Nanny to Mommy: Why I Want A Drug-Free Birth

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why I Want A Drug-Free Birth

Drug-Free Birth

People tell me I'm crazy because I don't want to find out the gender until birth and that because I don't want to have an epidural, I'm stupid because why would I take all that unnecessary pain when I don't have to. Well I have done my research. And this is why I have decided that I don't want to have an epidural this time around. I feel it is the mother's choice. And as long as you make an educated decision for your needs, then you are doing what is right for you. This is just why I have decided to go down this path this time around.

1. Epidurals can lead to sleepy babies which can be damaging to breastfeeding. I recently came across an article from Medical News Today that basically said just this. Sweet Pea was a super sleepy baby and it caused her to have a lazy latch which made it even more difficult considering she had lip tie. She would constantly fall asleep at the breast. And re-latching was uncomfortable, because you know being a first-time breastfeeding mom and all. Thank goodness we were able to make it 14 months, but I feel it could have been an easier process.

2. Back spasms...yikes! Reading all the stories on BabyCenter and WhatToExpect about other moms who had this happen to them, terrifies me. What if I'm not as lucky the second time around? This is what brought my husband on board with the no epidural ruling. He has back spasms periodically and so he knows I don't want to have to deal with that mess.

3. Risk being disconnected from labor because I can't feel contractions. PLUS being too numb can make you have trouble pushing which can lead to a possible cesarean. And I am terrified of c-sections.

4. Prove it to myself. "You won't win a medal for not having an epidural." True. But I feel it will be an empowering experience. I dilated to 9cm without an epidural when I was in labor with Sweet Pea and I felt that was brag worthy. Now my intentions are not to be able to brag, I just want to see if I can do it. I felt the ring of fire, I was getting into that mind set of just going to push the baby out, then the anesthesiologist came in. Machines failed me last time and so did medical intervention. The nurses said I wasn't even in labor because the machine wasn't picking up my contractions. I knew I was, but because I was a first time mom the nurses ignored me. I trust my body more than machines or medicine because of this.
Someone posted this comment on TheBump and I just loved it: "Why go through the pain if you don't have to?" "Why cook dinner when you could just get takeout or go to a restaurant? Why not watch TV instead of going to the gym? Because I like the challenge too."

5. Big needle in my back? No thanks! I was scared of this with Sweet Pea. And that's my main fear this time.

I was induced due to complications of pre-eclampsia with Sweet Pea. I want more than anything to be able to go into labor on my own. Going into this with the knowledge I have, I feel I can do it. More than anyone pressuring me to do what they want, I feel like I'm making an educated decision. Call me crazy, but our bodies were designed for this. I'm having a hospital birth, so if there are any complications my doctor will be right there. I'm learning that exercise before hand and breathing are the most important things to help me through this so I have been amping up my cardio. I know how to push this time, so I think I can beat my previous time of 45 minutes.

What are your thoughts on a non-epidural birth? What do you think about a mother's choice during labor? Tell me about your birth story, I'd love to hear it!

Welcome to the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering! 

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month's topic is Natural Birth Choices. Be sure to check out all of the participants' posts through the links at the bottom of this page.

Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to be a part of next month's carnival. 

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  1. I was very happy that I was able to have 2 drug free births.

  2. I had three drug free births in a hospital and would never choose an epidural for all the reasons you stated. I will always cherish the feeling (it was most noticeable with my last) of the baby progressing and descending with those final few contractions. I was really lucky to have a supportive OB, nursing staff and hospital. You and baby will do great!

  3. I had to have pitocin for reasons beyond my control at the time, but I had a pain-drug free labor and delivery. Even if you have to be induced, you can do it and you'll do amazing!
    ps. you will deserve a medal after :)

  4. I have required induction due to a pre-existing medical condition with each of my 3 labors. At first I was frustrated that it didn't go my way. Now I am at peace with the way it all worked out.

