Had an epidural followed by a natural childbirth? Follow me? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 12-26-2008, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been thinking, for me, with ds1 I was 20, I initially wanted a hb. My husband and I lived in the downstairs of my parents house, our relationship and life was rocky. We were immature. Dh and my mother were comp. against homebirth. My mother, her own reasons, she's just kind of untrusting I guess you could say about how fragile life is. Dh had a baby sister who was lost to SIDS, so he has a fear about the same thing, basically. Bear with me. I feel like I maybe could have successfully hb'ed WITH SUPPORT. But, I didn't. Had hosp. birth with a midwife, had back labor, ended up feeling NOTHING pain-wise after epi. for delivery. All in all... I think they thought... Good thing you were in the hosp. you couldn't handle the pain. Not in a mean way, just like we were right, that was best.

Skip to dd's birth, I planned to have epidural, instead they administered an intrathecal, my understanding is that it's like an epidural without a catheter so once it wears off that's it. Pain relief is done. As soon as I got it I pretty much started to freak out, saying this isn't right, I'm still in pain. (Based on previous exp. with epidural) Yada yada yada. Began undilating... which midwife said she's only seen 2 times in 25 years. Bottom line I had about 45 mins of PARTIAL pain relief, not total and then full on transition, and then intrathecal shot again right before I delivered. So I did not feel pushing her out. I think I might have handled it ALL differently had I taken childbirth classes with dd.

Now... due in 5 weeks. Seeing an OB for the first time because we are rural and there's hardly any women OB's let alone mw's. I love the idea of natural childbirth, it seems like a much more fulfilling exp. I know that dd's birth was not how I wanted it, but I felt PROUD that I had only had relief for that 45 minute stretch and then about 10 minutes of pushing. I really felt like OMG I did it. Even though no one would consider it natural. I know, I'm not too crunchy! But because I have had a full epidural before it seems hard to imagine a totally natural cb. Almost like I'm ruined for natural birth now. And I've never felt that 'ring of fire'. Plus because dh and mom know I could have this easy, pain-free birth I think it will be hard for them to see me in pain and support me through it without pushing pain meds. Dh is totally mainstream.

So I'm wondering have any of you had a medicated, epidural birth followed by a natural, unmedicated birth? Was that a scary feeling, like I'm going with this pain even though I know I could do it an easier way? And how did you prepare for it if you did? I guess that's what I'm wondering. Sorry it's so long, but it's late and I'm a crazy pregnant lady!
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#2 of 7 Old 12-26-2008, 09:51 AM
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I haven't personally, but I have several friends (whom I met in my Bradley Method class) who did, and they ALL said the natural birth, sure it was painful, but being able to full experience this once in a lifetime moment, the birth of that child, was worth it and much better than not feeling the pain, but loosing the rush and all that comes with natural childbirth.

I would recommend find a natural childbirth class, not what the hospital offers. Its worth the money if your hoping to have a natural birth. Its more than just about information in most of these classes, its really get you to believe in birth and process, which I believe is key to getting through it. Looking past the pain, its only part of whats happening, vs focusing all your energy and thoughts on it. And Really teaching you that it will be over, and you'll have the baby. Amongst many other things! Also, perhaps hire a doula, a doula can be great for helping you manage the pain, reducing its effects with natural coping techniques and suggestions, help you work through your fears, also help support your support persons, so they can help you vs hinder your process.

BTW, the ring of fire is no big deal. Its a hurdle though. What I mean it, you have to know its coming, and know what you have to do. Push through it. Its mentally challenging sometimes, because your brain is saying "no! that hurts" but its important to know, yes, it hurts, its supposed to, and all I have to do is get past this last big step and I'll win the race. I remember getting to that point with my DD, and when I felt it I just thought ok, I know what I have to do, and after a long labor, I wasn't going to let what I KNEW would be a short period of intense pain, keep me in labor a moment longer!

Good luck, you can do it!

mom to Reaghan born underwater into midwife's hands 1/17/07 & Myra born surrounded by doulas and midwife at home 1/12/09. Birth Educator, and Photographer, Baby #3 Coming May 2013!

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#3 of 7 Old 12-26-2008, 10:33 AM
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Had an epidural first time around, second time was a home birth and I was terrified of the pain and the ring of fire did shock me lol, it all hurt like hell BUT I wouldn't trade it for an epidural. Had my Third homebirth a couple of months ago (unplanned freebirth), again there was the fear of the pain, again it hurt like hell, no ring of fire this time and again, I much preferred it to my epidural birth.

