Thursday, July 14, 2011

FAQ Birth Questions

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! 


  1. I am so proud you, Marjorie! I liked how truthful you were with mentioning the amount of pain. (With E I had local anesthesia, so I can understand the "natural" contraction pains but not the exiting pain.) The saddest part of her labor was that the nurse asked me if I was going to want her on me right after birth, and at that level of pain I could not even answer her question. Of course I wanted her on me! And it still bothers me to this day that I could not choke out the words that I wanted her, but I just could not. For our whole stay of 20 minutes in the labor and delivery room, I felt like a mental patient ~ not answering questions and screaming out. My nurse said afterwards that she thought she was losing me to a black out. The only question I mustered the strength to answer was my blood type.

  2. so I loved this post for a few reasons. number one, I would NEVER EVER have a baby without an epidural, I am a wuss. but my sister just finished nursing school and she is currently pregnant with twins and we have this discussion all the time, she REALLY wanted to do a totally natural birth and she still might, be she isnt sure how realistic that will be with twins. But I was shocked to hear all the complications that can come from getting a epidural or from inducing labor. Very interesting!

  3. Thanks for sharing so candidly! Before going through all this infertility stuff, I used to feel pretty strongly that I'd go natural. Now, I'm not so sure I will if/when I get the opportunity. I think too it depends on how healthy your female organs are etc. I know with conditions like endometriosis, the pain can be exponentially worse. This last cycle for me I had cramping so horrible that I had to crawl out of the shower and I felt like I was gonna die! Literally felt like someone knocked the wind outta me. I told Chris that if this was anything like labor, I'd definitely be getting an epidural. Like you said though, there are pros and cons to both. Epidurals can slow labor down, but it's also not good for Mom and baby if Mom is exhausted. Each labor and delivery is different. I've known some women who had an epidural with one and went natural with another. I go back and forth all the time. In any case though, I hope that your delivery with this new one goes safely for the both of you!


  4. LR-You did great! I still don't understand who would even ask someone questions when their in that much pain.

    Raven-I've heard the same things with induction/epidurals. I hope it works out for your sister, but I know when my mom had twins they made her get an epidural since the chance for an emergency c-section with twins is so high.

    Ania-I don't know how you deal with that kind of pain so frequently! You're one tough woman!

  5. @Raven- My friend delivered twins 100% naturally. Funny thing is that they were born on different days because of it. One was 11:45pm and the other was 12:15am. And the second was breech, which isn't as dangerous with twins. Evidently this is only true if baby b is breech, it's because your body is already stretched and prepped that baby b is easier to deliver. She did have to deliver in an OR just in case something went wrong, but she was allowed to go naturally. I
    My twins had to come by c-cection because baby A was breech. His feet were in my cervix the whole time!

    My first baby was with epidural. And the second was all natural (but not by choice). I recovered better with the second baby than I did with the first.
    Given the choice I would still choose epidural, unless I could garuntee that it would be a speedy delivery like baby 2 was. It took less than an hour to go from 3cm to 10cm and one push. My first baby took forever to come out and I wouldn't want to do that in pain the whole time ever again.

    Also, I would never elect to have a c-cection. That's worse than anything.

    What I have learned is that if you want to go naturally and you doctor says no. Find out why. IF they are real medical reasons go with the doctor. If it's all about making the doctors life easy find a new doctor.

  6. Amanda- That's neat with your friend having different b-days for her twins (and nice that she could go natural). My mom ended up needing an emergency c-section with her twins because at the last minute baby A flipped to breech. It was her 1st and only c-section.

    I definitely recovered much faster than my friends who had epidurals did with both my 1st and 2nd. My 1st was a longer recovery than my 2nd though. Also I was lucky in that both my kids came fast (1st=5hrs and 2nd 4=hrs).

  7. Thanks for sharing this! Having babies is far off for me, but it's definitely good to hear a perspective from someone who went natural :)

  8. This entry is so enlightening in so many ways, you are a great mother. :)

    The Cat Hag

  9. So appropriate to this week for me! I'll have my birth story up later tonight (you'll see why I have time to do this in the post). I had an epidural, but I ended up having a complicated labor and couldn't have done it any other way. :)

  10. Everyone is entitled to experience their birth the way they wish to, it's such a personal experience that it makes me angry when others criticize how they had their children. what matters is that the baby gets here safely. All natural? Good for you! Epidural? Good for you too! In the e.d we're all just moms doing the best for our kids.