Right now I am trying to decide whether or not to use pain relief drugs in labor. Will be a first time mom in 6 weeks, doing a hospital birth, love my OB, and she is basically leaving things up to me. I am leaning towards no epidural. I just kinda trust my body to get me through this.
And I don't want to take anything that is going to make the birthing process harder....it seems illogical to me to numb an area I *need* for pushing. Or is that bad logic, and would my body figure out pushing while also being numbed? I guess it's like asking someone if they could learn to eat after getting a novicaine shot in the mouth....maybe you'd still figure it out? But do you want to chance it on the big day?
I am also wondering, would just a pain killer like Fentanyl be best as a compromise.....like take the edge off the pain, but not numb me? Do they do that? Logically, that seems like a preferable option if I am on the fence. My mom told me that with me, she had a painkiller but no epidural, then with her second, she went all natural.
My main question is, how can you (as someone who's gone through it) best describe the pain of natural childbirth? In other words, what does it feel like with no drugs, and what, of that, is blocked by the epidural?
My understanding (really, what I've assumed....since I haven't taken my birth class yet) is that you have contractions, which feel like bad menstrual cramps. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Is the pain similar in "type" to period cramps, just worse? And that the contractions come and go. So you just kind of ride them out, and you aren't in constant pain. But then they get closer together, but even then, you still have some breaks between?
I kinda feel like if it's bad menstrual cramps and I just have to ride things out till I get breaks, that is okay with me. The kind of pain that scares me would be like meningitis in your upper neck, migraine type pain...something sharp and never-ending, that makes you squint so you don't collapse (I realize the pain will be in my pelvis, just comparing types of pain). But if it's crampy, I feel I can handle anything for "spurts." Cramps at least feel productive and not mysterious. So is that what the epidural blocks, those spurts? Or is the pain people talk about something totally different? I am not trying to make light of it, because I'm sure it's bad!!!! Just wanting a frame of reference.
Then at the end, I assume everything is more intense. But we're still talking cramping type sensations in the uterus, just on a whole 'nother level, right?
Are there any other types of pain? Like when the baby starts moving down the birth canal, is that a separate type of pain? And does the epidural block that too, or is that not blocked by the epidural, so there's not much of a point in getting the epidural for that?
One thing I will say, is that I had a D&C in the hospital at 12 weeks for a miscarriage, and they gave me Pitocin before the surgery to help things along, and so when I woke up from surgery, I could feel that cramping and I told them it was bothersome. And it did feel just like menstrual cramps. They offered pain meds, I told them I could take some Motrin and I'd be fine, but they told me in the hospital that they could only give me the IV pain meds, because for whatever reason I couldn't have Motrin. So I said, fine, I'll take that, and my logic was that I just had to go home and rest; I wasn't trying to give birth! So I do know what Pitocin feels like, in a way.....if that would help with explanations.