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

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#61 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 06:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by StrawberryFields View Post
Just like I can't envision natural teeth-drilling manageable (which, as Storm Bride mentions in a later post, might actually be!)
In fairness, I have to add that I seem to have an unusually strong aversion to numbness. I honestly considered requesting no anesthetic for a c-section, because of how much I hate spinals. I didn't, because I 1) knew the pain would be so intense it would likely cause flashbacks later, 2) figured that I was likely to move from pain, increasing my chances of complications, and 3) knew there was no way they'd agree, and I'd probably be pestered by mental health professionals, afterwards. This does not mean I'm under any illusions about how painful surgery without anesthetic would be. It's just that I really, really, really loathe and despise numbness. (I hated having a root canal, solely because the "no freezing" option didn't exist.)

So, considering my possibly skewed feelings about numbness vs. pain, I certainly wouldn't recommend that anybody base their pain management decisions on my experiences...whether we're talking L&D, OR or the dentist's office.

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#62 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 06:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

So, considering my possibly skewed feelings about numbness vs. pain, I certainly wouldn't recommend that anybody base their pain management decisions on my experiences...whether we're talking L&D, OR or the dentist's office.

LOL yeah... no offense or anything, but I totally plan on sticking with the drugs when I have my teeth drilled!! But just goes to show that things that a lot of us think could NOT be manageable EVER (like med-free dental work) other people out there feel differently about... same with labor IMO...

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#63 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 06:45 PM
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I was pretty sure I wanted an epidural for my first birth. I was terrified. I didn't know as much as I know now, and I of course watched all those scary baby shows that make labor look like this dangerous, traumatic, scary event. In actual labor, I had a posterior baby and every possible thing working against me. It really was a traumatic birth, despite the epidural.

For #2, I wanted a natural birth. I was going to try for one (in the hospital, I could not afford a midwife and was not comfortable having a UC), but when I decided to be induced, I decided I would probably have an epidural. I didn't want to do a pit labor with no pain medicine. Maybe that makes me a big weenie, but imo it already wasn't a natural birth. That ship had sailed. If I had it to do again, I would invest in some emergency bipolar meds so I could have waited it out. But we're always wiser in hind sight.

Ultimately, there is no way you can know how labor will effect you. I know many women who had a natural birth all planned out, and s*** hit the fan at some point, and some of them truly needed the epidural for emotional (or sometimes medical) reasons. Abuse survivors, for example, often have major emotional reactions to labor.

The kind of thinking of being SURE you're going to do everything perfectly and that everything will go perfectly well is right up there with the "you manifest all your problems" thinking, and those that "fail" feel unnecessary guilt. It would be really nice if it really were true that as long as you think positive everything will be rainbows and roses and sunshine, but that's not reality.

Birth is unpredictable, and comes with no guarantees. While I do wish that our society taught women about the power of birth, and empowered women more instead of sending them to sterile hospitals to be poked and prodded through their labors; I also think that you can go too far with natural birth advocacy. I see it all the time, and it makes me really sad.

Why not just inform all women as to what their choices are, and let it be if they choose to have an epidural? Not all of us are cut from the same cloth. I agree that epidurals come with a lot of risks --I've spoken out about them myself -- but I think that painting all women who choose them in a negative light is really doing all of us a disservice.
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#64 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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Well, first, How can you decide you "do not value the journey that is childbirth" before you've even been there?

I absolutely valued the journey of childbirth, my journey just happened to include an epidural. It is these kinds of statements that really offend me - who is anyone else to decide what I value and what I don't based on my educated decision to have an epidural during birth.
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#65 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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Honestly, when it comes to birth choices, I don’t care what women choose so long as they have ALL of the relevant information on hand—good, bad, and ugly—to make that choice.

I share the OP’s concern that when it comes to epidurals, women are simply not getting that information from their obstetricians.

