Anyone ever go "back" to epidural birth after having natural birth? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 55 Old 01-14-2005, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone ever go "back" to epidural birth after having natural birth?
And like it?
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#2 of 55 Old 01-14-2005, 11:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sparklemom
Anyone ever go "back" to epidural birth after having natural birth?
And like it?
I've never had a natural birth, but I know a lot of women who have, and I would say half of them had epidurals the 2nd or 3rd time. A friend of mine had 1st birth with epidural, 2nd birth all natural, and 3rd birth with an epidural, and she says she enjoyed her last birth the most, the first two were both rough.
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#3 of 55 Old 01-14-2005, 03:25 PM
 
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Someone I know had 4 unmedicated births, and had an epidural for the fifth.

She thought it might help her avoid the fatigue that she'd experienced after other births. I think she was satisfied...but I also think she doesn't know that some of her L&D and postpartum complications may have been epidural-related. After the epidural was placed she developed a fever (surprise, surprise), so she had to be given antibiotics. She also had chronic headaches and backaches for a while after delivering.
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#4 of 55 Old 01-14-2005, 05:44 PM
 
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I know a few women who have, but their first unmedicated births weren't planned so they didn't enjoy them. They liked their subsequent epidural births much better.
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#5 of 55 Old 01-14-2005, 06:32 PM
 
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A friend of mine opted for a homebirth (and obviously) unmedicated birth for her first child. She then chose to do hospital/epidural births for the rest of her kids. She said it was too painful for her to do w/o drugs. I'm pretty sure she didn't learn any labor/pain-coping techniques prior to her first birth (no childbirth classes, etc.). She seemed happy to do it that way.

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#6 of 55 Old 01-14-2005, 09:25 PM
 
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I am not qualified to answer your question b/c I've never had an unmedicated birth. I had an epidural with my first and it was such a good experience (no complications), that I decided to have another epidural for the second birth, also without complications. I figured why mess with success? I have very personal/abuse reasons for wanting an epidural in the first place and really I have no regrets, other than wondering what natural would be like sometimes.

I hope I'm not coming across saying that epidurals are wonderful and everyone should have one, because I think that most women can and should enjoy natural births.

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#7 of 55 Old 01-14-2005, 11:46 PM
 
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Not exactly the answer to your question, but sort of... I had an epidural with my first and many complications. My second was unmedicated with no complications. I can see why women who had unmedicated births the first time choose an epidural the second time. I wouldn't have an epidural again due to everything I went through with my son, but if a woman had an epidural with no complications, I can definitely see why she'd choose one again.
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#8 of 55 Old 01-15-2005, 12:27 AM
 
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I have had 4 kids, the first three where with epidurals, the last one at home(unmedicated of course). I have to tell ya my epidurals were great, but my unmedicated was 100,000 times better! I felt so much better after the baby was born and my baby did not have any medication in his system when he was born. I am not having any more children, but if I did I would definitely do it drug free again. Jen
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#9 of 55 Old 01-16-2005, 03:38 AM
 
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Very interesting thread.

Nope, I never knew anyone. Most did epi's with first kids and natural last.
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#10 of 55 Old 01-16-2005, 08:04 PM
 
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Let's say I am considering it.The birth of my daughter was very traumatic for me and the only way I can see myself dealing with a 2nd is with an epidural.Homebirth is not an option for me (several reasons).
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#11 of 55 Old 01-17-2005, 12:43 AM
 
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I had a friend who had 2 natural births and the third was . . . what do you call it? an unnatural birth? and interventionist birth? I don't know why, I didn't talk about it with her much. I didn't hear her complain about any of them, but I recall she only breastfeed the last one about a month.
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#12 of 55 Old 01-17-2005, 12:53 AM
 
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Interesting question. I think I would be much more relaxed in a birth AFTER I had a natural birth, because I think I would feel like I already achieved that goal once, I was strong enough to get through it and now I don't have to prove myself that I can do it, cuz I already did! LOL I know it sounds silly.. but I think that's how I would feel after I gave birth naturally.
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#13 of 55 Old 01-17-2005, 03:46 PM
 
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Hi sparklemom,

I can't say "yes" to your question but I'd like to respond anyway if that's okay. This question is a meaningful and emotionally loaded one for me. I have had one epidural birth followed by two home births.

If I ever have another birth, I feel I really will have to get an epidural.

I LOVE homebirth, the tender and strong care of a midwife, the incredible security of my own home, the privacy, the control, the lack of interventions, and ABOVE ALL the complete privacy with my newborn child from the time he emerges until I am ready to share him. These things are so near and dear to my heart, I can't tell you how strongly I feel about them.

