Thursday, December 20, 2012


Can't sleep.  Can't turn off brain.  4 weeks left, roughly.  36 weeks finally.  I'm sitting here with the pre-labor jitters.  I've been researching epidurals.  What they are, how they're performed, how they feel, and any possible complications, both short and long term, ranging from migraines to chronic back pain. 

Hell, I already get migraines once in a while (though not since I got pregnant) and I have a pinched nerve in my lower back, too. 

I dunno.  On one hand I don't handle pain very well--at all.  Why put myself through the excruciating pain of natural birth if I don't have to?   But on the other hand, the thought of a catheter being inserted into my spine freaks me the fuck out.  Not.  Going.  To.  Lie.  Anything messing with my spine freaks me out.

You're sticking that where?  No. 

The arguments on many of these parenting sites are so....extreme.  Extremely annoying, too.  Ranging from horror stories of tech's making the husband's leave the room (which would NOT be happening in my case, I'm smarter than that) while they fuck up and blame the patient for moving to these Duola's (however they're spelled) and mom's saying that doing anything unnatural makes you a bad, selfish, and stupid mother to others who say don't feel guilty! 

Some of these women, I feel, probably believe that those who're forced to bottle feed their kids are bad moms. 

Like there's no in between here.  No one's saying, "I had a bad experience, but I know other women who haven't." 

My mom has her mind made up: Oh, she's having one.  Thanks mom!  Thanks for making that choice for me!  Obviously, she's had them for both of us.  They were a Godsend for her.  And for the longest time, I was gung ho about it.  But now that reality's setting it and I'm getting closer to that reality, the jitters are settling in and I'm finding myself a bit lost and scared. 

Like I'm tempted to ask the Spirits or the Tarot about whether or not I should have the epidural.  I mean, shit, I tested positive for GD, I don't want to fall into that 2% that also has long term complications, too!  But then there are worse things I could've tested positive for, too. 

I mean, I could tough it out until it becomes unbearable and ask for it, though by that time, it'll probably be too late.  Or I could try it and the first time the tech fucks up, stop the procedure, grit my teeth and bare it. 

I dunno, I've asked a question of my Facebook friends and family, asking about their experiences and if any of them have had complications.  One friend has had 3 epidurals (and two spinal...something or others) and never had any complications.  While another has had two, but wishes she had a natural birth because now she suffers chronic lower back pain.  BUT she's my in between, saying that hers is just one bad experience and that she's known many more who've had great experiences with it.  My ex-SIL also had no complications.  But that's only three out of the many women on my friend's list. 

Yet, in a weird way, my SIL has had two natural births (due to there not being any time for the drugs), and part of me is thinking, If she can do it, so I can.  But for all I know, she's a closet masochist.  But still in a weird way, she's indirectly encouraging me to go a more natural way.

That and I'm the type that doesn't like chemicals in my body--I like more natural approaches to healing and pain relief.....  I dunno!  I dunno.  I dunno!  I know that every pregnancy is different, but that doesn't mean that I want to run the risk of something going wrong, like getting a tech who's in a pissy or nervous mood or doesn't know what the fuck they're doing; or a problem not necessarily connected to human error.

What says you?  Any advice?  Stories?  First hand experience?  Please no lectures, I need positivity here. 


1 comment:

  1. Here's what you have to do:

    What's right for YOU.

    Yup, both sides can be very extreme in how they present information; scare-tacticy, even.

    I am freaked out about the idea of an epidural and chose not to have one with my first. I won't with my second. However, I have a very, very high pain threshold. (Um, I'm also a masochist, but in a totally different way. Trust me, the menstrual-cramp-like pain of labor is not something I enjoy.)

    So I prefer natural with no interventions, or at least very minimal interventions. Then again, I also had a short first-time labor with my son (10 hours, only 3 of which was spent in the L&D room and only 1 hour of which was painful).

    However, the majority of my friends, as well as my sister, have had epidurals and done just fine. I haven't heard any complaints. My sister was stuck with 24-hour labors with her first two. She takes after our mom, who had 24-hour labors with me and my sister... But by #3, both my mother and sister had significantly shorter labors.

    Not sure how I won the genetic jackpot and got away with the labor I had with #1, but I'm glad I did!

    You may not even notice the very early labor phase. I'm dilating and effacing, and while I feel pressure and the occasional BH (which doesn't come-and-go for me; it's more like the uterus tightens up into "abs of steel" and just stays that way). It doesn't hurt at the moment.

    It's usually around that transition point (when you're reaching the 8 cm mark after active labor) that women start to want or need (yes, hey, some women DO need it!) that medicinal pain relief.

    Have you asked your mother what her birth experiences were like? Do you have sisters and maternal aunts to ask too? You *might* be able to gauge what to expect based on theirs, but you also might not (after all, look at me!).

    I totally understand how you're feeling. I felt that way with my first and, even though this is my second, I feel that way again! Sure, I'm actually pretty cavalier about "Oh, she's just going to fall right out", but I really don't know...

    Um, I'm totally rambling.

    Anyway, yes, I get it. The unknown is daunting as fuck.

    It seems to me women make their choice early on: either gung-ho natural, or "Hi, I'm here for my epidural", or an in-between.

    I see mostly the in-between of wanting to try natural, and accepting that if they need pain relief, they are willing to try an epidural (or narcotic at 1/2 dose or full dose).

    My birth plan says I want to go natural, but if I ask for pain relief, I'd like a 1/2 dose of a narcotic. It's enough to take the edge off, just in case. I recognize that I may ask for drugs and have made a provision for it. I know the risks to mom and baby with a narcotic. I know it doesn't block sensation - it just makes you not care. ;)

    So, I hope my rambling gave you that in-between you need...

    Honestly, there are horror stories about everything out there, but I take them with a grain of salt. Complications from most of these procedures are rare. I may be of the "Epidurals are not for me!" ilk, but I also know many, many women who had them and were perfectly satisfied with their birth experience.

    What matters is the experience you want. So if you say, "I'm going to try natural, and know what kind of pain relief I might want, in case I ask", then that tends to be a good compromise.

    Having a written birth plan is nice, or at least discussing what you want with your husband, so he can advocate for you. :)