  5. I am definitely scared of needles! And after hearing stories from other mamas about some of the weird side effects of epidurals, during labor and even afterwards, it is definitely something I want to avoid unless entirely necessary. It's odd how they have become so mainstream that it's almost like taking an OTC pain killer to help a headache. Glad you are feeling more confident this time around. Like you say - "as long as you make an educated decision for your needs, then you are doing what is right for you." Best wishes!

  6. It's no ones business by your own as to what kind of birth you have. I did both-natural and epidural and there were pros and cons with each. A mother's choice should always come first when it comes to drugs or no.
    I can beat my previous time of 45 minutes." cracked me up. I said something similar each time I gave birth, although since my first one was only 18 minutes, it was hard to beat that :)

  7. All of my worst nightmares came true with the birth of my son which ultimately ended in an emergency c-section after labouring for 60+ hours. After the 30 or so hour mark I did opt for an epidural which didn't work out anyway. It's totally your choice and you shouldn't feel bad either way :)

  8. I had a 70 hour unmedicated, 4 hours with epi and pit due to failure to progress labor. I am hoping for better luck this time. I feel much more confident this time as well and hope to finally get my truly med free labor and delivery. I know I can do it. Hopefully my body/baby cooperates this time.

  9. I did it naturally, mainly because having a baby was something I was only going to do once in my life and I thought of it as the ultimate pain threshold test!
    Now i'm glad I had her drug free because of all the health benefits though I was extremely lucky to have an easy and uncomplicated birth, everyone is different.

  10. You must do what makes you feel comfortable when it comes to childbirth. With that being said I have had four natural(no epidural, drugs)births. My first child was a nine pounder and she had to be induced but I did not have pain medicine. I first of all believe it is very dangerous for mother and child and the list of side affects go on and on. I am no doctor but I have had friends that had epidurals some of them had light to severe problems. Not everyone has problems but what if "you" are the one. I'm also not a doctor but I have witness both kinds of births and personally I believe it slows down labor.Hope you find all the support you need in making your birthing choice.

  11. I've had three unmedicated birth so I can't compare to an epidural experience, but I can obviously testify that doing it without one is totally possible!! And my number one motivation is establishing the breastfeeding relationship like you mentioned! I've seen lots of sleepy babies having trouble connecting with mama with the women I work with in my breastfeeding support groups. Of course, I also know the experience of maternal exhaustion from a long labor making milk come in late, but baby was alert enough to help out with that because of demand = supply. Sometimes I wonder if I would have fared better or worse during my 45 hour labor if I would have allowed pitocin to speed things up or an epidural to let me rest. I feel that I would most likely have ended up with a cesarean and sleepy baby, but there's no way to know. I certainly wouldn't blame anyone for choosing that route knowing how tiring doing it naturally was!! That was my first birth - my second two were exponentially better and faster. I really do think the second time around you know so much better what to expect that everything going smoother most of the time!

  12. One C-section, five natural births, three drug-free. As much as I have to admit that being pain-free was lovely, going without the drugs was do-able and I found labour progressed much better. Also, suffering an accidental spinal during the administering of an epidural, which resulted in spinal fluid leakage and a month's worth of headaches and back pain, was NOT a good experience! Good luck!

  13. I wish I could have done it! I'm sure you can do it and I look forward to hearing about.

  14. I had a pain relief free birth and it was the most empowering feeling ever! I'm the biggest wimp so originally planned on having everything and everything as and when needed but for some reason I didn't..i found ways to cope with the pain and felt every bit of him being born. I felt myself straight after, no drowsiness or numbness from any drugs. It was perfect. Id love to have another birth like that the second way around but in all honesty every birth is different..if you get to that's really great..but if you don't..thats fine too!

  15. I think it's everyone's choice and if you can do it and tolerate it, that is perfect. Way back when I had y kids, we got nothing until the head crowned so we went through almost the entire ordeal. But in my case, y bones don't want to give so it was 15 hours of severe pain and I wished I could have had something like they give now. But I give so much credit to anyone who can do it naturally

  16. It's all about what you believe is right for both you and your baby... I'm happy for you and your decision, best of luck.

