The Entitlement of a Drug-Free Birth

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Giving birth is painful. I don’t care what anyone says, or what kind of birth you have – there’s no way to avoid the pain. It’s part of the tradeoff that women make to hold a beautiful baby in their arms. A baby who knows you from your voice and your scent – immediately. And, in my opinion, it’s worth it. It’s funny how we’ve been doing it for thousands of years and despite the gifts of modern medicine – it still hurts like a bitch.

Untitled It’s also REALLY hard work for me. Doesn’t anyone think about ME?

That said, over the past 7-8 years I feel like there has been a huge trend for women to STRIVE to have a “natural, drug-free” birth. Maybe this is because of the documentary “The Business of Being Born” (which, I recommend watching – whether or not you agree with its sentiments) or maybe it’s because the C-section rates have skyrocketed. Whatever the reason, I now feel like having a unmedicated birth has become a “thing.” Like it entitles you to have bragging rights on being superwoman, supermom,  or just “so brave.” Here’s the thing: It doesn’t.

Delivering Evan drug free was never part of the plan. Sure the actual birthing part hurt 25,000 times more than anything I’ve ever experienced in my life,  BUT I don’t think it’s made me a better mother, a stronger person, or given me any secret super powers (that I’m aware of – I could possibly be able to shoot lasers out of my vagina now though. I’ll keep you updated).

sweetevan

You bore me. That’s your superpower.

Obviously, this is just a personal opinion, but I think that if you’re going to give anyone a reward it should be to people who have their labor/contractions induced by Pitocin and then go on to have emergency C-sections after being in labor for 18 hours. We’re talking 90 second contractions, at full strength, peaking at 60 seconds. They occur every 2 minutes from the start. Even when you are dilated 2cm. And for the record, 2cm to 10cm can take a REALLY, REALLY long time.

Untitled Say what?

And the difference between a Pitocin contraction and a regular contraction? SIGNIFICANT. I don’t care what anyone tells you, Pitocin does not parallel real labor. It takes it and makes it nasty.  On Pitocin, my contractions radiated from my back, to my ribs, and then down my hips. I remember with both B & L being SO SORE the next day because I felt like someone was literally squeezing my entire midsection for hours on end. A real contraction (for me) did not involve my back OR ribs – but just my lower abdomen and later (when the baby was probably fully engaged) my hips. Real labor was insanely easier. And don’t even get me started on the C-section. That is MAJOR surgery. They take your organs out! To me, that is a MUCH MUCH braver experience to endure.

While I DEFINITELY think there are huge pros to having a drug-free birth, I also think think there are some huge pros for opting to medicate/get an epidural. And if you want one, DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT. Here’s my breakdown…

Epidural Pros

  • If they administer it correctly (and I found you REALLY have to communicate with the anesthesiologist on this – especially if you have scoliosis), the pain is minimal but you can still wiggle your toes, feel your legs, and feel the pressure of the contractions. I had an excellent epidural with Livie. I got it around 4:30pm (I was about 6cm at that point) and it completely took the edge off. I was able to relax my body a little bit and even rest before I started pushing.
  • It you tear, you don’t know and you can’t feel the Dr. stitching you up. Sorry if this is somewhat graphic, but it’s the truth.
  • Once you get the epidural, the nurse catheterizes you and you don’t have to worry about getting up to pee anymore. After spending countless weeks peeing more than once an hour, not having to worry about peeing is kinda the best. 
  • You can push a button for more drugs. Pushing buttons is fun.

Epidural Cons

  • The huge needle. OK, so they don’t actually SHOW you the needle (at least I never saw it), but I know it huge and yes, it’s going in your back.
  • Having contractions while GETTING the epidural. You’re supposed to sit still. Yeah, that’s easy.
  • The “test” they do to make sure they didn’t screw anything up. FYI – if you hear a buzzing noise, it’s not a good thing.
  • It’s not 100%. My epidural with Braeden sucked. It only partially worked and it was very left heavy (I almost rolled off the bed a few times). I felt all of my contractions, but thankfully did not feel any pain during delivery. Turns out this was due to my scoliosis. 
  • Once you get it, there’s no more getting out of bed.
  • It makes me itchy. It’s a minor side effect but from what I’ve heard/read it’s pretty common. 
  • You have to wait for the numbing to subside before you can get out of bed. Obviously. 
  • Back pain and headaches can be common. The entry point of the epidural may also be sore.
  • Postpartum recovery can take longer.  They say the baby may not be as alert either (this was NEVER the case for me).

Drug-Free Pros

  • Much quicker recovery – Despite tearing far worse this time around than any other birth, my recovery has been a lot faster. Obviously, I could get out of bed right away (though the nurse made me wait a little bit so that I didn’t just stand up and pass out due to pain, pressure, and blood loss), but there were other little things that I noticed that have made a huge difference in my recovery. It didn’t hurt as much to lay back in the bed, my body wasn’t as sore overall (this may be because it was also a Pitocin-free birth!), and the afterbirth pains were much more manageable. I also didn’t require as much pain meds after. Instead of taking Percocet or 800mg of Motrin, I was perfectly content with 600mg (I probably could have just gone with 400mg and been fine).
  • Milk came in sooner – I’m not sure if this is 3rd time mom thing, but my milk started to come in during day 2. With both B & L it didn’t happen until at least day 4. This would have been a bigger pro if I hadn’t been stuck in the hospital for 2 extra days (engorgement SUCKS!), but Evan was almost up to his birthweight when we left on Wednesday. There were clearly NO weight issues going on with this guy!
  • No swelling  – While I don’t typically swell during pregnancy, I did come home with elephant ankles with B & L thanks to a combination of saline, Pitocin, and the epidural. When the nurses would come by to check on me for the first time one of the first things they noticed was that my legs weren’t swollen and then their next question would be, “You didn’t get an epidural, did you?” 
  • Less bleeding – I’m not sure if  this because I didn’t get the epidural or because my delivery nurse, Gina, was BAD ASS (seriously, she was awesome – a perfect combination of “suck it up and you can do it” and empathy) and did a great job getting all of the gross disgusting postpartum stuff out of me, but I’ve had significantly less postpartum bleeding this go round.

