Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No way, no how, this is NOT happening.

Warning:  This is NOT a light and fluffy post

So, we started our childbirth classes last week.  They meet for four weeks, two and a half hours each and you go over all the things you would think you need to know about- stages of dilation, stages of labor, pain meds, all the new baby stuff, monitoring, breathing, positions, care of the mom after, etc, etc.  I've been a pretty non-plussed pregnant woman for the most part.  Not much of this really phases me.  The first time I had contractions (just Braxton Hicks!!), B thought I should call the midwife on call just to make sure I was okay, and I totally blew it off.  I waited until the next day during clinic hours b/c I didn't want to disturb her at home (I take call and I know how it can be).  Even though I had a few long ones and more than 6 in an hour (both of which are stuff you are supposed to call for), I knew I was feeling fine and not in labor, so I didn't call. 

I always knew I wanted to have a midwife, and I wanted to have a relatively natural delivery.  I am definitely not one who is going to walk into the ER knowing that within an hour I'll want an epidural.  I've always been relatively open to having the baby drug free, and also aware that you never know what will happen, so you kind of have to take everything that comes at you.  Really all I think about is that I want to deliver a healthy baby and will do whatever it takes to make that happen. 

So, tonight we go to class and we're watching the second birthing video.  Last week's- no biggie.  I've seen the actual labor and birthing process twice (in nursing school), so I have a good idea of what happens.  This week - HOLY CRAP.  The video scared the living daylights out of me.  I don't know if it's because it's so imminent and getting very, very real, or if it's because the one they showed tonight was more in "real" time (ie- it showed her starting her labor at 4 p.m. and working all the way through her actual delivery at about 2 in the a.m (and 10 hours isn't far from average)).  Plus, she did this completely naturally, so you could see the pain in her face, in her body, in her hands.  It was truly a wonderful video in that it was incredibly realistic, honest, and showed all the true aspects of labor and delivery.  I wish I could do a better job of describing it to make you all realize how scary this was.  I am FREAKED OUT.  I have no idea how I am going to go through this process and make it out on the other end alive.  I wish I could say that I realize that I am being overly dramatic, however, I left the class crying because I am now so scared about the delivery.  I love this baby and want this baby, but I don't want it to come out of me.  No way. 

Have any of you delivered without an epidural?  Can you PLEASE leave me a message so I can shoot you an email?  Most of my friends have had c-sections or used an epidural, and while I'm not necessarily against them, I wasn't originally thinking that way, and if there is anyone else out there who went natural, I would love to know.  Also, any words of encouragement (or telling me that I am completely crazy and need help!!) would be appreciated.  I know that women have been doing this for thousands of years and do this all over the world without assistance from drugs, doctors, etc but that is rational thought, and right now this brain of mine is not being rational.  It's just too terrified. 

(Can I add that my mom is in Guatamala right now on a mission trip for two weeks, so I can't talk to her about this?????  Why this of all weeks?  Sometimes you just need to talk to your mom, you know?)


  1. First of all take a few deep breaths... everyone gets scared of the delivery once in a while... you will make it through this, and yes it is going to be painful, but your body was designed to give birth... YOU CAN DO IT, and it's okay to decide that you want an epidural...

    I haven't given birth, so I don't have any great post partum wisdom, but looking in from the outside I can say this... When I worked for my OB/GYN in college I delivered two babies to a woman, the first one she did with no epidural and the second one she had an epidural. And the whole time for the second one she kept saying that it was so much harder because she couldn't feel where the baby was, and she couldn't feel if she was pushing. She thought she was pushing, but she was numb so she really had no idea. She said comparitively she preferred not having an epidural b/c being able to feel where the baby was gave her the incentive to keep pushing and it also helped her feel in control. She admitted that it hurt, but she said having that knowledge of her body, outweighed all the pain. And when she had her third child she went back to natural child birth.

    Also, My girlfriend Maggie had her son Parker through natural child birth... and she's very willing to talk about it... drop by her blog and ask her... tell her that I (Danielle) sent you over, and I'll talk to her about it at work tomorrow....

