"i did it natural, with an epidural of course" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just heard a lady say this exact statement on A Baby Story- and I have had a few relatives/co-workers say the same thing. Now, I'm not judging them for having an epidural- but epidural does not = natural. I think they mean vaginal- I just don't get why one would say "I had a natural childbirth with an epidural OF COURSE" like there's no other option other than a C-section...

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#2 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 01:05 PM
 
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I've noticed people making the same sort of statement too. I think the biggest issue is our culture's discomfort with the body & reproductive system especially. Sadly, women are uncomfortable even saying "vaginal". "Natural" has become a terribly innacurrate but socially appropriate euphemism for those who can't bring themselves to even say the "V-word".

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#3 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 01:23 PM
 
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Seems like another case of "Formica" meaning all "Laminate Countertops!" It's just much more annoying! I also get annoyed at the whole "Birth Center" meaning "Hospital Maternity Ward". And I certainly annoyed with "I nursed him for a long time" meaning "the whole six months".

Would it be rude to ask people for a definition of these words they throw around so casually?

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#4 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 01:41 PM
 
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I have two opinions on this. One is that the women are just ignorant.

The second, is I know many mama's like me who worked hard for natural unmedicated births, who ended up with complications and interventions and there simply is no language to convey the experience. I can't say I had a natural birth - even though for 53.5 of my 54 hours with a pitocin induction I was pain medication free and I pushed without drugs.

I don't feel like I fall into either the natural or the medicated camp. I'm coming to see many women end up this way - they don't want the effort they put in discounted simply because medication was used at one point in the birth process.
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#5 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 01:46 PM
 
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Ugh! This is a pet peeve of mine.

Natural = Completely pain medication free (not I just had a little Stadol but it didn't really help)

Vaginal = Baby coming out of your vagina, not a c/s
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#6 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 04:21 PM
 
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Yep, I agee. This coming from a person who had two epidurals. I would never claim to have a "natural" childbirth, esp. after attending some real natural births and seeing what mental strength it took compared to mine. Natural birthers deserve to have that title to themselves.

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#7 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 05:01 PM
 
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I don't feel like I fall into either the natural or the medicated camp. I'm coming to see many women end up this way - they don't want the effort they put in discounted simply because medication was used at one point in the birth process.
I say "unfortunately I ended up with an epidural" - gets across that that wasn't my intention, so they don't start going on about how cool it is to watch TV while you 'labour'.
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#8 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 05:31 PM
 
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Question:

My most recent doula client had her baby in-hospital, and because of some slightly elevated blood pressure, the docs insisted on Pitocin augmentation. She got through all of labor and birth without pain meds, though.

Would you call this a "natural" birth? Just wondering . . . when I talk about the birth I say that she did it "drug free . . . except for the Pit".
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#9 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 05:48 PM
 
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Birth Junky, I would say that a natural childbirth would be with no pain medications. Although, I know some would say with no drugs at all. I guess it is in the eye of the beholder

But for the natural childbirth with epidural


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#10 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 06:24 PM
 
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Yes-that is so annoying. I think so many people misuse that word.

I was in the ER with my dd a few months back and she was possibly going to need a spinal tap(didnt thank goodness)-the dr -a pediatrician-was explaining what a spinal tap was-not listening to me that i already knew what one was-anyway-he said "you probably had an epidural w. your delivery" i said "no-i had her naturally"-him-"well- most women who birth naturally use an epidural, i am sure you had one" wth??? My point is that even some drs dont understand the term "natural" and to assume that i had one even after me telling him that i didn't? do doctors think women are that clueless about what went on during their birth experiences?

sorry about the rant-just had to give my 2 cents!
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#11 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 06:26 PM
 
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My sil had always referred to her first birth as completely natural (her second was a c-section) and I thought that she meant no meds. I referred to my second birth the same way (natural) and that's what I meant -- I labored and birthed dd with no medication at all. It wasn't until her first child was 5 and mine second one was 4 that we realized that the both of us meant something entirely different by the term "natural."

As some of you have commented, to her natural only meant that it wasn't a c-section. As irritated as I was by her mislabeling her birth natural (she was induced and had an epidural), she was absolutely horrified to realize that when I was saying "natural," I meant that there were zero interventions and no medication at all. Apparently she was unaware that anyone even wanted to do it that way anymore : .
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#12 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 06:48 PM
 
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I don't see an issue with letting a woman define her birth the way she wishes. I define mine accordingly, and let her define hers as well. We may be saying, "I'm not judging," or "I don't want to judge," but really, we are. So what if a mom says she had a natural birth when really the only natural thing is a baby sprang from her vagina -- her experience, her definition. I would never pop in with with my own definition to try to "help" her see her definition is out of alignement with mine. I am satisified with what I did and the experience I had to let her hold her own memory of birth.

