Before I became pregnant, I always thought I would get an epidural, no question.
And then I became pregnant and seriously thought about it. For various reasons, I decided I wanted to try a natural delivery. I wrote about it a bit in this post, but here are the main reasons I changed my mind:
- I've always heard that the more naturally you labor, the faster your recovery period will be.
- I want to be able to feel the urge to push, and I want the pain to motivate me.
- I am hoping that refraining from interventions (including pitocin. Pitocin is my biggest fear right now after hearing so many horror stories) will help my labor to move forward naturally and somewhat quickly.
- It sounds crazy, but I just want to experience it. I want to know what women have done for centuries before me.
- I am no stranger to pain, and I feel like I have learned how to handle it. I am pretty sure I have some form of IBD, and it just hasn't been diagnosed because I've never seen a specialist. But for the past four years I've had stomach pain and cramping that I'm pretty sure is nearly as bad as labor pains. With no cute baby to motivate me at the end. Those of you who have actually given birth are probably laughing at me, but seriously... This pain is no joke. It has gotten point where I am curled up on the floor with chills and shaking and vomiting from the pain. (If those pains come back after Scarlett is here, going to a specialist is definitely on the "to-do" list). For now, I feel like it has given me good practice managing extreme pain.
- I've heard only a few horror stories about epidurals gone wrong, but they were terrifying enough to scare me away from it a little bit.
All those reasons were good and well until a few weeks ago when a few ladies on my birth month board on The Bump went into labor and delivered their babies already. It made it very real that Scarlett's birth is getting so much closer, especially if she decides to come early. I have made myself push my thoughts and fears about labor and delivery to the back of my mind this whole pregnancy since I am a natural worrier. However, being within 2 months of delivering her, I feel like I need to prepare myself somewhat.
I had heard some really great reviews about Ina May Gaskin's book, "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth."
Yesterday I downloaded it on my Kindle. The first half of the book is all just birth stories of women who had 100% natural births at home or in birthing centers with midwives. In the second half of the book, Ina May talks about the benefits of natural childbirth, and some tips.
Late last night and early this morning, I read most of the birth stories. And while I can't totally relate since I'm giving birth in a hospital with and OB, it was still empowering to read the stories. Empowering and terrifying all at once. I just wonder, can my body handle this? What if I have back labor, or if labor lasts over 24 hours? These women seem so strong, and I just don't know if I'm that strong. Not to mention, they were all in situations where epidurals and other drugs were not available. At my hospital, all I'll have to do is say the word, and an epidural will be delivered at the right time.
Guys, I'm starting to second guess myself. Not only that, but I wish I had never told anyone about my plans to try for a natural birth for Scarlett. Now I'll feel like a failure if I get the epidural, and I'll have to tell everyone that I "failed."
I have a friend who is pregnant with her first baby, and due just a few months after me. I asked her about her plans, and she said she fully intended to get the epidural. "I wouldn't get a tooth pulled without Novocaine!" She told me. And that is a good point! Are my reasons for wanting a natural birth good enough? Or am I just subjecting myself to an unnecessary amount of pain, and being a glutton for punishment?
Will I? Won't I? The constant volleying back and forth of my thoughts is enough to drive me crazy.
So here's my plan: I'm still going to try it without an epidural, but I'm NOT going to punish myself if I have to ask for one. My friend says that if I don't go into thinking that the option of an epidural is completely off the table, then I will cave and get one. And that is probably true. It is just so easy to ask for one in the middle of all that pain!
So anyway, best case scenario? I'll reach my goal of giving birth naturally, and I'll feel like a rockstar.
And worst case scenario? I'll probably get a lot further into labor than I would have if I had just gone into it planning on getting the epidural. That way, at least I won't get it too early and slow down labor (I've heard that if you can make it to about 5 centimeters without one, getting the epidural probably won't slow down labor). And you know what? I waited for over 3 years to meet my sweet first baby from the point that we started praying and trying for her. I went through 6 weeks of feeling like death constantly, and an additional 6 weeks of feeling like death occasionally (thank you morning sickness). I carried her with my 6th-grade-girl-sized frame for what will be 9 months...so I'm still going to feel like a rockstar when it's all said and done, even if I can't do this naturally!
...Life is too short to start feeling mom guilt before I'm even technically a mom! God is in control, and I'm handing this over to Him. Whatever will be will be. Worrying is not going to help. Labor is coming, and there's nothing I can do to stop it!
No matter what happens, I think Scarlett is enough motivation to get through anything. As long as she is safe and healthy, nothing else really matters!