Signing Up For An Epidural - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 01:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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One of my husband's friends just knew she wanted an epidural. She decided this before her son's birth, and followed through with that plan.

If you made the same decision before one of your children's births, how and why did you come to that decision?

I'm just trying to understand where she's coming from.

Thanks,
Lydia
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#2 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 02:10 AM
 
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I didn't get epidurals with my two, but can I share the experience of a friend? She had her first with no epidural but I suspect only under pressure from her very crunchy MIL. The whole experience wasn't great because the labor was very long, she was exhausted, the baby needed extra care at birth, breastfeeding was a nightmare, etc.

With her second, she decided to get an epidural because her own mother, who's a very mainstream pediatrics nurse, had convinced her that they were "perfectly safe," and "why suffer through it if you don't have to," and after all she had had such a tough experience with her first baby. As it turned out, she had a very quick labor, two hours from first twinge to baby out, and it was too late for an epidural by the time she got to the hospital.
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#3 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 02:11 AM
 
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Um, labour hurts, and I don't like pain. And my s-i-l told me I should. I had lots of eople tellign me I coudl do it, and I didn't need one, but I figured, why not? Like I said, I don't like pain!! I also had a freind offer to be with me in labour (my mom wasn't sure if she'd be up to it, and I was scared I'd be all alone), but only if I had an epi.

I had it in my birth plan, and the dr. said it was fine. During the hospital tour, I told the nurses I wanted one, and they insisted it was bad for baby, and I didn't need one anyhow.

I still wanted one, but I didn't get it, and I'm still a little annoyed. I'll always wonder if I"d had one if I might no have ended up needing a c-section. (altho, conversely, if I had one and still needed a c-section, I'd have wondered if that was why.)

If I were ever planning to be in labour again, I'd like one, but I also know I can handle the pain sort of ok without it. (I had back labour, and was given pit, so it was pretty bad.) But it'd be nice to be eating fast food and reading magazines during labour like friends and family I know that have had epis. Kind of a moot point, since I seriously doubt I'd try for a vbac.
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#4 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 02:12 AM
 
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I didn't have one, but I've heard over and over from friends that they plan to dilate to x-cm, then get the epidural. I always ask why, and they typically say they're afraid of the pain. So my guess is it's fear-driven. I would bet that these folks also take medication during menstruation to kill the pain too.
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#5 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 02:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lanamommyphd07 View Post
I would bet that these folks also take medication during menstruation to kill the pain too.
Well, I take pain medication during my period because it hurts and it's not necessary to lay on the floor in the fetal position crying (I have extremely horrible menstrual cramps) but I don't want an epidural. It's not good for me, and it's not good for baby. Menstrual cramps aren't pain with a purpose... know what I mean?? I have no reason to sit through the pain of period cramps, I do have a reason to not get an epidural.

Anyways, I do agree that it's fear driven. When I ask why people have gotten them, it's mainly because they are scared of what it will feel like and would rather not endure the pain...

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#6 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 02:32 AM
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I planned to go natural with my first but I ended up being induced and it was hell. I got an epidural. With my second I was scared to death of labor so I planned on getting an epidural. I got it when I was 6cm. The contractions were hardly bothering me at that point, but I was so scared of the horrid pain I had with my first. Thankfully, with my third I learned that labor is nothing like my first.

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#7 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 03:12 AM
 
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Before I got pregnant with DS I knew I wanted an epidural. I don't like pain, have an extremely low pain tolerance and never knew anyone who didn't get one. Everyone I had met had an epidural during childbirth, so I never considered otherwise.

I changed my mind during pregnancy and am now happily planning my 3rd Hypnobabies birth. My dislike of needles won out.

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#8 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 03:23 AM
 
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I think fear is a big reason for many women, though likening taking Advil for cramps to getting an epi for childbirth is a bit of a stretch!

I had a saddle block because I *wanted* one. I wasn't afraid of the pain. I knew that if things went south and I needed an emergency c-section, I'd have to be put under general anesthesia and not be awake for my twins' first breaths. I was too excited to feel any pain, I didn't even feel the needle go in. My pain relief was great, no leg numbness. I had a few shots of lidocaine during my "repair" , I felt the lido sticks more than the pain of labor or the epi insertion.

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#9 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 03:35 AM
 
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I pretty much planned to have one with my first. I bought into all the horror stories that the media feeds us about childbirth and I had friends and family telling me how fabulous the epidural was. My husband said "you wouldn't have your teeth drilled without novocain. . .".

When my water broke and I went into *hard* labor 15 min later I was completely unprepared for the pain. By the time I got to the hospital I was vomiting from the pain and feeling like there was no way I could do this--I suspect I was in transition and would have had him really fast if I hadn't gone for the epi.

