Having to get an epidural is not a bad thing. It is sometimes extremely therapeutic. And your baby isn’t damaged by it. If you are trying for a home birth and end up at the hospital with an epidural – it’s okay. Your baby is okay. I tried for a homebirth with my first and after 70 hours of labor, I transferred to the hospital for an epidural. I slept for several hours. When I awoke, I had fully dilated and my baby came right out.
It’s hard when our vision for birth doesn’t work out. I understand this more than anyone. I cried and mourned my loss of a natural birth – for months. I felt like I had wronged my baby girl in some way. Should I have done something different during the labor? Did I do something wrong? Why couldn’t I dilate? Meanwhile my beautiful, healthy baby nursed away, growing bigger and stronger every day. Sure she was sleepy when she came out. She didn’t even nurse for the first 24 hours longer than a minute. But a long labor would have done that with or without an epidural.
If anyone understands guilt and sadness over a birth plan gone way off track, I do. As much as you are holding your baby after a difficult delivery with an epidural, you still feel a loss for a natural, intervention free birth. Afterward, every time I met a woman who had a home birth, or a hospital birth without intervention, I felt a little pang of jealousy. I thought to myself, “will I ever know what it’s like?”
After about 6 months, when I thought I was okay, the bad feelings welled up inside me again. I reached out to my homebirthing midwives, who told me “we are always there for you.” Two of them came to my home and I basically asked them if I did something wrong. And if I had damaged my baby in some way by not having a natural birth. I looked at them holding my happy baby (see picture on left) and it became clear to me. I didn’t do anything wrong and neither did you. You made the best choice for you and your baby with the situation you were in. There is a time and place for western medical intervention and it’s okay to use it when it’s needed. After the meeting with my midwives,I came to terms with the experience for what it was. It was my karma to have an extremely difficult birth. It is what has made me so passionate about helping mamas have the birth experience that they desire. I have never felt bad about my epidural since.
And to offer a little epilogue. I have since delivered a baby boy, completely naturally. And yes, it was totally awesome. And no, it did not make me feel bad again about the epidural with my daughter. I actually felt empowered by it as part of the story of who I am.