Natural Birth Vs. Epidural

Before I share my story, I just want you all to know that I am not one to judge on whether to get the epidural over going natural.  I just want to share my experience and hear yours!

With Bexley, our 4th baby (second girl) I wasn’t sure how I would want my labor to go concerning an epidural.  With Cyrus (my first), I was in labor for 19 hours before I got the epidural and delivered him about an hour later ( I was told I had at least 6-7 more hours left).  This proved I could go really far with pain through breathing.

My experience with Eisley and Zekey (#2 and #3) was as soon as I got set up for induction,  I was talked into getting the epidural too early.  Although it was nice not having pain, with Zekey I was so relaxed I didn’t really even want to breathe.  Literally.  I was so out of it.  Babies need us to breathe in order for them to breath.  It still didn’t phase me which is scary.

Early in my pregnancy, I read a book on how to do the correct mental and breathing exercises to help with labor.  At about 37 weeks with Bexley, when my body was showing signs of preparation for the big day,  I was doing more and more research on going natural.    I even called a midwife from CHOICE who talked to me for a half hour telling me how I could go natural and my body was made to do that.  I highly recommend calling them for any birthing questions.  I was blown away with how personal she was even though I was not going to use her as my doula (I didn’t want one that late in the game).  You could tell she was passionate about what she did.  My sister, who just recently finished her final birth as a “almost” doula to be certified, also gave me some pointers on how to make the pain as tolerable as possible.

I was so thankful for all of these conversations and information and even felt God in them.  I think He knew my heart to go natural and was blessing that.

I prayed to God and asked him to help me to go natural as I wanted to take this opportunity to lean on Jesus in my pain, my husband as my rock and experience the full natural birthing process.

I waited 39.5 weeks before I had an induction scheduled.  I was thankful that the doula I talked to from CHOICE told me that the best way to be induced was to have them break my water to see if my body would go into labor from there.  Sure enough, it did!  Here’s the story…

My parents came into town to watch the older 3 and Andy and I headed into Labor and Delivery at Mt. Carmel St. Ann’s.  I remember saying to my friends as they asked if I was going to try and go natural, “Yeah!  I got this.”  And that is the attitude I went in with.  I thought, “God designed my body to do this.  Woman have done this for so many years without drugs!  I almost went all the way with Cyrus!  I can lean on Jesus and Andy for support.”  I went in with little (but some) hesitation on going natural and honestly didn’t know if I would do it.

As they strapped me up my nurse said, “So do you plan on getting the epidural?”  I said, “No, I think I am going to try and go natural.”  Nurse, “Okay?  Did you go natural with your others?”  Me, “No, but I would like to try this time.”  Nurse, “Alright.  Just so you know it take a good half hour to forty five minutes to get the epidural once you ask for it.”  Me, “Okay, thanks!”

She was just as unsure as I was.  She was really sweet but let’s be honest, going into labor for your 4th induction and wanting to all of a sudden go natural is a little weird.  I just had to stay strong and not let her hesitation make me hesitant.

I started walking around the hospital and chatting with Andy about life and how it was going to change with Bexley Jane coming into it.  Then, after about a half hour I realized I had to stop in order to get through a contraction.  I got checked and I was progressing and the nurse was quick to think my body was going on its own.

I walked around for about another half hour before I became uncomfortable enough to just stay in my room.  Plus my water just kept leaking and as my nurse said, “It’s the gift that just keeps on giving!” I was progressing really quickly!

My nurse was quickly realizing I was really doing it.  I was taking all of the amazing advice on different positions to take while helping baby to move into position.  I just kept doing what she said because it was working.  She even told me that since I was progressing so well on my own, if I wanted to go in the shower to help with contractions, I could.  She also said that slows down labor a tad.  I opted not to do that as I just really wanted to work on getting her out and not do a thing to make it take any longer.

Can I just note that Andy is so vital in birthing my babies.  I cannot imagine not having him there.  He’s encouraging, makes me feel good about my progress and every time he’d walk away to get me ice and a contraction would start, I’d snap my fingers for him to get by my side again.  I just needed him there.  I loved that.

At about hour 4 (out of 5 hours) I finally started thinking, “I am doing this.”  I think I was in denial for a long time that I was actually going natural.  I went in there not knowing if I would follow through but then I was doing it…I was actually doing it!

I remembered how I did this all with Cyrus.  It just took much, much longer because he was my first and he was induced 2 weeks early because my fluid was low.

Then,  I came to a point where I was wondering if it was even possible to get an epidural.  I wanted someone to tell me how much longer I had but never asked.  I went from being in control to starting to questions whether I could do it anymore.

I could tell baby was moving down further and as the nurse asked me if it was time to push, I wasn’t convinced but she could tell and so called the dr. over.  I kept breathing through the ever-growing-in-pain, difficult contractions and the dr. said she’d be back in 10 minutes so she could go to an appointment.  I was fine with that because although there was much pain, I never felt that “pressure to poop” and so I wasn’t convinced it was time.

My amazing Dr. came back ten minutes later and I was unable to laugh at her jokes anymore.  I wanted to smack her actually.  hahahaha!  But, again, I could not love my dr. more than I do!  

Transition.  Still with none of that awkward “pressure”, I quickly went from being in control to, “GET HER OUT OF MEEEEEEE!!!!!”  The dr. had just walked in and was all up in my grill.  I started pushing and I said, “I can’t do this!  I just can’t do this anymore!!!!”  My dr. looked at me straight in the eye and with a stern voice said, “Breena.  You ARE doing this and you’re doing great.  She’ll be out in 2 minutes.  2 minutes.  Do you understand me, Breena?”

