How Would You Describe the Birth of Your Child?

Updated on April 01, 2008
H.B. asks from Hillsboro, OR
101 answers

*If you had an epidural, how would you describe the pain during and at the end?
*If you had a natural birth (no drugs), how would you describe the pain during and at the end?

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D.G.

answers from Anchorage on

the birth of my child....maisy...was the single most painful and empowering expirience of my life. i went the natural route at a birth center with a midwife. my husband was my birth coach. i was scared to death..but..the beauty of midwifry is that they really enforce the truth of the matter which is.... your body can do it. you can do it without drugs or doctors. i would do some research of your own..especially the effects of epidural and other drugs the baby could be exposed to during hospital birth.
H....it hurt. it hurt a lot. and as i sat in the birthing tub making sounds i did not know possible....i thought "this is why women accept drugs when offered" and "i wonder if they'll give me drugs right now if i ask." but i worked through each contraction always focusing on the beautiful baby i was going to meet soon. by the time i was pushing i was really exhausted...but your body knows what to do and i found inside me more power and strength than i had ever known. talk to some midwives, visit your nearest birth center and ask questions. unlike the 15 minutes a physician spends with you, birth centers give you an hours time or more if you need it AND it is so much more economical. clearly i could go on and on. good luck to you and your family.

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H.O.

answers from Portland on

Hi H.~

I am a mom of 2, boy almost 10 and a girl 3. My son I had an all natural birth. Wont lie to you, it hurt but it was worth all the pain to have a healthy (10lb) baby boy in my arms at the end of it all. To be honest, as soon as he was born, the pain just seemed to disappear with joy and happiness of having a new baby. My girl, I had to have either an epi or a c-secion, due to not dialating. I hated every minute of it. I felt like I was out of control of my body. I could not tell when it was time to push or even when teh baby came out. I was not able to walk afterwards due to wobbly knees & legs. It was horrible. I hope that if we have another one I'll be able to do it all natural all over again. IF you are not afraid of some pain, I so recommend a natural birth. BTW, my girl was also 10lbs but I still would go natural. I would also recommend a doula, if you have the funds. They are great. My sister is a registered doula and she was at both my births, a great support & cheerleader. I am hoping for #3 soon and will go as far as the medical team will let me naturally. (they say if I have another one it will be over 10lbs and I'm not that big of a girl and I might have to have another intervention but I will go as far as they'll let me w/o anything!) Enjoy the birth experience no matter drugs or no drugs, babies are the most precious gift God can give us!

~H.

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K.W.

answers from Anchorage on

Hi H.,

I've given birth two times, both times with no interventions. I won't go into how it felt, as you've already gotten a lot of responses about that. It's so hard to compare birth experiences, as it is different for every woman, and for each individual baby as well, even within the same family.

I would suggest getting in touch with a midwife. A good majority of a midwife's training inludes comfort measures and how to empower women to work through the intensity of labor. It would also be possible for you to labor and birth in the tub, if that is what felt good to you. Both of my babies were born in the water and I can't tell you how amazing that was. I can't say I didn't experience 'pain' or didn't have to work through fear, but I wouldn't change it for the world. It wouldn't be considered a rite of passage for so many if it were easy. It is also much easier to avoid interventions when they aren't available, as they would be at the hospital.

I might also consider getting in touch with a doula. Studies have shown that the more supported and nurtured a woman feels during labor, the more able she is to effectively work through whatever her labor brings. I am a doula, and had a lot of support at both of my births. Although I know birth happens regardless of who is there, I can't imagine doing it without the support of women who have experienced birth and who are confident in the body's natural processes, and comfortable with the myriad ways women find to work through labor. I have also had women tell me the same thing about having me at their births, as well.

I would also recommend the following books:
Pam Englund's Birthing from Within
Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth (and if you're feeling really adventurous, her first book, Spiritual Midwifery)
Peggy O'mara's Having a Baby Naturally

I would also consider the language you use when you talk about birth. The words we use can really affect the way we feel about something. The energy I feel when I hear the word 'pain' feels a lot different than when I hear the word 'intense'.

Finally, I would research the effects of epidurals on the baby, and try to find sources from all sides, as there are a lot of differing opinions on the subject. The more educated you are, the more able you are to make the right choices for your family! Whatever you decide, the most important thing is to follow your heart and trust your instincts. Listen to your body, listen to your baby. Childbirth and motherhood are powerful, transforming experiences. You have wisdom inside you that is as ancient as the earth herself. Tap into that wisdom, and know you are strong!

Best wishes!

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M.B.

answers from Eugene on

I had natural births with both kids...first one took hours, second one took 15 minutes. With both sure it hurt during labor, but the very second it was done, the pain all went away as a distant memory.

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M.M.

answers from Seattle on

After personally seeing 40-50 live births and the stark contrast in atmosphere, patient comfort between epidurals and natural births, there wasn't a doubt in my mind I wanted an epidural with my first. I'm sure there is a euphoria with natural births when it is over, as is anytime something extremely painful is over, but you just have to decide if it's worth enduring the pain. With my epidural, I had absolutely no pain with the birth at all, not even a twinge of pain. We relaxed and laughed the whole time until I was ready for pushing. If you experienced pain with an epidural, then it wasn't dosed right. If you start experiencing pain and have an epidural, you should ask the anesthesiologist for more medication in your epidural. The epidural does NOT go straight to the baby as one post suggested, it stays in your spinal fluid and is broken down and cleared. IV pain medications do go straight to the baby. Generally with the second baby, it goes so fast that you really need to have an idea if you want an epidural or not before you get there. In most cases, when the pain gets really bad toward, it is too late to get an epidural. Then if you can't stand the pain, your only option is IV drugs, which definitely goes straight to the baby. So I wouldn't consider an epidural a back up option in case the pain gets too bad. Also, keep in mind that the pain you experienced with the epidural with your first birth is only a fraction of the pain you would experience with no meds at all. Hope this helps you make an informed decision!

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K.O.

answers from Portland on

I have two children. I had them both natural, it was excruciating both times but I would do it again. If that's what you want to do then just set your mind to it. I think it would probably be easier the second time around. I think the only reason mine wasn't is because I was induced, so the contractions came really fast and hard at the end. At any rate, women did it naturally for years before so why can't we?

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C.O.

answers from Medford on

Hi H.,

I recommend reading Spiritual Midwifery. I laughed and cried through the whole book while expecting my second son. You will find encouragement and inspiration for experiencing a natural birth.

C.

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M.G.

answers from Seattle on

I had both of my kids naturally so I have nothing to compare it to, but I would do it the same way over and over again! The pain is, of course, really intense at the end, but not unbearable. I had my second one in the water, and I found that really helped with the pain towards the end. I've never met anyone whose had any regrets about having a natural childbirth. Mine were both incredibly positive experiences......I can't wait to do it again : )

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J.O.

answers from Seattle on

I had two natural births. I would describe the pain as INTENSE in the end. But just when you think you cant take it any more, it end. I now know that I am one of the strongest women on the planet. I'm drawing on that knowledge today as my children run circles around me.

With one birth it was darkened with great music, frequent changes in position - the toilet was a fabulous place in the end and I totally recommend the book Birthing from within - the Near-Far exercise (It is called something different was fabulous). My husband had a whole list of things to try and had lots of props- ie oil, music, tennis balls in a sock. It worked wonderfully and the birth was peaceful, but intense in the end. Bring a toothbrush and paste for him as well as mints as your nose is soo sensitive when you do natural childbirth. You can always change your mind - explore all the pain options beforehand as you don't want to discuss this during labor!

My Second birth was in the middle of the day- lots of light, noise, people running in and out. Really stressful for a laboring mommy who was getting upset with all of the disturbances. If you are stressed or tense in the atmosphere or your blood pressure is elevated and they want you to labor lying down as a result (this is what happened to me). TAKE the epidural. The pain was sooo much worse under those conditions.

Make up your mind, but have a plan B and C in mind. I know mommies who were very upset because the plan wasn't working the way they wanted it to due to circumstances. Flexibility is THE most important attitude, epidural or no epidural. You will be in my thoughts as you make your decision.

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J.M.

answers from Bellingham on

Natural childbirth is the most empowering time of your life, hard work but what satisfaction. I would strongly suggest you seek a birth preparation class with Birthworks trained educator if available in your area. they are different from other classes, they leave you in control and without fear. Check www.birthworks.com for a class in your area.
I have 4 children, 7 grand-kids, all born without pain meds. It is best for you and for your baby.

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C.R.

answers from Seattle on

Hello, My name is C., I am 20.

When I got pregnant with my son (he is 14 months now) I was going to a obgyn in the puyallup area. One of my friends kept telling me that i should go see her midwife... i told her i would never have my baby without the drugs.....

until my obgyn got me mixed up with another patient and i left the office and had no where to turn...

I made an appointment to see the midwife. I LOVE HER....
I read on all the drugs and why you should NOT have them...
I decided to have a completely natural birth in the water with no pain meds after either.

my labor and delivery went smoothly.

When my sister had her first daughter 14 years ago, she had an EP and she was almost paralyzed. my sister cant touch her toes... her back will not allow her to do so, it was caused from the ep.

The ep also goes straight to the baby...

MY cousin came over the house the day after i had my son... I was literally able to run up and down the stairs and do what ever... i know that if i were to have had a hospital birth i wouldnt have been able to recover that way.

I am so happy that i didnt get the EP or any pain medication for that matter...

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A.N.

answers from Portland on

I delivered my daughter last June with no interventions, at a freestanding midwife birthing center. Contractions were certainly uncomfortable, but manageable. I had a fairly rapid labor, going from realizing this was "it" at about 11pm to delivering at 6am. The most discomfort was during actually pushing the baby out.....basically from when she crowned to when she was out. I did not want an epidural, and I know it was CRITICAL for me to be able to move around and try different positions. I eventually delivered kneeling, because lying on my back was going nowhere.

I read Ina May, and Birthing from Within in preparation. I absolutely believe women are capable of having babies naturally....it is a matter of the WOMAN believing it. BUT there is also a time and a place for the compassionate use of epidural....if you're in labor so long that you're becoming exhausted, you need help, and epidural can be the right choice.

Good luck with your birth!

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J.M.

answers from Portland on

I have 2 children, my first no epidural/drugs, the 2nd I had the epidural. Both were wonderful experiences but the no drug one was physically more taxing due to the pain involved of labor. After the 2nd with the epidural I had more energy to be up and around sooner.

Either way you can try to hold out for a while and then if it gets too bad take the epidural. My uncle once said to me do you get an extra prize for not taking the epidural, no then take the pain medicine!
Neither way is right or wrong just your choice.

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S.B.

answers from Corvallis on

We had a wonderfully quick 3 hour labor with little to no "pain" during and after. The sensation was as if I needed to have a bowel movement and it was strong! My husband and I walked the halls of the hospital for 2 hours, bracing against the walls for the contractions. The contractions were very uncomfortable, but tolerable as long as I was standing. Several times during a contraction I could feel my body pushing my baby down. It was weird to be so out of control of my body. Eventually my midwife watched my contractions and became nervous that the baby was coming. She checked, and I was dialated to 10 cm. We had a half hour of pushing followed by the arrival of our son. I don't remember euphoria, but it was a very happy time. I was also tired and hungry, even after such a short labor.
My husband and I highly recommend the Bradley method and classes. We felt very confident going into the hospital because of what we had learned through the classes. I would also recommend having a doula and requesting a nurse prepared to handle a natural childbirth. I feel as though the exercises I did daily up to the labor helped: pelvic tilts, kegels, and walking as recommended by Bradley. It was a wonderful experience.
Ina May's book is a great resource and I don't think you can be over prepared physically and mentally. In the end, do what your body asks you to and it will be fine, even if that means an epidural. Best of luck to you!

