at 12:12 PM on January 22, 2013 [53 favorites]


Oh man, YouTube comments are also whiny:"Not faaaair. Women have hormones to help them through the pain of childbirth. Waah Waah Waah." Had no idea that for some dudes, the male ego is seriously that fragile.
posted by discopolo at 12:14 PM on January 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Not to mention being able to just stand up and say "I don't want to do this anymore, let the other guy deliver the baby."

Yeah. My SIL -- the one with the 36 hour labor, including a 9-hour transition -- and I were talking about her labor, which was completely unmedicated. "I don't know how you did it," I said. "Well," she said, "The thing about labor is that it's kind of like burning to death. Once you're on fire, a lot of the decision-making is taken out of your hands."
posted by KathrynT at 12:15 PM on January 22, 2013 [52 favorites]


It really is like an episode of Jackass where they use their powers for good rather than (just) hillarity!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:16 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Different perspective: I watched it with my 3 month old daughter, she thought it was totally unrealistic - Where's the bit that squashes their skull through a small passage? ... They were not even upside down.
posted by Dr Ew at 12:16 PM on January 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


MEN HAVE MOST OF THE SAME HORMONES FOR PAIN CONTROL!!!
posted by zizzle at 12:16 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


"But waaaah, zizzle, these guys don't have 9 months to get ready waaaaaah."

(I'm on your side, zizzle.)
posted by discopolo at 12:25 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


metafilter: you start to realize that you've lost the moral high ground.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:27 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


What I'm saying is you can't have each other's assbabies at the same time, that's not how the kink works

I don't really know much about fanfic, much less this particular variety, so I did some research. A perusal of An Archive of Our Own's Teen Wolf section, filtering only for the mpreg tag and the Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski pairing produced only one story (NSFW I guess?) that featured both Derek and Stiles being pregnant, out of 120 stories that fit those criteria. And that one is also tagged with 'humor' and is, as far as I can tell, intentionally subverting the expectations of the "genre." Admittedly I was only going off of the summaries, so there could have been some false negatives.
posted by jedicus at 12:27 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Had no idea that for some dudes, the male ego is seriously that fragile.

We did.

(Signed: All the women on earth.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:28 PM on January 22, 2013 [30 favorites]


jedicus: there could have been some false negatives

That's what he said.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:29 PM on January 22, 2013


Signed: All the women on earth.

Also Signed (in invisible ink): All of the men, even if they won't admit it due to ego issues.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:38 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The 10th Regiment of Foot: Also Signed (in invisible ink): All of the men, even if they won't admit it due to ego issues.

No way. I will cheerfully admit that my wife (and probably many other women) can handle pain muuuuuuuch better than I can.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:44 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


there should be more mpreg fics where the couple both get pregnant and go into labor at the same time, and have hot smex right afterwards.

So there's this really great SF series by someone named Iain M. Banks...
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:46 PM on January 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


I was amused that, like many of us, they wanted to quit part of the way through. The difference was, one of them got to stop. Glad the other one hung in there. As my buddy said when I gave birth (my husband was not my first choice to be there, because he would have punched a doctor and taken me home), "I'm afraid you're going to have to go through with it."
posted by Peach at 12:48 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've theorized that women and men both have a pain threshold. Men a lower one, by which minor pains are not even registered, and women an upper one, over which the pain intensity plateaus. That's how men get scratched and banged up doing stupid things and don't really get bothered by it and how women can birth them babies or throw cars off of a pinned toddler. It's of course only a (drunken) theory.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:50 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The River Ivel, let me tell you: the breathing doesn't do shit

I don't really remember about my birthing experiences but I have learned in the last couple of years to relax as much as possible and concentrate on slowing down my breathing when pain hits suddenly and it does work. I suspect this relaxing and breathing is something that would work better for childbirth if only one could condition oneself to do it automatically-- unfortunately prenatal classes are not long enough nor realistic enough to instil this conditioning.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:54 PM on January 22, 2013


As someone who has never given birth, but had an untreated kidney stone for 18 months,

YOU THINK YOU'RE HARD, CHILDBIRTH? COME AT ME BRO!
posted by zippy at 12:55 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The 10th Regiment of Foot: I've theorized that women and men both have a pain threshold.

That makes some sense, 10th. Not sure it's necessarily a male/female thing, but that seems to be how it works in my house.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:56 PM on January 22, 2013




That's how men get scratched and banged up doing stupid things and don't really get bothered by it

As a clumsy dude without any magical lower threshold for pain, let me assure you that some of us curse like a motherfucker when we get scratched and banged up doing stupid shit.

I think the main thing is that people as a group have varying pain thresholds because people vary, likely to a degree that dwarfs measurable aggregate sex-group variance, but in any case your threshold for pain only really gets tested by the pain actually happening and if the option you have is the non-option of experiencing the pain that's gonna sort of redraw the line for you in any case.
posted by cortex at 12:57 PM on January 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Have to admit I'm curious to try this now and see if the breathing and other pain management techniques learned in meditation would help.

Looking at the video, those guys don't look like the most mature to try this. I imagine you can't approach labor as dismissively as they seem to be doing. It's a process, one you're not in control of and just have to prepare yourself for going along on one weird ass ride.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:57 PM on January 22, 2013


I suspect this relaxing and breathing is something that would work better for childbirth if only one could condition oneself to do it automatically-- unfortunately prenatal classes are not long enough nor realistic enough to instil this conditioning.

Yep, that's the hypnosis, honestly. 99% of hypnobirthing is the work you do beforehand to establish your automatic triggers so that you can access them even, er, under duress.
posted by KathrynT at 12:58 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm, these are the same guys who ate a tiny little bit of each others flesh last year, and this week are trying to fry in fat from liposuction.
posted by Pendragon at 1:00 PM on January 22, 2013


I wonder how they calibrate the machine so that they know it's a realistic simulation of labour pains?

