Epidural or Not?

Something that has been on my mind a bit lately is my “birth plan” for baby girl.  I’ll be honest… I’m a “mom of convenience”.  I have no problem with modern conveniences and using them (scheduled inductions, getting an epidural, bottle feeding, sleep training, etc etc), and typically think its nuts to not make use of something that can make your life easier.

Awhile back I made up my Bucket List (oddly I’ve been revisiting this list a lot lately to see what kind of goals I can complete.  Is this because I have recently turned 30 and somehow feel like life is so short??)  So on my list was to give birth naturally.  This will 99.9% be my last delivery (unless some miracle should happen!), and I am kind of feeling like this is my last chance to

A couple years back I read Dooce’s birth story (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) and was totally inspired to try a natural childbirth.  Actually, I think she was the reason I added it to my Bucket List, that’s how inspired I was!

My mom texted me a few months ago and had been reading my Bucket List and said “I noticed on your bucket lst….. give birth without drugs…. this is your chance!” And I was all “Hahahahahahah!  No way.  I enjoyed Hudson’s birth too much!  Hahahahahaha!”

And then last week I came across this blog and read her birth story and thought… maybe I should reconsider?  Maybe I should try it?  This IS my last chance….

However…. I’m terrified of the pain.  I’m terrified of having a sucky ass birth experience, especially when it is my last.  Hudson’s birth- amazing.  Went in at 7am, induced, epi at 11, delivered shortly after 1pm.  And sure… I think, I only had the epi for 2 hours… I could do 2 hours of hell, right?  I probably could.  But what if… what if I end up with a 20 hour labor or something?  EEEK!  I guess I could always give in?  I don’t know.

I personally have nothing against getting an epidural.  Like I said, both of my deliveries were fine, though Hudson’s so much easier (P came out sunny side up and I pushed for 2.5 hours so…. I was pretty exhausted after delivering him).  Hudson… I had him in 2 pushes and sat up and was all “I could do that again!”   I don’t remember feeling terrible after delivery, or anything like that.  I don’t regret the epidural at all.  I think I’m mostly looking at trying natural childbirth just to… I dunno… see if I could do it?  WTF.  HAHA!  Its just… I always hear people knocking inductions- saying labor is harder, worse etc… blah blah.   But I was induced both times and would gladly beg for another induction this time.  I didn’t feel like my labors were terrible at all.  So, when people typically say its “easier” after a natural delivery I kind of silently think “uhh huh…” because I really don’t have memories of horror after two induced epidural deliveries.

I’d love to hear your thoughts… advice… websites… links…. stories… share away!  Have any of you readers attempted a natural childbirth after an epi childbirth?  Which did you prefer?  Did you cave in and end up with an epidural?

  1. I am by no way trying to sway you or scare you but I did not have an epidural with Macy. Believe me I did ask for one but by the time I did they told me it was to late. Part of me believes that is why I did not have anymore kids. The nurses at the obgyn's office were all like you will forget all about the pain of that experience in a couple years. Yeah right! To this day I still compare everything to that experience. I say “hey I gave birth without meds I can totally do this (whether it be having another medical procedure or going to the dentist etc.) I will also tell you that I do not tolerate pain well. Whatever your choice goodluck with everything!

  2. Go for it 🙂 Your third one will go the fastest and be the easiest (so they say). Although in my case, that was CERTAINLY not true!I had a c-section (breech baby), a VBAC with epidural at 7cm and planned a med-free birth with my third. My epidural didn't help much with the pain and took like an hour for them to get it hooked up (while I was in active labor). It sucked. I had a coach all lined up to help me through Isaac's birth and everything. Ended up with a repeat c-section. I wish I had gotten to at least try it med-free but it just wasn't in the cards! Good luck!

  3. i'm kind of surprised you want to try it when you call hudson's birth 'amazing'. 🙂 it seems like after having two epidurals, they worked well for you and you were able to deliver successfully – so if it's not broke, why fix it? having another amazing birth sounds pretty good to me! :)that being said, i can see why you want to do it… i think people are bat-shit crazy for wanting to run marathons, but i'm guessing it's a lot the same. you put your body through some serious hell but there are highs you get when you're pushing yourself that far physically. and at the end, it's so rewarding to know you did it.i think it's just such a personal decision. and no one can really compare how they feel pain. i went and read that girl's blog and thought, WOW – that was SO not me! she was at a 5 and getting a little bit uncomfortable? she was 'really having fun' at that point? um… when i was at a 5 i already had a death grip on something and was DYING. i mean, i fully admit i wasn't as prepared as i could have been. i didn't have a doula, i hadn't read about any natural methods, etc. but i think people just tolerate/feel pain so differently – my friend had a natural childbirth (she prepared about as much as i did – i.e. barely at all), and if you ask her about it, she just shrugs and says it wasn't bad at all. someone asks me, i say it was excruciating (and i had an epi). you know?i guess my only advice is, if you do decide you want to go ahead with it… prepare. plan. get someone to help you. so that you're not going in still saying that you are terrified of the pain – you're going into it saying 'i got this'. your mindset is such a huge part of it – i don't think you want to go into it terrified, it will make it that much harder. good luck! i'm excited to hear what you decide. 🙂

  4. I was a no drugs all the way kinda girl…I thought. And then I turned into a crazy woman cussing out the nurse and demanding an epidural while the hubby tried to “coach” me out of it. Get the epidural, I wish I had gotten it sooner. I still love the epidural man 8 months later.