Here is what ACOG has to say about epidurals in their “patient education” pamphlet. Note that there’s no mention of what the American Pregnancy Association is at least willing to tell you:

•slower labors (therefore Pitocin, “assisted delivery,” and other interventions in the long cascade)
•the lack of feeling while pushing
•the lack of freedom of movement to deliver the baby in any position other than lying down
•inability for many women to walk up to a few hours after the birth
•breastfeeding difficulties

These factors won’t make every woman change her mind, but they certainly did for me! I’ve chosen NCB because I wanted to avoid all of this, not because I’m some stereotypical hippy out for the quintessential Mother Earth experience. (Hear that, ILs? ) Regardless, every childbearing woman should have a right to ALL of the information.

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But the way moms who choose an epidural are often described here at MDC is most certainly demeaning.
And yet on the flipside, it’s demeaning when my own choice for NCB is dismissed as me “trying to be a martyr.” I think that women in general should avoid turning the epi v. natural issue into one more fruitless Mommy War.

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#66 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 07:25 PM
 
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And yet on the flipside, it’s demeaning when my own choice for NCB is dismissed as me “trying to be a martyr.” I think that women in general should avoid turning the epi v. natural issue into one more fruitless Mommy War.
Yes it shouldn't become a Mommy War thing. Both sides deserve as much understanding and support.However TC brings up something that needs to be remedied- on MDC and within a lot of NB communities women are treated poorly for choosing an epidural. It is far more prominent here than being called a martyr for NBing.

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#67 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 07:28 PM
 
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I absolutely valued the journey of childbirth, my journey just happened to include an epidural. It is these kinds of statements that really offend me - who is anyone else to decide what I value and what I don't based on my educated decision to have an epidural during birth.
Yes. And this is what breaks my heart- that anything other than a NB is considered less-than and not truly experiencing childbirth, etc.

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#68 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 07:56 PM
 
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I 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 job to tell anyone what to do with their body.

Why does what I choose to do with my body and how I choose to birth make you sad? I don't get it. I didn't care about the birth experience. At all. I wanted to have babies. If I could have had someone else gestate and birth them for me, I would have. What's wrong with not being invested in having a certain birth experience?

Just for the record, I had one with an epi and one without, and they were both pretty unpleasant experiences that I would prefer not to repeat.
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#69 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 08:33 PM
 
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I 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 job to tell anyone what to do with their body.
The majority of hospitals require a laboring mom to have dilated to 4 centimeters before an epidural is an option so its not as if moms are regularly arriving on the labor and delivery floor and receiving an epidural at the first hint of a contracting meaning that she will experience labor. Regardless, why does it matter how long a mom labors before she receives pain relief? With my 2nd daughter I arrived at the hospital already 8 centimeters and to the point that the pain was beyond tolerable for me ~ it was more important to me that I was clear headed and able to concentrate and an epidural made that possible.

For what its worth I have had several fillings done without novocaine because of my intense fear of needles ~ birth for me pushed me beyond the point that I could no longer function with the pain.
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#70 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 08:38 PM
 
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I absolutely valued the journey of childbirth, my journey just happened to include an epidural. It is these kinds of statements that really offend me - who is anyone else to decide what I value and what I don't based on my educated decision to have an epidural during birth.
Thank you! I completely agree.
The attitude that one type of birth is better and more special than another is one more thing that keeps the mommy wars going. :
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#71 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I absolutely valued the journey of childbirth, my journey just happened to include an epidural. It is these kinds of statements that really offend me - who is anyone else to decide what I value and what I don't based on my educated decision to have an epidural during birth.
Please don't quote me out of context. I did not say that choosing in advance of labor to get an epidurla = "not valuing the journey of childbirth." That was not me. I was simply asking a question of someone else who used those words. See post 15.
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#72 of 123 Old 07-23-2009, 08:44 PM
 
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I ended up with an epi with my first, it was an induction. I decided to never have another epi ever again, however, I was always flexible on this because I simply don't know how labour might go.

My first was intensely painful, I tried for a a few hours without and epidural but it was too much, I got the epi, it worked for a while and then stopped and the pain was horrendous, I have never felt anything like it, EVER.

