Hey. I know you. I know you planned a natural birth. I know you wanted to avoid as many interventions as possible. I know not following your plan makes you feel like a failure. It shouldn’t. Really.
1) You’ve been up a reeeeaaaalllly long time. Labor can be long. Labor often begins at bedtime or in the middle of the night after an already really long day. It’s not too long and you find yourself having been up for 36 hours and EXHAUSTED. Sometimes you need a nap. It’s okay.
2) It’s really intense. Sometimes labors can be fast and quick. And sometimes they start out with a bang and you don’t have time to catch up. They talk all about labor that starts with contractions slowing getting closer together. Sometimes, contractions start 3 minutes apart. Sometimes it’s just a lot more intense than you expected.
3) $&%# happens. Sometimes there are complications or your water breaks without labor and you need to be induced. Yes, it’s absolutely possible to birth your baby without an epidural even when you are induced and yes, some women say they didn’t notice a difference between natural labor and induced labor. But sometimes it’s just plain harder and longer. I have to say that if I had pre-eclampsia and were stuck in bed on a mag drip as well as a pitocin drip, it’s unlikely I’d power through. If you did, that’s amazing! If you aren’t or weren’t able to, it’s okay.
4) Your past. Sometimes there are things that happened to us in our past that make birth difficult. If you are finding yourself having flashbacks or associating what’s happening during the birth of your child with something in your past you’d rather not and an epidural will help that, it okay to make that choice. It need not be anyone else’s business either.
5) You changed your mind. Truly, it’s okay to change your mind. Sometimes it’s harder than you expected. Sometimes you don’t have the emotional energy that day to do it. Sometimes you don’t need to have a reason.
6) You want one. Maybe you didn’t plan a natural birth. Maybe you planned all along to get an epidural. That’s cool too.
There might be other reasons too. We are so fortunate to have the interventions available to us that we do! Are they overused? Probably. But there are really good reasons to take advantage of what’s available sometimes too. Doulas, at least ones worth having, don’t go away (except maybe to nap at the same time you do) after you get an epidural. A good doula continues to offer that support you knew you needed during your birth. Of course, there are lots of reasons to not get an epidural as well and I’ll post about that soon!
Looking for childbirth classes? Or planning a VBAC? Click these links!
Adina Nelson, CD(DONA)
I am a birth & postpartum doula and chlidbirth educator practicing in North Idaho.
She was there every step of the way for me and my husband...I thank Adina for everything she helped us with. She truly is a special person and we will be forever grateful for her! ~Erin