(Closed) Natural Childbirth vs. Epidurals

posted 7 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 17
Member
1359 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I have always had really horrible periods. Like, passing out and throwing up from the pain. That experience has made me decide I definitely, 100% want an epidural. To me, that type of abdominal cramping pain is the absolute worst, and makes me feel crazy after just several minutes. I totally relate to the “I don’t care what you do, just make it STOP” feeling. If/when I have my babies, I’d like it to not be a horribly traumatic experience, I’d like to be able to welcome them into the world feeling somewhat comfortable and rested and like myself. I know other women do it – my mom gave birth med-free four times – but I am just not up to it. I want meds, as many as they will give me. Lol.

Post # 18
Member
1486 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I haven’t done both, but I will tell you my experience with epidural.  (Spoiler alert, it was phenomenal.)


I was in labor for almost 48 hours, and I got an epidural after about 25/30.  The needle going into my spine didn’t hurt anywhere near what the contractions did.  Also important to note I was on Pitocin, so they were not natural contractions.  In all honesty, I had no idea about the tube going into my back until you mentioned it.  (I asked my husband if that was true, since he watched the whole thing, and he says yes.)  I mean, of course that makes perfect sense, but I really had no idea, and couldn’t feel it in the slightest.

Not only did the epidural help with the contractions, it helped with all the pregnancy pain I had been experiencing for months at that point.  I was completely pain free for the first time since I was about 5 months pregnant.  I felt FANTASTIC.  

I could sit up, turn over, move my legs and all that, but again, full disclosure, the nurses kept commenting that I had phenomenal control of my body, so that may not be the norm.

My baby was born completely alert.  She ate within the first two hours, probably less.  She DID sleep, and she did sleep a lot, but she spent a lot of time awake too, staring at everything, and completely alert.

I do have some lingering back pain, which I wonder if it is associated with the epidural, but I had it when I was pregnant (and am now pregnant again, so it’s really bothering me) so I’m more likely to think it’s from that.

Just important to show that experiences can go both ways, I 100% intend to get an epidural again.  Feel free to PM me with any questions you have, what I don’t remember, my husband can answer for you.  He had better seats anyway 🙂

Post # 19
Member
1314 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Following this.

 

Thank you for your honesty ladies. This will prove very helpful.

Post # 21
Member
257 posts
Helper bee

@moonadea:  I never had kids, but I did learn in my Human Sexuality class that the more painful your cramps are during your period, the faster/easier labor would be for you. That and cramps are actually like mini contractions Smile So I thought that would be interesting to mention

Post # 22
Member
4653 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I had a epidural after being induced with Dear Daughter1 and it was AMAZING I didn’t feel a thing and was able to relax. I didn’t even realize that they put it in, the guy put it in while I was having a contraction so it was no big deal. You dont notice the tube or anything the only thing that sucks about getting the epidural is you can not walk around anymore. I played card games colored watched movies and all I felt was pressure when I was having a contraction. BUT I pushed for 1 hour and 57 minutes (yes i know the exact minute lol)

With Dear Daughter2 I was induced but I did not have a epidural because I wanted to do it natural this time. I should have not have ever done that. I had a cracked rib at the time so that probably played into it but I was in so much pain. They turned the pitocin as high as they could legaly have it and I was in tears by the time I asked for the Epidural it was too late. The worst pain ever is what they call “The ring of fire” I did not feel that with Dear Daughter1 but with Dear Daughter2 I was in tears telling them I could not do it anymore (even though it was obviously too late to back out now) I did go from dilated to 5 to baby in my arms in just 20 minutes with Dear Daughter2 so that went a lot quicker but I dont know if it was worth that pain.

OH and they say without a epidural recovery is easier that was not the case at all with me recovery with Dear Daughter1 was SOOOO much easier.

 

Post # 23
Member
26 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: December 2014

There is no wrong or right answer. Everyone copes differently with labour, and as everyones labour and delivery is different there is no one size fits all answer.

I had a premature birth which ended in emergency section and my labour was absolutely horrendous and traumtic – the epidural was bliss. Next time I will be having an elective c-section, not only for medical reasons but because i find labour and birth extremely traumatic and unbearable.

By having pain relief, I can assure you that your baby won’t be born with two heads and that you will both be absolutely fine. 

Go in with an open mind and see how you cope, good luck.

Post # 24
Member
1621 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@mrsSonthebeach:  I think that most women will say that every woman’s experience is different and each labour can vary widely as well.  It’s impossible to predict ahead of time how your own labour will progress, how you will feel and how long labour will be.

