Those of you that had a birth WITH an epidural AND one without... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 11-03-2008, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am looking to your exeriences to help me decide what to do if I for ANY reason end up with Pitocin again like I did last time, due to ruptured membranes for 50+hours, no labor and GBS+.

It was horrific, torturous, and I was in so much pain and so out of it, that I forgot I was having a baby, and made terrible decisions during and after the birth. I have had one other unmedicated home birth before, and it was fine, I could easily live through that again, a hundred times over. But the pitocin-nightmare 1.5 hour labor? I don't know, I would like to be able to be coherent and aware of what is going on so that I can stand up for myself and the baby's welfare instead of going along for the ride and letting things happen that I did not realize were happening.

So the question I have is this:
In the difference between the two experiences, if it is possible to discard the obviously different circumstances, and tell me, with the epidural:

If you did feel more aware of what was happening
If you felt any more able to speak up for what you wanted
If you felt it affected your baby's experience (and how)
If you felt the same after-birth high that you did with the unmedicated birth
If you felt it affected your feelings/bonding with baby (and how)
Also, I still felt spacey and out of it and nothing made a lot of sense for 4-5 hours after the painful birth, was it like that with an epidural? Or did you feel coherent and aware and able to think competently?

I am also wondering if not being in that horrific pain would allow me to continue trying to relax and enjoy the experience as much as the circumstance would allow, since my greatest fear is ending up back in the hospital and I will be constantly worried that they will push things on me like they did last time.

I am trying to formulate my back up plans to make the best of this birth, since it will be my last and I want it to go better than my daughter's birth.

Any additional information will be appreciated. And please don't think I am trying to wuss out, I am looking for the benefits of compassionate use of pain medication. I am aware that there are side effects to epidurals for both labor and the baby. I am just trying to come up with a back-up plan I can happily live with.

Thank you very much.
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#2 of 15 Old 11-03-2008, 04:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaCaveBear View Post

So the question I have is this:
In the difference between the two experiences, if it is possible to discard the obviously different circumstances, and tell me, with the epidural:

If you did feel more aware of what was happening
If you felt any more able to speak up for what you wanted
If you felt it affected your baby's experience (and how)
If you felt the same after-birth high that you did with the unmedicated birth
If you felt it affected your feelings/bonding with baby (and how)
Also, I still felt spacey and out of it and nothing made a lot of sense for 4-5 hours after the painful birth, was it like that with an epidural? Or did you feel coherent and aware and able to think competently?

Thank you very much.
My 2nd labor was alot like your. My first was a hb, nice labor, very managable. I transfered for an epidural when I couldn't sit up straight anymore.

I was not more aware of what was happening. In fact before I started pushing I was totally out of it. I think I fell asleep and I woke up and didn't know if I was asleep or not. I asked my mw, Did we just have a conversation? She said we did. I have no recollection except I do remember talking to her but I thought it was in my dream.

I was not able to speak up for what I wanted at all. I was totally out of it. They came in and started the pit (which I didn't need) and I just hmmmed it.

I don't think it affected the babies experience any during the labor or birth.

I did not have the birth high afterward. I was looking forward to it and missed it. Not sure if it was the long labor or the drugs.

I don't think it affected our bonding any.

I was out of it for a long time after the birth. After I came home for the hospital my mw came for a pp visit. Must have been day 3 or 5. Apparently he went out to meet her in the driveway and told her I was just not myself. He was worried cause I was just out of it.

I think if I had gotten the epidural earlier in the labor it might have made a difference. I don't know. I also hemmoraged after the birth so that could play apart of the out of it I felt. But I did feel that way before the birth too.

I went on to have 5 more, all at home. I would have an epidural again if I had to though. I think I would have gone out of my mind if I didn't that time.

