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Why Decide on Getting an Epidural BEFORE Labor? - Page 2

post #21 of 123
Or how about this reason:

You've researched and weighed your options and you are making the best informed decision for yourself.

Not everything people do that we don't agree with is because they are misinformed or downright dumb.
post #22 of 123
Quote:
Because every friend you know IRL (i.e. not on MDC) who experienced both natural and epi births said they would always choose the epi in the future. Because even the ones whose labors went too fast for the epi said they wished they'd asked for it in time.
I don't think I know you IRL, but I've had both and I would choose my natural birth every time.

Quote:
How's about: because I know how I deal with pain and I don't want to deal with the pain of labor, which is - from all accounts - going to be worse than any pain I have yet encountered.
This is the part I don't understand at all. They don't know this. They don't know that their birth will even be painful. Mine was not (at least, my natural birth was not, but my epi birth was). Everyone's experience is so different. It may be the most painful experience of your life, but it also may not be ...it could actually be enjoyable. You just don't know until you have BTDT.

The sexual/emotional abuse, I can understand. I do understand that there are reasons people do the things they do ...so I'm not saying all cases.

However, to get one when you simply assume it will be painful bothers me. Your birth may not be painful at all. Epi can lead to so many other complications too. Why not wait and see what your labor is like before deciding?
post #23 of 123
Quote:
Not everything people do that we don't agree with is because they are misinformed or downright dumb.
Did someone say that here?

The OP was just asking the question about something she, personally, doesn't understand the reasoning behind.
post #24 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baby_Vol View Post
However, to get one when you simply assume it will be painful bothers me. Your birth may not be painful at all. Epi can lead to so many other complications too. Why not wait and see what your labor is like before deciding?
But the thing is they do experience labor. Everyone has to at one point because you can't just walk in and demand an epidural not being in labor. So really they are waiting and seeing because they can't have a pre-labor epidural.

ETA- if we can ask the above question than we can ask why NOT decide to have one if you don't know how it is going to be? Often times you hear because you just know it is what your body is meant for, the complications of the epidural, etc etc but really the same can be said for choosing to have one- because you know you won't be able to handle the pain, because emotionally/mentally you know that being in that situation could cause long-term issues, and on and on. Really first time moms don't know period either choosing outright to have one or not. It's a double standard to only question those going into it wanting the epidural when not wanting one can be viewed the same.
post #25 of 123
I think people have many reasons. Some I agree with, some I don't, but I think it's very important to recognize that what constitutes an empowering, satisfying birth experience for one woman can be a horrendous trauma to another. This goes both ways - I would avoid a c-section except to save the life of the baby, but my friend who had 5 kids including an unmedicated vaginal twin birth (which would have made me feel like Superwoman) said her c-section under general anesthesia was her favorite birth of all...

Some very good reasons to choose an epidural in advance, in my opinion, include:
- a history of sexual abuse or trauma. Unmedicated birth can be a very deep experience, and it can unleash body memory and emotion that a woman might not want to revisit.
- Not wanting to have the birth in an altered state of consciousness. Some women see birth as a rite of passage, and they want to be in that other endorphin-rush head space. Some women want to be able to carry on a normal conversation with their husbands and enjoy the birth a little bit more as what I might call a "spectator-participant". One level of remove from the birth so that they can experience it with a partner might be preferable to 'going natural', especially if they are fond of being in control and know that a natural birth will wig them out and they will get in the way of their own labor process.
- Having had a prior natural childbirth that was so long, painful, and hard to deal with that you are afraid to do it again. Again, if the fear will get in the way of your ability to relax and let your body do its work, and if you know you are that scared, it's going to make your birth more satisfying and less traumatic to get the anesthesia and let your body do its work.
post #26 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyS View Post
I have seen many, many women describe the worst part of their labor/birth experience as the stitches afterwards. And, I know that, even with a 4th degree tear, most practitioners and anesthesiologists are reluctant to give an epidural just for repair.
Don't they usually give a local anesthetic for the stitches? I know they did for me. Why would they sew it up without any anesthetic? That's weird.
post #27 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplemoon View Post
No, it isn't demeaning at all.
But the way moms who choose an epidural are often described here at MDC is most certainly demeaning.
post #28 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullfrog View Post
Or how about this reason:

You've researched and weighed your options and you are making the best informed decision for yourself.