Drug-Free Cons

  • It freaking hurt. Duh. Although, it wasn’t JUST the pain. The pressure was difficult to handle as well. I kept thinking, “Why does it feel like I’m going to poop to this baby out??” (<–sorry TMI, but it’s the truth)
  • The intensity was insane. I was really NOT mentally prepared for this kind of birth experience, so I might have felt differently if I was. But it just felt like every moment was an eternity and the loss of control was really challenging to deal with. I’m also slightly embarrassed about all of the screaming and crying I did. I know the nurses and Dr. are used to this kind of behavior, but I definitely felt the need to apologize a thousand times after all was said and done. Although, Dan WAS impressed that I wasn’t screaming expletives. Lol.
  • There’s no slowing down the birth. Pushing is NECESSARY when you can feel your body ripping apart! Unfortunately, when you can’t control that pushing it leads to tearing and a very fast birth. This isn’t JUST challenging for me – but poor little Evan had all kinds of bruising on his forehead and eyes from coming out a little TOO fast. There was also that whole antibiotics issue, mostly because my active labor was so precipitous (not necessarily because it was unmedicated). With Livie, I had to wait about an hour for the Dr. to return to start pushing and I COULD because I all I felt was a little pressure. Her birth was pretty perfect. 

Now, I’m not saying you SHOULDN’T aim have a drug-free birth if that’s what you are looking for. Hey, if that’s your thing – AWESOME. I definitely understand why some women chose this option. It IS how nature intended things to work and it leads to far less interventions and unnecessary c-sections – and obviously there are a lot of great pros. But, I’m kinda wary of hearing women brag about this decision like they deserve some kind of award. Labor and delivery is one day of motherhood. It doesn’t indicate what kind of mother you are capable of becoming. It doesn’t mean you are any stronger or any smarter.

Untitled This post is probably making people mad… just keep showing them cute pictures of me.

If I could go back in time last week and get to the hospital a little bit sooner would I get the epidural? Maybe… maybe not. It was an experience I never thought I would have and I can’t say I don’t appreciate it. It does give me a pretty insane birth story! Although, I do now think that people who plan for a drug-free birth might be insane. Or they might be smart, because they are definitely a million times more prepared to give birth than I was… But bottom line? Giving birth is not a race, a contest, or a badge of honor. It is an amazing and painful experience – no matter how you do it. And the only entitlement is gives you? The entitlement of being called “mom.” And that’s pretty awesome if you ask me.

Untitled Damn straight.

Medicated or drug-free birth — what was your experience? What’s your preference?

Comments

  1. Jen says

    Awesome, awesome post girl! And E is the cutest thing ever — he’s really giving me baby fever!

    I wanted a natural birth w/W (because I AM crazy) but that didn’t happen. My water broke and I had no contractions for hours, so I was given pitocin, and still nothing happened. Eventually, they gave me the highest dose of pitocin allowable at my hospital and it just felt weird. I felt like I had period cramps in my back that just caused me to go to the bathroom constantly and I never got a break. I have no idea what a 60-second or 90-second contraction is b/c what I felt was just continuous. I tell people all the time that I had a baby but have no idea what a contraction really feels like. My goal for my next pregnancy and labor is to just FEEL what a real contraction is like… and then I’ll probably ask for an epidural! :)
    Jen recently posted..Doing Disney with a baby

    • says

      My goal this time was to go into labor on my own — but I was also very OK with having to be induced knowing that my epidural worked SO well with Livie (it wasn’t the best labor, but the delivery was AWESOME). I also had low expectations – that apparently worked out in my favor!!

      I really can’t stress how pitocin-free contractions were soooo much easier to deal with in. It might have actually thrown me off a little (or maybe it’s just that running has conditioned me to tolerate pain better? I’d like to think that!)! I hope, when the time comes, you get the birth YOU want.

  2. says

    I wanted to have a natural birth but by the time I was dilated to a 3 I was in so much pain I couldn’t stand it so I got an epidural.
    I was in labor 12 hours and then I got a fever and my heart was acting crazy so they had to do and emergency c section. He was 9.5lbs!!! 2nd time I had a c section they botched the epidural and got me in the wrong place I hurt so bad on the left side of my body that I would have given anything to have a natural
    Birth instead. Your baby is adorable!!!
    Adriana @Laced Up With Lipstick recently posted..Handana Product Review

    • says

      Ugh on the c-sections – and on the botch epidural! I have a lot of friends who have experienced the same as you (especially b/c here in Florida it’s hard to find a Dr. who will allow for a VBAC) and it really haunts them and they think they didn’t really “give birth.” I’m sorry, but when you’ve carried a baby for 9+ months — any way you have it is giving birth!!