I got my homebirth with my second child, it hurt sooooooooooooo bad, the midwives were traumatised, I thought it was a wonderful birth but I hadn't ever counted on my feelings during the birth due to previous sexual abuse. As the baby crowned, I started having flash backs and it was pretty horrific, that was the worst part really................ Really, the flashbacks were about previous sexual abuse and my previous birth in which I was left feeling violated by the Ob (I know some Obs etc don't believe this is possible still, but this is how I felt and just because the Ob might not have meant it, does not stop me feeling this way. Personally, I would like to have him lieing on a bed, unable to move from the epi but at the point where you can feel stuff, and then I would like to shove stuff up his bum without consent).

Anyway, despite knowing the potential pain of childbirth, knowing the feelings that crop up for me due to previous abuse, I opted for another drug free homebirth with my third and that went fantastically.

I understand why women may want to opt for an epidural, I understand the fear, maybe better than a lot of people, however, I also totally believe in giving things a go. You don't know how its going to go so why not see how you feel during the birth.

I think a lot of it is simply down to the whole negative attitude towards pain in childbirth etc. I mean, it is going to hurt and really, who likes pain? Even with the sexual abuse thing, it doesn't automatically mean that it is going to be traumatic for you. If people keep telling you that its going to be incredibly painful or that because you have been abused it is going to be even more traumatic for you then chances are, that is how you will find it.

To be honest, for me, yes the baby crowning gave me flash backs BUT nothing was as bad for me with regards to my previous sexual abuse as being paralysed from the waist down and being at the mercy of some guy Obstetrician who decided he didn't like me because I refused an episiotomy and then I had to put up with him down there, ignoring my requests for extra pain relief as he stitched me in an incredibly rough manner, gave me a suppository without warning or consent and so hard it actually pushed me up the bed. So for me, my opinion on sexual abuse and birth is if you want to reduce the trauma, natural I would think, would be the better way to go because an epidural only increases the amount of fiddling and focus on that area of your body, it can make you feel so vulnerable as well.

Totally not against epidurals for those that want them but why not give it a go without first, you might just either be surprised or you might just surprise yourself.
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#73 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 02:28 AM
 
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I just don't see why it matters to YOU OP what another mother to be chooses to do.

You choose what you makes you happy, let them choose what makes them happy.

If I snarked on your choice to say birth at home, you'd want me to shut up. If I decide to have an epidural before birthing and you keep snarking at me, I'd want you to shut up.
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#74 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 03:24 AM
 
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I think if you took a survey of mothers, even here on MDC and asked them if childbirth was painful, you'd likely hear from most of them (I'm thinking of upwards of 90%) that it was. A few will have had painless childbirth, some might have even had orgasmic childbirth. But for the vast majority of women, there will be some level of pain.

Many women will say that they had pain that was manageable, but I'll echo a previous poster that said that some women feel that there is no amount of pain that is manageable or desirable for them when they have the option of an epidural.

I'll also agree that I've felt the vibe that medicated childbirth is "less than" unmedicated, and that women who experience a great deal of pain somehow just had too much fear or negative energy and brought it on themselves.

I had terrible guilt for many years over my choice to have an epidural with my first birth. Her birth was actually a pretty pleasant experience. Quick, no complications, no tearing, she roomed in with me and we went home right away. Still the guilt was so strong that I wanted to do everything "right" the second time around. It was supposed to be my "do over" birth. Well it pretty much went to hell in a hand basket when I caught a virus and was vomiting and contracting every 3 minutes at 32 weeks pregnant, and 4 days and many, many complications later I had no problem at all asking for an epidural for her birth.

I think it stinks that women who want to be more natural types of mothers can be given attitude and made to feel crappy over a choice that lasts for a few hours and can keep them from feeling a significant amount of pain. I honestly think women should be able to birth however they want to, whatever makes them the happiest.
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#75 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 10:30 AM
 
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Regardless, why does it matter how long a mom labors before she receives pain relief? .
I think this brings into play the "stalling labor" problem. If there were no risks or side effects from epis, I don't think there would be as much of an issue.

