Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Natural Vs the Epidural

So last week Tuesday I had the labor and delivery portion of our birthing classes. We discussed breathing, the various types of pain meds available and different birthing positions

As hospitals and Drs make me nervous and anxious I think the epidural would be a lifesaver since I would already be tense and scared upon arriving at the hospital. However the thought of being numb and not able to move worries me.

The image of a huge needle being stuck in my back sends me into a panic attack.

The thought of no pain meds worries me also. What if I can't handle the pain.

I am considering hiring a doula. I haven't done so yet since we are moving in two weeks and I don't know where tricare will be placing me for my ob care.

So I turn to you ladies, natural or an epidural? What's are your thoughts, advice? Help me out


  1. I felt the same way, scared of the epidural and the tons of risks/side effects it would bring for me and baby. I went natural my first go round and plan to do it again. It's totally "do-able" it's what we were made to do! :) It's not as bad as people make it sound, and trust me, people will make you think you're nuts for doing it, but you'll be so rewarded! I won't sugar coat, it's hard, but if you trust your body, you can do it! (look up pros and cons of going natural vs. medicated and it may help you with your decision, too)
    Ultimately, though, you have to do what's best for YOU! Good luck!

    P.s. I had a doula with my first and it was totally worth it! My husband agrees! They are fantastic if you can find one you really click with!

  2. I went into my first delivery wanting to go natural. I couldn't handle it and got the epidural. However, I was not completely numb. I felt no pain but could still wiggle my toes and move my legs. I didn't look at the needle when they brought it in, so I have no idea what it looked like. I will defintiely be getting on again this time!

  3. I had an epidural. It was glorious. I could still feel my contractions, but just pressure, no pain. However, I did learn a big lesson a) they wouldn't give it to me right away, they made me wait until 7cm. I delivered at Bragg, so you may find the same issue. If your contractions aren't textbook, they won't let you have it and b) Epidurals don't always work correctly. Mine wore off on one side at the end of labor. c) you don't always have the options--either your labor goes too fast or you have low platelets (they won't give it to you). That said, I would definitely do it again. However, I think its important to know pain management technique and consider a doula even if you aren't sure you are going to go natural. Just to be prepared for any situation.

    I should also add, since this all probably sounds really scary, that Labor and Delivery weren't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

  4. Oh girl I have no idea, i hope you find the answer your looking for. good luck!!

  5. Epidural is like the wonder drug! haha
    I had it with both of my daughters, and honestly the needle isnt bad at all, they numb you with a little shot before and then you don't really feel it. I thought being numb would be weird too but its not bad. Contractions are a lot worse, I just cannot imagine having the full on contractions and then pushing the baby out. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and waited a while to get the epi with my second, but boy was I glad I did.
    You also have to factor in that this being your first baby you could be in labor for a long time and push for a long time. (I pushed for a little over an hour with the first and pushed twice with my second, but I was lucky and never had really long labors.)

    Lol I could go on, but for me the epi was the right choice.

  6. I went into my delivery two weeks ago knowing I would get an epidural at some point. I am not a super hero! My delivery was induced, but they didn't start the pitocin right away, instead they inserted cervadil to get my cervix soft. Even after the Doc said it probably wouldn't start contractions it did! I contracted all day from around 7:30 on and was able to breath through them and deal with them ok. The Doc broke my water at 9:00 and from then the contractions got way more intense.

    By 11 I had had enough and needed some sleep so I asked for the epidural. (I tried a narcotic first and that had absolutely no effect on me!). I didn't look at the needle, I knew if I did I probably would have changed my mind. They did numb the area first, but it did still pinch a bit. She had to do it FOUR times because it wasn't in the right spot. I wasn't happy and it HURT, but at that point I would rather have had that then the contraction pain.

    After it was administered I was in heaven. I could still wiggle my toes and feel things but there was absolutely no pain. It allowed my body to relax and I went from 3 cm dilated to 10 in 3 hours. I pushed for 30 minutes and then had my handsome little man without feeling ANY pain. I also had to have stitches and didn't feel any of that either which was a blessing.

    You have to make the best decision for you but I had a great experience with the birth and the epidural.

  7. When I was preparing to have my daughter I wanted an epidural. I had it in my head from the get go I was going to get one and have a wonderful and pain free delivery. Well on her b-day I got sent home from the hospital around 10am that morning because the contractions were irregular and I was only dialated to 1 or 2 cm. I ended up doing most of my laboring at home and in the car on the way to the hospital the second time. We got to the LD floor just in time to start pushing and had my daughter at 4:11 that afternoon. You may think you can't handle the pain but just know you are stronger than you think.

