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epidural vs natural... im in need of opinions!!!
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epidural vs natural... im in need of opinions!!!

I always assumed that I would have an epidural but yesterday the thought occurred to me that I might want to try things unmedicated. I think what may have sparked it was that my doctor was surprised by how low in me the baby is positioned (Im 36 weeks). My cervix isnt dilated but it ha begun to efface. She said that once labor got started there wouldnt need to be a lot of pushing and that it would be an "easy labor". I think that may have sparked the thought of going ahead and trying it natural just for the sake of trying it. I have been weighing some of the pros and cons in my head but seeing as I have never had a baby before Im still not sure because Im lacking the practical understanding. SO for those of you who have used one or the other what did you think? Im looking for some opinions on both methods or some pros or cons that you girls may have towards one or the other (in case there is one I havent considered that maybe I should)
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280369_tn?1316705641
Well I use a midwife and with my son I delivered at a birthing center, plan on it again this time around. I wanted to do it all natural as I felt it was best for me to try. No option for an epidural unless I had to go to the hospital for some reason. I had a great experience and wasn't in too much pain until the last few hours. I pushed for 1 hour and 20 min. and supposedly, my midwife said that was pretty quick for a first timer, although I know others have probably pushed for less time the first time around. You just never know how long you are going to be pushing. If you really want to try things naturally, plan everything out and tell your doc what your plans are, just know they could change at any moment if it's in the baby's best interest. You can always get an epidural if you don't think you could do it naturally. It's nice to be able to have that option available. I am just terrified of needles and also about being numb for such a long time. So I'm a chicken. I'm sure other ladies on here who have had the epidural can you give their experience. =) Good luck!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I think it is totally normal to not have any idea what you want to do when it's your first.
When I went into labour with my son, I didn't want an epidural. I was against the thought of it and I did pretty good. I got to 7 1/2 cm without any pain medication, but the doctor insisted on breaking my water so he also insisted on me getting an epidural. I didn't want it, and unfortunately the hospital I had my son at thought I was incapable of making that decision based on my being only 18 years old. Anyways, I got the epidural and it didn't really work. It made me extremly uncomfortable and just made my back sore rather than stopping any other pain. So I suppose you could say I went without an epidural. I did however take full advantage of the laughing gas; beautiful stuff that is! lol
This time around I plan on going as far as I can without an epidural. My doctor is predicting a quick labour so hopefully that will be the case and I can go med free.
Also, side effects I had from the epidural was that it hit a nerve in my back. Ever since I had my son 3 1/2 years ago I get a pinching feeling in my back to the left side where the epidural was placed. Now my left arm goes numb randomly.
But good luck, and remember, why not try going natural, if you need the epidural, then ask for it! :)
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376739_tn?1317669990
I recently posted a journal entry with a link to an amazing L&D nurse's blog. She is a nurse, in a hospital, but she encourages women to labor and birth naturally.

I've personally had epidurals in the past but this nurse has inspired me so much to try natural this time! My sister gave birth to her three daughters naturally.

Things come up and maybe I won't be able to but TRYING is what counts! You really won't know exactly what to expect until you are in that moment. So if you feel you want to try natural, go for it! And don't feel bad if you end up asking for an epidural.
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722070_tn?1246028574
I had got the epidural with my son and my daughter..i loved it because i felt no pain what so ever with either..and the epidural feels so good..lol but i felt no pain when they put it in or anything..i have no problems from them either..after i had my son i heard a lady giving birth beside me and it scared the **** out of me..the nurse came in my room shortly after and told me "thats what happens when you dont get the epidural!" and the same thing happened when i had my daughter..i just get so freaked out with hearing those girls go through all of that pain..it really scares me..sometimes it sounds like as if someone is killing them or something..seriously....so i'd rather have the drugs...lol my kids are perfectly fine and normal..none of them had any problems..my son is above his class at school! so it's really up to you..if you can handle that pain..go for it..but im too much of a chicken to not deal with that pain!
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756023_tn?1338524035
I too went in adament that I was not going to use any drugs however, I ended up having an epidural after 12 hours of labour and it only gave me relief for 4 hours.  It was the best 4 hours.  I spent another 7 hours without anything (including pushing) and to this day am so glad that I was able to feel her arrival.  I am going to try do it all natural with this next babe but am going to keep the epidural option open if labour is really long again.  I have not experienced any negative side effects from the epidural.  
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719902_tn?1334168783
Just my opinion...
If this is your first baby, I wouldn't *plan* on an epidural.  All women labor differently, who knows, you may be one of the lucky ones who go in and deliver within an hour or two (let's hope, huh?)!  It is difficult to know wat labor will be like until you're in it.  Know that an epidural is an option you can use if you need it.