Don't think I am against epidurals, but I know for me, I prefer the no pain relief route and just because you have had pain relief once, twice, three times before, does not mean you are ruined for natural birth.
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#4 of 7 Old 12-26-2008, 11:46 AM
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My vaginal delivery was a no epi route, but after 3 hours of back labor, I took an IV shot of Stadol. Due to various issues with inexperienced staff, (new interns on the floor in July) I was incapacitated by a combo of prolonged back labor, no support in changing positions, no ability to move beyond the monitors (I had GD it was required) and no knowledge that I was in transition when I took it. The newbies could not accurately determine my dilation in latex free gloves. yeah, . I literally passed out from the drug for 30 minutes and woke up complete and ready to push. I pushed for 3 1/2 hours for a total of 11 1/2 hours of total labor.

While I would have preferred to do it completely naturally, and that is certainly my plan this time, I acknowledge that I didn't have all of the information I needed to make a different decision last time. The ring of fire had NOTHING on the back labor. Everything that came after she moved of my sacrum felt GREAT to me. It is really a matter of perspective when it comes to labor pain. If you regressed in your labor because you had such a strong fear of the pain, than you should keep an open mind about what you will do this time. A pain free labor may be the difference between a vaginal delivery and a c/s if you react so strongly to your fear.

That being said, what kind of work have you done to deal with the fear this time? Have you read hypnobabies or any books on relaxation and dealing with fear and pain? Surround yourself with positive birth stories that follow the path you would like your labor to take. I love "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" because it has such wonderful and varied stories of natural birth. I also like the stories at the back of the Dr. Sear's birth book for variety. That one has positive stories in a variety of settings, whereas the Ina May book is all homebirth at the farm.

It may also help to write down what you want from yourself and others at this birth. If you felt like you were unsupported, or losing control in the past, it may help to put it down in black and white so everyone attending you understands what you need from this birth experience. Especially you. Labor is tough, and half formed ideas are going to melt away in the face of the pain and effort of labor unless you really KNOW what you want. even when I knew I was going to have a c/s with the twins I did this, because I wasn't going to just lay down and not participate in the birth of my own kids. I never want another c/s, but my experience was unusually easy and I have no regrets from it. I got what I needed out of a less than ideal situation.

Best of luck with this birth.

Mama to 4 darlings. A ('03), O and K ('06), A ('09), and wife to M since 2002.
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#5 of 7 Old 12-26-2008, 03:30 PM
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With my daughter, I had an epidural, but just for the pushing. I was 6 cm when I arrived at the hospital and they didn't check me again before giving me the epidural. Right as it was going in, and the anesthesiologist was reminding me to keep perfectly still, I had a huge contraction, my water broke, and I had to push. The nurse checked me as soon as it was in, and I was fully dilated. I felt the urge to push through one more contraction and then I felt nothing.

With my son, I had a MW, which means no epidural. If you get one, you are transferred to the OB on call and the MW does not deliver the baby. Honestly, I was fine. It did really hurt, and I absolutely hated the sensation of needing to push, but I did it and man, I was so thrilled with the whole experience. I felt so empowered and I really felt like I needed to do it again.

And here I sit... on the verge of doing it again... and I'm scared. It hurts! A lot. I'm desperately trying to reconnect to that empowered feeling. I keep telling myself that I was okay last time. I'll be okay again.
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#6 of 7 Old 12-28-2008, 04:26 AM
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I had an epidural with my first, and a spinal with my second at 8cm. Both were induced for pre-e (#1) and pih (#2). #2 was really not bad, even with the pitocin, but since was mentally convinced I would need an epidural to handle the pitocin I got it at 8cm since it was my last chance.

This time, I would love to try an unmedicated birth! DH is not thrilled, but I labor very internally anyways so I have him educated on what I may need from him when, and we are going to go for it. My OB is awesome too, and much like a midwife, so I think I will have support there. Then again, we may be dealing with interventions due ot medical issues, so we will see what happens!

Since you aren't expecting your support people to be helpful in dealing with a natural birth, have you considered a doula? I have heard student doulas can be very affordable!

The best books to prepare for me this time were Pam England's Birthing From Within and INa May's Guide to CHildbirth. PE's book helps you really look at how you will approach labor and pain, and how to work through it. It also helps you address past birth experiences. It even has a section for partners which I thought was great, especially if you need a condensed version for a DH that isn't really into reading or researching the issue! Ina May's book is full of natural birth stories, and it really just put me in the midnframe that I can do this too!

Good luck!

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#7 of 7 Old 12-29-2008, 07:52 PM
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Regarding the ring of fire, if you're on land, having a hot washcloth applied helps immensely. I almost cried with relief when my midwife did that.

I'd also highly recommend classes not just for you but your DH and mom too. More for them, in a way.

Hiring a doula, if nothing else but to keep *them* calm would be worth the money, IMO.
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