parenthood post: pain in childbirth

recently i've been thinking of doing a weekly post about parenthood. mainly because since being a parent, i've had all these thoughts and questions that i want to ask other/future parents. so, this will be the first parenthood post of many! and it's about childbirth! i read something today that i blew my mind:

"a human body can bear up to only 45 del (unit) of pain. but at the time of giving birth, a woman feels up to 57 del of pain. this is similar to twenty bones being fractured at the same time."

woah. i don't know how accurate that actually is because the original source is unknown, but the point is, childbirth is painful. so what i want to ask all you parents and future parents (ok, mainly just moms and future moms), is how did you deal/how do you plan to deal with the pain of childbirth? did/do you plan to take classes to help prep you for labor? if you did, did they help? did/do you plan to get an epidural? why/why not? some people (my sister) have told me that they got an epidural, but still felt pain, mainly when the baby was entering the birth canal. also, do you think the pain was as bad as twenty bones breaking simultaneously?!

i'll tell you my experience, and what i think after the jump...(click below)

throughout my entire pregnancy, i planned on having an all-natural birth. like, i really did not want to get an epidural. steve and i were both just sort of scared of the whole idea (steve especially). but after ten hours of labor, i finally broke down and got an epidural. in fact, it was actually steve who called the nurse in and told her to get the anesthesiologist. i think seeing me in so much pain was extremely stressful for steve. once it kicked in, i felt great. like, seriously, i turned on the tv, watched clean house, sucked on otter pops, cracked jokes, was actually coherent...whereas before that, i was just sort of moaning and grovelling in my hospital bed (not to mention puking). i will say though, that actually getting it put in still freaked me out, because they tell you to hold still and not move a muscle, which is extremely hard to do if you're experiencing an especially painful contraction. but once that part was over, i was dandy. at first, i was sort of disappointed in myself for not going all-natural. one, because i had planned on not getting an epidural, and two, because when i got it put in, i felt like i could have stood the pain for a little longer. but if i had waited any longer, it would have been too late if i decided i wanted it later on. in the end i was happy with my decision and no matter what i had chosen to do (and i think all moms would agree with me here), it was all worth it.

newborn jude!

anyway, all that being said, i'm not entirely sure if i'll get an epidural next time. what do you think? do you agree with the quote at the beginning? dads...what's your opinion? was it stressful to see your wife go through that pain? steve said the hardest part was that he just felt helpless. similar feelings? i want to know!

p.s. the full birth story here


prerna pickett said...

holy crap, i could not survive without an epidural. When i was in labor with Dylan i went into the hospital already 7 cm dilated (labor with him was SUPER fast) they told me I had to get the epidural right away or forget about it. The pain was excruciating and there was no way I wasn't getting me some drugs. My sis-in-law had three out of four without an epidural, but she's *ahem* built better to give birth than i am. You're pretty teeny Elise, but if you can do it without with your next one, then all power to you. I know with this last one I'm having that I'm still getting an epidural, even though labor is so much faster and much easier with each pregnancy you have.

Ruth said...

I was totally committed to going all naturally with Lily, but she was breech, so I ended up getting a c-section and never going into labor.
Now that I'm pregnant again I still would like have a natural delivery. I'm interested in taking a Bradely class, or a Hypno-babies class, but I haven't really looked into it. I've heard stories of women doing great with an epidural, but I've also heard horror stories. I think ultimately I will have to wait until I am in labor to decide if I think I can handle it without the epidural.

annie said...

I will have an epidural again for my next baby. I had an epidural with Olivia after 12 hours of labor, and it did make me a little bit nervous at first, but in the end it really wasn't that big of a deal for me. Initially I felt just like you and was able to sleep, watch tv, etc., but once Olivia was ready to come, I was still in a lot of pain. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that she was so large, and my hips are so nonexistent. Plus I went from 2 cm dilated to 9 cm dilated in under an hour. So I figure if that's what it felt like WITH an epidural I don't even want to think about what it would feel like without one. Plus the way I see it, why not take advantage of the technology available for women, and make childbirth a smoother and simpler process? If you're able to be more comfortable during the whole experience why not get an epidural?

elise said...

yeah, i think it just depends on what your labor is like. i dilated very slowly and gradually until they broke my water. but they didn't break my water until i was like 7 cm dilated. i think i probably will get an epidural next time just because for me, personally, it made the experience much more enjoyable (not only for me, but for everyone else in the room). like, i can't even really remember much before the epidural because i was so out of it (then again, i went into labor at 4 AM). anyway, i guess i'll just have to see what happens next time