Birth Reflections – Why I’m Glad I got an Epidural

I thought about not writing this because I know this is a hugely personal decision and people have strong opinions.  In the end though, I decided to share.

There are so many (beautiful) birth stories out there about natural births, which is wonderful, but when I was pregnant, it made it almost seem (to me) like it’s the only legitimate way to give birth, like if you have an epidural, you should just keep quiet about it.  This may just be because I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, I don’t know, but that’s definitely how it seemed to me.

I went into the whole birth experience unsure of whether I wanted to get an epidural.  I didn’t really have any strong feelings against it, but my head was also full of all of those natural birth stories I’d read…gotta love the internet.

I wrote more about James’s birth here, but in short, I was induced and did not react well to the medication.  I started having strong contractions just over a minute apart right away and they eventually had to pull the medication and give me some kind of shot because the contractions were so strong and frequent for so long that James’s heart rate was dropping.

Things continued to be painful, but not unbearable until my water broke (about 15 hours later).  After that, I “gave in” and got the epidural.  I wish I had gotten it sooner.

When the pain subsided, I immediately felt so happy and excited to welcome our little guy into the world.  Before the epidural, there was no way I could sleep because it hurt too much.  After it, there was no way I could sleep because I was too freaking excited.  It allowed me to be present and take in the moment.  I lay awake just daydreaming about what he would be like and have the fondest memories about the hours before his birth.

The epidural may have also helped move things along for me, as before it I was hardly dilated at all and a few hours later I was 9 cm.  I know this can happen sometimes as it calms you down, but I also know things may have just moved along because my water broke…who knows.

All Smiles Right Before Pushing

The happy mood continued all the time through the pushing stage.  I was joking with the nurses in between contractions and continued to be unbelievably excited.  Granted, I had a pretty easy time of this part of labor and it only took around 40 minutes.  Still, I’m pretty sure I would not have felt so happy and light if I hadn’t gotten the epidural.

Again, this is just a reflection on my personal experience, but for me, “giving in” and getting the drugs turned a stressful / really tense night into an extremely happy and exciting time that I cherish.  Would I get one again next time?  Who knows, but I will certainly put less pressure on myself not to.

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  1. I’m glad you were able to enjoy your birth experience. I had a similar experience in my progression with my son. I was hardly progressing at all until I got an epidural, I think it helped me relax enough to get things moving.

    1. Exactly, I think so too, I was thinking I would likely need a c section until that point because nothing was happening and his heart rate was dropping periodically. Thank you for reading!

  2. I LOVE THIS POST! Love how honest you are. And it made me smile so big to hear about how excited you were during the process (after the epidural;)) 🙂 <3

  3. From what I’ve read, anybody’s plan not to get an epidural goes down the drain if they have to be induced because that pain is truly unbearable. I’m approaching my birth with the same mindset you had- I’d *like* to go natural, but whatever gives me a healthy baby is what I’ll do. Thank you for sharing your story!

    1. Yeah, it’s my only experience, but I have read that about being induced too – I REALLY wanted to avoid induction, but obviously would do whatever was necessary to keep the little guy safe (he was running out of amniotic fluid). I can’t wait to read about your experience when the time comes!

  4. You and I have almost identical birth experiences! I fought so long to try and go natural (after having to be induced 10 days late) and when I finally “gave in” I knew immediately it was the right choice for me.
    Love the pictures in this post and your glowing smile! What special memories <3

    1. Thank you! That’s so funny how similar our experiences were – definitely not what I was expecting, but it all worked out in the end!

  5. I love that you shared your experience. I was one of the crazies determined to go all natural (and I did). I loved my natural experience but do think about how tough those last couple of hours were and it did not have to be. People share more about there natural experience and I think it is important to look at the pros and cons of each. Not just natural. Beautiful momma and baby!

    1. That is amazing that you did that, such a beautiful thing! Did you take a class like Bradley method or anything? I was thinking I really should have done that, whether or not I wound up getting an epidural.

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