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Why Decide on Getting an Epidural BEFORE Labor? - Page 3

post #41 of 123
My first birth, I thought I knew what to expect, thought I could manage it, and was wrong. Back labor causing such tension that it impeded progress to the point that labor was stalled for several hours despite the coping mechanisms and methods I had learned both here and through books recommended here was not something I had anticipated. The decision to accept an epidural in that case remains in my opinion the very best decision I made during the entire course of my pregnancy.

Fast forward to some personal life traumas and an unexpected second pregnancy. No, I don't know that labor would have gone the way of the first time. But I knew I'd get the epi. There was at that point in my life absolutely no possible way that a drawn-out, painful labor would not have been traumatic. Emotionally it was not a risk I could afford. And anyone who is bothered by my taking care of myself in that respect -- anyone bothered by my unwillingness to wait until it may have been too late -- really needs to learn to stop worrying so much about what other people do. In the end, my choices were best for me ... and ordinarily, frankly, would be none of your collective business.
post #42 of 123
Quote:
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?)
The pain of a "normal" labor exceeds what a great many women are capable of calling "manageable".
I've done it, but only because my first birth was an pit augmented epidural failure, and that's a unique kind of hell that I couldn't tolerate even a small chance of repeating.

The NCB was "normal", but the pain was not "manageable". It was just less hellacious than the epi failure birth. (like, I wished to be dead with birth #1, but I only wished to be unconscious during birth #2.)

SOME women find the pain of labor manageable, and some don't.

THAT is the truth.
post #43 of 123
I should have put that I had pit with the first birth, but did not have anywhere near the pain. I also had Stadol with the first and not the second.
post #44 of 123
Thread Starter 
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?
Hmm, good point. I hadn't thought of it that way before.

& I feel the same way - I asked for the drugs when I've had cavities filled, & wisdom teeth & tonsils removed. Because there's no inherent joy in having your teeth drilled. It's not natural, it's not healthy. Whereas birth is a perfectly normal & healthy physiologically process designed by millions of years of evolution (and/or designed by a diety, whatever you believe.)

I can't invision natural teeth-drilling being pleasant. I can imagine birth being a great experience (and it was for me.)

But, yes, it seems pain-free births are very rare, so I guess I can understand wanting to opt out of the pain (instead of taking a "wait & see" attitude to see if the pain will be manageable.

So, thanks, that was enlightening for me. I was hoping I'd see some new perspectives from this thread & I'm glad I have.
post #45 of 123
Quote:
Well, as you say "some women can handle it" - so why would you assume you can not handle it until you've experienced it?
Some people dislike excruciating pain so much that they'd rather not even attempt to "handle it".

Plus, when you're in transition, when it's at it's worst, it's often considered "too late" to get an epi. So you have to get it before it gets as bad as it will get.
post #46 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
"Why decide on getting an epidural before labor?"
For the same reasons someone decides not to before birth which are multiple but come down to knowing oneself and trusting oneself- yes trusting what you know to be true for yourself which can be that you can do it without the epidural and can also be that you would prefer it and neither is wrong or less than.

It isn't that great of a mystery. Birth is a powerful experience and a fiercely individual and personal one that cannot be fully comprehended by those not actually doing the birthing. I love that quote about the secret not being that birth is painful but that women are strong. So true- epidural or not.
post #47 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakay View Post
Some people dislike excruciating pain so much that they'd rather not even attempt to "handle it".

Plus, when you're in transition, when it's at it's worst, it's often considered "too late" to get an epi. So you have to get it before it gets as bad as it will get.
Yes.

The idea that women who naturally birth know their bodies so well is prominent here. Well I argue that women who know they will need assistance are simply exercising that same knowledge of their body and themselves.
post #48 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.
I actually find it kind of funny (to me personally) that you used this example. I had the drugs for every filling until I was about 12. Then, I needed a filling, and the freezing didn't take. I made a new appointment. When I came back, the tooth had started to hurt...and the freezing, once again, didn't take. I decided to try the filling without the freezing, rather than come back again and again while coping with a chronic toothache. The funny part? I've never had a filling with freezing again, because the brief (excruciating, but brief) pain of the drill is much, much less unpleasant than the numbness of the freezing. I never found out until I had to - I just assumed that the pain was intolerable and I needed the freezing.

