Middle of the packer child birther right here!

28 Oct

If childbirth is like a marathon, I’ll be a happy middle of the packer.

Ever since I found out I was expecting, people have been telling me that I will have no problem at all with the whole experience. After all, I am a runner…surely I have beat myself up more than this and have dealt with more pain than this, right? I have powered through sore muscles, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, headaches, backaches, frigid/rainy runs, and 20+ milers…all for FUN…so popping out a baby should be nothing…right?


Sorry, kids, this Mama Bear is just NOT buying it. All you running mamas and husbands to running mamas out there MUST be pulling my leg. Have you SEEN those childbirth videos? Have you SEEN the way those women clamor and scream and sweat!? Have you heard their guttoral growls of pain!? You can’t tell me this is “manageable pain.” I just do not believe it.

Seriously…there is nothing about this that looks fun…

While I briefly (and by “briefly” I mean all of 3.7 seconds) considered an all-natural birth, I can now quite confidently say that this is NOT an option for me. I. AM. A. NINNY. However, after talking with my doctor, doing my own research, and talking with other recent running mamas, I have decided that complete and total epidural is not the option for me either.

Thankfully, there are now “walking epidurals” or what I like to call, “dial-a-number pain meds.” Basically, you get to pick your strength, on a level from 1 to 10, and that’s the amount of medication they give you. HALLELUJAH! Options! While I would love think myself tough enough to handle birthing my child the au naturale way, I just don’t think I’m woman enough for all that. After all, the good Lord gave us drugs, so why not use them? 🙂

After all the miserable injuries I have experienced in my years of running and training, you cannot possibly expect me to believe that these were all worse than pushing a watermelon through my lady parts. I am not saying those injuries did not toughen me up a little, but for now, this girl will stick with (some) drugs. I know I am probably making WAY too much out of this, but they way I figure is this…if I imagine this process as being the most awful, terrible pain that I have ever experienced and it is not that way, then I will be pleasantly surprised. However, if I go into this thinking it will feel like a nagging ankle sprain and it feels like the Marianas Trench busting wide open, I am going to be TICKED! Better to be pleasantly surprised than terribly disappointed!

Did you or your significant other go all natural during childbirth or do you recommend some pain management? Please share your story (as long as it is not a total horror story). 🙂

23 Responses to “Middle of the packer child birther right here!”

  1. karenjanos October 28, 2011 at 11:07 AM #

    I love Pain Meds!! There is no way to explain childbirth. You have to experience it. Suffice it to say though, that it hurts. No ifs ands or buts about it. The memory of that pain will remain, but not in the same way that you remember breaking a bone or bad tendonitis though.

    Don’t worry. You will make it through. Try to think of someone who you think can’t handle pain that has been through childbirth. She survived and so can you!

  2. crystal October 28, 2011 at 11:29 AM #

    My take on pain meds was that I’d take them if I needed them. I wasn’t against an epidural, but I wasn’t like “sign me up” as soon as I got preggo. That said, when I went into labor, my water broke but I was not contracting much (7-8 min apart and I couldn’t even feel them). Since my water had broken, my hospital’s policy is to deliver within 24 hours. I went in, was admitted, and was put on pitocin (yuck!). The contractions started coming hard and fast, and it was nearly unbearable for me (I have a pretty high pain tolerance too). If they had offered a c-section at that point, I may have considered it! They gave me some IV pain meds and the pain subsided for a bit. 3 hours later, I was ready for another dose (you have to wait 3 hrs between dosees). This time, I didn’t feel like the meds worked at all! I toughed it out for 2.5 hours since I thought (mistakenly) that I had to wait for them to wear off before they would give me an epidural). When the nurse asked me if I was ready for the epidural, I said YES, but she said she would check me first. I was already at 9.5cm! She said I could still have it, but I’d be pushing in 30 min. At that point, I figured “what’s the point?” and toughed out the last 30 min before I pushed. I did end up pushing for almost 2 hrs, though…that was tiring, but it didn’t really feel THAT long. I had an episiotomy since that was standard at my hospital, which was fine. So, I pushed out an 8lb 1oz baby boy with no epidural. If I have another, I think I’ll take the same approach…use the meds if needed, although I now know that I can handle it without. 🙂

    BTW, I did not scream or yell obscenities at my husband at all! I was very mellow. Darn. Opportunity lost! hahahahaha Also, I only cried after the kid was out. It is a very emotional experience! 🙂 Good luck! Oh, and really, I do not remember any of the pain at all now.

