No right now in my mind, body, and soul, do not want one, but is for some unknown reason I change my mind, I want that to be okay too.
I do have one friend that has 5 kids, and she had everyone of them natrual. She calmed me somewhat when I talked to her. She told me that I can do it, just stick to my guns and don't ask for it.
What are you guys feelings towards the Epidural and If you've had one already please tell me what you liked and disliked and if you would consider having it again.
But to answer your question, I have given birth both ways...once with an epidural and once without. Without was a million times better and that is an understatement. With my first, I wanted a natural birth but looking back I was really naive about it. I wasn't really in touch with my body or my instincts. I pretty much did nothing to prepare except take a hospital based childbirth class. I was giving birth in the hospital and did not have a doula. How many strikes against myself is that, lol?? It was definitely an uphill battle. I thought I knew a lot about childbirth but I was sadly mistaken. I went 18 days past my due date and then failed NST (baby non-reactive) and was running out of amniotic fluid when I decided to go for an induction. Starting from no dilation at all (despite taking EPO orally and vaginally for the past 6 weeks), I ended up maxed out pitocin and then had AROM before I decided to go for the epidural because I was strapped to the bed and completely out of my mind with pain. It didn't work properly. Yeah, that happens sometimes and then you are screwed. It numbed me from the crotch down but I still felt a lot of the pain from the contractions. It did give some relief though.
I did pretty much everything completely different the 2nd time around and the entire labor and birth (lasted 2.5 days) was almost pain free. I never once even considered any type of pain meds or epidural because I felt great. It was an awesome experience and felt amazing.
The only time I would consider an epidural in the future is if I need some type of medically indicated induction or obviously if I need a c-section.
I don't think not having an epidural should be about struggling through the pain and holding out against it. It should be about setting yourself up for a birth where you don't desire one at all. A birth where you don't have to have a personal battle with yourself to fight against getting one. For me, that means making a lot of good decisions when it comes to choosing birth location and choosing who will be present for the birth. It also means understanding your own body and being very intune with it. I also think it really helps to have extensive knowledge of the birth process.
"So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton
If you need research and data to back up your choice, check out A Thinking Woman's Guide to a _______ Birth (can't remember the exact name) by Henci Goer.
As for talking to people about your choice, just don't do it. It doesn't do anyone any good. It's more stressful than helpful. Give a brief response and then change the subject.
I nodded and smiled and changed the subject. I was planning on natural childbirth, but I figured that they had their perspective on the childbirth experience and they were entitled to their opinions.
Well, I got my natural epidural-free childbirth, and let me tell you, it was an amazing experience. I was free to move around during labor, to push effectively, and I was able to feel my daughter being born. Thinking back on my conversation with my friends, I realize that they felt like they had failed natural childbirth. They needed to feel good about their epidurals- that's why they were pushing one on me.
So, why had they failed natural childbirth? Because they were set up to fail. They believed that birth was impossibly painful. They had OBs instead of midwives. They were strapped to baby monitors during birth. They couldn't move around or get comfortable during labor.
My neighbor just had her 4th baby. She went "natural" with #1, and had epidurals with #2 and #3. She loved her epidurals. Her first three births were induced with pitocin, she was strapped down on her back, and she was in awful pain the whole time. The epidural relieved her pain. For birth #4, she had a midwife instead of an OB. She went into labor naturally. She was allowed to labor in any position she wanted. Her husband caught the baby. She had ordered an epi, but the anasthesiologist never showed up. In the end, the birth choices she had made meant that she didn't need the epidural at all.
My suggestion is to stop talking about birth choices with people who will not support yours. Just nod and smile and thank them for their advice and change the subject. And go ahead and make your decisions based on what is right for you!
I used hypnobabies by the way, and thought it was wonderful! I really think if my labor wasn't so long that I would have been able to focus the pressure away.. but i'd already been using it for nearly 2 weeks.. and by then, I was just fed up with labor! haha
Oh.. and about all the folks telling you what you can and can not do - ignore them completely! Women have been birthing naturally forEVER and you can too! Don't let negativity into your birthing bubble!
I never, ever wanted an epidural and was pretty much dead set against it, but - sometimes things change. For my next birth, I will still be against having an epidural, as I would rather do it naturally, but that said, I will be more open to the idea that it is not the horrible non-option that I thought it was.