  3. Kaycee says

    So, what I missed (Maybe earlier post) was when you went into labor? Did it really happen that fast that when you got there you didn’t have time for the epidural? Maybe you chose not to share that and I’m totally Nosey!
    My epidural wore off at 8 cm and I did go natural from 8 to 10 with full on board pitocin since I was induced. Yeah – there is no stopping that train. Had tons of nurses around me telling me to breathe and it just seemed to happen really, really fast! I agree with the pooping thing. I was embarrassed about that but hello euphoria after he came out. That absence of pressure and the “holy crap, I just gave birth” thing made me a chatty Cathy while Dr. sewed me up again. Now – having gone natural 8-10, I did feel the sewing part. That was interesting.
    Congratulations again – he is beautiful! I will have to stop by and see you soon.

    • says

      The short story: Early labor was really slooooow. I started having contractions around 6am on the 11th. They were regular the whole day and got stronger but were 7-8 minutes apart the WHOLE TIME. We went to hospital that afternoon (I felt like I was leaking and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t amniotic fluid – it wasn’t) and I was at 3cm. They wouldn’t admit me without giving me Pitocin, so I said “no thanks!” The contractions FINALLY got closer together around 10:30-11, but still only like 5-6 minutes apart. Things sped up FAST though. We finally left the house at midnight, they checked me at 12:45 in triage and I was 6cm and the baby’s head was at 0 station (so still way up there) and I really thought I would have time to get the epi. However, 10-15 minutes later when I got to my room I was complete, the baby’s head was RIGHT THERE and I was ready to push. So yes, that fast! It was nuts. There was a lot of screaming from me at the nurses and a lot praying that my Dr would hurry up and get there (he did, amazingly fast!).

      That same thing that happened to you, happened to Kate. Sucks!! I don’t think that I really experienced any kind of euphoria though – I pretty much felt the same after having all 3. So relieved that the baby was out – especially once the placenta was delivered. Oh, and the stitches – yeah, my Dr. numbed me with Novocain (like in 5 places – lol) but it was still so uncomfortable. He was very nice and trying to joke with me to get my mind off of it – but I prefer not feeling that part. Lol.

  4. says

    I definitely want to have drug-free births when the time comes. Although my reasons are 1) I have asthma and I react very poorly to medication (even aspirin causes some lung drama), so anything that could cause extra stress on the ole lungs is a no-no, and 2) I’m seriously paranoid of epidurals- I remember being 10 or 12 and declaring I would never ever, EVER get one. haha! ;)

    I do agree that each birth is unique just like each momma and baby! And our decisions are our own- no one has the right to judge what’s good for someone else.

    Oh, and you’re birth story is definitely epic! Way to go, momma! ;)

    • says

      Thanks :) It was definitely insane.

      I always say never say never, because pregnancy and childbirth are the most unpredictable things on Earth – but it good to plan for what you want! And yes, totally agree — you shouldn’t be judged, especially if things are completely out of your control.

  5. says

    Although I’ve only had a drugged birth (had to be induced due to preeclampsia), I’d have to agree with you on many of your points here. I don’t have a strong opinion either way… If you want to go all natural, go you. If not, I totally and completely understand. Like you say here, I’m sure there’s pros and cons to both. I don’t think one way is any better than the other.

    P.S. My little man has that crab outfit too – love it! Too cute!
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted..Catch Up Day

    • says

      Love the crab line from Carter’s :) It’s kind of dangerous!

      And yes – it’s really pointless to focus on JUST the birth – there are so many bigger milestones that are about to happen!

  6. says

    It’s amazing how mad moms get at other moms. I am probably ticking some people off on my blog this week too with my posts about how moms need to figure out how to make time to workout.

    I had an epidural with my son and absolutely plan to do the same when we have another baby. :) I really just remember how much better I felt once I got it that I can’t reason with myself not to!
    Amanda @ Sistas of Strength recently posted..Working Out With a Toddler: 4 Ways to Get It Done

    • says

      I think you are right on with your post – we need to make our health a PRIORITY!

      That’s exactly why I wanted to get an epidural this time – it worked before and it was really great, so why not? And if you didn’t want one? That’s awesome too. Really the end result is still the same :)

  7. says

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I’m still undecided on whether or not to get the epidural. I will definitely have to talk to my doctor about it a bit more. I would really like to avoid having a C section at all costs. It is major surgery and I agree that they are becoming so much more popular. (Out of the 4 moms that I know in the past 2 years that have given birth, 3 of them have had C sections.)

    I do think some people look down on others for their chosen method of birth. Every woman gets to make their own decisions and shouldn’t be judged! I guess it is just the same type of judging that other women (and people in general) do during pregnancy anyways. (You’re still running? That is harmful to the baby. You’re drinking caffeine? That isn’t good for the baby.–everyone becomes an expert.)
    Kelly @ Running Kellometers recently posted..Running While Pregnant: My Thoughts and Feelings

    • says

      Everybody does become an expert – it’s so frustrating!! I hate to say “just wait” but it does get even more intense once the baby is here.

      I think the biggest thing you can do going into birth is to be fully educated about your options and also have an open mind. Pregnancy and childbirth are so unpredictable it’s so much easier to be able to go with it! A happy and healthy baby (and mom!) is really the ultimate goal – and you are going to love him/her no matter what!

  8. says

    I give you all the credit in the world. Childbirth terrifies me. I would definitely want an epidural, but I know you can’t plan for any of this stuff any more than you can predict the weather. Guess we’ll see how it goes when the time comes!

    • says

      Right on about not being able to predict it. That’s the beauty of life sometimes – you get to experience stuff you never, ever thought you would. Good AND bad!