I have know mom after mom who got to the hosp and was in very very early labor and they say "Do you want to go home or have this baby?" They usually opt to stay, get pit, want the epi, etc.

I have had 1 birth without, and 2 with. Both epis were late in the game. I probably didn't need that last one but oh well, things went fine for me.

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#76 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 11:48 AM
 
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I think that NCB advocates are doing a huge disservice to women if all they say is "don't get the epidural!" I haven't seen even one mention in this thread of other pain relief techniques. Women get the epidural because labor HURTS, so if you want to help women avoid the epi-->pit-->failure to progress-->c-section cascade, IMHO, you should be out there advocating other pain relief methods instead of just telling women to "go natural." And no, I don't just mean breathing and massage. I mean nitrous oxide (used in the UK, I think?), cold-water spinal injection for pain block (if I'm remembering the details right), etc.

The pain is real. It deserves respect. Epidurals are not the ONLY option.
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#77 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 11:53 AM
 
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And I think another disservice is that the NCB community often talks about the cascade of interventions, epidural side effects, difficulty breastfeeding and bonding, and failed pain relief as if these things happen all or most of the time with epis.

If a woman then talks to her friends IRL and many of them did not have these experiences, or if she herself doesn't have them, then it really seems like everyone has been feeding her a line of bull.

Of all of the above problems (with my first, since my second was not a normal birth), the only one I had was some minor difficulty breastfeeding, which we quite likely would have had anyway being that my daughter was 36 weeks and very small, sleepy, and jaundiced.
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#78 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just don't see why it matters to YOU OP what another mother to be chooses to do.

You choose what you makes you happy, let them choose what makes them happy.

If I snarked on your choice to say birth at home, you'd want me to shut up. If I decide to have an epidural before birthing and you keep snarking at me, I'd want you to shut up.
This is a discussion forum and I'm simply trying to have a "discussion." I'm curious & would like to know why other people make the decisions they do, so I'm asking.
Asking, "So why did you do that?" is not "snarking at you."

Yes, what others choose doesn't impact my life. But I'm curious so I'm asking for them to share their point of view - and if you've read my replies, I HAVE been enlightened & I've thanked those posters for sharing info/views/thoughts that were new to me.

If you don't care to share & express your point of view, that's cool too. I think the same could be said for every thread on everything... share your opinion, experience, outlook, or don't.
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#79 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 01:45 PM
 
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With my DS I asked for an epidural after 2 days of back labor. I now think some of my reaction to the pain was because of prior abuse (physical/emotional, not sexual). He was posterior and though I pushed for some time I had a C-section which I think was warranted (though had I not had the epi perhaps I could have avoided it.)

The euphoria I experienced at his birth despite the circumstances was utterly astounding. This time I am planning a homebirth and have done more preparation but I do not feel the epidural robbed me of my birthing experience. It saved me, in fact. Had I continued without it I probably would have ended up wtih PTSD.
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#80 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 02:00 PM
 
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. Women get the epidural because labor HURTS, so if you want to help women avoid the epi-->pit-->failure to progress-->c-section cascade, IMHO, you should be out there advocating other pain relief methods instead of just telling women to "go natural." And no, I don't just mean breathing and massage. I mean nitrous oxide (used in the UK, I think?), cold-water spinal injection for pain block (if I'm remembering the details right), etc. The pain is real. It deserves respect. Epidurals are not the ONLY option.
Oh, but if those other options were out there, we'd have threads just like this about them. Because injecting cold water in your spine? Inhaling nitrous? Not natural, doncha know.
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#81 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 02:17 PM
 
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I decided to get an epi after watching my sister's NCB in a FSBC. It was truly frightening to me as a NMY.