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A.B.

answers from Portland on

My goal was to have a completely natural delivery, but after 26 hour of virtually unproductive induced labor I was exhausted. So, I got an epideral. It didn't really hurt except that you have to sit hunched over while they do it and your having contractions the whole time. For me it reduced the pain dramatically but it didn't go away completely. I was able to take a short nap (about 1.5 hrs) but then woke up to "really bad" contractions again. At the end the contractions were as bad as they had been before the epidural but I can't imagine what it would have been like without it. But the good thing was that I had dialated the last 5 cm in the 2.5 hours after the epidural and I didn't feel "the ring of fire" when pushing either.

Whatever you decide don't think that your less tough or getting less of an experience if you "get help" from an epideral.

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T.L.

answers from Portland on

Hi H. you are going to have a book after all the responses you have recieved :) But I will add my 2 cents maybe it will help. I have had two babies without any medication. I had good experiences both times and I will probably go without the epideral if I have more babies. I think the pros to no epideral are you can push harder and be in control so that helps if something was not right during labor. You can stand up and change postions which helps too. And after the baby comes out it is wonderful no numbness or anything. I was up 5 mins. after walking around and I felt great. But it really hurts during the pushing I won't lie to you. Probably the worse pain you will ever experience. Quick and painful. Something you might want to look into that I might try is a water birth. I have heard that it cuts the pain in half. But I would defintely recommend natural.

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A.C.

answers from Portland on

Isn't that the bonus question for every mom?! ;P

I had natural home births for both of my boys.

My first, Justin, was a long labor; it moved very, very slowly, so by the time I had to push, I was exhausted. If someone had offered me a pain killer, I would have grabbed at it! But I'm glad I didn't. ;P It was exhausting and painful, but we women are MADE by God to have babies. And I'm all for natural birth. Healthier for baby and mommy.

My second son, Jason, was alot better birth. For a day or so, the labor wouldn't get started, but once it did! WOW! I went from 4 cm to holding him in 15 minutes. The pain was excrutiating as you can imagine. I felt like I was going to split in half. When my husband and midwife pushed on my hips during a contraction, it helped SO MUCH. It went so fast and recovery was 100 times faster. I much preferred my second labor!

I have a friend who gets so drugged she can't feel a thing. I think that's sad.

Good luck!

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D.C.

answers from Eugene on

I have 3 kids and all 3 were Bradley method and natural. Each child was a different experience, 1st was 23 hours, 2nd about 7, and last was an hour & a half (and by far the most painful). I had the good fortune to attend classes with the founders of the Bradley classes for my 1st birth when I lived in California (1985). We had considered doing Bradley, then discovered my OB/GYN turned out to be pro-Bradley, and the hospital was too, so it seemed the natural way to go. I had some complications with my 1st & 3rd so I would recommend giving birth in a hospital rather than at home. I had back labor with my first and never had the urge to push - after 20+ hours I was so exhausted my labor stopped so I did need patosin (sp??). My 3rd came so quickly that I never got that minute break between pains, it was just one looooong one & 1/2 hours of pain. To top it off I hemoraghed later so after she was born I had to go back into labor (w/ patosin) to stop the bleeding. Neither of these had anything to do with the fact that they were natural births, and would go natural again. The great thing about the Bradley classes that I attended was that they recognized that some mothers will change their mind at the last minute, so we were educated on all the medical options for pain, and the pros & cons of each. In addition to the book, I highly recommend Bradley classes as well - we learned so much.

Best of luck to you, I think you are making a good choice!

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C.D.

answers from Richland on

Ok this is a real pet peeve of mine. If you have a child thru the birth canal it is still an "natural birth" wither you have help of drugs or not. What an unnatural birth is is a c-section. I am so sick of peeps saying if you have any pain meds or if you were induced you didnt have a "natural birth". My first I did all with only two pain shots. NO epidurals or spinals. My second I had an epidural and my third was a spinal block. I concider all my births natural birth. I am not picking on H.. I am picking on all the people out there who say having pain meds makes you a wuss and you are less than a women for using them. After having my first with nothing I think you are crazy not to take advatage of the meds we have now to ease the pain of birthing a child. Sorry if this makes anyone mad. This is just my 2 cents.

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M.M.

answers from Portland on

OK, you probably have enough responses, but here's one more!!

We mothers love telling our birth stories : )

I had my daughter naturally and it went very well. I used the Bradley method and I only felt pain when I had to push. Up until then, the contractions felt like strong pressure encircling my belly. I labored for about 10 hours at home (watched movies, relaxed, ate dinner) and then went from 2 centimeters to 10 centimeters in 1 hour, pushed for 30 minutes and my baby came out.

The only advice about the Bradley method - you need to practice. During the last three months of my pregnancy, I spent 30 minutes every evening before I went to sleep practicing. I had no problem remembering what to do and I felt very calm. The doctor kept telling me not to come to the hospital because I wasn't in enough pain. I finally decided to just go and boy, was she glad I did! Our daughter would have been born at home.

Whatever you decide to do, it'll be fine! It's such a personal choice and there really is no "right" way. Congratulations!!

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A.K.

answers from Portland on

My babies were both natural water births at Alma Midwifery center, and I can't recommend the experience more highly.

What I did to prepare myself was to take a Birthing From Within class with Pasha and Nicole. We addressed our fears about the pain, learned about birthing techniques and interventions, and learned pain management techniques.

One thing we did in that class was practice moving through the pain by holding ice cubes. Once I got to the point where I could plunge my hand in ice water and leave it there with a smile on my face, I knew I was ready to have my baby!

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K.T.

answers from Seattle on

Hi H., when I read you message I thought to myself "now this is something I know". I have 2 children, one who is going to be 9 and a 2 1/2 year old. My 9 year old I did have an epidural and my 2 year old I went natural (not by choice, he came too fast). My thought is that either way there is discomfort no matter what. My only thing was after the birth. After my 2 year old was born they have to press on your tummy to make sure they get all the blood clots out. That was very very painful. I asked why didn't I have this with my first child and they told me because I had an epidural and didn't feel it. For that reason only I would never go natural again but I'm also done with having children (I hope) so I don't need to really think about it.

I hope this helps you and not scare you.

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D.T.

answers from Seattle on

Hi H.,

I'm a big fan of natural childbirth. I had planned to have all of my children with minimal medical intervention. As it turned out my first was breech, and all involved agreed that a c-section would be the best way to go. Luckily, with my subsequent two I was able to utilize my Bradley training throughout my labors. Number two was born at home and number three in a hospital.

My advice for you is to surround yourself with people who will support your wishes and whose opinions regarding childbirth match your own. Create for yourself a cocoon of safety. Only you can decide what this means for you. This is the best way to better your chances of having a safe, fulfilling birth experience.

You may have learned in your Bradley class that feelings of anxiety in the laboring woman elicits the "flight or fight" response. Adrenaline is a smooth muscle relaxer and will slow your labor. It's actually a survival mechanism from way back when, if a family of cave people was being attacked or if a storm hit, the laboring woman would stop laboring so she could join the rest of the family in running for her life.

So, if you feel safest in a hospital surrounded by the latest technology, by all means give birth in a hospital. But, if hospitals make you feel like your birth is a medical emergency waiting to happen, chose another place. Your gut feelings have a lot to do with it. If you experience fear during your labor, it may slow down, possibly increasing your risk of complications.

As far as epidural anesthesia goes, it has its place. Sometimes a laboring woman is too preoccupied with the unknown to really relax and let her labor progress, and an epidural is just the thing to get things going. Other times she is so exhausted from labor that her contractions become ineffective, and an epidural given at the right time can allow her to sleep and gather her energy for round two. Then again, an epidural given at the wrong time can also slow things down.

Have a long talk with your birth attendant about under which circumstances they would consider an epidural necessary. You want to make sure you're both on the same page with this BEFORE you go into labor, because you'll be too busy putting your relaxation techniques into practice, to be weighing your options.

The last of my two cents:
-You are fully capable of having an unmedicated birth.
-You are not less of a woman or mother if you don't.
-Empower yourself with knowledge.
-Surround yourself with people of a like mind.
-Eradicate Fear.
-Fear is the enemy, not the pain, not the doctors, not your husband:), not the hospital staff, not the epidural.

Good luck Mama, and Congratulations!

D.

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J.S.

answers from Richland on

Truthfully- you just have to decide, and then DO what you think is right for you. Of course there is always the possibility of a medical situation that has to be dealt with- but assuming there are no complications- read all you can and then you must decide for YOU. Don't let your husband or your mother or your... etc. pressure you into something you are not comfortable with. No matter how good their intentions are; only you are in your skin.

I see a lot of messages here telling you how great, even if it was painful, their drug free births were. That is wonderful for them! But be assured: You are no less of a Woman, or a bad Mother, if you want some help.
I was 25 when my first baby was born. I had taken classes and had high hopes of a drug free birth, but during what turned out to be a 30+ hour labor, I needed help. I was exhausted and falling apart emotionally. After the epidural, I was able to get some rest, so by the time I needed to push- I was ready.
My second baby came very fast- and I could not get an epidural! While I love my son unconditionally, all this time later, I still look back at his birth as a horrible, miserable, traumatic experience and I don't think or talk about it much.
By the time my third child was born- I did not want a repeat performance. I asked for the epidural early and it was a wonderful Delivery experience. I received a very low dose so I still had control and some sensation in my legs. I could feel what was happening but it was a much more manageable amount of pain. Like someone had turned down the volume! The birth still went fairly quick and our Midwife (in the hospital) actually let my husband deliver the Baby. Her birth was a joyous memory that I treasure.
I myself, never had any back pain from the injection site but since you have already had one epidural, you are familiar with that process.
God bless as you educate yourself to prepare for your next miracle!

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A.W.

answers from Seattle on

Hi, I had a natural child birth and it was fine, until they decided to give me pittocin (can't spell) to hurry up the process after 20hrs. After they gave me the pittocin it was very painful, for about 1 1/2 hours it was bad enough for me to want drugs, but it was too late. The baby hormones kicked in after and I can't really remember it. I didn't tear, so my recovery was easy once my daughter was out it was fine, no pain. I think every woman should get a chance to have a natural birth (if they choose). It was a great experience, I would recommend giving it a shot. Good Luck! A.

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C.W.

answers from Spokane on

I had both my girls naturally, not even an IV lock. I made this choice because I hate needles and I don't like the idea of not feeling half my body. I am so very glad I made the choice. Both labors were over 20 hours, long and painful. There were times where I wanted to get any drug possible but I had support that kept me where I wanted. I have to admit that it was painful but as soon as I was holding them I started to forget and as you heal and start raising your child it becomes even less of the memory. The pain was there but it was short lived and worth being able to expereince every bit of the labor.
I think the most important thing to remember is that every person is different. You are not a failure if you get and epidural and you are not a madar if you don't. People expereince life differently. Take whatever you read with a large grain of salt because only you know what is best for you. If you do decide to go natural the things that helped me the most was having people in the room who supported and understood what I wanted. Having someone there continually asking why you don't get the drugs will be hard and irritating. What I also did was make sure all the staff at the hospital had my birth plan and knew to not even offer an epidural, if they would have offered during transition I would have taken it. So I told them to not even offer and that made it easier and more relaxed. Hope you have a wonderful birth and no matter what you choose it will be what is right for you!

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T.S.

answers from Yakima on

H.~
I had an epidural, would recommend it to anyone who feels comfortable with it. It's not for every one. The epidural allowed me to concentrate on my pushing and breathing. The epidural did wear off before the birth and because my daughter was stuck on my pelvic bone and hitting it every time I pushed the pain became unbearable (I have a high pain tollerance) and it was like everything stopped until I recieved a second dose of epidural. I could still feel the birth and experience the joys of delivery. Our daughter was not affected in the least by the epidural, she had high apgar tests from birth and was an avid eater.
On the flip side, I have a couple of friend how have done natrual births and recommend doing that. One says that she prefers the natural method because she feels that the epidural slows the progress of labor.
I think that it is a preference that only you can make.
Enjoy being pregnant!