Not everything people do that we don't agree with is because they are misinformed or downright dumb.
But you can't "research" how labor will feel. You just can't. You can't know in advance how painful it will be for you. It could totally be manageable! You just can't know in advance.

So... people who decide in advance they absolutely, definitely will have the epi MUST be "assuming" that it will be too painful to handle. In that case, I actually would call them "misinformed" because sometimes labor is not painful at all! (Yes, it seems rare, but it IS possible.) So to say with certainty, "My labor will be too painful to me to endure." is sorta misinformed.

ALthough, as others have said, I totally understand about abuse survivors - that is indeed something I hadn't thought of. KCparker also makes an excellent point about wanting to be present mentally & able to hold conversations. That's another point I hadn't thought of.
(Although, personally, I was what I'd describe as mentally "lucid" - clear enough to make small talk between ctrx, remember nurses names, etc.)
post #29 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
But you can't "research" how labor will feel. You just can't. You can't know in advance how painful it will be for you. It could totally be manageable! You just can't know in advance.

So... people who decide in advance they absolutely, definitely will have the epi MUST be "assuming" that it will be too painful to handle. In that case, I actually would call them "misinformed" because sometimes labor is not painful at all! (Yes, it seems rare, but it IS possible.) So to say with certainty, "My labor will be too painful to me to endure." is sorta misinformed.
Again then the same can be said for those who chose NOT to get the epidural. In both cases mama is misinformed and making assumptions based on something she has no experience in.
post #30 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by momtoluke View Post
Hmmm, I don't think it's sad that a woman would choose well before she's had a baby to have an epidural. It's her choice to make and maybe your assertion is correct in that all women do not value the journey that is childbirth. So what?
Good question.. yes, so what? why do I care & why do I say it's "sad"?

Well, first, How can you decide you "do not value the journey that is childbirth" before you've even been there? I dont' get it. Growing up, my Mom always told me, "Don't knock it until you've tried it." ALthough, I totally understand about abuse survivors - that is a reason I hadn't thought of.

But, the biggest thing is that, going back to my list in the OP:
1. It's simply not true that epidurals are risk free.
2. It's simply not true that birth is always horribly awfully painful. I know I'm not the only Mama who says, "Yeah, it was painful, but the majority was just cramps- it was only really bad in transition for about 90 minutes & even then I could cope, had a break between ctrx, etc."
3. There is value in feeling childbirth! As others said- it's basic physiology about the feedback mechanisms, the high, etc.

So it makes me sad that people believe falsehoods.
(Yes, I know many women are fully informed when deciding on the epi in advance, but it seems more common that many believe those above 3 falsehoods.)

The other thing is that: I feel like epidurals are a "gateway" to fully medicalized childbirth - which too often is damaging to both Mama & baby. It just seems that too often it leads to a whole cascade of interventions that are damaging all around & that's sad.

The advanced, automatic, pre-labor desire of an epi for me is also demonstrative of the whole sick cultural perception of birth --> it's horrific, awful & dangerous & we need to place ourselves in the hands of Docs to take care of it, the way we would place ourselves in a docs' hands when we need surgery.

That's another part of why I care... I feel like if people question the epidural. they may start to question all the other medical 'management' of birth... which needs to start happening more frequently so we can get evidenced based care!
I.e. taking the viewpoint that: "Hey, maybe the pain level can be manageable & if it stays at a "Manageable" level, I'll forgo the epi since it does have risks"