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#3 of 15 Old 11-03-2008, 04:24 PM
 
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My first birth was with an epidural it went picture perfect for the most part. I was laboring well, water broke on its own and I walked a lot. When I was at 7cm I just could not physically take it anymore. (TMI!!!!) I was pooing a lot in the bathroom, vomiting and dizzy as hell plus I had been up for over 20 hours. I was having back labor and the baby was posterior and I just gave in. My epidural was great and I was still able to feel the pressure and I was FINALLY able to relax. When it came time to push I was able to do it very successful and gave birth to a 9.2oz baby girl posterior (I am 5'4" and 95lbs) and I was breast feeding a very awake, alert baby who was not bathed right away within five minutes of birth. She nursed like a champ, I had NO cath. in me at all during the time and was up and walking an hour and a half after delivery. No after effects for either of us.
Fast forward 16 month later"
Laboring with baby number two and I really really wanted that natural birth experience. The nurses were supportive (I too am a LDR Rn) and when I was at 9cm I was questioning my ability to do it but once I found out I was SO close to delivery I mustered up the strength to continue natural. I had no IVs, no heplock, nothing. Just me and hubby squatting and walking. I delivered a 9.8oz baby girl in three pushes and she too was posterior. I had the same nursing experience, very good and the baby was alert and nursed great. However, it was that after delivery I started bleeding uncontrollably and was diagnosed with severe placenta accreta and underwent an emergency vaginal hysterectomy (NOT related to a natural birth mind you!)

If I had to choose I would go with a natural birth only because I know now I CAN do it. Maybe I would have had more sleep prior to laboring with my first I might have been able to continue natural. The vomiting and frequent trips to the bathroom were not helping either. Luckily I did not get sick or needed to poo as much during the second delivery which aided in my decision to keep going natural.
Good luck mama.
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#4 of 15 Old 11-03-2008, 05:33 PM
 
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My first birth was a textbook perfect epidural birth. I planned on one from the beginning and was happy with my experience. I was 6cm when we got to the hospital and my water broke on its own before I got to the L&D floor. I was able to relax and rest until time to push. I did not feelout of it and was an active participant. Pushing was a bit hard, but I could feel pressure for when to push but I was stuck in one position. We had no issue bonding but did have some breastfeeding problems. I don't think those were due to the epidural, though, more so my own stress and mistakes made.

All that said, I enjoyed my natural birth 3 weeks ago much better. My labor was shorter (about 4 hours total) and I pushed her out in one push -- and she was in the OP position. I felt more in control of the pushing phase and felt better immediately afterward too. I was able to move around better, get in and out of bed with no problems, breastfeeding is going better this time too.

Since I have done both, I will choose NCB for the next baby as well. While my epidural experience was not bad, my NCB experience was just better.
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#5 of 15 Old 11-03-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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With my first birth, the epidural was great while it worked. I was totally coherent, relaxed, and happy. Then it fell out later (long story) and I was in pitocin hell. Just horrible.
Baby #2 was NCB just because I wanted to avoid pitocin hell again.
But if I'll ever know I'll have to be tethered to the bed with IVs and whatnot (especially pit)? I'd get an epi in a heartbeat. NCB is only "doable" for me if I have freedom of mobility to walk around. And being "chained" to something with a needle in my arm or hand totally scrambles my brain when I'm in terrible pain.
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#6 of 15 Old 11-03-2008, 06:28 PM
 
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If you did feel more aware of what was happening?I did not feel as aware of what was happening
If you felt any more able to speak up for what you wanted?I had to refuse the cathedar and prove that I could pee, plus, once you have a big intervention, like the epidural, you go out of your league a little as far as knowing what you want.
If you felt it affected your baby's experience (and how)?My baby's heartrate deceled down into the 60's several times and he ended up with a crook in his neck for several months, plus he had a very bruised face due to me pushing on my back and being unable to feel what was going on and push effectively. He kept going back inside of me after each push
If you felt the same after-birth high that you did with the unmedicated birthI didn't feel high or low, just sleepy and in awe of my baby. The natural birth gave me a much better and long-lasting "high"
If you felt it affected your feelings/bonding with baby (and how)I felt very connected to both babies that I had with the epidural, the same as with my waterbirth natural labor
Also, I still felt spacey and out of it and nothing made a lot of sense for 4-5 hours after the painful birth, was it like that with an epidural? Or did you feel coherent and aware and able to think competently?I was completely coherant. With the natural birth, the pain did kind of stick with me for a week or two and I tried not to think about it. It was worth the pain just to be in charge of my body, but wow, that pain really haunted me and I had an easy labor

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#7 of 15 Old 11-03-2008, 08:15 PM
 
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I had two hospital births, both with pitocin and epidurals, and then a homebirth. All three were great experiences.

