Tuesday, April 10, 2012

No Drugs, Please

I've heard that I'm crazy more than 30 times in the last few weeks. Why am I crazy? Because I started telling people that I didn't want an epidural during labor. I'm a crazy person I guess! Pull out the straight jacket! 

I have a few reasons for this decision. I'll start with the one that isn't as fun to talk about. In 2006 I had a pretty serious back surgery. I had a herniated disc which ended up shattering like an egg, and they had to remove about 75% of it. This was the L4-L5 disc (which caused lots of issues with sciatica), which is your lower back. This location happens to be where the epidural is placed. Back in 2006 I heard that an epidural would probably not be in my future because of the surgery. My OB looked at the area recently and is concerned that it won't work because of the amount of scar tissue at that location. So, let's just say that I have a 50% chance that the epidural would work if I requested it. 

One of my mottos is "plan for the worst, but hope for the best." This runs through my mind frequently, and not only because I'm a Project Manager. This has been something I've relied on since I was around 8 years old. So I am planning on not using an epidural. I am planning that I can suffer through the pain, and have a wonderful drug-free labor. Maybe the pain will be too much for me, and maybe I'll request the epidural. But you know what? I'm far better off planning to not use it, than to plan on using it and then find out (when I'm howling in pain) that I can't. Make sense? No? Well that's how my brain works. My mom had four children without an epidural, and my mom knows me very well. She has faith that I can do it. She's been there, she knows me very well (poor mom), and I love that she supports me in this. I may have thought twice if she had said, "Honey, you should really reconsider." So that's part of my plan. 

A few other reasons? I hate pain medication. I bailed on prescription pain medication in 2006 because I really didn't like what it did to me. I made Aleve work for me, and trust me, I was in PAIN. I want to be able to feel my legs (and other stuff), be able to walk around, and to feel somewhat in control of my body. 

I would really like to avoid a c-section. My back is weak enough as it is, I don't want to weaken my stomach muscles with a c-section (I've heard this debated, let's just let me think it does weaken them, okay?).  The epidural could slow things down, and make it more likely that I would get a c-section (again, this could be debated). I want the initial skin-to-skin contact with my baby, I want to breastfeed as soon as possible, and I want my husband and I to have a better experience of our child's birth. These things would be affected by having a c-section. 

Now, for the sickest reason of all... I want to see if I can do it. Yes. I said that. I want to know if I can handle that kind of pain, and if I can make it through it without completely losing my head. I think it would be somewhat interesting to video tape the crazy part, to study it later. Sound weird? Yes, I know. 

Most of all, I want a "natural" labor. I don't mean natural in the way that people use the word. I mean natural in that my body was made to do this. Billions upon billions of women did this without an epidural. I want to try to have my baby in the purest way possible (albeit, I'll be in a hospital, but you know what I mean). I want to be able to walk around in the room, bend over, rock in a chair, shower, bounce on a ball, whatever I want. I don't want to be stuck in a bed just waiting. 

I want to point out that I do NOT judge anyone that gets an epidural. I get it. I really do. I totally understand it. I don't think any more or less of women that take that route. It really doesn't make sense to put yourself through all of that pain if you don't have to. Yes, I understand it. Honestly. I'm just doing what sounds best for me, and that's all. Oh, and if you don't think I'm crazy enough as it is.... I don't really like chocolate. See? I'm nuts! 

A natural childbirth really sounds so much better to me, and I can't really put it to words. I've read a ton about it. I've talked to plenty of women about it. I've heard both sides. But really, I tried to put it into words for you and don't feel like I explained myself. You know what though? It doesn't matter. It's my body and my decision. As long as I'm not endangering the baby, or my husband (in case I take the pain out on him, sorry love!), I think it's okay. This is my PLAN, and you never know. I could end up begging for the epidural and absolutely love it. Nothing will be predictable, it's the miracle of life after all. If I do end up taking the epidural, I don't need to feel bad or ashamed because I really don't see an issue with it. In just two months we'll know how I did! 

I'm a tough cookie. We'll see just how tough I am. 


  1. If you haven't read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth you should! I am reading it to help me prepare for natural childbirth, something that I also really want to do, and so far I love the book! I don't get why people think we are nuts for wanting to go natural, but I get the same reaction from people!

    1. Thanks for the tip! I'm trying to do a ton of reading to prepare, and any suggestion helps. I wish you luck with your childbirth! I hope that we're both able to have a labor that we're happy and comfortable with.

  2. I'm impressed! I am sort of ignoring the whole labor thing because I don't want to admit to myself that I want an epidural -- I feel bad about that! Honestly, it seems like whatever choices you make for pregnancy, birth and raising your baby, someone is judging. I've come to the conclusion that people judge because they don't feel comfortable with their own decisions. Keep that in mind and good luck with everything! I have no doubt you can do it.

    1. Oh you shouldn't feel bad for wanting an epidural! There's nothing to feel bad about. Stand by your choices and be confident in what you want for yourself and your baby. You're right, we'll have people questioning us for years to come. I'm comfortable with my choice, and that's all that matters to me. Good luck to you as well! I hope you have a wonderful experience!

  3. Good luck Dawn!! I did take the epidural route and I wouldn't have changed my mind otherwise for the world. I wish I had researched "natural" birth because I feel if I did know more about it and prepared myself for it, I would have taken that route. Good for you!

  4. Well as a woman that had 2 C-Sections and epidurals I applaud you for doing so much research on all end of the spectrum. My first child was not a planned C-section I pushed in 4 positions for 4 hours and they couldn't see his head, his heart rate was dipping and c-section seemed to be out best option at that point, I however did choose to have an epidural and I feel it slowed everything down ANC possibly did possibly cause me to have a section. My second son was born a short 19 months later and my doctor reccomended a section do to the complication in the previous pregnancy and also fear of tearing my incision. I was 23 when I got pregnant with my first son and as I sit back and think at 30 now I am not sure I would have went the same route, I would have read more books took more classes and weighed out my options. I am lucky to not have had any complications and to happy healthy Lil boys but with the knowledge I have no I am not sure the same decisions would have been made. You know your body better than anyone you will do whatever is best for you and your child!!! Another wonderful blog!!!!