But opting for an epi means you relinquish some control of your birth experience - and handing over full control to your HCPs in America today... well... let's just say : (Of course, the epi itself isn't to blame here or anything, I'm just sayin' - it's the atrocious whole state of maternity care in America that I care about.)
post #31 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCMoulton View Post
But the way moms who choose an epidural are often described here at MDC is most certainly demeaning.
Yup and we really must stop that if we want to return birth to women. We need to be supportive of WOMEN regardless.
post #32 of 123
I think it's sad that women who do choose epidurals are judged so harshly. Not everyone is misinformed or ignorant. I walked into my OB appointment with my first baby and had all hopes of having the birth I wanted and researched for the year it took me to conceive dashed. My only requirement was that I wanted a female care provider and they were all booked to the point that my OB was the only one with an opening for months. She dashed my hopes of walking during labor (If you want to walk around with your tail hanging out for all the other fathers to see, that's up to you), of using a birth pool (didn't have one at the hospital), of using the shower (it's for everyone, not just for you), of going meds free (I've given birth before, you haven't. Take the epidural and do it my way). I left in tears. Back then I was a lot less assertive than I am now and though I'm still passive aggressive, I don't get bullied so easily these days. My OB didn't tell me there was ANY risks involved in taking an epidural and to this day claims that the back pain I had for MONTHS is not at all related to the epidural. No, I didn't go back and research further after being completely devistated. All it means is that my caregiver had ONE way of doing things and she wasn't prepared to compromise it for any of her patients. :
post #33 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
Again then the same can be said for those who chose NOT to get the epidural. In both cases mama is misinformed and making assumptions based on something she has no experience in.
I don't know, I don't quite see it this way. There are so many reasons NOT to get the epidural. Aside from medical issues, personally, I was HORRIFIED at the idea of not being in control of my own body & I thought that would haunt & traumatize me.

However, I do see the value in being flexible... i.e. planning for & preparing for NCB, but considering medical intervention if a problem arises (i.e. worse-than-normal pain due to malpositioned baby (so no break in the pain between ctrx) or prolonged labor where Mama gets exhausted, etc.

But...aren't those things unusual? So what's wrong with planning NCB if things stay within the realm of "normal" & when labor deviates from normal, then you reevaluate & look to medical intervention (including epidural?)

Besides, as others have said, you can't get an epi immediately & they do fail (I'd never heard they fail as often as 15% of the time! Wow!) So everyone should be "prepared" for NCB anyway, right?

I don't see how planning to go natural is the same as planning an epi for first-time-Moms since they haven't BTDT.
Besides, there's an interesting issue called a "Self-fulfilling prophecy." We all know if you are anxious & fearful about birth, that can make the pain worse. (Of course, that's not to say the opposite is true - that the pain will be manageable if you have a good outlook.) But if you've already decided the pain will be more than you can handle (i.e. you've already decided on an epi in advance), well, then it's pretty likely you're going to not be too happy with the whole experience...

I mean, how often is ANY experience pleasant if you expect it to be awful?
post #34 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
But...aren't those things unusual? So what's wrong with planning NCB if things stay within the realm of "normal" & when labor deviates from normal, then you reevaluate & look to medical intervention (including epidural?)
Unusual? Not so much. This idea of "normal birth" gets to me because it is so subjective and it suggests that if there are complications or less than ideal circumstances then it is not normal when in fact it very well is. Childbirth is painful. That is the normal usual truth. Some women can handle it some can't. Childbirth can be risky in several ways (mentally, emotional, physically). That is the normal usual truth. Some women handle the risk factors differently.
Quote:
Besides, as others have said, you can't get an epi immediately & they do fail (I'd never heard they fail as often as 15% of the time! Wow!) So everyone should be "prepared" for NCB anyway, right?
As everyone should be prepared and open to intervention and pain management. So where is the harm in talking about it? Seems only logical and yet when you do bring it up in NB circles you are shot down.

Quote:
I don't see how planning to go natural is the same as planning an epi for first-time-Moms since they haven't BTDT.
How so exactly? If you are going off of it making no sense to plan for the epidural from hearsay and fear then the same goes for planning a NB. Why wouldn't it? I planned my NB before having children because I was afraid of the risks of the epidural and I had heard you couldn't feel your body and that scared me. I did have an epi with my first and I disliked it greatly so went natural with my next 2. But I went in to labor as "misinformed" (as you put it) as a mama wanting the epidural having had no experience with birth. I was making assumptions as much as the epi moms.