For me, if I had to birth in a hospital again, I would still go with an early epidural (2-3 cm) like I did with my others. The hospital so negatively impacted my ability to tolerate pain, and the epidural helped me have a positive, clearheaded, joyful birth. I bonded immediately with all three children.. that process didn't seem different at hospital or at home. I did have the birth high after my two hospital births. I did have especially well done epidurals, though. No side effects for me or baby.

I would imagine that if you went through a long, difficult, painful labor and then got an epidural, you probably would still feel exhausted and out of it. I got mine after just a few hours, so my experience stayed positive.

However.. I had such a fantastic homebirth, and the ability to be at home and move the way I wanted made a tremendous impact on the way I was able to tolerate the pain, that I would definitely do a natural homebirth again.

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#8 of 15 Old 11-03-2008, 09:03 PM
 
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If you did feel more aware of what was happening

I felt less aware of what was happening in my body since I couldn't feel anything at all. Mentally I was coherent.

If you felt any more able to speak up for what you wanted

I felt very vulnerable and did not speak up. This was, however, my first baby and I didn't know much about anything.

If you felt it affected your baby's experience (and how)

Compared to my non-epidural babies, my epidural baby was sleepier and had jaundice (the four others did not).

If you felt the same after-birth high that you did with the unmedicated birth

I felt the worst after my epidural birth (excluding my complicated but unmedicated third birth).

If you felt it affected your feelings/bonding with baby (and how)

Yes I feel that it negatively affected bonding because I felt very detached from the experience. I felt like I was watching someone else give birth.

Also, I still felt spacey and out of it and nothing made a lot of sense for 4-5 hours after the painful birth, was it like that with an epidural? Or did you feel coherent and aware and able to think competently?

Like I said, mentally I was fine with the epidural, but physically I was quite disconnected.

There are circumstances where I would choose an epidural again. I have chosen to use Hypnobabies, which has enabled me to give birth comfortably without medication. If I did ever experience a situation where an epidural would be helpful, I would request a very low dose (like a quarter) to see if that provided enough relief. With doula clients I've seen this work very well. They've retained some sensation and movement, but were no longer suffering.

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#9 of 15 Old 11-03-2008, 09:36 PM
 
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I've had 6 births - 2 pain free, 2 difficult, 2 kinda 'regular'. One of the difficult was the epidural birth (child #4)

If you did feel more aware of what was happening

-- I definitely preferred a non-epid birth. I felt very managed, they assumed I wouldn't be able to push out my baby and wanted to use forceps right away.

If you felt any more able to speak up for what you wanted?

-- No. With the epidural it was all about the monitors, my body temperature, being a certain way that -they- wanted me and a whole lot of clock watching. It was stressful and I really felt like I was inching towards a c-section. I'd gone through a beautiful natural birth (w/ doula) with the 3rd child so I was especially unhappy about giving over my birthing power to another.

If you felt it affected your baby's experience (and how)? Yes, definitely. They wanted to check him over more and so on. We had more separation and I disliked that. Also, an epi can make your temp rise.. if it rises too much, they sometimes take baby immediately to nursery for observation or tests. That was really stressful to me after having a preemie (w/ NICU experience) with our 2nd child.

If you felt the same after-birth high that you did with the unmedicated birth? No.

If you felt it affected your feelings/bonding with baby (and how) No, it just affected how I felt about myself for a while. I missed that feeling of euphoria with natural birth.

