Anyone ever go "back" to epidural birth after having natural birth? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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#31 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 02:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by doctorjen
I always tell the women I attend that regardless of their plan, they must plan on getting through some labor without pain relief (most people start labor at home, anyway, and an epidural can't be started in the first 5 seconds you're at the hospital) and they must realize that occasionally perfect epidural pain relief can't be achieved.
Very good point! I had a doula present for Nitara's birth in case the epidural didn't work. I trusted her and knew that I could depend on her to help me through the labor and delivery. As it turned out I think I was her easiest birth. lol! She didn't have to do much but just having her there, I feel, added to the successful labor because I was relaxed and had all bases covered.

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#32 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 03:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by annakiss
Because if you develop a temperature at all during labor with an epidural (one of it's very common side-effects) hospital protocal is to do a full septic workup on the infant, including a spinal tap.
Just to nit-pick here, but in most hospitals a full septic work-up on baby for a maternal temp is no longer rountine protocol. There is a whole flow of what they do starting from the least intervention (draw a blood sample for a complete blood count and maybe blood cultures from it) to more interventive if the CBC comes back abnormal.
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#33 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 08:08 AM
 
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I have insomnia and just came across this thread. Very interesting.

I will give my perspective...I am a Lamaze instructor and when I approach the topic of pain medications for labor I do so by presenting the choices and giving pros and cons of each. It is my goal to promote "normal" birth, of course, but I also believe strongly that everyone has a different vision for their birth experience and that needs to be respected.

Personally, my ultimate goal is to empower women to make their own, informed choices about their births- and not to be controlled by others. For some that means pain medication and for others it does not. One woman may feel "traumatized" by a natural birth while another feels "traumatized" by a medicated birth. Everyone's labors and experiences (both physical and emotional) are different- it is absolutely impossible to compare with so many variables involved.

I think it's also important to base your decisions on as many "facts" as you can. It is so easy to manipulate research and blow things out of proportion on BOTH sides of the pain medication issue.
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#34 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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"One woman may feel "traumatized" by a natural birth while another feels "traumatized" by a medicated birth."

Yes, I was actually traumatized by the medicated birth of my dd1---the natural birth of dd2 was in many ways a healing experience from my first medicated birth.
But as I approach birth #3 I find myself contemplating which "way" to go, which has surprised me. I wonder.....will the trauma of birth #1 repeat itself if I go "back" to a medicated birth, or could I actually have one of those wonderful peaceful experiences so many women with epidurals speak of. Or should I shoot for a natural birth again, knowing what an INTENSE experience it can be (acknowledging each is different), but yet I had NO regrets about it.

I plan on my dd1 (5 1/2) and dd2 (4) being there, so what they witness is important to me also of course.
I just really don't know. I feel if I do the 'wait and see' approach I will have a medicated birth bc a natural birth takes so much preparation and determination, especially since we're planning to go to the hospital.

I'll tell you this...I have SO much respect for ALL the women who have birthed naturally throughout time in less than ideal circumstances...women who were cold, hot, hungry, dirty, ...whatever. Relatively speaking, we have so little to complain about (not that anyone's complaining,...I'm just saying...)
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#35 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 01:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sparklemom
I plan on my dd1 (5 1/2) and dd2 (4) being there, so what they witness is important to me also of course.
I'd say, whichever way you go, educate them both on what they can expect - calm, lying flat on your back in bed all the way to full-blown-screaming. They should be very comfortable in advance of what kind of sounds you *might* be making and what & why your body is doing that. You need to let them know it's safe. My cousin was telling me how traumatic her epidural birth was b/c before she had it she had witnessed her SIL give birth w/an epidural. Her SIL had a very pain-free birth and it seemed easy to my cousin. Well my cousin's epidural didn't take on half of her body so she was writhing in pain. She honestly had no idea that birth w/an epidural could be any different than what she had previously witnessed. Your dd's should be aware of that. You just don't know how it will go for you no matter whether you choose drugs or not. And you certainly don't know how it will go for them when their time comes. They could get a very scewed perspective of medicated birth and go on to have traumatic experiences like my cousin because of it. My opinion is it's best to be prepared for anything, like the PP who planned the epidural but brought along a doula. That's good planning and realistic.