  8. I had an epidural,I thought that if I didnt I would for sure die,But that is just my way of thinking. I was in labor for 16 hours and the pain didnt get too bad about till about 5 hours before my baby was born. The epiduaal was a lifesaver, I can never see myself doing it naturally. I honesly didnt really feel the needle I was so drugged from the first medication they gave me. It's a long birth story:) I hope you make the right decision for yourself:)

  9. Just stumbled across your blog and love it! Too cute! I'm not a momma (yet) but enjoyed reading this and hearing what the ladies had to say. Thanks for sharing. New follower and just wanted to say hi = )

  10. I wasn't set on one or the other when I went in labor. I was scared of the epidural though. I was a few days over my due date, and when I FINALLY went in to labor my contractions were very close together. I went as long as I could and then got the epidural. It wasn't bad! It brought so much relief I was finally able to catch my breath and get some rest. I ended up having to have a c-section, I never dilated past 7cm and my son was facing the wrong way.

    When my c-section was over, it wore off fairly quick, and if I have another I would do it again!

  11. Since we're planning a home birth, that automatically means natural ;) My thought is that my body was designed to birth a baby, without pain meds. I also fear the risk associated with epidurals. I just have faith that my body will get me through.

    Best of luck with your decision, and remember that there isn't a "right" way and a "wrong" way...whichever way you choose is the perfect way for you :)

  12. I went in with a plan of "we'll take it as it comes". I did not have my mind set either way. I went as long as I could without the epidural and in the end got one. The doc actually told me to get it because I was holding my breath through the contractions and it was in turn putting stress on my daughter.
    It effects everyone differently. Most will say that your labor will slow after you get it. I on the other hand went quicker.
    Like the comment above....There is not a right or a wrong way, there is just the way that works for you.

  13. I have had four live births & all my sons made their entrance in their own way- never how I had planned. Number one son - water broke but no contractions for 12 hours so they did pitocin which after five hours got things moving & hurt SO bad I begged for the epidural & was thankful for it!
    Second son went in knowing i wanted the epidural- once again did pitocin because my body just never could get going on it's own & I was 8 days over due!Loved it right at 5cm fully effaced they offered it to me so I could rest & I felt pressure no pain super easy delivery compared to my first!
    Went into baby #3 thinking drugs especially since once agian I was 7 days over due & knew pitocin was in store. Well they broke my water first & BAM! Contractions came fast so just got a little hit of drugs in my IV & baby came- Hurt like heck- but not to bad.
    Baby #4 we induced 5 days early because husband had a trip & I was always Overdue in the past. Needed Pitocin , as soon as my water broke baby came too quickly for any drugs- it hurt way worse then delivery #3- I was NOT happy I really wanted the epidural-LOL
    I think you should make a plan that you are comfortable with, but no that it may not always go accordingly. So have a back-up plan you are OK with as well. Good Luck!!

  14. i had my son on friday (4/15) nearly 2 weeks early. i woke up at 4am, i thought my water broke, woke up husband, went to hospital and my amniotic fluid tests kept coming back inconclusive, so i had to wait for them to do a more indepth test. my contractions were so bad i was crying. finally they tell me i was leaking fluid and had to stay. my doctor put me on pitocin which amplified and regulated my contractions to 2 minutes apart.

    i'm not trying to scare you (i had fully planned on an epidural my whole pregnancy) but i was hysterical from the pain. my son was face up in my uterus, which gave me terrible back labor as well. i couldn't have an epidural until i hit 3cm so they gave me demerol until i could have it, and that helped.

    as for the whole epidural needle, the little numbing needle hurt me more than the actual epidural, and the contraction i had in the middle of getting the epidural hurt the worst.

    once the epidural kicked in (around 12:30pm) i was in heaven. no i couldn't walk, but i could move my legs and still had some feeling. i dilated quickly and my son was born 4 hours later after 45 minutes of pushing. i felt pressure while pushing, but absolutely no pain. it was wonderful. though i was very sleepy, i still found the strength to push and i was coherent. the nurse kept telling me she loved me because i wasn't screaming and i stayed focused. i was up and walking around within 2 hours.

    sorry for the spiel, but that is my (condensed) birth story. i am in full support of drugs, but only you can decide what is right for you! :) good luck!

  15. oh girl, get the drugs!! I had THE BEST birth experience with it! I did feel a little pinch when the needle went in, but it honestly wasn't that bad. And it didn't slow down my labor like a lot of people say, it sped it up quite a bit. You will make the right decision for you and it will be perfect


  16. I ended up going with an epidural even though I hoped to avoid it. I did, however, get a mini dose, which was great. I was relaxed enough that I was laughing and joking through the delivery, but could feel the contractions and my baby coming out.

  17. Get a doula no matter what you decide. I know that most doulas are mostly for natural childbirth, but you can find some that are there just to support you no matter what. I wanted a natural childbirth and tried for one laboring 13 hours with no meds and a broken water. I'm terrified of needles, but once I decided I needed an epidural, I didn't even feel the needle. You're so focused on laboring, it won't be a big deal if you decide to go that route. My doula was supportive through the whole thing. I originally thought that my husband wasn't going to make it for the birth which was some motivation for getting a doula, but he did make and she was wonderful at coaching him on things to do and ways to help since he didn't get to attend the childbirth classes with me. No matter what you decide, doulas are always worth it!

  18. I have the same fears/worries and I'm not even pregnant! Good luck and let us know what you decide!