Physically speaking, childbirth is one of the most painful experiences a woman can go through. The human body can only withstand 45 del of pain, del being the unit with which pain is measured. At the time of birth, however, a woman feels up to 57 del. This feels like the equivalent of 20 bones getting fractured at the same time.
While this occurs in nature, not every woman is intent on going through such incredible pain. Thanks to advances in medicine and medical practices, processes that relieve mothers of their pain are being used and get better with time. This means that the research for better methods is still ongoing and best practices are updated regularly.
An epidural is the leading pain relief procedure for 50 percent of women in labor in America. It involves injecting the lower back with a local anesthetic and making everything below that region numb. After that, a tube or catheter is inserted through the needle into the spinal cord. When this happens, the needle is removed leaving behind the narrow tube.
An IV and medication is then pumped into the body. The tube is taped on the back to prevent it from falling out.
There are both positives and negatives regarding epidural anesthetic. The major advantage is that it numbs the entire lower body during childbirth, which is a relief to patients. Through the IV fluid pumped into the body, the receiving mother feels little pain in labor. One of the risks are permanent nerve damage, which nonetheless is rare.
Below are 15 cases of women who regret not getting an epidural.
14 Quick Delivery
On this occasion, the woman here has had 2 childbirths. The 1st one was while she was on epidural. The 2nd one was while she had no epidural at all. Her 2nd delivery was relatively short compared to many other cases discussed above. It only took about a half an hour. Again, she was too far along in her labor for an epidural to be of any use.
By the time she had given birth, she was, as to be expected, relieved it was over.
One must not take it at face value, though. She did say that even though the pain was bearable, it was nonetheless almost beyond bearing. Furthermore, the whole labor period was a 30 minute slot of strong contractions. In fact, they were heavy enough to significantly change her mindset about giving birth.
After both ways of childbirth, she definitely now would choose to have an epidural if she had to give birth again. So despite her modesty, an epidural is worth taking instead of sharp labor pains. Why go through a lot of pain if you really don’t have to?
13 Not Enough Time For An Epidural
This lady had an epidural for her 1st child. When her water broke with her second pregnancy, she rushed to the hospital. She never has the chance to have an epidural because only 15 minutes later her second child was born.
Obviously, she didn’t go through an epidural the second time around. The preparation for the procedure alone would have taken about 15 minutes, given that the lower back has to be cleaned with antiseptic first. Then the syringe needs to be injected and the IV threaded into her spine. It would have taken a lot longer than her entire labor took.
She stated that it was nothing like her first child birth. According to her, it was dreadfully painful and completely agonizing. Plus, the pain never stopped so she was glad that it only lasted 15 minutes. If she had gone much longer, she said it would have been an awful experience and beyond bearing.
12 Nightmare Delivery
In this lady’s account, with her first child, she had no epidural. She wanted to go through the process without medication because she was ‘caught in the natural hype.’ The reasoning stems from the knowledge that women have had it like this throughout the ages and if they could do it, she can too.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t exempt from the notorious pain. She is quick to note that commonly used methods to distract oneself from the pain, like breathing and relaxation techniques just didn’t help. It was a nightmare for her. Being trendy didn’t help either, as she couldn’t relax with her iPod list. So, after her first child, she opted for epidural with her second and third kids.
It goes to show once again that some women simply prefer not going through the incredible pain that women can go through when they give birth. So, this mom decided to get with modern times and went for the epidural in her subsequent childbirths.
11 Scared By Friends’ Experiences
This woman hoped, like many, to have a natural birth but it wasn’t meant to be. After her water broke, labor didn’t start. After going to the hospital and spending 12 hours in labor induced by Pitocin, her labor hadn’t progressed. That was when her doctor upped the dose of Pitocin and severe contractions came on.
She says there was no comparison of the Pitocin induced contractions against the natural contractions she had with her second child. The anesthesiologist couldn’t give her the epidural fast enough and she says it was a terrible, harrowing experience and wished she had asked for it sooner.
Some women prefer the natural way, and view it as a rite of passage to motherhood. Many mothers feel bullied into suffering through a natural birth, and when they are unable to carry through and finally ask for the epidural they end up feeling like they failed and are less of a mother. However, everyone has a different unbearable threshold of pain and they shouldn’t feel ashamed for not wanting to feel it.