I would guess it's not that realistic a simulation at all, but more of an attempt to replicate the *level* of pain. I don't know how a man could experience childbirth. All the muscles are different!

I vote for tearing the shit out of your vocal cords during labor. It's so much more relaxing than breathing in and out and focusing on calm blue seas or whatever.

I've been through a few births with my wife, I'm obviously no expert, but I don't think the two are as at odds as you might think. I think most women definitely do want to vocalize. Loudly. But you still need to breathe. ;)

And you can mock visualization too, but it really worked for us. I created a long but not too long vignette of a special place my wife could visualize and we practiced it and it helped a lot. We really did not do enough preparation like breathing exercises, etc. (and was scolded by my mother for it), and I do think it would have helped (as long as it was one more tool to use to manage pain and not further opportunity to stress about learning something new.)

Men a lower one, by which minor pains are not even registered, and women an upper one, over which the pain intensity plateaus.

As always, there's going to be more variation in the sexes than between them, i.e. some men can take a lot of pain, some can't; same for women. (or what cortex just said.)
posted by mrgrimm at 1:04 PM on January 22, 2013


Yeah, these sort of the Dutch equivalent of dude bros, for a special youfh orientated channel; they've done a lot of these sort of stunts, part Jackassy, part series. Y'all may have heard the furore over the kidney donor show, where one out of three lucky kidney patients got to get a kidney from a donor? Same channel.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:04 PM on January 22, 2013


Pendragon: Yeah, originally I had that in the post, and a link to the inspiration which was the Swedish duo that they are very, very similar to, but I was more interested in this experiment than the guys themselves.
posted by Iteki at 1:05 PM on January 22, 2013


I dunno--I had a 9lb+ baby with nothing, not even an epidural and you know, it wasn't all that bad. The C-section I had 4 years later was far worse, but not as bad as the "natural" massage I had to try to get that baby to turn. I sure wasn't carrying on like these guys. I'm kind of tired of my pain is worse than your pain competitions.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:05 PM on January 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh god, recovered memory! At one point during my (45 hour long, ending in an emergency c-section) labor, I stood up and announced that this was bullshit and I didn't want to do this anymore.

So that's pretty common, right?
posted by Space Kitty at 1:09 PM on January 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


I wonder how they calibrate the machine so that they know it's a realistic simulation of labour pains?

My first thought was that it was tested by women who had given birth before.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:13 PM on January 22, 2013


This country, my goodness. I remember a pregnant colleague only a few years ago asking the ladies in the office if it was true that pain relief was still forbidden during childbirth in the Netherlands.
posted by wingless_angel at 1:19 PM on January 22, 2013


I've witnessed two births (both were over in about an hour, thank God). I have no desire to experience birth firsthand, thanks very much.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:20 PM on January 22, 2013


This is starting to remind me of the best advice my aunt ever gave me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:23 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing about labor is that it's kind of like burning to death. Once you're on fire, a lot of the decision-making is taken out of your hands.

Yeah, well, when I burned to death, it took 12 hours and I didn't even get a tylenol. Just an apple in my mouth to bite down on.

/pig
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:23 PM on January 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Years ago I spent several hours in the ER ward of St. John's Hospital in Detroit. The man in the bed next to me (we were all separated by curtains) was constantly sreaming with these animalistic cries of pain and he made me very nervous. He sounded like Edward Scissorhands was giving him a prostate exam. Turns out he was passing a kidney stone. I was there during shift change, and I noticed a difference in the medical attitude vis a vis male and female nurses. When I first arrived the attending nurse was male, and I heard him gently counseling Kidney Stone, telling him "just hang in there for XX minutes and then we can give you some more morphine". Then a female nurse came on duty and I had to chuckle (despite my own discomfort) when Kidney Stone emitted yet another glass-shattering moan of pain...from what I could overhear she'd checked his vitals and his med schedule and when he verbalized the pain he was experiencing and wasn't there something she could do, her only comment was "Try having a baby sometime."
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:30 PM on January 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can't help it, so here goes:

Now do it for 17 hours without eating and have stitches at the end, kids.

But that was indeed a glorious video.

Oh god, recovered memory! At one point during my (45 hour long, ending in an emergency c-section) labor, I stood up and announced that this was bullshit and I didn't want to do this anymore.

So that's pretty common, right?


The "Stuff this, we're getting a puppy instead" phase of labour.
posted by Catch at 1:34 PM on January 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Lest we forget, this is a process without which none of us would be here to type into our computing machines.
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:35 PM on January 22, 2013


^ I hadn't read EmpressCalipygos' aunt's story when I wrote the above, seems puppies are the go-to baby substitute!
posted by Catch at 1:37 PM on January 22, 2013


Never mind the electrodes, what is he doing in that unconscionable goddamn hat
posted by ominous_paws at 1:41 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


My description was it felt like someone reached in and ripped your uterine lining out as if it was peeling an orange, and the pain shot all the way up to my sinus cavity. Combine that with a twisting, wringing sensation like you're wringing out all the water of a wet towel. All at the same time.

That was contraction #3 at dialation 4. And that's when I opted for an epi. Yea I'm a woose. I've had menstrual cramps back in the day that felt the exact same way. I didn't need to relive the feeling. Drug me!
posted by stormpooper at 1:43 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now do it for 17 hours without eating and have stitches at the end, kids.

Or longer. Without going into too much gory detail, I went in Wednesday evening and delivered (by caesarian finally) on Friday night. So no eating and no sleeping for 48 hours.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:49 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The no-eating rules some places have are inhumane.

I ate plenty during my first labor that ended in a terrible c-section.

My second labor at home I didn't want to eat anything, but I could have had I wanted.