  9. Katie says

    I wanted a drug-free birth because I didn’t get a drug-free conception! We had to undergo IVF to conceive our baby, so it was important to me to take back some control that I had lost through infertility during labor and delivery. It worked. I feel renewed confidence in myself and my body, which was ripped away from me through years of infertility and treatments. I don’t judge anyone for their birth story or choices because I certainly would not want anyone judging me- for my daughter’s birth or for her conception. So, for me, I do think that having a drug-free birth made me a stronger person and a better mother because it renewed my confidence in myself. Everyone is different. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • says

      I can definitely understand a ruined sense of confidence especially when you feel like you’re body failed you in other ways. I’m happy you got your drug-free birth!

  10. Lisa says

    Evan is just the cutest!! Your birth story was def one of my fears and def not what I would have signed up for knowingly. ;). That said, it is definitely a great story and you know now what “real” labor and contractions feel like, that’s for sure!
    Oh, and yes I was all about that epidural!! With Connor I went into labor on my own, and had that weird only feeling it on one side too. Drew, I was induced, but also got it as soon as I could (and he was fast!).
    Congrats again!!

    • says

      My birth story was one of my fears too. Lol. Oh well, it all worked out in the end, right??

      Epidurals are definitely worth it – that is FOR SURE. Lol.

  11. Abby says

    I had a natural birth in December (according to my plan), no pitocin. I didn’t feel a contraction until I was 6 or 7 cm, and they only felt like bad period cramps. I was seriously in the zone and didn’t talk much at all, never cried or screamed. I don’t know if it was because of the zen like mode I was in, or I really have a high tolerance for pain, but it didn’t seem painful at all from what I remember. I just remember being so exhausted, and it was a struggle to push for 2.5 hrs. I was in labor for 13 hrs. I didn’t really feel getting stitched up either. The idea of an epidural really freaks me out, but if I have to have pitocin for my next birth, who knows if I will have one or not. My baby was really alert and looked great at birth due to no drugs – my Dr. was really impressed. I didn’t receive a medal for it, but I am proud that I was able to do it without drugs. I just feel that if everything is going well, you might as well try to do it naturally. I really wanted to avoid interventions/c-section at all if possible.

    • says

      You are definitely lucky in that your birth wasn’t super painful! I feel lucky that pushing didn’t take that long. I knew that he was going to come out fast though. Even with my first it was maybe an hour. I have friends that pushed for 3.5 hours and I can’t imagine how tired I would be!

  12. julie16750 says

    “Labor and delivery is one day of motherhood. It doesn’t indicate what kind of mother you are capable of becoming. It doesn’t mean you are any stronger or any smarter.” #TRUTH

    Love everything about this post!

  13. says

    My first little man was one week late and we had to schedule an induction. They had to break my water, I had pitocin (which had to be created by a bunch of men!) and was in labor for what seemed like 24 hours. I went into the hospital at 7am on Sunday and he was born around 5pm on Monday.
    That’s of course, after an emergency C-section because once real labor actually hit, his heart rate would drop each time I had a contraction.
    With my second son, I had a scheduled C-section.
    Yes it’s major surgery, but there was NO WAY I was going through all that labor again. It was amazing how much better I felt the second time around.
    Going in – I knew drug-free wasn’t for me. I was fine with the epidural and had no complications from it.
    Although now, I have a lot of lower back pain and a doctor told me it was from the epidural years ago. Is that true? No idea…
    While your story totally freaks me out and would be my absolute nightmare, I’m so happy that it didn’t scar you for life!

    • says

      I do know a few people who have had very successful births after a c-section – but it sounds horrible dealing with labor and then having major surgery…AGAIN! The pitocin made Livie’s heart decelerate (after I ate a popsicle and her heart spiked above 190bpm) and they told me that if it happened again they would have to do an emergency c-section. It completely freaked me out and I just wanted to be DONE. That was before I got the epidural, which thankfully sped things along!

      Weird about your lower back pain. That sucks!!

      And yes, my birth story was pretty much my worst birth fear…. but at least I didn’t have him the in car. The nurses were saying that actually happens a lot! Yikes.

  14. says

    I’m slow clapping you. Bravo.

    Why must women make everything a god-damn competition? The experience with the 18 hours of Pitocin-induced labor, followed by the emergency C-section was my experience to a T. And then I spent the next three years beating myself up about it, because I was somehow less of a woman for not “giving birth” the “right” way. I honestly debated whether I could ever use the phrase “gave birth.” I know a lot of that is on me, but it’s also on the Natural Birth Nazis. Listen, if you want to have a natural birth, go for it. I applaud you. But you’re not a better birth-giver than me.

    I have three close friends who gave birth with no drugs, two by choice and one like you, and I barely ever hear it from them that that’s what they did. But there are so many others who can’t even mention childbirth without the ZOMG drug-free qualifier before it.

    I feel the same about breastfeeding. Just because I successfully did it for 16 months and agree that it’s the best — WHEN POSSIBLE — formula mothers should in no way feel inferior if it just doesn’t work out for them.

    Motherhood is hard enough without all these “this is the best and only way to do this” sentiments floating around.

    End rant.

    Great post.
    Jackie @ MomJovi recently posted..TakeIn Dinner With InnovAsian {Review}

    • says

      This is exactly the place I’m coming from. I think it’s awesome to be proud of your birth – but I have too many friends who feel bad about their experience. You should PROUD of what you endured – it was NOT easy for you to deliver E!

      And yes to breastfeeding. I actually ALMOST mentioned it in my post – but I didn’t want to open another can of worms. How people decide to feed their kids is not my concern, nor is it their concern what I do!

      Motherhood only gets harder and all of these “little” things we seem to obsess over the first few years mean absolutely NOTHING in the long run.