Thankfully with #2 I prepared myself for NCB and my water didn't break until I was 8/9, which made the contrax much more bearable for me. By the time I hit the "I can't do this anymore" stage I was 20 min from being done.

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#10 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 03:59 AM
 
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When I was trying to get pg with DD, I had a miscarriage at 15 weeks. I had it at home, with no medical care and no preparation that it could feel like anything more than "bad menstrual cramps" (fricking moron midwife), and it was the worst, most painful experience of my life thus far. When I got pg with my DD, I knew that experience would stick with me, and so did some research on epidurals(as well as other drugs- the epidural is the only one I'd be willing to get) in addition to working on natural pain management techniques. I pretty much expected to get the epidural, but thought you never can tell, I'd see what happens. But once labor got intense and I started having flashbacks, I stalled out, terrified and out of my head, so I got the epidural, which ramped things right back up, and my 9.5 DD practically slid out soon after. I ended up making the same decision with my son, though not becaues of flashbacks, but rather that I felt the epidural was a good choice given what I knew about it and the amount of pain I was in. I don't know what choice I'll make with my third. I'm contemplating going without it, but I've got several months to decide still.

I'm not positive why you asked- if it's just because you think it's awful anyone would ever want an epidural or want to vent about the people who do, I'm sorry to have replied. I certainly have that instinct on other topics, and see that MDC should be a safe space for that kind of thing. But for me (and I think this is true for a lot of people, though not everyone), it's not really about fear, and it's not really about pain tolerance. I have a very high pain tolerance- I'm a marathon runner and long distance swimmer, and all around tough person. But I think the benefits to an epidural free birth are not significant enough to warrant my going through that pain. I understand that that is NOT what MDC condones, and I completely respect that and have no desire to change anyone's mind or debate in any way. But I just wanted to tell you that as likely as not she just disagrees with you- it's not really always that people need to be educated out of their misinformation and irrational fears.

HTH, sorry again if it's misplaced.
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#11 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 04:57 AM
 
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Personally, I think a lot of people might not know any different. They may not know anyone who went without one. Or they may think, "Why not?"

I'd done a lot of research beforehand and decided that I did NOT want an epidural. The risks weren't worth it to me UNLESS 1) I was having a long labor and needed a rest, or 2) I was having a hard time coping with the pain.

I was induced with Pitocin because my water broke but labor didn't begin on its own. I didn't *need* an epidural. Quite honestly, I did not find contractions painful. Intense? Absolutely! But not "painful". Actually pushing the baby out through my narrow pelvis hurt like HELL, though. I seriously thought I was going to die. Transition wouldn't have been uncomfortable had it not been for the unbearable rectal pressure.

*Contractions*, though, were a piece of cake. They weren't nearly as painful as intestinal cramps from food poisoning, viral gastroenteritis, a migraine headache, or even a charley horse. For me, it was more like a vise-like tightening sensation.

Having been terrified of childbirth since I could remember, this realization was pretty shocking to me.
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#12 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 10:01 AM
 
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I think a lot of people think it's "safe" and "doesn't get to the baby" as well.
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#13 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 10:03 AM
 
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I planned to have one with my first birth. My husband actually wanted me to go natural. I told him "Are you kidding? Don't you know how much it hurts?" I had never actually seen anyone give birth, other than TV. So, yes, I was scared.

My second birth was a homebirth, so no epidurals there!

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#14 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 10:32 AM
 
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IMO it's mostly fear. Why else would someone decide on medication with risks for them and their babies without ever having any idea what labor would even feel like? They've been conditioned to fear the agonizing pain of labor (said tongue in cheek).

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#15 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 10:50 AM
 
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for me it was fear of pain. Deep down I was so scared of the unknown and didn't really believe it would ever end that I didn't know how to cope with any of it. I had DH and my mom for support, though in reality they were zero support for me, and added to my stress and worry. I was SOOO tired by the time I went into labor, and I was feeeling very worried about the length of time the pain would last. my contractions never really hurt like I expected, but I would tense up for each one, just waiting for it to happen. This time, I am hoping for better mw support, not looking for DH to remember a dang thing except to be physically present with a hopefully less terrified look on his face, and I am trying to get some some supportive friends to talk to me on the phone to give me encouragement (I don't live near family/friends-just moved). This time I would like to skip the epidural, though I had no major problems with it last time.
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#16 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 11:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Red Sonja View Post
Before I got pregnant with DS I knew I wanted an epidural. I don't like pain, have an extremely low pain tolerance and never knew anyone who didn't get one. Everyone I had met had an epidural during childbirth, so I never considered otherwise.

I changed my mind during pregnancy and am now happily planning my 3rd Hypnobabies birth. My dislike of needles won out.
This is pretty close to my story. minus the hypnobabies part. And we knew someone who had a homebirth while pregnant with our first and we thought that was weeeeeird! We've had 2 homebirths since.