  17. Early in my pregnancy I was diagnosed with Placenta Previa (placenta covers the cervix) and put on bed rest to try to stop the related bleeding. I was on bed rest for six weeks. One of the outcomes of PP, if the placenta does not migrate as the uterus expands, is that the mama must have a c-section around 37 weeks. Natural labor is a risk because as the cervix opens it can shear off the placenta and cause fatal bleeding. I've been pretty concerned about this pregnancy in general, but I was bummed that I wasn't a candidate for a natural birth. But today I had my 20 week scan and saw that my placenta has migrated! I can start looking at natural birthing method options and now have the opportunity for a drug-free labor!

  18. I had an 11 lb 11 oz baby with no meds, and no gestational diabetes. I felt the ring of fire. I felt it all... but other than the last 30 seconds, it wasn't that bad. I had hip problems the last month or so of my pregnancy, and that was much much more painful.
    The key- a good mindset, lots of prep watching natural births, and a great team. I also got to birth in a giant tub, which was the only way I could have productive contractions, as my hips were hurting too much on dry land to relax...
    For preeclampsia, look up the Brewers diet- I used it and didn't have issues. It is really supposed to help.. I was over 40 and overweight, and was told by my first ob that I was high risk for it.. no issues. (I fired that ob anyway.. went to the birth center and had no trouble) I gained about 35 pounds, and ate healthy every day. I lost about 20 of that the day of birth, so we know what most of that was;)
    You can do it, but it takes a strong resolve at a hospital to keep up.. consider a doula!

  19. Hi Diana,
    It's so great that you are choosing to be so proactive in your birthing plan. Good, healthy exercise now will (hopefully) help your labor quite well.
    The important part is when you get to the hospital. Discuss your plan with your OB or midwife ahead of time so they can help advocate for you. Your husband and extended family and friends will also be assets in helping you stay focused on your breathing and imagery and any other techniques you decide to use in lieu of pain meds. The funny thing about pain meds is that they don't always work. I have a friend who eventually opted for one and it didn't take on her left side. She felt everything on one side of her body.
    Also, keep in mind that if you decide to use meds for whatever reason, you are not a failure.
    I have done a hospital birth, birthing center birth and this next one will be a home birth. I have had the blessed fortune that my labors go extremely fast. For that reason, it is easy for me to say "no pain meds." I really don't have time for them to kick in anyways. (Literally) All the prep work you are doing will help get you in the right mindset for the welcoming party of that wonderful new addition to your family. Good luck!



  20. i'm also terrified of c-sections and was so worried because my birth weights kept going up with each kid and i was afraid my son was going to be too big to deliver naturally. My first was 8 lbs 8 oz second was 10 lbs 10 oz. Luckily my son was only 9 lbs 4 oz. I chose every single time to have an epidural but it came out during labor and i ended up delivering when it had wore off so i felt everything and it wasn't horrible. I think its feeling the contractions during a 10 hour labor that i would've had a problem with though! the biggest argument i can make in favor of getting an epidural is you will be alot more rested if you get one. i was able to sleep the majority of the time i was in labor since i didn't feel any contractions.

  21. I was induced (no pictocin just had my water broken) with my first baby. I ended up with an epidural. I had so many problems after birth with pain from it. And my daughter and I were completely unable to breastfeed, I don't know wether or not due to the epidural. I was so disappointed and knew that I didn't want to repeat that process. So, with my son, I decided to have a homebirth. I didn't want to risk having the temptation of medications in the hospital. The birth went so well. I was so pleased. I didn't even have to take tylenol for pain management after that birth. Our breastfeeding was still a rocky road, but we have made it to 10.5 months so far and I'm so happy with that.

  22. I am with you, I had baby 1 at home and I cant imagine why a epidermal seems so necessary to people!


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