  3. Lara C W October 28, 2011 at 11:29 AM #

    I went natural w both my children – I’m not going to lie, it was very painful. But manageable AS LONG AS you are prepared. You need a plan, support and a bag of tricks. I used a TENS machine which interrupts the pain signal – a small version of what you might have had in physio with any injuries (back for instance). You control the intensity and duration of the electronic stimulation (as the waves of contractions come) yourself. I also PTA ticked hypnobirthing techniques which is more about developing and finding the rituals that work for you – for me it was on all 4s swaying to my own tempo in my head and tapping my right foot – often faster as the contractions peaked. Deep breathing and vocalizations are also good – using a deep low voice encourages you to loosen into the contractions instead of trying to tighten up and avoid them – my husband was my rock literally – he took the full brunt of my weight as I leant on his folded arms , as I stood, hinged forward at the hips – low back massage was also helpful. Saline injections on hand for back labour can also be effective. They insert under the skin (not into the muscle). I also had a doula

  4. Sandy Parfait October 28, 2011 at 11:30 AM #

    I have been contemplating the same questions as I am almost 20 weeks along. I am delivering at Ochsner and am happy that the midwives there have many many tools to help make childbirth a manageable experience. My mother did it all natural with both my sister and I and I hope I can at least try. I plan on taking classes but I have already told my midwife that I am not closed to the idea of epidural. Hopefully I can put my whale of a body into a birthing tub, shower or rock on a birthing ball long enough to let my body adjust to what is happening. But if all else fails I will be happy to take the drugs.

  5. Sarah (A Runner's Heart) October 28, 2011 at 11:32 AM #

    I really had a great birth experience! Yes, I wish some things were different and the doctor that delivered wasn’t a total jerk and did everything I didn’t want him to do, but he was only in the room for about 2 seconds when the baby was actually delivered, so that was ok. I was induced the day after my due date. I was destined to have a big baby and I refused to go longer and have her get bigger. She ended up being 8 lbs. 5 oz. That’s big in my book! lol 🙂 Anyway….Pitocin is a “insert curse word here” I labored for about 7 hours with pitocin going and my water broke naturally! Thank goodness! 🙂 After my water broke….I was not a happy person! lol ANd my husband slept through the whole thing! With me “quietly” screaming through every contraction….Yes it hurts…it hurts pretty darn bad…I had about 30 seconds between contractions of relief…Then I got the epidural….BEST THING EVER!!! Omg…I was actually laughing and talking to my family…Now yes I was a little loopy, but that made it more entertaining for the rest of the family lol. Plus I got some rest after being up all night long in pain…oh and Demerol and sleeping meds DON’T work after your water breaks lol….Anyway…once I got to 9.5 cm….Everyone left and it was just me and the hubby and the most wonderful nurse ever….If you don’t like your nurse, GET ANOTHER ONE! I am a Nurse, and I know that if you don’t mix well with someone, your experience will not be a great one…Don’t hesitate to ask for another nurse! They know it happens all the time! :)….Anyway….I pushed for about 2 hours…I was able to rest in between. I could still feel the contractions also. I actually told the nurse they were coming most times. Which made me feel good! 🙂 And I didn’t have a walking epidural I had the regular. SO even the regular was not that bad at all! It was a good experience, but I believe you should do what you feel! If you don’t feel you need the epidural, don’t get it! You may not need it! But…I’m a wimp and I was glad I had it! lol And I was happy that I was given the option when to get it…It was never pushed on me at all! 🙂 If you go in there and just go with the flow of what feels right…You will do great! 🙂 Good Luck to you! And I can’t wait to read what you share with us about your birth story! 🙂 Sorry this is so long! I just wanted you to hear a good experience! I know there are so many horror stories out there! BTW…Check out the blogger Daily Garnish…She just had her baby and wrote a 3 part birth story! Beware though…Her labor was 55 hours long!!! INSANE! But she did great! 🙂 And she’s a runner and she was actually hit by a car lat year, so she’s been through some pain! But it was definitely a good read! 🙂