Personally, I have had my three naturally because I have a deathly fear of needles = ).

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414635_tn?1272221293
Ihad said i was gonna wait and see...but a few days before induction they told me to expect a 9lber..so i said i wasnted an epideral. Well the inductions didn't work....and so they broke my water, within 15 minutes i said i felt pressure, the nurse checked me and called for the epideral (was told 45 minutes) and called the Dr. The next 45minutes was HE!!, I was watching the clock, and let the nurse know when 45 minutes was up, she said the anthesioloist was in the or and would be down soon, but doubted i'd be ab;e to have one, sure enough about 10 minutes later i heard him in the hall...and the Dr said too late she's just about to start pushing (so even is he was on time i couldn't have had one) i went from 3cm to 10 cm in about an hour after they broke my water. 1 1/2hrs of pushing he was delivered face up, i had an episomty and a seperated pelvis which kept me in the hosptial fo 5 days.
I must say before they told me he was gonna be big (oh and he was only 7lb7oz) i didn't know if i was gonna get a epi, i was certanly gonna try not to, just because of all the complications that can arise from an epideral
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Avatar_f_tn
my ob and i actually discussed everything about my labor early on in my pregnancy so we did plan on me having an epidural (if i'd only been pushing out one i probably would have done it natural) which i'm glad we did because all of my labor pains were in my back and every time i had a contraction my back would spams and i'd end up curled in a ball....which is not what they wanted when i was in labor. lol. the epidural helped A LOT. my back quit going into spasms and i had a very easy delivery.
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Avatar_n_tn
with my son he was induced and being my first i got an epidural. with my daughter i thought i'd try it natural. after a while i thought ok i think i need an epidural but the anethisiologist was busy doing an emerg. c section so i had no option. It wasnt bad at all. it was uncomfortable but once i started pushing i wasnt in pain at all. and felt immediately better after she was all the way out. its a very rewarding experience!!
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689265_tn?1251133687
i had epidurals with my 1st 2 boys and they were great, blocked out A LOT of pain and i was still able to move around. with my third, i wanted to try just with gas and air. i so regret that decision. it was my worst labour and biggest baby at 8lbs 13ozs. for some reason, i had an aversion to the gas and air this time, didn't like how it was making me feel and it was also making me vomit so i didn't have much. by the time i couldn't stand the pain anymore, it was too late for an epidural and all i could have was pethidine. i hear this works well for some women but in all honesty it did absolutely nothing for me apart from hurt my leg where they injected it. i then had to have a ventouse delivery and i now only advise these when it is absolutely necessary becase it is extremely painful. i am definitely having an epidural with this baby. I think pain relief is entirely the individual's choice...whether they have it, what they choose to have etc. All i can do is give my experience and opinions, which i have. i'm sure you will make the right decision for you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Ultimately it is up to you.  you will hear people who say they would NEVER give birth without an epidural and others, like me, who will tell you that their natural childbirth was wonderful.   Some are scared of natural childbirth, and others like me, are scared of natural childbirth.  I am scared of hospitals, intervention, c-sections, doctors, etc.  There is no right or wrong, it is just a personal decision and you may change your mind on the day the birth rolls around...so whatever you do, be open to go with the flow on the day your birth comes around.

I just posted in another pregnancy forum on this topic so I am just going to paste my story here again for you:

I am the type person who always takes allergy medicine with my allergies act up or Aleve when i have headache, etc.  My husband laughed when I told him I wanted to deliver in a birth house.  He said "you?  without medicine?" but my mother is a Doula and sent me a lot of books when I was pregnant with my DD and they all, of course, supported natural childbirth, the history of childbirth and how it has evolved from something natural to something very clinical and medicinish over the years and the reasons why.  It was very interesting reading.... and in the end I decided that yes, I am the type that turns to medicine when I am sick, but pregnancy isnt a sickness and I wanted to do it naturally.

Only totally risk free pregnancies can deliver in a birth house/center.  No multiples, diabetes, too early, too late, breech, etc can deliver there.  They totally err on the side of safety and go to the hospital at the sign that the birth isnt progressing or something might possibly go wrong.

I delivered in a great birth center in a very tranquil environment.  First laboring in the water for a few hours, then out of the water.  My midwife knew me from my visits to her during the pregnancy and of course we had developed a relationship.  She gave me homeopathic/herbal med to help with pain and acupuncture as well during the birth.  When my DD was crowning she put warm coffee compresses on me (caffeine helps the skin/tissue to stretch/elastic) and the result was a 5 hour labor/birth, which was the HARDEST thing I ever did in my life!!!!!, but wonderful and with no ripping or tearing or anything.  Afterwards, my baby and I just cuddled, then I showered, we all cuddled some more with daddy too, and about 4 hours after she was born, we went home to start our life as a family.  It was 2am and we just laid in bed for hours just looking at our little one.