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J.S.

answers from Seattle on

H.,

I have had both.

With my first child, I wanted to go natural. I read up on it and mentally prepared myself. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I should have also chosen a doctor and a hospital that was prepared for a natural birth. Long story short I labored for 52 hours. I was fortunate enough to still be able to squat with help and push out my baby. If I had not been able to squat and push, my little one would have come C-section.

With my second child, I knew I wanted to go natural, so sought out a group of Midwives in Tacoma, Pearl Place. I had health complications, so I had to deliver at a hospital. I chose a hospital that would accept midwives. This hospital also had two birthing tubs. I knew that if possible, I wanted a water birth. I was fortunate to have become friends with a doula who offered her services free to friends. She gave me Ina May's guide to Childbirth and several other books I can't think of right now. (If you are interested, let me know, and I will ask her for titles.) I prepared for the hospital trip, by packing things that would make the room "safe" and "homey" - my favorite music, lavender essential oil and rose essential oil, baby items, and a crock pot and wash cloths for applying warm compresses. When the day came, it wasn't simple. My water broke, it took 24 hours for contractions to start, I waited to go to the hospital, I had to have pitocin, but on my terms (They only used it to start labor and took me off as soon as my body took over.), i had to wait for the birthing tub. Once I got in the birthing tub, I was in control. I moved how I wanted and my little one was born in about 5 hours. The pain at the end was painful, but it wasn't excruciating. I knew what to expect the second time around, and I had mentally prepared for it. I also had the support of my midwife, doula, and husband who knew what I wanted. Not once did someone suggest "interventions." If one could say a birth was fun that is what I would say about my birth.

I hope that your birth is all that you want it to be. I will willingly recommend my doula http://www.agentlerbirth.com/ and the midwives at Pearl Place in Tacoma http://pearlplacewomenscare.com/. Also feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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K.W.

answers from Seattle on

The birth of all four of my children was undeniably the most painful and the the most enjoyable moments of my life. My first two were 100% natural, they went too fast for any kind of intervention (start to finish less than 3hrs the first and 2hrs the second). The next two had to be induced- those were the only interventions that were used for them. Once the pitocin did its job- labor proceeded quickly both times. Out of the four deliveries, my first was the longest labor. I never had an epidural with any of mine. It is such a personal decision to use medications during birth.

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C.G.

answers from Portland on

Hi H.,

Congrats on your second child. I did a write-up on my blog about my experience in the delivery if you're interested in reading it, here's the link: (http://darrenandchristie.blogspot.com/2007/11/inappropria...)

Long story short, I took birthing classes and learned various relaxation techniques and was going to try to deliver without drugs but when our little guy didn't make an appearance, I got overly worried that he was going to end up being a 10lb baby that I'd have to have cut out. My doctor and I decided on inducing me. I was able to handle the pain for a while and then the contractions started at a rate and speed I could no longer handle. Within 15 minutes of receiving the epidural, the pain was reduced and I was very relieved and ready to continue the experience.

Good luck!

-C.

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B.L.

answers from Jacksonville on

I had 2 monstrously painful contractions (after they broke the water - that's when it really hurts) for my second child, and I was hollering for the epidural. Then I was able to sleep for a few hours overnight as labor progressed, so I had the energy to push when I was dilated enough. There's no glory in unnecessary pain. For my first child I had the epidural and it worked wonderfully for six hours, then wore off, so was re-done. But a hot spot was left the second time, and it hurt like hell, and I was so exhausted that I could hardly push, so spent three hours pushing.

I've known someone who learned to hypnotize herself for the delivery and it worked very well and was pain free for her.

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E.T.

answers from Corvallis on

Natural birth all the way. I had my first (and only probably) child at home. I had a birthing tub and that helped a ton. I had 26 hours of labor and 8 hours of pushing but all happened like it was supposed to and I was OK and the baby was OK, fabulous. She is a very healthy 6 month old now. For me, the tub I think was awesome, but slowed down labor. I eventually had her in my bed. It was great and very empowering and I had my best friend who is a lactation consultant and prenatal nurse there. She said that if we were in the hospital they would've not let me push that long and gave me a C-section...which is just crazy, because I needed that time and it all turned out fine. She had her hand next to her head and her shoulders were a little cockeyed...but like I said I was OK and the baby was Ok. All was well. I think you just have to have faith that this has been going on for CENTURIES and it will all work out ok. Also, no mama ever died of the pain...it might have been other things...but not the pain. You can do it! You already have so it will be that much easier! Your body has that memory. Good luck! Best wishes and blessings to your new child!

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K.P.

answers from Richland on

I have had four natural births, and I must say that natural birth is very empowering. Your body was designed to give birth and the pain has a purpose. My midwife assured me that every contraction is better than the last because I will never have to have that contraction again once it is gone, progress has been made, and I am that much closer to holding my precious baby. I have had two drastically different pain levels in my childbirth experience. I had a natural birth in the hospital the first time, and the other three were at home water births. The pain level with the water birth was about a tenth of the hospital birth. Not to mention, home birth was so much more intimate, relaxing, and convenient. The other thing that contributed to the pain difference, I think, is the herbs that I took with the last three pregnancies. There are herbs that condition the uteran muscles to do the work of childbirth, much like an exercise program conditions a weight lifter to do the work he does with his muscles. I have more info on this and a good source for purchasing these herbs if you are interested. The contractions felt like a tightening/cramping/wringing/twisting feeling in about a 6 inch section around my middle (front and back) like a wide belt kind of. At times while the baby was crowning, it felt like my hips might just come apart sideways, but this pressure just encouraged me to push and get that baby out. My last three labors have been close to 2 hours, and the pain so minor, that I wasn't sure if I was in real labor until my midwife said that I was almost complete, and could push that baby out if I was ready. The herbs just make the contractions more effective kind of like the muscles were practiced up and were more precise about the way they were working.

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C.D.

answers from Portland on

I had a natural birth with our three oldest because I had them at home----AWESOME EXPERIENCE!!!! With our fourth, I had to have a c-section because she was footling breach (her feet were down, opposed to butt or head). If it were even a century ago, we both would've died had I had her naturally. It still didn't help with my feelings of being a wimp, even though I know there was no other option.

There is pain going natural, but I would much prefer to go through that and have emotional reaction and bonding with my baby, than be drugged and have fragments of memory, like I had with my daughter. I made my husband talk about it alot afterward so I could at least remember the first time I got to see her and hold her at the hospital, but I much prefer being fully alert and aware of what is going on and how I feel seeing my baby for the first time and bonding with it.
Remember, pain is temporary, but the memory of your birth will last forever. YOU CAN DO IT!!!! : ) It makes you feel like a "real woman" to do it the natural way. : )
Best of Luck,
C.

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D.G.

answers from Anchorage on

my first was with an epidural..nice! no pain just pressure when he was being born. my second, i wanted an epidural, but she came to fast 5 hrs. the pain was awful! we didn't have any birth classes available...so we just did what worked. one thing i finally realized was the position i was in made the pain worse. i was sitting up...right where she was trying to get out! duh! but when i turned over and was on my knees leaning over the back of the bed, it was better. my body just took over and i was along for the ride. i don't know how it helped but i squeezed my hubby's fingers thru the contractions...maybe so he could feel my pain!?! =-) He'd also set the pace with "breathe...breathe" till it was too much for me, then i just let out some good yells! i never expected i would do that! =-) But with her being 5 hrs, it was over and done. if it had been 25 hrs like my first, i couldn't have handled it without the epidural!
good luck!

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A.S.

answers from Portland on

Hi H.,
I had a strange experience with the birth of my son (now 22.) I was given an epidural, but it only took on one side. That was a strange sensation. Then with my daughters birth (now 18), I waited too long and was unable to get an epidural. Now I'm not sure what your question is about. I was in labor with my son for 36 hours, and when the time came, he came flying out. I barely made it onto the deliverly bed and there he was! Now my daughter only took 8 hours from the start of labor to deliverly, but she didn't want to come out into the world. I had to push and push and the Dr. was going to used those "tongs" to grab her head and pull her out, but I didn't want a baby with "tong" marks on its head, so I worked harder to get her out, what a chore! My advice to you is go natural. Every child and birth experience is different. Your labor is going to be perty much just like your menstral peroids but harder and of course longer, one big cramp, but the rewards of giving birth are great, as you well already know.
Good luck to you and your family.

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C.R.

answers from Portland on

For me, I've had 3 kids, all two with epidural, one without because he came too fast. I couldn't imagine not having one. I've always gone in with the mindset to go natural, but the pain is so horrible, I can't stand it. I didn't enjoy my sons birth at all. I was so tense it made it harder for him to come out, and I couldn't bring myself to push because it hurt so bad. With my other two, one was even faced wrong, I could concentrate, push, and get excited with my husband. I've heard of the Bradley method, and heard great things about it. Either way you go, know that you are going to have a wonderful little baby afterward. Good luck!

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C.S.

answers from Portland on

I had two natural births at OHSU. The first one was really intense, but I learned a lot about my body during the process. My second child, I labored in the hot water birthing tub. I had very little pain!! When I did have a contraction I was able to keep it down in the pelvic floor where it could do its thing in opening things up. In between contractions I even took a little cat nap. I really ENJOYED this birth!! When I was ready to push, I got out of the water so I could squat and push. They did have to push on my tummy afterward, but the pain was not as great as my first birth and it is over soon.

If it is possible, I would give natural birth a try. When you have a natural birth YOU feel like a ROCK STAR because of your accomplishment. This caries into your life with a renewed confidence in yourself and your abilities. It really helps to put things in perspective.

That said, as was said by a past post, it is great to have a healthy baby how ever you can, and no guilt should be felt by your choice. Labors can get really long and hard and then you need some help. I wish you all the best!!

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J.T.

answers from Portland on

H., my kids were born without drugs, and I wouldn't do it differently. I truly loved the birth experience, though. I wanted to feel everything, which helped me get through the pain. I kept reminding myself just what I was doing. Also, I believe whole-heartedly that epidurals slow down the labor process. Think about it. It's much harder to push and to control the contractions with one's lower body numbed. I wish you a wonderful birth, regardless of how it's done.

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S.J.

answers from Portland on

Hi H., WOW have you gotten a lot of information to digest.I have not read the Bradley Method but I do understand that it is a great way to birth as long as you practice it before hand. Another book mentioned was Birthing From Within, I read that one when I was pregnant with my twins. And found it extremely influential in my decision.

As I was pregnant I came to the realization that I had two options, either a medicated c-section or a home natural birth. At the hospitals that I visited before deciding on a home birth said that I would have to have an epidural, which I didn't want. I have serious issues with people coming near my spinal cord! I did not want to deal with the side effects.

Due to Oregon law I had to have my twins at home. Both came out breech, and I had no pain. There was discomfort when the babies were coming down the birth canal. My son being the first had to pave the way and occasionally there was some burning as I pushed too hard for the canal to stretch.

Since I have had my babies I have been reading books by Ina May Gaskin, she has been a pioneer in bringing back midwifery. She started with no formal training and has birthed more babies than many OB/GYN's. Her philosophy is to keep yourself loose and in loving touch with your partner. She encourages women to kiss their husbands as the "rushes" (her term for contractions) come one using them as a form of energy rather than pain. I plan on using her techniques for my next birth which is going to be down the road in a couple of years. Ina May has found that the looser you are and the more you look at child birth as a natural thing and relax rather than trying to hold the pain, the less 'pain' and the more 'high' you get from the endorphins that are naturally occurring in child birth.

Statistics show that if you start with an epidural, the more likely you are to have further interventions. Women who get epidurals tend to have a harder time breastfeeding, as it does affect babies. You can verify this online through La Leche League and Dr. Sears's website. AS I have not had a hospital birth I can't verify this from my own personal experience, but I have heard of it from many of my friends who have had a hospital birth.

