It never once crossed my mind that I would EVER have a drug-free, natural childbirth. Childbirth was my worse fear! The pain!! The blood!!! I decided early on, before even becoming pregnant, that having an epidural would be the way to go for me.
I became pregnant with my first son when I was 33 years old. When my husband and I went to our 6-hour long birthing class at our hospital, I pretty much tuned out during the breathing exercises. Everything they told me about what you could do to help during labor if you went without drugs or an epidural basically went in one ear and out the other. I just knew I wasn’t going to need those tips.
When I finally started contracting, I labored at home for several hours. We went into the hospital when we couldn’t get my contractions to regulate and my water (so I thought) broke. Once there, they put me on pitocin, which was no fun at all. After several hours of horrible back labor, I just couldn’t take it anymore. My cervix was only dilated to 3 centimeters and I NEEDED DRUGS!
One of my nurses thought that I had a leak and that my water hadn’t completely broken—turns out she was right. After they gave me my epidural they broke my water, but I couldn’t feel a thing! I took a nice nap for an hour or so. When they checked me again I was dilated to 9 centimeters!
They told me to rest for another hour or so while they prepared. I was told I could turn up the meds through my epidural, but I was a little afraid because of the labor shakes I was experiencing so I didn’t. I kind of wish I did because I could still feel a decent amount of pressure. However, that little amount of pressure helped me know when and where to push. When my beautiful son was finally coming out, I definitely felt a large amount of pressure. I yelled and pushed as hard as I could. After pushing for about 50 minutes, out he came!
I was so happy to have my beautiful son! I did have a tiny tear that was sewn up, but other than that I was good. I had to urinate so incredibly bad after we did our skin to skin. I was determined to get up and go the bathroom myself because I was too afraid that I would pee the bed. My husband begged me not to get up, but I did anyway and landed flat on my butt. It took a few hours, but the numbness eventually subsided.
My second pregnancy was basically the same as my first. I had a feeling, though, that I was going to go early with this one because I had A LOT of Braxton Hicks contractions this time. I’m sure it had somewhat to do with having a 2 year-old and working all day at the office.
Three weeks before my due date I lost my mucus plug and woke up in the middle of the night a couple of days later with contractions that would not go away. We went to the hospital where they checked me and had me walk the halls. My contractions actually decreased and there was no change in my cervix so they sent me home with an Ambien and told me to get some sleep. I went home and slept for 7 hours. An hour after I woke up the contractions started again and soon after I felt a POP! My water broke and my contractions came sooooo fast! I didn’t think I was going to make it to the hospital.
When we got there I could barely sign the forms. They told me to skip triage and go straight to the birthing room. I was in such immense pain and kept telling them I wanted an epidural, but I had to wait for the anesthesiologist. When they told me I was going to have the baby without the epidural because the baby was coming too fast, I felt like my life was over. How the heck was I going to do this??
I didn’t want to lie down because the pain was too much. I kept asking to stand up or sit up during the contractions. When it was time to push I screamed bloody murder over and over again! Finally, my nurse pulled my face next to hers and told me to act like I was blowing air through my mouth under water and to grunt. But then came a warning: “The next push is going to be the worse pain of your life, but you will need to hold it for one minute and then one more push and the baby will hopefully be out.”
And she was right…
All those stories of the ring of fire…Oh yeah I felt it! As soon as I felt my son’s feet leave my body the pain was gone! It was insane! And I could walk again, too, which was another awesome thing about not having the epidural. I will say, though, that I was quite emotionally distraught for a few weeks after I delivered because of having to go through such intense pain that I was not expecting.
For me, the pros of having an epidural are minimal, if any, pain. It takes a lot of stress out of things and lets you relax. The cons were being numb for a few hours after. Also, in some cases it can cause labor to take longer, which I feel it did in my case.
The pros of having a drug-free, natural delivery are it tends to be quicker (it only took me about 20 minutes), you can walk right after, and for the most part, the pain is gone almost immediately. The cons were that it was an incredible amount of pain, the worse you will feel in your life!
In the end, no matter how you choose to have your baby, you will get through it and it will all be worth it because you will have a beautiful baby!