Scott & Melissa
WOW!!! This story is one for the record books...Our profile was up literally for 36 HOURS...and birth mom was due on Dec 1, 2005...But little Michael came earlier than expected and 10 days later, here we are in awe!!! They should put a warming label on parent profiles...about how quickly all this can happen! What a great Christmas present this was!!! And the birth parents that we worked with were unbelievable and just the nicest more ...
After centuries of the joy of childbirth being tinged with the memory of the pain of pushing of the baby into the world, science came up with an answer in the form of an epidural. This drug procedure allows a woman to give birth while being conscious, but blocks out any pain involved in the process. For a time this was the route that most women wanted to take and any implications it may have on the baby, or even the mother, weren't really questioned.
Then the questions came. Is it really safe? Is it really good for the mother? Is the baby as unaffected by the drugs as we had at first assumed? Is it really as convenient as it was first thought? How does it fit into the kind of labor and delivery you have envisaged when writing your birth plan? So now we have the ongoing debate of should labor and childbirth be natural as it was for centuries, or is it acceptable to take advantage of the wonders of modern technology?
On the "for" side of the debate, there is the obvious advantage of not having endure many hours of intense painful contractions. The IV catheter through which the drugs will be inserted is put in place just below the base of the spine. Once contractions are between 4-5 minutes apart, pain relief drugs can start to be fed through the catheter as required without the need for further injections. Without the need to use energy on breathing control issues during contractions, you will be more alert when it comes to pushing your baby out into the world. Once the epidural has been inserted, if a caesarean section is required because of complications, you will be already prepped and be awake during the procedure. If you have requested a tubal ligation following the birth of the baby, this can be done with just the epidural without the need for further anesthetic procedures.
There are at least an equal number issues against using an epidural as pain relief during childbirth. Included in these is the discomfort of having the epidural put in place, with the added discomfort of a urine catheter having to be inserted because of loss of bladder control once the epidural takes affect. Other negative points are: not being able to walk around during epidural controlled labor as many hospitals have a policy prohibiting this; a slower labor in many cases; and a loss of sensation to know when to push. Side affects such as shivering, shaking, lower blood pressure (which has the added alarm of slowing baby's heart rate), itchiness, nausea and a fever which can result in both you and your baby requiring antibiotics following the birth. There is also a slight possibility of a nerve injury. Many women experience a severe headache following an epidural but you can lower the chance of this by following the doctor's advice when the epidural is being inserted.
When it comes to your baby, the debate really centers on what's best for you. If you are someone who has a low pain threshold, and the thought of the pain bringing your baby into the world is making you sick to even think about, then don't listen to well meaning friends who tell you that natural childbirth is best. It may be best for them, but you have to do what's best for you. On the other hand, if you want to experience natural childbirth, don't listen to those who tell you that epidural is the only way. Whichever way you decide to go, be prepared to be flexible and makes sure your birth plan outlines your wishes - for example if the labor turns out to be long and complicated. Pregnancy is one of those events in life where everyone has opinions and experiences to relate. Listen to them all, but then choose the way that you feel best fits your circumstances and beliefs.