Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Incubation

Today as I sat staring at my belly waiting for my doctor to come in and check me out, I had one of those moments. You know those moments when it hits you how incredible it is that there is a whole person there moving around and soon to join the world. It is just amazing that we are able to assist in the creation of life. 

I am playing the waiting game now. I am mostly ready to have this baby. I am two weeks from my due date. My body is ready. It is just waiting for things to start and the baby to come. Yet, unlike most other pregnancies, I am not as anxious as I have before been. I feel pretty good as long as I don't do too much. 

I know now that I have said that, tomorrow I will feel terrible. :) But for now I feel pretty good. I really want to go into labor on my own without being induced. I hope that happens for me. I am tempering my patience so I can stick it out for the long haul.

I would really like to go drug free through this labor. I haven't ever done that before. I have always wanted to do it. My mom had me without drugs. I was the only child she did that way. I think it will be empowering and cathartic to experience the natural pains of bringing a child into the world after having felt the natural pains of returning one to the presence of her Maker.

I hope those around me will help me to be strong when I feel weak and want nothing more than to make the pain go away. I hope I can find my way through the pain and to the joy of birth and new life. 

Till that journey through the pain begins, I am left here incubating, waiting, and preparing as best I can.

52 comments:

LaCee said...

I have had both my babies without pain meds. The first one was an induction with pictocin. The next was started with castor oil. I must say they were both such spiritual experiences. I can't think of any other time that I had to completly trust my body & let go. It gave such a great apreciation for the gift of a healthy body that can bear children. Strech marks and all!

The Forney Four said...

I think this is one of my favorite posts you've written. My sister had her last (and final) baby without meds. She described it exactly as you did here. Now she feels like she can do anything! (and she can!) I don't dialate, unfortunately, so childbirth won't ever be something I get to experience... but I so marvel at the women who do! thanks for continuing to inspire us. I hope everything goes well these last 2 weeks. I'm so excited you're having a boy. It's the best ever.

Stephanie said...

Oh my dear, Can I tell you I have four children naturally. Well I had pitocin a few times to help out.(One baby was 20 days late) But without an epidural. All my friends who have doctors for husbands had epidurals. I would not go natural knowing everything I now know. I would Forget the pain and spare yourself. take the drugs. However if you really want the experience who am I to tell you otherwise.

Donna said...

I have delivered 11 babies, 7 of which were without any drugs. My experience was that the main part of being able to get through it, is alot of mental & spiritual preparation beforehand, just like you are doing.

Another big help for me was positions, massages, and my husband pushing on certain painful areas of my lower back, (sometimes you just have to experiment.)

The best position for me was to be on my knees facing the head of the bed (the head of the bed has to be sitting up all the way) with my arms hanging over the top. This is where the massage, etc. comes in. I couldn't believe how much pain this relieves. Sometimes I was completely pain free! It's too bad we couldn't figure out how to "check me" and actually deliver in this position!!

I hope this helps, and wish you the best!

I truly appreciate both you and Jon's spiritual insights and testimonies. Thank you for sharing, and enriching my life!

Ben and Taryn said...

I was so touched by your words about experiencing the natural labor pains and wish you all the strength you will need. Good Luck over the next two weeks. I hope they fly by.

Anonymous said...

I have four daughters, I gave birth to 2 with medication and 2 without. My youngest daughters birth was the most amazing one and it was without any medication. I was able be in a hot jet tub up until it was time to give birth. Of course it hurt but the pain bound me to my daughter. And I didn't even tear at all, something about how well the hot water relaxed my body. I don't ever want to give birth again without a hot bath. The difference in pain between my other "without" medication birth and the birth I am refering to was dramatic. I highly recommend it!
May the Lord bless you in this experience.

Anonymous said...

I had my babies without drugs, and the best part is how amazing you feel when it is all over- just like that I was ready to get up and go...
With my 4th I was most nervous (I think age does that to us...) so, I printed out pictures of She-Ra Princess of Power, and my hubby taped them to the cupboards in front of my hospital bed...
You Can Do It!!!!

staci-d said...

I love checking in on your blog! You are amazing and i am so grateful for your example and for you being so willing to share your experiences. You are in my prayers often! Especially this past weekend i thought about you a lot and hoped that the weekend would go well for you. Camille is truly a little Angel and has made me want to be a better Mom. I fall short many times but when I think about your experience it makes me remember to hug and kiss my kids more often. You have strengthened my faith in many ways with sharing your insights.

