Do Labor Pains Really Hurt?

woman in labor

I had a perfect pregnancy. I gained less than 20 pounds. My baby passed all the pre-natal tests with flying colors. I exercised often, ate well, got plenty of sleep, drank lots of water, and loved the feeling of my baby boy rolling around in my belly. I had but a fleeting moment of morning sickness and had no indigestion and very little discomfort up until the very last days.


I really loved being pregnant. I was the star pupil in my child-birthing classes. I answered every question with pre-researched answers. I was attentive, eager, and sure that birthing my baby would be a breeze. I drew strength from watching an Easing Labor Pains video on CafeMom and imagined the labor and delivery nurses telling me I was the strongest, bravest, and quietest mother they had ever met.

In what turned out to be a prime example of “the best laid plans,” my water broke on a snowy February morning. It was a full week early (I was certain I would give birth on my exact due date, so perfect was my pregnancy) and my doctor told me to head to the hospital but not to rush since I hadn’t had any contractions yet.

Twenty-four hours later, I still hadn’t had any contractions. That’s when they started with the Pitocin. And that’s when the contractions began.

“There’s no way it can get worse than this!” I panted somewhere between the eighth and ninth contractions. Or maybe it was between the eighteenth and nineteenth.

“Oh, honey,” the kind-meaning nurse said, squeezing my hand. “You haven’t even begun to feel the pain.”

It wasn’t long after that conversation, and my ensuing pleads for an epidural, that the doctor determined a C-section was the way to go. I had stopped dilating at a mere three centimeters.

My first thought was that I had failed in my perfect pregnancy. But, one pang later, that thought was replaced with “Get this baby out of me NOW!”

After the surgery, as I sat propped up in the recovery room holding my son, I felt nothing but happiness.

“This is the way to go,” I said to a former C-section friend. “There’s no pain at all. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t just schedule cesareans and call it a day!”

I could hear her smiling silently on the other end of the phone and found out why when the anesthesia wore off.

But still, I went on to have another baby and had a completely different birthing experience.

Do labor pains really hurt? Of course they do. But just keep in mind that they can’t be that bad or so many people wouldn’t have second and third and fourth babies. And because you are a woman, you know you’ll get through it. You’ll forget every second of the pain because it is instantly replaced with a lifetime of joy.

What’s your biggest fear in giving birth?

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