My midwife came over the next two days to check on us and the pediatrician also made a house visit on day 2 to look at our DD as well.  It was wonderful.

I wanted to do everything the same this time again.....but now I have to go to a hospital because twins count as "high risk" and  I am scared of intervention.  I am a strong believer that once they start intervening and doing stuff or giving you stuff, the natural birth process is altered, hormones don't develop as normal and then they have to intervene again....    

Good luck with whatever you decide!
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284738_tn?1283110419
i honestly believe i would have been to exhausted without the epidural that i wouldnt have been able to push.. after 3 hours in hard labor i opted for the epi.. i had been in labor for 2 days with mild contractions but once they got me  on pitosin i was begging for the epidural i was having contractions less than a minute apart for a whole hour and i was just exhausted.. i was actually crying.. b/c i was soo tired i had labored ( mild contractions) all through the night and i was just exhausted.. my water broke at 10pm and i didnt have my daughter until 6:53 pm the next day..  i did have a reaction to the epidural (my face got really swollen and itchy and my lips swell to 3 times the size) but when i have another child i will opt for the epidural..
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470885_tn?1326332637
You can go in with an idea of what you'd like to go/how you'd like for things to go....But the way your labour goes will dictate that.  I went in with the attitude of "wait and see" (which, by the way, my labour nurse was relieved about).  It would have been nice to deliver without drugs, but it wasn't in the cards for me:  I was induced and had hard, painful back labour...tried Demerol first (which only made me sick) and finally wen the epidural route.  Worked like a charm for me, and I don't regret it one bit.  You don't win any awards for going natural, so do what you need to do.  If I hadn't had intervention like that, I likely would have worn myself out to the point that I wouldn't have been able to push DS out.

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796506_tn?1370191905
I agree that ultimately it will be your decision. I have had two boys and my first I had him naturally and my second I had the epideral. I would have loved to done the second baby naturally, but in my opinion it was worth the epideral. Both times my water broke at home. My first labor was long and excrutiating. I wish I had the epideral then! I had a few complications with my first baby that I didn't experience with the second. My second labor only lasted 6 hours and I was comfortable and slept through the majority of my contractions! What a relief! I was told that I made having a baby look easy! LOL! It kept me more relaxed so things were easier! You will make the right decision for you I'm sure. Believe me, I didn't regret my decision when it was all over! Good luck!
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317217_tn?1394815349
i did it on gas and air. pushed for 30 minutes. Tell you what it was great. you kinda go into yourself the pushing didnt hurt in fact it was a huge relief. this time im hoping gfor a home birth. good luck
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341551_tn?1266984330
I planned and wanted a natural birth with my son. My water broke early in the morning on Feb 9th...I was in labor for a total of 17 hours and it was horrible! I wasn't progressing after 10 hours of labor so they gave me pitosin and it got worse. The pain was unbearable and I came really close to taking the epidural. But at that time I was almost 9 cm dilated and figured I made it this far, I can do it! After almost 3 hours of painful pushing my baby was born! But to everyones surprise he was 9 pounds 4 ounces! Mind you, I am 5 feet 100 pounds. He was predicted to be 7 in a half pounds...if they knew he was that big they would have sectioned him. So needless to say it was very horrible and I did it all without any medication. I think if he was an averaged sized baby it wouldn't have been AS bad...but I dont recommend natural with a large baby! I was in more pain that I could have ever imagined!
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504000_tn?1242504393
I planned to have an epidural from the start but my labor progressed realllllly quickly and the contractions were killer, i didnt get my epidural until about an hour before i gave birth.my contractions were less than a minute apart,  it was very painful once i had the epidural it was the only relief i had for about 6hrs. i havent really had any negative effects from the epidural and i was in so much pain that i did not care about the needles. i know most people want top try natural but i cant handle the pain, the epi def helped me.
good luck!!!
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218870_tn?1240259255
my opinion is to go ahead and try it, but keep the option open for an epidural.  I would not get too set on natural so you dont get let down.  Go as far as you can natural and if it gets to be too much ask for the epidural.  I would stay at home as long as you can and labor at home so at least you will feel more comfortable to do whatever makes you feel better instead of trying to be mindful of everyone else.  One other thing.  If you make it to the point of pushing with no meds, they will give you shots of lidocaine that will help numb things up down there.  It actually feels much better to push through a contraction than it does to just breathe through it.  I ended up getting to the hospital just as the baby was ready to be delivered and missed my opportunity for an epidural.  i was terrified and with my first push was very much relieved when it made me feel better.  My hard labor was only 2.5 hrs which is really short but you better believe I will be asking for an epidural at 39 weeks this time!  Good Luck and enjoy the enxt few weeks!
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