Mama to four remarkable kiddos, all born at home.
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#36 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 01:42 PM
 
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I had mixed feelings when I was pregnant with #5. I had had 3 easy natural childbirths and a fast a furious posterior labor which included dislocating my tailbone with #4. I was for the first time in my life afraid of birth and dreading labor. I did a lot of work with myself and while #5 was certainly not 'pain-free', it was a great experience and my most memorable birth. I wouldn't change it for the world.
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#37 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 04:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by USAmma
I never required other interventions and neither of my babies did, either. They were both very alert at birth and had high APGARs, and both went home within 48 hours of birth. Nitara would have gone home after 24 hours (I was ready to) except that she had a heart murmer and they wanted to keep an eye on that. The murmer corrected itself by the time we left (one of her heart valves that should have closed at birth took a little longer to close than normal).

I have never said that the epidural is the way to go for every woman. It's best to be natural if at all possible. My whole childhood was hell, full of physical and emotional pain. I am tired of fighting that. I wanted my births to be easy and pain-free.
I wasn't trying to say that every scenario equals problems for baby or mother and I do agree that there are situations where the compassionate use of pain relief is quite appropriate. Obviously, that's what you needed, which I can totally understand. I was trying to gauge what a successful outcome meant, and as Mom2six pointed out, I was incorrect about hospital protocol anyhow. I was also simply stating that pain relief for the sake of pain relief (not due to past trauma or current complications) seems silly to me when it risks the health of mother and baby.

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#38 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 04:36 PM
 
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I first have to say I'm so proud of all the MDC mamas for keeping this thread so friendly and non-nasty. I love MDC!!!

I was just thinking about the issue of pain control more. I agree that for most women childbirth is a "natural" pain and can probably be handled well by most women. Esp. for the straighforward, uncomplicated, normally progressing birth that the majority of women have.

I have even seen a tough, brutal back labor of a 10 pound posterior baby with her arm over her head, and even that mama did well without pain meds. She pushed long and hard. If she'd had an epidural she may not have had the same ability to push that baby out and it would have been a c-section.

Then I started thinking about Nitara, who has been through a lot of pain in her own life. Not nearly as natural as childbirth pain. It's different but the same in some ways I guess. She had a procedure done last month where her stomach tube, which is basically like a body peircing with a bulb-end inside the stomach, and another end outside, was pulled out of the hole by brute force with no pain meds. The doctor said that pain meds came with risks (of course) and it was far less risky to just hold her down and remove it, it would only take 2 seconds. It took about 10 seconds and she was screaming that horrible deep scream for about a minute and then it was over. The trauma stayed with her for several days, maybe somewhere it's still in her brain and will be with her for life.

So which would have been better for Nitara? The risk of pain meds and having to be monitored and observed for awhile after, or a very quick but extremely painful procedure with no meds. Which is better for childbirth? A very traumatic experience for mom but no drugs for baby, no complications from the pain meds, or a more peaceful but risky birth for both mother and baby?

I know it's not really fair to compare it to childbirth, but it's been on my mind a lot lately. Tough choices.Not only for ourselves but our babies.

Darshani

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#39 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 04:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NoraJadesMama
What would they be able to offer? Drugs? There are some birth centers with licensed midwives around here. I just figured they were like home births only not at your home...?
I delivered in a freestanding birth center and was given pain relief medication through one simple injection in my hip. It was extremely effective for me. I think most birth centers have Nubain and similar narcotic medications on hand.
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#40 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 04:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NoraJadesMama
I mean, in Spiritual Midwifery and MIdwifery Today (both of which I LOVE) do you ever see birth stories that mention getting "drawn and quartered"--? :LOL I know that there's a huge range of experiences, both of how painful it is and how the mom experiences the pain, but I feel like my "negative" experience is not reflected. I guess it's partly that disjunction that's bumming me out.
Yeah, I felt like I got set up by Ina May's "just call them rushes and don't have a crappy attitude" message. I went into labour believing I could just change my perception to reduce pain, and hoping for an orgasmic birth. :

In retrospect Pam England's Birthing From Within was much better preparation, and I feel a little irked with Ina May.
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#41 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 05:38 PM
 
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My df was floored that I would want a homebirth w no drugs. She has 1st w drugs, 2nd w drugs, 3rd too fast and was not happy, and 4th w drugs. When I say w drugs I mean epidural or spinal.