I drank tons of fluids both times as well.
posted by zizzle at 1:53 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: not long enough nor realistic enough to instil this conditioning.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:55 PM on January 22, 2013


If I hadn't read the comments, I wouldn't have opened the link, but I cried from laughter.
And also, I learnt about Elizardbits' tumblr. Wow. Two great things

That said, I think childbirth is a really individual and not-measurable thing. In a way, I can recognize the pain these guys expressed, and then not.
I've written here before that for my first I agreed to be part of a medical experiment and thus had to lie down with a lot of electrodes and was monitored by at least 7 people at all hours. That experience was similar to what the men here went through, except it was 12 hours in the hospital and I can't remember if it was 4 or 8 hours of actual labor. (2 hours? that's just silly). For the actual birth, they had pity on me, and gave me a pudendum, but the needle hurt like fire.

For number two, I had to force them to recognize I was actually giving birth, and rapidly so. The pain was bearable all through, except this time there was no time for the pudendum, and WOWOWOWW. But that was seconds, not minutes. Otherwise, this time, I only did what I wanted to do: no lying down at all, no electrodes, no legs in the air at all. And I farted. I could feel I was giving birth, but I could deal with it. The guys in the video were lying on their backs and sides, worst strategy ever.

In retrospect: both times I was fairly fit and religiously did what the training nurse said, which is probably why I was chosen for the sadistic experiment (the first planned breech birth at the hospital for 30 years...) I'm also quite good at zoning out and not thinking, when this is required.
Some of my siblings and cousins have the same ability, and some really don't, and I'm thinking: some people who claim to have had less than an hour of labor may just be really good at managing pain? I could certainly feel it was there, enough to go to the hospital, but one of my sisters and one of my cousins are among those who almost deliver in the car. Maybe they are just really good at doing the right thing?
posted by mumimor at 1:57 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, and how can screaming and shouting be wrong? That is the best part.
posted by mumimor at 2:00 PM on January 22, 2013


I was more of a grunter than a screamer.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:01 PM on January 22, 2013


ominous_paws: "what is he doing in that unconscionable goddamn hat"

I figured it was some kind of pro-condom statement.
posted by the_artificer at 2:06 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I did appreciate the quitter saying that he didn't know if he dared get his wife pregnant after the experience.

It astounds me that my caring and loving husband, after watching me go through one all-day induced labour, one bout of puerperal fever that (without exaggeration) nearly killed me, and an emergency C-section after baby 2 attempted delivery upside-own and stargazing ... would still love to 'have' another baby.

Bless him.
posted by Catch at 2:07 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hugs, Catch
posted by mumimor at 2:08 PM on January 22, 2013


I'm not bitter or anything *snort*.
posted by Catch at 2:11 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


pudendum

That may not be the word you are looking for.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:12 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to be honest. I watched this and my first reaction was that I really want to be able to try this someday although I would have to convince another man to do it with me because companionship is better and would probably lead to me not quitting quite as fast.

I found it hilarious though and I have to give them points for actually at least trying. The one guy who stuck it out definitely gets the most though, you can't just quit during childbirth.

Either way, this is definitely on my bucket list now. I'm a weird person.
posted by lizarrd at 2:14 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


oh man i turn my back for 5 minutes and cortex just wofls up everything
posted by elizardbits at 2:17 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


pudendum

That may not be the word you are looking for.


It is exactly the word I'm looking for. Welcome to the world of childbirth.
posted by mumimor at 2:21 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Your local hospital may use less crude slang, but mine didn't...
posted by mumimor at 2:23 PM on January 22, 2013


This is part of your plot to turn the entire world into Sterek shippers
posted by The Whelk at 2:26 PM on January 22, 2013


If you could elaborate on that, I'd appreciate it. I am mystified.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:27 PM on January 22, 2013


mumimor: For the actual birth, they had pity on me, and gave me a pudendum, but the needle hurt like fire.

the man of twists and turns: That may not be the word you are looking for.

mumimor: It is exactly the word I'm looking for. Welcome to the world of childbirth....Your local hospital may use less crude slang, but mine didn't...

Um... it really isn't the word you want, unless you're saying that they gave you external genitalia, because that's what pudenda means: external (usually referring to female) genitalia. I'd sure like to know how they gave you inner and outer labia and a clitoris... via needle.
posted by tzikeh at 2:27 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


3 kids. 1st labor 36 hours and c-section w/epidural. 2nd and 3rd at home with no drugs - 35 and 7 hours. Definitely worse than kidney stones - I've had several, one while pregnant.

The video was amusing - my 18 year old son watched with me and alternated groaning and giggling. Come to think of it that's about like the guys in the video. And yeah I'm definitely pro noise-making in labor.

Pudendal block I think... (never had one though)
posted by leslies at 2:30 PM on January 22, 2013


tzikeh FYI

Pudendal
posted by Catch at 2:30 PM on January 22, 2013


Let me give you a hand with that: I think she's using it as shorthand for "pudendal block".
posted by maudlin at 2:31 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Catch - then the word mumimor wants is "a pudendal," not "a pudendum." They are two very different things.
posted by tzikeh at 2:32 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's like saying "they gave me a colon" when what you mean is "they gave me a colonic."
posted by tzikeh at 2:34 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thank you, all, for the clarification.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:34 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


After reading the birth stories on here, and despite being anti-religious

*praises several deities that I am a man and will never have to go through it*

Why is it so painful and difficult? I thought evolution and nature were smart. So they can create an eye but not make childbirth easier?
posted by marienbad at 2:34 PM on January 22, 2013


Pedantil.
posted by Catch at 2:36 PM on January 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


We walk upright. Human pelvis evolved while moving on all fours. The opening is smaller as a result of upright posture. And we have big heads proportionally - price of a big brain. As is human babies are born immature compared to other primates so they fit.
posted by leslies at 2:37 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why is it so painful and difficult? I thought evolution and nature were smart. So they can create an eye but not make childbirth easier?

Evolution isn't smart in any sense of the word; it's just a process where what works well enough to live gets to stick around, under varying conditions of what "well enough to live" means. There's mammals for whom childbirth is seemingly a lot less drawn out and painful of an ordeal, but humans diverged genetically in a bunch of ways and it seems like childbirth being pretty notably unpleasant is an unlucky side effect of some otherwise pretty advantageous mutations. There's no reason for it, that's just the way shit shook out.
posted by cortex at 2:39 PM on January 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Marienbad: As long as it works, evolution is indifferent to suffering.