It really is true -- there is no medal for going with no pain meds, but to some of us, that is our utmost goal and desire. Even a smaller percentage of us actually get there, while many more do not. Who am I to tell you how to perceive your experience?
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#13 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 06:51 PM
 
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Even my OB equates natural with vaginal. He was all excited b/c I got through ny first birth with no epidural (had stadol) I always said that I had DS 1 vaginally which really creeped some people out. I don't get it, but what do I know? I prefer to have my babies at home of all places!
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#14 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 06:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkstar
Birth Junky, I would say that a natural childbirth would be with no pain medications. Although, I know some would say with no drugs at all. I guess it is in the eye of the beholder

I tell people my last birth wasn't natural but it was pain-med free because I had pitocin. People look at me like I am crazy for not having pain meds anyway....

~C~
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#15 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 09:00 PM
 
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I think it was USAmma who said a while ago that people are afraid to say "vaginal", so they say "natural" instead. They also use the term birth canal instead of vagina. People don't like the V word.
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#16 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by reader
I think it was USAmma who said a while ago that people are afraid to say "vaginal", so they say "natural" instead. They also use the term birth canal instead of vagina. People don't like the V word.

yup
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#17 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 10:00 PM
 
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Gotta love those naturally occuring epidurals
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#18 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 10:02 PM
 
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I've noticed that around here people will ask if you had a natural birth or a c-section. Natural replacing vaginal, they just assume that you had pain meds.

April
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#19 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 10:26 PM
 
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I don't have a problem with the term "birth canal," just as I often refer to my breasts as "boobs" or my toes as "tootsies."

The problem is there's no adjective for "birth canal" You can say "vaginal birth" or "natural birth" but it's kind of awkward to say "birth canaly birth."

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#20 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 10:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveChild421
I just heard a lady say this exact statement on A Baby Story- and I have had a few relatives/co-workers say the same thing. Now, I'm not judging them for having an epidural- but epidural does not = natural. I think they mean vaginal- I just don't get why one would say "I had a natural childbirth with an epidural OF COURSE" like there's no other option other than a C-section...
Can I tell you something? Back home where I am from there is no epidural, you have either c-sec or you say normal.We say did you have baby normally or you had complication. We never say the word natural. So, in my previous job there was this girl who had a baby and when I asked her if she had c-sec she replied "no, it was natural." I was so confused. I was like what is natural? I thought all births were natural either with complication or without complication. I never got the courage to ask her what she meant by natural caz I didn't want her to think I was stupid! Then she would say how she didn't have epidural caz she didn't want to mess her back. And to be honest before I started reading birth stories I really didn't know in US what is considerate natural and what is not. But saying having a natural birth with epidural is REALLY funny!

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#21 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 10:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by noorjahan
Can I tell you something? Back home where I am from there is no epidural, you have either c-sec or you say normal.We say did you have baby normally or you had complication. We never say the word natural. So, in my previous job there was this girl who had a baby and when I asked her if she had c-sec she replied "no, it was natural." I was so confused. I was like what is natural? I thought all births were natural either with complication or without complication. I never got the courage to ask her what she meant by natural caz I didn't want her to think I was stupid! Then she would say how she didn't have epidural caz she didn't want to mess her back. And to be honest before I started reading birth stories I really didn't know in US what is considerate natural and what is not. But saying having a natural birth with epidural is REALLY funny!
In some US hospitals, it might be more accurate to ask "did you have the baby normally or was it a vaginal birth?"

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#22 of 55 Old 11-14-2005, 10:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ldsapmom
I don't see an issue with letting a woman define her birth the way she wishes. I define mine accordingly, and let her define hers as well. We may be saying, "I'm not judging," or "I don't want to judge," but really, we are. So what if a mom says she had a natural birth when really the only natural thing is a baby sprang from her vagina -- her experience, her definition. I would never pop in with with my own definition to try to "help" her see her definition is out of alignement with mine. I am satisified with what I did and the experience I had to let her hold her own memory of birth.

It really is true -- there is no medal for going with no pain meds, but to some of us, that is our utmost goal and desire. Even a smaller percentage of us actually get there, while many more do not. Who am I to tell you how to perceive your experience?
I completely agree with what you have said here.

