Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Motherhood - Epidural

Excerpts from New York Times article 'Get the Epidural' by Jessi Klein

No one ever asks a man if he’s having a “natural root canal.” No one ever asks if a man is having a “natural vasectomy.”

“What are you trying to win?” What was I trying to win? I thought about it and realized — nothing. There’s nothing to win.

“There is science showing all the risks of an epidural!” Well, again, I am not a doctor, but I do have the internet.

There are so many debates in this life in which there is some evidence of one thing and also some evidence of the other. At such a point, you just have to decide to believe in and do what is best for you. So here’s a radical idea: Why not do the thing that makes you happy?

There is so much pressure on women around birth and labor and mothering to do it this way or that way. It’s so easy to believe the notion that having a baby demands complete and total self-abnegation, and anything short of that is not enough.

If you’re worried that skipping the pain of childbirth means you’re somehow cheating your baby, or yourself, you’re not. Because the truth is, life offers more than enough pain that you will not be able to skip. 

Yup, give me the epidural! There has never been any question in my mind, if I am ever giving birth I will be getting the epidural and any other pain killers/drugs they can throw my way. I like modern medicine - I like making pain go away.

I have heard the positives from the other side, friends and acquaintances that wanted/tried/had a drug-less birth or some variation. For the most part their reasons made sense. Rarely are these people conspiracy-theory hippies, or self-flagellating mommy-martyrs, though sometimes. For the vast majority they made (or tired/planned to make) a personal choice based on what was important to them.

What is great from all my conversations on the topic is that this seems to be very much a personal choice and an understanding that there are reasons to make the decision either way. Some pregnancy or parenting subjects have strong reactions, judgement, and opinions about right/wrong, unlike what the article suggests, I don't get the feeling that the choice to get an epidural is one of those.

Those who have been through it: Please share in the comments if leading up to birth, during, or afterwards friends, family or event strangers were sharing strong hurtful opinions about your choice to have or decline an epidural?

I am inclined to say, and have said, to someone planning on forgoing an epidural, "Are you crazy? What about the pain? I would totally get all the drugs!" Which I hope isn't viewed as hurtful, it is the same response I would give someone who is suffering through a headache and not taking an Advil. It is an expression of awe at someone else' pain tolerance and not a judgement about the choice they are making for their body.

In my experience, the most common reason against getting an epidural has been the ability to walk afterwards instead of waiting until the drugs wear off, and with that a faster departure from the hospital. Personally I love hospitals so that reason doesn't apply to me. Also I just absolutely hate pain, I used to take Tylenao 3s (from my high-school wisdom teeth removal) to get my legs waxed. Hit me up with the drugs! But you do you.


Sweeton said...

I couldn't have an epidural due to a back injury from my teens. In my day there didn't seem to be a lot of judgement one way or another although the natural childbirth push was on. Cambridge had a birthing chair so that option was available. I found the laughing gas to be a great option but totally agree everyone is different and modern medicine and holistic medicine gives us lots of options.

Anonymous said...

Totally depends on your labour I think. With my first baby I was begging for the epidural and gladly let them stick a needle in my back in order to get some relief. I will say that another drawback is that an epidural slows down the pushing process a bit because you don't have any feeling so it's hard to push right (yes, there is a right way). I didn't have time for an epidural with my second bowling ball/baby and enjoyed the labour more because I felt more connected (pain and all). To be fair, my second baby was a bullet train so it was over much quicker. If she had taken longer I would have been begging for drugs.

God I can't wait for you to (maybe) have babies so that I can read all your narrative adventures about making little people :)

Love T

meg said...

I did 2 with an epidural and also an induction and the other 2 ( the last 2) were no intervention. I preferred the recovery from the labour without the epidural it was much faster and I felt more like myself. That said I found the induced labour is very different from what natural labour was for me and I don't regret getting the epidural.

Unknown said...

I am so glad I got the epidural for my one labour experience so far. I 100 percent agree with the first quote at the start of this entry. Just like every other parenting decision, I strongly believe it is a personal choice - whatever works best for YOU and the baby. Prioritize your sanity and health with all parenting decisions and take any advice you hear with a grain of salt. Everybody is different and nobody should feel pressured by what society tells them they should do. That being said, I'm with you Chris, don't know why anybody would opt for no drugs (although before I gave birth I was contemplating no drugs because of the messages I got at prenatal classes). Don't get me started on the prenatal classes...I have very strong feelings about the way the Halton class we took covered breastfeeding...I will save that for another day...
- Teri

Jennifer Nuttall said...

I tried to go drug free with Evan due to everything they say nowadays about reasons why not to get the epidural. And I was fine with how the contractions felt, not good but not painful either. But was glad I got it due to the episiotomy and the ripping from the forceps, not to mention the tearing that happened from the super fast pushing. I tried the laughing gas but it made me want to throw up which I hate so that was a no go. With Kane the labour was so fast I arrived by ambulance at the hospital fully dilated and immediately went into delivery to start pushing. So no drugs at all. Given how frantic everything was, he was 2 months early, labour was so crazy fast, I didn't feel anything. The contractions were very mild and the pain of labour completely nonexistant. Even as he came out and I had all the tearing the exact same as with Evan. That said, it is completely a personal choice and totally up to you....if you make it to the hospital in time to chose to do so. :) As is every parenting decision you'll ever make. I wanted to experience what childbirth felt like without drugs and now I know. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. But every birth is different and if I ever need it or want it, I won't hesitate either.