Personally, I had the epidural w 1st and it resulted in a c/s for a lot of reasons. Since I was not given the freedom to cope with my pain in the hospital and I was on pit, an epidural was definitely necessary.
I had a hb w #3 and I wouldn't ever go back to the hospital to give birth. I don't like hospitals to begin with and I hate hate hate needles. So, I guess no I wouldn't want an epidural.

I have a church aquaintance that tried an epidural w the first and it failed she had more pain from the epidural than anything else, she has had 2 more babies since then no epidural.

I think it depends on the mentality of the mother and how well they cope with pain.
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#42 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 07:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thismama
Yeah, I felt like I got set up by Ina May's "just call them rushes and don't have a crappy attitude" message. I went into labour believing I could just change my perception to reduce pain, and hoping for an orgasmic birth. :

In retrospect Pam England's Birthing From Within was much better preparation, and I feel a little irked with Ina May.
ITA completely. I read Birthing From Within while I was pregnant with #1 but didn't read SM til #2. I'm so glad it was in that order. My doula with #1 was so delightfully matter-of-fact too, she said "It really really hurts. That's why you hired me. Let's work with that."

I think many women do not find their birth experience portrayed in Spiritual Midwifery, and I expect many feel disappointed in themselves because of it. I prefer the brutal honesty of BFW to the rose-colored expectations in SM.
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#43 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 07:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by redsonya
I really don't think it's about the ability to tolerate pain, or some people having a higher threshold for pain than others. I just think some labors are more painful than others. some aren't that painful, some are sorta painful, others are the axe murder painful. I've had 4 unmedicated births. One of those actually wasn't too bad. So I can imagine if, say, that had been my first birth, I'd definitely wonder what all the fuss was about. But my 1rst, 2nd, and 4th births were traumatizing. I could even say that the 4th one was so traumatizing that it interfered with my bonding with my beautiful baby.
Yes, I think that's one of the hard things about talking about this -- we're often talking about apples and oranges. It would be nice if we could point to some objective measurement. I'm always curious when someone says there labor was very painful but positive if they could possibly be talking about the amputation-level of pain that I remember, and if so how fascinating that two human beings could experience something so differently...

Some of my contractions even at transition were intense but almost enjoyable, I really wish my whole labor could have been like that; but most were just wildly over the top painful.

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Originally Posted by redsonya
As far as pain meds at home-- there should be something available. I've never smoked marijuana but I've read it can really help with labor-- but can you imagine smoking marijuana during a homebirth??? LOL. And if you had a transfer, trying to explain it? You'd have your baby taken away. Unfortunately most natural pain relievers are illegal.
:LOL good point! There goes my plan

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Originally Posted by redsonya
At the very least they should make all hospitals friendlier, homier, gentler, and more concerned with bonding, privacy, and breastfeeding.
Yes--that's what I want for myself & my daughter's future births--options. We should be able to get pain relief in a variety of settings if we make an informed choice that that's what we want/need. And we should be able to go the hospital (for pain relief, or for complications) without turning our entire body and baby to that system.

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Originally Posted by thismama
In retrospect Pam England's Birthing From Within was much better preparation, and I feel a little irked with Ina May.
yes, I think Pam England makes a big point about birth being WORK and also painful. Less pressure to have orgasms.


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Originally Posted by USAmma
So which would have been better for Nitara? The risk of pain meds and having to be monitored and observed for awhile after, or a very quick but extremely painful procedure with no meds. Which is better for childbirth? A very traumatic experience for mom but no drugs for baby, no complications from the pain meds, or a more peaceful but risky birth for both mother and baby?

I know it's not really fair to compare it to childbirth, but it's been on my mind a lot lately. Tough choices.Not only for ourselves but our babies.
I know it's not a perfect analogy but it registers with me. In other words, her experience (and her body memory of the pain) are part of the equation, one of the risks of NOT doing the pain meds. Tough choices, not to be minimized. Also, on a personal note, I'm sorry you and Nitara went through that, Darshani. That sounds so hard for both of you.