It felt like if she wouldn’t have said that to me, I would have just passed out.  Well, within two minutes (which felt like an eternity) I pushed out that beautiful baby girl and couldn’t believe how heavy she was!  Ya know the term “ring of fire”?  PERFECT NAME!  That’s all I’ll say.

I cried, Andy cried and my nurse just kept telling me how proud she was of me!  She was in shock as was I!  I did it!  Andy kept telling me how proud he was of me and I just felt like I was on top of the world!!!  I pushed out a 10.6 lb baby!!!

Now, after going all natural with almost one and fully with another and two epidurals, I can say for myself, going natural was by far the best!  I loved that I needed to lean on Jesus and Andy to get through the pain.  I loved that I had a huge sense of accomplishment through every contraction and of course after I birthed Bexley.

I will also say, I don’t feel any differently toward the actual love I felt with each baby.  It was strictly the “going natural through the labor” part that I thought was so amazing to experience.  I have already had the joy of birthing 3 other babies which is a miracle in and of itself regardless of the details on how they came into the world.  I mean that with everything in me.

I hope you enjoyed my birthing story!  Do you have any thoughts on going natural verses getting an epidural?  I’d love to hear!!!
 

 

8 Comments

  • Reply March 11, 2012

    theansellfamily

    Awesome post, Breena! I went all natural with Elizabeth. It is indeed an amazing experience and I’m planning on doing it again with the next one. I don’t think any less of women who get epidurals, but I truly believe you don’t need it (in most cases). Your body was made to do this! It’s not easy by any means, but like anything hard, the feeling of accomplishment at the end is unmatched. I just recommend that women do their research before they go into labor instead of blindly taking the epidural. Also, if you decide you want to do it naturally, you need to be committed to it and have someone else (like hubby) who can support you in it. The hospital staff will usually try to talk you out of it.
    Way to go, girl! :)

    • Reply March 12, 2012

      Bree

      Sara, I agree with everything you say!!! The most important being “If you decide you want to do it naturally, you need to be committed to it and have someone else (like hubby) who can support you in it.” AMEN! Thanks for sharing and congrats again on baby #2!!! SO SO exciting!!!!

  • Reply March 12, 2012

    Anonymous

    Wow! what an AWESOME accomplishment! I have goose bumps! With my first I too got an epidural at the very very end, then wondered for the next 2 years if I really could hade done it on my own. After all, I was way closer than I thought when I asked for it. But when baby #2 came along, I said I WILL NOT get an epidural, and I prayed and worshipped Jesus all day during labor thanking Him that He had victory over the curse of sin and she would give me victory over the curse on women. I asked that as I delivered the child that He would deliver ME. And He DID! I rocked in a rocking chair and watched the contractions go by on the screen all day, until they broke my water, then things sped up. after about an hour I laid down in the bed, shivering, and started to tell my husband, “I’m really scared! I dont think I want to do this!” between my extremely intense contractions. At that point, the doctor checked me and said “OK, its time to push.” so instead of pushing I started crying, but the next contraction hit, and BAM I lost all control and just scream/yell/moaned. When I came up for air, my mom said “her head’s out – and she’s a REDHEAD!!” Then I gave one last yell, and she was in my arms. WOW! It was incredible, and I can’t wait to do it again in OCTOBER!!!! YAY! And I might add that the recovery was soooo quick and easy. I was back to myself in about 2 days. Literally. So yes, I love the naturaly method. cant say it enough. God Bless you Breena and little Bex! Love, Sarah Chavez

    • Reply March 12, 2012

      Bree

      Sarah, this makes my heart joyful! Isn’t it such an amazing opportunity to take this time and use it as a unique way to worship Jesus?! That may be the thing that drove me most as I think about it. What an amazing experience!
      Recovery was amazing for me,as well! I also took placenta pills so I am not sure what made my emotions in more control this time but it was FANTASTIC!

  • Reply March 12, 2012

    Megan E

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Breena! I’ve been considering going natural with #3 and it helps so much to hear from other moms that have experienced the birthing process both ways.

    • Reply March 12, 2012

      Bree

      Megan, I am so glad you read this! Why? Well, it was hard going into the hospital wanting to go natural when I never had before. I knew I was going to be thought as “crazy.” But if you go into the hospital knowing that your nurse may talk to you like a crazy person but you just ignore the “tone” and stay strong in your decision to go natural, the nurse will quickly realize you are going natural and she’ll be one of your biggest cheerleaders!
      As far as your decision…I strongly recommend reading “The Bradly Method”. I actually just browsed through it maybe reading 80% of it. If you haven’t done Lamaze classes, I’d take those with your hubby. And another thing that REALLY helped me was going to a “happy place” when I was in labor and avoiding going to a “reality” place. So for me, I would picture myself lying on a pool raft on the ocean (not too far from shore! lol) and the waves moving under my body. Also, the hot sun beating on my body. It REALLY helped! The “reality” I wanted and needed to avoid was what I was actually doing. My body hurt and thinking about that never helped.
      One more thing. Picturing the baby moving down (this is in the book) helped a lot. I knew that the pain was helping the baby move down and it was doing what it was supposed to.
      Okay, that’s birthing vomit for ya, but I want you to go natural if you want to and these may help!
      Thanks for your comment!!!

  • Reply March 12, 2012

    spatterson

    this is so encouraging! knowing both sides (natural vs epidural) makes it seem like the choice will only be more complicated, but of course, my heart turns towards natural. thanks for sharing! i’m very curious as to how my experiences will be!! :)

  • Reply March 12, 2012

    Bree

    I love that you are doing your research and are curious! If you are “thinking” natural, keep on searching it out. Read and if you want to do it, just know your body was created to do so and it’s a completely beautiful experience! Thanks for your comment!

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