Friday, February 19, 2010

Alright Ladies...

Epidural or Natural? What are the benefits of natural, dangers of an epidural? I can't decide what to do mainly because I have never had a baby before so I have no idea what to expect. Please... enlighten me.


  1. Well, obviously I haven't had a baby yet either, but my cousin has had 3. She had one of them without an epidural and said, "Never again! Never again!" She is a very strong advocate of the epidural.

  2. haha. so you're going to do an epidural kira? My sister-in law has said the same thing for her second one she's expecting in july.

  3. I HATED my epidural, but it became necessary for me so i could get some rest (i had been laboring for 18 hours with contractions every 1-5 minutes (that was right from the start) and i was still only 1cm, and i was about ready to collapse....and i knew if i wanted to be refreshed at all for Grace, i needed some relief).

    But, when the doctor put it in, he put it in wrong and i started getting weird tingles, so he had to RE do it. Then, in the morning when i woke up (i got it at 3am) my legs were like 500lbs lead weights. I couldn't even move them if i wanted to. Then after a few hours the numbness traveled up until i was numb almost to my breasts (which started making it hard to breath). Then they tried to fix that and my epidural became lopsided and really only 1/2 of my was completely numb.

    Then, they turned it off when i was delivering Grace (i had wanted it turned off before that so i could FEEL what was happened, but i went too fast) and i was not able to move my legs or get out of bed for NINE HOURS. And they took my catheter out so TWICE i had to go in a bedpan (can i tell you how hard that is when your legs are numb to hold yourself up?????)

    Then i had a huge bruise on my back for a week or two, and my back was sore to where i didn't want to lay on it.

    And i still have random back and nerve pain around the site.

    Next time, i plan FULL natural. With Grace i had to be induced, so that made the contractions worse and i wasn't ready to go into labor.

    This next time i'm going into labor ON MY OWN so i know that i can handle it. I would never want to get an epidural again. I seriously hated it...i felt so helpless...but i just really had no choice...

    Also, some things to think about is the epidural makes it impossible for you to walk, so labor can progress slower. Also, you are stuck in one position: on your back. Birthing and laboring on your back have been proven to be MUCH more difficult because you are working *against* gravity to push your baby out. If you can move, you are able to squat, get into a hands and knees position, all which have been shown to make your pelvis BIGGER and allow for an easier birth (less chance of tearing or an episiotomy). But you can't do those if you are numb.

    Information on birth positions:

    Also, something to keep in mind, the high you feel after giving birth naturally is the BIGGEST high you will EVER feel in your life. At no other time are oxytocin (the love hormone) leves SO high.

    Women talks about epidural or natural (she's done both)

    If you want, you can watch all sorts of birth videos here:

    Some information you might find helpful in your decision:

    And if you haven't read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth yet, you really should!

    Ok, i'll stop now.

  4. haha i knew you would comment. Thanks for all the info! Seriously.

  5. Of course i will comment :) Seriously, check out each link and video, they have great info :)

    And you must read that book! lol :)

    See, the thing is, a normal labor is 12-24 hours. If i had been having a normal labor, with more 'normal' contractions, i totally could have done it without the epidural. But in a normal labor you don't have contractions for 18 hours and still be 1cm dilated LOL.

    But i have NO DOUBTS that i cannot handle a natural labor. NONE AT ALL. I'm going to have my midwife to support me, Jay will be with me, we can lay in our huge bed, cuddle, labor in the water, walk where ever i want (even outside if i wanted lol) eat whatever i want, perfect freedom :) I can do it.

    But like i said, if i had been dilating like i should have, i would have had Grace naturally. But being forced into labor at 32 body wasn't so willing.

  6. i really will do my homework. I asked for that book for christmas but sadly, santa did not bring it. I think april is going to have to be a cramming month for me because i just do not have the time with homework and work. I am booked and i know i need sleep so i can only do so much before bedtime. But april i will be free! I've been looking at baby gear and such and reading as much as i can, but april will be the month.

  7. When i first read it, i got it from our local library :) it is SUCH a great pregnancy/birth book. I've already read it once, and right now i just read it when i can (during breakfast, on the toilet, in the waiting room, a minute before bed, etc etc)

    The first 1/2 of the book is just positive birth stories.