This lady took Bradley Classes to prepare for an unmedicated birth. Bradley Classes are an agenda for prenatal exercise and nutrition, relaxation for easier birth, husband coaching, birth plans and more. Mrs. Bro also had a doula by her side. A doula is a birth instructor.
She labored for 26 hours after her water broke. Twelve hours later, she was put on Pitocin because there was no dilation in her cervix. Subsequently, she labored for another 13 hours without any pain medication. She never made it past 5 cm dilation and eventually underwent a Cesarean section.
Mrs. Bro regrets being so stubbornly opposed to an epidural that she didn't even try it from the get go. She ended up with a spinal block (much the same thing but without the IV) for the c-section. Nowadays she wonders if she could have avoided the c-section if she had that epidural. Her main advice to mothers now is that they should definitely keep an open mind about it and consider what’s best for them.
10 Unprepared For The Pain
Mel has 5 kids. The first 2 were born with an epidural. She went natural for her 3 kids after that. The interesting part is that she was completely unprepared for the 3rd child to be born naturally. She went through an enormous amount of pain because of that. This is obviously expected as pregnancy is painful.
She later stated that she regretted not having an epidural for her 3rd labor. Her total unpreparedness led her to extreme pain and discomfort that gave her a terrible experience. Ironically however, she is not for or against an epidural. Her perspective is to be ready and choose what works best for one in the moment.
Since she went without an epidural and all natural with her 4th and 5th child, one can see her inclination to unmedicated childbirth, with her decision about her wellbeing at the moment of labor, to be natural delivery. So, she obviously felt the birthing pain of labor wasn’t beyond her capacity to handle it.
9 Labored For 38 Hours Before Getting An Epidural
This woman had an epidural with her 1st child, but regretted not having it sooner. It can thus be seen that women are getting increasingly more informed about the benefits of an epidural. She wanted to actually ‘enjoy’ her delivery. This however was not the case as her epidural delay caused a lot of discomfort.
Many women want to have the full experience of childbirth but then realize it’s too much. Some women wait too long to ask for it and have to be told she’s too far along in her labor.
The mom waited a whopping 38 hours until she finally had the epidural. That’s more than one and a half days! One must remember that there are different stages of labor and much of it may be waiting through contractions that only happen every 30 minutes or so. It’s no wonder she had an epidural with her 2nd child.
Even though she was in labor for 48 hours, a whole 2 days and longer than her first labor, she enjoyed the experience more because she was under epidural.
8 Felt Like Her Stomach Got Split Open
Here, the mother of two had no medication at both births. Clearly she must have had a reason for it. Having gone through the first birth without pain medication, it would seem apparent she would have opted for it the second time around to avoid the pain she knew was coming.
However, she recounts that during both deliveries, she regretted not being on any pain relieving medication, to the core. She said it felt like her vagina ‘went through a meat grinder’ or her stomach got ‘split open’. Yes, giving birth is a sharp, utterly agonizing pain that simply just doesn’t go away until the baby is born.
They say once a woman sees and holds her child after birth, she immediately forgets about all the pain. She is just so overwhelmed with happiness and euphoria that it’s been described as an incredible natural high, unlike any other, better than every other. For the fact that women go through hell when giving birth, that high apparently erases the memory of the pain.
7 It Was Hell
In this case, the woman in question isn’t the subject. It was her mother. Her mother has three kids, including the witness. Nonetheless, she gave birth to a 4th child. Interestingly, the woman is old enough to know about the procedure of epidurals.
However, she stated that her mum wasn’t able to get an epidural because the baby came too fast. That may have been a blessing in disguise since deliveries are notoriously painful and long, and can go on for a day or more. If all deliveries were fast like these, there might not be the need for an epidural for anyone because labor would be over so quickly.
However, this mother still regrets the turn of events because, in her daughter’s words, ‘it was hell.’ Even though the mom didn’t have time to get an epidural, she is quick to mention that if there had been more time she would have opted for it.
6 Nearly Collapsed
This anonymous woman on the forum DC Urban Moms, had no epidural for her 1st birth. She says it was like a horror story. What women fear most, pretty much elapsed with her. Her birth and abstinence from medication was a match made in hell.