Quote:
Besides, there's an interesting issue called a "Self-fulfilling prophecy." We all know if you are anxious & fearful about birth, that can make the pain worse. (Of course, that's not to say the opposite is true - that the pain will be manageable if you have a good outlook.) But if you've already decided the pain will be more than you can handle (i.e. you've already decided on an epi in advance), well, then it's pretty likely you're going to not be too happy with the whole experience...

I mean, how often is ANY experience pleasant if you expect it to be awful?
This is what I cannot stand about this line of thought- it suggests that then the opposite is true and if you just think happy thoughts and expect everything to be peachy it will be. Oh how untrue! There have also been moms who expected it to be awful and had great natural births. But going back to those of us who didn't expect it to be awful and it was and who were thinking it is normal and natural and we can do it no matter what and it turned out we needed intervention this myth is not helpful- it's the opposite. Birth isn't always as simple as happy thoughts and visualizations. And yes it is demeaning to mothers who have gone through some pretty horrible experiences to have to hear this from the NB community.

There is just so much myth surrounding birth and it doesn't end at the medicalized version. Natural birth advocates are just as guilty of perpetuating myths, taking choice from women and shaming them. I just wish we could see that because the NB community has such a prime opportunity to make these things right and return birth to women. That is what we should be doing- focusing on the human aspect and not holding our ideals above that. Ideals are not always possible. Let's acknowledge that and work with it.

First things first- let's admit that those who make different conscious choices than natural intervention-free birth are not only free to do so but also fully capable of doing so educated and empowered.
post #35 of 123
My opinion is that you don't NEED to experience something to know that you don't want to. When I have a cavity drilled, I choose to have pain relief administered before they start. I have never experienced natural cavity drilling, so how do I know that it is painful? Maybe it is manageable. Maybe I don't need to have my mouth numbed first. But call me crazy, I take the drugs every time, before I even feel a tiny tap with the drill.

Besides, with the epidural, I don't know anyone who was able to walk in the hospital before they had a single labor pain and get an epi placed right away and then just wait for contractions to begin. Everyone I know had to go through a certain amount of natural labor pains & dilation before they reached a point where they could have the epidural administered. So although they may have had a very good idea ahead of time that they would want pain relief, it isn't until they are actually living the experience that they make the final decision.

How do we know how we will want ANYTHING in life before we have experienced it? We all make choices about what we want to do or not do based on our research, our past experiences, the experiences of our family and friends, and our personal opinions. Sometimes our choices turn out to be the right things for us, and sometimes they don't.
post #36 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by StrawberryFields View Post
My opinion is that you don't NEED to experience something to know that you don't want to. When I have a cavity drilled, I choose to have pain relief administered before they start. I have never experienced natural cavity drilling, so how do I know that it is painful? Maybe it is manageable. Maybe I don't need to have my mouth numbed first. But call me crazy, I take the drugs every time, before I even feel a tiny tap with the drill.

Besides, with the epidural, I don't know anyone who was able to walk in the hospital before they had a single labor pain and get an epi placed right away and then just wait for contractions to begin. Everyone I know had to go through a certain amount of natural labor pains & dilation before they reached a point where they could have the epidural administered. So although they may have had a very good idea ahead of time that they would want pain relief, it isn't until they are actually living the experience that they make the final decision.

How do we know how we will want ANYTHING in life before we have experienced it? We all make choices about what we want to do or not do based on our research, our past experiences, the experiences of our family and friends, and our personal opinions. Sometimes our choices turn out to be the right things for us, and sometimes they don't.
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post #37 of 123
I think women decide on getting an epidural before ever laboring for similar reasons that others decide on natural/no drugs, HBing, or UCing. I think perhaps they have looked at things and just have an idea of what they want their birth to go like and plan for it.

Perhaps they may not have been correctly informed of the risks, but then again, they may have and just choose that option after careful consideration.