Our first was a hospital birth and my fear of needles and being confined to a bed scared the poop out of me. Before I was pregnant I w ouldn't have minded being totally knocked out and wake up to a baby.
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#17 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 11:24 AM
 
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Of my patients who plan epidurals in advance, a fair number have a history of sexual abuse/assault, and want to remove potential trigger from their memories of their child's birth.

Personally, I don't care who gets one or why. It's not my birth. If they want a block, fine. If they don't want one, fine. Their call.

mama to Max (2/02) and Sophie (10/06); wife to my fabulous girl
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#18 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 11:27 AM
 
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I had a traumatic natural birth 4 months ago. If I ever get pregnant again, I would seriously consider an epidural.

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#19 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 11:29 AM
 
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I planned a homebirth with DD, transfered after 3 days of hard labor. In the car on the way to the hospital I told DH, "Don't let me get an epi...I don't want one...". Yeah. That lasted until I got on the labor floor and then begged for one.

With DS2, I knew he was going to be a hospital birth b/c my husband was injured right before the birth and couldn't really support me during what had been a planned UC. I planned to get the epi right away and I did. It was a great birth, great delivery and I have no regrets.

My thinking is this. If I am in the hospital next time, I will again get the epi. If we home birth, I obviously won't. For me, just knowing the drugs are there makes it worse to labor w/o them.
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#20 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 12:55 PM
 
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I had a horrendously painful NCB with my first. While I've decided to go natural again (planning a homebirth), I can fully understand why a different woman in my position would opt to sign up for an epidural. The pain was so bad and lasted so long I ended up with mild PTSD. I'm not looking forward to giving birth again and I did not enjoy the NCB.
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#21 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 01:10 PM
 
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I was dead set against them: dangerous, didn't want want anyone near my spine, what if something goes wrong, etc.

Then I actually experienced labor. Very intense, very quick, no break in between contractions. All 3 of my labors were like that. I walked around at 3-4cm for weeks and when labor started there was no rest.

I am so thankful that I had the option for an epidural and there was no pressure from anyone to go either way. It was the best decision I made. I had a great doc; I was comfortable but not numb. I could feel and move my legs, and as soon as it was pulled I was up and about.
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#22 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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I left the option open for myself. I decided I'd get one if I felt like it, and wouldn't if I was doing ok. I was in horrible back labor and was given pit on top of that. I toughed it out as long as I could, but I was getting NO break between contractions, the nurses were ticking me off because they couldn't position the monitors correctly and thus weren't seeing just how strong the contractions were, and I'd had enough. I was much calmer after I had the epi. It also allowed me to remain awake when I ended up with a c-section (fetal distress) so I was able to see my son immediately.

I'm keeping the same mentality for this one. I'll get one if I feel I need it, and won't if I don't. I have a pretty low pain tolerance so I'm not going to delude myself into thinking I'd refuse one under any circumstances, but I'm also not enough of a wuss to automatically say that I WILL get one, ya know?
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#23 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 02:49 PM
 
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the nurses were ticking me off because they couldn't position the monitors correctly and thus weren't seeing just how strong the contractions were,
Just want to clarify that regardless of how well-placed an external monitor is, it will not indicate strength of contractions. Palpation and an IUPC indicate strength.

Carry on.

mama to Max (2/02) and Sophie (10/06); wife to my fabulous girl
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#24 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 02:52 PM
 
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I read this thread b/c this is what my SIL is saying and, as a 2x homebirther who felt no need for an epi either time with pretty serious labor pain, it kinda bothers me. However, I think it's a good reminder that anything I feel strongly about, and have strong values about, someone else may feel equally strongly about and have equally strong values about, in the completely opposite direction.

I think it really bothers me if people have an epi just because that's what everybody does or because someone pressures them into it. I will be bothered if SIL has one that has a negative impact on my niece/nephew & brother's birth experience. But I won't be bothered by her choosing one if I get the feeling after talking with her more than she's choosing it because of strong feelings and values she holds sincerely.

Here as mama to W (2/04), R (5/06), D (7/09), and J (12/9/12!), co-parenting with my DH

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#25 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 02:57 PM
 
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I agree that alot of it is our culture. I've never been on a hospital tour where someone doesn't make some joke like "can I get my epidural now?"
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#26 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 03:48 PM
 
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I'm really surprised by how many people say it's because they fear the pain... but have never gone through it. It doesn't hurt for everyone! And, from what I understand, every birth is different. Some people have painful first births, and go on to have painless second births (and sometimes, painful third births!).

