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Old Nov 20, 06, 9:32 am   #1
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Childbirth and kidney stones - how do they compare?

The doctor I saw in Japan last month said the pain you get when passing kidney stones is comparable to being in labour.

As I'm yet to be a mother, I'm intensely curious to know if this is correct.

Is there anyone who's gone through both who's prepared to back up or quelch this claim?

It won't be very comforting if it's true, but it would be kind of reassuring to know.

Thanks!
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Old Nov 20, 06, 9:39 am   #2
 
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Not even close! Was it a male doctor? Maybe for little bitty Japanese babies not the big ones I had - from 8 up to 10lbs 1 oz
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Old Nov 20, 06, 9:41 am   #3
 
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Don't forget that "ittybitty Japanese babies" come from "ittybitty" Japanese women.
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Old Nov 20, 06, 9:54 am   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseygirl
Not even close! Was it a male doctor? Maybe for little bitty Japanese babies not the big ones I had - from 8 up to 10lbs 1 oz
One of my stones was an itty bitty 4mm x 5mm.

What size was yours?

(And my husband was never an itty bitty baby either - not only does he have the shoulders of a 6foot 5" rugby/american football player, his head is too big for most European hats - come to think of it, my last female Japanese flatmate also had a head that couldn't squeeze into any winter hats either.... I ended up making her one).

Last edited by LapLap; Nov 20, 06 at 10:01 am. Reason: Had more than one
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Old Nov 20, 06, 10:51 am   #5
 
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They are both incredibly painful - hard to compare, as I finally got an epidural for labor and after hours of pain from the stones and not knowing what I was dying from (!) they gave me morphine. Neither experience do I ever want to go through again I imagine stones have got to be even worse for men, so.....
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Old Nov 20, 06, 11:04 am   #6
 
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well, I'll tell you this: I didn't pass out cold from the pain of childbirth...but I sure did from the pain of kidney stones! Out cold on the floor until DH wacked me in the head trying to open the bathroom door to see what that thud was. I had two lovely black eyes for weeks.

I would say the pain is comparable/very similar to labor--though not necessarily comparable to the moment of actually birthing a head. That has a feeling all it's own.
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Old Nov 20, 06, 11:10 am   #7
 
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Just wanted to add how much pain you are in with kidney stones depends on the size of the stone and other factors. My worst pain (decribed above) was when I moved a large stone from my kidney down towards my bladder where it got stuck in the ureter. I had to have surgery to remove the stone--but it passed miraculously with no pain or even notice from me before the surgery.

So, it's variable. I would say it's the pain up near your kidneys that is the worst and most like labor...I think actually passing the stone out of you body is not like birthing a baby's body at all (though I am sure it's still plenty painful for some). Good luck with both of those things.
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Old Nov 20, 06, 11:16 am   #8
 
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Well, I've experienced childbirth twice, but never stones. However, very recently my 22 year old son came to me telling me he didn't feel very good at all....within an hour, he was doubled over, sweating, puking, etc....we ended up in the emergency room, and the nurse (female) said that even women will admit that stones are worse. She said that is most likely true, because a female body is made to expand for childbirth, while uretheas are not so flexible. Also, stones can be very jagged. Just what the ER nurse told us, for what it's worth. My childbirthing experience the first time I would say that NOTHING was worse...the second one though (drugs, drugs, drugs) was a breeze. But, like I said...no stones for me, thank God...I don't want to know!
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Old Nov 21, 06, 8:54 am   #9
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Thank you all for your considered and honest replies. I really value them.

I've had problems with sciatica for a while, when the kidney stone pain was at its peak I remember that after my injection of whatever the narcotic was (which made me hurl my guts out - not that I minded...) I realised that I couldn't feel the aching nerve down my leg anymore.

Even so, the pain in the ureta was still very much in evidence despite the opiate (it was perhaps toned down from high pitched shriek to a loud shrill wail), and I know this means the kidney stone pain was pretty bad if such a strong drug hardly made a dent in it.

One thing that has completely evaporated is my delusion that kidney stones are little round pebble like things shaped like kidneys. Oh no, they're sharp and serrated and cause horrible damage on their way out, gauging your tubes along the way, making them bleed and causing infection. When my husband saw the one stone I was able to capture he commented that it looked like a Ninja morning star (the razor edged metal disks that they throw at each other in martial arts movies).

