In case you missed it, child birth hurts. Contractions hurt, pushing hurts, even recovery can hurt. Luckily, throughout this entire journey, there is this miraculous thing called pain medication. Now, for some reason unbeknownst to me, women have started to stray from this miracle drug. The new fad in child birth is to go au naturel! That is a completely perfect choice if that is really what you want, but don’t feel like you have to go that route. We have the technology to make child rearing a much less painful experience, it is totally fine for you to use it!
Throughout my pregnancy, I said that I was going to have my son without any pain medication. I thought I wanted that natural experience that so many women talk about. Looking back, I truly have no idea why, but as they say, hindsight is 20/20. Anyway, I had said I was going to do things naturally and had even looked into meditation and breathing practices to get you through labor. Plus, my mom had been able to have both me and my sister without any medicine, so I should be able to too, right? WRONG.
Unlike my mom who had very quick labors with my sister and I, I had to be induced and was in labor for 18 hours. In case you are wondering, that is a really long time to try to “tough it out”. At first the pain wasn’t bad at all, but then my contractions got closer together and more intense. My entire body hurt and I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t breathe. I literally laid in bed with my eyes closed holding my husband’s hand. For those wondering, I could not get up and move like many women because my water had been broken and a probe placed on my son’s scalp to monitor him and my contractions. At this point, I was bed bound – I even had to use a bed pan. *cringe*
Finally, I decided I would try IV drugs – stadol. Y’all, I don’t know what they heck stadol is, but I think it must be something like LSD. I have never used LSD, but I really think that it must be like this stuff. I was seeing bright colors and swirly things and my family members on slides. I kept saying I felt like I was going to eat my tongue and that I was pretty sure I had forgotten how to breathe. (That one really freaked out the new nurse helping with my case.) Despite all of that, I was still in pain. Fun fact: Stadol does not actually relieve any pain, it just makes you care less about it. Another fun fact: The first dose of the stadol is most effective. They had told me this, so I held off as long as I could to get it. It wore off and my pain got incredibly intense again – thanks, Pitocin. I went for the second dose and felt loopy again, but had even less relief than before.
Finally, I looked at my husband with what had to be sad eyes and said I think I need that epidural. He wholeheartedly agreed and we quickly got the anesthesiologist into the room. I had had an epidural before for a surgical procedure and having that one placed wasn’t the best experience, so I really wanted to avoid it this time. To my surprise, this epidural placement was so much better. The anesthesiologist got it done quickly and it worked really, really well. As soon as it kicked in, my mood changed, I was able to rest, and my body was progressing quicker than it had before.
For me, an epidural made my birth experience so much better. Without it, I was barely progressing because my pain was so intense I could not relax. I couldn’t do anything without it – nothing. After getting it, I could function and do what I needed to do to get that baby out. It also made my episiotomy and stitches completely pain free. Some people are afraid that having pain medicine will take away from the birthing experience, but in my situation, it made the experience. I do not feel like I lost out on anything, but gained the ability to enjoy having my son.
While I know the idea of pain medicine and specifically an epidural is very scaring and quite controversial, I say go for it. There is no reason in 2017 to have a horrible, pain-riddled child birth if you don’t want to. Take the dang pain medicine! I promise, at the end your child isn’t going to care if you felt everything when he or she was born or not, that baby is just going to be glad that you birthed it!