Birth Stories

Can't decide to go natural or have epidural

THis will be my 4th baby.  I had an epi with my other 3.  I really didn't do much research on pain medications.  With my first, I totally wanted to try and go natural, but the pain was so unbearable that I caved and got an epi.  My contractions were so intense that I couldn't breathe or even sit still.  I don't think I would have been able to sit still for the doctor/nurses to deliver.  I also didn't want anyone near me when the pain was that bad.  It was so hard to think positive thoughts or relax.  After that, I was scared to even try to go natural.  I really would like to go natural this time, but it seems like everyone who has gone natural says it wasn't so bad and my experience was awful.  I usually have a high tolerance for pain, but my experience was terrible.  Why are so many others able to do this!  I know there are other options of pain meds, but I don't want to feel drowsy and I don't know much about side effects.  

Re: Can't decide to go natural or have epidural

  • Did you thoroughly research and practice pain management techniques? Everyone I know who has gone natural has done, like, 8 week long Bradley method classes, or Hypnobirthing, or Lamaze, and spent countless hours practicing techniques and positions with their SO's. Some still don't make it all the way without pain meds. But I don't know anyone who made it solely based on having high pain tolerance.

    I'd like to go med free, but with a toddler at home and a husband who travels, I know I won't get in the practice and learning I'd need. It's not enough of a priority for me. So epi all the way!
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  • I went natural with both sons. Well I did ask for meds at one point with ds1 but turned out I was at a 9 and could power through. I did not do any classes but read some books including Ina May Gaskin and had a list of techniques to try. Some weird stuff worked which I wouldn't know to try otherwise. The pain sucked. Horribly. But with breathing and different tricks it was manageable.
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  • You can always have them put the epidural in but not turn it on.  When I do get pregnant I am going to have one but not turned on unless there is an emergency and I have to have a STAT C-Section.  If you do not already have an epidural and there is an emergency you will be put under general annesthesia and your husband/spouse will not be allowed in the OR because of the general annesthesia.  I'm a NICU nurse so I see all the bad things that happen, so I always think it is best to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

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  • check out the "natural birth" board on here.... I've found it to be really helpful. I'm a FTM, planning on going natural. I read a ton of stuff online. I'm also reading "the birth partner" by Penny Simkin. Check out the documentary called, "the business of being born." I found it on Netflix. If you educate yourself enough on the stages of labor and ways to manage the pain, it's possible! remember our bodies were designed to give birth!!! Good luck and whatever happens, don't beat yourself up.... you have to do what works for you and you're baby, to get him/her here safely :
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  • I will be a first time mom and have hear many different people's advice on it. My mother (4 kids total) had my sister and me natural and then the youngest two with an epidural. She said if she could go back and do it again she would have an epidural for all four of us. It didn't effect us in any way, and she said it was very hard to have a positive experience with labor when she was in so much pain. I feel like if you think that it will make your experience more positive by going with the epidural then by all means GO FOR IT! It is an amazing moment about you and your baby and if it will make it easier to focus on the good, then why not? At the same time if you feel that doing a natural birth will be an accomplishment for you and bring you closer during the experience then do that! =) 

    In my experience with stories though with moms who have done both, all the ones I know have said going with the epidural didn't change their experience at all besides making the pain more bearable. Hope this helps! =)
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  • Re: LifesPeachy: That was my mindset exactly! Our bodies can handle it...if you are nervous going in to labor, it will make it that much worse. In my opinion, the classes are pretty useless except for some tips on managing pain. OP: My advice is just stay really calm and relaxed. Breathe through each contraction. Read my birth story a few under yours titled 2nd time mom med free birth..it's a POSITIVE birth story! And it will give you some tips on pain management. In all honesty, it wasn't that bad. I knew that I could do it med free because my mom had 2 med free births, and all of my aunts did as well. I feel like here in America we are TERRIFIED of birth, when there is absolutely no reason to be. It's just another way to sell you those drugs! I had a wonderful birth and strangely enough, for me the entire labor was actually fun! Don't stress beforehand, just relax and be excited to see your new baby!
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  • I would HIGHLY recommend The Bradley Method. I read Husband Coached Childbirth by Dr. Bradley.
  • sschwegesschwege
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    Check out Hypnobirthing!  I had a great experience both times!