  6. Doni October 28, 2011 at 12:02 PM #

    First baby, I was clueless. The idea of a needle inserted into my spine sounded far worse than what labor might bring. But then came the “need” for pitocin. Avoid that stuff like the plague if you can. Since I didn’t want an epidural, they gave me some narcotics for the pain. Narcotics were NOT my friend. They messed me up mentally beyond what you believe. At one point, I literally thought that my baby was coming out Alien-style. I finally gave in on the epidural. It was the best thing ever. After 27 hours of labor, me — at 5’2″ pushed out a 10lb baby. (the result of undiagnosed gestational diabetes — but that’s another story). Baby #2 — when they said I *again* needed to be induced — I told them they could use the gel, but that I refused to take pitocin. I ended up walking about 5 miles while in labor to make sure I wouldn’t have to (figured if they couldn’t catch me…) When things started getting “bad”, I went straight for the epidural. When the nurse came in to check on my progress an hour later, my husband, the nurse, and I were all making predictions how far along I was. We were ALL wrong — I was 10 cm! She looked a little panicked, said don’t cough, push, or even move and ran out to get the doctor. Unfortunately, the look on my hubby’s face being left alone with a woman on the verge of delivering was so funny that I started to laugh. The doctor barely got in in time to deliver our daughter (7lb 9oz).

    Katie — you’re going to do great whatever route you end up taking. I think it’s so much better to go in with an open mind/options than to have a really strict birthing plan. I have a friend who ended up having to have an emergency C-section. Rather than celebrating a healthy baby, she was crushed and felt like she let every one down when the “ideal” natural childbirth plan she’d developed had to be abandoned.

  7. Kristyn Gunter (@KristynKG) October 28, 2011 at 1:14 PM #

    I, like you, had made no progress at my 39 week apt. at 40 weeks, the baby was moving the other direction and my blood pressure and swelling was not staying under control, so we scheduled my c-section for the next day. My doctor isn’t one for putting mama and baby through the pitocin if no progress is being made-he said it makes for a much harder labor on both. I thank God everyday for this because, had I been induced, we would have hit major problems—when my doc was sewing me back up, he said “after seeing you from the inside, and seeing how big he was (9lb7oz, 21in), I can tell you he wouldn’t have fit to come out.” that would have ment broken collar bones for him or an emergency c-section if he hadn’t gotten too far into the birth canal. Our second baby was a scheduled c-section about 5 days before her due date.

    If you end up having to have a c-section–demand an epidural, not a spinal block! the spinal block wears off within a few hours and the pain was SO much worse than with the epidural.

    Looking back on everything now, I do feel like I missed out on something that all women are “supposed” to experience-labor (never had a single contraction) and a natural delivery. I guess I don’t really feel like I “gave birth”. But, I have two beautiful healthy babies and that is all that matters.

    So, please make sure that you at least look into c-sections and get “okay with it” in the event that you have to have one. Like Doni said of her friend, it can be hard to make that switch mentally when you don’t really think about it going in. I know I never thought I’d have a c-section.

  8. Kristie October 28, 2011 at 1:48 PM #

    I have 3 kids. The 2nd one was a natural birth. I agree with the others, avoid pitocin at all costs. If you need it, get the epidural at the same time. With my 2nd, she was in my arms 30 min after I walked in. But yes I screamed when I pushed her out. My brother almost passed out in the hall!! But I’d much rather go that route.

  9. Sara October 28, 2011 at 2:11 PM #

    I’ve had two drug-free vaginal births and am about 4 weeks away from having my third baby (also hopefully drug-free!), and I will say a couple of things:

    1) Childbirth DOES NOT have to be like the scary birth videos with the screaming and the freaking out.

    2) Contractions aren’t at all like injury pain. Injury pain just goes on and on and on without a break — contractions are finite, and you get a break in between.