Edit: And what cortex said.
posted by bouvin at 2:40 PM on January 22, 2013


I thought evolution and nature were smart. So they can create an eye but not make childbirth easier?

Excuse me while I wipe coffee off my monitor. That evolution does stupid shit like making bipeds deliver the same way quadripeds do is an argument against "Intelligent Design." Then we basically gestate for a fourth trimester outside the mother, because otherwise our heads would be too damn big. This is why babies just sleep, eat and poop for the first three months. They are still cooking.

On preview, what leslies said.
posted by ambrosia at 2:41 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the answers - I am not proposing intelligent design, just that some stuff is amazing (eye) and some is pretty harsh.
posted by marienbad at 2:50 PM on January 22, 2013


What ALL of them said. Also, bear in mind that the only pressure is for babies to get born alive, NOT for Mom to enjoy it. There is a body of thought that says that the reason that human ovulation is covert as opposed to advertised, which is unique to us amongst primates, is that once we got smart enough to make the connection, women stopped willingly having sex during their fertile times because childbirth is such ass. Solution? Make the fertile times secret. (And, possibly, develop the female orgasm.)
posted by KathrynT at 2:51 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, (and thanks for the corrections - it's 14 years since I heard those docs talk over my head), the really important evolutionary knowledge here is: you need to stand up when you are in labour and give birth, as do most mammals.
But human culture has it that pregnancy and childbirth is a kind of disease, so you need to lie in bed like you always do when you are sick. This is basically wrong. You need to be on your feet, more than you need anything else.
Now I have to underline: throughout the ages, a huge number of women have died during labour - maybe 25 %. Today we have technologies and methods which save these women and their children. And there is no way that is not good. So I am not at all on the "natural childbirth" side of things. My post was more there to sooth the lucky people who are not within this group and say it will all be ok. Because pain is scary.
posted by mumimor at 2:51 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought evolution and nature were smart.

Well, actually it is amazing that the process works as well as it does. There are so many little things that make the whole thing possible. For example, a hormone is produced in the last part of pregnancy that actually softens the ligaments that hold the pelvis together so that it can actually spread a bit to make more room. (Of course, it also softens all the other ligaments, and no they don't tighten back up later, which can lead to fallen arches and other foot problems among other things.)

Plus it is amazing that the cervix can tighten up enough to hold in a 10 lb baby and then loosen up enough to allow the baby to pass through at all. Not to mention little extras, like repositioning. Most babies are in a position to deliver the head, then once the head is delivered the baby rotates into a different position to more effectively deliver the shoulders. (Unless it doesn't -- a friend had a 50 hour labor and her baby actually broke a collarbone in trying to get out.)

So evolution and nature were quite smart to make the whole thing work at all. Excruciating pain and occasional broken bones are not a factor in the process. (Note, all of my information is second hand, thank $Diety!)
posted by pbrim at 2:52 PM on January 22, 2013


"We walk upright. Human pelvis evolved while moving on all fours. The opening is smaller as a result of upright posture."

So are they still evolving and will it be way less painful in about 100,000 years time?
posted by marienbad at 2:52 PM on January 22, 2013


I think evolution, at least in these basic functions, pretty much stopped when we started being able to change our environment to suit our bodies rather than having to change our bodies to suit our environment. Besides, who picks their mates, or decides to have children, based on how easy the birth process is?
posted by pbrim at 2:55 PM on January 22, 2013


Weird detail: I grew a shoe-size during my last pregnancy, due to the ligament loosening thing. And now, 14 years later, it's suddenly moving back. I have no idea...
posted by mumimor at 2:57 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I know people who have chosen to stop at one child because of how difficult the birth was, actually.
posted by KathrynT at 2:57 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


It was certainly a major factor for me! Life is better when you can cough without feeling bits of your genitals literally ripping apart; I hope to continue this way in perpetuity.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:07 PM on January 22, 2013


So are they still evolving

It's a big, complicated question. Humans are still mutating, because genetic mutations are a natural part recombinant DNA and sexual reproduction, but we've managed to more or less put ourselves aside from traditional evolutionary pressures on survival and subsistence thanks to our clever brains—if you starve or freeze to death these days, it's because of systemic societal/cultural issues, not because the other animals are better hunters or whatever.

Without the question of survival and reproduction being one primarily of A/B testing two differing sets of genes under pressure, our genes aren't under the kind of constant passive scrutiny they were a million years ago.

and will it be way less painful in about 100,000 years time?

Only by chance or active human intervention or the peculiar state of humans being subjected once more to naturalistic evolutionary pressures (maybe after a nice global thermonuclear war, say) and less-painful childbirth somehow becoming the primary determining factor of why the Tribe of Bieber survives a couple generations longer than the Tribe of Gaga.
posted by cortex at 3:08 PM on January 22, 2013


Besides, who picks their mates, or decides to have children, based on how easy the birth process is?

Thankfully, no one I've ever met, otherwise my pumpkin headed ass would never get laid.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:11 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd say the kangaroos were (thus far) the big winners in the great mammalian birthing lottery.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:17 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


'That wasn't so bad.'

--My wife, superhero, after giving birth with exactly zero anesthesia.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:19 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Considering the speed at which he exited, maybe the baby was the superhero!
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:22 PM on January 22, 2013


Thus far his super power appears to be making hilarious grunting noises.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:25 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


<3 <3 <3 <3 He is the best little n00b

Uh, ahem, seriously though, if anything we're probably nudging birth towards being a bit more difficult and dangerous because we can save so many more mothers and babies now with cesearean sections, advanced pre-eclampsia treatment, etc.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:27 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


'That wasn't so bad.'

--My wife, superhero, after giving birth with exactly zero anesthesia.


