Originally, I thought I wanted a natural birth. I told myself that I didn’t want an epidural to extend my labor or cause a c-section and that I didn’t want a huge needle going into my back. I took a labor and delivery class and a breastfeeding class, but living in a small, rural town we didn’t have a lot of options. Each course was one night and we just watched a DVD. My friends from California were taking different breathing classes and more classes than I even knew existed. Those weren’t options to me where we live. I guess I probably could have taken one online but I waited until I was pretty far along to start researching. Plus, class or no class, I was going to have that baby either way. I will say that after I took the labor and delivery class, I felt a lot less anxious because I felt like I knew what to expect.
When the real contractions set in, I handled them pretty well up until about 7 centimeters. Then, I got frustrated because I felt like what I read online about natural births and contractions wasn’t true. I read that walking, bouncing on a ball, or taking a hot shower would help. Ummm, how can you walk or do any of those things when you’re that far along?! I also read that changing positions would help with contractions. I couldn’t even move during a contraction by the time I got to 7 centimeters. All I could do was lay there and take deep breaths. Before having the baby, I thought I would be disappointed in myself if I got an epidural, but after I got the epidural, I was able to enjoy labor and the birth. I also didn’t even feel the needle going into my back.
Looking back, I know I would have been okay if I didn’t get an epidural, I mean I wouldn’t have had a choice, but I am glad I did because I was able to enjoy it. Giving birth is a huge accomplishment with or without an epidural. Will I have an unmedicated birth in the future? Maybe, maybe not. Now I know what contractions feel like, but I will definitely be more prepared and take some more classes if I take that route. On the other hand, I had such a great experience that I’m not sure I wouldn’t want to keep things the same. Who knows, guess we will find out!