  5. I agree…if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Each of my girls were induced and all 3 labors and deliveries were different. The 2nd was the quickest and the 3rd was almost as long as the 1st, so, I wouldn't walk into it with any expectations. I will say that with the 3rd, I was weened off of the epi completely for the last hour of labor, and although I got through it, I much preferred being comfortable. There's no contest for being a badass mommy. Being that this could be your last, I'd rather enjoy the happiness of the experience. Personally, I was afraid that it could be traumatic enough that the possible “labor and delivery from hell” would be my first recollection, not how “amazingly enjoyable” it really was. Either way, I think you'll know what your body wants at the time.

  6. okay, i can't tell you about any drugs … because i was never afforded the opportunity to have them. i WANTED them. however, by the time i reached the hospital for both of my boys … i was already at 7 (with tucker) and 8 (with levi) and things were happening super fast. from the moment i reached the hopistal to the birth of tucker, it was 3 hours total. with levi, it was 50 minutes. that's how fricken insane my labor was with each. and while the pain was kind of nuts at the time … once it was over, it was totally OVER. so i can't tell you how great the drugs were, but i also can't tell you how i planned to do this and you should try it too … because dude, my labor/deliveries were a bit abnormal. birthing classes freaked me out when they said labor could last 20+ hours. even though i was freaked, i didn't really do much to plan. now i know i had been in labor with tucker all day, but i was just thinking i was having cramping (i was only 33 weeks). with levi, i had some contractions during the day, laid down, they went away … BOOM, that night i woke up and by the time we were in the car to the hospital, i was having contrations every 2 minutes. and the hospital? it was SIXTY MILES AWAY. yeah, that sucked. especially when levi gave me a taste of BACK LABOR. good stuff. haha!i don't think you can go wrong no matter what way you do it. as long as you have a healthy little babe in your arms at the end … it's done and worth it.so, there you have it. i have the 'i did it naturally' badge, but before getting it (either time) i would have traded that sucker in for some good drugs. and what it comes down to, is when you are in labor, you are going to listen to your body and make the best decision. no labor story is ever the same. 🙂

  7. You don't know me but I frequently read your blog from another friends blog. I have done both and while I will say I can't shrug my shoulders and say it wasn't all that bad I will say this. I think if you choose the non-epi route just have your mind prepared. If you are forced into doing it because things happen to fast etc it's much harder than if you went into with that being your plan. I don't however feel that my recovery was any better or worse with or without one. I think that depends more of if there is damage from tearing etc. I am pregnant again and planning on doing it again without one but am no way agains them. My body just doesn't handle them well. My dad is a CRNA and always is telling ladies who say do it natural or not, either way your body is pushing the baby out so what's unatural about that! Good luck with your upcoming birth.

  8. I agree with what Kim said. If you do go into labor and think you want to try it sans-drugs, at least take the remaining weeks of your pregnancy to make some plans for pain management, relaxation techniques, help in the delivery room, etc. I had a VBAC with my second, and yes it was “natural”, but I did not do one thing to plan and prepare for the pain or how I was going to deal with the craziness of labor. My attitude was like 'women have been doing this for thousands of years, I'll just figure it out.' Turns out, the pain was INSANE, and I had no idea how to deal with it other than scream and swear and yell at my husband and the nurses:) I know if I had learned some breathing exercises, or had a doula, or had done SOMETHING to prepare, things would have been much different. I don't wish I had had an epidural; I just wish I had prepared more for the natural experience. It WAS great, though, post-delivery, to feel absolutely, completely like myself. I didn't have to go through the sickness of pain meds wearing off, or being numb from the waist down or anything. It really is a high you can't explain. Good luck!

  9. With Eli I was induced and I had a shot of Demerol (?). That was a terrible experience – the demerol made me loopy and Eli too. With Zekey, I went into labor on my own and did it without any sort of drug. It was much easier and a much better experience. (Jon said that if I would have had Zekey first he would have thought that labor was no big deal! Ha! Easy for the man to say!)I also have pretty short labors – Eli 7 hours and with Zekey I had been at the hospital for 2 hours 18 minutes. With both of the labors I wanted to go without any sort of drug. I couldn't with Eli because my contractions were on top of each other, no break and I just couldn't do it anymore! I hope this helps! 🙂

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