Just another little note, I am due with my third baby the same date as yours! I love the name you have picked out for your son, it is very fitting and i wish you the best these next couple of weeks. Giving birth is truly a miracle in every way!!

Anonymous said...

I've been a long time follower of your blog but never commented. I've had two babies natural (drug free) and while I know everybody has their birth stories, good and bad, I wish you the birth experience you envision and want. My experiences were only positive and very empowering. While there was some pain and discomfort during the birth (mostly during pushing), I felt 100% immediately afterward and had quick recoveries. Relaxation during labor and letting your body do the work was key for me. I wish you the best and look forward to reading about your little boy. Thank you for being so open and sharing your lives. I've learned so much from you!

Patty

The Ballstaedts said...

Oh, those last few weeks are always the hardest...wanting to finally hold your little baby. That is so exciting that you are going to do a natural child birth. I used hypnobirthing with Meika & Sienna, which were both very good deliveries. I have all the hypnobirthing literature (CD's, books, scripts) if you are interested in using them. I am glad you are feeling good today!

DeANNA said...

Glad to see you are feeling well.

No matter what happens .. meds or not...I just wish you a happy healthy baby.

You will be amazed at how a little boy will steal your heart. I love my daughter more than anything. Girls have special bonds with their mommy's, but boys, oh those little boys own you like you will never understand!

Good Luck to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog for a while and just had to comment on something that I feel so strongly about. I've given birth to four children, all without pain meds, and my last two were induced as well. I agree with one of your other readers, the jetted tub is the only way to go! Good luck! You are such a strong person, I know you can do it!!

weavers said...

I have 3 kids and my middle one was too fast a delivery for pain meds. I will say once you get past the "ring of fire" you are home free! It is VERY empowering and you cane do it if you have good support from your husband and nurses! I love your posts and I love the spiritual center on everything! Thank you!

Dava_Hudson said...

I have never commented on your site before, but Ive been reading your blog for months now. Your request for Camilles birthday stuck with me. I am not LDS, but as I was driving today in the 99 degree weather I saw two missonary boys riding their bikes and thought about how increadibly hot they must have been. So I pulled into the next 7-11 and bought them each an ice water and brought it back to them. It made me feel good to do something that I believe Camille would have done.

Dava_Hudson said...

Oh and BTW we are both expecting sons on the same day... I just thought it was a cute coincedence. lol

Presley family said...

I had Collin with out pain meds and Regan with. They were both wonderful in such different ways. I am grateful that I had the chance to do it both ways. It is amazing the gift that God has given women. We are able to feel these beautiful, scary, wonderful, and painful tthings going on knowing that our Heavenly Father trusted us to be able to endure and cherish it. You are in my heart and prayers.
BIG HUGS!!!!

Gwenevere said...

If it's quick you can do it. If it's long and drawn out...that is exhausting.

Melissa-Mc said...

With my 5 kids I've had 3 epidurals, 1 c-section and on the last one I finally went all natural just so I could say I did it :) I hope everything goes well.

Samantha said...

I really hope you can experience it too. I was induced for my two sons and for my daughter I went into labor on my own the night before I was to be induced. She was my middle child. This was also the only one I did free of pain meds. I can't even begin to tell you how much easier it was compared to being induced. Afterwards was better also. Of course everyone is different and I'm sure feel it in a different way. You can do this! It will happen on it's own! Thinking possitive! I know it's so hard to do when you are oh so close. Donna is so right about the positions and pressure applied to your lower back. I remember the nurse pushing on my lower back and at the same time my husband pushing in on my hips, It was such a relief and got me through the few really bad contractions I had before I started to push. Sorry this was so long. Tc Sam.

Carolyn said...

I'm very excited that we get to come so soon to visit and he'll still be such a new born to love and cuddle. And I am soooo glad that I would never have to be one of those people there during delivery needing to be strong to keep you strong while watching your pain! I don't think I could do that! You are awesome!!!

Rachel said...

I had Emma without so much as Tylenol and it was horrifically painful. My OB when I had Sophie was incredible. Since I was 6 months pregnant when we lost Emma, she had been to the doctor's office with me for appointments and everyone there knew her. My OB then shared with me that he had lost a child at 6 weeks old and encouraged me to have the epidural so I could focus positive happy energy towards having Sophie instead of being in pain. He was concerned that my labor pain would trigger emotional pain/distress and therefore cause unnecessary stress on me and the baby. When I said that I wanted to "go natural" he assured me that any way is natural and the only way it would be UNnatural is if Sophie had come out my nose.

Brittany said...