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Originally Posted by wakeUpMama
I delivered in a freestanding birth center and was given pain relief medication through one simple injection in my hip. It was extremely effective for me. I think most birth centers have Nubain and similar narcotic medications on hand.
I had no idea this was possible!

So was the injection sort of a pain killer, without making you all spacey and out of it? And did you have a CNM or LM?
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#44 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 10:23 PM
 
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I just want to chime in to say that this thread has been a bit cathartic for me -- to know other women also experienced the kind of birth pain I did. I had hoped for a drug-free labor, but I opted for the epidural after seven hours of hard labor (induction, posterior baby, vacuum extraction after 2+ hours of pushing, 3rd degree tear) and I honestly don't think I could've delivered him had I not had it (I was so exhausted and the epi allowed me to rest and gather my strength for pushing). Anyhow, I just want to say thanks to you all for sharing your feelings on this subject so openly. I know my feelings of failure and trauma from my birth has haunted me in the nearly three years since my son's birth. We're now TTC #2 and I am so excited for another baby, but when I think about actually giving birth, my stomach drops with dread. I know my fears are going to have to be worked through over the course of my pregnancy because I'm *that* scared.
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#45 of 55 Old 01-20-2005, 04:25 PM
 
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I just talked to my midwife who was here for my three week postpartum checkup. I asked her if she knew of any midwives locally who offer drugs. She said there is one, and indeed it's the very one I had for my previous homebirth (with no mention of the drugs option made to me).

I am feeling frustrated. I had no idea that this was ever possible. I wish I'd known. I would have wanted to consider it, carefully going over all of the risks/benefits. It seems to me that as a midwife, part of really respecting women's choices should involve giving respectful consideration to their experiences of pain in childbirth, and trusting them to make the best choice for themselves and their family, not essentially making the choice for them because it doesn't feel necessary to *you.*
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#46 of 55 Old 01-20-2005, 05:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by redsonya
I can think a few other ways to put it... being drawn and quartered... being slowly crushed to death... having your insides boiled... ahhhh!!!!!!



I don't see why that has to be controversial. I think it's outrageous that a woman has to be in a hospital to have pain relief. ITA with you. A woman shouldn't be forced to birth in a hospital because she wants pain relief. It would be great to have that option at home.

Yes...I in fact think burning alive must be less painful.I seriously wanted to die and if someone had offered me some sort of lethal injection I would have taken it without hesitation.

When she was there I had a blackout and then I was too weak to hold her any longer than maybe 2-3 minutes.
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#47 of 55 Old 01-20-2005, 08:18 PM
 
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Yes...I in fact think burning alive must be less painful.I seriously wanted to die and if someone had offered me some sort of lethal injection I would have taken it without hesitation.


I hear you. I'm not walking down that road again.
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#48 of 55 Old 01-20-2005, 10:05 PM
 
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This brings up a lot of thoughts for me. I'm not sure I have anything great to contribute, but I'm just kind of thinking "out loud" here. With my first, I think I was quite unprepared, despite having a mother who is a CNM (and was out of town for the delivery ) and my dh and I were really scared, because the baby was 4 weeks early, our family wasn't there to help support us, and he was not coping well with seeing me in pain. I asked for the epidural, and got it, and was very disappointed in myself and a little bit in him for not trying to talk me out of it even once. I knew just enough to think "I can't do 10-12 more hours of this" when they said "3 cm." Turned out the baby was born 4 hours later.

The second one was completely different. I felt that I was preparing myself well (with Hypnobabies), I knew my mom would be there to help coach me if my dh couldn't cope, and I thought I'd be able to handle the pain much more easily since I knew what to expect. I also thought labor would be shorter since it was my seocnd (which it was). My daughter was born 7 weeks premature after an illness that made me vomit for 3 days, unable to sleep, and the hydration and drugs that they tired to stop labor with gave me pulmonary edema (fluid was filling my lungs). I was not prepared for this in any way. I didn't know that I'd be going into labor without food or sleep for 3 days and an oxygen tube in my nose. When my water broke, I was so exhausted that I wanted to cry. I was also miserable, because I knew within minutes of my water breaking and my contractions intensifying that I was going to ask for pain relief and no one would talk me out of it. I knew my last chance at a natural birth was gone.