I had been having contractions every 3-5 minutes constantly since Wednesday when I went to L&D on a Sunday afternoon. They checked me and I was dilated to a 2. After my water broke, I dilated to a 3. My contractions at that point were over a minute long each and coming every 2 minutes - so there was basically no break between them. After 13 hours of virtually NO PROGRESS and constant contractions, my L&D nurse suggested that I consider an epidural. I had been walking, I had been bouncing, I had been in the shower, I hadbeen in every weird position I could think of - and none of it was helping. She said she had seen several patients with labors similar to mine who got an epidural and went on to birth in a few hours. Since my OB was talking c-section and I was NOT interested in a c-section, after an hour of consideration, I decided to get the epidural. I got the epidural around 5am. After 13 hours of contractions every 2 minutes with my water broken, I had gone from 2-3cm. By 10:30am I was fully dilated and ready to push. I went from 3cm to 10cm in just 5 hours (and I got in a GREAT nap). When it was time to push, I had no problems feeling my contractions and no problems pushing with them. I could feel my legs well enough that I was able to sit up, but I didn't feel any pain. I pushed my DD out (my first) in about 20 minutes. Within 30 minutes of her birth, my epidural had worn off and I was able to walk around. I had no residual problems from it and DD was able to latch on and nurse right away. I felt great afterwards. I did have a tear, but I don't think it was from the epidural... I think it was because my kid has a huge noggin : So that's my epidural story. Like I said at the beginning of my post, I will definitely try to do it again without one, but I don't think an epidural is the end of the world always...
If you don't want one, I really, really, REALLY encourage you to NOT get one. And don't give in to bullying from the staff either. IMO, the negative affects of it are not worth the myth that it'll magically make a horrible birth into a cakewalk.
sluggish baby. Baby retains the meds in his system for up to six weeks, affecting his development in many subtle ways.
starting the cascade of interventions. as many have already mentioned, it increases the risk of a c-section. Being stuck lying in bed makes it harder for your labor to progress, which increases the likelihood you will receive pit. Increases the likelihood of instrumental delivery (forceps or vacuum) and/or episiotomy. you will likely have to have an IV and a urinary catheter. it increases your risk of fever, which hospital staff will assume is due to an infection rather than the byproduct of the epidural, and in that case you will be treated for that (iv abx) and your baby will likely be whisked away and closely monitored for infection and given abx, too.
Lingering issues you may experience from it... the pain in the epidural spot for years to come is a known phenomenon. Spinal headaches, painful itchy rashes on the lower body are also possibilities.
very rarely, but mistakes happen and there's always a chance of paralysis or death from it.
I took the ALACE doula course in October and we spent a lot of time talking about epidurals. It was very eye-opening. There are times when they are appropriate, but imo it should be reserved for those times, not considered a necessity for everyone.
It can lower blood pressure.
It hinders breastfeeding.
They can get it wrong and Mama's end up with spinal headaches and other problems.
Once you have it you are strapped to fetal monitors for the rest of labor and you can't get up and move around freely. Or most of the time go to the bathroom, think bedpan or catheter.
I have been a doula at quite a few times when my Mom's have gotten epis and normally right after they get it they are talked into pitocin, even if they had planned on not having any. The reason "you can't feel the pain from the pit if you've got an epi and are numb".
And these are just a few of my main key reasons not to have one.
I had an epi with my first that was placed wrong and the only thing I couldn't feel was my left leg... for 2 days after I couldn't get out of bed with out lots of help. Very frusterating. My other two were born at home with nothing and that by far is preferable to an epi! I have also as I've mentioned have attended births where Mom had an epi and those were most likley the births with the most intervention.
Hope this helps with your choice and educating your friends. I also highly reccomend Thinking Womans Guide!
Read lots of positive natural birth stories. Don't engage in conversations with pro-drugging birthers. Also, I've heard of women who have success by giving a time limit. For example, "if my labor is longer than 50 hours I will consider an epidural." Then you know you did all you could and you actually fell into the 2% of women for whom epidurals are beneficial. I recommend reading "Birthing from Within." If you choose a hospital birth, labor at home for as long as possible. On your birth plan state that you don't want anyone to offer or mention an epidural. Consider hiring a doula to help you with other pain-coping techniques.
