I didn’t love being pregnant, but I did not hate it either. I did not understand what to expect and truthfully the reason we waited so long was because I feared the pain. Throughout my pregnancy I got to hear many stories and learn about many topics. I had no “birth” plan, and I did an online class but did not read any books. I felt that I would work myself up more if I would read about what to expect and hearing other people birthing stories. During the nine months I was debating on if I would have an epidural. My husband has always said he did not like the needle going into the back so if I wanted one he would have to leave the room. Now what I’m about to share is not grounded in research but just how I took the information in. I am not putting anyone down for getting an epidural I am just telling you about the information I had and the connection I made in my mind.
I was surrounded by many woman who had many experiences and one person who is a doula. I have heard that having an epidural can affect the babies’ ability to latch, and I wanted nothing more than to breastfeed. This knowledge leaned me towards not getting one. I also had a friend who had one with her first child and she had a hard time breastfeeding. Then I heard (which I could not find later) that there has been a link to children getting asthma later in life and it could be linked to getting an epidural. I rarely buy into things like this unless I see proof but at the time I thought about my husband. He had asthma when he was younger but his sister did not. The different was his mother had an epidural with him but did not have time to have one with his sister. I thought maybe just maybe there was some truth to what I heard. That played towards me not wanting one. I also knew someone else who child later in life was diagnosed with asthma and I know she had one with all three of her children. She also talked about how her last delivery was dangerous. I could not help but wonder if they linked it to the epidural.
Speaking of linking epidural to difficulty. I was in the delivery room for a person third child and the person was considered high risk. They ended up in the hospital earlier than expected and the hospital was monitoring her. They finally felt it was safe to give her an epidural but once they did the baby heart beat dropped to the point, they could not find it. She ended up having to have an emergency C-section and I mean they had the baby out in 2 minutes. That is how quickly they had to get the baby out because they could not find a heartbeat. They just got her under right before so she felt nothing. The baby was fine the whole time, but they did what they felt was best. I was in the room with the person for their first child and was supposed to be in for the third. Now that I think about it when she got one with her first child they had to spring into action because her levels dropped due to not eating. The baby was fine, and she started pushing five hours later.
I have also heard of many stories of how the epidural only worked on half of their body and/or did not work at all. I felt that if this was the case then why bother? I was told because it makes the whole experience more enjoyable. I feel that I have a distorted view on this but I don’t want an enjoyable experience. My husband and I were actually talking about this the other night on a walk with our boys. I am having a hard time putting it into words but to me I want to know what is going on with my body. We are afraid of pain and I get it, trust me that is a huge reason we waited so long to have kids. I was afraid of the pain. We often do whatever we can to get rid of pain, but I had a professor in college who talked about why pain is a good thing. Pain tells us something is going on if we did not have it we would not know there was a problem. I babysat for a preteen who could not feel from the waist down. The person began to experience server headaches, and they had to go to the doctor because of the pain. The doctors finally linked it to her leg and discovered when she fell off a horse she broke a bone. She was “walking” on it for over a month. Pain is a design to give us warning. Ever since he explained the positive side of pain, I have felt that I should not be so quick to get rid of it.
Now I am planning on sharing my birthing stories of my boys but one thing that happened during my second delivery left me wondering if I would have gotten an epidural would I have had to have a C-section. We will never know for sure but knowing that something was off made me feel better not getting one. My second son came quick to where the friend I was with was afraid I would not make it to the hospital. I told her she had nothing to worry about because my water hasn’t broken. We got to the hospital, and I was in the delivery room were they broke my water. The midwife who checked me never left my side because that is how fast I was progressing. Then I hit a wall and no matter how hard I push he was not coming down. I told them something wasn’t right. I could feel my son’s head but it felt like there was a wall keeping him from coming down. It was a different feeling then when I was pushing my first son. He was having a hard time getting past my pelvis, but I knew what I was feeling was not the same thing. After another hour of pushing I finally asked again “Could there be something preventing him from moving down?” The midwife looked and said that my cervix could be just swollen enough that is keeping him from moving down or it could be the varicose veins because they were so bad. They called in the doctor to come look before they decided what to do. The doctor came in and gave me Benadryl. They put in in my IV and told my husband it would take 15 minutes to kick in. I felt the meds right away, and I felt so relax. The pain was still going on strong but I felt different and the next thing I knew he was crowning. The Benadryl soften my cervix enough for him to come down and he was out in eight minutes. That’s only because they needed to help him come out so I did not rip when pushing him out.
When my husband and I were talking, he pointed out that if I would have gotten and epidural, I may not of known and after a certain point I may have had to have a c-section. I will admit that as I was laboring with my second son I was so tired. My whole pregnancy was stressful, and I was emotionally drained. I do not think I would have been able to get one even if I “really” wanted one. I just did not want to work anymore, but I knew deep down I would have been upset with myself if I would have gotten one. The friend in the room with me knew of the struggle I was having and told me that if I wanted one it was ok to get it. I understand why she said it but it upset me at that very moment. What I felt I needed was the encouragement that I could do it and I did not need the epidural. I did it and I’m glad I did not have one. I planned to not have one with my third child and I’ll add to this post once he comes into the world. Since we’re in a new location I have a new doctor and one of the doctors who I see made a comment to me that made me smile. He asked me if I planned to have an epidural and I told him no. He said that he typically tells woman to be open to it but since I have had two other deliveries without he will save his breath. He said that most woman go in with the idea of not having it and end up with one.
Last comment: I wonder if we honestly set ourselves up for failure before we even attempt anything. My husband pointed out that it amazes him to hear anyone say “I didn’t think I could do it” in delivering a baby. His logic is that our bodies are design to have a baby and the baby will come out with or without drugs. There isn’t a choice in the matter once it’s time there is no stopping it. I felt empowered after having my first son. I felt I could do anything after laboring for almost 24 hours and pushing over 3 hours. I felt like I could take on the world and it was a WONDERFUL feeling.
- Did it hurt? YES!
- Was there a time I regretted my choice? Yes and no, I said at one point that I thought this would go faster without an epidural and “joked” about not getting one.
- Do I remember the pain? I remember Z’s because it was only a year ago and I remember certain things from P3’s birth.
- Would I encourage others to do it? Yes, because it such an amazing feeling to know you CAN deal with the pain and then you have an amazing gift afterward.
Don’t take my word for it but do your own research and allow yourself to really consider it. I would not advise you to do what I did because I know not everyone is like me. As I stated before I read no books, I did not read other people’s stories, and I did not attend a class. I just stayed calmed and breathed thought the contractions. I was told once I got to the hospital I was doing a great job with my breathing. I wish I could tell I knew what I was doing, but I did not. I worked out a lot before having my first son so maybe knowing how to breathe during working out prepare me to give birth.