Even though my epidural birth was successful and no other interventions were done (except annoyances like fetal monitor strapped on and episiotomy, etc), I really hated the lack of privacy etc of being in the hospital's system (arguing with them about how long I could nurse my newborn before they had to take her to weigh her etc UGH).

But I just find the pain of labor too much to set myself up for a drug-free labor again. It's only a few hours, I know, and the pay off is so big. But I just don't think I can do that to myself again. I'm not one of those women (as I'd wanted to be) who could find the pain meaningful, healthy, empowering, manageable or otherwise positive in some way. I felt like I was being axe murdered both times.

I hate it that I can't have some kind of opiate at home. I could if I were recovering from surgery, but not to have labor. I know that's controversial and a pipe dream, and I don't want to debate it here, but it would be my dream.

I just gave birth two weeks ago. Holding my new baby is euphoric. I wish I could contemplate another birth without having to choose between giving myself over to the hospital or screaming my lungs out at home. This is on my mind a lot lately and I'm feeling really sad about it, so I thought I'd just chime in on this thread.
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#14 of 55 Old 01-17-2005, 03:54 PM
 
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My mom had a pain relief free birth with me. She was induced though. They kept turning the pit up on her and I was born in two hours. They moved things so quickly for her that she never got anything for her pain.

For both my siblings I believe she had an epidural and went into labor on her own. I think she was so horrified by the pit birth that the epi semmed natural. Of course my siblings were born 14 and 17 years ago so there wasn't as much info for her about natural birth, she probably wouldn't have chosen a medicated birth if she knew about the possible complications.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#15 of 55 Old 01-17-2005, 05:26 PM
 
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NoraJadesMama, you sound like the perfect candidate for a freestanding birth center. Is there one anywhere by you?

And to answer the OP, I have had all of my children without pharmaceutical pain relief. I don't think I would ever plan an epidural but if I was in the hospital for some reason for a birth there are conditions under which I would get one. (I mean nonsurgical conditions, LOL! Obviously I'd want one for a c-section.)
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#16 of 55 Old 01-17-2005, 07:46 PM
 
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I had a natural birth (at a hospital) a week and a half ago. It was SUPPOSED to be a water birth, but they made me walk around for so long and I progressed so quickly, that there was no time for the water birth. I was admitted to the hospital at 9cm -- no time for drugs either. It was very traumatic and I never want to do it again. The idea of having another baby is terrifying. I would want an epidural next time for sure. I just couldn't go through another natural birth.
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#17 of 55 Old 01-18-2005, 02:36 PM
 
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I plan on a epidural after unmedicated births. I know lots of coping techniques, had great doulas doing massage, birth tub, had prepared with herbs, great midwives... it was still hell. Recovery does take longer w/ an epidural but I simply cannot go through that agony again, and I wouldn't want my daughters too either. That's what finally convinced me it was "ok," thinking what I would want for my daughters. No woman should feel pressured not to have pain releif. It took me a few horribly painful births to lose my poo-poo attitude toward pain relief, but here I am LOL.
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#18 of 55 Old 01-18-2005, 02:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoraJadesMama
I felt like I was being axe murdered both times.
I can think a few other ways to put it... being drawn and quartered... being slowly crushed to death... having your insides boiled... ahhhh!!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoraJadesMama
I hate it that I can't have some kind of opiate at home. I could if I were recovering from surgery, but not to have labor. I know that's controversial and a pipe dream, and I don't want to debate it here, but it would be my dream. (
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.
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#19 of 55 Old 01-18-2005, 03:21 PM
 
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wow, reading the experiences in this thread gives me a weird feeling about myself. I am either a glutton for punishment or have a really high pain tolerance. I can't respond directly to the original question because I know no one who has gone natural and then epidural. My experience was 14 hrs of labor from start to finish - started with water breaking. Pitocin started after 9 hours, ready to push 3.5 hr later, no pain meds. The LD nurse told me that they didn't use much pit, that my body pretty much took over. Not sure if that's true as I don't know the dosage they used and don't know the usual amount used. But everything went pretty quickly (including transition) and I just can't imagine ever using terms like "ax murdered" about how I felt. It makes me sad that birth can be so painful for some of us. I don't plan on having any meds with #2 due in May -- but.... if I end up with a 30 hr labor, I just might think differently.

(I hope I didn't offend anyone with my post - I'm not trying to trivialize things - I'm just in awe at some of the descriptions.)
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#20 of 55 Old 01-18-2005, 04:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by redsonya
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.
It's not an option (epidural anyway) at home because of the risks involved. A hospital can get away with taking such risks because they have the resources to save the woman and/or baby if need be. This would never be considered "safe" at home.

