But can't have it.
I delivered my first child almost five years ago. I remember the excitement building as the days came closer to when we would meet him. As first time parents, we didn't really "know" what to expect. Everything we knew about birth and delivery came from our birth classes, first hand accounts of fellow friends, family members and what we had seen in the movies. It turns out, theres a lot of biased information out there when only reverting to these few resources!
All of our close friends walked in, got their pain meds and went on to have a textbook "perfect" delivery. I didn't have a solid birth plan going into it. I was open to the idea of an epidural but wanted to see how long my body could go without it. I'm a lover of a good challenge so I figured this would just be another fun thing to try!
We ended up being induced a week early because baby boy was measuring "too big" (That's a whole different story). After the pitocin started doing its thang, I begged for the epidural. This was a lot harder than I thought and I was ready to experience the "perfect" relaxing births that my friends experienced.
The anesthesiologist placed the epidural but the pain was unbearable and I didn't know how to manage it.
The time ticked by and I was still feeling EVERYTHING!?
The anesthesiologist was dumbfounded as to why my body wasn't responding.
It wasn't even partially working, I could have literally gotten off the bed and walked around.
Pretty soon, baby boy was crowning and it was time to push. He delivered safe and sound but I was TRAUMATIZED. What the hell had just happened? Where was my "perfect" epidural "make all the pain go away, easy breezy, sleep till baby" birth?
No on told me the epidurals couldn't work.
I didn't even know that was a thing????
So my first birth experience was an unprepared natural birth and I was grateful that my baby was healthy but it was not what I expected and It's not what I had planned for.
Eight short months later we found out we were expecting number two! After my experience with my son’s delivery, I jumped head on into researching natural births. I looked into different laboring positions, how to breathe, and a ton of other different natural pain management tips. I was prepared.
Fast forward to delivery- I was not prepared. I went naturally into labor this time and things were progressing fast. I hit transition and my breath counting no longer seemed to help. I hit a mental barrier and broke down and asked for the epidural hoping that it would work like the charm I knew it could!
Once again, nothing was happening.
I was angry and terrified, thinking back to my sons birth. WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING AGAIN!?
A few weeks later at my six week checkup I discussed with my Dr. why my body wasn't responding to the pain medications. He considered that I was part of the .ooooo1% of people who has a spinal anatomy that doesn't work with the epidural medication.
Awesome. *insert eye roll*
Two years later, we were days away from delivery baby number three. This time it was common knowledge that the epidural was NOT even an option for me. I got my hands on every single natural birth story I could read. There was so much power in their stories and I felt so much more prepared going into it than I had with my previous two deliveries.
I was determined to have an amazing natural birth.
It was the BEST labor and delivery I could have hoped for. It was everything I had wanted.
It really was the mental game that I had to prepare for. Getting over each hurtle made all the difference. Accepting that the epidural wasn't an option, changed the way my body prepared for birth and I'm so glad for the experience.
Now I’m expecting number four in a few short months and we are planning on another natural birth! I know I can do it because I've done it. A part of me still wishes that my body would accept the epidural but I've come to terms with my birth reality and I'm proud of how far I've come.
Photo by: Honeybee Photography