Our expectations often build our experiences.
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#10 of 15 Old 11-03-2008, 09:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaCaveBear View Post

So the question I have is this:
In the difference between the two experiences, if it is possible to discard the obviously different circumstances, and tell me, with the epidural:

If you did feel more aware of what was happening
If you felt any more able to speak up for what you wanted
If you felt it affected your baby's experience (and how)
If you felt the same after-birth high that you did with the unmedicated birth
If you felt it affected your feelings/bonding with baby (and how)
Also, I still felt spacey and out of it and nothing made a lot of sense for 4-5 hours after the painful birth, was it like that with an epidural? Or did you feel coherent and aware and able to think competently?
My older son was born in a hospital with an OB and a doula. We had planned on a natural birth, but ended up sort of bullied into an epidural. While it wasn't what I thought I wanted, we had a good experience. With my younger son, we had a hospital birth with midwives. This time I had better support in labor and had a lovely natural birth experience.

To answer your questions:

Yes and no, with the epidural I felt more in my rational mind. Without the epidural, I was lost in labor land. I felt more in control with the epidural, but the out of control feeling of natural labor was amazing in a different way.

As a whole in the labor, I felt more free to speak my mind with the natural birth. I think this had more to do with it being my second birth and having midwives.

I don't think my older son was negatively affected by the epidural. It was in place for less than 1 hour when he was born. He was alert, breastfed easily, etc. With my younger son, however, I'm very thankful I didn't have an epidural. He needed to go to the NICU and because I had a natural labor, I was able to go be with him just 45 minutes after giving birth. If I had an epidural, I would have had to wait 2 hours. This longer separation after birth would have negatively affected my son.

I did not feel quite the same after birth "high" although both were good, satisfying experiences.

I did not feel "out of it" mentally after the birth with an epidural. I did not physically like the feeling of being out of control and stuck in bed for a while, but mentally the epidural was very restful for me.

In my first birth, I think I was scared of letting go of control. This made it difficult to give into the pain of a natural labor. For me, the epidural helped me to relax, so much so that I dilated from 6-10 and pushed in less than an hour. This is, of course, not how it works for everyone!

In my second labor, I was able to loose control and it was really cool.

For my third birth (coming soon!) I'm not sure what will happen. I'm on hospital bedrest with preterm labor and a sometimes-breech baby, so I may end up with another natural birth or I could end up with a c if my water breaks and baby is still breech. I wouldn't choose an epidural again unless the pain felt like suffering...
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#11 of 15 Old 11-03-2008, 10:16 PM
 
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My water broke in early labor with my first child, so the doctor put me on pitocin. I KNOW what pitocin hell is. My second was born naturally, unassisted.

If you did feel more aware of what was happening

It was nighttime and I was sleepy, hadn't eaten since breakfast, and I also had stadol, which made me loopy. The epidural allowed me to go to sleep, and the nurse woke me up when it was time to push. At that point I just wanted everyone to go away and leave me alone.

If you felt any more able to speak up for what you wanted

No, because of the drowsiness, BUT I was in a better position to defend myself then I was when I was in pit hell and couldn't speak at all.

If you felt it affected your baby's experience (and how)

Kai had juandice. I don't know if he was sleepy or not, but he latched on and nursed after they took him back and cleaned him up and all.

If you felt the same after-birth high that you did with the unmedicated birth

No high. Big high after the UC, like for 3 days! Felt Great!

If you felt it affected your feelings/bonding with baby (and how)

I was detached. They took the baby to the nursery and I didn't even care. I just wanted to eat and go back to sleep. And for everyone to leave me the hell alone.

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#12 of 15 Old 11-04-2008, 12:01 AM
 
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Ive had 3 epidural births and one without. I MUCH MUCH perfer my epidural births. I was induced with 3 of my boys plus one very long natural labor. I would have had an epidural with my 4th ( on 10/20) but it failed after 30 minutes. My pit was on 24 and I was SO looking forward to some pain relief. With my previous epidurals I was very clear headed and made all my decisions. I chose not to have a cath and prefered the bedpan. If I were to do it again I wouldnt choose any other type of pain relief ( esp for an induction)
Mine were not super heavy I was able to move my legs and felt the presure sensation to push. WIth or without epidurals I have only ever pushed 3 or 4 pushes to get my babies out ( ranging from 8lbs to 10 lbs and 14 1/2 in to 15 1/2 in heads) All nursed well ( one had latch issues due to his lower lip) all had good apgar scores. I had stadol with my first and would NEVER do that again.