Well, of course it wasn't too bad, compared to fighting off the herds of people trying to tattoo blue dinosaurs and race cars all over the little guy.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:29 PM on January 22, 2013


Then of course, they stuck it out for 2 hours, while an average first labour is apparently about ten hours

FORTY SEVEN. 36 of those were without an epidural.

Two hours to simulate what labor is like? That's pretty laughable. Really one of the worst parts of labor is how you have no idea how long this is going on. (Of course, it's also a blessing as if you'd told me ahead of time that this was going to last 47 hours, I would have lost it.)
posted by sonika at 3:56 PM on January 22, 2013


No lie - those average numbers are horrendous to think of when one is many hours more than that into it with no end in sight!
posted by leslies at 4:08 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know people who have chosen to stop at one child because of how difficult the birth was, actually.

Immediately after giving birth, I joked about how since the second birth is usually quicker, I could be in labor for a full twenty four hours next time and it would already be half as long. The response I received from my friends/family members was "You're seriously thinking about doing this AGAIN?"

Yeah. I don't scare easily. I was a big moaner/vocalizer during labor, but not a big curser. I didn't yell "FUCK" - I moaned "HURTY HURTY OW OW OW." As if I feared offending the nurses or something.

I also, upon arrival at triage, described my pain as an 8 on a scale of 1-10, despite it being the most pain I'd ever been in in my entire life - simply because I could *imagine* more pain. An hour later, I did indeed hit 10 in that yes, it hurt more, and no I couldn't imagine anything hurting more. Thankfully, this is also when I got the epidural, so I have no reports of hitting 11.

Though really, I have to say that I got the epidural because of the exhaustion - not the pain itself. I have epilepsy and ended up with a seizure from sleep deprivation after being up for 48hrs. (36 hrs labor + the time I'd been awake during the day before since my labor started in the afternoon.) That the contractions are a fucking force of nature and won't slow down so you can take a break and catch up a bit was harder to deal with than the pain. Had my labor been shorter, I wouldn't have gotten the epidural - mostly because I had a really hard time feeling where I was supposed to be pushing. "Stop pushing into your feet!" "I have feet?"
posted by sonika at 4:11 PM on January 22, 2013


My birthing background: I've gone into early labor because one of my kidneys shut down when I was pregnant, and they had to do stuff to hold it off. Both my kids were breech (1st: frank breech, with his legs straight out, 2nd: footling breech, with one of his legs in the birth canal). I had a planned c-section I was awake for, followed by the whole nearly dying of fever/infection thing (seriously, my immune system sucks), and an emergency c with the second when I reached 8 cm (with no meds).

That's just to explain a little about where I'm coming from.

After having my kids, I assumed that the actual pushing must be the "really bad" part of labor, the horror story pain stuff people talk about, because contractions were totally manageable for me. I was in the hospital having contractions after my water broke the second time around, and just my spouse and I were in the room, and he fell asleep. I was doing fine; I woke him up when the contractions started coming together and maxed out the monitor, and even then only because I figured we should probably tell someone. I was 8 cm and sure, you know, it was uncomfortable, but not agonizing or anything.

So it would always bug me when I saw sitcoms with women in labor screaming their heads off when they weren't even actually pushing yet, because I felt like, "Jeez, that's such a stereotypical sitcom thing, why do they always have women screaming the whole time! Nobody does that!"

But now I'm hearing women here say that, yes, their contractions were agonizing, and hell, yes they screamed their heads off before the pushing part came around; some of them even ended up having emergency C-sections like me and not doing the pushing part at all. But they still count that as labor (I honestly never felt fully comfortable with saying I was "in labor" for 10 hours before the C-section, because I felt like what I was doing must not be anywhere near as painful and difficult as giving birth vaginally).

And I also really never defined being "in labor" as the whole time you were having contractions. I guess I figured that you didn't even start considering it labor until you were in the hospital, which to me would be when the contractions were consistently, I guess, 3-4 minutes apart. That, to me, would be active labor.

So it seems I'm with mumimor on this; people both feel and define pain differently. And I think maybe my perspective on pain is skewed particularly weirdly, at that!

For me, I'd say kidney stuff us worse than labor. Feeling them cut me open was pretty scary and bad, too. So I really don't have any karmic desire to see men go through agonizing pain to simulate childbirth, because other than the kidney stuff/surgical complications, that wasn't my birth experience anyway.

Recovering after surgeries, now that was tough.
posted by misha at 4:14 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


when the contractions were consistently, I guess, 3-4 minutes apart. That, to me, would be active labor.

I will clarify: I had contractions every three minutes. For forty seven hours.
posted by sonika at 4:24 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


every three minutes. For forty seven hours.

Once again I am reminded that despite the pre-eclampsia and despite the burning magnesium stuff they put you on and the complete inability to use my hands the morning after surgery, my c-section was kind of a giant, awesome free pass.

I kind of hate to ruin my pain-avoiding record by having another kid.
posted by daisystomper at 4:52 PM on January 22, 2013


my c-section was kind of a giant, awesome free pass.

Eh, pros and cons. I wouldn't have minded a shorter labor, for sure, but the reason I went so long is that I viewed another "few" (HAAAA) hours of labor as "better" than recovering from surgery while having a newborn. I was totally wiped out after the birth, but I had a super easy recovery. Only three stitches, up and walking within an hour. So... pros and cons.

After five hours of pushing, I was told if I didn't have the baby within ten minutes, I'd have to have a c-section. He was out on the next push.
posted by sonika at 4:58 PM on January 22, 2013


Above was also mentioned that the guys *knew* that it would be over in 2 hours. That, to me, is a huge difference. If I'm on a treadmill at a speed that is hard for me to maintain, if I know how much longer I have to go for, it isn't as bad. I can distract myself for long enough to reach the goal.