Ok I know I have written a book and I apologize for that. I hope you read it in it's entirety and can take something away from it. Each choice is individual and you need to look at whether or not you want to have drugs or not. It's not something that you can try or not try. You have to be wholly invested in giving birth naturally. If there is even the slightest bit of doubt then you will opt for the drugs.

Feel free to email me if you would like more support or information.

S.

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W.Y.

answers from Seattle on

I have given birth to two boys, neither of which did I have any pain meds.

My first son was born in a hospital in rural CO. I was induced with cervadil (he was 16 days past his "due date"). I received two doses of cervadil 12 hrs apart. After the second dose I felt crampy and uncomfortable, pressure building in the rectal area (sorry for the "graphic" detail, but before then I had never heard anyone say that I would feel the pressure "pain" in my bottom.) By 24 hrs after the first dose I was 3cm dialated and they broke my water. That is all they wrote! My labor became VERY intense. My contractions were every minute to minute and a half with no break inbetween. When I finally started pushing it was a huge relief. I loved it. I had a break inbetween the contractions and I knew the end was near. My son was born 4hrs and 20 mins after my water was broken. He was 8lbs, 4oz

My second son was born at home. He was also a fast birth. I had a slow moving mild early labor from 5am until around 3:30pm. My midwife recommended a homeopathic remedy to get my body and contractions all working in sync. That did it. With in minutes of taking the remedy I was in active labor. My son was born at 6:30pm at home. Again it was intense, but this time I was more able to follow my lead in what I felt would feel good and had read even more before this birth. Sitting on the toilet helped. That is where my water broke. Also low gutteral moans helped. I read in Ina May Gaskins newest book about using low gutteral sounds with your mouth loose and relaxed, throat open and relaxed to keep your "bottom relaxed and able to open." The pushing stage of this birth was definetly more intense and "owey" as I have put it. My son was pushed out in 18mins. Thats a lot of strethching very fast, not to mention that he was a 10lb, 1oz boy with a large head.

I know that everyone is different, and that no two births are the same. My advice it to keep reading. Listen to positive stories that build your comfidence in your body and inner wisdom to birth. Ian May's great to read. One other thing that I read that really helped me is that Fear and resistance to the birthing process is what causes pain.

Besides reading I also believe that you need to be supported by women that have given birth, and believe in natural birth, understand the process and can give you the encouragement that is needed at the intense stages. A doula is great help.

I wish you joy and confidence in this coming birth. What every you decide feel proud that you have educated yourself and made the decision for yourself.

Peace,
W.

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D.M.

answers from Spokane on

My first I had a walking epidural thats where they give you a shot in the back at the same place as an epidural but it wears off in about 3 hours and in the end it was natural no drugs in my system. My second birth was all natural labor was only 2 hours from start to delivary and in both cases I was ok their was pain (A LOT) but after everything was over i felt really strong and was ready to leave. I never got woosie or felt uncomfortable after words and the best part I didn't have to wait for them to unhook me!LOL but in all thats done if I ever have another child I would do it with out I like to feel whats happening to me all of it and I just never liked the idea that I would not be able to feel the pain. Oh and they gave me the walking epidural so i could sleep I had been in labor for over 24 hours and they said if I didn't get some rest I would not be able to have my baby naturally so I took it But I was very happy I was able to get up and walk when ever I felt I needed to. I was told I would not be able to if I had the regular epidural.
Good bless and I will keep you and your family in my prayers
Desiree

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W.L.

answers from Seattle on

Hi H.! First of all congratulations on the little baked bean! We are currently "baking" #3 and are due at the end of October. I have 2 boys. With my first I had an epi, and it wore off but couldn't be given any more meds because it was time to push, so I basically had him natural. My back hurt for about 3-4 months afterward from the epi though. With my 2nd I stayed home and paced until I couldn't take it anymore (I had all back labor with him) and went to the hospital and had him 45 minutes later, with absolutely no meds what so ever. I really really hope this time to go without meds again. I don't set myself up though, I just hope to do it that way. If for some reason I end up wanting meds then that's ok too. I wish you the speedyest healthiest recovery ever!
W.

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H.B.

answers from Seattle on

I have done both. I have a 12 year old and a 6 year old, who have the same father.
I had my 12 year old without an epidural, unwillingly. Having an epidural was always in my birth plan, but my birth went very fast and there was no time. Yes, it went quick, yes, I only pushed for 10 minutes, yes, everything went fine. But the pain of it was burned into my memory for years to the point where, I really didn't want to have anymore kids. I couldn't even look at a woman in a movie or T.V. show giving birth without KNOWING what it felt like. I don't want to be negitive, but you can take all of the Birthing classes you want, but once you are in labor, it all goes out the window.
I had my 6 year old obviously, 6 years later. He had medical issues to where we knew he had to be taken to Children's Hospital as soon as he was born. We knew well in advance. We also lived on an Island, and I was having the baby in Kirkland. Being that my birth was so quick the first time, I was induced so I wouldn't give birth on the ferry. I was induced, I had an epidural (yes, I told the Anethesiologist I loved him, with my husband standing right there), and for the exception of the stressful situation of the baby, it was wonderful. My husband told me that it went from High Stress to Low Stress as soon as my epidural kicked in. I told my husband had I had an epidural the first time, I wouldn't have waited so long to have our second, and would have have 10 babies that way. That was 1 day after I had him, and didn't have any pain killers afterwards.
Afterwards, for me, it was the same. I didn't feel the need to take any painkillers afterwards. If I was given something right after the birth, I really wasn't aware of it. I had both of my babies at night (7:12pm and 11:47 pm), but I really didn't sleep the night they were born. I don't sleep well when I am in strange places-when I stay at a hotel, I sleep better the second night than the first night. I had a prescription for Vicodin after I had my second baby, and I filled it when he was 3-4 days old because my hips hurt so bad. I carried both of my boys way inside of my back, so my hips hurt when they were going back to where they were. I would think the pain afterwards is going to be the same. I think your pain might be determined by how big the baby is. Both of my boys were 7 pounds. But it was the same for me.
Healing time, I believe everyone is different. I am one who bounces back, and has to be told to sit down. I healed the same with the epidural as when I didn't have it. I had the type of epidural where I had control over how much I wanted. I wanted to feel the contractions, a little, but I was still able to push (I pushed my 2nd son in 15-17 minutes). My doctor told me she had been practicing for 20 years, and had never seen anyone who pushed as well as I did, so I'm not a normal pusher. Most women push for 45 minutes or more. But, I was able to get out of bed less than an hour after I had my second son so I could say good bye to him before he went to Childrens (there was a doctor & a nurse there, I kicked my legs and wiggled my toes for them, but was in a wheelchair to go to Special Care Nursery).
I have had friends who had natural childbirths-2 separate friends both had 4 kids a piece, they never had an epidural. But they also have a high pain tolerance, seriously.
Everyone is different-if this is something that you want to try, go for it. But there is no shame in getting an epidural.

37 year old SAHM of 2 amazing boys ages 12 and 6. Married to loving, patient husband and a great dad for 17 years.

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J.R.

answers from Seattle on

I have four children, 3 with epidural, 1 without. The epidural takes the pain away completely, unless it starts to wear off at the end like it did with my first child. Then I felt some pain, but definitely less than natural childbirth. The second birth was nice and easy once I got the epidural and pretty much pain free. The third came too fast for an epidural. Because she came so quickly (she was born 50 minutes after we got to the hospital) it wasn't too bad. Yes, very painful, but over quickly so it was bearable. However, the afterbirth is less painful with an epidural as well. For the fourth child, the contractions were very painful and not getting close together quickly so I once again had an epidural. I'm all for epidurals unless you have a quick birth. Good luck with your decision!

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D.M.

answers from Anchorage on

My first one I had a prudendal (sp?) block. That was worthless and hurt more to have it than after it wore off. Very hard delivery. The other two I used Demerall (sp?). That made the pain tolerable enough I was able to comunicate. Beautiful babies!!

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J.B.

answers from Eugene on

Hi H.,
I had a drug-free birth with my daughter and it was definitely hard, but I was also completely unprepared, being single and not having anyone that I was comfortable with being a birth-partner with me. I was induced in the hospital, and felt like the whole thing was really like a very bad trip. I did have a bathtub, which helped immensely. I think that if I'd been more prepared (practicing breathing, the Bradley method, etc.) it would have been a lot easier for me, but the real reason that I'm even writing is that I pushed for three hours at the end, and she wasn't coming out but was stuck in the birth canal, so swallowed a bunch of meconium, wasn't breathing by the time she came out and had a deflated lung---six minutes, my brother said, before she cried---and I just have to wonder that under the circumstances, if I'd had an epidural if the whole process would have been a little easier and if it would have actually made it easier for her too, being stuck and all. If I do have another baby, I think I'll definitely find a birth partner and DEFINITELY practice, but in the end I was really glad I did it drug-free.

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J.O.

answers from Richland on

This is a good question, I think we all ask..
First, I would suggest just let things happen natural. I waited to decided until we got to the hospital...even with my doctor asking me appointment after appointment.
I was induced, typically a harder labor. My contractions at one time were just a few moments apart, and very strong. All and all, I really don't remember the pain. I did have my baby without an epidural...my end decision was I wanted control of my legs afterwards...but I really don't know what an epidural feels like.
ALL my friends went without...check with your birthing center..the Hot Tub is AwSoMe!!! I was only able to use it early in the day, but oh...it felt so good.
I did recieve some pain medication, but not being good with medical terms, I can't tell you what one(sorry:(
Everyone pregnancy is different, every single labor is different...just go with your gut, and talk to your doctor and nurses when you are in labor.
Good Luck...when you see your bundle of joy for the first time, all the pain will go away!!!

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A.J.

answers from Seattle on

I had all three kinds of birth with my 3 boys - the first was without drugs, the second was with an epidural, and the third was an emergency c-section. With my first son, the pressure and the pain was almost unbearable. I mean, it's not a long time that you have to wait, relatively speaking, before they are born, but it does wear you out. I was completely exhausted at the end, but recovery was so speedy. With the epidural, I had no pain at all and the only complaint I have was that I was not really able to feel myself pushing. Also, the drugs do tend to make the labor longer. With the c-section, I just had a harder recovery, but it was not bad, on the whole. I think you should try to do it without drugs, but let your doc and everyone know early on that you may switch to drugs if it becomes too much for you. Good luck and congratulations!!

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M.W.

answers from Portland on

H.~

I also had an epidural with my baby (my first). As with a lot of women, the pain I felt at the end has blurred in my memory quite a bit. But I do remember that I felt pain/a burning feeling when he was crowning. The epidural had mostly worn off by then so I could push effectively. But at that point, the pain is quick and necessary because it lets you know that you're progressing and nearing the end! The epidural was most helpful to me while I was laboring. It allowed me to rest (and I would have been able to sleep if I hadn't had on a blood pressure cuff going off every five minutes!), since I labored all through the night and into the next day. I have also considered laboring naturally with my next (future) baby, although when I remember the pain I felt, which had me in tears, before the epidural, I lean back towards the drugs! Good luck with your decision!

