Amanda from Life With Aprons Shares Her Experience with Epidural
Epidural…the word that makes so many in the “all-natural” world cringe.
Hi, I am Amanda, mother to 6 children, and I have had a different birth experience with every child!
Epidural, Epidural, Epidural, Epidural…
My first was labor for two days that ended in a c-section. The second was a v-bac with complications. My third and fourth were c-sections and my fifth and sixth were probably the most “normal” or natural out of them all. I had always wanted a natural water birth, but because of many complications with my first, that was nearly impossible (and believed me we tried!).
The Identity Crisis
I don’t want to dwell on the details about my first 4 births, but I can tell you that with each I received an epidural at some point. I carried around the shame of receiving an epidural for years. I was considered an all natural, healthy mom and I knew that an epidural wouldn’t fly with those in that community.
So what changed? How was I able to shake this stigma on epidurals?
Well, I started by making excuses for the epidurals I did have with my first 4. I had a two day labor with my first before I received an epidural, with my second I had pitocin and it wasn’t a fair fight, with my others they were c-sections. But, these excuses still didn’t shake what I felt on the inside, like I had somehow cheated at giving birth.
Holding Onto Hope of a “Natural” Birth
Then I had my fifth birth. I was determined to do it naturally. I wanted a water birth and was so close to getting one, until my baby showed signs of stress and they needed to monitor him at all times. This hospital did not have the capability to monitor the baby in the water. I was shaken with the change of plans. It was a long intense labor for me.
I spent 7 hours straight in active labor and 2 hours in transition and could not dilate past 7cm. At that point I was exhausted and received the epidural.
Within one hour my baby was born. I really believe that the epidural helped relax my body so that I could dilate and move further. But, it still didn’t make me feel better.
Then came my 6th. I told myself again, you are going to do this naturally. Along with my husband, I had a doula (a God send girl) at my side. This time it was intense within the first hour, the contractions were hitting like wildfire. There was no easing into it. I was in a mental battle telling myself to calm down, breathing and reminding myself that I would not do what I did last time.
The Turning Point: Breaking the Shame
I remember a turning point. I was sitting on the ball, breathing and battling with getting an epidural. I heard two questions, what are you trying to prove? and what would you tell your own daughter? That was it. I knew I was trying to prove to other natural mothers that I could do it, bragging rights I guess you could say. And, I knew that if it was my own daughter I would counsel her to not try to prove herself, but remember the end result is the same, a beautiful baby created by God.
After that, I received the epidural and from there the rest of the birth was amazing! I was still able to feel the pressure to push and felt her come out. The doula (and my husband) stayed with me the entire time,
encouraged me in my decision, and championed me. It was an amazing experience I will never forget.
Not only did I have a beautiful baby girl, but that was the day I broke off the shame of the epidural.
Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you enjoyed this First & Thirds post by Amanda from Life With Aprons be sure to checkout her blog here.
To read more about pregnancy and birth click here.
What was your birth like? Have you felt this shame & if so how did you cope with that burden as a new mother? We would love to here your story as it could bless someone who needs to hear it. Please leave a comment below.
Wow!! Girl this post ministered to my heart! I felt this shame with our second which was an unexpected epidural. My first I did naturally, but my second birth was the hardest thing ever. I felt like I was in transition the entire time. Thank you for sharing this!!
Yes, so grateful to hear this from Amanda.
I can relate to your experience. I wouldn’t consider myself a total natural mama, but I did practice hypnobirthing throughout my pregnancy and dreamed of having a natural birth. I was in labour for 48 hours (40 were active), before agreeing to an epidermal. I believe I’m a strong person and I just needed a bit of help, but I did feel bad for weeks after because I really thought I was prepared. But I don’t think you can truly be prepared for complications. I just grateful that I have a healthy child.
You really can’t know what is in store and it can be hard for plans to change. Thanks for sharing.
Beautify written post. I had a perfect pregnancy, but a very difficult birth. Water broke before I was really dilated at all. Then I labored for 36 hours after my water broke. The baby started to show signs of distress so I had a c section (was still barely dilated). As much as I wanted a natural birth, no epidermal, no nothing, I am so very thankful for modern medicine. Like you said, a beautiful, happy, and healthy baby is what matters in the end. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for sharing your experience!