Natural Birth vs. an Epidural. I feel like it’s the most talked about thing when it comes to birth.
“Am I gonna get an Epidural or should I go it naturally?”
Yes, I’ve done it 8 times. 5 naturally, 3 with epidurals. The question is why? Why did I do natural? Why did I do an epidural? And what would I do now if I had to do it all over again?
First of all, I went into childbirth the first time saying that I’m going do this naturally because I heard some wise advice from friends and I also did some of my own research, which made sense. Do it naturally because the medications have side effects and risks and the recovery is more difficult.
So, when I started out that was it. I was doing it naturally.
When my first labor came, I definitely realized that this labor thing could be a little harder than I thought. I was stuck at 5 centimeters for 10 hours. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t manage so I ended up going for the epidural.
Well, come the next time I decided that this time would be different! I was going to do it naturally this time.
And I did.
In fact, I managed the next 4 births naturally. It was amazing. Super POWERFUL! Plus, the recovery was so much easier.
However, there comes a time for everyone, including myself, when you have an experience that is really hard, a little bit traumatizing and you rethink the whole thing. Like “why am I putting myself through torture when I don’t have to?”
Labor doesn’t have to be torture. Some people have very good experiences while other people have more difficult experiences. But for me, my 5th labor was just that. Torture.
I felt like the optimal is to have a natural childbirth. Yes! I would love to have a natural childbirth. It makes sense. It’s so much better for everybody BUT at the end of the day, the purpose of being pregnant and going through labor is to have a baby. And if you feel tortured and can’t manage a natural childbirth, then there is no rule that says “I have to do this naturally!” It’s okay to get help sometimes. It’s just okay.
If your labor is getting to the point where it is really torturous, and you can’t manage, it’s okay to opt for getting a little bit of help. I really believe this, and I know some “natural” people are going to say “what are you talking about? If you do it properly and relax and you have a homebirth when it’s not in a hospital, it’s going to be okay, it won’t be painful.”
Well my response to that is: A lot of people do find childbirth painful!
You’ve got to have your senses open. If you want to have a natural childbirth, you have to set up a plan. Find the right ways to support yourself, find a doula, make sure you have the right techniques like how to breath, how to get through labor contractions (which I can help you with).
If you are the type of person that can’t handle pain, it’s okay to just say “I’m not doing this naturally, it’s not my thing.” We’ve all got some things that are our thing and some things that are not our thing. That is totally 100% okay. You just need to know yourself.
Story for You
I know people who have had the opposite. I have a friend who was planning to go in and get an epidural, but it turns out that she had a 1 hour labor. She literally started feeling her first contraction, they went to get the neighbors to watch her kids and they went down to the hospital and by the time she got there she was almost 10 centimeter dilated. She basically turned around and pushed the baby out. She was like “I guess I didn’t need the epidural to get me fully dilated.”
You have to be totally open minded when you go into birth and feel like you have your birth plan and you have the exact tools you are going to need, the tips, plan and the support. But if things don’t work out the way you want, then that’s ok too.
It’s a parable for life. You have a plan of what you want to see happen in your life, where you want to go, what you want to see happen. But if things are not working out, you have to have a plan B and be open minded.
When you’re are super rigid in life, you just can’t manage. You can’t be super rigid in life because you don’t run the world and things come up unexpectedly not the way you planned them.
So, if your birth is going as planned, great! Good for you. If your birth is not going to plan and you either need to call for help with an epidural when you weren’t expecting to, then do it. If you end up doing it naturally and see that it’s much more manageable, you can go in saying “I’ll probably get an epidural but let’s try.” Maybe it won’t be as hard for you as you imagine.
Being open minded is KEY. Both in Birth and in Life.