  2. Oh Maggie's blog is

  3. Does your hospital have the laughing gas right next to the bed? If so I have heard it helps a bit without having to get the epi.

    I was terrified too and would up not even going into labour but keep in mind, women have been doing this for millions of years - I am told they forget about it right after the baby is born. Which may be why there are so many second children in the world!

  4. hey there! your post made me GLAD i never took the birthing class! :-) I knew the baby had to come out somehow, someday, so I just let it all happen.
    My mother told me NOT to have an epi, but I did.... and glad of it. But then again, I couldn't feel a thing, and I didn't know how to push... my little one ended up being vacuumed (such a horrible term) but it is literally like putting a plunger on the babe's head and pulling her out! No harm done on anyone and everyone is happy & healthy!
    I hope you're doing ok!! I'll be thinking of of luck!

  5. Every single (normal) pregnant woman goes through this! I certainly did. I FREAKED the F out! I told Craig that I just wanted to go to sleep and wake up and the babies would be out of me. And I knew that a c-section was likely so this is certainly not a fear specific to those women who desire natural childbirth. I was petrified of the c-section. That said, you will be FINE! And I bet you will get over this fear pretty quickly too. Honestly, I get why it's good to watch some birth videos, but I don't really think it helps anyone.

    Anyway, it sounds like you already are, but please try to temper your expectations for how the whole experience will go. So many of my friends had these super specific birth plans in mind (many involving natural birth) and maybe 1 of them had it work out. When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I threw all expectations of how my delivery would go out of the window and I think it helped.

    Finally, don't be annoyed at me for saying this, but don't be a hero! Just because you don't experience the "ring of fire" doesn't mean the delivery is any less "real" and "natural" and perfect.

    Hang in there! Everyone will be back from Guatemala soon!

  6. Hi I just found your blog and love it! I am 34 weeks pregnant, and can TOTALLY relate to a lot of your recent posts. I have no advice on epi vs. natural as this is my first, I am just going to try to do the best I can, see how I feel and go from there. Good luck with everything!

  7. Hi There - Danielle sent me over your way. I had a natural child birth and it is to this day one of the accomplishments that I am the most proud of. It is like a marathon though, you have to train and prepare. If you go into labor not having a natural birth plan, then you are more likely to ask for pain medication. I personally used the Bradley method of child birth. The classes are more expensive than typical classes, but well worth it. It teaches pain relief through deep relaxation and the help of a partner. It also teaches going through most of your labor at home instead of the hospital. It is very interesting and I can tell you more about if you want. There was only about an hour or so of the labor at the end where I was really in agony, but with my husbands partnering he new exactly what to do and express my wishes to the hospital staff when I couldn't. You will do great whatever you decide! My main advice is don't go into the hospital only half committed to a natural birth. Same is true if you think you are going to need pain medication, be committed to that. Through my research I have seen that a "let's wait and see how bad it gets" is setting up for a dissapointing birthing experience. P.S. People using the Bradley Method have a 90% natural birth success rate. Meaning only 10% of the people that go through the class end up having to use pain meds or c-section. P.P.S. sorry I could go on and on about this, but I was able to walk out of the delivery room to recovery and only stay in the hospital for one day.

  8. know I have no experience in this. The idea of a baby coming out of "there" completely freaks me out. However, from what I have been told, after that baby is in your arms you will forget all about the birth. I have never gone into a hospital room to visit my friends (after they have the baby) and heard them bitch about the birth, they are just to happy.
    You will do great...xoxo

  9. Like MCW, I don't have any experience with this, but maybe just go and take some deep breath's in the awesome nursery you put together and just try and remember that you can do this! You're going to do awesome, natural or not!

  10. keeping you in my prayers.

    no pain no gain... sorry, bad attempt to get you to laugh.



