Spinoff of a Spinoff: Pain medication during child birth

Because my blood pressure was so high, between contractions, everyone was telling me to relax. I finally told them to shut up! I was trying to meditate between contractions, even if it was only for a few seconds but everyone talking to me DROVE ME NUTS. When hubby finally asked them to hush and just watch me, it went much better. Between contractions is when I focused on breathing deeply and and visualizing a cool, safe place. I was scared as hell because of my blood pressure and I had to get to a "safe place" mentally. During contractions, I kept telling myself (in my head) that "it's just pain; it's temporary" over and over. For me, the emotional control of not panicing was so important because I knew freaking out wouldn't help my blood pressure any. In the end, I lost that emotional control and did panic when I heard a nurse read my blood pressure out loud. I caved and demanded an epidural because I realized it was more important than having a drup-free birth, to get my blood pressure down by meditating and I couldn't do that and deal with the labor pain too.

I wanted a drug-free delivery because I know that's best for the baby. I had planned to "go it drug free for as long as I could" and I'm glad I had that attitude instead of "I must do it totally without drugs" because I would have been disappointed in myself because I had to change plans along the way.
Pixie, I want to second the rec for The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. It's a great book (and yes, she is pro-"natural" childbirth, but she does a really good job of being objective).

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin is a great book too! I think reading it will give you the confidence to pursue drug-free childbirth, if that's what you ultimately end up choosing. It is full of beautiful birth stories as well as Ina May's own wisdom and experiences.

A book that explains the risk of medical interventions and backs it up with research is The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. She makes a great case for low-intervention childbirth. However, she is not very objective.

And if you want an interesting perspective on hospital childbirth, a great book is Birth as an American Rite of Passage by Robbie Davis-Floyd. She is an anthropologist and it's pretty interesting to read how she analyzes our birth customs in the larger context of American culture. She is pro-"natural" childbirth as well. It's an older book though, so some of the customs are no longer common (I don't want you to read it and then be scared of enemas haha).

forgot that I wanted to add Active Birth by Janet Balaskas.

http://www.activebirthcentre.com/

Her book had tons of info on positions. Also makes a great case for med free birthing like Henci Goer and Ina May. Loved Thinking Woman's Guide . . .
Thanks everyone for all the book recs. I'll definitely have to plan a trip to Barnes & Noble sometime soon to check them out.
Faith, 3Aish redhead
Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy
For me, I chose natural birth and homebirth strictly for safety reasons. Sure, the empowerment and sense of accomplishment and elation were wonderful side effects of going natural, but my epidural experiences with previous labors were such utter disasters that I really just wanted to keep myself and my baby safe, and alive, and that meant going without pain drugs.

My natural homebirth VBAC turned out to be the most wonderful experience of my life. I will never surpass that day, ever. I've been a mom 4 times over, so it wasn't just new-baby elation. It was a high like no other. I walked in the clouds for months afterwards. It's hard to describe.
I lived for two years in Uganda, where the vast majority of women have no medication during childbirth, and typically have their babies at home. I decided that if women there can do it, so can I.

Another factor for me was all the issues of what's best for the baby, etc. Plus, the thought of a big needle going into my spinal column made me very nervous! I'm a bit squeamish with blood and such. (Which is why I did not want a mirror to watch what was going on down there.)

I didn't have a home birth, but having natural childbirth was extremely empowering for me, probably the most empowering thing I've ever done. I wasn't sure if I really could/would do it, and it might sound hokey, but it made me feel like if I could do that, I could do anything.
I lived for two years in Uganda, where the vast majority of women have no medication during childbirth, and typically have their babies at home. I decided that if women there can do it, so can I.
Originally Posted by sarah42
That's my thinking too. If millions and millions of women throughout history and around the world have given birth without drugs (and usually gone on to do it again!), then I can too.