    I do not agree with the advice of having an epi cath placed 'just in case'.  The chances of you needing a c-section under general is very slim.  
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  • I'm a first time mom here and I've been wondering about this. My mother had an epidural with my sister and she said she ended up with the worst hemorrhoid that it was even more painful than the birth itself. With me, I came too quick that it was natural and she was able to recover a lot quicker.

    Before I thought I would for sure go with the epidural, but upon hearing this information, it got me wondering now if this is common to deal with other pain post epidural.
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  • I went all natural. I went in with the mindset that pain meds weren't an option. It was tough, but I'll be honest in saying that I'm also one that thought it wasn't that bad. I didn't take any labor classes, and just breathed the way it made sense for me. I'm sure I'm an oddball. Having a midwife coach me the entire time I'm SURE made a huge difference!!
  • JennaRaekJennaRaek
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    edited March 17

    Pockety said:
    Did you thoroughly research and practice pain management techniques? Everyone I know who has gone natural has done, like, 8 week long Bradley method classes, or Hypnobirthing, or Lamaze, and spent countless hours practicing techniques and positions with their SO's. Some still don't make it all the way without pain meds. But I don't know anyone who made it solely based on having high pain tolerance.

    I'd like to go med free, but with a toddler at home and a husband who travels, I know I won't get in the practice and learning I'd need. It's not enough of a priority for me. So epi all the way!

    I went natural without taking any classes or do hours of breathing exercises. I didn't really feel any of the typical classes clicked with me. I believe the female body is 100% capable of birth without medication. Women all over the world do it without medication, so can we American women. I went into it with a positive attitude, tried my best to relax and accept each contraction. I had a quick 3 hour labor and never once felt out of control. I hope you are able to go natural like you want, but if you can't, it's no big deal. Good luck!


    This.

    I never took a class or did any breathing exercises and my labor/delivery lasted 16 hrs. A positive attitude and a great support team help a lot. Good luck!! You can do it!! Your body was literally made to do this! :)

    Edit: Just realized this OP was from July...

     

     

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  • MrsEKC said:
    THis will be my 4th baby.  I had an epi with my other 3.  I really didn't do much research on pain medications.  With my first, I totally wanted to try and go natural, but the pain was so unbearable that I caved and got an epi.  My contractions were so intense that I couldn't breathe or even sit still.  I don't think I would have been able to sit still for the doctor/nurses to deliver.  I also didn't want anyone near me when the pain was that bad.  It was so hard to think positive thoughts or relax.  After that, I was scared to even try to go natural.  I really would like to go natural this time, but it seems like everyone who has gone natural says it wasn't so bad and my experience was awful.  I usually have a high tolerance for pain, but my experience was terrible.  Why are so many others able to do this!  I know there are other options of pain meds, but I don't want to feel drowsy and I don't know much about side effects.  
    I see a few things that I would consider "off" in how you are approaching this (I'm writing all of this with a nice tone, but I know that's hard to interpret in writing). "Sitting still" is the worst possible thing to do in labor. Generally, women who go med free are able to do so in large part because they are up on their feet moving around. It is so much more painful laying down or sitting. To allow this, med free mommas generally ask for intermittent monitoring instead of continuous (to not be chained to the monitor) and for a hep lock instead of an IV (to not be hooked up and have some pole to drag around). Also, you are delivering you baby, not the doctor/nurses. I think having a more pro-active mind set about this may help and not feeling like you need to act or look at certain way in labor. Find a care provider who knows what a normal labor looks like - it is almost never a mom laying quietly in a  hospital bed dilating 1 cm per hour.

