I had never given childbirth much thought until I found out I was expecting. Then, it became something I obsessed over. I was so concerned about everything that went into my body and I was even more worried about what could happen to my baby if I were to choose to take the epidural. But like most of you I do not like pain and this was not an easy decision to make.
My First Child
With my first child, I told them that I wanted to go natural. I was twenty-eight and healthy so they said sure, but if you change your mind we can still do the epidural up to a certain point. Okay, so we were going along there for an hour or two and even though it was not pleasant I could still bear the pain, but when we got into the third hour I was beginning to question my decision. By the time I said “Uncle” they told me it was too late because the baby’s head was cresting. Oh boy! But within thirty minutes or so my little girl was there and the pain was unremembered, until the next day at least.
That’s not to say everything went smoothly. First of all, my regular doctor was out of town so I got his associate. This was a time when they had the labor rooms and the delivery room separate so as the time grew close they trundled me through the halls. When I got to the delivery room there was a man there in tennis shoes, jeans and a mask. Who the heck was that? It turns out that he was the anesthesiologist. Well, Mr. Jeans, two nurses and I waited impatiently for the doctor to show up. They kept telling me to quit pushing, but I told them that the baby had other ideas so the doctor better get here fast!
The doctor finally showed up and I was in such good shape that when they told me to push, I pushed hard! My little eight pound seven ounce baby girl literally shot out with her elbow up in the air. The doctor was still putting on his gloves as he turned and caught her in mid air. Praise God he was a good catch. Can you believe it?
She was screaming and the anesthesiologist says, “Let’s give her a shot of oxygen just to make her smarter!” I am looking around in a daze by this time wondering what is going on.
Her little elbow did some damage down there and the next thing I know the doctor is trying to repair the damage with a needle and thread singing, “Shall we gather at the river…”. I felt like it was a mini-circus in that delivery room. But we survived and as soon as I looked at that beautiful little girl in my arms all pain was forgotten.
My only regret is that my grandmother couldn’t be there. They had to throw her out because she kept screaming “oh, God, oh, God!”
My Second Child
Almost seven years later I became pregnant at age 35, Surely what I had done for one child I had to do for the other, at least that was what was going through my mind. I made the decision again to go natural but the doctors were a little more hesitant this time than they were the first time. Not only was I older but I was also under a great deal of stress because I had gone into early labor at six months and had been confined to home and bed rest along with being on a monitor for contractions. But nonetheless, I was determined to give my son the same natural birth that I had my daughter.
There were many problems that arose to make me question my decision along the way. Instead of being born in three hours my son took about twelve. As you may know, in phase 1 of labor you dilate to ten centimeters and my son’s head was about fifteen centimeters large. This made it just a bit more uncomfortable than usual and then came the shoulders! By the time I gave birth I was white, cold, and kind of in a daze. They told me I was doing fine but the tenth hot blanket they brought in to cover me with told me different. I lie there thinking about my baby and I was so grateful that there were no complications with him but I was also so grateful that this delivery was over!
I could not sleep for the first twenty-four hours. They said that happens sometimes. I went down to see my son, talked to doctors and nurses and just wandered the halls. They gave me something to help me relax, and I was exhausted, but I just couldn’t sleep. Then something seemed to hit and I slept all the next day.
Looking back I think that with all the complications I had with my son already I probably should have opted for an epidural. Natural child birth is harder on your body as you get older and I had been in pre labor with him for over three months by that point so my body was already exhausted. Not to mention the stress of thinking your child will come out too early, all the doctors’ visits and constant monitoring. Yes, it was a whole different ball game with my son. That is why I think every mother should consider the pros and cons for their own situation.
Sometimes it is alright to give your body a little help and rest. It is better for your child if you are not under so much stress. You could be doing them more harm then good putting yourself under so much pressure. Of course you want to make sure your child is kept safe from any additional medicine exposure but you also need to be aware of your stress levels and how that can affect them.
Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for www.babysitting.net. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to email@example.com.