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L.P.

answers from Seattle on

Hi H.,
I have had two unmedicated births and I am a labor support doula. I loved both of my experiences. I would describe them as the most powerful and spiritual days of my life. I seem to be one of the lucky women who feels contractions as tightening and pressure but not pain. Make no mistake, labor was hard work and there were times I thought I wouldn't be able to do it, but I did. Our bodies are designed to deliver our babies but current media has convinced women today that we are somehow inadequate or incapable. Boo! Your body was made to do this work and I think it depends on how your body works during labor. For me it was about entering in with the hopes of an unmedicated birth and being prepared to go with the flow. There is an unmistakable feeling of triumph and strength in delivering your baby naturally, but my opinion of natural is that you have your baby in a way that let's you keep your power. So, you can have a c-section, epidural, etc as long as you felt safe and were part of the process. I hate the catch phrase, "healthy baby, healthy mom". Obviously we all hope for that, but I'd rather just assume that will be the case since most of the time it is. What is most important is that at the end you are still a whole person. Birth packs an emotional punch and, as you know from your first experience, you will take it with you for the rest of your life. Okay, I'm rambling. I'll try to get to the point.
My belief is that birth is a natural process and gives us the gift of starting slow, building slowly, gives us rest in between contractions and an amazing power to transcend to a higher level to bring life into the world. You can do it. I also believe birth should NEVER feel like suffering. Then you leave with big emotional and maybe physical scars. So, if it moves from hurting and hard to suffering, it's time to make a different choice. Trust your instincts. You will know what you need. If it sounds right when someone suggests it, then it is. If it doesn't, ask questions. If you are hoping to go to a hospital and avoid intervention, get a doula. You won't be sorry. Feel free to message me if you want more doula info. Birth is such a different experience for every woman and even from birth to birth for the same women, that I really think you'll have to make this choice based on how you feel. Keep in mind that the woman who has a negative birth will tell an average of 75 people while a woman with a good experience will tell approximately 10! I wish you all the best!
I forgot to tell you about my favorite book, it's called Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. It is wonderful!!
L

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J.W.

answers from Seattle on

I am pregnant with my second child now and I have enjoyed reading through the posts. With my son, we had planned to give birth in a birthing center with a midwife, totally natural. Well, let's just say that didn't end up happening!

My water broke at 32 weeks and I spent the next week in the hospital on bedrest, hooked up to drugs to stop the labor. These drugs gave me palpitations, my heartrate was constantly in the 130-140's, and I couldn't sleep.

When I finally went into labor, the contractions were quite obvious and painful for me, but for whatever reason they didn't pick them up on the monitor and no one believed me. They said the doctor would be by in the morning (it was midnight) to check on me. I was so frustrated and upset, and to add to this, I was trying to manage my pain quietly so as not to wake up my neighbor.

I had to call my husband to come back to the hospital to advocate for me. With everything that had gone on in the past week, I was exhausted and unable to cope any longer. I finally convinced them I was in labor and to move me to another room so I could walk, make noise, do what I needed to do. They put put in a room they used as a storage room!

To make a long story short, it was at this point that I realized that I wouldn't have the mental/emotional strength to get through my labor and I asked for an epidural. It was a hard decision for me and I was really disappointed, but I have to admit, given the circumstances, it was the right decision. I was finally able to relax and calm myself down. The pain of the contractions and the pushing was very tolerable. I still felt something, but certainly not everything. The one problem was that my son got stuck and started having fetal distress and my lack of sensation made it difficult for me to push correctly. The doctor kept giving me instructions, but I wasn't really able to follow her very well.

In the end, my labor and delivery were not at all how I would have liked them. I still feel a bit traumatized and sad that I had so little control. The good news is that we got our son out of it and he was worth all of it. I am being followed by a midwife this time and am hoping to try the birthing center, natural way this time. I hope that we both get what we want from our birth experiences. Good luck!

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B.A.

answers from Augusta on

I had two lovely home water births (natural, of course) with both of my daughters. The contractions were very very intense (I have fast babies so my labors were short - #2 was only 1 hour long - but super-intense), but much better when I just surrendered to them and didn't try to fight the contractions. It helped to imagine myself opening up and to think of it as just some really hard work I had to do before I could hold my baby.

Laboring in the warm water made it very easy to find more comfortable positions to labor and push in. I weighed less in the water, which was a blessing! The water also helped me relax and the contractions did not feel nearly as intense while under the water.

After my babies were born the pain was completely over. It stopped instantly. The feeling right after they came out was of euphoria and amazement at the tiny human being in my arms.

Best wishes with your birth! I highly recommend having a natural childbirth (in water if you can swing it). It's rough during, but when it's over, it's over!

~B.

E.B.

answers from Seattle on

I never felt a thing during labor once i had my epi. I am thankful for them but i say if you want to giv eanother way a shot do it some people can handle pain better i am a wienie.

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C.S.

answers from Portland on

I've had 2 children:
The first child I had an episiotomy (sp) at the very end so I received a shot of something like novocaine - something numbing at any rate. After the episi, I had one contraction and she was out! For me, the worst part of that labor was the time that it took to get the contractions 5 minutes apart (the time at which I was told to go to the hospital). I got to the hospital around 11pm and she was born at @ 3:30am. I took lamaze classes and really used the techniques - I also practiced them a few times a week the last month of pregnancy (maybe 10 minutes each practice).
The second child I had no meds at all. The last 1/2 hour was tough - my water broke and the doctor wasn't there yet and I wanted to push her out soooo bad but they had me wait. I only pushed for one contraction though. We left for the hospital with contractions 10 minutes apart (new doctor and I was not a first timer). Arrived at hospital at 3:45am born at 7:30am. I used the lamaze, but I'd also read Husband-coached childbirth and tried some of the techniques from there too (laboring on my side was my favorite position).

The thing I found most inspirational about non-medicated birth was a documentary I saw about a woman in a coma who was pregnant and when it came time for the baby to be born, the woman's body just did what it had to do. So what often stands in our way is our mind. That said, I reserved the right to opt for the epidural both times. After each birth I felt pretty good (better than I imagined that I would feel), in fact I was up and around very quickly and especially the second time around the swelling was very minimal.

If I have another I will definitely go without medication unless it is deemed medically necessary (emergency c-section, etc.).

Good luck and congrats! You can do it!

C.

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A.D.

answers from Portland on

I had a drug-free birth in a hospital with an OB attending, which is just about unheard of these days. I refused the saline IV lock on my hand, as I didn't want anything on me. Everything went great. It was my first baby, and I stayed at home as long as possible. Transition was the worst of it, but I have to tell you that being able to WALK it out was key for me. Also, the tub--oh, the tub! Heavenly.

That pain at the end, you mean the Ring of Fire? Hurt like cray. But it was over so fast. I did not think it was possible to push my kid's head out, but my Doula and friend who birthed naturally were utterly unfazed by what was going on, so I took the leap of faith and just jumped through the ring. Once that was over (probably 5-7 seconds? Can't recall), the rest was a cakewalk.

If you're thinking of going natural, go for it! Stay active during those contractions. Good luck.

Best,

AMD

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K.H.

answers from Seattle on

I had an epidural, at 7cm. I was in Heaven after that. Then I kept being woken up by the nurses to tell me that it was almost time, then that my doctor was in the shower, then that she was on her way, then that she was pulling into the parking garage. I thought every time, "Why are you WAKING ME UP to tell me this?" Then my doctor woke me up to say, "OMG there's the head, let's go." I thought, "What?? Already?! Honey, wake up, it's time!" (Threw a pillow at him and told him to get the camera.) I kicked everyone else out of the room. After three pushes...

And because of the epidural I felt NOTHING!! Mine was strong. I was being told when I was contracting and I had no idea that I was pushing, except that they were all saying, "Just like that, Great job, Keep going, etc!" After those three good pushes, there was trouble with my baby. His heartrate dropped with each push. My doctor told me if I didn't get is head out on the next push, she'd have to use the vacuum extractor because the cord was around his neck twice. The push failed, and the extractor popped off his head twice. But finally the head was out, and she had to cut the cord off his neck right then and there. A minute or so later he came out and my husband got to shorten the cord. He wasn't breathing and was grayish and limp but they laid him on me while my husband cut the cord. After that they took him over to get his little jump start, and he was absolutely fine after that!

I, on the other hand, had a 4th degree tear after blowing through the episiotomy... but healing from THAT was a breeze compared to the pain I still feel from the epidural injection site. And my son will be three in June. At the time, I was so happy to get the epidural because I didn't feel I'd make it to 10cm when I was in that much pain at 7. However, having absolutely ZERO SENSATION during the pushing made me feel like I wasn't really getting to experience my son's birth. But that's just me. With the next one, I hope to make it through labor a little tougher and feel like I am getting to feel my body birth my baby. I would like to watch actually with a mirror next time if I can.

So that is my experience. I still have external back pain and a little scar right where the epidural was. Oh, and I had a hard time staying still (WHILE CONTRACTING HARD!) for the anesthesiologist to get it done. It took almost two hours. At one point they thought i was at the point of delivery and had to check me because I may not have had time. But I did. It hurt (for me) so badly to get it, but to take away the pain for the next two hours or so was worth it in the moment. I may think otherwise next time around...

Kim

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A.D.

answers from Corvallis on

H.,
I have three children... first one was c-section and next two were home births. I think one of the most important things you can do is educate yourself on the effect that the pain drugs have on your baby. For almost every drug there is a counter drug that has to be administered. Your baby gets what you eat and they also get the drugs you choose for your comfort. The statistics for blue babies is significantly higher for certain kinds of pain meds. That is a lot of drugs in such a small human. Also many drugs actually slow labor and then need pitocin or other drugs to get it going again. Most Moms would gladly take a bullet or jump in front of a car to save their kids from pain or death... being a Mommy is a lot of pain, might as well start with the right kind of pain. :-) When you feel pain you are alive and as long as you are alive you have control. When your senses are dull or masked you can't tell if something is wrong. You sound like a strong person and I bet you can go natural with no problem.
My first birth was horrible and the hospital and staff had no respect for my birth plan. They glanced at it but really didn't bother trying to apply any of it and did what was easy for them. A druged woman does not make as much noise, does not want to get up and walk around or use the tub, they don't complain or really even ask why or what is being done. I can see why they push the pain meds so hard.
My home births had no drugs and no cutting. I labored in warm water which stopped any shaking and fatigue and though it was hard it seemed right, not unnatural to be feeling that way. The most painful part for me was the pushing.(the ring of fire) This is at the end and the final stretching occurs, wow did that hurt! The thing is though... that's it, you are in the home stretch, and your baby is almost here! It is amazing to hold a , seconds old, new born who is soooo alert that they turn their head at your hubby's voice and start nursing before the cord is even cut. I did have a small tair and for me that was almost worse having that sewn up than giving birth. Mostly cause I thought " hey the painful part is over right? what the heck are you doing?" Good thing the baby was nursing and distracting me. My second child's apgars(sp)were so high that my midwife said jokingly that she could not give a perfect 10 for both so she gave her first one a nine so we had somewhere to go. :-) My third was with a different midwife but same thing with an extreamly alert infant who took to nursing right away. Which helped both of us. I recovered more quickly after every suceeding home birth. If you do not have complications or are high risk this is the way to go. I have never heard of someone saying they regretted not having pain meds. You feel so vindicated at the end when you know you beat the pain for someone else's sake. It just makes your heart smile. I wish you the best,arm your self with knowledge and courage, surround yourself with wonderful people and have a memorable birth.
Prayers,
AD

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S.S.

answers from Seattle on

I too had an epidural with my first(although it didn't kick n until I started pushing) and went completely natural with my second. My delivery experience was much harder with my second - it was twice as long - 30 full hours of labor. But the labor, I felt was completely manageable without drugs. The actual delivery was excrutiating for me. I never felt that relief at pushing that you hear people talk about. But, having said that, if I were to do it again even with the 30 hours and unbearable pain at the end, I would still go natural. It was so nice to have the freedom of not being on the monitors and getting to labor in the bathtub. I felt much more in control and never had any fear as a result. I also used a midwife this time around and to me it made all the difference in the world.

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J.O.

answers from Spokane on

I went to Bradley classes and they were wonderful. However, I was induced due to preeclampsia so I had the epidural. When he was ready to come and let the epidural completely wear off so that I could experience it naturally. It was amazing.

