Mom life

Epidural vs. No Epidural

I’ve now had a medicated and un-medicated labor experience.

You can read Kenley’s birth story(epidural) here and Hollis’s here (no epidural)

I’ve been asked by several different people which I preferred, what I’ll plan for my next delivery, and how different the two experiences were, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts here:

Reflecting on my delivery with Kenley I feel that it went great. I labored naturally until I was 7cm and then requested my epidural. This allowed me to have a little time to rest before time to push and my epidural worked well, so other than feeling some pressure, I felt no pain. I also think that laboring for that long prior to getting my epidural helped prevent the epidural from stalling my progress (I didn’t want to end up having to get a c-section or have pitocin to keep my labor going).

Reflecting on my most recent delivery with Hollis, it was a much different experience! Still great because at the end I have a healthy happy baby, but definitely a much more rushed and painful experience. I will say, once the pain was over…it was over.

General thoughts:

-I’ve been told several times by many people that laboring natural makes your recovery so much better/easier…..
I have to disagree. Granted, I feel like I had an easy recovery with Kenley and I know that not all women do. BUT in my experience, my recovery with her was easier and faster. In the initial recovery period after delivery, the fudus massages they have to do were much more painful, where as having the epidural with Kenley I couldn’t really feel them. I have bled more and longer with Hollis (finally stopped 4.5 weeks later). I’ve been more sore for longer with Hollis. On a positive note, not having to get a foley due to the epidural, has led to a lot less peeing on myself this time….major plus.

-Like I mentioned earlier, once the pain of laboring naturally is over, its over. Honestly, getting through the contractions hurt way more than the pushing/delivery part. Once he was delivered, I was so relieved that the pain was over and he was here safely that I just felt exhausted (I also hadn’t eaten since 11am and it was 7pm). I feel like this feeling of exhaustion took a little away from our first moments together during skin to skin because I wanted to lay back, relax, close my eyes…..and my mind was still reeling from the past hour trying to process how everything had happened so quickly.

For the Future

#1 I will go to the hospital sooner!
I jokingly (but a little seriously worried) said to Blake: living 30 mins away, we may not make it here next time.

I will prepare myself to labor naturally. I had done ZERO prep for a natural labor because I didn’t plan on having one. Looking back, this was a really silly thing to do because having to labor naturally is always a possibility for various reasons. I know there are techniques and tools I could have utilized to probably help with the pain and feel like I had more control of my body/the situation, if I had ever researched them, studied them, learned them. During my next pregnancy I’ll be sure to do my research, listen to the podcasts, read the blogs, etc etc etc. just incase I have to, or chose to, labor naturally again.

With my next L&D experience I’ll plan to go into it just as I have these two: with an open mind.
Do I think I’ll get an epidural. YES. But am I gonna walk in and immediately request it? No. I’ll labor naturally until I don’t want to anymore, and then I’ll get it. I think there’s a lot of power in listening to our bodies and letting it tell us what to do/when is the right time to do it.

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