My midwife and antenatal class had recommended a TENS for non-medical pain relief (avoiding medical interventions was my strong preference, given how light headed morphine can make me and how keen I was to labour in the birthing pool, which would not be possible with an epidural). I looked into a couple of hire services online and am so glad that I chose Natal Care - the machine arrived promptly, was very easy to set up and test, and it was a great relief that it came with a return envelope so I knew sending it back would be a streamlined process.
When the day came I'd had 30-odd hours of non-painful contractions before my waters broke at 9.30pm. My husband and I continued watching a movie, but by the time it finished an hour later it was clear that I was definitely in labour. We moved to the bedroom and set up the TENS on my back.
Having a task to complete as each contraction came, rose, and subsided was terrific for my concentration - it really helped me focus on what my body was doing and gave my conscious mind a task to complete that it knew would help the process.
Within three hours my contractions were fast and strong, and I was relieved to find that the TENS pads were sticky enough to withstand putting on my shoes and coat and the drive to the hospital.
By the time we arrived I was 6cm dilated. I kept the TENS on while the birthing pool was filling and then reluctantly relinquished the device.
By that point my body knew how to handle the contractions and I could feel the progress baby was making towards being born. I was calm and knew the pain was worthwhile.
I'm certain that beginning my labour with the control that the TENS machine gave me kept me in that positive headspace. Happily that lasted until after baby was born at 5:30am.
- Rebecca T and baby Sam