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T.N.

answers from Portland on

Hi H.,

I had a "natural" birth, or what I like to refer to as prepared childbirth. I loved the experience! Because I was able to work with my contractions rather than having them numbed, I pushed her out in just a couple of pushes and she was awake and alert going and did not go through the drowsy post epidural time. I would caution you that if you are going to have your second baby at St. Vincent's to request a nurse who is comfortable offering non-medical support to the fullest. Best of luck to you and please come back and share your decision and experience with us. BTW Kaiser Sunnyside, though further tends to have my clients rejoicing in their decision to use that hospital. Of course you also have other options for birth if you are going to go with a natural birth such as home birth, and birthing centers, neither which support the use of an epidural. If you have any further questions you can always send me a private message. Lastly, I have never had a client before that went natural and in the end said "Gee I wish I would have had the epidural." Also, those who have had a baby both ways have said in the end they would go natural again. Of course contractions are intense, but not unbearable with proper preparation.

Congratulations!
T. Nelson CD

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C.W.

answers from Seattle on

Hi H.,

I've heard others, even other responders here to your question, describe the euphoria that comes at the end of a natural birth. I've heard doctors describe it too, that they can feel it in the mom and baby when it can be done this (not that it always goes as planned by any means). I did Bradley training too after my first, but ended up with a c-section because she was stuck in me after 3-4 hours of pushing and no baby's head showing...she was stuck on my pelvic bone or something. Then I got rather pused into a second c from doctors the second time, but I did a trial of labor, and again a problem with descending. I had huge babies and a small birth canal. Anyway, it's not in the cards for me to have that euphoric time after birth (but at least I was extremely happy), but if you can do it, go for it. I think it sounds wonderful. Enjoy.

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T.A.

answers from Seattle on

My advice is to be open to anything that comes up so you're not disappointed if your plans change.

I went into my first birth expecting everything to be wonderful, fast, and drug free. I had to be induced because my water broke, and no one told me that contractions on pitocin are worse than normal ones, so I was toughing it out for 10 hours before I "gave up". I was terribly disappointed thinking that I couldn't handle it and had to have drugs in my baby's system. I was slow to dilate but when it came time to push I was so tired from the pre-epidural labor that I couldn't. They were talking c-section while I napped for an hour, when I woke up I pushed her out within a half hour!

Second birth I found out she was breech so I had to schedule a c-section. I again felt disappointed but in the end that's just how it worked out and I actually preferred it to over 24 hours of labor!

You will know what is best for you and just try not to regret anything by being open to everything and anything, whatever brings your precious bundle of joy into the world is how it's meant to be! Going drug free is ideal and I admire and envy those who do, but not being able to do so doesn't make you any less of a mother or not as strong. You won't know how it feels until you try it without, and if you can handle it, then go for it! Like others have said, you won't regret having no intervention so start without and see how it goes.

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A.P.

answers from Portland on

I had home births with all 3 of my girls and was very happy with the natural experience. With my first child there was a small period of time that the pain was very strong, but I also take into account that it was my first birth and everything feels more intense with the first one as you do not really know what to expect and that is somewhat intimidating.
My second child I had some back labor with, but had a wonderful support system particularly at the end - I really did not feel much pain at all with pushing as my perinuem was well supported. She was 9 lbs.4 oz and I had no tears or anything.(I am only 5'2' 105 lbs. pre-pregnancy)
With my third child the labor was very intense (2 1/2 hrs.)
but was not painful and pushing was very easy with her. With my friends that have tried both ways, I have always heard that they preferred the natural method, more than anything because of having more control. I believe that level of pain tolerance comes into play, but more than anything it is your mindset on the experience as a whole. Our society has done a wonderful job of intensifying in the minds of woman the most painful experience for a woman is childbirth.
I hope whatever you choose is a wonderful experience for both you and your baby. And I wish you both health.

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A.A.

answers from Portland on

You may want to pick up Dr. Sears' book on giving birth. It is great and his wife has had a bunch of kids and experienced lots of different types of births...

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M.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

I have had both of my children Natural without an epidural. And I have to say personally that the beginning hours of labor before 7 cm are nothing really pain wise. But the last three cm are hard very painful but nothing the body can't handle. I went into labor knowing and reminding myself that the last part of labor after transition will NOT last forever and the pain will go away. Really it is such a short amount of time out of you life in the pain it is so worth it. And I just can't describe how great the feeling is after the baby is born with no pain medicine! To go front such pain to no pain at all is amazing! Now my second child was a little harder they did have to give me a little pitocine (spelling?) near the end to boost contractions again because they had stopped. The reason they believe for the contractions to stop was because of his shoulders (he got stuck coming out) were so big. Now having a child get stuck without pain meds is agonizing but I was still able to get him out without any help!

I personally and I know that some women will disagree and this is primarily because of my personal experience but I would suggest getting an Epesiotomy I did with my first (not my choice and was actually angry when I found out I had gotten one) But you really never know what is going to happen during labor and I didn't have one the second time around and because of his shoulders being stuck and no epesiotomy lets just say my son is turning 1 in a few days and I am still healing from my tears!!!

So I would say go for it! Really the pain only last for a short time and it is over! But remember you know your body the best and if you don't feel you can do it without thats o.k.
Best of luck!

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N.F.

answers from Portland on

I have one child and I had natural child birth..When I went in to have her I planned on going as long as I could without resorting to an epidural.I slowly began to have cramps,similar to strong period cramps.As they grew stronger I noticed there was time in between to catch your breathe.(They were manageable,not unbearable)
I used one technique I learnt in my childbirth class that I think got me threw it.I got in the shower!!! I had a warm shower and my husband gently rubbbed my belly slowly.This lasted an hour before the real labor began!
I think nature kicks in and cuts off all senses except the push part.
I would recommend natural to anyone willing to"hang in there".
I felt great after it was all over and needed no recoup time.
Good luck on whatever choice you make,and congratulations

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A.S.

answers from Richland on

Hi H.,
I went natural and at home with my first two kids, but with my third I went to the hospital and had to have the epidural because they had to remove him surgically. I had no problem with getting the epidural like I thought I would, but I must say I enjoyed the birth of my first two because I could feel all that was going on and I really don't remember the pain all that much, my body just took it, and I believe that being in the comfort of my own home and bed was another big help. I've encouraged lots of my friends and family members to go natural, I didn't like having doctors get in the way so much.

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K.E.

answers from Seattle on

I had natural childbirth for all three labors and the least painful was the one home birth. I think because the environment is so much more relaxing and I'm in my control of my environment. The pushing with my biggest baby was painful right at the very end but not unbearable. I also used a birthing tub which helped a lot! I recommend the book Birthing From Within about feeling empowered as a birthing woman. Its the best book on pregnancy and birth that I've read. I also was able the 3rd time to sink into my contractions and not resist them. Just trusting that each one was supporting my baby to come out and that if I aligned myself with them I could help them to open me up. It worked like a charm. Just know that whatever you do its okay, there is no failure in birth we all just do the best we can.

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M.M.

answers from Seattle on

Hi H.,

I have trained as a doula (there was a great article in last weekend's Sun. Seattle paper about Penny Simkin, the "grandmother" of all the doulas and an amazing childbirth educator). The article reminded me of several things that I feel may be pertinant to your question. One: that our birth experiences are something that we remember for the rest of our lives and that can have a strong influence on us in terms of it being empowering and showing us how strong and capable we are or, conversely that it can be disempowering. Two: that we can't control birth and that as a culture we are so trained to believe that we CAN and should control everything. It takes a different kind of strength and tapping into our female power, listening, trusting the process and the baby and surrendering. (I could write all day about this!) Third: that birth experiences and outcomes are measurably and dramatically affected (positively!) by having a doula.

I had two miscarriages and by the time I was pregnant with my daughter (now 7 1/2) I was SO wanting to go through the birth experience with her and did a lot of relaxation/ visualization/ hypnobirthing types of things. (I've had a lot of these types of things in my trainings/experiences with movement/yoga etc. so it was a natural extension for me). Long story very short, my labor started 10 days early and VERY strong. I was pretty freaked out by how intense it was in the very beginning (my water broke and I was having 1 min. contractions 2 min. apart) and wondered if I was going to be able to handle this after all! My labor ended up getting easier as time went on as I was able to settle into it-the beginning was pretty chaotic because we weren't expecting it yet, weren't ready and since we were having a home birth (or so we thought!) there was a lot going on. I ended up finally getting into my deeply relaxed state that helped me through 15 hrs. of labor at home. At 8-9 cm. we found out she was breech and ended up at the hospital and with a C-section. Although it was difficult at the time, in retrospect I'm glad I got to go through my labor at home as I'd so much wanted to, I'm glad I didn't know she was breech ahead of time (it was the first time in 25 yrs. my midwives had missed a breech-the OB said it happens esp. w/ first time mothers w/ strong abdominals...). I'm glad we had the help and support of the hospital team and that we were empowered to make decisions. My daughter was so calm after her birth, she didn't cry until 2 days later!

The other thought I have is about how medical interventions are considered so normal these days (even elected C section without a medical reason!) and people aren't aware that they have risks associated with them. Epidural can slow or stall the birth, creating the need for further interventions. There are numerous risks for both the baby and the mother.

As you can tell, I'm rather passionate about this subject! I would recommend looking into hypnobirthing, checking out the possibility of a doula, reading "Mothering the Mother" by Penny Simkin, also "Pregnancy, CHildbirth, and the Newborn". The other thing is to recognize how much fear our culture has around childbirth and know that you are a strong powerful woman and your body knows what to do! All the best to you in whatever you choose! May you have a wonderful birth experience and all the best with your baby!!!

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L.P.

answers from Portland on

To help inform your decision I would reccomend reading "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth". What it came down to for me was the health effects of the drugs on the baby rather than the amount of pain I might have.

Whether you have drugs or not, one of the best things you can do is invest in a doula. The presence of a doula can do so much; for me having her there lessened my fear which made the perception of pain less. If you need doula resources, please feel free to contact me.

For the record, I gave birth without drugs, despite having to be induced for medical reasons.

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E.L.

answers from Seattle on

I've only read a few (good luck reading all of them!) and I have a bit of advice: Do perineum stretches. Either your husband can help with it, or you can do it on your own. I did it with my first and did not tear hardly at all. No tears with my second. I think that the worst thing to heal from is stitches! They're horrible. There was an incredible difference from first to second birth. I only had like two stitches, but it was SO uncomfortable and painful. I felt great after my second baby, in comparison. Stretching the perineum really does help. If your birthing books don't cover it, then look it up online.

I ended up with an epidural for both. Induction for the first, really bad sciatica for the second. (My legs were shaking and my feet felt like they were being ripped because of the sciatica.) Otherwise, the contractions were manageable. I definitely recommend taking a great birthing class (not one that just tours the hospital and tells you what an epidural is like). Most of all, relax and take it as it comes.

Good luck!

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J.L.

answers from Seattle on

I had a natural birth with my daughter. Aside from delivering 7 weeks early, I would describe my experience as "textbook". My water broke and contractions started a couple of hours later -- they continued on and off for the next couple of days while I got steroid shots in the hospital. While the contractions were painful, they were absolutely tolerable.

Not being on any pain medication, I was able to really noticed when I went from one stage of labor to the next. I was able to walk around, take a shower and enjoy talking with my husband and nurse as things progressed. Contractions got to the point where I had to lay down. As they intensified, I turned inward to focus on dealing with the pain. The most helpful part of the labor was the coaching I recieved from my nurse. She told me what to expect, how to breath, and how to relax my pelvic muscles so that my contractions could do their job. Fucusing on relaxing my muscles was difficult, but actually eased things quite a bit. When in pain, it is our natural tendency to tense (not what you want to do during labor). Contractions got so intense that I wasn't able to speak or pay attention to what was going on in the room. There were a ton of people in the room because my daughter was to be rushed to the NICU as soon as she was born. I had no idea what was going on aside from what my body was doing.

At one point I did ask for pain medication. So, they checked my dilation and sure enough, just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, it was time to push. Pushing was the easy part -- my daughter was born 18 minutes later. I think the nicest part about not being numbed was that I could feel when it was right to push and my efforts worked best with the contractions to push her out.