And yet, my second birth was much better in some ways than my first. the epidural was much less strong and left me with a great deal of sensation. I didn't need a catheter, I could feel and move my legs on my own, I could feel contractions, pressure, some pain, and the urge to push. I absolutely felt my daughter's head as she passed through the birth canal, and I felt my perineum burn as she crowned.

I'm a little sad that I didn't get the natural birth that I wanted, but after what I went through, I feel like a lioness anyway. Part of the sadness I feel is just sort of part of the overall sadness of having a premature baby (she was taken away right after birth, I couldn't see her for 26 hours after birth due to my illness, she didn't come home for 23 days, no baby shower, no month 8 or 9, etc.)

If I were to have another baby (which I'm not planning on) I would probably try again to go natural. But I'd try really hard not to be disappointed in myself if I wanted pain medication. A lot of what bothers me about having epidurals is that I "knew better" and wanted to go without both times, but failed. I don't like the feeling of being a failure because I wanted pain relief, and it is hard for me to read threads like this, that list all the damage I could've done to my babies and myself. I know that many here are aknowledeging the differences in labors and circumstances, which is great. I don't know exactly what I'm trying to say...maybe it is important to be aware of the feelings of guilt and sadness a woman can have if she feels that she failed to live up to a certain standard (her own, or someone else's). It's a hard place to be after what is supposed to be one of the happiest events in your life.
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#49 of 55 Old 01-21-2005, 01:14 AM
 
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I hear you. I'm not walking down that road again.
thanks redsonya, sometimes it's good to hear someone had a similar experience!

Not meaning to sound harsh, but sometimes I wonder if some women can actually imagine how hard it can be if they had different experiences.
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#50 of 55 Old 01-21-2005, 01:46 PM
 
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I'm so glad to see this being discussed, because I'm thinking about going back to the epidural if I ever have another baby, and I can't believe after how gung-ho I've been about natural childbirth I would ever consider it.

My first was a hospital birth, and I requested an epidural at 8 cm when they wanted to start pitocin augmentation. I had many complications from the epidural, including a spinal headache and six weeks of excruciating back pain. I was very disappointed that I hadn't managed to have a natural childbirth, and I swore I would never, ever, ever let some stick a needle in my back again. I also really hated the hospital experience.

My second was a birth center/midwife natural childbirth. It was overall a healing experience, but I learned that I had no idea what "excruciating" pain really was. The pushing stage was absolute agony, and it lasted two hours (first birth pushing was only 45 minutes, and with the epidural I felt nothing.) I had taken Hypnobirthing, but it was useless at that point, and I found myself screaming at points. It was that bad. And forget enjoying the birth itself. It was a blur of pain.

The repair of my 2nd degree tear was also agony. I had no idea, nor was I prepared for, the fact that it would take 9 shots in my vagina to numb me sufficiently for them to stitch me up. It was hell. Being in such pain after the birth seemed so unfair.

I never thought I would ever want an epidural again after what the first did to me, but now I have a new appreciation for it. It allowed me to give birth in comfort, and to enjoy those precious moments after the birth bonding with my son, not in agony while I was being stitched up.

I want the best of both worlds if I ever give birth again - a midwife delivery in a hospital, with a late epidural (around 8 cm again would be ideal). I have nothing left to prove to myself or to anyone else, and I just want to enjoy the birth experience as much as possible. Unfortunately midwives don't deliver in the hospitals here, so I'm just going to have to stop at two. I can't have another baby without a midwife, because I loved the support, but I couldn't do it without an epidural either, because I hated the pain.
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#51 of 55 Old 01-21-2005, 02:21 PM
 
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I had 2 birth without any pain medication with the help of midwives. Painful? Oh yes! But once it was over - it was OVER!!