But if you're in labor and you don't know if it'll be 5 hours or 50 hours?
posted by jillithd at 5:01 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Having had two kids after 35+ hours of labor, one by c-sec and one not I can unequivocally say that the recovery from a vaginal birth is far, far easier!
posted by leslies at 5:03 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The title of this thread has earwormed me with Rock With You all evening.

Also ha ha ha I will never have children, you are all suckers with your mangled genitalia and your no sleepings ever.
posted by elizardbits at 5:22 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Pudendum" is a funny word. It's Latin for "thing of which one is ashamed." It's kind of the most anti-feminist word ever for the female genitalia.
posted by koeselitz at 5:26 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


On the contrary I now sleep six times a day.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:49 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hell, I just fell asleep on a conference call. Fuck those guys anyway. ENTERTAIN ME.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:54 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


shakes does the baby have a job yet

why isn't he pulling his weight

why is he such a freeloading pastrami
posted by elizardbits at 6:04 PM on January 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


He just sits on the couch watching Better Off Ted all day so far.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:08 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I bet Veridian Dynamics would quote a good price for a healthy baby.
posted by The Whelk at 6:45 PM on January 22, 2013


I wouldn't call my genitals mangled. That implies a certain unattractive asymmetry. I prefer "reorganized".
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:50 PM on January 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


PS everyone who likes Better Off Ted has watched Andy Richter Controls the Universe, right?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:24 PM on January 22, 2013


Two, glorious, scheduled c-sections, never had a contraction....but I've had about 10 massive kidney stones since college so Karma has had her pain way with me.... Some people have told me they were worse than labor, some said not..... For me, they were bad enough.... and I loved my c-sections...
posted by pearlybob at 7:46 PM on January 22, 2013


The weird thing is that even with my ridiculous fast labors, my genitals never reorganized. Apparently mine is the perineum that can stretch not just around my daughter's neck, but also around the OB's hands and a pair of bandage scissors (we had an oh-shit moment as she was crowning and the cord had to be cut before she was born) without ripping like a store-brand kleenex.
posted by KathrynT at 7:49 PM on January 22, 2013


koeselitz , I believe 'pudendum' also refers to the male bits and pieces.

I've had 4 kids, seen 2 g'children born. Birth is scary, because you don't know how bad it's going to get. And it seems impossible. What the men in the experiment didn't feel, is their bodies....deconstructing, splitting, changing. And yet it all goes back into place after. Miracle, but scary at the time. But the guys only got half-way towards the experience.

Pain... different people have different pain thresholds. But I've never been more scared than when my kid had a bleed after the birth of her 9-pounder. Suddenly the room was filled with quiet, urgent people. She'd had an epidural - she really couldn't have stood the pain - and it was still harrowing to witness.
posted by glasseyes at 8:24 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like to think of my genitalia as "remodeled." It was an upgrade! Improved property values!
posted by sonika at 8:36 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like to think of my genitalia as "remodeled." It was an upgrade! Improved property values!

All the mod cons!
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 8:44 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


All I know is that the first time I cradled my kidneystone in my arms and rocked it to sleep was the happiest day of my life!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:36 PM on January 22, 2013


I remember a pregnant colleague only a few years ago asking the ladies in the office if it was true that pain relief was still forbidden during childbirth in the Netherlands.

For those wondering, as far as I know it never was, though of course there are quite a few people who argue that the miracle of childbirth should be as natural as possible and not diluted by unnecessary painkillers; furthermore childbirth can and often is done at home rather than in hospital, so for many "normal", uncomplicated deliveries, there isn't the kind of sedation/painkilling possible that you'd have in the US or the UK.

I think evolution, at least in these basic functions, pretty much stopped when we started being able to change our environment to suit our bodies rather than having to change our bodies to suit our environment.

Actually current evidence shows evolution in humans has speeded up, not slowed down, in the past 50,000 years or so.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:16 AM on January 23, 2013


Yikes, sonika! I can't even imagine doing something I loved for 47 hours straight (she says, awake at 3:37 in the morning because that design just had to be so, so perfect.)

Another thing about the video that's not working for me is that women don't exactly go into labor ready to run a marathon. Maybe you exercised and ate right for the entire nine months, but you're still carrying around, what, probably 25-35 pounds of pregnancy weight? You can't get comfortable, and the contractions get you up in the wee hours of the morning, so you're running on little to no rest when the time comes, too.

Maybe they should have had the guys load up on carbs for nine months, and then ambush them in the middle of the night, ninja-style, is what I guess I'm saying here.

Though it would be awesome if you could choose exactly the right moment to give birth: "Okay, I've had all the rest I need and I've eaten my fill, go ahead and start those contractions now. I'd like to get this thing done in the next couple hours."
posted by misha at 1:10 AM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ths is why babies just sleep, eat and poop for the first three months. They are still cooking.

=O

Carry-over heat! Cook baby in oven, then set out to rest.

The next time I hear someone cooing over a newborn I'm just going to think, "Whatever, it's not even ready yet. And did you taste it while you were cooking?"

They always forget to taste while cooking.

/watching too many trashy cooking "competition" shows
posted by curious nu at 6:47 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Though it would be awesome if you could choose exactly the right moment to give birth: "Okay, I've had all the rest I need and I've eaten my fill, go ahead and start those contractions now. I'd like to get this thing done in the next couple hours."

For most full-term pregnant women, any moment is the right moment to give birth. Uncomfortable only BARELY begins to describe not having space for your internal organs, peeing every three minutes without ever fully emptying your bladder, peeing a little whenever you laugh or sneeze, not being able to put on your own socks (in February! In one of the snowiest New England winters!), having your ribcage ache from someone else's bony ass wedged in your liver, being hungry all the time but full after three bites because your stomach no longer really exists...

I went into labor four days before my due date and earlier that day I had practically cried that I was going to be pregnant forever. The last month of pregnancy is so awful that "the worst pain of my life for an amount of time ending with NOT BEING PREGNANT ANYMORE" sounds awesome. Seriously, labor looks better and better because one of the greatest things about giving birth is that you're not pregnant anymore!