    Then Ina May talks about all the techincal stuff of pregnancy and birth: Good nutition, sphincter laws, interventions, doctor mode of care vs midwifes, working with your body for birth, etc etc etc. She is SUCH an amazing women and has had SUCH wonderful outcomes at her birth center (like a 1.4% cesarean rate when the US average is 33% right now!)

    Check out these statistics:

    this women knows what she is talking about!

  8. Linds-
    Didn't know you were a'bloggin'! How fun! No card necessary. You are way too busy. Just enjoy this first nesting time--its the only time of life pregnancy is with you focused on bringing your first into the world.

    As for epidural or not? I don't know. Never felt a real contraction. But I do know that you should make a birthplan and then know that it could change for a number of reasons and its okay. And thats the only expertise I have. But I have a sister that says No to Epidurals and one that says Its a Party with Epidurals. Now I'm just waiting to see which way you go!

  9. Hey Linds-
    I totally think you should try and do it without the epidural. I don't know how much difference it makes to the baby, but for mom no epidural is better for avioding c-section and post-birth recovery. I have two books I can lend you if you want. I've talked to a ton of my friends about this and here's the points I've gathered if you want success without an epidural:
    -labor at home as long as possible. I have a book that says how far apart the contractions should be before you head to the hospital. Very, very, very few first time moms actually have their babies in the back of a car. The labor with your first is typically a loooooong process.
    -Once you get to the hospital, ask if they will let you labor in a hydro-tub. I have firsthand experience with this and it really helps.
    -taking a birthing class is a must for you and Jayce if you want to go with no epidural. Sign up ASAP.
    -As soon as you get to the hospital, have Jayce tell them that you are trying it without an epidural. Hopefully, then they will try and find you an L&D nurse that is helpful with that. Many nurses tend to be really crabby when they find out you've refused pain management and a crabby delivery nurse is the worst!
    -tell Jayce exactly what you want ahead of time and have him deal with the medical people. Making a rational decision when you are in that much pain is impossible.
    -DO NOT deliver laying on your back. It's the most painful position for childbirth. The best is a squat (not the most attractive, but the best)
    -if you do find that you want/need an epidural tell the anethesiologist that you just want enough to take the edge off. You don't need to be bullet-proof or anything.You should still be able to freely move your legs.
    Good Luck. Teral did it without an epidural and her recovery was so incredibly fast!

  10. First of all, you have 5 women at your fingertips every other Monday who have all had at least 5 kids and have struggled with the same question. =) Don't forget to turn to your live and in person resources!

    I know I haven't been pregnant or had the horrifying realization that the kid will have to come out someday, but in my Human Development class we devoted an entire day to this topic. Epidural or not? And after all the info was explicitly laid out, epidural really does seem best. Women often say they want to "experience" labor, but wouldn't you rather "experience" the birth? When you see your baby for the first time, do you want to be writhing in pain or enjoying every second of her entering the world?

    Having problems with epidurals is really quite rare. I asked Greg, who is an anesthesia resident so he's done a bajillion epidurals, and he said that you have to be dumb to screw it up. It really is a safe procedure and will allow you and Jace to relax and wait and pray and enjoy.

    Something fun you can do that all my sisters have done is just see how long you can last. Labor is different for every woman. No one feels the same amount of pain. Brittany could only labor to 4 cm before asking for the epidural, but her contractions were 3 minutes long every 10 minutes as opposed to most women who have 1 minute long contractions every five minutes. You don't know how your body is going to react so keep the epidural as an option and see how you do. Who knows? Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones who labors for an hour and pop goes the little weasel! But I wouldn't completely get your heart set on going naturally because then if something happens or your poor body can't take it anymore, you won't need to feel like you've failed, you know?

    Stepping further into my opinion corner, I think it's kind of prideful when women use natural child birth as a way of defining their true womanhood and strength. The age old reason is "women have been giving birth naturally for thousands of years, I can do it, too." Well, women and babies have been dying during childbirth for thousands of years, too, and we have been blessed with medical procedures that were divinely inspired. Believe it or not, it's not about you, it's about your little girl and getting her here safely. Whatever you choose, just don't let it detract from this most sacred experience.

    *Stepping off soap box, picking it up, walking away*

    I love you!

