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On Epidurals & FEelings Twords Women Who Get Them - Page 2

post #21 of 106
i too try not to judge as i know every woman is doing their best at any given time. and of course, epidurals do have their place in birth.

my problem is that i don't think women are making informed choices when it comes to epidurals. i also think that pain does have a place in birth which has so many positive benefits for both the mother and baby that i can't help but wonder why so many women wouldn't like to experience natural birth.

from a feminist stand point i see epidurals as a way to prevent women from claiming their power as birthing mama's and to reap the personal benefits that come from giving birth without medication which could ultimately change our culture. not only which, it's another way of making sure that a medicalized culture of birth is the norm and this culture discourages women from choosing midwives and having homebirths (because you know, we wouldn't want to have women trusting their bodies and having other women supporting that notion).

also, i think women and babies are used as guinea pigs when it comes to birth and drugs and that makes me feel very uncomfortable. what does that say about how we value women and babies?

post #22 of 106
i had an epidural. i waited it out as long as i could, but in the end, i took it, and i'm not sorry i did. unfortunately the epidural pump malfunctioned, and as it was, i still felt plenty. i had a fairly short labor, but the actual birth was hard. the baby's head was turned kind of at a wierd angle, and he was too big. i pushed and pushed, and in the end i ended up with an enormous episiotomy and a 4th degree tear. i'm not sure i could have withstood all of that without pain meds.

i have a great deal of respect for women who have unmedicated births, and i hope that in the future, my birthing experience won't be so traumatic and medicalized, but i still feel i did the right thing for me at that time. as it was, the baby was born perfectly healthy, despite being about a month early.

sometimes things don't go as planned, and you have to do what seems right at the time...
post #23 of 106
I agree with you 100% Mandi!!!

Charmcitymama- please don't let the opinions of others (however offensive as they might be to you) affect YOUR choice- there is a LOT of judgement on both sides of the fence. Just block us all out if you want and do your own research and search your own heart as to what you want out of your birth experience- I'm sorry if my post in particular offended you.

Here is a great article I found when I was just starting to research natural birth that really helped me: http://www.pregnancy.com.au/labour_hormones.htm
post #24 of 106
Charmcitymama - you say that many of these posts offended you. Can you be more specific? What, exactly, offends you? I know that, for me, when I am confident in my choices I almost never find myself offended by people who disagree with me.

Ally - Hugs to you! So sorry things became so difficult for you and your sweet little baby.

Mandi - you made some very interesting points and I appreciated seeing your perspective. I have to say that I agree with everything you said.
post #25 of 106
charmcitymama, I'm sorry you've felt offended, I'd encourage you to do research and then decide what's best for you based on *that* and not on other people's opinions (offensive or not). My frustration is at the medical society in general, along with people who've never experienced natural birth condemning those that have/want to. I've had two births, both with epidurals. Yes, it was something that I needed, the pitocin labor was so extreme, I couldn't even think/concentrate on anything. This time, no pitocin.

I do not know anyone personally who has been paralyzed by getting an epi. I do have a good friend who has nerve damage because of hers. She has problems with her legs. She also has some serious scar tissue at the site of the epi, and it causes her bad back pain.

It's *very* common to get a spinal headache. This is incredibly common, and can last for weeks. They try to combat this by making sure you've had a bag of IV fluids run into your vein. This is also supposed to prevent a drop in blood pressure from the epi, but if you're dehydrated at all, this may not be enough. Unfortunately, they don't really account for that (I'm a nurse....I very much remember the routine). That's why once you have an epidural, you have to stay in place, and they keep a bp cuff on your arm to monitor bp every 5-10 minutes (which, to me, was very annoying during pushing, yk?)
post #26 of 106
I don't judge women who opt for epidurals. But do I want a medal for my own drug-free birth? Heck yeah! I was sooo proud of myself after I delivered my son; I was superwoman that day. And yes, I bragged about it all over town. I wanted everyone to know: WOMEN CAN DO THIS!

I've had my appendix removed and I've had my wisdom teeth pulled. Was I anesthetized for those procedures? Of course, because procedures were being done to me. But labor is a different story. My body was doing the work on its own. So to me, there really seemed to be no need for interventions (particularly the pharmaceutical variety) because my body would find its own way.

Now at one point, post-transition, I became aware that perhaps my bladder was full and might slow down my progress. Since I've had all kinds of invasive urinary tract diagnostic work done in the past, I just told the nurses to go ahead and catheterize me and get the pee out. I tolerated that because I've had much worse done (cystoscopy) and at that point, I just wanted to rest before pushing, not get up and use the toilet.
post #27 of 106
I've had 2 transfers from out-of-hospital birth and 2 epidurals for 2 long hard, not-very straightforward-labors.