Jeana Christian momma to 4 sons Logan 18, Connor 15, Nathan 6, and bonus baby Jack 1
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#13 of 15 Old 11-04-2008, 12:06 AM
 
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MCB, I have not delivered with an epidural myself, so I can't answer your question myself...but I did take a poll about it on my blog a month or so ago, and posted the results...I'm not allowed to post my blog here cuz it has links to my etsy shop, but if you'd like to PM me I'd be happy to share the link with you, for whatever help it might bring...

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loving my wild things DS Wolf (12), 3 angels, DS Bear (6) & DS Eagle (3)
 

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#14 of 15 Old 11-04-2008, 12:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaCaveBear View Post

If you did feel more aware of what was happening
If you felt any more able to speak up for what you wanted
If you felt it affected your baby's experience (and how)
If you felt the same after-birth high that you did with the unmedicated birth
If you felt it affected your feelings/bonding with baby (and how)
Also, I still felt spacey and out of it and nothing made a lot of sense for 4-5 hours after the painful birth, was it like that with an epidural? Or did you feel coherent and aware and able to think competently?
I had an epidural with my first, and a homebirth with my second (obviously, no epidural!) I did not like the epidural. I hadn't planned on getting one, but after 40+ hours of posterior labor and a few hours of Pitocin because I wasn't dilating, I caved and had one. It made me feel helpless and afraid. I was stuck on my back, unable to do anything, trapped under bright lights with my hoo-ha up in the air for all to see and poke at, and there was nothing I could do about it. It was very scary to me. I didn't like the pain, but I disliked losing my mobility and autonomy even more.

My second birth was infinitely better with no pain meds. I was able to get in whatever position I wanted, and that was imperative to getting this linebacker of a baby through my narrow pelvis as well as dealing with the pain. I could feel my body going through the process - I could feel baby moving down, my cervix opening, all of it, it was amazing to have that feedback from my body as I labored, whereas with the epidural I was numb and clueless if anything was actually going on. I was able to assert myself just fine, and I did bark orders at my midwives - although this may have been because I was at home and not in an unfamiliar, intimidating environment.

Now, my first was a C-section, so maybe my immediate postpartum period was affected more by the other drugs they give you and not just the epidural, but both my baby and I were really "out of it" for a while. I was drowsy and confused, my baby was lethargic and uninterested in nursing. After my unmedicated birth, both my baby and I were wide awake and alert! In fact I couldn't fall asleep, even though I had been exhausted for most of my labor and it was 3 a.m. by the time it was all said and done! I did not have problems bonding with either of my babies, but DS1 never did nurse very well after having trouble at first, whereas DS2 loves to nurse like it's going out of style, and he nursed for a good several hours after he was born!

To sum up I much preferred my unmedicated birth. Yes it hurt like the dickens but it was so worth it. I got to be in charge, birth my son right into my hands, and be cognizant of everything. That was what I wanted, and for me, that didn't happen with the epidural.
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#15 of 15 Old 11-04-2008, 07:28 PM
 
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With the epidural...

If you did feel more aware of what was happening

Definitely not. I was way more aware without even f it was awareness filtered through the pain. I remember it all so well whereas my epidural experience is very cloudy - which is weird considering I wasn't in any pain at all..I did feel totaly out of it tho.

If you felt any more able to speak up for what you wanted

Not really applicable as I was unfortunately pretty clueless at the time. But on reflection, no, I don't think so.

If you felt it affected your baby's experience (and how)

I'm sure it did. DS1 was born with epidural, and with helped delivery with ventouse, he had a huge bruise on his head. DS2 was born naturally, he helped himself out. Im sure they feel a difference depending on what drugs you've taken too.

If you felt the same after-birth high that you did with the unmedicated birth

No way, no comparison at all.

If you felt it affected your feelings/bonding with baby (and how)

No, I don't feel it affected my bonding at all either way.

Also, I still felt spacey and out of it and nothing made a lot of sense for 4-5 hours after the painful birth, was it like that with an epidural? Or did you feel coherent and aware and able to think competently?

Actually, I felt way way more out of it after the epidural. There's o way I could have been well enough to go home the next day. I really felt like I had gone through major surgeryu with the epidural.

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