Re: Has anyone delivered 'Natural' Med Free?
10-21-2013 09:17 AM
I, too, wanted a natural med-free delivery. I had seen The Business of Being Born and read all the reasons why you're better off without meds, and I was determined to go med-free. I even hired a doula to coach me through the process and support me with the natural childbirth. I'll go into the details in a minute, but the short story is that I wound up getting an epidural, and I have no regrets. It was absolutely the right decision for me!
The longer version: I labored for most of a day before getting to the point that I felt it was time to call in the doula. By the time she arrived at my house, I was having contractions every 5-10 minutes, and they were about a minute each. They were painful, but manageable. I labored at my house with the help of my husband and doula for several more hours, until my contractions were about every 4 minutes, 60-90 seconds long, and about an 8 (out of 10) on the pain scale. The doula was actually the one who made the call that we should go to the hospital. Based on my contractions, she figured I would be 4 or 5 cm dilated. When the nurse checked me at the hospital however, I was only 1.5 cm. Normally they would send a person home with only this amount of dilation, but my contractions were painful enough and close enough together that they decided to admit me.
Within the first hour of arriving at the hospital, my contractions started coming every 1-5 minutes (irregular) and my pain level jumped up to a 10. My contractions were literally the most painful thing I had ever felt or imagined, and I started having panic attacks because I couldn't see how I was going to get through them. I labored like this, still med-free, for another 5 hours, at which point I was told I had only dilated to 3 cm. This was when I realized I couldn't do it on my own. If I had been 8 cm, I might have been able to hang on, but knowing that in a 5 hour span of the worst pain I had ever experienced I had only dilated an additional 1.5 cm was too much for me. I ordered the epidural and waited for sweet relief.
One of the reasons I had wanted to avoid having an epidural was that it can slow down a person's labor and potentially lead to needing pitocin to help speed things up. However in my case, the epidural dramatically sped my labor up. About 3-4 hours after receiving the epidural, I was 8 cm dilated, and 2 hours after that I was holding my beautiful baby in my arms. I think the pain of my contractions was just so intense, that my body couldn't do what it needed to do. With the pain gone, my body was able to relax and get on with things, and my labor and delivery went very smoothly from that point.
What I learned from my experience is that everybody is different. For many, possibly even most women, a natural med-free delivery is the way to go, but this isn't true for everyone. It certainly wasn't true for me. So my advice would be to learn as much as you can about having a med-free delivery, and have a doula or midwife to help you through the process. But make sure that your support team will STILL support you if, in the moment, you change your mind and decide to go ahead and get medicinal help.