Would I go natural again? YES. However, I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and aside from delivering early, I had ZERO complications. I also believe that a woman's body was designed to deliver babies and that feeling the work my body is doing is an important part of the experience.

As other people have mentioned, go ahead with preparing a birth plan, but be prepared for anything to happen. My doctor had a pretty good perspective: while she wanted to respect my wishes and would do what she could to accommodate, her job was to make sure mom and baby made it through safe and sound. If that means a c-section and/or epidural, then that's what needs to happen. Just keep an open mind.

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M.S.

answers from Spokane on

My first child was with no drugs, and she came fast 8 hours start to holding her. It wasn't painful at all, didn't feel great, but really was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.
So child number two was with no drugs too, and at the end last 20mins man it hurt, but nothing I couldn't handle.. it wasn't out of control pain.. and he came in a 2 hours from start to holding him...
Now number 3, I had drugs to start my labor, but no pain meds, and after 16 hours of labor, I wanted something, but it was time to push, and he was out in 5 mins... Even tho it was painful, I was able to handle it, even tho at the end I was so glad that I had stayed with going with no drugs...
Now with number 4 I had an epidural... for two reason..
one... I had been very sick for two weeks, and two nights before I gave birth I passed kidney stones for 6 hours... I have afraid that if I tried to go with no drugs and that if it went on for 16 or more hours that I wouldn't be able to push the baby out and then get into trouble...
I did wait 4 hours before the pain was just to much for me to take, not so much not be able to handle, but I had already knew that I wanted to go a little less painful birth this time. I will say it was NICE!!!!! At the end it still hurt some, and I could still feel some pain, but it was so much better than my 3rd birth, and I felt SO much better after with the epidural than I ever had with any of the other births.. I really felt like I hadn't even given birth I wasn't sore, and no pain even tho I did tear...

I would say try it no drugs, it really is good for the baby and for you, but don't think that you can't have something if you get to that point... it's OK to have something...

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S.S.

answers from Portland on

I went completely natural for a 23 hour labor, almost all of it back labor. It was 9 months ago, but I remember it very clearly and it was very painful. And the crowning was very painful. But it was all manageable, and the feeling that I had afterward was so worth the pain. I would do it again in a minute, because I felt such clear joy and was so present after she came. It was definitely the most painful thing I have ever experienced, but also the most beautiful and natural and fulfilling. And people are right when they say they don't give you a medal for going natural- they don't- but what you get is so much more valuable- knowing you faced your fear and did what was best for you, your body, and your baby. You will not regret it. Good luck.

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S.D.

answers from Corvallis on

Hi H.,
I had three babies naturally, two in water. I don't think I have a particularly high pain tolerance. I found that my first birth was the most 'painful' but mostly because I was working too hard before I needed to. Whenever I would lie down on the bed, the pain would be intense, so I walked and moved around, got in and out of the tub. I had a doula, and she was my cheerleader, and also suggested many of these things. I think it was painful because I started pushing way too early.
But, the pain wasn't really all that much. Being in water really made a difference. I wanted to feel labor, so I wasn't interested in an epidural, and if I could move and moan and do what I wanted to deal with the sensations, they were not painful. My son was born in the water, and I think that really helped make crowning easier. After the birth, there was NO PAIN. Simply euphoria. And, within a day I had completely forgotten that there was any pain, ever.
I got some advice from my other mother friends before my second baby, and that was to wait until I felt the urge to push within my body, not to do it before, or listen to anyone else, that way I would not be working too hard too soon. It worked. It was amazing. I gave birth to my daugter on my hands and knees. It was work, of course, but I don't remember it as pain, because there wasn't that kind of urgency on my part to push, it's such a big part of all the births we see on tv, etc. She wriggled out and since then I have recommended hands and knees highly!!
My third child, also a daughter was born in the water and My whole active labor was pretty short. Again, I remember it being hard work, and at sometimes wanting to get away from the sensations becuase they were so intense, but coming out on the other side of that feeling, and pushing her out in the water, she was so peaceful and so was I, it was amazing.
The pain afterwards for each of the births was nearly nothing. I think birthing in a position other than flat on my back with my legs spread wide apart was extremely helpful in not tearing. I also did yoga throughout and in between my pregnancies, and although I forget about that, it probably helped a lot.
I think changing my mindset--and getting reminders to do so from my doula, husband and midwife, about the pain, that it is a useful, interesting sensation that takes my full attention, helped a lot. It works for some people! I also recommend reading Ina May Gaskin's books for lots of positive birth stories. We took bradley classes, too.
May you have a beautiful birth!

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K.D.

answers from Portland on

I took Bradley method classes and was really hoping to have a natural birth. However, with gestational diabetes complications I had to be induced. I made it to 7 cm without the epidural, but the pain was so much that both the baby and I were in great distress! After I got the epidural everything moved along much better, and although I was greatly disappointed that I'd had to get it, it also saved me from a c-section! If I were to have another child I would definitely try for natural birth again, everyone I know had a much easier time of it the second time around. Having the proper support and alternative methods for dealing with the pain (being able to move around, etc.) is really important. Good luck whatever you choose!

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C.W.

answers from Seattle on

H.,

I birthed my first child, my son, naturally at a birthing center. I had back labor and it was definitely painful but the experience is one I will never regret and I plan to do it the same way next time. I loved the fact that I got to be in control of my birth. The room was like a very comfortable hotel room. I had candles and I also labored in water. I had planned to birth in water but because I had back labor, my midwives suggested a side-lying position on the bed to get the baby down. There was no poking or prodding...my midwives let me rest in between contractions. There was just dim lights, soft music, wonderful scents, etc. Honestly, I don't even remember much later on because as the contractions got more painful and came quicker my mind just kind of shut down. All I could think about was the next contraction and resting. But, when it came time to push, I was fully aware of everything and was able to experience it all. I actually birthed on a birthing stool (wonderful device, kind of like a toilet except with the bottom cut out so the baby can be caught). It was great! Gravity helped me get my son out. I could see him coming out too (the midwives held a mirror up). It was amazing and beautiful. Yes, it was painful but because my endorphin levels were really high to match the intense pain I was feeling, by the time the baby was out and there was no pain anymore, I felt higher than a kite and with a beautiful new baby in my arms. It felt truly wonderful and I have a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Most people I told that I was having the baby naturally told me I couldn't do it and thought I was crazy. Well...now I know that they were wrong. I could do it. Anyone can. Women for thousands of years had babies without medications. And I also love the fact that my little boy came into this world pure and without medication. He was alert and wide-eyed when he was born. I truly encourage you to do your birth naturally. Don't be afraid of the pain because it is so short lived and then you will have a beautiful baby in your arms before you know it.

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A.B.

answers from Anchorage on

Pick up a book on Hypnobirthing. I prefered it to the Bradley Method classes I took for my first daughter. I used the hypnobirthing methods during the labor of my second daughter and didn't even realize the contractions were that bad until I accidentally delivered her at home into my husband's arms. Oops! Needless to say it was a 'natural' birth.

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M.Q.

answers from Portland on

I had an epideral with all three of my boys and it was great! Our last one was born at St. V's and they did something different that I didn't have done with my first two in California. They reduce the epidural towards the end, before pushing and I was able to feel the baby come out! That was a first for me and it was awesome! I like having the epideral because I feel like I have more energy to push when I need to. I've had so many friends that did not have an epideral and they said they were so exhausted from all the hours of labor that it was so hard for them to push when the time came. I know many, many people are again epiderals but I can't handle pain, I actually get nauseous and pass out sometimes!

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A.R.

answers from Portland on

Hi :) All I can do is tell you my experiences. I had to be induced both times, because they were so late. My first time everything went pretty well. Had trouble getting the contractions to come at a normal rate, so she kept pushing more pitocin. I had back labor, and was trying to avoid pain meds, so my midwife gave me four injections of sterile water in my lower back. Umm, you should never do this, okay? It just felt like getting 4 big bee stings and it didn't relieve the pain AT ALL. So when I hit 7 centimeters I told her I had to have something, so she gave me a small amount of Nubain. And that did the trick. Helped me relax enough that from that point on it only took maybe an hour. About 20 minutes of pushing and he was here, and healthy :)
With my second son things were a little harder. I should've realized during labor that he was coming down the wrong way {forgot the terminology}, but I didn't, and I had severe back labor. I tried the birthing tub and everything... it didn't help. Finally I gave in and had some Nubain, but unfortunately it didn't have any effect AT ALL. So anyway, long story short I made it and so did he lol Even though he DID turn the right way as he was being born, thus leaving what my midwife called a 'skidmark'. That felt really strange!! But after a few weeks everything was fairly normal down there, and the pain of childbirth was forgotten lol Kind of. But all I can say is I was glad not to have the epidural. I like the freedom of movement {even being induced you can have a wireless monitor}. I remember the sensation of my first son being born, and am so thankful that I got to feel it!! The second one wasn't the greatest 'sensations' but it was SO powerful, that I wouldn't change it :) I never had the urge to push with my first, so the difference there was marked. From start to finish my labors were 8-9 hours. Anyway, enough blathering :) Hope this helped a little lol
A.

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D.D.

answers from Spokane on

I am glad to say I was drug free, thank God, for all 4 of my pregnancies. My children are all 6 years apart. You never forget the experiences.The pain during--- comes in motions and--- it comes full force force at the end. Just knowing the amazing little person that is about to arrive, can help, if you just stay focussed. I still remember the ups and downs of it all. I have to say it is worth it to be able to fully experience every moment. It is a gift from God to carry these beautiful blessings and be the only human being to birth each of our babes. Only you will know what is right for you. Being prepared is a good idea. It's all in the attitude. Learn relaxing techniques, focus on the goal ahead, pray, and have comforting coaches that you trust and want with you.
Good luck and God bless! :)

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

Hi H.

Congrats! Up until my sister's experience I thought of going natural. My sister had a very hard experience with natural birth. She was in so much pain exhausted and frustrated because nothing was subsiding the pain. I even cried for her. After an all day/night experience she ended up with an epideral. I know so many people who have had that same experience.

I have had two wonderful birthing experiences with an epidural and wouldn't do it any other way. I had my favorite music playing in the background and had a smile on my face when I saw the head peaking out. It made me push even harder and I never had an ounce of pain (other than a few contractions/epidural shot). It was an amazing experience!

It's your experience so I wouldn't discourage it. I don't think either way makes you a better person/mother... whatever you choose do it for you! Just make sure you know that if you can't take the pain at a certain level it might be too late for an epidural. You might want them to alert you at the time so you keep that option available to you. Just pray when it's tough...Good luck! MP

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K.R.

answers from Portland on

I had an epi both times because my back pain was unbearable. I should mention that I have a long history of back pain prior to all pregnancies. I just had my second baby in January and it went so fast...but I had one anyway. My contractions were so long and intense...way longer than a minute and only a minute apart. Do what you feel is best for you.

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A.B.

answers from Portland on

i had an epidural with my first child and went natural with my second. i deffinatly enjoyed my second birth experience ten-fold compared to my first. i had a midwife and birthed at home the second time around as well. if you decide to go natural i recommend reading a book called, "spiritual midwifery." it's a little hoaky since most of the stories are from the "peace and love" era...but the way the women redefined what is typically considered "pain" into something more constructive was helpful for me during my experience.

if you have any questions we could talk more. ###-###-####.

good luck!
A.

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K.L.

answers from Portland on

I have two children. My first I got an epidural, but my doctor allowed it to wear off after about a half hour of my two hours of pushing and with my second I had a epidural for the whole thing. A good friend of mine has not had an epidural for either of her children and has gone through the bradely birthing classes for both of them. I have had wonderful memories about my birthing processes and all she can ever talk about is how awful it was. That has led me to decide that on future children I will not go naturally, due to the fact that I don't want to remember such a wonderful thing in a bad way.

