The great epidural debate is one that I had originally decided not to touch on in my writing here, or really discus at all with anyone else. I believe that whether or not a woman chooses medication as a form of pain relief during labour is a decision that she can make with her doctor and partner. I am apparently the only person who believes that this topic is none of anybody else’s business.
At a certain point in pregnancy every second person you meet wants to know one thing. ‘Are you going to get the epidural?’ When I tell people that I don’t want to but am not ruling it out I get one of two main reactions, both of which are extremely annoying.
Reaction #1, the most common reaction comes from the people who I’ve written about previously, the ones who are about to tell me all about how horrible it was to birth their children and seam to think that telling me this is at all helpful to my own birthing experience.
One of these people actually rolled their eyes and laughed at me before delivering her lines; ‘You know there isn’t a special place in heaven for mothers who give birth naturally. Oh you’ll end up taking it, trust me’. It’s that last part that gets to me the most, the part where the say ‘trust me’ in the most ominous voice they can muster.
I’ve already addressed these people in a previous post, and when I address them in person I usually calmly explain that my partner and I have talked about it, and my doctor and I have talked about it, and I am comfortable with the birthing plan that I have made for myself.
Reaction #2, usually comes from people who either don’t have any children, or feel very smug about having had there children sans epidural.
‘By even making it an option you’ll use it, do you know all of the horrible things that those drugs can do to you and your baby?’
Why yes, I am aware of the possible side effects of an epidural. I am aware that it can slow down labour, that it can be ineffective or partially effective making the rest of my labour worse, and most of all I am aware of the studies suggesting that the epidural drugs can have negative effects on bonding and nursing in the first few hours of my child’s life. I am however, very satisfied with my doctor’s reassurance that it will not turn my baby into a three eyed flying cancer monkey, nor affect his ability to thrive in any other way.
Once again what I actually say in real life, because I am not as cool in real life as I am on the Internet, is much the same as what I tell the first category of people. I am comfortable with the birthing plan that my partner, doctor, and I have agreed upon.
Said birthing plan is relatively simple, if I can stay calm, and stay focused, then I should be able to avoid the use of the epidural, and if I do ask for pain relief Das Piper knows to talk me through the contraction, and ask me again so that I don’t end up making a rash decision in the heat of the moment.
My reasons for wanting to avoid an epidural are simple as well. In general I’ve never been one to take medication for anything unless it is absolutely necessary, that applies to antibiotics, pain relievers, and anything else. I always like to give my body a chance to heal itself before resorting to drugs.
What experience I do have with being under anesthetic also makes me weary. Waking up from my breast reduction surgery was unpleasant to say the least. The shaking, vomiting, and headache resulting from the anesthetic were far worse than any other part of my very painful recovery. While I understand that an epidural would be administering different drugs than those from my surgery, I also know that these are possible side effects of an epidural as well and would prefer not to feel like that during one of the happiest moments of my life.
Regardless of my reasons, or my birthing plans, or anything else though, the point remains that there are many different pain relief options to choose from during labour, and I believe that I have done sufficient research to make a well informed decision for myself.