  11. Hi there,
    Ok, I tend to take advil when I think I am getting a headache... If someone walks near my toes, I say owe, because it might hurt. That being said, I had both my children, without an epidural, or any other medication. My ob/gyn explained that I would have to go through a lot of the labor before I could have anything. Having an epicural or any type of meds, does slow down labor. I decided that I would try to brave it out. The over all experience was not nearly as bad as what people have described. Now let me tell you, the very end, is not so fun.... but it goes quickly!!! and to be able to hold that miracle, and feel wonderful, is just amazing! I don't regret it at all. And two years later had a second child. At the "transition" I said to the doctor, "oh, I remember this part". Again, it was over so quickly. That was my experience.

  12. HI -- I had three children without any drugs, but not necessarily out of choice ... it's just what my body did! As it turns out, I have very fast labors and my water had to be broken each time. In each case, I waited at home (walking around outside, inside, rocking in a chair) at long as I could, and when I got to the hospital I was 4cm. I would get situated, they'd break my water, and then it was off to the races. Things would go so quickly there was no time for an epi. Maybe because I don't know any better, I have to say that the experience was ... well, what I expected. VERY intense pain when the contractions were at their height, but again, b/c things went quickly and b/c I was certainly able to feel every single part of it, I was also a very efficient "pusher." It's really not as bad as I feared ... it is truly amazing the way God made women's bodies be able to do what they do. And, as corny as it sounds, I truly did find it comforting during the worst parts of labor to think about the generations upon generations of women who had delivered babies in conditions far less hospitable than mine were (never mind without drugs!) and lived not only to tell about it, but also to do again! GOOD LUCK and try not to worry. EAsier said than done, I know! Michelle

  13. Hi! Natural Childbirth was very popular in the 70s. Having the support of your spouse and doing the breathing really helps. The feeling was you were doing better for the baby w out drugs..? I had both natural.

    I did take a little relaxing gas at the end (not sure of name)...Will you be having birth at a hospital? My only concern would be if not, & there are complications, but I'm sure you are informed w your decision.

    My 2nd came within 2 hrs...2 weeks early! Was at the hospital for less than an hr before he was born! I was more in shock than anything.

    Prayers for this exciting time! You'll do fine! Jennifer aka Gigi

  14. Hello--
    I remember that video well. And I cried too. Not to worry. Your body was built to do this and it will kick into gear and do what needs to be done. I went into the birth of my first child with a rock solid birth plan that stressed natural methods of pain management and *really* wanted to avoid an epidural. First labors and deliveries are tough, though. After 38 hours of labor, and only being 1.5 cm, my doctor had a heart-to-heart with me and I accepted the interventions he proposed. Had an epidural (which I was terrified of and turned out to be no big deal), took a nap and woke up 9cm, delivered a healthy baby girl shortly thereafter. And I felt like a Superhero. I have since delivered four more children, including twins, all with the aid of an epidural. There is no "right" or "best" way to do this. Educate yourself and go in with an open mind. The important thing is to have a peaceful experience. There are no rewards for how you deliver. But if you can look back on a peaceful time, I promise you won't care about the details. Good luck to you and please try not to worry.

  15. From my experience, an epidural doesn't render you completely "numb". It did, however, give me the rest I needed for a few hours so I was able to push effectively. You do feel pressure of contractions and that tells your body to push so I felt like I wasn't missing any of the true birthing process. Also, getting the epidural was a piece of cake, too to me. Not painful like contractions. I guess I have a higher tolerance for pain, but was reluctant to go natural for fear my labor would be 20+ hours long and be more exhausting than rewarding. It's all in what feels right for you. Just wanted to comment more about the epidural birth because I certainly didn't feel like I wasn't in control of it all because I was "numb". Did it twice. 2 COMPLETELY different experiences, but, amazingly, both were 8 1/2 hours long. :) Good luck. It's normal to be nervous. Just keep your eye on the prize!!

  16. I had a natural childbirth. I would love to say that it was my choice and that I had planned all along to do it, but I didn't. However, I couldn't be more proud! Feel free to email me anytime with any questions! You will do FINE! It is all worth it in the end! :)


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