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S.H.

answers from Portland on

Hi H.,

Something to keep in mind...I had planned to do a natural birth and did not have an epidural (a big mistake!). My baby's heart rate dropped and I had to have an emergency C section. Because I had not had an epidural I had to have general anethesia and missed the entire birth. That result is something that had not occurred to me. If you have an epidural, then, even if you need a C section, you will still be awake and know when you have given birth and meet your baby and see the first bath, etc. Also because I had to have a general, my husband was not allowed in. It was a big price to pay that I regret!

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A.L.

answers from Portland on

I have had 3 children, the 1st (now 22yo)I had a spinal block, I had jello legs for 2 days and walked like frankenstine for 2 weeks not a good experience.
my other 2 (now 17 & 12) I had all natural the only pain meds was the local for an epiesiotomy, I was up and walking with no problems in no time or pain. I vote natural all the way!

A little about me I'm 42yo teachers aide from salem

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S.M.

answers from Seattle on

I had an epidural and the pain at the end was minimal. What was most uncomfortable for me was the pressure. I would not call it extreamly painfull but I had a 9lb 4oz baby so no wonder the pressure was uncomfortable. I am extreamly glad I had an epidural because I pushed for three hours and he would not come out so they cut me and vacuumed him out. Cant imagine doing that natural!:)

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S.M.

answers from Portland on

I congratulate you on researching your options!!! As a totally biased opinion, natural is definately better. Little to women know, an epidural DOES NOT alleviate the pain, and it takes away so much. Sometimes, due to intervention (drugs) MORE intervention is then needed. The Bradley way helps you recognize your bodys processes and just lets it do its thing, and with training, you can go along with it. Im a Bradley instructor on the West side of Portland and would love to instruct you and your husband/partner on the whole thing!! I get so passionate about it because its SO good for baby!!!...and mama...a real quick recovery! My email address is [email protected]____.com if you have any questions. If driving to the West side is inconvenient for you, I might be able to help you find one on the East side or elsewhere! OOHH Good Luck!!!
I had my three kids naturally....its the way to go!!!

G.M.

answers from Seattle on

I was two days late and my water level was down, so I was induced. The first 7.5 hours were fine - until my water broke. The pitocin made my body's natural contractions much stronger (and it was back labor), and my body wasn't having enough time to relax between contractions, so I was getting really worn out, really fast. I hadn't intended to use an epidural, but I did. (I had wanted the freedom of using the tub or walking, but they used an intra-uterine device to monitor the baby after my water broke, so I couldn't do that anyway. I was stuck within three feet of the bed.) They turned down the epidural so that I could push - as I was changing positions, my left sides feeling came back, so it felt strange - I could see how it felt to be medication free, but half of me still couldn't feel! However, I was pushing for 1.5 hours before he came out. 25 hours from induction to birth.

I'd have gone completely naturally if I could have. I didn't have the option, with the induction, and I believe I would have been FINE without pain medication had I gone naturally.

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J.K.

answers from Seattle on

I have had one child by way of unmedicated, vaginal birth at a non-hospital birth center with a midwife. I am due with my second baby in a week and am going the same route. My first birth came after 22 hours of intense labor but I still wouldn't change a thing. I am SO GRATEFUL I chose not to be close to intervention (hospital) and chose to be unmedicated. Giving birth was the hardest thing I've ever done and I was blessed to have experienced it fully and completely. I strongly recommend you read the book "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by world renowned midwife Ina May Gaskin. It's a great compilation of empowering birth stories and some basic, easy to read information on what we go through physiologically during labor and birth. I've read it cover to cover twice. Blessings to you in whatever you decide to do!

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T.W.

answers from Spokane on

Hey there H.,
I just had my little girl three months ago so it's still fresh in my memory. I was hooked up to Pitocin for about 36 hours, six hours with my water broke. After those six hours of no drugs I asked the nurse to check my progress. I was only a small three (I was a loose two when I was hooked up to the Pitocin in the beginning). I was in bad pain so I asked for the epidural (I was trying to use the Bradly method, oh well) and three hours later I was dialated fully. Then I only pushed for an hour. We had a little "oopsie" with my epidural (I had a bad contraction as she was inserting the cathoder into my spine) and only one side of me was numb. The pain on my left side (the not numb side) wasn't bad at all, just a slight pinching sensation. Although when they went to stitch the tear I called out some not nice things:) If I have another one, I am going to try to use the Bradly method again. Hope this helps. And good luck!! (Remember it's a wonderful experience even if you do get the epidural. The idea is for you to enjoy the experience, not look back and cringe.) Feel free to cantact me if you have any more questions! (ps. I didn't take any ibu or tylenol after her birth, just a few diapers packed with ice and witch hazel pads!)

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T.G.

answers from Portland on

I have four kids and have had babies both ways. My first was natural and the pain was very intense. I had all back labor with her. Ouch! I pushed with her for almost an hour and a half and had a huge appesiotomy(sp?). My second was with an epidural and I loved it. I only had to push for 4 minutes with her and my tearing was minimal. The only cruddy thing was that I got really nauseated after I delivered and really itchy all over my body. I was given a shot of benadryl and told that both of these were symptems from the epidural. My third I had two failed epidurals. Nothing would take that day. Don't ask me why. Again the pain was intense, but because I wasn't expecting to have to feel it, I think it seemed more intense than my first time with no epidural.I only pushed for 20 min. with him. Healing was a breeze. With my fourth I had an epidural and it was amazing. I only pushed for a few minutes and didn't tear at all.No nausea or itching either. If I had my way I would do an epidural with each one. It makes it so you can relax and enjoy the experience. Either way though, the point is to have a healthy baby. Good luck!

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J.G.

answers from Eugene on

GAVE BIRTH WITH AND WITHOUT EPIDURAL, NATURAL IS THE BEST!!
Hi there, I'm the mother of two boys, ages 7 & 13 and I remeber giving birth to both like it was yesterday. With my first I had an epidural that worked for 2 hours, then one side my body regained full feeling while the other side was still numb! They fiddled around with it and got it working again, but I couldn't feel to push, so I think I had to work 10 times as hard to push him out, they ended up using the suction on his head and he had a cone head for a few days. After labor when the epidural wore off I hit a wall of pain and thought they would offer me something when it was "time" so I didn't ask for anything and suffered for hours!! With my second I again tried the epidural not being a fan of pain, and it lasted about 2 hours again and wore completely off, they tried to get it to work with no success, so they removed it and put it in a different spot, this on lasted 30 minutes and wore completely off, and I said forget it, it was to traumatic having them messing with that needle in my spine. I must say I actually liked natural child birth BETTER, I told the Dr. when I needed to push, and I had complete control of my muscles so I was able to push him out faster, and because I felt the pain throughout I didn't have that tremendous pain like when the epidural wore off, it was actually a relief after because the pain lessened,and I asked for something to help with the pain, and still be able to nurse. The worst part with my second, was after all that I ended up leaking spinal fluid (epidural leak) for almost 3 weeks... I had a headache, but didn't realize that's what it was until I couldn't turn my neck from side to side and a friend noticed one of my eyes was dialated and the other wasn't! So I guess from my experience I would NEVER have an epidural again, but there are many women who have them and have no problems at all! I myself would try whatever else I could for pain that would be safe for the baby, just go all natural! Good Luck, Blessing to you and your family !
Kari

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N.B.

answers from Portland on

congratulations on your pregnancy! I had a medicine free birth at the hospital. Pain during delivery was intense but over quickly. Recovery was trouble-free. Soreness, yes but managed through ice packs and occasional OTC pain relievers. I am due with #2 in June and plan to go med-free again if possible.

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C.M.

answers from Medford on

I had a completely natural birth in the water (at a birthing center, not a hospital) and don't regret doing it that way for a minute! I was in labor for 16 hours, 8 of those were at home and the other 8 were with my midwife in and out of the room while I tried to sleep before hard labor hit. I can't imagine ever giving birth without feeling anything (epidural) plus the idea of drugs for me or my baby didn't really appeal to me. We didn't do any special method or classes, we just used the water as relaxation and natural pain control and it worked out great for us. We will do it again!

You asked about the pain during and the pain at the end... well I am not sure what another experience would be like, I only had this one. I managed the pain well in the water, on my hands and knees, rocking back and forth and moaning. I pushed on my hands and knees for 15 minutes and then moved to my back for the last 15 minutes. Although it felt like forever I know it was really easy compared to many other women. There was lots of stretching and about 5 minutes of burning but other than that I don't remember it being that painful. I have a very low tolerance for pain so I was really worried I wouldn't make it but it went a lot better than I thought it would.

Good luck! I am sure you will make the right choice for you and your child. You know what you can handle. The main goal is to have a healthy baby, no matter the means. Don't be hard on yourself if it turns out that you can't do it drug-free, just hold that healthy baby in your arms and be happy for the journey!

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B.L.

answers from Portland on

I had a completely natural birth with the assistance of a doula and some doula-trained nurses at Adventist. My husband also read quite a bit of the Bradley book, and he was a big help as well. I can honestly say I truly enjoyed my natural birth, and now that I'm pregnant with my second one, I wouldn't go any other way, unless the life of the baby was at risk. The pain was... natural! I felt like I was watching my body do something it was trained to do my whole life. I had read a lot, so I understood what the pain meant and that it would soon be over, and that the reward would be a beautiful baby! I chose to work with my body, change positions when the pain got to be too much. I accepted what came, knowing that I would very likely throw up, and not remember bits and pieces. But I remember more about my natural birth than my friends with epidurals! The pain afterward, to me, was worse than the pain during. My butt felt like it had exploded! However, I seemed to be okay just taking IBprofen. I have an allergy to percoset and vicoden. The high from my natural birth carried me through those first few days, and the nurses said that this was also a side-effect of a natural birth. Women with epidurals often don't get the pain-dulling, high-flying, very alert phase. It's like a runner's high. A natural birth is the hardest workout you'll ever get, but it's the funnest and the the most thrilling. Yes it hurts! But it's a centuries-old, ancient hurt that God has prepared our bodies to handle. The power you will feel in yourself during a natural birth is incredible! Go for it!

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S.C.

answers from Spokane on

I have two boys and their births were very different. The first time, labor was very long and difficult and I had an epidural (which didn't really work that great). The second time, my son came so fast that I almost didn't make it to the hospital. I had zero meds (not even an IV). I think that second births usually go faster, therefore, making is easier to go natural. I was in a lot of pain, but it was only really bad for about 15-20 minutes. I think some of the factors are really out of your control and you need to be educated and open about possiblities, so that you can make important decisions as you face them.

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N.B.

answers from Seattle on

okay, I had c-section with the 1st, epidural the 2nd and all natural with my 3rd. Trust me, go with the natural. It was so easy to recover from. It was over so quickly. I believe the epidural delayed the birth of our second child. I was going for the natural until the hosptial nurse found out that I had a c-section less than two years ago and she advised me to get the epidural in case of complications during pushing... uterus errupting.. ugh.. so I decided to get it. It was better to be safe than sorry. I think I was almost all the way there before I even got it. It was another 3 hours!!! until it was over. They missed the first 2 times and then until I had my second child, no one could touch this "funny bone" area in my back. I had back problems before and this added to that.
Natural... hmmm... it's so funny and amazing how God had everything worked out. It was painful. But, I knew what to expect, because of my trial with the second. BUT, when it was over, it was OVER! I felt so good. No need for recovery and no need for them to wait for all the side effects that could kick in. It was the way to go.
Most of all, it made me appreciate the birth more!
I think it was best for our health.

Good luck.

Thanks for listening.

R.B.

answers from Portland on

I had my son naturally (no drugs) at my home. I remember saying that it hurt during labor and at the end it did hurt, but once he was in my arms I didn't remember the pain anymore.

I hope you decide to have a drug free birth. You can do it! "No pain, No gain"

Good luck to you!

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