I think it's great that epidurals exist, and also great when women can give birth without them.

Lots of things in life are painful- ear infections, dental abcesses, birthing and dying are all very painful. Whether each of these is a "disease" or a "natural process" is debateable- but all I know is without painkillers life would be much more painful. I am grateful that painkillers are available.

I think that 99% of people in this world are doing the best they can 99% of the time. It's just silly to imagine other people are simply being lazy or selfish with their decisions- they are just doing the bgest they can with what they have.
post #28 of 106
Just a quick note that my best friend's sister got an epidural and "crashed." They tried giving her some drugs to bring her bp back up and it didn't work. They ended up doing an emergency section & having to revive her on the table 2x. Prior to the epidural, she was doing great, she was just tired.

I was induced w/ds for pih (210/110 at one point). Had the mag sulfate, pitocin, arom, catheter, pressure stockings, the works all hooked up. I somehow lasted 24 hours before asking for the epidural. BP crashed, someone hustled dh out of the room w/no explanation, they gave me a cocktail of drugs and my bp came back. I'm not sure how I was able to actually give consent for the epi as I was seeing leprechauns bouncing from bubble to bubble all around my room while singing Bare Naked Ladies songs, but I guess that's besides the point, after all, there's no harm in just an epi, right? Ds was born blue and limp, but we'll never know which cocktail of drugs it was that made that happen. This time we're having a homebirth and an epi won't be happening. My body can and will birth this baby naturally.

W/ds's pregnancy we took Bradley classes. She got an epidural w/her first and ended up w/a migraine that lasted for the first 3 WEEKS of her baby's life. 3 WEEKS, flat on her back in the dark.

That's 3 births w/epidurals at 3 different hospitals at 3 different times that all ended w/some sort of "isolated bad reaction."

The same women in my circle of friends/family who look down on me for having a 1/2 glass of wine here or there while pregnant are the first ones to ask for an epidural. Why is that? Oh - because the dr said that wine is bad and the epidural is great. And we all know how much doctors know.
post #29 of 106
I don't look down on women for getting epidurals...although I'll admit I don't get why people insist on them before they even know how bad the pain will be or won't be.

But, I agree with the poster who said that they're braver women than me! I've had to have a needle in my spine twice - for my last two c-sections. And, it terrifies me even more than the scalpel. If it weren't that I want dh to be there to see his children being born and that I have such an awful reaction to general anesthetic, I'd probably opt to be knocked out, just so they'd leave my spine alone. I can't imagine allowing it for anything short of surgery.

Plus, my mom had a bad spinal headache with me (c-section), and my sister had back pain for weeks after delivering my nephew with an epidural. I just don't see the attraction. I'd much rather have the severe pain before I have a hungry newborn to deal with.

I also hate the numbness that goes along with anesthesia. I don't get freezing for fillings and such at the dentist, either...only for my root canal and my extraction. It's not because I like the pain - I just like it better than having feeling removed from parts of my body.
post #30 of 106
I"m glad someone agrees with me regarding sharp objects + spinal column = bad mojo

Since you've BTDT, it carries more weight and doesnt make those who do think that way look like total nutters
post #31 of 106
Getting back to the OP: Because this is a haven for those who choose to have drug-free births. You can go to many parenting boards on the web that will support drugs in childbirth, but very few are a place where women can come to talk about midwives, natural birth, homebirth, and related topics.

I had two epidurals and while the reasons were personal and IMO very justified, I'm not going to expect people here to applaud me for it.
post #32 of 106
epidurals have their place- maternal exhaustion, c/s, hypertension, and some others, but the risks associated with it (spinal headache, life long back problems, increased episiotomy and vacuum extraction rates, poor sucking in the baby, to name a few) far outweight the benefits in an otherwise normal birth. however, if i had been in a hospital for my birth, i am 98% sure i would have gotten and epi. i am a mw student and know all the dangers of pain meds and the benefits of natural birth, but in the moment, it hurts like a sonofabitch, and i dont know if i would have been able to say no. not to mention the added pain of being on my back, efm, etc. so i do not judge women who have hospital births with epis. but i do wish women (and care providers) would trust their bodies enough to ler nature take its course- and i dont think epis should be offered to everyone! nak
post #33 of 106
Originally Posted by Pandora114
I"m glad someone agrees with me regarding sharp objects + spinal column = bad mojo