  15. says

    I think this post is great and it is interesting to hear from someone who has done both. At this point, I would like to go natural, but i may also be crazy. My desire for going natural stems from an extreme fear of having a C-section (I don’t even want to think about recovering from that) and having a spinal for knee surgery as a teenager. After the surgery, the pain in my back from the spinal was almost worse than the pain in my knee from surgery and I don’t want to go through that again. I am also afraid of being induced. I have never heard anyone say anything good about Pitocin.

    So pretty much I want to have a natural childbirth experience because I am afraid of everything else. Not really a badge of honor. We’ll what I do when the time actually comes.
    Heather recently posted..St. Augustine Babymoon

    • says

      I felt the same as you when I was pregnant with Braeden – and then when I ended up getting induced (mainly because I was SOOOOO done and not for any good reason) I opted to get the epidural. I did labor for a long time without it (started Pit at 10 and didn’t the epi until 5pm when I was a good 6cm) and that was good enough for me! Lol. The contractions this time were just so much easier to handle. Really it was just that whole birth part at the end that was hard!

      I do recommend looking to ways to channel your pain – whether through meditation or breathing techniques. That’s one thing I maybe SHOULD have done. I think it might have helped me with the lose of control I felt at the end!

  16. Kelly @ Runmarun says

    Wow, I loved this post. I was induced with L- cervidil and then pitocin when the cervidil did nothing- and I was in so much pain once those contractions started after the pitocin was administered. I did not think I was going to survive…until I got an epidural! After that, I felt great and everything was easy…until the epidural wore off.
    After reading your post, I am now curious about postpartum recovery if I have a non-medicated birth this time around…who knows, I may have to be induced again but you have given me some food for thought! Also, +1 on the bragging about natural births…although maybe I feel that way because I had an epidural! :)

    • says

      That’s exactly how I was with both of my inductions. UGH.

      The recovery is insanely easier – so if you’d like to bounce back quicker – I say drug fre is worth a shot! The pain wasn’t bad for me though until it WAS too late, so if I had a prolonged labor or pushed for a long time I might tell you differently!!

      Hopefully you can skip the induction this time!! I wish I knew the secret to why I went into labor this time — maybe it was the chiropractor or the massages — or maybe it was because I really just tried to enjoy the last few days of pregnancy and stopped worrying about going into labor? Whatever it was – it worked!

  17. says

    My first was a fully loaded drug birth and I was threatened multiple times with the c section. After that, I deemed pitocin to be the devil. The only difference between my second and third were the epi and the birthing center. If I were to have a fourth (not happening) I would have to go with the natural birth again just because of the awesome recovery time.
    Hugh Jass recently posted..Mom vs Mom

    • says

      I think it’s funny we had such similar birth experiences – although you planned for the natural birth the 3rd time!! I definitely agree that the recovery time for the drug-free/natural birth has been awesome. I honestly didn’t “get” the big deal of going drug free ALL AT until the 2nd day. I still felt like crap the first day, lol. If I had a 4th (also not happening although my postpartum hormones are trying to convince me differently) I would probably do some hypnobirthing or bradley classes to prep for a natural birth. And then see how I felt when I was actually in labor. Good thing that’s not going to happen.

  18. says

    I love this post. I love the pictures. I love your honesty… even if I don’t want to hear it, I know I need to. haha Really, this is great. I’m just now starting to think generally about a birth plan, and it’s all sooooooo intimidating to me.
    Tiff @ Love Sweat & Beers recently posted..16-Week Update

    • says

      I think the best thing you can do is educate yourself and find out your options — and also keep an open mind. Find out your Dr/hospital policies and figure out how that fits in with how you envision your birth going. It may not go to plan – I think it rarely does! – but at least you’ll feel like you were actively involved. And also, really, it’s just a day – so don’t stress. The end is worth it – no matter how you get there!

  19. says

    Like whoa! What a story and a break down. I agree there is a major mentality with drug-free birth. I think the most important thing is determining what’s important to you and why… is it really to brag about being a superhero?!? My favorite part— your hubs being impressed u didn’t yell explicits!
    Kristina @ Love & Zest recently posted..Florida Hospital Gourmet Soiree

    • says

      I agree – find out what’s important to you! Also, have an open mind (which I think can be said about all of motherhood – not just childbirth). There’s no right way except what works for you!

      I’m surprised I wasn’t cursing either. Especially because I WAS doing that during my marathon. Lol!

  20. Marie says

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I was influenced by the “trend” for my first delivery and thought I wanted to do it drug-free. After 10 hours of labor without much progress and the threat of pitocin, I opted for an epidural. It was great, I felt good but still felt enough to push properly. For my second, I knew I wanted the epi again. Then I read a few blogposts on drug-free deliveries and they comforted me in my choice. I had a wonderful experience both times and I think the drugs definitely helped that. But to each their own.

    • says

      Yes, the blog posts on drug-free births are terrifying! Lol. I agree though – to each their own.

      Your epi experience is exactly how my 2nd one was and what I was anticipating this time. Oh well!

  21. Meg M. says

    I love this post! It made me all teary eyed…in a happy way. Or that may just be the PP hormones haha. M’s birth did not go as I had “planned” and I spent the days leading up to my induction struggling to be at peace with it. It wasn’t until I actually got through everything that I was at peace. Childbirth is truly a rite of passage for a woman, and I think I was way too quick during pregnancy to spend all this time crafting my perfect potential birth experience…I somewhat missed the boat in realizing in advance what a miracle childbirth is and how life changing it is. Not just life changing in the fact that you have a baby at the end, but it is without a doubt the most intense physical, emotional, and mental thing I’ve ever experienced. And I don’t think it matters if you have a natural birth, induction, epidural, c-section, or some combination of the above. Childbirth changes your life, and most importantly gives you the title of Mom when it’s all said and done. And that’s what really matters. :)

    • says

      I’m glad that you are peace with everything! You definitely had a very traumatic experience.