Good for you! I'd be too chicken. But I don't dialate either so I will never know what it feels like. I did however feel contractions because my water broke and those weren't fun...that's where the chicken part would come in. Good luck and I hope you will all be healthy. Oh also I have been trying to be better at reading to my daughter, they same book over and over and over again and helping her on the slide over and over and over again, for Camille.

Anonymous said...

You are so brave! I wanted to try going natural with my first...I got to 2 centimeters and chickened out! haha! I am now pregnant again and feel too afraid to go through that pain again. I would love to read how yours goes and maybe it will give me the courage to try it again...or not. :)

Marie said...

You can do it!!!! I love birth stories and can't wait to hear yours.

The biggest help for me in going all natural was a) my midwife or doula and b) moaning. I know moaning sounds horrible, but it feels so good to just deep breathe and let it out. I'm the type who tells you if I'm in pain, so the moaning is my way of doing it.

Call me crazy but I actually like giving birth naturally. I wouldn't give it up for anything. I also refuse to be induced at the hospital and have even gone a week over with one. The upside is the baby is SO much easier to take care of before they come out. After they arrive is when I wish I had the painkillers!

You can do it!! Just remember it can't last forever. Oh and I love their sweet soft skin those first couple days. Enjoy!

And I'll come be your doula if you want me. :)

Trish said...

May you be comforted and blessed with the strength you will need to endure this experience. I have never felt physical pain like I did when I had my last child naturally, yet when it was over, I was a woman reborn. It was a gift. It was empowering, life changing, and I will never be the same.
You are a brave soul. And your reasons for doing this are inspiring. You can do it!

Anonymous said...

Its amazing how similar your blog is to another one I came across who also lost her child. You will have to check it out. jacksonparkcity.blogspot

Stephanie said...

Anon about Jacksonparkcity --
Yes Molly and I are friends. She is amazing and her birth story has strengthened my desire to go drug free on this one. I want the sense of accomplishment and empowerment she wrote about in her last post. I hope my birth story for Noble has similar aspects to her Peter's in this regard.

Just for the record -- I will not feel I have failed if I end up getting drugs. I am not above that - I mean come on I have done it that way every time. And in some of those I am REALLY glad I did. This time all the factors that have stopped me from trying to go drug free in the past are not there. I really want the experience and so I am going to try. Thanks for all the encouragement.
loves,
Stephanie

Hilary said...

I was determined to have my children without induction, and without epidurals, unfortunatly with our 1st I ended up needing an epidural, with both I was scheduled for induction the day I went into labor. I was able to get through the whole experience with our 2nd without any medication, and it was an amazing experience. I would HIGHLY recomend that you find a Doula that you both feel comfortable with. Having a great doula was a huge part of how we were able to do it. She was able to help my husband support me like he wanted to, but didn't know how the first time. Good luck! It will be an amazing experience no matter what happens, I wish you the best, and what you are hoping for.

Jonelle Hughes said...

I loved this post! I also love what Trish said- so beautifully. I have had 4 of my 5 children naturally, the last 3 (one set of twins) at home with wonderful Las Vegas Midwives, and I am a retired doula, and still teach childbirth education. Yes, you can do it! I believe that wether you can or not is 99% mental/emotional. It is not all about the physical part as many think. All my births (even my medicated one) have played a part in who I am and the woman I want to be. As many have echoed though, it was having the natural experience, that gave me the strength and belief and changed who I am forever. I have loved every experience, and my last baby born only 3 months ago- in our bathtub, was fantastic! I love that we have choices in childbirth and I fully support those for all women, natural or not. For me though, experiencing birth means experiencing it completely without intervention. I know you will have the birth experience that is right for you. We have many wodnerful doulas here in LV if you need some resources. If I did not have a little nursling myself, I would come out of retirement to help, if you needed it. Much love, many prayers and huge amounts of joy as you wind up this pregnancy and birth experience. :)

PS... You can read about hints and tips for natural pregnancy and birth on my blog desertroselv.blogspot.com- I love all things birth related!

Anonymous said...

wow. 2 weeks away. I can't believe it has gone that fast and that I have "known" you that long!

Love to you, Stephanie, and I wish that it all goes exactly the way you want it to go.

Love,

Jane

Anonymous said...