Hypotension (Drop in blood pressure)
Urinary Retention and Postpartum Bladder Dysfunction
Itching of the face, neck and throat
Nausea and Vomiting
Uneven, incomplete or nonexistent pain relief
Feelings of Emotional detachment
Postpartum feelings of regret or loss of autonomy
Inability to move about freely on your own
Loss of perineal sensation and sexual function
Very Serious and rare risks
Labor Side Effects
Prolonged First Stage of Labor
Increase of malpresentation of baby's head
Increased need for Pitocin augmentation
Prolonged Second Stage of Labor
Decrease in the ability to push effectively
Increased liklihood of forceps or vacuum extraction delivery
Increased likelihood of needing an episiotomy
Increase in cesarean section
Baby Side Effects
abnormal fetal heart rate
Drowsiness at birth
poor sucking reflex
Poor muscle strength and tone in the first hours.
The best advice I can give you for dealing with the naysayers is to say your goals simply: "It's my sincere goal to have a natural childbirth. I have done a lot of reading and it seems like it's the best fit for me and what I believe in." You will, no doubt, hear "Oh, you'll change your mind! You'll see! Just you wait!". Just smile and nod and zone out. Tune them out because YOU CAN DO IT.
The best advice I can give you for making your goal of natural childbirth a reality is to work with a doula. I did, and I say this without hesitation: she was instrumental in my having a natural drug-free birth. I love my doula. She will work with us for our second birth (I'm due in May).
Big hugs to you. You can do this.
The best advice I can give you for making your goal of natural childbirth a reality is to work with a doula. I did, and I say this without hesitation: she was instrumental in my having a natural drug-free birth.
Having a doula would be the number one thing to helping you not have an epidural. She can remind you of your goals during your darkest hours, as well has make you more physically comfortable.
Loving WAHM/Student Mommy to DD (6.5) and DS (2.5)
Now that said, I am opting for a natural birth this time. I did not prepare for a natural birth the 1st time, so my options really weren't great. This time, I'm going for at least a birth center birth, if not a home birth. I know I can do it and I know that DH and I will be prepared.
One negative thing about the epidural and I don't know that I can totally blame the epi, but perhaps. After his birth, the pediatrician was obsessed with DS's size and couldn't believe I didn't have GD. They took DS from me for over 4 hours to test his blood sugars. I was so tired that I allowed that to happen. I really think that if I hadn't had the epi, I would have been more "with it" and able to advocate for myself and DS. That experience has completely turned me off to that hospital and hospitals in general. Again, I don't know for sure that this was epi related- I wasn't in great shape and wasn't really prepared for all of this, so I don't know. But this time around, I want to try it my way.
I, myself, am skeptical that the current hospital birthing climate would allow ANY mother to birth without an epidural, or at least, without the STRONG and repeated suggestion of one.
So, mama, I encourage you to investigate having a homebirth where your wishes will truly be the last word.
I actually chose an epidural for my second birth, while my first one was epidural-free, with assistance from my husband and a friend who is a cerified nurse-midwife. They were both great birth experiences, for different reasons. The first was definitely more work and required more concentration and effort. But even with the epidural during the second one, I still had to put in quite a bit of effort and felt like I was actively "delivering" my son. One of the major benefits of the epidural, for me, was that I had a little "down-time" during active labor to reflect and write in my journal, talk to my husband, enjoy it a bit more. I felt almost nothing while getting my epidural in terms of pain. Both of my babies were beautiful and healthy. It actually took my naturally birthed baby a little longer to get the hang of breastfeeding (or else it was just because I was a new mother).
I'd stop talking about it, honestly, unless it's someone you know will be supportive. Planning for a natural childbirth doesn't mean excluding all other possible outcomes from your mind, but rather setting yourself up for success by learning lots of coping strategies (I think a lot of people think you give birth naturally by just gritting your teeth and suffering through the pain. Hello? There are other ways of dealing with pain very effectively besides getting a shot of something!)
Read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth for lots and lots of empowering, realistic birth stories. They're not all women who had pain-free births, or who saw angels, or orgasmed during labor. They're just stories of how birth progresses and develops when you jsut leave it be and don't manipulate it so much. I found that book to be incredibly inspiring while I was pregnant last time and am looking forward to reading it again.
You *can* do this! What's the harm in trying? What do you have to lose?
ETA: I myself have had one baby via elective Pitocin induction, basically at term and I was dilated some already. I had an epidural before I felt anything that I could call pain. It took almost 24 hours and I pushed for almost 3. I was so tired by the end (since of course they starve you in the hospital) that the delivery was vacuum assisted and I was totally out of it after the birth. The Pit was still on but my Epi wasn't and the ctx hit me like a ton of bricks. Plus, I think manipulating the process like that didn't allow me to get the natural "rush" that you get after a natural birth. I basically got "something" for my pain, which was extreme, and passed out for several hours. Getting breastfeeding started after all that was a nightmare, and I found the whole experience very difficult. I couldn't feel anything, I didn't know what was going on, pushing was impossible because I didn't know what to do and was numb to the gills.