So, it doesn't apply to everyone, of course...but your example was just funny to me, personally.
post #49 of 123
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?

The only thing I think is important when it comes to childbirth is the choice (if we're lucky, since really it is out of our control) to birth how you want. If the choices are there, then who cares how another woman chooses to birth her child?
Why it makes me sad is because it is NOT a choice if it is not informed. And that is where we are at now...
post #50 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericswifey27 View Post
Why it makes me sad is because it is NOT a choice if it is not informed. And that is where we are at now...
I don't understand this. What do you mean it is where we are at now?
post #51 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakay View Post
Some people dislike excruciating pain so much that they'd rather not even attempt to "handle it".

Plus, when you're in transition, when it's at it's worst, it's often considered "too late" to get an epi. So you have to get it before it gets as bad as it will get.
Well, I don't think I'd classify the pain as "excruciating" for me personally. But I know it often does reach that level.

EXCELLENT point about getting it before it reaches the unbearable stage (& it's too late & you're stuck in agony.) That's another point I hadn't quite thought of, so thanks for posting.

So out of curiosity, derailing my own thread here, for those you making these points - for first-time mamas, Do you advocate:
  1. getting an epidural ?
  2. or do you advocate "Prepare for NCB (just in case an epi fails & for the time you have to wait anyway), plus wait & see in case you can manage it?"

What would you tell your little sister & best friends to do?
Seriously, I'm just curious. I see where you're coming from on these points here.
post #52 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
Do you advocate: [LIST=1][*]getting an epidural ?
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that expressing an advocacy position in favor of epidurals in a general way is not permitted on MDC.
post #53 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
Well, I don't think I'd classify the pain as "excruciating" for me personally. But I know it often does reach that level.

EXCELLENT point about getting it before it reaches the unbearable stage (& it's too late & you're stuck in agony.) That's another point I hadn't quite thought of, so thanks for posting.

So out of curiosity, derailing my own thread here, for those you making these points - for first-time mamas, Do you advocate:
  1. getting an epidural ?
  2. or do you advocate "Prepare for NCB (just in case an epi fails & for the time you have to wait anyway), plus wait & see in case you can manage it?"

What would you tell your little sister & best friends to do?
Seriously, I'm just curious. I see where you're coming from on these points here.
Great questions!

I generally say educate yourself on the process of birth and standard birth practice and then make up your own mind but always be open to both pain management and a natural birth as some times things don't go according to plan.

Ultimately though whatever they decide I fully support them as mothers and women.
post #54 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
So out of curiosity, derailing my own thread here, for those you making these points - for first-time mamas, Do you advocate:
  1. getting an epidural ?
  2. or do you advocate "Prepare for NCB (just in case an epi fails & for the time you have to wait anyway), plus wait & see in case you can manage it?"
I don't tend to advocate much of anything, because people think I'm just a nutcase, anyway. However, I'd probably advocate the second, if anything. I remember my sister, after telling me how awesome her epi was, suffering from horrible back pain for almost a week after she had her son. She doesn't like epis that much, anymore.

However, I know labour is worse for a lot of women than it is for me, so I'm not going to tell anyone else what they should do, yk?
post #55 of 123
It always makes me sad.

I'm not opposed to epidurals in the least. I'm very glad tat they are there.

But I find it so sad when women just don't even want to try. They just want the baby. Well, this is where babies come from.

I'm grateful for epidurals. I think a woman should be able to have relief when it is necessary to her. But the way I hear some women going on about them, it just makes me sad. I wish they would at least give it a go.

And each one is so different. I've had two extremely painful births, an induction and a posterior. And I've had two very "easy" births. They can all vary so much. And you won't know unless you try.

I'm very happy that I had natural births. I would certainly like other women to try it out, before they reach for the relief. It can be really good You know?

Oh well. It's not my place to tell anyone what to do with their body.
post #56 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
Well, I don't think I'd classify the pain as "excruciating" for me personally. But I know it often does reach that level.

EXCELLENT point about getting it before it reaches the unbearable stage (& it's too late & you're stuck in agony.) That's another point I hadn't quite thought of, so thanks for posting.

