Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm scared.

I am not sure I can truly put into words the difference between a woman delivering with an epidural and one delivering without. Today, I delivered two women, both without epidurals and it was actually scary (and, if you were an outsider, a little bit comical).

I don't think I will ever forget the look in my patients eyes, like a wild animal about to be trapped. She grabbed my shirt and emphatically screamed, "I'm freaking out now." I had to stop, take a deep breath and then remind her to breathe as well. In the meantime, she is clamping her legs together, coming off the table and moaning that she can't push anymore.

"Alright sweetie, the baby isn't going to come out with your legs shut and the only way for you to stop hurting is to deliver this baby." Um, doc, can I get some support here?

I don't even know where to start describing the screams and pleas for help. The sense of urgency to get the baby delivered takes on a whole new meaning as you watch someone in more than the worst pain imaginable with only one solution.

All I can say is that I am not that brave.

17 comments:

Bettsi McComb said...

I'm not sure why it happened the way it did, but I had all three of my kids without an epidural. With the first, I was in labor for over 24 hours, the second for days! and the third popped my water and jumped out grinning. I can understand why I didn't get the epidural with the third, but why the first two? Even though it was really painful, it was a good feeling to reach that moment of knowing that this baby wasn't coming until I committed fully to it and then I did. I was actually really proud of myself. So, even though it wasn't intentional, I wouldn't trade my experience for anything.

Froguette said...

I did it without and it's most empowering thing I have ever experienced (and the pain is bad but not so bad you wouldn't do it again)

Lulu's Mom said...

I had my first and only without an epidural and it honestly surprised be how mellow and relaxed an non-painful birth can be. If you let go of the fear associated with childbirth you won't tense up and hurt so much.

kristin said...

both my kids were born without meds (at home) and it was the most amazing experience of my life.

as a doula i have seen women give birth with and without the epi and how they handle birth seems to have less to do with their choice of intervention but more to do with their situation, psychology and preparation.

Katie said...

I just wanted to jump on here and say that I delivered an 11 lb baby at home. It was the best experience of my life.

I truly think being able to move around and get in the water for relief makes it less painful.

My Mom was one of the women who screamed through the whole labor until it was done. But epidurals never worked with her, so it wasn't really her choice. haha

Jazmin.M.V said...

I gave birth without an Epidural. It hurt, but was more irritating than anything. I was really uncomfortable and that made me irritated lol. Didn't help that the moron of a nurse raped me. Now that was painful.

Lee said...

That is a complete dramatization. A peaceful unmedicated birth IS POSSIBLE. You of all people should know that each pregnancy/birth is different and MENTAL ATTITUDE has a lot to do with how the mother handles it, yes?

You've NEVER had ANYONE not freak out without an epidural?

(homebirth, unmedicated mom)

Brittany said...

Uh-oh. You've caught the attention of the home-birthers. Watch out -- don't offend the adamant breast feeders or you'll never get out alive!

kate01 said...

Ya, I just want the baby, if I can do that without pain, I'm all for it! I feel empowered enough already, thank you.

Raena said...

It has been my experience asa doula, that most women who have a baby with no epi and react that way have not been prepared for childbirth through education. But at least they care enough about the baby and themselves to give it a try without the drugs.

Kim said...

I've had 4 so far and expecting #5.

#1 & #3 I had no epidural and very peaceful labors and deliveries.

#2 I had pitocin AND still had no epidural and did not flip out.

#4 was born at home after a 42 hour true posterior labor, baby born facing the wrong direction.... still no freaking out.

Maybe it's the environment, and what your patients expect more than what actually is.

Morterae said...

Yes, Raena, because any woman who would want pain relief from labor doesn't care about herself. Oh, right, or her baby.

Why do some women feel the need to judge other women about this issue? It's not a morality issue or a character issue.

Sorry there are no bozo buttons for the woman who can endure the most pain without complaint. If you want to be a martyr, go right ahead, but quit judging others who don't share your urge to suffer.

How would you feel if people said the reason med-free deliveries are so easy for some women is because they have flappy vaginas? Or they're masochists because they find pleasure in self-denial? Would you be offended?

Well, it's also offensive to say that a woman who wants pain relief doesn't care about herself or her baby.

Personally, I don't care what a woman chooses for herself--pain relief or no pain relief. It's no one else's business. She should feel free to do whatever is right for her and to do it without judgment from others.

Stifled Flame said...

I find it very annoying when people say it is possible for every woman to have a natural, painfree birth. Maybe that is ok for you - but that hasn't happened for me at all.

My first labour was utterly horrific and I was sure that wasn't going to happen again. For my second I chose a birthing centre with a pool, hypnobirthing course, doula, aromatherapy and homeopathy. I was CONVINCED there wouldn't be a problem, and that I wouldn't feel even the tiniest bit of pain because it was all 'mind over matter'. Baby was posterior but I knew lots of methods to turn him. Wasn't scared one bit.

I ended up in what can only be described as agonising torture for 17.5hrs, and tearing so bad that I still leak waters and can't poop properly.

Never again!

Loblolly said...

I think all women experience l&d differently. I'm so sick of the "textbook" case being applied to every first timer or in every case. Screw it.

I've given birth twice without an epidural and twice with. . . and that last time, with TTTS twins and a cerclage that needed removing, I HAD to have the epidural. Otherwise, I wouldn't have done the epidural ever, ever again.

After my epidural births, I had horrible reactions, and the narcotics that the ICU nurses pushed on me made me sicker than morning sickness. I was more delirious AFTER labor than I was postpartum those first few days. I felt like a million dollars after my non-medicated births to be honest. And I NEVER freaked out. I didn't even holler or moan.

Okay, granted, I do have precipitous labor (as in 1 hour or less L&D pain), and that makes it much more bearable.

BUT let me add that I've seen plenty of women have epidurals that were absolutely wonderful, and they had no negative after-affects.

Thank goodness for a choice.

mewwsical said...

Unmedicated birth is NOT about enduring pain without complaint or being a martyr or earning a badge of honor or however you want to put it. I am choosing an umedicated birth because I do not want my baby to get all those drugs during birth. The doses that a mother passes on to her baby are essentially adult doses - who can say that is good, or even safe, for a baby? Besides which it depresses the baby's reflexes which help it push itself down the birth canal, depresses it in general making it more difficult to nurse or do anything else. I do this for the same reason I choose breastfeeding over formula, the same reason I make my baby's food fresh instead of feeding her preservatives. With babies you are laying a physical foundation for the rest of their lives and this is the most important time for them to be getting all the things they need to be healthy and as little of the things that should be avoided.

Amy said...

Epidurals are put in the mothers spinal cavity... its a closed space. It does not got into the blood. It does not go to the baby at all. Iv given birth once with epidural and once with nothing. And waiting for our third any day now. Each birth is different and requires different things. As far as " drugs" go epidurals are completely safe for baby. Get off your high horse.

unbridledflame said...

I'm 'stifledflame' (above) four years on, now unbridledflame - and I agree totally Emma! Hate it when women slate me for having an epidural, for 'risking my baby'. I was risking my baby by being too tired to push without an epidural for the first 13 hours, with contractions every minute back to back from beginning to end. The epidural helped me to briefly rest and during that time baby turned and I pushed him out as the epidural wore off. No harm done to baby, no diamorphine in his system, breast feeding at birth.