(Closed) Bees who have had both drug free and epidural labors.

posted 3 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 16
Member
3113 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2016 - Surfer\'s Beach, Grand Cayman

No judgement to those who choose an epidural, at all, but let’s be clear there are absolutely risks involved as well as downsides. So I’m not sure why people need to come in here and discourage OP with statements like “it doesn’t make you a better mother or person” “nobody wins a medal for going without one”. I don’t believe I would be a better mother or win a medal for going drug free but when weighing risks and going drug free has zero risks to myself and the baby, that’s what I will choose personally, if I have no complications. The risks just don’t outweigh the benefits for me. If you don’t believe there’s any reason to feel pain, google “epidural side effects” and see the ways in which it can affect your birth, yourself and possibly the baby. There are reasons that we feel contractions and pain. I just hate that we live in a society where women are taught to fear childbirth and that doing it naturally is actually discouraged. Like I said I don’t judge those who choose it, and I may very well choose it myself in the end, but I think people should be informed about the risks at the very least. 

Post # 17
Member
918 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception / Courtyard Marriott Legacy Ballroom

I recently had my first baby and went drug free, so I don’t have any advice for you about getting an epidural. But, I will say that my plan was to try drug free and, if the pain got to be too much, then I would be open to drugs. I always thought I had a low pain tolerance, but from my experience in labor, I’ve now learned my tolerance is actually pretty high. In the end, I was actually ready to ask for drugs during the last half of active labor, but it was too late and I was ready to push! Whatever you decide, I’m sure you’ll do great.

Post # 18
Member
7430 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

peegee :  Just the language of “natural birth” is judgemental, as it is implying that medicated births are “unnatural”. That’s why I personally wish people would start calling it medicated or unmedicated birth. 

I don’t think that people (at least myself) are saying that you don’t get a medal for going without medication to offend people who choose to go unmedicated. I think it’s said to help those who choose to get the epidural because women can be so hard on themselves if they originally wanted to go without meds, or if they are made to feel like they’re weak or not strong enough if they get the meds.

I’m not saying that unmedicated births aren’t judged, but it seems to me that most judgement surrounding unmedicated births happens when people proclaim how much better it is or when they act like it’s the only viable option, especially if they’ve never given birth. I’m not saying that’s what you are doing, but that’s just where I tend to see judgement with unmedicated births.

Post # 19
Member
13 posts
Newbee

I have had one birth and I had an epidural. After 6hours and only dialated to 3, they lay me have it. Thank god! I had back labor which was horrible. I would have an epidural again because I had a great labor experience and baby came out healthy as ever. I also ripped, but I don’t think it was bad. I can’t tell really where it happened. My labor was a total of 16 hours but I pushed for one hour and she was out. It was so worth it. And every time I think of how my body is different , I look at my perfect baby and it reminds me of how awesome my imperfect body is! 

Post # 20
Member
130 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

I had two epidurals and the last without, simply because she came so fast. I hope your labor is smooth and uneventful and so quick and manageable that you don’t even need anything. But don’t be a martyr. It’s there if you need it and make you no less a good mother for accepting help.

Post # 21
Member
134 posts
Blushing bee

So i tried to have an epidural with my first…. I had the needle poked into my back 23 times! It was horrific. It turned out I have a slightly curved spine which made it near impossible to place. I didn’t even find out about my curved spine until I was being prepped for my c section (had to have one due to complications) with my 2nd. The  anesthesiologist tried 6 times to place it. He ended putting me in the fetal  position, and placing a spinal pretty high up on my back. 

I say go without! Lol I have lots more details to both stories, but I don’t want to scare anyone getting an epidural. 

Post # 22
Member
44 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I had complications from my epidural but no lasting damage to me or the baby. I had a long labour which resulted in emergency section and even though I chose the epidural while being induced I would have been forced to have one due to emergency section. No medical procedure or pregnancy is without risk but if you leave the hospital healthy and with a healthy baby it’s a good outcome. 

Even though I had a complication from epidural (temporary paralysis from neck down) I would have one again for next baby – I was pain free during 12 hours of contractions which meant I was able to sleep and relax – all of which you need before coming home with a baby! 

Post # 23
Member
3113 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2016 - Surfer\'s Beach, Grand Cayman

Cory_loves_this_girl :  Calling it natural isn’t inherently judgemental, it’s just what it is, I mean medication isn’t natural, but we do a lot of things in this day and age that aren’t natural, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think people who find the term in itself judgemental are perhaps placing their own feelings of judgement on to it. I also think unmedicated/medicated works fine as terminology. I don’t think it’s offensive to make the statements that were made in here about not being a better mom, not getting a medal etc but I do think they are discouraging in a society where the overwhelming norm is already to choose medicated vaginal birth or c-section. My hospital has a 70% epidural and 30% c-section rate, which means there are no births without medication or intervention. To me that’s discouraging because I feel my desires won’t be supported in hospital. Neither are something to be ashamed of but the reality is that society at large is not shaming women for those choices, although some women may feel judgement from a very small percentage, that’s likely due to backlash from specific groups against the typical birthing procedures. I am in total agreement that women should never feel like failures for having medication or intervention in the end, but they should also not be put down for choosing to do it without and since it’s not promoted widely, yes I think it should be pushed a little more. In the end the decision is still personal. 