Then I needed to be induced with DS#2 at a hospital with a obgyn (in the US). Ok, I won't lie to you - during the labor itself I was actually joking around with the nurse and DH, having great conversations and in NO PAIN! At the time I felt I can't lie I was loving it. Then I began shaking and feeling weird, and when the nurse looked at the monitor she said : "Oh, it is because it is time to push" WHAT?? And I had not felt any of it? I had to be told when to push and that was very difficult for me... I felt like I was half dead
Now, considering that you can only get epidurals in a hospital, it is always important to think about whether or not a hospital environment is something for you... After the epidural, came all the "standard" hospital procedures I had never been through before. Throughout the 3 days I was there (no, they did not discharge me as I requested) they kept disrespecting my wishes and wanting to take my baby away...

Oh, and I can't forget to talk about the horrible back pain I had for 2 weeks after delivery BECAUSE of the epidural!! 4-5 days after my first 2 deliveries I was feeling like myself again. Now I had to limp and take Motrin for 2 weeks because of the stupid epidural.

This time around I am giving birth at a Birth Center and looking forward to it. The only pain relief options they have there are a big bathtub and other small natural birth equipment
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#52 of 55 Old 01-21-2005, 02:46 PM
 
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My first two were natural, with my third I had an epidural after 12 hours of natural labor (labor lasted another 8 hours with the epi plus 2 1/2 hours pushing). With this baby I plan on going back to natural. I can say that all of my births were successful and all my babies have been very healthy - I noticed no adverse effects of the epidural on my son.

During the epidural I honestly thought it was Heaven sent and I remember even saying to my husband that anyone that gives birth with the assistance of an epidural has no right to complain and that I must have been nuts to go natural before....

But in hindsight I can see the negative effects of the epidural - my labor was longer then I think it would have been if I stayed natural. My first two labors were 16 and 15 hours respectively, my third was 20 hours. Pushing with my first was like 1/2 hour and easy, with my 2nd it was about an hour and a half but with my 3rd it was 2 1/2 hours of excruciating pain. They had me stop using the epi when it was time to push but I don't think I was actually ready, I think I was dilated and effaced enough but my body wasn't ready to push yet but I couldn't really tell because of the pain relief. Granted my 3rd was also my biggest baby, but I think it was so much more painful during pushing because I also didn't have the labor to prepare me for the pain - it was all of a sudden going from comfort to bahm - horrible pain.

So for those reasons and also because since then I've done a lot more reading on epis and am concerned about possible effects on the baby that I will be going natural agan this time around.

Kitty

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#53 of 55 Old 01-21-2005, 10:21 PM
 
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Another drawn-and-quartered labourer here. My second child was born last fall and I'm still thinking, Why on earth did I decide to do that again? Do I hate myself?

I think it was even harder in that it was my second and I didn't feel as though I could, in good conscience, pray for death, which I did the first time around, because that would have meant leaving behind a motherless child.

I can totally imagine going "back" to pain relief, especially if it was somehow available outside of the hospital.

NoraJade'sMom, you're too funny. Two weeks post-partum is no time to be thinking about whether or not you can hack another natural birth.

p.s. I also can't read Ina May. One of my backup midwives told me about time she'd spent at The Farm, assuming, I think, that I would think that was a good thing, but I thought that it was a very bad sign and was glad that she didn't attend my birth.
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#54 of 55 Old 01-21-2005, 10:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodo
NoraJade'sMom, you're too funny. Two weeks post-partum is no time to be thinking about whether or not you can hack another natural birth.
:LOL It's the mothering hormones! I'm under the influence! Good thing I won't be fertile for a while!
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#55 of 55 Old 01-23-2005, 06:50 AM
 
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Another drawn-and-quartered mom here!!!

My first birth was a water birth at home, 2 midwives and a doula who worked with Ina May as well. I just want to shoot them all!

The pain was horrific. Nothing they tried helped me. I screamed and screamed and screamed.

I've been traumatized, through birth trauma counseling and 2 years later still have horrible feelings about the whole thing.

I'm due with #2 in 3 weeks.

I am going to the hospital this time to get an intrathecal (no epidurals at my hospital) with a great OB and a doula trained specifically to handle hospital births and medicated births. She is Lamaze certified and will be able to help me get through the time that labor starts until I get my meds. And continue on after that.

NO WAY would I do another natural childbirth again.
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