At the end of those 47hrs I could pee normally and sleep on my stomach again and put on my socks and eat a whole meal and no one was kicking my diaphragm. Worth it.

So, yeah, the incentive to STOP BEING PREGNANT NOW helps with the pain. A lot.
posted by sonika at 6:59 AM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, yeah, the incentive to STOP BEING PREGNANT NOW helps with the pain. A lot.

So does the BABY. ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 7:30 AM on January 23, 2013


Then a female nurse came on duty and I had to chuckle (despite my own discomfort) when Kidney Stone emitted yet another glass-shattering moan of pain...from what I could overhear she'd checked his vitals and his med schedule and when he verbalized the pain he was experiencing and wasn't there something she could do, her only comment was "Try having a baby sometime."

I have given birth (unmedicated) and passed a kidney stone (on morphine), and passing the kidney stone was worse.
posted by amro at 7:37 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not to mention the fact that after childbirth I ended up with an adorable baby, and I never even got to see that kidney stone.
posted by amro at 7:57 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes but on the other hand you will not have to put that kidney stone through college.
posted by elizardbits at 7:59 AM on January 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Maybe your kidney stone is an underachiever, but mine graduated Magma Sum Louder.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:40 AM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is not the thread to read while 19 weeks pregnant. 42 hours!
posted by Jilder at 9:18 AM on January 23, 2013


42 hours!

So my OB told me that the average labor for first-time deliveries is 12 hours. Which means that for every outlier at 42 hours, you also have the outliers at, uh, 3.

You just never know. But it might be useful to quiz your female relatives about their birthing experiences. If I'd known my sister's contractions never reached a minute long, I might have not thought "eh, plenty of time, let me just take a shower first."
posted by ambrosia at 9:34 AM on January 23, 2013


Just don't get a kidney stone and you'll be fine. :)
posted by amro at 9:34 AM on January 23, 2013


42 hours!

Mine was 8 hours from the time I got to the hospital (4 cm dilated). But I remember asking the nurse how you calculate how long your labor is.... I mean, my contractions began the night before, so if you were going to start counting then, labor was about 18 hours. I think some women (not all!) may count from the start of their contractions and so it seems like a higher number.

FWIW, the nurse didn't really have a good answer for me, so I just started counting from when I arrived at the hospital.
posted by amro at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]



As someone who has never given birth, but had an untreated kidney stone for 18 months,

YOU THINK YOU'RE HARD, CHILDBIRTH? COME AT ME BRO!


Less than 24 hours after writing this, I deeply and sincerely regret poking the slumbering ferret of of fate with the pointy stick of annoyance.

posted by zippy at 10:13 AM on January 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


74 hours of labor over here, completely unmedicated, 11 hours of pushing. The pain was not the difficult part at all. It really didn't hurt THAT much, though if you do anything for long enough, it just becomes the new normal I guess. The hard part was not sleeping for 3+ days and not knowing when it was going to END. I remember, shortly before my son was finally born (so it was maybe 10:30am and I had been pushing since midnight) that I maybe had another hour in me, but I didn't think I had another 2 or 3. That was way worse than the pain.

But then he was born! And it was very surreal. I tell you, extreme sleep deprivation is like nothing else on earth. The hallucinations! I saw snakes and owls in his hair. They changed from purple to blue to green. They laid him on my chest so we could all "get some sleep" and after five minutes I was like, can you take this baby? Because right now, getting some decent sleep seems way more miraculous than this tiny little creature we made.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:24 AM on January 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, yeah, the incentive to STOP BEING PREGNANT NOW helps with the pain. A lot.

So does the BABY. ;)


I was very intentional in my wording - I was trying to be inclusive of women who give birth but do not take the baby home - gestational surrogates, mothers whose babies are adopted, etc. While it's true that the baby is an AMAZING thing and the majority of pregnant women go on to a mothering career, it's not universal and I was trying to respect that while talking about the experience of waiting for labor, which IS universal among full term pregnant women.

posted by sonika at 10:34 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


42 hours!

My wife woke up the morning of the 8th (at 38 weeks) having what she thought were Braxton Hicks contractions, went to her weekly checkup, and the doctor told her to report to the hospital pronto. When we got there were in triage for twenty minutes or so, went up to delivery, hung out in delivery for maybe another twenty minutes and then the doctors told her to start pushing. 45 minutes later, baby.

This isn't typical, of course, but 42 hours is no guarantee either. And the duration of labor doesn't mean duration of pushing-- or even duration of active labor.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:42 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


rabbitrabbit: Seventy waaaaaaah?

I'm just going to back away from the computer for a while. At least I know that with the lovely socialist health care over here I can hope for a c section well before that point. Jesus.
posted by Jilder at 11:18 AM on January 23, 2013


I think, like differing pain thresholds, people want different things from their birth experiences. It was important to me to avoid a c-section and drugs if I could, and I felt that it was worth it. Recovering from that level of sleep deprivation was, in my opinion, easier than recovering from major abdominal surgery. And I also have a hell of a birth story.

But it is definitely not for everyone. I have a friend who gave birth a couple months before I did, and I heard her birth story about epidurals and forceps and pushy doctors and nurses and was like, wow, that sounds horrible. And she heard MY birth story and thought the same thing! But we both had the births we (mostly) wanted, and our babies were both fine, so yay! We had options and we were happy with the outcomes!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:28 AM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow, eleven hours of pushing?! Isn't there concern for oxygen for the baby at that point, in addition to a severely exhausted new Mom? Thank goodness you're all okay!

Childbirth is just a scary thing because it's always the unknown. Sure, people have babies all the time, but there are so many things that could go wrong that you can obsess about that. And, you know, stuff does go all wahooni-shaped sometimes. But, even with these stories here, where no, it wasn't perfect, they all worked out in the end.

My niece had some stuff going on where it appeared she might have a problematic pregnancy and have to deliver through C-section. In reality, she went into labor Christmas morning (3 days before her due date! Woot!), and gave birth Christmas evening with no problems. Her little girl is adorable!