I may not agree, but I will not support a woman's choice to birthe how she wants to.
post #38 of 123
I decided before my births that I wanted the epi. When I am in pain, I get angry and miserable. I did not want my labor to be like that. With my first, I got the epi and it was perfect. After 20 hours in labor, I went from 4 to 10 in less than 4 hours and pushed for around 15 minutes if that. I didn't feel the pain and felt the pressure to push. It was my perfect birth(aside from the induction because of pre-e).

With my second, I went into labor on my own. My contractions were three minutes apart when we went to the hospital the first time. I was only dialated to three so thay monitored me for two hours. My OB then gave me the option to stay and just see how things went or go home. We went home were I labored for the next three days. After that I went to my OB and they admitted me. I got started on pit. I thought I was dying. It was literally a blinding pain. I was shaking violently from it. I finally got my epi and it didn't take. I could still move and everything. I went from 6 (when I got the epi)to 10 in less than 10 minutes and ended up pushing for maybe 4 minutes. It was horrible. I couldn't focus. I was lost. It was not one little bit like my first birth.

I would take my first birth over the second any day of the week. The second just left me feeling empty and cheated out of a great birth experience. I know for a lot of the women here it would be the complete opposite, but this is how I felt. We plan of two or three more kids. I still would like to get an epi, but I will make sure I do a lot more studying and prep for a natural birth.
post #39 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
Childbirth is painful. That is the normal usual truth. Some women can handle it some can't. ...
If you are going off of it making no sense to plan for the epidural from hearsay and fear then the same goes for planning a NB. Why wouldn't it?
Well, as you say "some women can handle it" - so why would you assume you can not handle it until you've experienced it? That's all I've been asking - if you look at the title of the thread, "Why decide on getting an epidural before labor?"

I see your point though that it's wrong for a Mama wanting an-NB to be close-minded as well & 100% closed off to the idea of an epidural. But the fact of the matter is, I think it's important to expect that you can handle the pain. Go into it with the viewpoint that you are strong enough - have no fear. Ya know? (But, stay open-minded.)

Just like an athlete has to go into a match visualizing that they will win. Visualize success, while being realistic & acknowledging that it's no guaratee. (I'm not saying getting the epi is "not succeeding" or "failing" I'm just saying you have to have a positive outlook when you embark on somethign challenging & difficult-- it's just an analogy.)

Quote:
This is what I cannot stand about this line of thought- it suggests that then the opposite is true and if you just think happy thoughts and expect everything to be peachy it will be. Oh how untrue!
I totally, completely, 100% disagree with you there. It is NOT the same. It is true to say, "If you expect birth to be horrifically painful, it probably will be." that does not necessarily mean that it is also therefore true to say, "If you expect birth to not hurt, then it won't."

We have some degree of control there - but only some. For example, likewise, if we do optimal fetal positioning, that can help baby to get into the right position, but doesn't guaratee it. (AND - just because a baby IS in a bad position, that also doesn't mean Mama is to blame because she didn't do her optimal positioning work.)

Quote:
Natural birth advocates are just as guilty of perpetuating myths, taking choice from women and shaming them.
I personally haven't experienced this, & I spent time on other natural-minded boards other than MDC. I've also done a good bit of reading, taken Bradley classes, & seen the movies "BoBB" & "Orgasmic Birth." I haven't come across this. But I'm sure there are such individuals out there. & I agree - that is wrong & helps no-one. Extremism of any kind is bad.

But, once again, I return to the acutal title of the thread --> "Why decide on the epi before labor?" Why not keep an open mind?
post #40 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by tndixiemom View Post
I got started on pit.

<snip>

I would take my first birth over the second any day of the week. The second just left me feeling empty and cheated out of a great birth experience. I know for a lot of the women here it would be the complete opposite, but this is how I felt.
I've seen and heard many women who feel cheated of a great birth experience after having pit. Every woman I've ever talked to who has laboured with and without pit says the pain with pit is much worse than without. I have no personal experience with it, but that seems to be a near universal experience.
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