As for some evidence-based, solid information, I can link you to this:

http://www.uptodate.com/contents/adverse-effects-of-neuraxial-analgesia-and-anesthesia-for-obstetrics?source=search_result&search=epidural+anesthesia&selectedTitle=3%7E102

Just to briefly outline the known risks of epidural: higher risk of developing a temperature (which can lead to a whole can of worms including babies being sent to NICU for septic workups), lowering of blood pressure, issues with drop in baby’s heart rate, longer pushing stage, higher incidence of assisted (ie forceps or vacuum) delivery.  The evidence is inconclusive about increased incidence of c-section.

Having said all that…..many women choose to have an epidural and most of the time their labour progresses without complications.  It really depends on personal choice and how your own unique labour is going.

 

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

I went all natural with my daughter.  I refused to sign for the epidural but I did have one “on call” just in case.  If you wait too late, you’re stuck without it.

I didn’t have any problems with labor other than I peed three times during the pushing process, mind you I was laughing because I could literally see my pee spraying out and the poor doctor had to step back each time (lol, thankgoodness I didn’t poo!).

He had to cut me, because she wouldn’t go past the crowning, I didn’t feel that either, I only heard the little snips as he did it.  Afterwards, I felt the shot they gave me down there to stitch me up.  Other than that the contractions before pushing was the only real “pain” I had.

I might add that I have a pretty high tolerance for pain.  I only take medicine when I have to.

Post # 26
Member
1116 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

I had a good epi experience that actually goes against a lot of the common fears.  I progressed rapidly after getting it – 4 cm to complete in 2 hours – since it allowed me to relax.  And I only pushed for 15-20 minutes total, delivering 2 babies.  No episiotomy, vacuum, forceps, etc.  No lasting pain or discomfort at the injection site.  If I hadn’t been induced, I think I probably could have gone natural, but given the situation, I’m 100% happy with my decision for an epi and would do it again.

Post # 27
Member
3774 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2004

@KatyElle:  Pitocin without an epidural should be illegal!  My epidural didn’t take with my first daughter and I had pitocin.  That was the most mind-bending pain I have ever experienced.   It was far worse that unmedicated childbirth without pitocin.

Post # 28
Member
1479 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

When we were going through childbirth classes, the thought of an epidural totally freaked me out. I had never really thought I would ever have one, but the video simulation of that needle going into a spine? No, thank you, no way.

I had a 100% natural birth with my son, and honestly? It wasn’t that bad. Granted, I have a pretty high pain tolerance and my labor was pretty quick (I progressed from water breaking at 3:30 am to in the hospital at 8:30 am at 5 cm and 100% effaced, to pushing at 10:30 am) so I didn’t have a long time to endure really bad contractions, but those for those two hours that I was having crazy bad contractions, I honestly closed my eyes through them, focused on the “wave of pain” and controlling my breathing through them, and once I hit the peak (you can feel the peak) I would tell myself that it was all going to feel better now and that honestly would calm me right down.

The hardest part? Not that “ring of fire”. The hardest part was when I was 8.5-9 cm dialated and wanted to push but wasn’t allowed to. That part SUCKED. That part HURT. The pushing part actually didn’t hurt as much, and with each push, I just focused all my energy DOWN into getting my baby OUT and thought, “This is the one where he will come out”.

I also had the BEST L&D nurse EVER. She coached me through my entire birth, and definitely was one of the big reasons I was able to get through it without any drugs.

I know this all sounds kind of hokey, but I truly think keeping my eyes closed and focusing on keeping myself as calm as possible helped me get through it. I’m SO glad I got my 100% natural birth.

Every labor and birth is totally different, so I suggest having a clear plan in your head of what you WANT, and then have a back up. For me, I was willing to have pain medication (still no epidurals) if labor was long and I was tired and would need to get some rest in order to keep going.

 

Post # 29
Member
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

There are a lot of different pain management (both medical and non-medical) so if you really want to avoid getting an epidural, it might be a good idea to research what will be available to you and what you’re comfortable with ahead of time.  I always recommend Penny Simkin’s The birth Partner, which has a fantastic section outlining pretty much every pain management option known to man.  I think it’s very true, though, that by the time you actually want/need pain medication, you’re not going to care about the needle.  Lol, that will be the least of your worries!  🙂

@moonadea:  Like you, I have horrible menstrual cramps.  Like puking and passing out, having to take prescription pain killers, etc…  Having a baby is exactly like that!  Only, for me, the labor contractions were much closer together than my period cramps, so it was more intense.  Luckily, I had great epidural experiences, which made labor much more bearable.  🙂

Post # 30
Member
9816 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

@MrsFuzzyFace:  No kidding it was horrible. I was begging them to tell the anesthesiologist to come back and re-adjust it so it would you know, work, but there was no time. I hadn’t even considered the possibility that the epidural would be shut off.

Post # 31
Member
1675 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

It’s important to note that just because you have an epidural, that doesn’t make it any less of a “Natural” birth. Birth is still natural; just because you have assistance doesn’t make it any less beautiful.

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