And shakespeherian, even you couldn't have written a better birth story than the one you and your wife actually experienced. That's fabulous.

So, Jilder, if you come back and read this, that's probably the best place to start from when you think about giving birth: plan for what you can, but accept that you can't plan for everything. So have an advocate to speak up for you--could be your partner, could be a doula, whoever you trust, so that if something unexpected happens in the delivery room, and you're feeling overwhelmed, you've got it covered.

And remember, the vast majority of women--and babies--come out of this just fine!

Yay, babies!
posted by misha at 11:58 AM on January 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow, eleven hours of pushing?! Isn't there concern for oxygen for the baby at that point, in addition to a severely exhausted new Mom? Thank goodness you're all okay!

My baby's vitals were fine the whole time; if they weren't of course we would have transferred to a nearby hospital for intervention.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:03 PM on January 23, 2013


But it is definitely not for everyone. I have a friend who gave birth a couple months before I did, and I heard her birth story about epidurals and forceps and pushy doctors and nurses and was like, wow, that sounds horrible. And she heard MY birth story and thought the same thing! But we both had the births we (mostly) wanted, and our babies were both fine, so yay! We had options and we were happy with the outcomes!

Yes, exactly. I needed the epidural to sleep for seizure management, and it was more important to me to avoid a c-section as I plan to have another kid someday and didn't want a VBAC if I didn't have to (or a repeat c-section). So, my birth was natural as long as I could and intervention when I needed it. My support team was amazing, I never had anyone push anything on me that I wasn't ok with, if I asked for something, I got it. It was long, but we made it through - fetus was never in distress, he was just positioned all weird so it took him longer to make his way through the birth canal. So I hadn't wanted an epidural, but I valued a vagnal birth more and getting that made it so worth it.

My mom used to work as an L&D nurse and has said she's never seen the same birth twice - even with the same woman, each time the circumstances and how things unfold are different.
posted by sonika at 2:11 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like to think of my genitalia as "remodeled." It was an upgrade! Improved property values!

A note from experience. In the light-headed happy state of relief post-partum, it is easy to make social gaffes.
Doctors do not appreciate jokes about 'the husband's knot' while stitching. Well, mine didn't.
posted by Catch at 2:29 PM on January 23, 2013


Some of them do! Some of them MAKE that joke. Some of them aren't joking, even. *grr*
posted by KathrynT at 2:31 PM on January 23, 2013


I didn't even know that was a thing and now I don't want to know because I think if I did, I would have a HULK SMASH moment. Or two.
posted by sonika at 2:41 PM on January 23, 2013


The actual process of child-birth is a very small part of most women's life. We all love to share stories because it's wild, but don't worry too much about it unless you live in the Amazon jungle 500 miles from the nearest clinic. Or if you have no health insurance.
Another thing is sex after birth. Your private parts will look different, that is for sure. But there is no reason they should function differently at all - that is entirely up to you. You may even have a better sex-life after child-birth. But you need to take responsibility for it yourself.
posted by mumimor at 2:59 PM on January 23, 2013


rabbitrabbit, I hope you didn't read my comment as criticizing your (very personal, and entirely yours to make) childbirth decisions, because I did not intend that at all. You are a trooper for pushing (pun intended) through the experience the way you did and sticking with the birth plan you wanted.

Remember, I have two kids and yet never got to the pushing stage! So I don't have much of frame of reference for how it all plays out. Since I know that once the baby's descended into the birth canal oxygen is a concern, I was just surprised that didn't come into play with all that time pushing.

Anyway, no criticism at all intended, just me working stuff out in my head. :)
posted by misha at 3:35 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


My 10-pound kid was theoretically two weeks early, which was pretty funny. I too had the "I'm going home now" moment, because they decided to induce me for no particular reason, which makes the contractions nastier. Plus a good rip in the perineum and a retained placenta that required knocking me out after the baby was born (faint memory of saying, "That's the worst pain I've ever had in my life," whereupon they gave up on laughing gas and knocked me out). I stopped at one after that. One kid is nice. It's really cool having her around, now that she's finishing her Ph.D. and is kind to her mother. I can't remember any bad parts.
posted by Peach at 7:00 PM on January 23, 2013


The actual process of child-birth is a very small part of most women's life. We all love to share stories because it's wild, but don't worry too much about it unless you live in the Amazon jungle 500 miles from the nearest clinic.

That reminds me of people who said "six weeks of childbirth classes?! for one day?!?! why not spend the time learning how to diaper, swaddling, or make baby food?" etc.

You get (about) 5,000 chances to learn how to diaper correctly (it takes about 2-3 times, even for cloth diapers (no pins these days)). Baby food is mashed food. And swaddling? ... well, swaddling is for fools and fascists (I kid).

You get one chance to give birth (well, one for each child). Yes, it's a very small part of our lives, but for many people it is also obviously one of the most important days of our lives, if not the most important.

You may even have a better sex-life after child-birth.

I'd say your private parts are the very LEAST of your sexual concerns. Try romancing your husband when just five minutes ago you told him you hate the way he parents. It don't work.

Parenting is something that you cannot prepare for. Nobody can predict what the issues are going to be (of which there are a jillion possibilities). Childbirth, you definitely can prepare for. And things can move fucking fast in the delivery room. If you go in not knowing what Pit or monitors are, jeez, I'd be terrified. Everyone's different (i.e. birth videos can stress out people, while I can't get enough), but I highly recommend a long and detailed childbirth class that prevents a range (hypnobirthing, lamaze, etc.) of strategies for pain management even if you "know" you want an epidural.

And yeah, I think for most moms, it really isn't that wild. It certainly hurts like a mofo, but it's a different kind of pain. And there's a baby at the end. That's the whole point, of course, but man it's a rough trip for mom. Give her all the support she needs, I say.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:49 AM on January 24, 2013


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