I have three sons - two delivered without medication. My experiences giving birth naturally were painful (to be expected) however, they were amazing. After working so hard to deliver the baby and to endure the labor the sense of gratification is absolutely incredible. Not to say giving birth with meds isn't gratifying - the end result is the same and equally joyous. But there is a connection you feel to yourself after experiencing natural birth. It really is empowering. And although there will be pain, it goes away almost immediately. I will pray that you have the experience you are hoping for.
You are going to love having a little boy. They are out of this world! Also - just thought I'd tell you about a song that I listened to while awaiting all of my children, it's called "The things we've handed down" by Marc Cohn - give it a listen if you have time.

Diana...aka...MeMe said...

I have had 4 children without medication! The fourth, my last being really fast! The more you have...the faster- was that true for you Stephanie? You can do this! You have strength beyond strength - I look forward to hearing your birthing story and how you realize your strength, realize you could have done it with all your babies and feel the glorious relief of the ending result! Good luck, stay focused, stay strong!

Tiffany A. said...

Thank you for the gift to my life your blog has become! I have had both my daughters drug free, the first was 4 hours, I was induced, the second was 56... my water would not break. They did give me a tylenol, cause I was getting a headache, does that count? I would do it drug free again given the chance. It is such an amazing, awe-inspiring experience to see what these bodies that were created for us can do.
I hope it all goes well for you!

Jill said...

With all of these posts I can't imagine you will take the time to read mine. lol. I am a nobody to you but I have fallen in love with your family and your stories.
I wish you the very best during your labor.
May I offer a few words of experience and hopefully of insight?
First, you are probably aware of many of the stages of labor without meds. Transition is a stage that typically happens with meds already in place so many women cannot tell about their experience with it. If you opt to labor without any meds, be aware that transition is very intense. Many women panic at this stage. It isn't something that we really expect (even though we know it will happen). When it happens, there won't be any time to breathe. That is when you will need to pull from all of the strengh you have. That is the time when you will be tried.
Know, too, that you will have strong women with you. Women who have gone through this journey before. Women who share with your eperience and rejoice in your journey.
Finally, know that even our best intentions can find us at a time when we simply cannot continue. If you decide, after all, to ask for pain relief, it is okay. Really. Please, oh please, do not feel the need to justify your decision to get that relief. Please don't feel pressured to explain yourself. You are you. You know you the best.
You will be empowered beyond belief if your labor is controlled by you.
With my last child, I opted for meds right in the middle of transition (which does not typically happen). I labored the entire time (I wa induced) with my wonderful husband helping me along. As soon as my epi was in place, I started to push. Basically, I got pain meds for the pushing part. I asked for a mirror to see my baby being born. My husband was able to deliver her and I was of clear mind and able to fully enjoy the experience. He and I have never felt so close.
Women tend to "one up" each other in the whole "birthing story" arena. In reality, our babies are born in many different ways. We are women whether we give birth via C-section or not. We are women if we give birth at home or in a hospital. We are women whether we experience 5 minutes of pain or 5 hours.
We are women.
We are mothers.
We support each other.

All the best to you and your family!

Sharon said...

What a great post. Only 2 weeks left? That's amazing!

I had my last child drug-free, not really by my choice. He was a VBAC (3rd time) and I was suppose to go in in the morning to be induced. Apparently he wasn't having any of that! I labored on and off most of the day and then when we decided to just go to bed and wait things out, my water broke, which was a first for me. It's never broken on it's own. By the time my mom got here to watch the kids I was really hurting. We rushed (safely) to the hospital and got checked in. While I was in the bathroom, changing, the nurse asked if I wanted an epidural and I said, "If there's time." Those were prophetic words...I felt the urge to push about 30 seconds later while I was still in the bathroom half dressed! They hustled me onto the bed and told me not to push, just pant (doesn't work!) but he was born just a few minutes later only 14 minutes after we checked into the hospital.

It was an amazing experience and not as much pain as I expected, probably because the hard part went by so fast. And My body had done it twice before (my first was a c-section with no labor before hand). It's amazing what our bodies can do!

Good luck! My prayers are with you.

Sue said...

I had four children, all natural. Each one was slightly less painful than the one before. I did love the experience. There is nothing like the incredible high I felt after having each of these babies...as if I had climbed a mountain or run a marathon.

The secret is in relaxing into the pain of the contractions instead of tensing up against them. And not being afraid of the pain. The first time I WAS afraid of it because it was so intense. But by the last, I would just think...yeah, body...go for it...we're going to get this baby delivered! I had internalized that the labor pain is good pain, pain that helps, pain that tells you your body is doing what it is meant to do.

Good luck with it, Stephanie. Whatever you end up doing, it will be a beautiful experience...and a spiritual one.

=)

PS. One thing I like best about natural childbirth is that i always felt great afterwards and could get right up and move around.

