Advice on giving birth — The Bump
3rd Trimester

Advice on giving birth

Hello there, I'm 30.5 weeks pregnant with my first baby. After 6.5 years of trying and a long road through infertility treatments and IVF and all that entails we consider this a miracle baby.
I was hoping to get feedback on a natural birth vs. medicated since this very well might be my only chance at giving birth in my life (we're hopeful but we are also realistic). On one hand I think it would be nice to have an epidural and in some ways 'enjoy' the experience. But on the other hand I like the idea of trying to do it naturally, you know strong pioneer lady style.
What do you think? 
I know that after the fact I don't have much say in some of the details because complications can happen and baby will come when and how he wants but I was hoping for some practical advice from some of you that have been where I am or just have some insight to share.
Thanks for any advice you can offer!

Re: Advice on giving birth

  • I went into my first delivery with the understanding that I would try to go unmedicated for as long as I could, but was not opposed to getting an epidural if I decided I needed one. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself physically and mentally for an unmedicated birth and if it doesn't work out then it's not for you. I feel like more people have bad experiences because they get hung up on it being a certain way and when it doesn't happen like that, they are disappointed. Doing your best to prepare and then going with the flow will hopefully give you the best birth experience, regardless of whether you did it pioneer style or not. However they were created or came out, you made a human and will be a mother at the end of that day.
    ME: 32  DH: 32 DD1: June '16 DD2: March ‘19 :::: Married since 2011 :::: USN Wife ::::
    kingdommom
  • Similar to PP.  I went in with an open mind - I aimed for unmedicated and went almost 30 hours without the epidural and no progression (I was a 4 at my Friday appointment).  I was exhausted and the pain was building and relentless so I asked to be checked and I was STILL a 4 (Monday mid afternoon) so I opted for the epidural.  I went from a 4 - 10 in 2 hours and pushed for almost 2.5.  

    I tore front to back and was millimeters to having to go to the OR to be stitched.  

    I talked to my nurse about why I progressed so quickly after the episode and she said it probably was because my body could not relax enough between contractions and the epi allowed that.  She said that because I waited so long and got a good established contractions was probably the reason the contractions did not stall delivery ..... it was good timing.  She said some women want it right away and get upset if labor takes too long or because they need meds to regulate the contractions.

    I was not disappointed about anything.  I went in with an open mind and no expectations set in stone and I think that is why people get so upset over their delivery, because they are not realistic of possible outcomes and they have this vision of the perfect labor and delivery.  
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  • libertymomrnlibertymomrn
    100 Comments Photogenic Name Dropper
    member
    edited January 23
    I chose to go med-free with each of my 3 children’s births. Each birth was different. My first was 31 hours with 3 hours of pushing and though I did not end up getting an epidural, I almost chose to. He was posterior which resulted in a longer labor with lots of back pain. That experience gave me a great understanding for why women chose epidurals and I would never look down on someone who planned a med-free child birth and then ended up choosing differently in the moment. Had I not been dilated to a “9 1/2” the last time they checked me, I very likely would have gotten some meds or an epidural.

    My second was like one of those inspiring stories out of a natural childbirth book. It was so much easier than the first. I wasn’t even sure I was actually in labor for the first 4 hours or so, except that the contractions were coming very regularly. They felt tight, but not painful. Then I figured it was just early labor; but was prepared for the long haul and much more painful contractions like I’d had with my first. That never really happened as I still thought it was justvearly labor up until my water broke in transition and she was born 10-15 minutes after that with no tearing or anything traumatic at all. 7 hours labor total.I never even considered an epidural that time because I didn’t feel I needed it. The whole thing was totally manageable. Especially compared to my first.

    My third was super, super quick at 2.5 hours from first contraction to babe in arms. The only birth where the pushing was worse than transition because the little stinker had her hand up by her face as she came out. Still, fast enough that I never considered an epidural with this one because there wouldn’t have been time. 

    It’s funny because even though I’ve always gone med-free, I get bugged when women who go natural tell stories that just make it sound like they are stronger than those who get them. I mean; maybe they are. Or maybe their birthing experiences happened to be like my second where I never felt the need for an epidural, either. But what about women with birthing experiences like my first? Or longer? Or more painful? 

    Of course, I also get bugged by women who get all defensive or rude about those who choose to go med-free. Phrases like “It’s not like you get a medal for that,” or, “That can’t be good for the baby,” (what?!) or launching into tyraids about how stupid it is to go natural are so not helpful or welcome. Or even worse, telling a FTM that she’ll never be able to do it. Why can’t we all just support and encourage each other?

    It’s retreading not to see either of those things on this thread. 