    3) The mental coping skills of getting yourself through the momentary discomforts of a long training run or sticking to race pace actually do translate REALLY WELL into being able to make it through “one more contraction” or “just five more minutes,” should you decide that you’d like to delay pain meds as long as possible (getting an epidural before your baby is fully engaged in the pelvis can lead to further interventions).

    4) You are obviously a very intelligent woman who has done the research and are making an informed decision about what you feel is best for you and your baby, so take all of my blabbering just as “more data points,” and not any sort of “you MUST DO X.” 🙂

    Good luck to you and Baby Key!! 🙂

  10. Adrienne Osuna October 28, 2011 at 2:50 PM #

    Well I have to comment on this one since I’m right behind you with my due date!
    I totally understand having fear of childbirth. I’m having my 3rd & plan to do this one natural and I’m not gonna lie, I’m nervous! But I agree w Lara, you have to be totally prepares mentally for a natural birth.
    I had an epidural w my first 2 & both births were great and beautiful. I did have a harder time recovering though and breastfeeding was much
    harder to start out with even though eventually
    we were successful.
    One big reason (besides for the baby) I am planning a natural birth this time is because I plan to start training ASAP! I hear women that do it naturally feel awesome just 30 mins later.
    Remember you can say NO to other drugs once you’ve had an epidural.
    A walking epidural seems awesome because if it slows labor (reg epi does) than u can get up and walk around to progress on your own!
    I look forward to hearing how it goes
    For you!! So exciting!

  11. Jen October 28, 2011 at 3:03 PM #

    Wait, why hasn’t my midwife mentioned this type of epidural? I’d definitely be open to that. My biggest epi fear is that I puke from any type of painkillers and I don’t want to be super sick during labor. I cannot wait to hear about your experience with this type of epi though, Katie! Sounds great!

  12. Vanessa (@IsleStyleLiving) October 28, 2011 at 3:17 PM #

    I’m due in December. This is our first and we decided to go for an unmedicated birth.

    Most of that decision came from our own upbringing- we both had families that would try holistic and natural methods of healing and health before engaging with a medical doctor.

    We are NOT anti-medicine at all- we take the approach that when it comes to daily health and wellness, drugs are not the way to go. HOWEVER, in case of emergencies or if we’ve exhausted all other methods, our medical system is best.

    It’s all about balance for us.

    That being said, we plan on having an unmedicated birth at a hospital with an OB/GYN. We have made our preferences clear but totally understand that sometimes emergencies occur during labor. And that’s what we want the medical staff for- emergencies.

    We also took 10 weeks of unmedicated birthing classes through the Bradley Method and I’m confident in the techniques I learned to help manage the pain. We also learned the ideal window for interventions (such as an epidural or pitocin), so if the need arises, we are informed and can make the best decision for US.

    The best decision you could make when it comes to giving birth, is to make an informed decision for YOU. Know your risks and weigh it against the benefits. Every woman and every birth is different and only you can make that decision.

  13. Kristen @ The Concrete Runner October 28, 2011 at 5:47 PM #

    I was hoping to have a natural childbirth but decided to get an epidural when they had to administer pitocin. My epidural was great – I could still feel my legs for the most part, but no pain from contractions. Honestly, I’m not sure I could have gone naturally. Good luck in the next few weeks!

  14. Debby H October 28, 2011 at 6:07 PM #

    Its a lot of pain, but as soon as its over, you realize you would do it over again in a heartbeat!!!
    My first child I had an epidural and I slowed way down in progressing!! She ended up being a CSection after 32 hrs of labor and 3 hrs of pushing(this was 19 years ago). I dont think they let you go that long anymore.

    MY next two were all natural. and NOT BY CHOICE!! By the time I got the hospital I was already past the pain med timeline. Within one hour they were both born.