      And yep, childbirth does change EVERYTHING — and all that matters is that he was born safe and sound!

  22. says

    I’ve not been pregnant but I’ve always thought at birthing time I would probably want them to give me the drugs if it was possible just because I’m a wuss. I know I could suck it up if I had to but I haven’t really ever thought about not using them.
    Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted..Marvelous in My Mondays #9

    • says

      Me too! It’s crazy how much it’s a an event here. I have a few friends who have done it and aren’t obnoxious about it – but I also know a few people who are just over to top about it and I don’t get it!

  23. says

    congrats on the beautiful boy. interesting to hear about your previous spotty epidural. i do not have scoliosis that i know of, but i definitely had the spotty epidural experience. at first it worked great, but during active/transition it only numbed my front. my tail bone felt like it was on fire and going to rocket off of my body. when i was fully dilated it worked again for a while. then during delivery as soon as she rounded that dip in my pelvis i felt EVERYTHING again. i did not feel particularly numb for the stitches, either. i had a lot of post partum complications in the hours after delivery and required emergency surgery and 4 blood transfusions. and 3 days of bed rest. and was induced for 24 hours before we even started the glorious pitocin. so yeah, i feel like i got the absolute worst that vaginal and c section birth have to offer. evan is so cute. oh i just realized you were the one that bought the cosleeper from me! hope it’s working for ya, we put it to serious use for those first 6 months :)
    emily recently posted..Twenty-something / Thirty-something

    • says

      Yes – it’s me the person who bought the co-sleeper from you!! He’s not loving it yet, but I do think it will get some use in a month or two :)

      And UGH on your birth AND recovery. That sound horrid!!! I’m thinking having another baby any time soon isn’t high on your bucket list?

      Yeah my first birth epidural was horrible (but definitely NOT as bad as yours). By the time I realized it was probably due to my scoliosis it was too late. The 2nd birth the nurse who did it basically had me do a test to indicate where to place the needle and she said she would have never gotten it right if I didn’t tell her because it was that off center. Crazy that yours worked on and off!

      • says

        i think maybe the flow of the medicine was stunted or something? although none of it compares, mentally, to finding out i’d have to sit up to get tapped AGAIN to get that spinal when i went into surgery. i was literally sobbing to the anesthesiologist that there was no way i could sit up to get it. lordy.

        the hubby and i actually finally seriously broached the subject recently after not talking about it for a while (i think he was more traumatized than i was, thinking i was going to die and all). For the first month after we were both thinking we were one and done (D was a challenge those first 6 weeks, oy). Then we were saying if i was ever going to do it again, planned c-section. now we’re thinking we’ll probably do another one but it will be at least 3 years before we think about trying again. that i will be a healthy weight before we start trying. that i will follow the GD diet from the vey beginning to help manage my weight gain throughout pregnancy (it worked amazingly in the 3rd trimester after i was diagnosed). i will not, under any circumstances, get induced again. NO. no pitocin, no cervodil, nothing. If i can go into labor naturally, get a FRICKIN FUNCTION epidural, then we’ll do that. if the kid is too big again at the due date? c-section. of course, that’s now. who knows where we’ll be in 3 years.
        the c-section thing is so tricky, i hear such differing accounts of the recovery!
        emily recently posted..The Trepidatious Trekkie (or Why I Haven’t Seen Into Darkness…)

  24. says

    Very well said! I am hoping for a natural birth, but I haven’t ruled anything out. I’ve never been through this before so I don’t know what I can or cannot handle. I try to avoid mess in general, and needles freak me out (especially giant needles). I also want to be able to get up and walk around.

    It’s totally not about bragging rights for me. One method of giving birth is no better/more admirable than another. Your method of giving birth in no way determines the type of mother you will become.
    Jen recently posted..36 weeks

    • says

      I think going into it knowing what you WANT and also having an open mind is for the best! The one thing I KNOW is that childbirth is completely unpredictable!!

      And yeah, I don’t think I’ll be a better mom to Evan because I didn’t get drugs over the other two!! I love and plan to raise them all the same :)

  25. says

    I love this post. I had planned to try to go all natural, was open to an epidural but then my baby was breech and I didn’t want the version (to flip baby), i tried the natural methods to try to flip him but homeboy was stuck and/or stubborn so my c-section was scheduled. It wasn’t in my plan but sometimes not having a plan is okay because nature doesn’t always cooperate and thankfully we have modern technology to assist us in situations like this. Was it ideal? Nope. Could I control it? Ehhh not really – even with the version it’s not guaranteed that they won’t flip back which was another reason i didn’t want to go through with it (my sister in law flipped back THREE times after they tried to flip her).

    I do however, want to experience a vaginal birth for baby #2 (which my OB supports), but again, i’m of the mindset that not having a plan is the best because sometimes we just can’t control it.
    Heidi recently posted..Happy Birthday Hubs!

    • says

      I am so with you on not having a plan!

      My Dr. thought Evan was head up at 37 weeks and for a minute I freaked, and then I thought – you know what so what if he is – I’ll get through it! Turns out he was head down but his little bony butt felt like a head. If he had been head up I wouldn’t have had a version either – I knew he was big!