FF to me actually getting pg. I kept an open mind. I was kinda anti-epi. I typically handle pain pretty well. Then at about 36 weeks I had a contaction, just one, that woke me up out of a dead sleep with it's intensity. It scared me how much it hurt. I began to rethink my epi plans. If that's how labor was going to be, no way I wanted to do THAT repeatedly.

As it turned out, I did get one after many many sleepless hours and begging for someone to kill me to stop the mind numbing pain.

#2 I labored for a while with pit, thought "screw this *&%$!" and got an epi. She was born 1.5 hours later with 2 pushes. I have no complaints
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#82 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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This is a discussion forum and I'm simply trying to have a "discussion." I'm curious & would like to know why other people make the decisions they do, so I'm asking.
Asking, "So why did you do that?" is not "snarking at you."

Yes, what others choose doesn't impact my life. But I'm curious so I'm asking for them to share their point of view - and if you've read my replies, I HAVE been enlightened & I've thanked those posters for sharing info/views/thoughts that were new to me.

If you don't care to share & express your point of view, that's cool too. I think the same could be said for every thread on everything... share your opinion, experience, outlook, or don't.
I think though, that people here or in other NCB communities do get tired of having to defend this choice, and/or the prevailing attitude that if only they were more informed they would have made different (meaning "better") choices.

I know that MDC supports natural childbirth and doesn't promote pain relief. But i think that there are probably many moms out there who breastfeed their children, co-sleep, wear their babies, eat organic and natural foods, and practice gentle discipline, and yet pain is very difficult for them to manage. I would like to see this more widely understood and supported. It doesn't make someone less of a mother if she's not particularly fond of experiencing pain.
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#83 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 02:38 PM
 
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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 had an unmedicated first birth and am planning a homebirth this time around. But that's what is right for me - not necessarily for my sister or my best friends. I have a dear friend who is totally happy with hospital based midwives, and I respect her self-knowledge and would never try to persuade her to change care providers. I have made my choices knowing that I am the kind of person to whom it doesn't even occur to take a Tylenol when I have a headache, knowing that I feel safer at home than in hospital, and knowing that I have a lot of confidence in my body to birth babies. If you know you are the kind of person who lays on the ground writhing in agony when your period comes, if you have had a stillbirth, if you have had a failed induction with an epidural that didn't take very well and ended in a crash c-section, you might make different birthing and pain management choices.

I would advocate:
1. Know thyself.
2. Educate thyself on thine options.
3. Make an informed choice, knowing the risks and benefits of all the possible choices.
4. Plan for the kind of birth experience you want to have, but educate yourself about options and have contingency plans well thought out ahead of time.

You know, maybe you have plans for no epidural, but after 4 days of prodromal labor and 8 hours of active labor and only 4 cm. dilation, you are so tired that getting an epidural so you can sleep and not get sectioned for maternal exhaustion is a good and sane option. Maybe you plan to get an epidural as soon as you hit 6 cm, but your labor is so fast that you barely make it to the hospital and come in pushing...Maybe you are deathly afraid of needles and decide that it's either no medication or a c-section under general anesthesia. What is right for one woman may be a terrible choice for another one. The most important things are to be educated, to make informed decisions, and to plan for this birth as much a magical, special, momentous event and as little of a traumatic tragedy that you will remember with horror for years afterwards. Nobody else can dictate what will be the 'right' way for you to birth.

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#84 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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Talula Fairie, post #63...

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#85 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
I totally understand why women would want the option of an epidural. But I just honestly can't understand why women would definitely chose to have it well in advance of labor (for the 1st baby that is - so they've never experienced any labor.)

I have to think that for this to be the case, women truly believe:
1. The epidural is risk-free (or, the risks are like one-in-a-million, so they aren't worth worrying about)
2. Birth is always horribly painful
3. There is no benefit to actually feeling the birth of your child (i.e. birth is just plain painful & there's just no value in feeling any of it.)

Wouldn't you have to believe those things in order to decide in advance of labor, with certainty, that you want the epidural? or am I way off base?

