So I'm probably like most people where I fall in the middle. I would LOVE a pain-medication-free birth, but at the same time, I'm unprepared for the pain I will encounter and might (most likely will?) give in to an epidural. I was wondering how strong you were in your position to have a natural birth and if that helped you prevail, or did you give eventually give in because you couldn't handle the pain (barring necessary medical intervention)? In our birthing class, the doula who taught the class said that people who were determined to go natural usually ended up successful doing so, probably due to determination. I'm so in the middle, plus, I'm a wuss when it comes to pain!! Have I doomed myself by saying I'll probably give in? *Sigh*
persimmon / 1135 posts
I was really really keen on a med-free birth. I left myself open to the option of medication because, as you said, you never know until you're in the situation what it will be like, but I really believed that I could do it and did a lot of preparation for techniques to make it.
Well... it didn't happen. My waters broke before my labour started. Once they'd been broken for more than 24 hours I wasn't allowed to get in the water like I'd planned. Then I wasn't progressing fast enough, so 34 hours after my water broke they gave me Pitocin and made me lie in the bed for monitoring. When they told me they wanted to up my Pitocin I caved and asked for an epidural.
They said no. Because my water had been broken so long, their was a chance of paralysis. Instead they gave me a pump activated drug called Remifentanil. It was a quick in and out med that I controlled myself. By the time it was time to push, the meds ran out so I pushed without medication.
I'm positive that if I hadn't been in labour SO LONG and if I'd been allowed to move around more to manage the pain I could have done it... but oh well. It worked out fine and I was unmedicated for the pushing which was perfect. And our son is perfect and gorgeous Good luck!
eggplant / 11287 posts
I wanted a med-free birth very (VERY) badly, but I had to get induced and I pretty much knew that the Pitocin would make my contractions much stronger and closer together than natural ones. I prepared myself for the fact that I wouldn't be able to do it pain med-free.
I went as long as possible without getting the epidural. I went through about 8 hours of back labor with contractions only 45 seconds apart (thanks to the Pitocin). I had hardly any breaks and I felt like my body was going to explode.
I can say, however, that once I got the epidural, I progressed much faster because my body could relax a little. My husband wasn't freaking out anymore, and I actually could take a breath and enjoy the experience. Before the epidural I progressed only 1 cm in 6 hours, but after the epidural I got to 10 cm in only 2 hours. After the labor and delivery experience was over, I wondered why I was so against the epidural in the first place.
I was able to walk around within 1.5 hours of giving birth (I wasn't "paralyzed" like I had heard I would be), I never had to get a catheter, and still felt every single contraction during pushing so I knew when to start and when to stop.
I had read so many books on natural childbirth, I felt like hospitals, OBGYNs, and drugs were the devil. But after going through it, I realized that epidurals (and doctors) are extremely helpful.
Didn't mean to write a novel, just my two cents!
Just my two
apricot / 464 posts
I would say I was really commited to the idea of a natural birth. I read a bunch of books, took a class, and did the hypnobabies program to prepare. Even with all of that, during the transition stage of labor I asked about getting an epidural. I had planned with my husband and midwife ahead of time that they would try to talk me out of it and they did. My midwife told me that she has never had a first-time mom in a hospital setting NOT ask for the epidural during transition! I would say that if you go into it with a wait-and-see attitude, you will most likely get the epidural. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just that you need to decide ahead of time how important it is to you. I also think that the other huge determining factor is how long your labor lasts. I was lucky that I had a (relatively) short experience- 14 hours from waking up with contractions to birth. Had I gone many more hours I might have reconsidered just due to sheer exhaustion!
Giving birth to my son naturally was the most amazing thing I've ever done and I definitely plan on birthing any future children without pain meds as well. Good luck!
pineapple / 12234 posts
I also wanted to go natural as I had gotten to 9cm with my first birth without an epidural and I knew I could get through labor just fine--but I got the epidural because I was scared of the actual delivery.
