This post if different from my usual, but I get a lot of questions (even from doctors) about my decision to have my babies naturally without pain medication/epidurals. I figured I'd share for anyone wondering and I stress that this is all my personal opinion.
Why give birth without an epidural? You're not winning a prize or anything.
For me (and I stress "for me"), it was something I wanted to do and experience. Why do most people enter marathons and competitions? To test their endurance and physical capabilities, to challenge themselves. It's that way for me. It's an accomplishment and something I'm proud to say I've done.
How bad did it hurt?
It doesn't hurt that bad in the beginning. The pain gets worse the more you dilate, not how close the contractions are coming. For instance, you can get contractions every two minutes, but might not be in that much pain. It's when you get to 7-8cm where the pain is so bad you want to die and by 10cm you feel like you are going to die. I could barely speak, think or move when I was at that point, I was in blinding pain.
Are you against women getting pain medication?
No, I think everyone should do what works for them. I do think epidurals can slow down labor or cause complications. You have to consider the risks and benefits for yourself. What I do HATE is when women who get epidurals say "Oh, the pain wasn't that bad." Then why did you get one? Or when they say, "I made it to ___ cm or contractions every ___ mins apart before I got an epidural, so it was like going natural." TRUST ME, it's NOT the same! The pain gets progressively worse, especially right at the end. It's like saying, "I ran 2K of a 5K race, so I pretty much completed a 5K." Nope you did part of it, definitely not the same as the whole thing. You either did it naturally or not.
Did you have a mid-wife?
No, an OB/GYN. It is possible to have a natural delivery without a mid-wife if your doctor and hospital staff are supportive.
Did you deliver in a hospital?
Yes, I personally believe the hospital is the safest place.
Any tips on natural pain relief?
Trying to walk/keep moving, sitting on a therapy ball, having supportive people around you, words of encouragement from others and believing you can do it.
Didn't the pain ruin the experience?
No, I felt proud of myself. I think it also makes time seem to move faster by during labor. I was doing something rather than just sitting in a bed, hooked up to machines waiting (but that's just my opinion).
Feel free to ask me any other questions or share your thoughts or experiences!