I just find that sad because, as we know here, none of that is even remotely true. I just wish women would at least be open-minded to experiencing something so amazing. But to decide in advance to close down the possibility, well, I can't help but feel that that is just sad.
Unfortunately this described me to a T when I was 18 and preggo with ds, I've gotten educated since then, thankfully for my children's sake. It is truly sad what we are taught growing up about what to expect from labor. I had envisioned some excrutiating pain, and when I felt my first pitocin induced contraction it was exactly as horrible as I thought... though I had no idea that it was so bad BECAUSE of the pitocin until I UC'd and had #2 at home... Those were totally manageable til pushing began, that's when I wouldn't like some relief from the convulsing moreso than the pain.

Nichole, wife to Kris SAHM to Timothy : :10-11-03, Hosanna , Seraphim 8-17-08 : caught by Grandma! Faith 1-4-10 : Caught by Daddy!
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#86 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 03:31 PM
 
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More thoughts here on epidurals and pain relief. As a doula, I have seen women going through pretty horrific pain, pain that makes whatever 'intensity' I felt during my labor seem like ride on It's a Small World in Disneyland by comparison. I can see how a lot of women would opt out of it, and I can see how care providers also feel that an epidural is 'compassionate care'. Really, it is not an illogical decision. One mom of my NCB moms dealt with pain from an OP baby that required counterpressure with every contraction for about 8 hours. When pushing, the baby's skull pressed on a nerve as she descended through mom's pelvis that left mom literally screaming in agony and clutching her thigh with each push until that head was past the nerve. I have seen a mom on pit. make it through labor with no epidural, but in tears and crying for her mommy (who was there and did a great job supporting her daughter) and growling, "I want PAIN. RELIEF. NOW." all the way through her transition (which was thankfully only about 20 minutes) because she'd been going through one on top of the other contractions for three hours already. She used the tub for a good part of labor, and water is great for pain relief, but with the pitocin, she was just not getting a break. These two ladies though were very committed to NOT getting an epidural, and that commitment plus labor support is what got them through their labors. They had decided ahead of time that an epidural was just off the table for them, and they did it, and they were both very triumphant at the end. But if they had been in the "I will try to go natural, but an epi. isn't off the table," they would have gotten one. Granted I am a doula and my clients generally choose unmedicated birth as their preferred route, but the moms I have worked with who have gotten epis. have generally gotten them because of fatigue in a very long, slow labor, and it was a cost-benefit decision where the option was risking maternal exhaustion and a section or get some rest and birth vaginally.

And after seeing some births with epidurals and narcotic pain relief, yes, for sure, it's not "the ideal," but it has been okay. The births have still been very amazing, the moms have all been happy to meet their babies and elated that they gave birth. And granted, my sample size is relatively small, but not a single one of my mama-baby couples has had trouble with breastfeeding or bonding, not the ones who were born with mec. and whisked off to the NICU for monitoring for 3 hours, not the baby who got Narcan to reverse the effects of the Nubain her mom wanted, not the ones born to moms with epidurals. Yes, it's ideal not to have any meds. on board, but having an epidural doesn't automatically ruin the mother-baby relationship forever. If anything, I think having the babies taken from mom right after birth is more traumatic for all involved than when the baby is born with an epidural in place and is given to mom right away. And it is true that having pit., having narcotics, having an epidural, these all up the chances that baby will be born with a depressed affect and will need oxygen or monitoring, but two of my clients who had babies in the NICU had unmedicated births, so no drugs on board is also no guarantee that the doctors won't decide that baby for one reason or another needs to be taken from mom for breathing assistance or monitoring.

As an individual, I have strong preferences about how I birth and firmly held convictions about what is physiologically optimal for mama and baby. But as doula, I advocate only for clients to have safe, satisfying, empowering, wonderful births - as they define them. I do not advocate for any particular way to birth, and attending births has certainly given me a much more open mind about choices that other people make. Birth is profoundly affected by a woman's psychological and emotional state - it's as much in the head as it is in the body. The head is where pain becomes suffering, and it is often the head that throws up more roadblocks to labor progress than anything the body does or doesn't do. We cannot presume to know what is going on in another person's head or body, and we have to trust women to have their priorities straight and to know what will get them through birth in a way that will allow them to have autonomous and satisfactory experiences that leave them psychologically intact enough to be great mamas once their babies are here.

