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To Epidural or Not

So, I swear the baby posts will stop soon. I’ve just been meaning to write about my experience now for the past three weeks..I’m a little behind!

First of all, thank you all so much for the sweet comments on my previous post. I really just wanted people to know how I felt in case they had a similar experience-you’re not alone! It also made me feel a little better to hear that I wasn’t alone either.

Anyway, I went into labor on September 11 (what a day right?) around 5 in the morning. At first, I honestly thought it was false labor because it kinda hurt…but wasn’t excruciating. Also, the contractions were coming pretty close together, but they weren’t that consistent. They would be like 10 minutes apart, then 15, then 5…so I assumed it was not the real deal which bummed me out.

I started to get a little nervous though when I noticed I was bleeding a bit (sorry if this is too much information). That’s when I called the doctor. They told me to come in just in case but they didn’t seem to be in panic mode so I wasn’t either. I assumed if it was the real deal, I’d get there and they’d tell me to go walk around for a few hours because I wasn’t ready yet.

We showed up at the hospital around 11:30 and that’s when I found out I wasn’t going anywhere. Turns out, I was 7 centimeters dilated so yes, this was the real deal!

On the drive over, I told my husband that I thought I’d just get an epidural. It sounded like it made the whole experience easier so what the hell..why not? Once they told me I was 7 cm dilated though, I thought I’d hang out a little longer, see how I felt, then make a decision on the epidural.

I got in the bathtub (which I highly recommend..felt awesome), walked around (which was harder), sat on the birthing ball (still hard), and laid down (yep still hurt). Even though I had the intention of getting an epidural, I kinda let it fall by the waist-side. I guess because everything was progressing so nicely that I thought I could hang in there.

Finally, it was time to push. I’ve heard this is the quickest part of labor but in my case, it was not. So, I was still without any medication at this point which I basically regretted (ouch). If the pushing part had been like, 20 minutes or even an hour, it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal but I was pushing this little lady out for 3 hours.

I honestly thought it would never end. I couldn’t push her head through my pubic bone no matter how hard I tried. I swear I tried hard too. So, her little head was basically stuck there forever. The midwife finally told me that if she didn’t come through in the next 20 minutes, they were going to have a doctor vacuum her out. I guess that was motivation enough because I managed to push her out within that 20 minute time period! They should have told me that 2 1/2 hours earlier.

Since I didn’t have an epidural, I could labor in different positions which I guess(?) was helpful. I tried on my sides (did not like that), on my back with legs up, on all fours, then finally, the best position for me was legs up with feet on a bar.

So, I managed to make it through a natural childbirth. The question now is, would I do it again? Honestly, I think next time I’d probably try an epidural. The pain was manageable (I guess) for the most part but if that epidural took away just a little bit of the edge, I think it would have helped. The problem was it was just so exhausting pushing for that long not to mention all the laboring beforehand.  I remember asking my husband a million times “when is this gonna end? I just want this to be over.” So, if an epidural could take away a little pain leaving you slightly less exhausted, I’m all for it.

I honestly don’t think there’s any right or wrong way to go into labor. If you want an epidural, use one…if not, that’s cool too. The experience is so personal and different for each woman it’s not really fair to judge someone based on what they choose to do.

Like I said, if I had pushed for 20 minutes, maybe I’d feel differently…but it was way longer than that! Brooke finally came at 9:13 pm and was 8 pounds 1 oz-bigger than I thought! It was a long day, but definitely worth it. Pretty amazing experience overall. She was perfectly healthy and that’s all we could have asked for :).


What are your thoughts on epidurals or pain meds during labor?

6 comments to To Epidural or Not

  • I hear from most of my friends who had pretty quick natural labors (less than 7 hours)that they would totally do natural again and my friends who had longer(over 7 hours) labors would go with the epidural next time, lol!

    With my first child, I went through 13 hours of non-medicated labor(not by choice) just to end up having a C-Section. Talk about being ticked off….ha!!!

    I really just love reading about all birth stories, whether they were medicated or not. It is such a wonderful experience to bring a child into the world!

  • Cassy

    I have had three babies, the first with an epidural and other two natural. I was glad for the choice I made in each delivery because all three were vastly different. But it is important to know that an epidural is not a magic pill that takes away all the pain. Mine only worked on one side and I had to be given a shot on the other side to numb it. And I had continous back pain around the sight of the epidural for almost six months after the delivery. But again, I was extermely glad I had it given the complications I experienced with the delivery.

    As for pushing being the easy part, that is true if it is not your first. I have yet to met a woman who did not push for at least an hour with her first. I pushed for two hours with my first, 20 minutes with my second and 5 minutes with my third. I am now pregnant with my fourth and plan to go natural again, but if I feel I need an epidural I will ask for it without guilt.

  • It’s so interesting to read other people’s birth stories.

    With my first I got an epidural even though I really wasn’t in much pain from the contractions. But I was TERRIFIED of the pain of pushing (honestly, the labor video they showed us during my childbirth class scarred me for life!). Like you, I ended up pushing for several hours, so I was glad I went with the epi.

    The second time around, I was induced and was almost sure I’d end up with an epidural because I’ve always been told induced labor is tougher. But by the time I was in serious pain it was time to push, and she was out in 20 minutes. Never in a million years did I think I’d be able to give birth without an epi but I was lucky that the hardest parts were so brief.

    Wow, that comment was longer than I intended it to be 🙂

    Congrats on your sweet baby!

  • Erin Allen

    Thanks for posting your birth story! I was looking forward to hearing it. You’re a hero- 3 hours of pushing without an epidural- amazing! keep the baby posts coming!

  • I had an Epidural with my first and nothing (not by choice) with my second. We did have Lamaze training with our first which came in so so handy with our daughter (2nd). I was REALLY glad I had that knowledge that came flooding back to me when I was in labor with Jessica. Looking back even though I thought I wanted drugs with my second I’m really glad I couldn’t have them. It was a super quick labor. by the time I got to the hospital, she was looking around, wide eyed and quiet as a mouse 15 mins later.. I wish I would have had our son without drugs too. But everything happens for a reason and his delivery was really long and stressful not only on us but him too. His cord was wrapped a couple times around him and he was in distress… scary times! Then I got postpartum eclampsia when he was 2 days old.. went into the ER with my blood pressure dangerously high and I almost had a stroke.. it was horrible.. this was all a week before Christmas too. It’s amazing to me that we had another child after that!

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