Mama to four remarkable kiddos, all born at home.
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#21 of 55 Old 01-18-2005, 05:20 PM
 
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I had a natural birth (with pit!) for my first and had some nubain with my second. If I could go back and do my second birth again, I would have the epidural. I wouldn't change my first birth (except for not having to be induced, but that's another ball of wax) because even with the horrendous pitocin contractions, I found myself able to deal. But the back labor I had with my second was, as Ayun Halliday puts it, "a whole 'nother flavor of excruciating." After 6 hours in which I progressed only 1cm, the nubain did nothing but disorient me. I wish I'd gotten the epidural! But I was so set against it, that it was never an option.
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#22 of 55 Old 01-18-2005, 05:31 PM
 
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With Abi's birth I got the epidural at 4 cm. I'd pretty much planned on having one anyway but thought I'd see and then decided. Granted, I had very little preparation, no doula. But I thought that as a former long distance runner I had a good pain tolerance, esp. for something so exciting. I used to run miles and miles and my muscles burned and that would make me more motivated to run faster, past the "zone."

But with birth, it was not a normal labor. I went from zero to full blown, bent over in pain, seeing stars labor instantly. There was no warm-up at all. It was just like in the movies. I was drawing the covers down on the bed and suddently I was bent over in pain. We immediately went to the hospital, 1 mile away, because I thought something might be very wrong to have this much pain right away. I clung to the railings all the way to L&D. I was at 4 cm, having strong, strong cx off the charts, couldn't talk or see straight, was about to start yelling. I wanted to make myself walk or squat but all I could do was curl up in a ball and I was powerless and felt ripped in two. Everyone was commenting on the power of the cx. Finally got an epidural and from that point on I relaxed and enjoyed the birth, called friends to let them know the progress. I had Abi 8 hours after the first cx.

I have past abuse issues. I often wonder if it has affected my body's ability to handle pain. I'm not sure, maybe, maybe not. But it was terrifying. I have been to births where the women did great in the face of pain and I admire them becuase they faced it and embraced it. I wanted to run from it and there was no place to run.

I had constant cx with all of Abi's pg from very early on. With Nitara I had cx from 10 weeks and by 23 weeks had been in preterm labor and bedrest and terb. I had cx every 4 mins. or so from 23 weeks and the meds kept them weak but never took them away. Nitara's labor started the same way as Abi's and I ordered my epidural as soon as I got into L&D. The rest of the birth was a beautiful, sacred event. I felt very much in control, even lifted her out myself.

I guess just like everything else birth is different for everyone. It's funny, when I was training to be a doula people told me I had a healing, calming energy and helped them with their labors. But my own labor was not peaceful at all before the epidural.

I would have loved to have a pain-free birth at home. But more than that I wanted a birth with good memories of peace and calmness, not emotional trauma.

Darshani

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#23 of 55 Old 01-18-2005, 05:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by feebeeglee
NoraJadesMama, you sound like the perfect candidate for a freestanding birth center. Is there one anywhere by you?
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...?

redsonya: It's good for me to hear your similar experiences (although I'm sorry for both of us ). Also you say
Quote:
Originally Posted by redsonya
No woman should feel pressured not to have pain releif.
ITA. I feel pressured by the whole structural problem (ie., that you seem to have to go to a hospital to get the pain relief) and also by the natural birth movement. I totally understand why they want to emphasize the dangers of drugs during labor (for the baby, for the "cascade of interventions, etc) and the naturalness of the birthing process. Believe me I'm a big advocate for gentle birth.

But I feel like a lot of pressure gets put on the pregnant woman to be "okay" with the pain, and for some of us it's traumatic agony kind of pain, and to me that trivializes a huge and important part of what it means to be a birthing woman.

It *seems* like I'm just supposed to laugh off the pain afterwards or else say how it wasn't that bad or I felt like a lioness or just not talk about it, but if I feel like it was traumatic then I'm not really part of the program.

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.

Anyway it's great to chat here about it and feel it's taken seriously.
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#24 of 55 Old 01-18-2005, 07:22 PM
 
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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.

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.

I think I remember reading about some celebrity who had a homebirth but it was with a CNM, anaesthesiologist, and an OB in attendance, and they administered an epidural. They must have set up a mini hospital in her house. Think of the $$ that must have cost.

At the very least they should make all hospitals friendlier, homier, gentler, and more concerned with bonding, privacy, and breastfeeding.
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#25 of 55 Old 01-18-2005, 07:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WriterMama
I know a few women who have, but their first unmedicated births weren't planned so they didn't enjoy them. They liked their subsequent epidural births much better.
I am one of those mamas.

Quote:
I went from zero to full blown, bent over in pain, seeing stars labor instantly. There was no warm-up at all.
You are describing my labor to a "T".