Post # 24
Member
1078 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

peegee :  This is a big reason why I will choose a birthing center the next time we have a baby. They are more “natural” friendly and I really like that they don’t strap you to a bed and they let you go through the process as naturally as possible using natural pain relief measures (water therapy/massage). 

 

I also agree with you about the term natural. I’ve often found that those who have a problem with this word have their own preconceived notions about it anyway. Unneccessary medical interventions DO carry risks and I resent the fact that society tries to gloss over these while promoting unneeded SURGERY to have a baby. 

Post # 25
Member
640 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I haven’t had a drug free labor, but I did have an epidural with my first and I’m so glad I did. I was supposed to be induced but when we got checked in, I was already in labor. My water never broke on its own and the doctor had to use a scalpel to break it (horrible pain, don’t recommend lol). Until that point, I had no pain relief. I ended up getting an epidural at 6cm and it was great. I went in knowing I wanted an epidural (I do have a pretty high pain tolerance but that fear of the unknown was giving me unnecessary anxiety and I wanted to be somewhat calm during labor). 

Post # 26
Member
1105 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I’m TTC soon and glad to have read this thread! When I think about an epidural, it literally makes me nauseous. I’m wondering if I’ll be able to get through the pain though, without it.

Question for you ladies, though. Did you notice a difference in your recovery from epidural vs drug free/natural?

Post # 27
Member
480 posts
Helper bee

My three births were drug-free, so I can’t advise from personal experience.

However, my daughter’s wasn’t. She wanted to go the risk-free route without an epidural, but towards the end of her labor she could no longer handle the discomfort and changed her mind. And I don’t blame her at all. I was with her and it was painful to watch her go through the ordeal for as long as she did before giving in. She ended up giving birth to a 9 lb baby that was the size of a 3 month old!

I recall that she had some post-partum headaches, but I don’t think they lasted very long. She swears that it’s the only way she would even consider having another baby in the future.

Post # 28
Member
1800 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I’ve had 3 babies. First – peth & gas. This was by far my nicest labour as she came out the right way. 4 hours start to finish and I never felt as if the pin got out of control for me. My second was spine on spine. The pain was horrendous and I felt out of control for the last hour or so. I used gas and am glad I didn’t have an epidural as he didn’t drop in properly and come out with the left side of his forehead first. I never would have been able to push him out if I couldn’t move. I used 3 different positions to get him out. My 3rd was induced, spine on spine and the worst pain of my life. I begged for an epidural but he was too quick. He ended up with a heart rate of 40 and I ended up with a vacuum delivery. The pain was completely different for all of them but I was up and showered within an hour for all of them and even went home the same day with my 2nd and third. I’m pregnant again now and will avoid the epidural if I can.

Post # 29
Member
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

I’m pregnant now and will 100% be getting an epidural. There’s a great anaesthetist who works with my OB and I have an appointment with him around 34 weeks to discuss what I want out of the whole experience – ie to be light enough to feel contractions & move but without pain.

I will be aiming to avoid any narcotics as I do not want to be drowsy and stoned (and they can cause problems for the newborn), and I tend to vomit a lot with nitrous oxide so that’s also not a super-appealing option.

 

Post # 30
Member
905 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I just gave birth on Tuesday, so this is very fresh in my mind (but it was my first, so I don’t have a comparison). My plan was to see how far I could go without any interventions and if I ended up needing something, I would have no problem with it. I had contractions all day and the pain was only in my low back and it wasn’t bad at all. I generally have back pain 24/7 so I assumed this would bode well for my pain tolerance. I went to sleep with contractions 8 minutes apart and an uncomfortable back labor. 

I woke up an hour later in the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. Contractions were suddenly 4-5 minutes apart, my mucus plug came out and we were at the hospital an hour later (midnight). By the time I was in the l&d room I was 5-6cm and could not handle the pain any longer. After the first contraction there I told my husband and sister I needed the epidural. My sister was there to try to help me labor naturally with different postions and she was very encouraging when I said I needed the drugs. It took a little while for the anesthesiologist to show up, and I barely felt the needle go in because my contractions were so painful (still entirely in my low back). By the time the epidural was ready about an hour after I got to the hospital, I was 8cm. The relief I felt was awesome. I was so hopped up on adrenaline that I couldn’t really sleep except for about an hour, but I was able to just rest. (I had to get penicillin for group b strep and that burning pain in my arm was worse than the epidural needle). Eventually I started to feel pain in a corner of my back which didn’t respond to upping the meds, and it showed up right at the peak of each contraction. When I was 10cm I didn’t feel the need to push, so they came back a bit later and I did a trial push just to see if the baby was ready. The nurse immediately called for the doc and I pushed through three contraction cycles (9 pushes) and she was out in less than 20 minutes. So I was in the delivery room from midnight until 9am when she was born. 

The whole time I had the epidural I still had some movement in my legs, so I was able to move them back and forth a bit. I didn’t have any side effects and really enjoyed her birth. I’m sure with #2 I’ll have the same approach of trying to see how far I can go without pain meds, but will have no regrets if I choose to have an epidural again. 

 

Eta: she came out a surprising 8 lb 6oz, and the doc had to cut a little because her head just wasn’t stretching me out any further. I’m glad I didn’t have to feel that!

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