Since you've BTDT, it carries more weight and doesnt make those who do think that way look like total nutters
It's a visceral reaction. When I was taking prenatal classes 12 years ago, they showed us pictures of various "normal" interventions and what newborns looked like (eg. "stork bites", cradle cap, baby zits, etc.). One of them was a diagram showing how an epidural was inserted. As soon as I saw it, I turned to my ex and told him that I didn't care if I was pleading for pain relief, there was no way he should let them put one of those in my spine. I think he thought I was nuts, but I've never changed my feelings about it.
post #34 of 106
Originally Posted by skellbelle
My irritation is with women who won't even give themselves a chance to experience the pain of labor....the ones who practically go in the door saying, "I want my epidural now!!!!! Get the anesthesiologist in here right away so I can relax!"
I think that part of this though is that we're conditioned by so many people around us (medical types, friends, family) to fear the pain...we're told early on that we won't be able to take it. It's hard to feel self-confident when everyone around you seems to be saying it'll be hell and there's no way you'll be able to do it without pain relief medication.

That was my experience anyway.
post #35 of 106
To the PP who asked about long term complications from epis... most people turn out perfectly fine. But the risks are real. My grandmother had one that wasn't childbirth related, and she ended up with a foot that was permanently crippled. She could never take more than a few steps without assistance again.

Anesthesiologists are very skilled, and most do a good job. I just saw a show called Resident Life on TLC, and there was an anes. resident who was being interviewed. She said, "This is now hour 28 into my 36 hour shift of doing epidurals." Doctors are only human, and when we ask too much of them (like working 36 hours with little sleep), things happen.
post #36 of 106
I actually get paranoid, too. I've had a sore foot off and on since my last c-section, and I find myself wondering if it's related to the spinal (not an epi, but relevant, imo - at least re: getting a needle stuck in my spine). I really think it has more to do with the lack of real exercise since the surgery and the weight I was carrying at the end. But...sometimes I wonder.
post #37 of 106
Originally Posted by charmcitymama
I should stay away from MDC. I had an epidural with my dd (it was wonderful!) and have been contemplating unmedicated birth for this next birth for various reasons. I am leaning away from it as I find some of these posts so offensive. Epidurals really are awesome! Last chance to sleep or get some rest before pushing.

Also, does anyone know anyone paralyzed by an epidural or a baby with brain damage? I have never heard of anyone actually having that happen, have you?
I'm sorry you were offended... if it was something I said, that was not my intention.

Don't let people's responses on a message board dictate your birth decisions, though. If this were a mainstream board and everyone said, "Get the epi -- you're a fool not to!", would that make you want to have a natural birth?
post #38 of 106
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
I've had to have a needle in my spine twice - for my last two c-sections. And, it terrifies me even more than the scalpel. If it weren't that I want dh to be there to see his children being born and that I have such an awful reaction to general anesthetic, I'd probably opt to be knocked out, just so they'd leave my spine alone. I can't imagine allowing it for anything short of surgery.
... I also hate the numbness that goes along with anesthesia.... It's not because I like the pain - I just like it better than having feeling removed from parts of my body.
Exactly, I totally agree. The worst part of my c-sections, to me, was the fact that I couldn't feel/control my lower half after the surgery was over. I hated it!

I don't think the epidural per se is bad, or that people are "wrong" for choosing it. I just don't think people are truly informed of all the potential negative side effects, and that's a problem.
post #39 of 106
I was reading what the pp said about her grandmothers foot. With my second pregnancy I kept getting a pinched nerve that went to my uterus (sounds weird i know). It felt like someone was shocking a portion of my uterus. I'd never had that problem before. I had to make several trips to the chiropractor. I have wondered if it had something to do with the epidural because that is the part of the spine it would have been inserted in.
post #40 of 106
I think you need to differentiate between women who get them as a matter of course, and those who get them because they need them.

There's a lot to be said for the compassionate use of drugs, as opposed to gratuitous use of them.

I didn't want to expose my baby to narcotics before she was even born, but in the end, despite my best efforts, she was. I regret that, but I do know that I tried extremely hard to avoid it.

As my midwife said to me - they're a tool, and there's nothing worng with using a tool when it's needed.

But OH MAN!!! needle, spinal column - I'm so with you! I don't understand people who rave about epidurals - it's horrible, and nothing like having a baby - you're lying there, numb, worried about the next step (because in asking for an epidural I knew I opening myself wide open for a c-section), alone, because everyone has gone off to let you get some sleep (ha! I slept better after the pitocin started contractions and I could finally stop walking - my doula watched me sleep and said she could hear my breathing slow and deepen with each contraction, even though I was asleep!!!). I still marvel at the fact that I actually am an 'epidural person'.
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