Thursday, March 12, 2009

To Epidural or Not To Epidural?

To Epidural or Not To Epidural?

I just read a great post by Cate Nelson, The Medicalization of My Natural Birth, about her experience with natural childbirth. Many women are frustrated with the push for drugged childbirth. I enjoyed the story and have been inspired to write my own natural childbirth experience.

I gave birth to my son naturally, that is without any drugs, just the good old fashioned painful way. I did choose hospital over home though. That was fine since the hospital staff was very hands off until push time for me. That is except for some crazy Lab Lady that came in when I was going through a contraction, stuck a needle in my arm, rolled my vein, stuck me again and sucked the blood out into small vials. I had no idea why they wanted my blood right then and I almost gave Lab Lady a dot in the eye.

I knew I could do natural childbirth because my mother gave birth to me and my brother without any medication and she had no complications. My mother lived in the mountains of Northern California far from town when she went into labor with me. I guess I had decided to make things complicated for her, so I flipped around and was coming out breach. It didn't matter, I wasn't to be stopped. My dad went flying down the dusty mountain roads and I was well on my way into the light of this world. The closest medical facility was the clinic on the Native American Reservation 30 minutes away. My parents got to the Reservation and went flying into the clinic with my dad holding my baby butt in his hand. Breach or not, I was hitting the ground running.

After this dramatic 30 minute labor experience my mother had, I figured I would be just fine with an all natural birth plan. The assumption was that everyone gets an epidural and it seemed considering natural childbirth was nearly a cuss word. I hadn't made up my mind 100% no drugs, but as it turned out, I didn't have time and frankly, nobody asked. By the time I called my husband off his job, I had very little time between contractions.

The midwife was hands on and got there right at push time. I had no doctor and one wasn't required. After a couple pushes, the midwife hopped up on the bed with me and popped Baby's water with some crazy looking hook thing. She discovered Baby had pooped in the bag. I noticed some guy was in the corner of the room. Excuse me, the only man I wanted in the room was my husband who I made hold my hand and give me sips of water from a straw. Later, I was told the guy was some kind of specialist to stand by to make sure Baby didn't swallow any of the contaminated fluids when he made his first cry.

I told the midwife, "Tell me what to do and I'll do it."

"Open up like a flower," she coached.

Flower or whatever, I pushed like crazy. Baby had his hand raised and came ripping out like superman. Literally. I was bleeding more than expected and suddenly I had a huge needle slammed into my leg. It was some mystery medicine to help stop the bleeding. By then Baby was out and I didn't care about anything else.

The whole experience was 2 hours 45 minutes. Not bad for my first delivery. They gave Baby a quick scrub down and I was holding my naturally born baby boy. Right away he wanted to eat. He was so quick to latch on, I, being the new mother, had to catch up and figure out the whole breastfeeding thing.

There are many horror stories, I know, but it really was an amazing experience. I'm glad I chose the natural experience of childbirth. I think I'll have to do a study on home birthing just in case I don't have time to make it to the hospital next time.

Honestly, all complications aside, if we are not injured when we go into labor, then why the big push for drugged childbirth?

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