Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Different Kind of Birth: Final Decision

After meeting with Carol Anne (our doula), this Tuesday, I feel like I've really got a clear idea of the direction I'm striving for with this birth. I say striving for, because I DON'T want to be that annoying girl that swears she'll never get an epidural and then ends up having one. That said (and I've said this before), I know myself and I know this is not something I can go into with an attitude of "I'll see how it goes" because I know if I don't have a firm conviction about this, it probably just won't happen.
Carol Anne really helped me with this because she is very passionate about what she does, but at the same time, she's going to be flexible and accommodating. She said she was "not into suffering" and that out of her many patients, she had a few that had really long, difficult labors and in the end, she ended up not only supporting their decision to use medication, but actually encouraging it. For me, personally, I think it will be a HUGE help to have someone there that can tell me from experience if my pain is within the normal threshold, if I'm managing it well, and (approximately) how much worse it's going to get. I know that wouldn't make a difference to some people, but I think it will be one of the most instrumental things in making this work for me.
I did want to go ahead and also share my reasons for why we've come to this decision. First of all, as I've said all along (and will probably continue to believe for the rest of my life), I think that the decision to have an medicated vs. a unmedicated birth is one of those things; like breastfeeding, extended rearfacing car seats, drop down cribs, and use of antibiotics; that is a good vs. best type decision. In some of these scenarios, I freely admit, that Peyton and I have chosen the "good" option, rather than the "best", because we thought that the risk was not really a statistically significant one. I also completely understand that for some families the best option for their specific situations will be the good one. So, it's not always black and white (in my opinion, usually things aren't).
There are several risks that have me concerned about the epidural- for example, it can cause respiratory problems for the mom and it can hinder an initial breastfeeding relationship (although I think that's more with other drugs given earlier in labor, like Stadol). The main thing that caused me concern, though, is the fact that it can cause a blood pressure drop in the mom which can lead to fetal distress. I do KNOW that if I went the medicated route, if my BP dropped the hospital staff would most likely be able to fix the problem easily and they would be monitoring Graves continuously and if absolutely necessary, Dr. McMinn (or whoever) would be able to do an emergency Cesarean. Of course that wouldn't be ideal, but I would most likely still go home with a healthy baby. That said, I also know that some statistics say a third of moms experience a BP drop and that they give you a lot of fluids to try to avoid a drop, but those can cause other issues for the mom. If you read the package insert on the epidural, it's really kind of scary. To be fair, though, if you read the package insert on almost ANY medication, it can be pretty scary. Peyton was quick to point that out to me!
Along those lines, I want to kind of explain something. People think it's so bizarre since Peyton is a pharmacist, but we really do try to avoid medicine unless it it's truly necessary. For example:
- I don't use oral contraceptives (that was really an ethical decision, but even if we weren't opposed for those reasons, I'm not sure we'd use them),
- We try not to take antibiotics unless there is a true reason (strep throat, a really bad ear infection, ect); I don't just go get an antibiotic for every sinus infection I have,
- And Peyton doesn't take any kind of medication for his ADHD and I don't take anything for my anxiety. We'd just rather manage those things in other ways, if possible.

I tell y'all that partly because I think some people who have medicated births really take offense to the fact that we've decided not to. I wanted to share that it's really part of a larger lifestyle and I'm not just jumping on this bandwagon out of an irrational fear or because it's trendy. It just kind of fits for us. I like that this feels more "natural". For the record, I usually refer to it as an "undmedicated birth" because I feel like that's less offensive to people than saying "natural childbirth". But, like breastfeeding, it is what it is and that is natural.
Another BIG reason I wanted this was because the more I read about and researched, the more I became fascinated and intrigued by women's birth stories. I honestly realized that it was just a life experience that I didn't want to deny myself. It's a goal I want to accomplish, like an athelete might want to run a marathon. I know that all sounds REALLY weird to some people and to be honest, two years ago I would have thought it was weird. [I don't say that out of a arrogance or a feeling of superiority, it's just a different way of viewing things. One is not better than the other.]
I know that I have friends who have really strong opinions on both sides of the issue and I sincerely hope I haven't offended either. At the same time, I wanted to share my true feelings and even though I read and reread this, I wanted to write this post without walking on eggshells or trying to placate everyone. I honestly feel like we all are trying to do the best we can for our children and I also feel like an educated decision is a good decision. Whatever that decision may be.


Sarah Broadus said...

Go for it~I had natural with Madyson for 6 hours until it was a big distress on us all (ur dr. was the extra hands on my emergency csection.) Im a no meds type person too. I had to have a phenergan shot on monday and it just left my system today! I despise feeling drugged. but all in all-after my traumatic event with madyson-Aubrie's planned csection was the most natural way I could have gone..or she probably would still be in there! =)

Anonymous said...

I'm excited for you, SD! I love what you said about this decision really just being a part of your general lifestyle choices - my decision to have a natural birth was very similar. I'll be praying for you!

Mary Louis Quinn said...

I'll look forward to hear how everything goes! I am someone who hardly ever takes medications, especially things like antibiotics (I think I've MAYBE taken 2 rounds in my entire adult life), but I was all for the epidural! :) I'd love to experience birth unmedicated just for the "life experience" like you said, but I'm one of those that sees no problem with the epidural. So if I ever did do it, it would be just so I could experience a medication-free birth. Good luck to you! I'm sure you will do great!

Cuddles and Chaos said...

So excited for you! It's important that you and Peyton are comfortable with ever you decide and should not be judged for that. It sounds like you're okay if plans change.
I'm not a big medicine person..except when I'm really sick I am thankful for zofran (goodness I hope it's not a terrible drug).
My 1st was medicated after 14 hours only to prep me for a needed out, mom's body and bp were not doing well. HOwever it helped relax things so no section was needed.
I got it with my 2nd and didn't want it but it was the only option to ward on a bad reaction to stadhol that the nurse thought I needed. I DO NOT LIKE STADHOL or PITOCIN AT ALL (for my body)!
There was nothing with my time. I didn't even get to breath properly like I did (and loved) with the first two. So I just encourage you to read up on the breathing techniques and having Peyton and the doula there to help you them them will be great. I enjoy child birth and love birth stories. They bring tears of joy to my eyes. I'm so excited for you.

Mallory Pickering said...

1) It might not be as painful since you've already had one baby--that would be a big plus.

2) SD, don't feel like you have to justify your personal decisions to your blog readers. It's entirely personal, and unless someone is really close to you, it's not their place to criticize your choice (in my opinion).

3) Good luck! :)

Carrie said...

You know I'm totally excited for you and supportive of however you choose to give birth. I think you're awesome for even attempting this! I CANNOT wait to hear a VERY detailed birth story! Like, the day after Graves is born ;-)

Anonymous said...

Your reasoning sounds just like mine when I had my daughter. Unfortunately, I had to be induced for medical reasons and then had back labor because she was face up. I ended up getting an epidural but it was turned off after less than an hour because she wasn't budging. I totally understand women getting an epidural, but I regret it so much. I hope to have a completely unmedicated (including no induction) birth next time. Good luck, you can do it!

Jennifer said...

I'm with you... I think it is fascinating to read about and learn about natural childbirth. I might even try it if I had a support team.

Can't wait to hear how your story unfolds!