Re: Can anyone share their Natural Childbirth Story?
With my 1st, the epidural was a lifesaver (they gave me Demerol 1st but it did nothing for the pain and only made me feel like my head was detached which made being in pain a lot worse). With my 2nd, I was determined to get an epidural, but a really good nurse convinced me to try getting through the majority of the labor without the epidural, because once it's in, I can't walk around or do anything. First of all, I was already at the hospital when I went into labor, so I didn't have the distraction of getting my bags together and driving to the hospital like I did with my first (conveniently, I was supposed to be induced the next morning, so I had to spend the night. Shortly after they hooked me up to the monitor, my contrations came on full force and I was in active labor). It helps with the pain when you're focused on getting to the hospital. The nurse told me to go for a walk around the hospital wing. So, DH and I walked and walked. I had to stop a lot to hold onto the rail and breathe through a contraction (deep breaths in and out helped some). When I couldn't walk anymore, I went back to the room to get my epidural. The nurse convinced me to sit in the shower (they didn't have tubs, but that would be really nice!). My cousin, who is a doula (not in my area, though) had previously told me that water speeds up labor, and that if I had the opportunity, I should take a bath or shower. I didn't feel like it, but I did it anyway. It felt so much better to sit in the shower and let the warm water run. It helped me dialate quickly and get through some of the contractions. After the shower, I wanted my epidural. She stalled a bit (I'm sure it was to see if I'd have the baby natural) but I did get my epidural. It hurt going in and I was worried I'd be paralyzed. After about 10 minutes of the epidural, my contractions were still just as strong and it didn't take ANY of the edge off. I called the nurse back and the doctor came in and told me I'm fully dialated and it's time to push. THAT was the part I was really scared to do without the epidural. The contractions were intense but it's not a constant pain and you get a slight break in between so it's manageable. I didn't want to push the baby out without my epidural. Well, it turns out that I had to anyway because my epidural finally kicked in 5 minutes AFTER the baby was born. Then, I was so numb I was afraid to hold my baby for the first 1/2 hour and was really mad that I got the epidural when it turns out I didn't even need it or get any benefit from it. I have to agree with the other poster, the part that I was most afraid of was actually the part that felt the best. It felt good to push when I had the urge to push and actually relieved the pain and pressure when I started pushing. I didn't really feel much.
This is my 3rd pregnancy and I am going to try this one with no epidural. If you can do it, that's great, but if your labor goes on too long or gets too intense, it's not in failing in any way to ask for pain meds. It's good to have a plan but you should also have a backup plan just in case. I don't mean to deter you but just keep in mind that any way you get the baby out into this world is a successful birth, so don't beat yourself up if you need meds or a c-section.
The nurses are really great and trained to help you through labor. Having a doula should be a great experience as well! They have all kinds of suggestions and will help you get through it. If you want to go natural, they will help you through it. Childbirth classes are also a wealth of information on different things like the birthing ball, massage techniques, breathing techniques (honestly, with that, the only one that worked for me was the beep breathing in and out, "blowing out" the pain with each breath), etc.