Basically, the whole delivery was overly long. She went through agonizing and countless contractions and kicks from the baby. She cried out loud and writhed in pain. It’s such a tormenting experience to see a woman giving birth and hers must have perfectly fit the bill. The whole hours long period of giving birth left her completely exhausted, to the point of near collapse.
After the birth, the woman was totally knocked out and slept for a long time. To top it off, she had vaginal tears that needed to be taken care of. She says her recovery was ‘horrible.’ She decided to have epidural for her second delivery and feels the decision was the best way to go for her.
5 No More Babies
Referring of the account of the woman mentioned above, this lady concurs with the opinion, but is totally against choosing no pain relief. She is mother of one. There may have been plans to have another one but she didn't. However, having gone through her ordeal, she would definitely go for an epidural if she were to have another baby.
Once again, the mother was traumatized by natural childbirth. So bad to the point that she’ll try anything but go without pain relief ever again. Her mind is now made up such that if she had prepared for the delivery without any pain relieving medication, she feels it would have been different. This wasn’t the case though.
Her childbirth was agonizing and filled with pain. She’s so hurt psychologically that she’s resolved to never deliver a child without epidural ever again. It’s interesting to note how some women who give birth, just get on with it, yet for some mothers, no epidural during childbirth is outlandish and should be banned in their opinion.
4 Traumatized By Childbirth
This example is an account of a woman (presumably), who speaks about her friends. Her friends had no medication. When they gave birth, it was hell on Earth. One of them is still traumatized by it, now 6 years later, her other friends wouldn’t dare go unmedicated willingly again.
To see a woman terrified by natural birth 6 years later is without doubt an extreme case. Nonetheless, it paints a perfect picture of all that can go wrong with no epidural during labor. This trauma victim probably will have issues about getting expectant again. It must be really hard if she still wants to have kids because she loves them – she’ll be torn between two extremes.
On one end of the spectrum, she’ll want to grow her family and on the other end of the band, she’ll feel terrified by labor pains. This is one calamity no woman would want to go through.
3 Giving Birth Should Be Exclusively With An Epidural
This woman reveals that she has had two children. One was a delivery without an epidural and the 2nd delivery was with an epidural. Inasmuch as she’s done it naturally, she staunchly regrets sticking it out the first time around. This is no joke, she felt grief during labor. For her, giving birth should be exclusively with epidural.
She will never ever have another delivery without any type of pain-relief medication, in any way, shape or form. Just like the previous example of the still traumatized woman 6 years after her delivery. These women are just intensely averse to going through the extreme pain, when it isn’t necessary.
They reject the notion that they can go without an epidural. In their mind, doing it without pain relief is cruel and outright brutal. They refuse to ever go back to that pain, because in their point of view, the pain is just not worth it.
2 Will Never Have A Natural Birth Again
This is an account that’s an outright nightmare. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. It seemed like a scene from a horror movie, but it was all real. Plus, it gave the woman a bitter taste for natural childbirth without an epidural.
One woman shared the miserable experience with another anonymous poster on a forum and learned they had experienced the same thing. What they shared was the epidural effect wearing off during childbirth.
They felt all the contractions and it left them disappointed to say the least. One woman though, ended up having an all-natural birth. When it was time to push, she was out of breath and was given an oxygen mask. This upset her even more and made matters worse. She was an absolute wreck, dreading what she was going through.
She was panicking, thinking the worst was happening to her: that she would probably die or have a stillbirth. These things haunt women who are expectant and also women in labor. She concludes never to have a natural childbirth again.
1 Don’t Want To Become A Maniac Again
In this last example, this woman, like some others mentioned above, has had two childbirths. One was natural, the other was on epidural. In hindsight, she prefers the epidural. Her main reasons for her preference is that the epidural procedure allowed her to rest.
The reasoning for this can be clear, given how dramatic and painful childbirth is and how long it can actually last. She also appreciates the lack of exhaustion having an epidural provides.
According to her, she took a blow from all the contractions, panting, gasping for air, moaning, shouting, screaming, crying and everything else that she went through during childbirth.
One must also consider that even though childbirth is natural, it does nonetheless expose the mother at her most vulnerable self and not every woman is comfortable being revealed to strangers, outside her home, so much. Though she hasn’t verbally pointed it out, she did indirectly state that she regretted not having an epidural when she went natural.