I don't see the sense in getting one before you even know if it's painful. I even had a pitocin augmented labor (and the pit was maxed out) where I didn't feel the need for drugs. It just didn't hurt that much. Intense, oh yeah. But not painful. Then I went on to have a 3 day labor for a homebirth; again, intense but not at all painful.

There are so many risks... not the least of which is distress to the baby, an "epidural fever" and an increased risk of ending in a cesarean. But I guess most people aren't informed of those risks, or think it won't happen to them.

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#27 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 04:12 PM
 
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Before labor, I kind of decided that I wasn't going to say no to myself if I wanted an epidural. If I did fine without it, great. If I wanted one, I would get it.

Turns out, it didn't work, but that's another story. We removed it, I labored many more hours, then it was replaced because I wanted it in case I needed a c-section. I wanted to be awake for the section.

I hear what you're saying, though. I have a friend that is all about NCB. All about it. She's done it twice, and is pregnant with her third. But she HATES breastfeeding and weans at like 11 months. I do NOT get this. AT ALL. I think it's insane. For me, I was all about an epidural, but I am still breastfeeding at 15 months with no intention of quitting. I love the breastfeeding part of having a baby. NCB? Not so much. Everyone has different priorities.
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#28 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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I'm really surprised by how many people say it's because they fear the pain... but have never gone through it. It doesn't hurt for everyone! And, from what I understand, every birth is different. Some people have painful first births, and go on to have painless second births (and sometimes, painful third births!).

I don't see the sense in getting one before you even know if it's painful. I even had a pitocin augmented labor (and the pit was maxed out) where I didn't feel the need for drugs. It just didn't hurt that much. Intense, oh yeah. But not painful. Then I went on to have a 3 day labor for a homebirth; again, intense but not at all painful.

There are so many risks... not the least of which is distress to the baby, an "epidural fever" and an increased risk of ending in a cesarean. But I guess most people aren't informed of those risks, or think it won't happen to them.

It's not that I was frightened of the pain-but I don't like pain. Why would I go thru that if I didn't have to? My friend who had an epi had pics of herself during labour, sitting up in bed smiling and eating a burger. I have no pics of me in labour, but believe me, I was not smiling, eating & talking to my family. I was NOT a pretty sight! My s-i-l. who had an epi with each of her kids, came in to see me during labour. She thought we'd sit & look at magazines, and chill. Yeah, that would actually be my ideal labour.

I have more trouble understanding why someone whould't want one than why they would. I don't even understand why I'd consider not even trying to get one if I ever have a vbac.

If I did get an epi, I'd want it early on-they put my spinal in during a contraction, and it was beyond awful. Took a dr. and 2 nurses to hold me down. I never want to go thru that again. (In case anyone missed my ealier post, I eneded up with a c-section after all that, hence the spinal-yep, horrendous labour pain with no epi, and I needed a c-section anyhow))
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#29 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 06:58 PM
 
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Personally, I think a lot of people might not know any different. They may not know anyone who went without one. Or they may think, "Why not?"

I'd done a lot of research beforehand and decided that I did NOT want an epidural. The risks weren't worth it to me UNLESS 1) I was having a long labor and needed a rest, or 2) I was having a hard time coping with the pain.

I was induced with Pitocin because my water broke but labor didn't begin on its own. I didn't *need* an epidural. Quite honestly, I did not find contractions painful. Intense? Absolutely! But not "painful". Actually pushing the baby out through my narrow pelvis hurt like HELL, though. I seriously thought I was going to die. Transition wouldn't have been uncomfortable had it not been for the unbearable rectal pressure.

*Contractions*, though, were a piece of cake. They weren't nearly as painful as intestinal cramps from food poisoning, viral gastroenteritis, a migraine headache, or even a charley horse. For me, it was more like a vise-like tightening sensation.

Having been terrified of childbirth since I could remember, this realization was pretty shocking to me.
Well, I had the opposite experience. Contractions hurt like hell and pushing was a piece of cake in comparison. So you never know....

I have a very high pain tolerance, and yet I was screaming through my contractions twoard the end. I was barely aware of the tightening sensation because of the incredible pain. I know baby was face up as of the NST I had several days before, and m/w confirmed that he was still that way when I got to the hospital after 48 hours of labor and with contractions so painful I couldn't lie down for them to place the monitor. He came out face down, and I am positive that he turned just as I began to push, because the difference between my pushing contractions and the whole prior ordeal was so tremendous.
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#30 of 167 Old 12-19-2007, 07:12 PM
 
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I planned on it for DD1 from early pregnancy. It wasnt a fear based decision. I felt like I was well educated on it and felt there were no real risks, so I figured why would I want to go through pain if I could have it relieved with no risks?

I realized with future pregnancies that "well educated" depends on what it is that you read. I changed my mind about risks and decided to be at home for any future births.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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