      It’s great that you have a Dr. that supports a VBAC. They aren’t done often here in Florida (we have so many issues thanks to Drs getting sued!) although I feel like a lot of Drs are more open minded about it these days thanks to all of the research on it’s safety!!

  26. says

    If infertility taught me anything, it’s that I don’t have complete control. I was so happy to be having an actual baby that the manner of delivery was of little significance – although I am truly glad I didn’t have to have a c-section. I really didn’t want the additional recovery time.

    It may not be true for everyone, but I can’t help but think that the people who are so overly zealous about natural deliveries are missing the point. Birth isn’t a solely an “experience” – it’s a means to an end: delivering a healthy baby. If you get a healthy baby, then you had a successful delivery, no matter the mechanism.

    And +1 to Jackie’s comment above re: breastfeeding. The guilt trip given to formula mothers is ridiculous. I’ll feed my kid, you feed yours, and we’ll both keep our opinions to ourselves!
    Victoria recently posted..Postpartum Progress: 5 Months

    • says

      I’m happy you didn’t have a c-section too!

      Yes to everything stated above. The most important part of the birth is THE BABY!

      And I’m SO over the mommy wars. I’d like to tell you they get easier as the kids get older – but it’s not true. Thankfully, I have some awesome working mom friends who keep me sane and remind me that I don’t need to be friends with everyone and that my kids are my world even if I can’t be with them 24/7!

  27. Angie says

    What a great post. I had to do 24 hours of cervadil and pitocin and the baby still wasn’t dropping. When we came to the decision to do a c section I was devastated and cried. I quickly got over it when he arrived and stopped throwing up. I was so scared about the recovery and never looked in the mirror until a couple weeks later because I was afraid to look at the incision. My recovery wasn’t so bad and I was able to start going for walks around 5 weeks. We joke that it was worth it because he has a gorgeous head! I think the worse part was when my husband came in after they prepped me and seeing me on the table like that. Evan is adorable and I’m glad he is doing well.

    • says

      Ugh on 24 hours of cervadil and Pitcocin! I feel like almost EVERYONE ends up on Pitocin – it’s crazy.

      Oh man, I can’t even imagine what your husband was thinking when he saw you.

      Lol about having a gorgeous head – the same was VERY true about Evan. All of the nurses were commenting on how nice and round it was. The other two were not so “lucky.”

  28. says

    Great post! I don’t feel like I earned any kind of supermom/superwoman title from having a drug-free birth, but I do enjoy sharing my natural childbirth story. I particularly enjoy sharing it with my childless friends just to see the look of terror in their eyes. Just kidding…sort of :). It is a little fun to scare them that sometimes there is NO time for the drugs.

    With my first, I was given pitocin because my contractions slowed down once I got my epidural. Those contractions were definitely different. My epi didn’t seem to work very well because I had a ton of pain. I also reacted badly to the epi by getting violently shaky. In the end, the pitocin caused my son to go into distress and I ended up with an emergency c-section. Because of that terrible experience, I am thankful for how “easy” by drug-free delivery was, especially in terms of recovery. I mean my lady bits hurt like hell for a while, but that was more tolerable than healing from a c-section in my opinion.

    I personally think you are a freaking rockstar for giving birth naturally with a 9lb baby! My little 5lb12oz peanut was nearly more than I could handle, haha.
    Kristen recently posted..Race Recap: Musical Madness 5K

    • says

      Oh, I definitely think your story is worthy of sharing!! Lol. I think the best part is still when your water broke in triage and you tried to clean it up. And I think I commented on your blog that your birth story terrified me. Little did I know… Ha ha.

      I had A LOT of shaking with my first epidural too – especially after. I could not stop chattering and I wasn’t really cold. Dan was freaked out because nothing helped (It finally just stopped).I almost wonder if I got too much or something?

      I do think that sometimes smaller babies are harder to birth! Braeden was 7lbs 13oz and his delivery was MUCH harder and I pushed for A LOT longer than with Livie or Evan. I think sometimes gravity does help with big babies because both of their births were MUCH quicker!!

  29. Lindsey says

    Thank you for this post! I am 21 weeks pregnant with my first child and this was just what I needed to hear. So many women are trying to do drug-free births lately and I feel like it’s only so they can brag about it! Medical advancements are created to help women and epidurals are a great gift for women. Why wouldn’t we take advantage of them?!

    • says

      Yes! And if they want to go drug free – awesome for them – but it’s definitely NOT a contest!

      Congrats and good luck on your pregnancy. The next 18-20 weeks are going to be some of the best, fastest, and slowest weeks of your life!!

  30. says

    K, first of all, you crack me up! Second of all, I’m glad I went drug-free for 19 hours of labour because I ended up needing an emergency c-section due to little miss’s head tilting (thanks, Nia!), so if I had got an epidural and then had a c-seciton, I woulda been even more pissed/upset than I already was haha.

    I think you’re a stellar mom ;)
    char eats greens recently posted..six months old

    • says

      Ugh on Nia’s head tilting! I can’t even imagine going through all of that and then them saying “Yeah — we’re going to have to do a c-section.” When/if you have another will you try to do another drug-free birth?

      And thank you – you are TOO kind!

  31. says

    I appreciate the candidness!
    I had the epidural – but I went into delivery neither for or against getting one. I just wanted to see how I progressed & then make my decision. I had the Pitocin (they induced me 2 weeks early), and I felt NOTHING until 5cm. I got the epidural at 8cm, had like 2 seconds of rest to enjoy it and then the pushing started.
    The pressure was definitely one of the most painful parts! I felt the exact same – that the baby was going to come out of the wrong hole.
    The catheter was a DEFINITE perk.