-Laura
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#23 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 12:00 AM
 
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As someone who had an induced, medicated c-section, I certainly wouldn't use the term natural to describe my son's birth, but the use of the word natural at all sort of annoys me (in a small, nitpicky way). I carried my son for nine months, he came out of my body, and it's an absolute miracle that he's here at all given my medical history. The use of the word natural to describe unmedicated, vaginal births implies that other births are unnatural and that bothers me. I'm planning an unmedicated VBAC for my current pregnancy, but I won't ever use the term natural to describe it....unmedicated vaginal delivery is what I'll be saying (if anyone asks).
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#24 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 12:04 AM
 
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I was induced, and got an epidural, but it only worked on one side. The Dr. called for the anesthesiologist to come back to fix it. He took it out completely and did it again, only the second time it didn't take at all. He said I had too much fluid for it to work. I had no intentions on having a natural labor. I definitely wanted an epidural. Right after I delivered my son, I got right off of the bed and went to the bathroom. They looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "Wow your epidural really didn't work." As if I was lying!!!

Anyway, I still don't say I had a "natural" birth, because to me, I technically didn't. I just say, I had an epidural that didn't take at all. I let whomever I'm talking to decide if it was natural or not. I personally don't put myself in the "natural" category though.
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#25 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 12:21 AM
 
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<My most recent doula client had her baby in-hospital, and because of some slightly elevated blood pressure, the docs insisted on Pitocin augmentation. She got through all of labor and birth without pain meds, though.

Would you call this a "natural" birth? Just wondering . . . when I talk about the birth I say that she did it "drug free . . . except for the Pit".>

I tell ya what- any woman who can birth a baby with no artificial pain relievers while being augmented/induced with Pit, is my HERO! No joke. My hospital vaginal birth was a cakewalk next to some of what I have seen as a doula....( I *have* had 2 induced clients to birth with no pain meds, but it is fairly rare, I try to prepare them for this if they decide to be induced).
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#26 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 02:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthla
In some US hospitals, it might be more accurate to ask "did you have the baby normally or was it a vaginal birth?"
Ruthla, I'm sorry but I didn't get it. Can you please explain it a little bit. I'm confused again! Thanks. By normally do you mean naturally well, vaginally but without epidural? It's really confusing to me!

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#27 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 07:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by noorjahan
Ruthla, I'm sorry but I didn't get it. Can you please explain it a little bit. I'm confused again! Thanks. By normally do you mean naturally well, vaginally but without epidural? It's really confusing to me!
I think she means that the C-section rates are so high at some hospitals that it's becoming what a "normal" birth is. Am I right, Ruthla?
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#28 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 12:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Spark
Seems like another case of "Formica" meaning all "Laminate Countertops!" It's just much more annoying! I also get annoyed at the whole "Birth Center" meaning "Hospital Maternity Ward". And I certainly annoyed with "I nursed him for a long time" meaning "the whole six months".

Would it be rude to ask people for a definition of these words they throw around so casually?


I hear ya.

If someone is in a car crash, is it rude to ask what kind of crash? Wanting details, accurate details, isn't only for nosey judgemental people--it's also something that caring conversation partners ask for. And in this crazy world of birth, where the word VAGINA is taboo and the USA c-sec rate is 28% and epidural use can be 80% at some hospitals and Pit is pumped into practically every pregnant woman lying on a gurney, we gotta know what people's definitions are.

It is annoying. It's difficult to make a connection with someone, talk about important life-changing events, and not be on the same page.
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#29 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 04:50 PM
 
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I don't consider my labor with my ds to be natural because I had pitocin but I did NOT have any pain meds. I say I birthed w/o pain meds but the pit made it unnatural on so many levels. Oh and he did exit out my vagina.

OUR DAUGHTERS ARE PROTECTED SHOULDN'T OUR SONS BE TOO! :
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#30 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 04:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldsapmom
I don't see an issue with letting a woman define her birth the way she wishes. I define mine accordingly, and let her define hers as well. We may be saying, "I'm not judging," or "I don't want to judge," but really, we are. So what if a mom says she had a natural birth when really the only natural thing is a baby sprang from her vagina -- her experience, her definition. I would never pop in with with my own definition to try to "help" her see her definition is out of alignement with mine. I am satisified with what I did and the experience I had to let her hold her own memory of birth.
True enough, but it muddies the issue with unclear categorization. As someone else pointed out, there are women who are so conditioned to the epidural/lay in bed kind of birth that they are genuinely unaware of other options. If we had clear labels for the different choices, maybe more women would have greater awareness (even if that didn't change their choices).
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