One of the most asked questions I get asked when people hear about our decision to use a midwife for this pregnancy is “Can you still get an epidural?” The answer to this question is no, you can’t. The response to that varies between “boy are you brave/out of your mind” and “what if you change your mind?” or “why would you go through that if you don’t have to?”
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I have my own reasons for desiring an unmedicated birth. Some of those reasons are due to anecdotal evidence regarding medical intervention in a process that maybe didn’t need to be intervened in. Some of those reasons are because I had what I feel to be a less than desirable birth process with Kitten. But mostly, I think, it has a lot more to do with extreme sports.
You see, no one needs to run a marathon. No one must climb Mt. Everest. No one is forced to participate in many of the other sports or thrill type pursuits that people enjoy doing. I mean, a person can enjoy running for a mile and then get in a car for an additional 25 miles. A person can climb the hill at the base of a mountain, then ride a horse/donkey/whatever up the rest of the way. A person could ride the kiddy rollercoaster instead of taking the loop-de-loop. People do these things for the thrill of it, for the accomplishment, for the emotional pay off that comes from finishing something that they think is insurmountable – for hitting the “wall” and being able to scale it and say “I did that!”
I’m not likely to ever run a marathon. I won’t ever climb Mt. Everest. I may never ride that loop-de-loop rollercoaster. But I am purposely chosing to have this baby without drugs because I feel like it’s my Mt. Everest – my Boston Marathon. I fully understand that it hurts. I get that completely. I know that I’m going to cry, and that I’ll probably beg for an epidural, and I know I’ll hit a place where I think that I’d rather be pregnant forever than go through any more pain and effort. And I also know that once I stare down my Wall, once I decide that I am the only one who can birth this baby, once I complete the task at hand that the emotional payoff will be worth it. That I will have my baby in my arms and be able to say “I did it, even though I wasn’t sure that I could.” I believe there will be a sense of accomplishment that accompanies my efforts that will make it all seem worth it in the end. Not unlike the satisfaction of crossing the finish line or reaching the peak of the mountain. This is why I know I am not going to change my mind mid process, and why I am ok with the option of the epidural not being open to me.