  11. Awwww I love all of you!!! thank you so much for this wonderful wisdom. I'm not sure if it's just the hormones or this immense support I feel but got to be honest...teared up a little bit. I think I have made my decision. And ha! It's exactly what I had thought I would do, but all these comments just really validated my feelings.
    Jordan I am planning on taking a class and would love to borrow those books! And I have been working on a birth plan. I had heard that squatting is better so I think that will be the way I go. That choice was still hanging on the plan.
    Carly, It's on with your sisters. But once it gets too hard, I really won't feel bad about getting some relief. I never have felt bad about epidurals...I just got scared after talking to too many people haha...which is ironic because the first thing i do is ask more people.
    If you ladies ever feel the need to let go of more wisdom feel free, and I will keep all of you in mind if I have more questions.

  12. Good luck with it all! Looks like you got lots of good advice :) My words of advice: take EVERYTHING anyone says - about the whole process...including child raising - with a grain of salt. So many people have their own opinions. It is great to get advice, take it for what it is worth and make your own decisions :)

  13. I loved all 3 of my epidurals. The first thing I ask after being admitted is, "When can I get an epidural?" I spend my painless labor time joking with Kelly, giddy with excitement, just waiting for the go ahead to push. It makes the whole process enjoyable.

  14. Just going to add this tidbit.

    When you deliver naturally, almost all the pain will be gone as soon as they are born, and even if you do tear a tiny bit or something, you will have SOOO many GOOD hormones running through you you probably won't be feeling anything except enthusiasm and joy for seeing your baby :D

    And if you labor and birth in a good position (squatting or hands and knees) the likelihood of tearing is VERY small. So you should have no pain afterwords.

    And having an epidural does increase the risk of cesarean which means more pain and a WAY longer recovery. It also raises the chance of induction (the use of pitocin or cytotec) which then raises your risk of cesarean to 50%.

    (BTW, do NOT consent of the use of cytotec. If has NOT been approved by the FDA for the use of inductions and it can cause MAJOR problems like super contractions, fetal distress, uterine rupture and death)

  15. Totally blogstalking you through Facebook Lindsey.

    Pre-cursor: I strongly believe epidural/natural is an individual thing and no woman should be judged for her decision. I will gladly give my opinion though :)

    If you decide to even attempt natural, even if you want an epidural, get a midwife. Midwives still have a go-natural-birth-at-home reputation - so not true. Many OBGYN offices have midwives on staff that will support you through either decision. They are AMAZING birthing coaches, which is so helpful your first time.

    So because of a crazy birth that could never have been planned for, I ended up laboring up to a 10, getting an epidural, regretting the epidural, than feeling grateful for the epidural.

    Why I loved it: NO PAIN. Obvious one. I was terrified for birth and it helped calm the nerves. I got to hold and cuddle my baby while not feeling stitches (TMI).

    Why I hated it: The whole half-paralysis thing REALLY freaked me out. And you won't be able to move for quite some time after delivery - nurses carry you to switch from beds, help you to the bathroom.

    Why, in my particular situation, I'm glad I got it: My baby's cord kept getting wrapped around her neck during labor, meaning hands were constantly inside me unwrapping it (ouch). Baby also had to be delivered with forceps (ouch) and I tore which meant stitches (ouch).


    Good luck with your decision!

  16. Whoa, should I even bother?

    I have a lot of respect for women who have babies naturally. I really do. It takes a strength and a preparation and a mental sort of ferocity that I haven't cultivated.

    Both times I let myself get to the point where I was in enough pain -- doing enough uncontrollable shaking and writhing -- to be okay with having a needle in my back. Granted, I hadn't taken a class and had only read books, so it may have gone differently if I'd committed more to a natural labor from the start. My first epidural left me numb from the waist down, which I hated, but my second epidural was glorious; I could still wiggle my toes and feel pressure (even the baby's head coming through the birth canal) but not one bit of pain. No tearing, no C-section, really easy recovery. of luck, love. However you get her here, I'm excited to meet her!

  17. done them both,...and I have to say...I LOVE the epidural man. However, I did go as long as I could without it, and then asked for it. I had two horrible epidurals though too. I had an nurse anethesitist for those instead of a real anesthesiolgist. I just totally spelled those words wrong.