The last post was about my birth experience but I really feel like I want to write down more, even if it's only for me to read in the future.
The first few days to a week after the baby was born I was fascinated by the unmedicated aspect of it. That was the only thing that made a difference between this birth and the others I've experienced. One of the first things out of my mouth, as well as the one thing I said most often in the hours following, was, "I'm not gonna do that again." Natural child birth is an intense experience, to say the least.
So here's how I remember the feeling of it. The contractions would begin and increase in intensity, as is to be expected. For a lot of hours the intensity was manageable. It was just an increase of the same pain feeling. Toward the end it changed. The pain got to it's high level, then there was an added spike of unbearableness that made the contractions much harder to deal with. It's like playing with the tip of a pin. If you're just tapping gently it can be a bit uncomfortable, but nothing overly terrible. Keep tapping harder and it hurts more. The spike of pain during transition is like tapping the pin for a moment before plunging it into your finger and twisting. I didn't much care for it. When it's time to deliver the baby the spike of pain is either accompanied or replaced by the overwhelming need to push the baby out. It really takes over. Anyone who says not to push is just being ridiculous.
Once it was all said and done I was exhausted. The biggest feeling I had was relief. I was so glad it was all done. I didn't get the feeling of accomplishment, extra bonding, or pride that I'd been told I would get with an unmedicated birth. I still don't have them. After the relief came the shakes. I'd also been told that only comes when you get an epidural. Guess not. :) Anyhow, it was while I was shaking and talking to my mom that I first said I wasn't going to do it again.
Eric was pretty proud of me for making it through without the epidural and told everyone he called while we were waiting for me to be released to the mother-baby unit. With every phone call I told the person on the other end, "I'm not doin' that again!" That includes the ones that I didn't actually speak to, but called out to from the bed.
It was on the way to mother-baby that I started to forget. When I thought about it I was forced to acknowledge that it had been much more convenient not to be poked in the back for the epidural. It was also more pleasant not to have the cursed urinary catheter. Tangent: I hate the catheter. Hate, HATE, HATE the catheter. I can't properly express how much I hate it. That was actually one of the biggest motivating factors for skipping the meds when I was 8 cm. End tangent. I started to wonder if maybe the convenience of being without the epidural would be worth the pain the next time I have a baby. Yes, there is at least one more in the plans.
I think that I have now come to the conclusion that if I go into labor slowly, as I did this time, I will probably go natural again. If it comes on hard and sudden, as it did with the girls, then we'll have to see how I handle it at home before going to the hospital. The cost difference and the absence of the stupid catheter are probably worth it to me...depending on how I feel.
Looking back at the experience, I would do it again in the same situation. The only thing I would change about this experience is the length of my stay. I wish I'd stayed two days. But I've been fine. So now I just laugh at myself for thinking that I may have preferred going natural to having the epidural. I didn't use anything from the HypnoBirth classes and I'm strangely pleased about that. I guess the sessions I went to ended up being more about philosophy than comfort techniques, which was all I was interested in. But I've already written about that.
Conclusion: I'll probably try it again. If anyone feels like giving it a try I would recommend it, but only after preparing and finding the proper motivation. It's not worth it if you don't have a good enough reason. The reason, of course, depends on the person. Money and the catheter work for me.