My Epidural Doesn’t Mean I Failed
With my last two babes, I had the epidural and it failed. With Micah, it only worked on one half of my body, and with Sophia, I was still able to feel everything. So this time, I was determined to have a natural birth. I bought a book off Amazon, which was recommended by a friend who was able to birth a pretty big baby (which I historically have as well) without any pain medication. The book relies a lot on faith and prayer to have a natural birth, so I was hooked. My inner superwoman was alive!
My inner superwoman also must have been asleep when labor kicked in, because as soon as that first ‘painful’ contraction came, I was pretty much begging for relief. I tried praying through them, but ultimately found that I wanted to enjoy my labor. I was also exhausted, and as I mentioned in my birth story, the anesthetist was about 30 minutes away. So. I got the dreaded epidural.
I almost titled this blog post “I Failed my Birth Plan” or something along those lines. I realized though, that just because I didn’t follow my birth plan, doesn’t mean I failed.
My Epidural Doesn’t Mean I Failed
I didn’t fail. I birthed a beautiful baby girl. In fact, anyone who thinks getting an epidural while planning to go au natural is failing, I would argue the opposite. I was able to listen to my body, and despite feeling like a failure in the moment, I was able to sleep. At 2 am. Between contractions. So, I doubt I actually ever fully fell asleep, but those micro naps were crucial to surviving the following 48 hours in the hospital!
I feel like it is impossible to “fail” at birth. I watched every documentary telling me that women have been doing it without pain medications for thousands of years, and I heard everyone’s personal anecdotes from both sides of the spectrum. None of that mattered though, when it was me laying on the delivery bed.
And although my epidural didn’t work as well as I had hoped, it doesn’t mean my body didn’t work, or I didn’t try hard enough. I still kicked a** at giving birth, and I’m still a strong, awesome woman.
My Support System is Amazing
We had multiple people ready to come over and stay with our other babes no matter what time of night, whenever I went into labor. We had meals brought to us until our girl was three weeks old, and even though Dan was off work. Our first morning home from the hospital, we had two different breakfasts brought to us. My sister brought me a coffee every day my first week home. At the risk of sounding bragadocious (apparently that’s not a word by the way, but my mom used it growing up so we’re rolling with it), we have some of the best friends and family around.
And that’s before I even mention my husband.
I give him a really hard time about sleeping while I was in labor, but it was the middle of the night. Anytime I said his name, he was up, asking what he could do to help. After Elise got here, he went home and got me everything I needed and wanted, even though I didn’t end up using over half of it.
A great support system is so crucial during labor, delivery and the first few weeks postpartum. It’s amazing to have at any stage of life actually, and is worth going out of your way to find one.
My Doctor Knew More Than I Gave Her Credit For
In my previous two pregnancies, I didn’t have the same doctor or midwife the whole way through, due to insurance situations, moving, etc. This time, I was blessed to have the same provider from week 5 (when I found out) to week 39, when I delivered. At my 39 week appointment, she felt my stomach to estimate the baby’s size and said high 7’s. I laughed because my babies are not 7 pound babies. Except this one was! (Bittersweet, because that meant my 50 pounds of weight gain was not mostly baby like I’d been hoping. Haha.) Amazing.
I had spent so much time reading about natural birth, watching documentaries that demonize doctors in birthing situations and being ready to stand up for myself against any medical interventions, that I was almost programmed to distrust my doctor. Obviously the documentaries and books didn’t work as well as I had hoped, but I am super grateful to have a doctor who knew her stuff.
It’s A Miracle
Even as I am sitting here in a milk stained shirt, makeup from yesterday, drinking cold coffee, I am in awe and in love with the process of pregnancy, childbirth, and the newborn phase. When Elise was born, I couldn’t help but cry. The journey seemed so long, and at times painful, but I feel like it’s already all forgotten. I think that’s a huge part of the miracle. In childbirth, I vividly remember thinking that I would never want to do this again. It hurt too much, I gained too much weight, and three kids is already a lot. But then, we got home and Elise started growing out of newborn diapers and my mind already shot to “LETS HAVE ALL THE BABIES!” (I think this is part of the reason your doctor makes you wait 6 weeks to start trying again. Too. Many. Hormones)
It’s so easy to feel like a failure at everything. Especially as a woman, especially as a mother. There are so many forces working against us that tell us whatever decision we make, is a wrong one. Epidural? Dangerous. Natural? Misinformed. Disposable Diapers? Environmental Terrorist. Cloth Diapers? Creepy Crunchy Mom. Breastfeeding? Stop showing me your boobs. Formula? Breast is best.
Ignore what’s out there, and listen to your body, listen to your conscious, and listen to the people you surround yourself with. Chances are you already know that you rock, and once you weed out the negative influences (social media, toxic people, news articles), you’ll be able to really see it.