  15. Josie @ PeakFit October 28, 2011 at 6:14 PM #

    I had decided against an epidural from the beginning of my first pregnancy. Fear of needles was more compelling than fear of pain, I guess. I went in there thinking, no prob, I’m doing this all natural. Not going to lie, it was harder than I thought it would be & I did end up asking for pain meds with both kids. Unfortunately my labors progressed incredibly quickly (4 hours for my first, 3 hours for my second) so even though I did ask for meds, the only thing I was able to get with my first was toradol (which only made me goofy, not pain free) and nothing with my second.

    That being said, you are the only one who knows what YOU want. And you are the only one you should listen to. Every woman is different. But remember, this is what our bodies were meant to do so listen to yours!

    But I do enjoy sharing that both of my labors were quick & not too horrible since other women seem to get a sick amount of pleasure out of telling evil birth stories to almost due mommies, which I do not understand. All the best!! 🙂

  16. Andrea October 28, 2011 at 6:19 PM #

    Welli just wrote a post about how childbirth IS like a marathon, but in a sort of different way. I’ll spare you the details. Hope everything goes as you plan and yes, being educated does help make you more comfortable with choices.

  17. Karen :0) October 28, 2011 at 8:24 PM #

    The epidural freaks me out. I almost passed out watching one in my OB rotation in nursing school. I know it’s different when you can’t actually see the epidural, but it still freaks me out. We’ll see what happens when I do decide to have a child! Hah!

    I know everything will go smooth for you! I haven’t heard of a walking epidural but it’s been about 6 years since my OB rotation! I think it’s really neat that they offer that!

  18. Necia October 28, 2011 at 9:57 PM #

    Drugs both times. And you still feel everything. The drugs just relax you enough so u dont spazz all the way out. I preferred the drugs over the epidural because I wanted to feel to push out my little one so I could meet them faster. I had 1/2 shot of demerol with my son, and that was great. With my daughter I had some crap that unfortunately cant remember the name of. It was terrible. I felt hiiiiiiigh! Definitely do what works for you!

  19. Adrienne October 29, 2011 at 8:20 AM #

    I got my epi at 2 cm but I had already been in labor for 20 something hours. I ended with a c section so ultimately the decision wasn’t mine but yeah…contractions were not my friend so of course I recommend NOT feeling them.

  20. Kimi October 29, 2011 at 8:28 AM #

    Everyone is different as far as the amount of pain they feel/can handle. I told myself I would try to go for as long as I could until I asked for it. I asked for it at 4cm, didn’t get it until 8 cm, then could feel nothing the whole time I pushed. With baby #2, I asked for it earlier, got it around 5cm, and by the time I pushed, I could feel enough to be a productive pusher. I actually felt all of it, but none of it hurt thanks to the epi. Very strange experience! Good luck to you, and no matter what, you will survive. It’s only a fleeting moment in the big picture of your life!

  21. Susie October 29, 2011 at 3:00 PM #

    I think it takes a strong woman to give a drug free birth, and while I am NOT that woman I applaud those that are.

    With my first, I was young and it hurt and I welcomed the drugs. With my second, I was older and it DIDN’T hurt and I welcomed the drugs. Yeah, I’m a major wuss. The nurses could not believe that I was not feeling the contractions, but I wasn’t. But I knew that could change at any time and I was not strong enough for that.

    You will do great with whatever you choose, and it will be the best experience of your life.


  22. Dawn October 30, 2011 at 8:43 PM #

    I just had my baby girl on Monday and had an epidural. I would not want to do it any other way. With zero pain during the last few hours of labor and the delivery itself, I was able to be completely present and enjoy the experience of watching her birth. It was incredible.

  23. Carrie November 1, 2011 at 6:16 PM #

    I’ve had the first 2 without meds the 2nd two with meds. I used the Lamaze techniques, something I would recommend highly regardless if you choose to go natural or assisted. Because of my sensitivity to pain meds I really shied away from anything for the first two and had wonderful experiences with both natural births.

    But for me natural childbirth was completely exhausting. I felt that I needed to be more “there” during the first few days after the birth because breastfeeding my children was also very important to me and it did not come easily to either me or my babies. So I opted for epidurals on the last two. It definitely made a difference for me.

    Everyone is different and this is a completely personal decision. I admire your courage for asking questions in such a public forum. I hope my input helps.

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