Monday, November 8, 2010

Epidural: To Do, or Not To Do

This is something that has been bugging me a lot lately...whether or not to have an epidural once I go into labor.

I can make some valid arguments for both yes and no...but right now I'm just not sure what to do.  I suppose I could just go into it and if the pain is just too much and I'm not progressing, get the epidural.

But then there is a part of me that is freaked out of the actual pain of a natural childbirth.  I know that as a woman, I'm made for natural childbirth.  Women have been giving birth without pain medication for a bazillion years.  A part of me wants to be a "strong" woman and just deal with the pain, or rather, push through it.  My mother gave birth naturally six times...and I fully intended to have Harvey naturally, but the back labor was unbelievable.  I thought my back was about to snap right in half, and I was only dilated to five after fifteen or so hours of labor so I gave in, got the epidural, which then helped me get a solid two hours of sleep before being woken up to push. 

Then I've heard of [older] women who say if they had the epidural available back when they were giving birth to their now 20-something-year-old kids, they would have jumped at the opportunity.  But isn't it a right of passage, in some way, to give birth naturally? 

I have a book that seems to really have a negative outlook on epidurals, saying that the drug lowers my blood pressure, therefore lowering the baby's blood pressure and oxygen level, and so it is quite dangerous to have one; it also says that the baby will come out lethargic and it will take over 48 hours for the drugs to leave the baby's system.  I really didn't notice any of that with Harvey...the book also says that with a natural childbirth, the mother is "fogged" to some extent and can only remember the parts of childbirth that comfort her, whereas if she has an epidural, all she will remember are bright lights, sterile bowls and implements, and "everything will be stark, cold, and very vividly painful in her memory."

Personally, I remember the morning sunshine streaming in my room, and the adrenaline rush I got right before I started pushing, and how hot it was in there...along with my husband counting, the nurses cheering me on, my mother crying...and no pain.  Just the pressure of pushing my 8 pound baby out...

I'm just confused as to what I should be doing.

I do know that I am not breastfeeding...that was my big ordeal last time.  I had a lot of pressure/guilt from my mother-in-law and other family members, as well as nurses who instead of asking me what I plan on doing for food, the question was posed as, "You'll be breastfeeding, right?"  Ummmm, no???  I know along with a million other benefits, it supposedly helps you lose baby weight faster, but I have never wanted to breastfeed.  It's something that makes me uncomfortable and I honestly think I bonded quite well with my formula-fed son, and he's pretty darn healthy, as well.  So while I tried it for a week and failed miserably and just didn't get it, this time around, I'm not giving in to pressure or going to be guilt tripped into breastfeeding. 

I just need to make up my mind about the epidural...


  1. Never had an epidural, so don't know first-hand, but both Christi and Margaret had one with their last one... and both said that - without a doubt - they would do it again without thinking too long about it. Whatever that's worth...

    Just do what you need to do when you get to that point.

  2. Btw, all you remember about me being there is me crying? How sad! I only cried (tears of joy) when I was talking to Dad - while Harvey cried - and telling Dad what our new grandson's name was!

  3. Well when it came down to the pushing part, yes, lol...I just focused on *where* to push and heard everything going on around me...then when he finally arrived, all I saw was you crying!

  4. LOL - how amazing that morning was... I'd never seen a human birth as an observer before!! I'll never forget it.... thanks for needing me there! :-)

  5. Ha! A little more amazing than Patches having a litter of kittens???