No two women labor the same and for each woman the pain is felt and interpreted differently. I have had three kids and each felt differently, my third was "front labor" and so totally different than my first two, both back labors, that were so incredibly painful it felt like someone jumping up and down on my crushed spine. At one point with my first, i remember thinking i wish i could die, just so the pain would stop (it doesnt help that i was stuck at 9cm for hours either).

Still, i dont regret my epidurals, in fact i loved them and feel no need to defend them or my decision to have one. No one should feel defensive about their births.
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#26 of 55 Old 01-18-2005, 09:46 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...?
The freestanding birth center I went to does have pain meds available. Not epidurals, but IV meds.
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#27 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 12:19 AM
 
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I'm curious - does a "successful" epidural birth without complications only include on the mother? 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. I don't think that's very successful at all. I think that's dangerous to the baby. Actually, I think that epidurals are dangerous to children and mothers anyway and can't see choosing one simply because labor is hell (which I know it is, I hated it).

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#28 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 12:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by annakiss
I'm curious - does a "successful" epidural birth without complications only include on the mother? 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. I don't think that's very successful at all. I think that's dangerous to the baby. Actually, I think that epidurals are dangerous to children and mothers anyway and can't see choosing one simply because labor is hell (which I know it is, I hated it).
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.

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#29 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 01:05 AM
 
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My sister had two epidural free births (though no drug free), with no tears or complications. She decided to have an epidural with her third. She enjoyed the epi until it came time to push and she could not feel the urge to bear down. She tried to push anyway (cheerleader pushing), but baby got "stuck" after the head was delivered. The doctor freaked and cut her from stem to stern (4th degree episiotomy) to get the shoulders and body out. Then she spent the next week in bed with excruciating headaches, taking super doses of Motrin with Codiene, which of course made her and the baby completely out of it (she was nursing and was told there was no counter-indication...she admits now that she is probably lucky that the baby didn't die, as he would forget to breath because he was so doped up).

Oh, and she was sewn up incorrectly, and developed a fistula between her vagina and her anus and had to go through two major surgeries over the next two years to fix it.

Then when she got a "surprise" baby, she opted for a c-section, so that the surgical work done to her didn't rip out. Her recovery from that was not terrible, but certainly wasn't ideal.

So, that epi had far reaching and long term ramifications in her case...most of which could not be forseen. I concede that hers is an extreme case, but obviously the extreme can happen.

I personally have had two difficult labors (41 and 24 hours long, both with back labor) and one relatively easy one (though not pain free by any stretch of the imagination). I cannot forsee any circumstance where I would choose to have an epi that was not medically neccesary, but I cannot (and will not) judge other mamas who make a different choice. I just hope they fully understand the risks involved with that decision.

Mama to three small people; wife to one big person; pet-person to cats and dogs..."Be the change you want to see in the world"-- Gandhi
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#30 of 55 Old 01-19-2005, 01:27 AM
 
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I have mixed feelings about pain relief in labor.
For myself, I have had 4 unmedicated births and would not do it any other way. I am a bit of a control freak, and couldn't deal with giving up sensation, or the ability to clearly think. I hate to be restrained at all, and would have felt very claustrophobic with the blood pressure cuff, IV running, epidural catheter trailing off, etc. I felt like walking and moving were absolutely necessary, and couldn't manage being stuck in one place. My first labor was very intense, with back to back contractions and back labor. My second was nearly pain free. My third was harder work, and a couple hours of intense pressure, but my best attended birth because of how supported I felt. My 4th labor was intensely painful - I'm glad it was my last.
I attend a lot of births, though, and while I wish every woman could have wonderful, empowering, unmedicated births like mine, that isn't the case for everyone. I had one woman so traumatized by her unmedicated birth (which I did not attend) that she needed treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder afterward. I recently attended another birth of my own patient, whose intense labor was very frightening and overwhelming too. Her first labor had been unmedicated, and she ended up unmedicated this time too, but she was so unhappy afterwards, and also had difficulty bonding with the baby.
I want for every woman a birth they can remember with at least a sense of accomplishment, if not any more pleasant memories. Most of the time, I feel good preparation, and good support can achieve that, and pain meds aren't the answer. For some women, in some labors though, judicious use of pain relief is necessary to make the experience bearable.
I don't want to minimize the possible risks of pain relief, either, though, and feel it's important that women understand those risks. Anecdotal stories are not enough for that, either, women must have available the actual data. I try to cover it in detail with women long before labor, so they know the truth ahead of time, and then can hopefully make good decisions at the time.
I do want to mention also, that occasionally epidurals don't work perfectly or even at all. The most pain I've seen mamas in labor experience has been from either a partially functioning epidural, or a woman who was dead set on an epidural and then either couldn't get one (like one woman who had too low a platelet count) or had one that didn't work. 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.
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