So out of curiosity, derailing my own thread here, for those you making these points - for first-time mamas, Do you advocate:
  1. getting an epidural ?
  2. or do you advocate "Prepare for NCB (just in case an epi fails & for the time you have to wait anyway), plus wait & see in case you can manage it?"

What would you tell your little sister & best friends to do?
Seriously, I'm just curious. I see where you're coming from on these points here.
I tell them everything I know about it and don't try to persuade them in any direction.
post #57 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
However, I know labour is worse for a lot of women than it is for me, so I'm not going to tell anyone else what they should do, yk?
I think this is what it comes down to for me as well which is why I don't say to do one or the other just be prepared. No woman's birth will be the same as another's. Really we can't say to the woman sitting next to us no matter how well we know her that she will need to do or should do this or that.
post #58 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post

I can't invision natural teeth-drilling being pleasant. I can imagine birth being a great experience (and it was for me.)
I'm with you on this one which is why I decided on a med-free homebirth with both of my children. Based on my experiences, my research, my opinions, and myself as a person, I could imagine birth being a great experience. And IMO that is exactly the same process a woman who chooses an epidural beforehand uses. Just like I can't envision natural teeth-drilling manageable (which, as Storm Bride mentions in a later post, might actually be!) some women can't imagine labor pain being a great experience, and that is totally their decision to make based on exactly the same things that make me think that I CAN go med-free.

FWIW, I ended up with one epidural and one successful homebirth. I am pregnant for a third time and based on my two experiences I may choose an epidural this time.
post #59 of 123
Quote:
So out of curiosity, derailing my own thread here, for those you making these points - for first-time mamas, Do you advocate:
  1. getting an epidural ?
  2. or do you advocate "Prepare for NCB (just in case an epi fails & for the time you have to wait anyway), plus wait & see in case you can manage it?"

What would you tell your little sister & best friends to do?
Seriously, I'm just curious. I see where you're coming from on these points here.
I advocate going into birth with an open mind whether you believe you want an epidural OR whether you believe you want a NCB. That is what I would tell anyone to do, sister, best friend, stranger walking down the street. As a first time mom I had this huge idea in my head about epidurals and I planned a glorious homebirth where the pain was super manageable because I was in my own environment and doing what nature designed. When I ended up transferring to the hospital and getting an epidural I really beat myself up. I shouldn't have done that to myself. Instead of walking into labor with a huge attitude about epidurals and interventions, I should have kept an open mind and been more educated on the concept of being flexible and choosing what was best for me based on my actual experience at the time and not some rosy fantasy that I had about homebirth.
post #60 of 123
I'm going to admit that I have basically skipped to the end of this thread, so if what I'm about to say has been said already... well please forgive me.

I don't quite understand why someone would decide BEFORE labor to get the epidural. Mainly because until you're in the moment how can you truly know how you'll react? But then let's flip that around as well... how can you decide BEFORE labor that you positively will NOT get the epidural. Again, you don't truly know how you'll react to labor until you're IN labor.

I used to be 100% completely against epidurals. My first DD was born in a birth center completely natural after 7 hours of labor. And I don't handle pain well. So if I could do it, then so could everybody else? Ya know?

DD#2 was born at home after 21 hours of posterior labor. It was truly horrendous. Several times I wanted to just die. But again, if I could do it, then so could everybody else, right?

Then along came DD#3. Born unassisted at home after 75 hours of posterior labor. She is now over 4 months old and I have been too scared to even have sex again because god forbid something happen and I get pregnant again. I could never go through that again. So guess what? NOW I understand why some women choose epidurals. Birth frackin' hurts. It's not all sunshine and polkadots and rainbows with unicorns tiptoeing through a dewy meadow. It's pain and screaming, and sometimes plain torture. Sure the end result is great and all... but I truly believe I would have bonded faster with DD#3 if I hadn't been feeling like I'd been beaten with a baseball bat and then run over with a truck repeatedly.

So yeah... I don't understand why women decide BEFORE labor, but I sure as heck can understand why they decide IN labor. And I think it does women everywhere a huge disservice to make them feel inferior for wanting an epidural.
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