Birth

I have been reading up on birth in order to know all of my options ahead of time. I like plans. =) I know birth isn't something you can plan out exactly, but I want to go in with at least a little bit of a plan. I got several books from the library a few weeks ago*. Before reading them I was of the mindset that I wanted to give natural birth a whirl if I can handle the pain, but after reading them I much more motivated not to use any drugs if I am physically capable of avoiding them. I made myself a pros and cons list for an epidural and for the use of induction drugs (pitocin probably), and as you can see by how short the pros side of the list is for each, I'm currently feeling confident about natural birth being the right way to go for me. Although most of the risks I'm worried about haven't been conclusively proven there are at least a few that have. No telling how I'll feel about this plan once I actually go into labor, but at the moment I want a natural birth.

Epidural

Pros:

  • Reduced pain in the short run, assuming the epidural works correctly on both sides of the body, which sometimes it doesn't.
Cons:

  • My blood pressure may drop, causing my baby a lack of oxygen which might mean the use of forceps or vacuum to get her out quickly, or a c section if those fail.
  • The above risk means that I will have no freedom to walk around and labor in the positions that feel natural to me and to take advantage of gravity because I will be strapped to monitors to keep close tabs on both me and my baby.
  • While the baby can be yanked outta there with forceps or a c section if her heart rate decreases due to lack of oxygen, I do wonder, how do you know how much of an impact the lack of oxygen has had? I don't believe that anyone can answer this question with certainly and that worries me. I'm sure the risk here has gotta be very small, because epidurals have been used for so long, but I'm convinced there is a tiny risk.
  • Increased risk of forceps or vacuum mean increased risk for severe tearing or an episiotomy. (Eeeeeeeekkkk!!!)
  • Need to be catheterized, and if that isn't enough, may get UTI due to this later.
  • May get back ache or headaches later, possibly long term.
  • The baby may have more trouble nursing after epidural, which means a longer hospital stay for her until that problem is resolved. And a short hospital stay is one of my hopes.
  • Can't control my pushing as well, and because the faster the baby comes out the more likely I tear, this is something I want to control if I can.
Pitocin

Pros:

  • Speed things up
Cons:

  • Again, strapped to monitors, so above epidural cons related to that apply.
  • Speed things up too much, to the point where contractions are unbearable and require epidural.
  • Speed things up to the point where the baby doesn't get enough oxygen, heart rate slows, and then see above rant related to this same problem with the epidural.
The more I read the more appealing home birth sounds. Statistically moms and babies do just as well with a home birth as a hospital birth. I'm really on the fence about this one and I need to hurry up and decide since I've only got three months to go until my due date. There sure are a lot of decisions and a lot of learning to do about birth!

*I liked The Bradley Method and Your Best Birth best so far.

Comments

  1. You've certainly educated yourself on this issue far more than most moms-to-be do. I agree, the less drugs and interference, the better.

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  2. Well, you already know where I stand on the home birth thing. There's really not much to question at this point -- especially with all the resources you've got at hand. You'll have an OB and a midwife there. Plus your dad's a surgeon. I mean geez. You'll be much better attended than if you were actually at a hospital. You should just go for it. :)

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  3. Laura, I've misled you. I would probably still have an OB, but he wouldn't be at the birth. It would just be in case I ended up needing to go to the hospital for an emergency, then I'd call him. That WOULD be pretty awesome to have him there, but I don't think OBs do homebirths. I mean, maybe for a price, but I don't think for any amount I could afford.

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  4. Hmm. I guess I just assumed that your dad had some ridiculously awesome hookups. Well, whatever. You've still got a pretty awesome set up at home.

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  5. Hmmm, food for thought, isn't it? I think having had both kinds of deliveries, drugs and no drugs, that going as natural as possible is a good idea, realizing of course that theory and practice are sometimes two different things. I would have liked to have had a home delivery with a midwife but given my "advanced maternal age" it wasn't an option. Lots to think about!

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  6. I don't really have an opinion on the whole home birth thing, since my kids have to be born by c-section & I'm pretty sure they don't allow that at home. As far as the epidural is concerned, I've been told I have a high tolerance for pain, so I may be biased, but I really think I could've done it if I hadn't had all the complication I did. So go for it. By the time the pain gets really bad you will be close to done anyway!

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  7. I was just talking about this subject a couple weeks ago with some friends. One of them is a nurse practitioner midwife and she recently "caught" her sister's baby. She told me that her sister decided to do a water birth and that everything with the birth went beautifully. Since talking about the whole water birthing thing with this friend of mine, I'm thinking that this would be a pretty cool way to go if I ever end up giving birth. I haven't done much research on it yet, but you should look into it if you haven't already. Tess, this is all so exciting! I can't believe you're only a few months away!

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  8. MM, that is cool that you have done it both ways and like natrual better. It's nice to get the opinion of someone who has been there. What did you like better about natural? Just curious.

    Nikki, haha.. I do NOT have a high pain tolerance. Well, for things like pushing myself endurance wise hiking or running I do, but things that involve blood, no. So, I'm pretty interested to see how I handle birth. :) And yeah, watch me do all this planning and need a c section.

    Monica, that's funny you mention water birth, I'm really interested in it. Assuming I clean the tub myself or watch someone do it.. cuz.. germs. Yuck. But, I've heard great things about it. And I saw two of them in the documentary The Business of Being Born. They looked nice.

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  9. Anna here... ( I left my name since I had to do anonymous) Well like I've told ya before, I been through it 3 times all natural. "Piece of cake" It's like a walk in the park. Good Luck and I know you will make the wise choice, you are one smart cookie, and reading up on the subject will help you out a lot. GO Homebirth GO! woohoo!

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