So for my second birth I thought I would have been okay without the epidural but in the back of my mind I did doubt myself a bit. I was induced and pitocin contractions were horrible. On top of each other and way more painful than natural. So I got the epidural and it helped me so much. I was at 8cm's by the time I got it but I really thought I couldn't take another contraction.
pomegranate / 3759 posts
I wanted to go med free as well. I made to 7 cms and had to get the epidural. I also laboured really fast naturally. I went from 3 cms to 7 cms in 2 hours. At 7 cms I was already starting to push which of course is no good. Im not at all regretting getting the epidural. It made it actually enjoyable and prevented so really bad tearing!
clementine / 958 posts
My story is almost identical to @Mrsdaredevil. I even had a drug-free induction with a device called a Cook Balloon. I ended up having an emergency c-section, so pretty much the exact opposite of the drug-free birth I hoped for.
pomelo / 5178 posts
With my first, I prepared for a natural birth. I read all the books, practiced relaxation techniques at home, did birthing exercises during my pregnancy, etc... I did research pain medications, but just so I knew what I would be comfortable with, if I had to make a choice. I think I was pretty dedicated to a natural birth.
When I actually went into labor, I did end up getting an epidural at 5 cms. What changed my mind about getting an epidural wasn't the pain; it was the sheer exhaustion of labor. From early on, I was contracting hard and fast, and it was really exhausting; add on to that the fact that I was puking with every contraction, and it made recant my position on epidurals pretty fast. Afterward, I felt some guilt and shame (almost?) for giving in; I almost felt like I wasn't strong enough or didn't do a good job. Eventually, I came to terms with it, though, and when I had my second child, I went in with a much more open mind and much more acceptance toward getting an epidural, if I needed it. With my second, I actually made it to 6 cms, before getting the epidural, so I consider that a success!
I think I actually had some false notions/fears that went into my original position against having an epidural. I thought I'd want to move around during labor, but I was so exhausted, my husband had to hold me up during each contraction and I just wanted to lie down. I thought I'd want to eat/drink during labor, but throwing up so much kinda put the kabosh on that. I thought I wouldn't be able to get out of bed or go to the bathroom on my own after labor if I had an epidural, but I was out of bed and in the bathroom on my own within 2 hours of both births. I thought avoiding meds would speed up my labor time and my recovery time, but I have had two fast, easy labors and recoveries with epidurals. I thought all non-medicated births ended with a healthy, happy, energized mom and a more complacent/calm baby, but since then I've learned that non-medicated births are just like medicated births; there's a huge range of outcomes and complications, and each birth is different.
I often heard people refer to labor as a marathon, but until I actually gave birth, I didn't really understand what that meant. Literally, your muscles are contracting and being used just like you're working out for hours on end. Physically, you need a lot of stamina and strength to endure the intensity and duration of labor, just like you would need to increase your strength and stamina prior to running a marathon. Most of the people I know who have successfully had a non-medicated birth either did not give birth at a hospital (birth center or home birth) or did a ton of preparation during their pregnancy (the Bradley method is very intense, but has a great success rate, if you're interested). I don't think just being determined will ensure a successful med-free birth; using the marathon analogy, you really have to prepare your body for that kind of work and have a lot of physical and emotional support during labor to help you through.
pomelo / 5178 posts
@ohapostrophe: I loved your birth story. I think I read and reread it like 3 times!
grape / 78 posts
I wanted to go medication free as well, and with the support of my husband, nurse and midwife, I was able to have the birth that I wanted. I had only read one book to prepare for childbirth so I guess you could say that I wasn't completely committed (didn't have a doula, didn't take childbirth classes), but I was very determined in my mindset. I wanted to avoid a c-section very badly because we would love to have many children, and I didn't want to be limited by the number of c-sections. Getting an epidural doesn't mean that you will automatically have a c-section by any means, but I didn't want to personally increase my chances of having one. I was very fortunate though and only had painful contractions for 10 hours (20 in total). An epidural definitely sounded amazing toward the end (I kept thinking, "With the next one, I am just getting an epidual right away!!!"), but I am very happy that I was able to give birth to my son intervention free. Good luck!!
ETA: And now at five months postpartum, I look back on it fondly! Weird..must be how mothers have more that one child...we forget exactly how much it hurt!
clementine / 959 posts
I really wanted a med free birth and prepared myself as much as possible. When I got to the hospital my contractions were one on top of another so I told my husband I couldn't do it and wanted the epidural. However, I was progressing really fast and had LO an hour and a half after getting to the hospital so I didnt get any meds! So, I did get the natural birth I wanted. I just didn't expect it to happen so fast!
GOLD / pear / 1845 posts
I was determined to be med free and I was lucky enough to have two uncomplicated (and fairly quick) deliveries. I'm pretty stubborn, but I didn't have my resolve tested as much as some ladies do!
