hypnobabies or epidural?

I've been debating how I want this third birth to go. I've always wanted to have an unmedicated birth. Just...because. Because I'm curious. I want to feel what millions of other women feel and just experience that. And yet...those epidurals sure are nice, aren't they? This is often a touchy subject because a womans birthing experience is such a personal thing that there are obvious strong personal feelings. My strongest feelings are about the lack of education out there for women. As long as you fully know your options and the consequences of those, I say go for what suits you best. Now, onto my indecision...

My first birth experience wasn't the traumatic one you hear so often with first timers. It wasn't great either. My water broke at 2pm, labor never started, hence the pitocin. I watched the World Series that night barely feeling anything. Max pitocin. Up all night, dilated to a 2. Still not feeling like anything was happening. So the next morning the interventions began. At this point I hadn't slept in over 24 hours. They went in and REALLY broke my water (and never turned the pitocin down). Time for the Hypnobirthing. It worked pretty well. I don't remember a whole lot of pain. But by 2:00 I was only dilated to a 4! I was throwing up with contractions now and soaking in the tub. My blessed midwife came in and said it was up to me, but she recommended getting an epidural so I could get some sleep. My body wasn't progressing and that could end up as a c-section. Didn't want that so I got the epidural on the condition we would let it wear off so I could have my natural birth. Well, after an hour of blessed sleep, the baby was crowning. I changed my opinion on epidurals at that point. They definitely have their place. Since the whole point of avoiding one was to avoid a c-section (they're more common with epidurals), I wasn't too upset about it. But the hypnobirthing thing didn't impress me all that much.

Round 2. Developed my heart condition and it was recommended I have an epidural so as to put less stress on my heart. The only problem with this was I already had ridiculously low blood pressure and it made me pass out. And I was bored. I sat there in bed trying to watch tv totally and completely bored out of my mind. About 10 minutes before birth, I called the nurse because the epidural was wearing off below my navel. They were calling the anesthesiologist when I called out "I need to push!" So I felt a little of that one. It was kind of cool! I love medical stuff and was fascinated by what I was feeling. I didn't like feeling the placenta though. Kinda creepy.

So what to do this time? No idea. I don't know if we'll have another one (let's take this one at a time) so it may be my last opportunity. And yet, I have nothing to prove to anyone. I don't think it'll make me feel more empowered or give me more "hippie points". I think it will just be a different experience I can say I did. Epidurals didn't seem to have any negative effect on my kids or I, I'm not worried about that. What's important is doing what you can to have a good birth experience. I've heard that hynobabies works much better than hypnobirthing, but I think I'm too much of a comic to get serious about labor. I guess I just don't want to regret my decision. Unfortunately the only one who knows what I'll really regret is me. And I just don't know yet (I still have about 22 more weeks to decide). Please share your thoughts or experiences.

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