    Dilating was horrible for me (35.5 hrs and very painful), but pushing was so much easier than I anticipated (20 min) and I think that was because I was able to get in more effective positions that used gravity. I also think this is why I didn't tear and I felt awesome and was able to walk around just a few minutes after the placenta was out.

    I will agree that you don't necessarily need extensive planning/training, though I think it is helpful to have an idea of why you personally want to go med free (for me, it was pushing in more effective ways to not tear and so baby wouldn't get stuck like I've known happen to multiple people; also I hate the idea of a catheter). And having an arsenal of relaxation techniques and support from DH or whoever on how to use them may work to your benefit if you think staying in mental control is going to be an issue. I personally think it's much more about mental preparedness and toughness than any sort of pain tolerance.
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  • I had an epidural the first time because I was induced and in back labor. I wanted to go natural but like you I couldn't handle the pain. I was able to go all natural the second time, not because of anything special I did but because of the nurse I had. I didn't want anyone else around me but she talked me through each contraction, let me know when the peak was and counted down when tegu would start to decrease. That made all the difference for me because I knew it wouldn't last forever. From what I've heard, that's what a doula does. I've talked to other moms who've had doulas and they said it made such a difference. Have you looked into a doula? I didn't try any classes because I knew all training would be out the window once the pain came. Having a person there to keep you on track (who's not part of your family) might be just what you need!
  • I know several women who went all natural without any preparation 8 weeks courses.  Our bodies were made to do this.

    The thing that each one said is that they trusted their bodies, and mentally prepared before hand to help eliminate any fear - fear = tension and tension = increased pain.

    I'm planning to go natural - I personally don't like the risks that come with any of the pain medications.  I have come to realize that in order to do this, I have to be 100% dedicated to it.  I've asked in my birth plan that no one offer me pain medication.  It's like running a marathon in the summer and having someone in the last mile come up to you with an ice cream cone and invitation to relax at the beach - it completely takes you out of the zone.

    I recommend the Ina May's Guide to Childbirth as well - it is the most empowering book I've read and I had no fear remaining after reading that.

    Learn some relaxation techniques (the more you know the better the chances you will have something that works for you) and start to practice.

    Good luck!
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  • I had my boy med free (not really by choice, it went too fast to get epi) and hadn't done any type of course or research. The only thing that helped me get through was the thought that "this pain can't kill me". And remind myself that every single person in the world was born. I'm not the first or last person doing this. Good luck!
  • I was able to go all natural with the help of hypnosis and a doula. Look into Hypnobirthing and the Bradley method. Ultimately, though, this is a deeply personal choice. It sounds like epidurals work for you, so do what you're comfortable with!

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  • I went natural and honestly my reason is pathetic but it got me through. My mom had told me I wouldn't be able to handle natural birth. So I forced myself to. But I really have to say that my birth team is the reason I made it through. Having the right people with you is the best you can do in my opinion
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  • juliaL13juliaL13
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    I would recommend Ina May Gaskins' Guide to Childbirth (sorry if someone already mentioned it--haven't read all the posts).  I wanted a natural childbirth but was terrified, and this along with a class I took from an independent instructor really helped me feel empowered and less afraid. That said--and I don't want to bore you, or to discourage you with the details--things did not go as I planned & I ended up with an epidural after over 24 hrs of induced labor. Like you I also thought, "How do people do this without an epi?!?"  ...That said, I think it is definitely possible, and I think that a couple factors made it difficult for me:  I was in "transition" for a long time, and wasn't progressing past 8 cm, after a long labor....and I think I let fear overtake me when things got really hard. If there's one thing I learned from my childbirth instructor, it was that fear makes you tense up and feel more pain, which makes you more afraid, which makes you feel more pain...it's a bad cycle. I agree w/ previous poster that having the right people with you really really helps (I would hire a doula!)
  • Guys, this thread is from July 2013; pretty sure she's had her little one by now. ;)


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