GOLD / papaya / 10206 posts
I was super dedicated to having zero interventions during labour, but I ended up with I've antibiotics and piticin due to PROM and my continuously stalling labour. I didn't receive and pain meds and delivering Prettybaby was the most amazing thing I've ever done by far. I wouldn't change my med free birth for anything in the world and I hope to do it again for the next.
hostess / wonderful honeydew / 32460 posts
I didn't really have a birth plan. I just wanted a vaginal birth and a healthy baby!
I went as long as I could without pain meds, but got an epidural 8 hours into labor. 4 hours later I was holding my baby in my arms.
I'm hoping for a repeat my 2nd time around (minus 3rd degree tears!)
pomegranate / 3388 posts
I really wanted a natural birth with no interventions. However, my labor was *extremely* slow. I ended up being in labor for 3 days, and my contractions never got closer together than 7 minutes. Often they only came on every 10-15 minutes. So finally on day 3 of labor I succumbed to pitocin. I was exhausted at that point, and the pitocin contractions are incredibly intense, so I ended up with an epidural shortly thereafter. In the end I made it to 7 cm w/out an epidural, and I was 10 cm and pushing by 45 minutes after receiving the epidural. ...So maybe I could have made it without the epidural. I just didn't know.
coconut / 8305 posts
I went way overdue (12 days) & had a very long labor consisting of 4 nights of "false labor" from 3-7am, 1 1/2 days of consistent 10-15 min contractions in early labor, & then about 6 hours of active labor. An unmedicated birth was my ONLY option & I resolved to achieve it no matter what. I researched how I could help my labor along naturally & all possible interventions, how IF I needed them I could still obtain what I wanted. Ie. if I stalled or didn't start labor naturally how I could use natural methods first & then intermittent pitocin just to get my body going if needed & then me taking back over with walking, relaxation, etc. I know that having the resolve helped me achieve my goal. The way I figure it I wouldn't train for a marathon to line up the morning of telling myself "I'd like to finish, but I'm leaving my options open just incase I can't"... Even IF I had to stop I certainly wouldn't be starting telling myself that's an option. I took the same thinking into labor... I COULD end up transferring to the hospital for a c-section but until that moment I affirmed myself I would birth my baby unmedicated. Ultimately I did transfer to the hospital where they prepped me for surgery BUT I naturally birthed DD before they could get me back. Feeling myself deliver her & the shift in hormones, so calm, aware, & rested feeling (after not sleeping for nearly a week bc "false" prodromal labor) was amazing & made it all so worth it!
hostess / wonderful watermelon / 39513 posts
When we took birthing classes a month before my EDD, the teacher asked the women to describe their ideal birth in a few words. My honest answer was medicated but safe for baby. I changed my mind after the 4 classes and wanted to try all natural but I knew I would be open to meds. My labor was about 35 hours and I got pain meds at hour 29. I ended up with an emergency C-section.
papaya / 10560 posts
I am so torn at this point in my life. I have my 30 week sono tomorrow to see if the baby is still transverse. I've wanted a natural birth, and having a c-section definitely terrifies me. Actually, I am not sure which scares me more, having an epidural or a c-section! I know some people say it isn't bad...but for me, it's almost the recovery that scares me more than anything.
blogger / watermelon / 14218 posts
I was pro epidural, so I don't apply to this... but a friend of mine wanted to go natural and labored at home for more than 24 hours , then in the hospital for another day and didn't get past 6 cm. She finally got the epidural and fell asleep for 15 mins, then everyone was waking her up because she went from 6 to 10 in 15 mins!
blogger / wonderful cherry / 21616 posts
I was VERY VERY VERYYYYYYYY set on a completely natural waterbirth with no interventions in a birth center with midwives I had a skewed perception of hospitals and doctors, similar to what Mrsdaredevil said.
Then I developed pre-eclampsia and it all changed. I was induced at 38+5. I cried the whole day because I felt like everything was ruined. I was going to be induced, I had to go to a hospital. I was miserable. Then on the way to the hospital my mom told me that inductions are a lot more intense than natural onset labor, and that I should be prepared for needing pain meds and not to feel bad if I do feel I need them.
