Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Epidural Decision

After deciding that I would deliver a baby WITHOUT an epidural and not electing induction until 41 weeks (the longest my OB will let me cook the baby for)...

Some women and men would look at me strange, and would ask: 

"Why would you not get this?" or say 

"Having an epidural was great"  or 

"You're going to change your mind and get one" or 

"Have fun screaming" 

I realized there was no reason to get offended by their comments.  I'd just smile, because I knew it wouldn't make sense to them at this point.

I realized that for them the pain was the paramount problem of labor, thus the epidural was wonderful.  

For me, though, that was not, nor is it still the case.  In fact, bring unable to move during labor doesn't suit me.  I also don't like the idea of having a long labor, or the recovery from the side effects of an epidural.

I had ACL surgery a couple of years ago.  I had a nerve block on my bikini line to numb the post-op pain of bone being drilled through my right leg. The nerve block was needed for me to recover enough to be back at work after a week, and I didn't take much pain relievers because of it.  

If I had ACL surgery again I would get the block in a heartbeat BUT I remember how hard and frustrating it was not being able to move and do basic things, like using the bathroom until the block wore off.  

Before ACL surgery
After ACL surgery.  

Thus, labor pain for me is not the paramount factor, the ability to move during childbirth is.  Having known what is it like recovering with one leg numb and having it feel dead as rock, I don't like the idea of having my butt and both of my legs numb.  Especially since no bones are being cut pushing out a baby.  

The ability to recover, shower and move quickly after childbirth to care for the baby and attend to other responsibilities are important to me.  For me, that is more important than the pain.  

I am not putting down those who choose an epidural, I'm just explaining what is more important to me.  It comes down to which plays a more important factor in how we view birth, and really, neither view should be deemed better or worse than the other.  It comes down to our own preferences.  And preferences can change.  

I think about how my grandma gave birth at a midwife's home in the countryside, showered after delivery and went about her way home, walking with baby in tow.  With some exceptions, I view that women's bodies are designed to handle the intensity of labor and delivery and get on with their lives after dealing with the birth pain.  I view epidurals as a nice option, but not necessary because so many women have gone through birth without them.

What is your view and/or experience with labor and delivery?  Epidurals?

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