This is the third part in a three-part series. Be sure to check out the other two parts:

Part 1: “Do You Really Need a Birth Plan”

Part 2: “Emergency C-Section is Only the Beginning”

To get an epidural or not?

That seems to be one of the top questions plaguing pregnant women everywhere.

I’m here to tell you, ultimately, it doesn’t matter.

It is a personal decision that only you, your partner and your doctor (but mainly you) can make.

When I was pregnant with my first child the only part of the birth I actually thought about was the epidural. My husband was under strict instructions that I would be receiving an epidural at the earliest possible time and under no circumstances did I intend to birth a child without medication.

In fact, I was curious if there was some sort of pre-epidural I could take leading up to my due date (spoiler alert: there is not).

I know there is lots of research about why not to use drugs during childbirth, but I have a very healthy and active 3-year-old who is proof that my epidural was harmless.

After having had such an eventful and scary first childbirth with Cassidy, I was hoping for a much calmer more “normal” experience with Amelia. Since I had a C-section prior, I could have opted to schedule another one. However, given the reason for my C-section, I was a good candidate for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean).

We decided to try for the VBAC, and the doctor was willing to let me go to my due date, but after that date, the risks went up so I would have to schedule a C-section.

9 months pregnant
Big sister Cassidy was not patient. She wanted to meet Amelia so badly.

Due to my emergency C-section with Cassidy, I did not have any contractions or labor of any sort with her.

With Amelia, I thought she was moving around a lot and “partying” in there towards the end. I was getting tired of all of her partying. Later I found out it was Braxton Hicks contractions.

Huh? You would think a mom would know.

Eight days before Amelia’s due date my water broke. Luckily, it was not in any embarrassing way. In fact, it was so slight, to begin with, I wasn’t sure if I had just peed my pants. After a call to the doctor, we headed to the hospital.

This time around I got into a gown, got hooked up to monitors and they tested to make sure it was my water breaking. It was.

labor
The labor we didn’t get the first time around.

I was in no pain whatsoever, and my body was not laboring at all. Brian and I then had to spend A LOT of time walking around the unit to try and get contractions going. Once they started a little, they were willing to start some Pitocin.

Once your water breaks, you’re on the clock to get labor started so that they don’t have to do a C-section and I knew with a prior C-section they were watching me closely. I was hopeful we could avoid it the second time around.

Remember that girl that said she’d need an epidural at check-in.

I guess I was wrong – for the moment.

In the middle of the night, I wasn’t sleeping, and the Pitocin was increasing contractions, so I finally opted for the epidural.

I am pro-epidural. Even though I had a bad experience and got the spinal headaches from the epidural the first time, I still wanted it. I knew the spinal headaches could happen again, but I knew I wanted to rest and be ready to push when the time came.

The epidural allowed me to get some sleep, which was good because little Amelia decided not to make her appearance until 24 hours after my water broke.

There was a moment as it was getting closer to time to push that one IV bag was almost out. The nurse looked at me and was trying to decide if we should start another one.

I said if there was a chance that it could run out while I was delivering then yes, absolutely she should start another one. You have got to be kidding me. I didn’t  come this far to have to have a natural, no pain-relief birth at the very end.

Were we trying to save the insurance company money?

At that moment I certainly wasn’t.

Three years later I am still happy with my decision to get that epidural because I look back on her delivery and laugh.

I was so relaxed while pushing, I laughed in between contractions and joked with the doctor and nurses. Brian and I watched HGtv. Yes, that’s right little Amelia (and yes she was little 5 lbs 9 oz) was born while we watched HGtv.

The funniest part was after Amelia was born. While they weighed her and the doctor stitched me up my leg fell and hit the doctor on the head.

Oops, I had no control over it, and Brian had let go of it in the stirrup. Luckily, the doctor was fine, and we all laughed.

Amelia is born
Amelia has finally arrived. 24 hours later.

Am I any less of a woman because I didn’t have a natural birth?

Nope.

I did what was right for my family and me.

Brian and Cassidy waiting
Big sister had to wait a long time while they warmed Amelia up and checked her sugars.

Oh and the great skin to skin contact that is so important, I didn’t get long with Amelia either. I held her for a little while and then they had to check her. Her blood sugar was very low, and they couldn’t warm her up. They got her under the lights and eventually brought her to us, but again we spent quite a bit of time in the room waiting without a baby.

Amelia has had no issues bonding with anyone in our family.

Going home
A side by side comparison of our girls going home pics. Cassidy 5 days old and Amelia 2 days old.

The lesson here is it doesn’t matter how you became a mother; you are a mother.

Epidural, no epidural? Who cares?

Breastfeeding or bottle feeding? Who cares?

C-section, vaginal birth, or adoption, does it matter?

What matters is that you love your children unconditionally, you do what is best for them even when it’s hard and don’t compare yourself to other mothers.

We need to support each other because being a mom is the hardest job there is.

{the editor tried to say that the hardest job is being a dad- we agree to disagree}

Cassidy and Amelia
My favorite picture of the two girls. Instant best friends.

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