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something else to consider is to try and position the baby so that your labor won't be as painful, Of course you can't control last minute switcharoos, but there are some things you can do. According to my last checkup, head is south (yay) but he's facing the wrong way (boo). My "job" for the next couple of weeks is to try and turn him to prevent back labor. Lots of cat/cows, no feet up, leaning forward, swimming on the belly and the like.

My midwife also has some other options to turn the baby such as using herbs massage and as a last resort, going in and turning by hand.

Knowing that I won't have access to medical drugs forces me to have more pressure doing what's necessary. The end result is having a greater sense of physical awareness which, IMHO is a good thing.

Edited to add: I'm also taking Bach's Flower Essenses Oak & Walnut to help with emotional well being.

mothering.com - while it focuses mostly on natural birthing, can be a good resource for finding out about epidurals and the like.
Webbie is right. Mothering.com is a great resource. I waste tons of time there.


"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Theodor Seuss Geisel
something else to consider is to try and position the baby so that your labor won't be as painful, Of course you can't control last minute switcharoos, but there are some things you can do. According to my last checkup, head is south (yay) but he's facing the wrong way (boo). My "job" for the next couple of weeks is to try and turn him to prevent back labor. Lots of cat/cows, no feet up, leaning forward, swimming on the belly and the like.

Here's an article you might find helpful:

http://gentlebirth.org/archives/postrppr.html
I can't find any sources to back this up, but when my mom was having my baby sister, they told her an epi can raise the baby's temperature. With a fever, the doctors generally assume an infection, so the baby could be subjected to lots of unnecessary tests. She didn't have any pain meds with me, so she really wanted to go drug-free again. She ended up having the epi though, and they were both fine.
*Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
I can't find any sources to back this up, but when my mom was having my baby sister, they told her an epi can raise the baby's temperature. With a fever, the doctors generally assume an infection, so the baby could be subjected to lots of unnecessary tests. She didn't have any pain meds with me, so she really wanted to go drug-free again. She ended up having the epi though, and they were both fine.
Originally Posted by Bailey422
I've read about this - the epi actually raises mom's temperature, but because of this a baby is tested and treated for infections. A couple of links:
http://www.anesthesiologyinfo.com/articles/10202002.php
http://pediatrics.aappublications.or...ull/108/5/1099
To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
The epidural I had with my daughter raised my temp to 100. This is not a fever for me. I'm 99 on most days anyway. But in this particular hospital, that "fever" triggered a whole bunch of tests for my daughter. She had to be proven to be non-infectious with various blood tests and have a couple courses of antibiotics before she was even allowed to be on the post-partum floor. That meant I couldn't have my own baby. They wouldn't take me to see her either, because I was having unstable blood pressure issues. I was PISSED. I got out of bed (2 hours after a c-sec) and walked to the nurses station...dragging my IV pole, carrying my foley cathetar bag, and puking into a basin the whole way...and told them I was going to see my daughter if I had to crawl there. They had my baby in my room 5 minutes later...but I shouldn't have had to do that. It was just wrong for them to withhold my baby from me because of their rules.
The epidural I had with my daughter raised my temp to 100. This is not a fever for me. I'm 99 on most days anyway. But in this particular hospital, that "fever" triggered a whole bunch of tests for my daughter. She had to be proven to be non-infectious with various blood tests and have a couple courses of antibiotics before she was even allowed to be on the post-partum floor. That meant I couldn't have my own baby. They wouldn't take me to see her either, because I was having unstable blood pressure issues. I was PISSED. I got out of bed (2 hours after a c-sec) and walked to the nurses station...dragging my IV pole, carrying my foley cathetar bag, and puking into a basin the whole way...and told them I was going to see my daughter if I had to crawl there. They had my baby in my room 5 minutes later...but I shouldn't have had to do that. It was just wrong for them to withhold my baby from me because of their rules.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Yes, this is exactly what my mom was afraid of. How horrible of them to do that to you.
*Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin

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