Thursday, February 16, 2012

Going Natural

I've been wanting to blog & was determined to blog about something today while I had the chance.  But about what?  I finally settled on yet another pregnancy-related topic - natural birth.

People have different definitions of what "natural birth" is to them but to me it's simply a vaginal birth with no drug intervention. 

Last time I was hoping to go natural but was at peace if I decided that I needed help, either with getting contractions to come along or an epidural to ease the pain.  This time around I'm still telling myself that it's ok if I can't do it & that I'll still be a good mother no matter what happens but I really, really want to do this natural.

When I went into labor with Shaylin, it started with my water breaking at midnight.  It took 3-4 hours for any contractions to start.  And when I checked into the hospital (this was before contractions had started) I was barely 1 cm dilated & 0% effaced.  About 16 hours after my water first broke I caved & asked for pitocin & epidural.  Only then had I reached 4 cm.  I felt so pressured that I was going to have to have a c-section that I was willing to have the pitocin to get things going.  And I knew that as bad as my contractions were once they had finally started (LOTS of hip & lower back pain) I wouldn't be able to handle the intensity of labor without the help of the epidural.  That was around 4pm & at 11:38pm, after 1 1/2 hours of pushing, Shaylin was finally born.  The pushing took so long because the epidural was very strong & only turned off right before they told me to start pushing.  So I felt nothing & couldn't figure out how to push.  Once I started feeling pressure & actually felt contractions I knew when to push & she came right out.

That was a Saturday night.  We didn't get to leave until Tuesday afternoon because they wanted to be sure Shaylin was ok since she was in there so long after my water broke (23 1/2 hours).  The day before leaving I started getting a headache.  They tried things like Tylenol & Aleve but they barely gave any relief.  They thought it was sinus related because of the weather change but that didn't make sense to me seeing how I'd been cooped up inside for 3 days already.  The next day it got worse & a nurse saw me break down while trying to nurse my screaming baby & started to assume it was PPD (post-partum depression).  But it was the headache.  Finally they said it could be from the epidural & recommended doing a blood patch to fix it.  Basically it was like the epidural left little air bubbles in my spinal column & that was causing the headache.  So to fix it they had to draw blood from my arm & inject it in my spinal column, doing it just like an epidural.  That experience alone was so stressing with it taking 3 nurses to get the blood & my newborn crying but not allowed to leave the room.  But once it was done it was instant relief.

I tell that whole story to show why I want to go natural, particularly epidural-free.  I realize my experience doesn't happen all the time but I don't want to chance it. 

Some people seem bothered by women that are pro-natural birth.  They say it's wrong for them to want to prove to themselves & other women that they can do it.  I say why not?!  What's the difference between that & a runner who decides to attempt a marathon just to prove to himself & others that it can be done?  At first I told my doctor that I thought since I've run a marathon that I can go through labor naturally but he said really it's the other way around.  Oh well.

So that's my plan so far.  I'm really hoping my water doesn't break so early this time so I can labor at home for as long as possible & then when I get to the hospital continue doing things like walk or use the tub or shower for pain relief.  Unless he's sick or out of town, my doctor should actually get to deliver this baby & that alone will make this experience better & better my chances of staying natural.

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