Another misconception gone is that it isn't just one round of pain. The stones go from the Kidney to the bladder (which was the excruciating part for me) and then from the bladder to the outside world (in my case nearly 2 weeks later - hardly noticeable in comparison to the first leg, apart from the infection). The first part of the stone's oddyssey must be just as painful for women as for men.

And another is that kidney stones are exclusively a mens health issue.

Only other thing I've experienced where the pain was comparable to having kidney stones was when I had the calf muscle in my leg stitched after slicing it as a 13 year old. It didn't hurt at all at the time - but my efforts to walk on it (in order to excersize the muscle and prevent my getting a limp) were pure agony. I still wonder where I dredged up the force of will from. Especially as, so soon after passing some stones, I'm finding it hard to up my liquid intake. My mum always used to complain that I didn't drink enough water. Now I know she was absolutely right .


jerseygirl, have you really had kidney stones and find they can be dismissed so easily? Or should I be really REALLY frightened about having a baby? I don't think you realise how terrifying your post is!
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Old Nov 21, 06, 9:03 am   #10
 
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Don't know about the pain but the payoff is much better with childbirth!
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Old Nov 21, 06, 9:56 am   #11
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Don't know about stones but the amazing thing about giving birth (without drugs) is the pain stops immediately when the baby is out. A bit more for the afterbirth and that's it. It's not like menstrual cramps that finally fade away. And it's bad, but not that bad. After all, you know it's going to end soon, one way or another. The stones sound like something much worse.
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Old Nov 21, 06, 12:34 pm   #12
 
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I didn't want to scare anyone even more, but after your description of it getting stuck in your ureter, I feel it's time...

Mine got stuck, then passed. A while later, I still didn't feel well - like a really bad kidney infection & was basically miserable for weeks. Kept going to the doctor & at first he said I was fine, then decided to put a stent in. That was another nightmare - they wishboned me so much on the table that they ripped groin muscles, so I couldn't walk, along with literally feeling the stent inside of me & still felling like sh*t.

Decided it was time to go to another doctor & he did an IVP & told me where the stent was wasn't doing any good, as my ureter had scarred over & was totally closed above it. Was basically in uremic poisoning & that's why I felt so bad. Scheduled ureteral repair surgery, which was highly unusual for a 33 year old female. Ended up having to have emergency surgery before that, as I woke up in so much pain one day I thought the end was near - and I was home alone with a 3 year old.

After 8 days in the hospital, my scar is huge & wraps around my waist & the recovery from that was much longer than I ever imagined or anyone warned me.

Moral of the story - if you've had kidney stones & still don't feel well, insist on an IVP (or whatever the modern equivalent is - this was all 12 years ago) & make sure your ureter isn't scarring & closing.
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Old Nov 21, 06, 1:09 pm   #13
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I've never had kidney stones but I've had 3 unmedicated births. The pain of childbirth is a moving a piano/running a marathon kind of pain rather than a walking over hot coals kind of pain. If you think of it as getting work done rather than suffering it helps a lot.
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Old Nov 21, 06, 2:27 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LapLap
Thank you all for your considered and honest replies. I really value them.


jerseygirl, have you really had kidney stones and find they can be dismissed so easily? Or should I be really REALLY frightened about having a baby? I don't think you realise how terrifying your post is!
yes, i did have one kidney stone - maybe it was small but had a day of acute pain

for the babies, yes, i had big babies, 2 8 pounders with induction (one took 3 days due to some health problems with baby) and son # one was 10 lbs 1 oz (a whopper!). Demerol didn't touch pain, just made me not emotionally care about the pain (an effect of opiates). Did not want epidurals or could not in 1

Yeah, it's not pleasant to go through at the time but women have and continue to be able to deal with it -also it was worth it for the great kids we have
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Old Nov 21, 06, 3:05 pm   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseygirl
Demerol didn't touch pain, just made me not emotionally care about the pain (an effect of opiates).
Ahhh, that's how it worked! I'm sure that's the stuff I was injected with. (Did get rid of the sciatica temporarily though).

Thanks for the response!
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