    • says

      Oh yes – the catheter – definitely a perk!!

      I’m so impressed that you were able to get the epidural at 8cm! Lol to 2 seconds of rest. I have to admit, I am jealous of those people who are like ‘I got the epidural and took a nap!” — it was always like “I got the epidural and an hour later I was ready to push!”

      And with my first two I went in the same way – I wanted to go as long as I could without the epidural and if possible I would go without it (with pitocin? yeah right!). The irony was that the time I knew I WANTED an epidural from the start, I didn’t get one. That’s life though, right?

  32. Kris says

    Well, I’m glad you’re happy with an epidural, and you’re right, I guess those of us who have had drug free aren’t superheroes. That being said have you noticed the number of women who have commented on your post who have been induced or agreed to pitocin? And it’s not just them, it’s a lot of women I know. There is a possibility that that’s the problem. Maybe it’s not whether or not we can or should handle the pain of childbirth, but maybe it’s being your own advocate and rejecting pitocin. When I had my daughter 3 years ago the nurse came in nonchalantly and said “ok well this is some pitocin, and I’m going to add it to your IV” like it was nothing. If you can give birth with that hyper-hopped up synthetic hormone, then you DESERVE a medal, seriously, that stuff is crazy. It’s like lighting a campfire and first dousing it with a gallon of gasoline, instead trying to start it with newspaper and kindling and matches.
    I can’t say if women who opt for epidurals are prepared or educated for their childbirth or not. I’m not them. But I can say i was hyper vigilant when it came to what to expect, how labor works, how to deal with the pain and what I could refuse or avoid (here’s a hint: everything) and maybe that is why I do feel like a hero. And it’s not because I did or didn’t get an epi….at10 cm I was begging for one myself!
    I was the first woman my nurses had ever seen who knew they were able to and consequently refuse administration of pitocin.
    It’s not who is tough enough to handle pain…. Instead It’s not letting the doctors railroad you into a birth experience you don’t want simply because they make you think that’s protocol. It’s making birth “our” experience. If you tried the best you darn well could and still needed a c section or epi, then hey, you did great! But it pains me to hear friends stories of going to L&D and basically letting them do whatever they want because they never educated themselves about how this hospital business works. But in the end, epi or not we are all heroes.

    • says

      Oh, I definitely agree that Pitocin is used far too quickly/easier in labor/deliveries. I’ve been induced twice — once because I didn’t know any better and the 2nd time because I was post due, and I was very happy to avoid it this time (I would have a natural, epidural free birth ANY DAY over a Pitocin-induced birth!). I will defend some Drs – I know mine is pretty old school and would prefer his patients to delivery naturally – but there are hospital policies and concern over malpractice lawsuits to worry about. I think Dr’s spend a lot of time trying to CYA when they would much rather be practicing medicine with the patients best interest at heart. This goes for ALL Dr’s though- not just OBGYNs.

      I have a lot of friends who were hoping to have a natural birth – did either Hypo Babies or the Bradley Method – and in the end, ended up delivering via Emergency c-section for medical reasons. They knew the in and outs of how the system works, but still it didn’t work out the way they wanted. Most of these friends felt disappointed in their experiences and some even inadequate because they didn’t get the birth they wanted. It really pisses me off that they feel this way, especially if it’s due to other mom’s who basically rub it in their faces (thankfully MOST women are not like this – but there are always a few that are who ruin the bunch). In the end, it doesn’t matter HOW our babies are born – it just matters that they are loved and cared for and that they are born into a safe and healthy environment. At least – that’s what matters to me!

  33. Angela says

    I had a natural birth with baby one. I remember while I was pregnant someone at work telling me that getting through it without medication feels like your own personal victory and you feel so strong. That made me want to do it.
    With baby two, my midwife made a call at the end that was different from what my body wanted to do and my cervix swelled. So they started pitocin to get me past that last centimeter and I freaked out and demanded an epidural. And it still hurt but it was like my brain couldn’t understand what was going on.
    Now with baby three I want it natural again. Not because I think it’s better for the baby or because I’m awesome. Solely because my recovery the first time (with episiotomy) was very fast and my recovery the second time (when I tore in two directions because I couldn’t feel it enough to request the episiotomy) was miserable. And I was groggy for days with a colicky baby and it just wasn’t a fun bonding experience. Now I have two other kids (and the two year old is still pretty clingy) so any leg up I can get on recovery time will be a blessing.
    To each his own, though. I usually say to other first time moms I meet that you should try to relax through contractions and go as long as you’re able with normal, not induced contractions because your body is supposed to work that way and its always easier to do what your body is meant to do. And then when you really can’t take it, wait ten more minutes (cuz I wish I had! I transitioned during the epidural and could have avoided it if I wasn’t so scared. Plus, like you, they kept tellingme not to push and that was frustrating!!) and then go for what makes you comfortable. In the end you still get the prize. :)

    • says

      Yeah – 9 months out and I feel like maybe perspective has changed a little. It was really nice to have SUCH an easy recovery – and no back pain/headaches from the epidural. The pain from the birth, well — I don’t remember it, so maybe I would suggest a drug-free birth now?? Ha. I still think there’s just too much emphasis and pressure placed on the day. Get that baby out any way you can – and the safer the better!!

      I’m almost a little bit jealous that you are so close to having your baby!! I love that newborn phase SO MUCH and it just goes by so fast. I hope these last few weeks go by quickly for you – and you end up with the kind of birth experience that you want :)

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *

CommentLuv badge