I found my daughter's birth (at home and totally natural, no interventions of any kind) much easier, because I always knew exactly what was going on. I labored as I wanted, I had 2 ctx right in a row and then a little break throughout most of the labor, so I got used to the pattern and worked with it rather than fighting it. I knew when I was ready to push and I did. I could feel her descending so no one had to count for me, or yell at me, or tell me how to do it because I could *feel* what worked. She was born, we had a nice lie in together for awhile, I had a shower and then hot breakfast in my own bed and I was high on the whole thing for weeks.
Natural was easier, for me.
With that said, my last birth was an unmedicated hospital birth. It was the most impowering experience of my life. I discovered that I am strong. Not to mention that there wasn't really a recovery time. I felt great immediately after birth. With my epi births, I spent 2 weeks sitting on ice packs. In my experience, it is much less traumatic to just let your body do what it was made to do.
YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK!!!!!!!
Wife of 20 years to my superhero firefighting DH. SAHM to 2 boys and 2 girls (3 babies in Heaven- Baby # 5 5/2010 & Baby #6 8/2011 & Baby # 7 2/1013). Cancer Survivor 2011 ( Persistent Malignant Gestational Trophoblastic Disease)
I had an epidural with my first (induced labor). I will NEVER get one again. Um, it was one of the worst parts of my labor. First, it *hurts* when you get it. I had less than 10 minutes of the so called "blissful pain is gone" feeling and then the sh!t hit the fan. My blood pressure plummeted, I started to shake uncontrollably, and I began to vomit. That's the part I remember. The next thing I remember is being in the OR strapped down and not being able to move. DH told me that shortly after vomiting I passed out. Alarm went off. Nurses came running in. The shaking got worse and he said it looked like I was convulsing. He said I received multiple shots all at once. They started me on oxygen. Then he said I was still. I was sent to the OR for a c-section shortly after. I was told that I had a "bad reaction" to the epidural, and that I seem to have "a sensitive system." DH said he truely wanted to punch the Dr when he said that.
So, yeah, no way in hell would I ever have another epidural. I get mad when people talk of epidurals like they are a god send and that they are so safe and wonderful. Cause they are not always safe and wonderful for everyone.
If you get one it may work great for you. It's really your choice and only yours. Just make sure you know that there are risks as well as possible benefits.
Birth is hard but not impossible. A woman's body is designed to birth. A woman is designed to cope with labor....natural labor. Good luck on your upcoming birth. May it be all you hope for.
I wanted to add a few things. Epidurals in themselves don't bother me. I do believe that they are good tools to have in certain situations. I know that I personally wanted to avoid having one if at all possible. I looked at them in the same category as episiotomies and c-sections: thank goodness they are available in case there is a need but I was going to do my very best to birth my baby without any type of intervention. I don't judge moms who opt for epidurals at the outset or after 40 hours of labor. It's a choice, and at the end of the day, healthy and happy mama and healthy and happy baby are all that matter.
What does bother me, tremendously, is this "been there-done that" attitude of so many women - those who will judge your decision not to go for the epidural and those who will criticize your choice to have a natural birth. The fear-mongering and horror stories of labor that so many women feel they need to tell first time moms upsets me so much. The "oh, you'll see! you'll be begging for drugs" and the dismissing of your hopes and plans for your own birth ... I can't tell you how upsetting that is to me.
I hope you find warm support here on the boards. I know I have. Also, I would encourage you to read positive stories of natural births: Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth and Peggy Vincent's Babycatcher are excellent books with very inspiring positive stories of natural births. Reading Ina May's book is what turned me onto natural childbirth to begin with. And recalling the pages and pages and pages of positive stories helped calm my emotions when other women would want to regail me with how "awful" childbirth was.
Big huge hugs. You are about to experience something truly amazing - being a mother is a tremendous thing, and I believe that mothering begins right now, through birth! I will tell you, my natural birth gave me a high for weeks, months, after my son was born. It is great for the baby, and it is tremendous for you as well. I truly believe there is nothing I can't do at this point.
Epidural is simply not an option for me.
When people push me about it I say "Why would I voluntarily paralyze myself at my baby's most important moment?"