    That said, there are many reasons I chose to go med-free and many health and safety benefits to yourself and the baby for going as long as you can without pain meds. One of the reasons I went med-free is one that many women don’t understand; I want to fully experience the labor and childbirth experience with each of my children. As difficult as it is, I feel like for me, numbing the pain away would make me feel less actively involved in birthing my children; it would lessen or numb the experience for me. But that is just my personal feelings on my own childbirth experiences.
    suzycupcake
  • I'm glad you're being realistic about it! Btw, I'm hopping over from 2nd Trimester board. Anyway, I wanted to go natural with my first as well .We did the Bradley Method which is a 12 week class on husband coached childbirth. I liked the things we learned but I didn't like that they put sooo much emphasis on natural birth when it IS sometimes out of our control! So I did go natural with my first, though I had to be transferred to a hospital from birthcare while pushing because she was stuck. They had to use a vacuum. So it was tramatic, but the exercises I had learned from birth class helped tremendously in the recovery process! Also baby was so alert and breastfed right away with no issues thanks to no drugs. My second was a different story. I again had to be transferred from birth center to hospital because she was face up. They tried a vacuum again but it failed . So this time they did an epidural so my body could rest (man it felt good lol) but ended up with an emergency c-section. Recovery was hard, she was so sleepy from the drugs, and nursing was terrible pretty much until she was at least 6 months if not older! I'm definitely going to try to do natural again this time, but they aren't giving me false hope either. I've always needed help to get a baby out! But I'm starting out at the hospital this time so I can get the help if needed! My advice is to do your research, but in the end you really can't completely control your birth. Just remember as long as you're healthy and baby is healthy, it was successful!
  • I'm glad you're being realistic about it! Btw, I'm hopping over from 2nd Trimester board. Anyway, I wanted to go natural with my first as well .We did the Bradley Method which is a 12 week class on husband coached childbirth. I liked the things we learned but I didn't like that they put sooo much emphasis on natural birth when it IS sometimes out of our control! So I did go natural with my first, though I had to be transferred to a hospital from birthcare while pushing because she was stuck. They had to use a vacuum. So it was tramatic, but the exercises I had learned from birth class helped tremendously in the recovery process! Also baby was so alert and breastfed right away with no issues thanks to no drugs. My second was a different story. I again had to be transferred from birth center to hospital because she was face up. They tried a vacuum again but it failed . So this time they did an epidural so my body could rest (man it felt good lol) but ended up with an emergency c-section. Recovery was hard, she was so sleepy from the drugs, and nursing was terrible pretty much until she was at least 6 months if not older! I'm definitely going to try to do natural again this time, but they aren't giving me false hope either. I've always needed help to get a baby out! But I'm starting out at the hospital this time so I can get the help if needed! My advice is to do your research, but in the end you really can't completely control your birth. Just remember as long as you're healthy and baby is healthy, it was successful!
    Just saying, with an epidural- my little one was extremely alert and started feeding as soon as she was put on my chest, as I was being stitched.  

    Epidural does not necessarily make the baby drowsy.  My sister had two epidurals and both kids were alert and did awesome too.

    Epidurals do not necessarily cause drowsy babies.  Even my nurse she has seen naturally born babies born tired/drowsy. 
    wabash15
  • I personally always choose the epidural. I have a low pain tolerance and it’s just my personal choice. I plan on having another epidural for this baby (#3), too. Do what you feel comfortable with. 

    Me: 29 / Hubster: 31
    Married July 2010
    DC #1 Oct 2013
    DC #2 EDD June 2016

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  • delujm0delujm0
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    edited January 19
    Agree with @harpseal135.  I've had the epidural with all 3 births and my kids have all been extremely alert and nursed within the first hour.  With both my second and third they were so alert that the nurses commented on it.  #3 was literally fully awake for 6+ hours immediately after the birth and slept very little at the hospital (which super sucked bc I was tired).  I personally think that has more to do with the duration and difficulty of the labor itself, whether you had drugs or not.  My first labor was 14 hours with 2.5 hours of pushing bc she was sunny side up.  My second was 4 hours with about 5 minutes of pushing and the third was 6 hours with about 45 minutes of pushing.  I got the epidural when I was about 6cm with #1 and #2 and 4cm with #3.  I also found with #1 that it helped me relax and seemed to increase the speed of my labor as a result, so I didn't even try to delay it with the other two.

    From my birth class I learned that the epidural placement in the spinal cord makes it so that extremely little of the drugs make it to the baby's system, if any.  Drugs you'd receive in your IV or a syringe would go into your bloodstream, which is shared with baby, so it could potentially affect them.  Same with any oral medications.  That's why I'm always wary of women who refuse the epidural due to the drugs affecting the baby, but instead have some IV drugs during labor.  The IV drugs aren't as long lasting and absolutely make it to the baby's system, so that point of view doesn't make much sense.  If you want to go med-free for whatever reason, go for it, it's totally your call.  But it's good to accept that you might change your mind, and that is completely ok too.
    Me: 37 DH: 37
    Married 5-31-14
    DD1 born 6-21-15
    DD2 born 6-11-17
    DS born 9-5-18

    wabash15
  • I was just sharing my experience. I wasn't saying it happens to all babies. I pushed for 5 1/2 hours with the first and 3 1/2 with the second. But I honestly think it was harder with the second because I knew how long it could last. I'm certainly not going to blame anyone for having an epidural. I'm just not sure, at this point, that I want one myself. That may change lol!
  • I was just sharing my experience. I wasn't saying it happens to all babies. I pushed for 5 1/2 hours with the first and 3 1/2 with the second. But I honestly think it was harder with the second because I knew how long it could last. I'm certainly not going to blame anyone for having an epidural. I'm just not sure, at this point, that I want one myself. That may change lol!
    Understandable, just wanted anyone who might read this (as it seems OP hasn't been back to see responses?) Thag epidural does not necessarily make drowsie baby, and mine was one of them and my nurse had told me. :)
    kingdommom
  • I really appreciate all of the feedback everyone, thank you! As soon as I started reading them I relaxed a little. You're so right, there's so little I have true control over concerning my body and labor, going into it informed and willing to be flexible sounds like a great way to do it.
    I'm still researching and considering and I know as long as baby and I come out of this experience healthy that's all that will matter in the end. Thank you again for helping calm this first time worrying mama, I love hearing the different experiences!
    suzycupcake
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