Welcome to part one of my three part series: Natural Birth VS Epidural.
My hope in sharing my two birth experiences is to help other Mama's determine the type of birth that they'd like to have. There's no right or wrong way to birth. Every pregnancy, situation, and Mama are different. I just want Mothers to have the information to make an informed choice, and to know that they have options!
With that being said, lets get down to it!
I have always loved the idea of having a natural birth. My Mom had all four of her babies at home, and I grew up hearing those stories. But my pregnancy with Jack was emotionally more difficult than I anticipated. My Mom passed away from cancer when I was 19, and expecting my first baby without her around was so much harder than I thought it was going to be. I found myself dealing with antenatal depression and anxiety during the last half of my pregnancy, and the thought of getting through an unmedicated birth seemed to be more than I could wrap my brain around at the time. So I ultimately decided that I would opt for an epidural when the time came.
I had a normal, healthy pregnancy up until 38 weeks. At my 38 week prenatal appointment, my midwife thought that my blood pressure was too high, so she sent me to labor and delivery at the hospital for monitoring. It eventually went down and they sent me home.
At my 39 week prenatal appointment, the same thing happened, but my blood pressure was a bit higher. I was sent to L&D again, and they decided that it was high enough that they wanted to induce me. I called Garrett and told him it was baby time! After he got off work he went and got my bags from home and met me at the hospital. We stayed overnight for my induction.
The midwife on call decided to start with a foley bulb overnight. That fell out early in the morning and had dilated me a bit more, but I wasn’t really progressing once it was out. So Friday morning, later on they started me on pitocin and had me walk the halls to get contractions going.
Contractions started up and I was able to labor until later in the afternoon (probably 6 or 7pm) before I asked for an epidural. When I asked for the epidural, I was 6-7cm dilated. My contractions had been strong for a while, and my nurses, seeing that on the monitor were amazed that I hadn’t asked for one before that. Once I had the epidural I was able to relax, but it made me itch everywhere and I hated that! I also didn’t like the feeling of being paralyzed and not able to move from the waist down - I literally felt like dead weight, and for someone who likes feeling in control, that was really unnerving.
After relaxing with the epidural for a bit, I felt pressure and asked to be checked. The midwife checked me and to my relief, I was fully dilated! She told me to wait until I really felt like I needed to push. The problem, however was that I wasn't really sure what I should be waiting for- I didn't know what sensations I was supposed to be feeling! In hindsight, I think I should have waited longer to push, but hindsight as they say is 20/20. So, not long after that (I’m not sure exactly how long) I was asking to push. I pushed for about 1.5 hours, and it was excruciating. I had heard so many women tell me that pushing felt relieving, and they were happy to push when the time came- that was not my experience! I think that I started pushing too early, and it went on so long that I was just totally exhausting myself.
My midwife was wonderful and encouraged me to try different positions with her and Garrett's help to help him come out easier, but my epidural had made that pretty much impossible. As I mentioned before, I felt like I was totally dead weight and I felt too unsteady to push in any position other than my back. But eventually he DID come out, and the relief I felt was incredible. Jack was born at 9:56pm on October 11, 2015. He was tiny (6 lbs 11 oz) and absolutely perfect! I remember being amazed at the instant love I had for him and connection I felt. As cliche as this sounds, I remember telling Garrett that just looking at him I felt like I'd known him my whole life.
Stay tuned for part 2!
*this was written 2.5 years after the birth, so it's not quite as detailed and complete as Henry’s birth story. I wish I had thought to write this down right after it happened!
I'm the Mama of two boys, and wife to a good man. I'm on a mission to make healthy living more attainable for families.