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#87 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 03:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I..... and yet pain is very difficult for them to manage. I would like to see this more widely understood and supported.
(Emphasis added)
And trying to "understand" is exactly what I'm trying to accomplish with this thread.
It's hard to "understand" where someone is coming from if they don't explain & elaborate - so that is why I was asking "why?"

Again, as I've already repeated, I HAVE had my eyes opened from this thread - so thanks yet again to those who have shared their views.
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#88 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
I have to think that for this to be the case, women truly believe:
1. The epidural is risk-free (or, the risks are like one-in-a-million, so they aren't worth worrying about)
2. Birth is always horribly painful
3. There is no benefit to actually feeling the birth of your child (i.e. birth is just plain painful & there's just no value in feeling any of it.)
Also - no. It seems to me that all you'd need to believe is:
1. Birth MIGHT be horribly painful;
2. The RISK of experiencing that much pain is not worth any possible benefits you might get from going med-free; and
3. The possibility of experiencing that much pain outweighs the risks of getting an epidural.

Btw, I went in with the attitude that I wouldn't get an epidural unless I needed one. I had back labor and I was ready to shoot myself before I was dilated past 0. I labored like that for about 6 hours, I think, before finally getting the epidural, which was wonderful.

They then put me on pit, and then turned the epidural DOWN so I could push, and the pain then became 10x worse than anything I'd ever imagined before, and I pushed for 3 hours before begging for (and getting) a c-section.

The next baby was a scheduled repeat c-section. It was MUCH easier. I'm not totally decided against trying a VBAC in the future (although a VBA2C is probably impossible to get in a hospital here anyway), but I'd do anything to avoid an experience like I had the first time around.
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#89 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And granted, my sample size is relatively small, but not a single one of my mama-baby couples has had trouble with breastfeeding or bonding,
<snip>
Yes, it's ideal not to have any meds. on board, but having an epidural doesn't automatically ruin the mother-baby relationship forever.
Well, I personally had what I would call a "picture perfect" natural birth & BFing was a horrific nightmare. DS had NO interest when he first came out (which was unfortunate, since my MW was concerned about some retained membrane & wanted him to BF, but he just wouldn't open his mouth, so she gave me a shot of pit.)
He made up for it after that, but then my nipples cracked & I spent WEEKS in utter & complete agony. I would NEVER, EVER blame a woman for walking away from BFing in my shoes. As a matter of fact, I often thought I was nuts for continuing. It was truly traumatic. (The bad hospital LCs I kept going back to only made it worse.) But I was so stubborn. (Pain subsided around 6 weeks PP & now, at 12 mos, all is well.)

So, I certainly wouldn't be too quick to attribute BFing problems to lack of a natural birth.
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#90 of 123 Old 07-24-2009, 03:53 PM
 
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Because I've seen lots of births, and the idea of stitches in an un-numbed bottom is HORRENDOUS to me. 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.
Um...of course they don't give an epidural for that but...you do know that they give you local anesthetic right? I mean I felt my stitches, but not pain, just a pulling sensation.

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Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
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.
The thing about this though is that, really, having a natural birth is (or should be, IMO) the default. An epidural is an intervention, a change in the way it's done. You don't need a reason to justify why you plan to have no epidural, because that's normal. You should have a reason to have an epidural, because that's not normal. Well, it is, in the US currently, but it shouldn't be.

And note, I'm not saying that anyone needs to justify their reasons to others, or that we should question their reasons to have an epidural (or not to). Just that this argument doesn't fly because having an epidural is an intervention, while NCB is the default.

I hope that made sense...it doesn't seem to be coming out quite right.

Mommy to an exuberant 3 yo bouncy.gif and a new one!  nak.gif

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