For those of you who actually know me in person know that I am a planner. Some of you who know me through the bloggosphere may have figured that out by now and some of you may be oblivious to this whether or not you know me in real life or blog life.
Anyways the point of me reiterating this fact about myself is that when it comes down to my birthing "plan" I think I am going to try something new and fly by the seat of my pants or in this case my mesh panties.
I know that natural birth is not for everyone, including possibly myself. I know even more that I am fully capable of going au natural, it's just a matter of whether or not I may drive myself or my hubby to drinking during the process.
Here are a few things (I borrowed from Mrs. Kale)that I will continue to remind myself in the process of laboring my baby girl that I hope will help me make my mind up as I try this whole flying by the seat of my, oh whatever here it goes...
1. Unnecessary intensified labor/birth pain. If for some reason there is a complication with the epidural (it doesn't take, or it starts to work then stops) and you are forced to deliver naturally the pain is going to be much more intense because the epidural actually stops the natural flow of childbirth. The epidural slows down the natural process of birthing and it affects all the natural ingredients that your body supplies to preform while birthing. The epidural makes your body think that you're not in pain, it's numbs the parts that feel the contractions therefore causing the production of Endorphins & Oxytocin (2 key bodily chemicals used in birthing) to slow down or even stop. Endorphins are more powerful than any drug the hospital can give you and they are naturally produced in your brain. When you hear about people that have pain-free deliveries (though very few) you're hearing about something whose Endorphins took OVER completely. It's amazing what our little human bodies can do.
2. The drugs that make an epidural are a derivative of cocaine. The most common drugs found in an Epidural are Bupivacaine, Chloroprocaine, or Lidocaine all are a derivative of Caine drugs...DUN DUN DUN, COCAINE.....Other pain meds used during pregnancy, such as Demerol, Epinephrine, Fentanyl, Morphine, or Clonidine are drugs that are normally illegal. The other drugs, basically anything given to you in an IV does affect your baby. (It's not even a question of possibly affecting-it simply does) The doctors aren't required to tell you which drugs are in the Epidural but please note that Fentanyl & Bupivavaine are the worst for you and effect the baby the most.-So when you're first pregnant and you are handed that list of drugs you can and cannot take during your pregnancy from your doctor where on that list does it say that any of these are OK to be pumped into your body as well as your baby's?
3. Using an Epidural can possibly lead to Pitocin which can lead to c-section. The Epidural is proven to slow down the birth process and most times to raise blood pressure (because it affects your sympathetic nervous system in your spinal cord). When the birth process is slowed down your body doesn't progress at the rate that the hospital would like which will make them ask you if you'd like Pitocin, when you're in the craziest stages of labor you're likely to say yes. If/When they use Pitocin if you body doesn't progress more or something goes wrong they will ask you to do a c-section. Most likely they will give you a reason like "there could be infection", "the baby's heartbeat is dropping" etc. These reasons could totally be true but could have been avoided if the use of drugs was not a part of the labor.
4. Complications & Side Effects. I know that complications and side effects are not the NORM but let's face it people, it can happen. There are so many side effects to the drugs that could easily be avoided without them. You know how on commercials for drugs they list off very quickly in a high pitch voice all of the crap that can go wrong from taking them and you hear it and you're like "dang, that sounds worse than the initial problem?!" Yep, it's like that. Here are just some of the side-effects: nervousness, tingling around the mouth, tinnitus, tremor, dizziness, blurred vision, or seizures, followed by depression: drowsiness, loss of consciousness, respiratory depression and apnea. Long term effects: loss of perineal sensation and sexual function, neurological complications, backache (weeks to years), postpartum feelings of regret, loss of autonomy, fecal and urinary incontinence or bladder dysfunction (inability to urinate), & paresthesia ("pins and needles"). Side-effects on the baby: Direct drug toxicity, fetal distress/abnormal FHR (can lead to emergency cesarean), drowsiness at birth, poor sucking reflex, maternal fever (impeded thermoregulation from numb skin) leads to fetal hypothermia and neonatal, NICU workup (spinal tap, etc.), poor muscle strength and tone in the first hours, neonatal jaundice, decreased maternal-infant bonding, behavioral problems & hyperactivity up to seven years (suspected).
5. Epidurals and other pain drugs can cause complications in breastfeeding. Since the epidural is the most common drug during labor, it has shown a great effect on the baby and the baby's natural process after birth. (meaning the drug does cross over to the baby) The dulling of the baby's natural instinct can make it hard for the baby to latch and it can sometimes effect it for extended periods of time.
6. Epidurals directly effect the birthing position. Even though lying on your back is better for the doctor it is not necessarily better for labor or birth. Lying on your back is one of the WORST positions to be in while laboring & delivering your baby. The epidural (unless it's a walking-epidural which doesn't help as much as most would like it to) causes you do lay on your back unable to move or feel when your body is ready to push. The birth positions (other than lying on your back) can make you more comfortable and has been proven to shorten labor because your body is working with gravity.
7. Any drug that does reach the baby will need to be broken down by the baby's body. So even though you can handle the meds it doesn't mean your baby's body can too. Baby's that have Epidural or Pitocin births are more likely to be jaundice because the drugs reach their livers and a newborn liver cannot break down the drugs as easily as our livers can.
8. I want to be fully aware: of what point my body is and when I'm ready to push. Most of the time with Epidurals they have you hooked up to 100 different machines that actually tell you when you're having a contraction so you can push. I'd like to be active in my labor & delivery. I want to feel that sensation "I have to push now" I want to say those words. It's just really mind-blowing. Our bodies were created to do this and we are completely capable of making it work. I can only pray that I am strong enough to make it to that point.
9. I am not afraid of the pain in childbirth. The fear of pain is one of the things that can actually make birthing harder. When you're scared your body immediately heads to "fight or flight mode". This mode in your brain can start or stop Endorphins, Adrenaline & Oxytocin. Even fear of pain in other medical situations have a negative effect on how you & your body handle it. If you walk into childbirth thinking you're going to die from the pain you cause yourself more harm. Fear causes tension which causes your body to not function properly which causes more pain. It's a sad cycle.
Of course, you can have an Epidural and have a perfectly healthy birth & baby. Of course, it can go in smoothly with no problem and you can deliver on time without c-section. Of course, things can progress normally. Of course, the baby could possibly not have side effects from the drugs. But more times than not the things I've listed above can and will happen.
God willing I can have any type of birth that I want. Knowing I have battled cancer & kicked it's ass twice now empowers me so much to the point that I question that empowerment. Is it like a roller coaster? When you ride the biggest baddest one you have no fear? Until you are on the next roller coaster and all of a sudden you are overwhelmed with the fear you thought you had already conquered?