But I didn't. I stuck it out. I felt like I was going to die and it was the worst, most intense, hell-like pain I've ever encountered in my life and I hope to NEVER experience that type of searing pain again. But I did it without meds and I'm glad I did.
squash / 13199 posts
I really REALLY was determined to have a natural birth, but I didnt get the chance to. i had to be induced due to extremely low fluid 4 dayys past due and ended up wuth a c-section when the induction failed, so you just never know how its gonna go. But all the people I know in real life who have had a natural birth say its worth it. So I will aim for that next time.
pomegranate / 3729 posts
Pretty much for as long as I could remember, I have wanted a pain med free birth. In real life, I don't know anyone who went med free. All of my friends talked about how wonderful an epidural was. DH and I took childbirth classes that were geared toward natural childbirth, and we specifically chose our midwife knowing that she does not administer epidurals. There was no choice for me but to do it without. I did get nervous because I wound up being induced at 42 weeks and was terrified that I was going to feel like I needed something to handle contractions with pitocin. Luckily, I was only in active labor for 6 hours as the induction worked really well for me. I know that I was having strong contractions, but since it was my first, I had no clue if they were stronger than they would have been naturally (and I didn't have any contractions prior to the pitocin). Honeslty, my husband and my midwife were the best support I could ask for. Laboring in the tub was amazing and honestly, I just went somewhere else during labor. It was all very surreal, but I can't imagine doing it any other way now that I've done it with pitocin but without pain meds. I am so hopeful that I'll go into labor on my own with the next one and the contractions will feel like a piece of cake!
clementine / 889 posts
I really, really wanted a medication and intervention free childbirth. But at 10 days past my due date with a baby estimated to be huge (he ended up being 10lbs 9oz - was predicted to be 9+lbs) I was induced.
They were rather aggressive with the pitocin and once it really kicked labor into overdrive, I had contractions on top of one another without any break in between. Two hours of that after laboring already for 18 hours, made me cave in and get a spinal block. It was sweet, sweet relief, and I think it was inevitable given the circumstances, but I was still a little bummed that I couldn't go without. It wore off before I delivered DS, and in total I was in labor 19 hours, got the spinal and continued laboring for another hour and then spent 3 hours pushing DS out. It was rough.
I hope the next one is easier and I go into labor naturally. They say the second one comes twice as fast and is half as hard. I hope they are right.
pomegranate / 3980 posts
I had an all natural birth the first time and I really wanted a natural med free birth for the second but didn't get what I wanted at all and ended up with a c-section. Even though I was only in labor for a total of 3 hours, I was already at 6 cms only an hour and a half to two hours in and totally could have managed a natural birth if she wasn't breech.
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
I was more nervous about having an epidural than I was the birth itself, so that played heavily into my decision for a med free delivery.
I had wonderful midwives that coached me through the process and made suggestions as to positions, without them, I probably would have caved and asked for an epi.
cantaloupe / 6146 posts
I really did not want the epidural, but I also asked for one in transition. I was at 7cm for quite some time, and had been in labor over 17 hours. I thought it would speed things up.
I was on pitocin and had back labor.
After 5 hours on the epidural I asked them to turn it off because I had burning nerve pain my legs (worse than the contractions). They turned it down, not off, and I still had the burning pain, but also I could feel my contractions some.
I ended up on the epidural for 10 hours (no, really, it took that long to get from 7cm to pushing).
I pushed for an hour and half or so, and then needed a c-section (got chorioamnionitis due to water breaking, and fetal heart rate showed distress).
Since I was on pitocin, I was on lots of monitors and couldn't walk around.
If I did it over again, I know I would still have asked for the epidural even though I really didn't want it.
Having done it, though, I know that NEXT time I will not get an epidural because it didn't help me progress, and it didn't help with my comfort level. I also would have had more time before the c-section to process it since they would have had to start anesthesia then.
nectarine / 2039 posts
I went into the experience open to anything. I tried to stay upright as much as possible through labour to progress naturally. I ended up progressing really fast, (and just based on my personality, I tried to minimize my expressions of pain when the nurses checked on me....not sure why I do that, but I just always try to be happy.... so by the time it was obvious to them that I wanted/needed something for my pain, it was time to push.
pomelo / 5093 posts
I was determined to have a medication free birth if there was any way possible to do it while preserving my and my daughter's safety.
There wasn't, I had a long series of interventions, and it sucked. I'm really hoping for a different story the next time.