Saturday, April 3, 2010


A couple of weeks ago I went to the chiropractor. I thought my tailbone was broken from childbirth and so she asked about my birth experiences. (turns out my back pain is my SI joint stuck in place from both pregnancies - painful but getting better)
I told her that with my first I had a long labour and eventually had an epidural and IV drugs to speed up my labour. With my second baby, I had a pretty short labour and drug free delivery. She then said, "You sound disappointed that you had an epidural, why is that?"
At this point I got a bit choked up and explained what had happened with my first delivery.
I totally had not realized how emotional I was about my son's birth!

I was 23 years old. Had a birthplan that was pretty much disregarded. My water had broken, I had been in labour for 12 hours and was basically forced into having an epidural. (or so I feel - emotions run high when you're in labour) The only reason I was listened to at all was that my mom was with us and is a nurse.

I had made up my mind when I was pregnant not to be a martyr and to get drugs if I felt I needed them. However, this was not supported by the nurses that I had for my labour. They kept telling me that I should just get an epidural. They were not very supportive of alternative methods. I am so thankful that my husband and mom were there to speak for me. It would have been an even more negative experience had they not.

When I wasn't dilating fast enough, I was told that my labour could take another 12-24 hours and that getting IV drugs (sintocin) and an epidural would speed things up.
At this point, I was exhausted, discouraged and felt like I really couldn't do it any longer (with little encouragement to just keep going, I guess I gave up) I just wanted to see my baby. I was given the epidural and he was born a short time later. My doctor barely made it to his delivery.
As it happens, my son's heart rate dropped when I was pushing and they had to use the vacuum to try to get him out. He then turned a bit, tore me with his shoulder and I was able to push him out.
In the long run I am thankful that my son was healthy. That is the most important thing.
Maybe I would have decided to have the epidural on my own, and that's okay, but the fact that I felt pressured into it left me feeling sad and a bit powerless.
I still have resentful feelings towards the staff that was there when he was born and am a bit negative about his birth. My husband and I felt patronized a lot throughout our hospital stay and were thankful when we were able to come home and learn to look after our baby ourselves, our own way.

Thankfully I had a better experience with my daughter's birth (even with some awful staff again). I was able to deliver her with no drugs and feel like I recovered a lot more quickly.

I am not adamantly against drugs and interventions for childbirth. They have their place - when needed. I just feel like some doctors and nurses are too pushy and really need to take a step back and listen to the person who is giving birth. Women have been giving birth for thousands of years - our bodies know what to do. Yes it is painful but it doesn't last and at the end you have a beautiful baby to hold on to.


  1. Hmmm... indeed hey. I've been thinking about this a lot (for obvious reasons). Sometimes, I watch a Baby Story on TLC (sometimes not, especially if it's a scary birth situation)... and when the mom is just calm, or has the proper support (family, etc) or is just really allowed to have the birth progress naturally, it's so beautiful. People nowadays just want to get it over with it seems & so drugs and induction and all that jazz seem to be the "way to go". But, I just think, isn't this what we were made to do? At the same time, if it is brutal/dangerous/etc... of course medicine is there to step in, but I hear ya on wanting to give it a go yourself first. Tra-billions of women go through this experience, I am so intrigued about how our birth story will turn out... eeee :)

  2. Good post, Dana. I think you hit the nail on the head with it not being so much about a drug-free birth or not, but rather how empowered the mom/parents feel to make the decision that's right for them. It is the same way I feel about breast feeding. The folks in public health can be rather breast feeding 'nazis'...and while yes, I believe the breast is best, healthiest, cheapest and best for the environment, it is not a solution for every mother and those who cannot or choose not to should not be shamed.

    there I go, back on my soapbox again!

    I love reading you blog Dana - thanks for sharing.