Rachel Williams said...

I've only had one, so far, but with that one, I had a home birth. It was an amazing experience. Looking back on it I can hardly put it into words... Yeah, it hurt, but the pain was just such a small part of the experience for me.

For me, personally, I wouldn't do it any other way.

Rachel Williams said...

P.S. Sue (the post above me), really said everything I was going to say.

a.k.a. Jack said...

O.k., Steph-
Here's my two cents, and if you would like to hear more details about my experiences and things I think are helpful, I'd be happy to talk to you on the phone (or in person when I'm in Vegas this weekend). Anyway, I definitely prefer natural birth. To me it's less like a party and more spiritual of an experience. Plus, you get the natural high afterwards. But, the main trick is that you have to be determined to do it when you go in. And, you need the people who will be there with you (and the nurses and doctor) to be determined to help you remember that that is what you want. Otherwise, when the pain gets too bad you will just except the offer of an epidural. It's very hard for those watching you go through pain to continue to support no pain assistance, because they don't want you to hurt, so they have to be determined too. Also, like others have said, research positions and breathing techniques--they make all the difference. Also, St. Rose DeLima does not have tubs in the birthing rooms. I don't know where you will be delivering, but a warm bath can really help with pain management. Of course, if your labor is short, you may not need it. I have alot of other things to say if you are interested, but I won't take up all the space here. Just let me know if you have any questions or want to here advice. :) Good luck! I know you can do it if you make up your mind to. Afterall, that's what our bodies are made to do anyway.
Love Ya,
Jenny

Heather & Greg said...

Yah only 2 weeks left! I have had all four of mine with out pain meds and am hoping to have this one the same way. For me I stretch my feet out during each contractions and believe it or not it really takes my pain away. I have also heard listening to music during labor helps, some like music that brings an adrenaline rush like work out music and others like more relaxing. I really want to try it and since I have no experience with music during labor I am going to bring a mix. I wish you the best of luck these last couple weeks and with delivery. You are a strong women and having already conquered so much I know you can do this too!

Heather & Greg said...

Yah only 2 weeks left! I have had all four of mine with out pain meds and am hoping to have this one the same way. For me I stretch my feet out during each contractions and believe it or not it really takes my pain away. I have also heard listening to music during labor helps, some like music that brings an adrenaline rush like work out music and others like more relaxing. I really want to try it and since I have no experience with music during labor I am going to bring a mix. I wish you the best of luck these last couple weeks and with delivery. You are a strong women and having already conquered so much I know you can do this too!

Jennie said...

Stephanie- I hope you get the natural delivery you desire! My best friend lost her daughter at 11months old. She had another baby almost a year later, and decided, like you to go drug free. She hadn't done that with the others, but said she wanted to feel it all. She said it was so empowering, and such a spiritual and somewhat healing experience. I pray that you have the same type of experience with Noble. (I love his name- it truly seems fitting of the family he is coming to.) Best wishes to you!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I can't believe you're only 2 weeks away. With my 4, I did 2 with medication and 2 without. I didn't have a choice with Riley, because she came so quickly and unexpectedly (3.5 weeks early). With our last one I just decided to try it naturally by choice. It truly is empowering and exhilarating. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of pain, but once the baby is out the pain turns into complete joy immediately!! However, whether you use drugs or not the miracle of child birth is a wonderful and amazing experience. Can't wait to hear how it goes.

Love ya,
Nikki K.

Amanda said...

My sister has had 3 of her children all naturally at home doing water births.

I think if you're not induced you should be fine. Petocin is very nasty stuff, I think and it forces on your body what it's not ready to do. For me it's always made my labors so much more painful than they needed to be. My first was induced because I had such bad pre eclampsia and my second they didn't think I was moving fast enough and wanted to speed things along.

My third, however, no pitocin, and I didn't need the epidural. Things happened in their own way naturally, the way they're ment to.

Jenna said...

My second and third were with a midwife all natural. The best thing you have to do is breathe. When the contractios come you take long slow deep breaths in and out. It is a Miracle when you control your breathing. Also tell yourself that you will get a rest in between contractions and it willl end! There reAlly is no feeling like it, especially when the baby is right there and you are pushing. With those 2 deliveries I felt so amazing afterward and I felt like I had nothing to heal from. You reAlly feel healthier and you will be on such a natural high you will love it. I won't lie, it hurts so bad, but you have endured way more. I have no doubt in my mind you can do it!

Angie said...

Good luck! Can't wait to see pictures of the little guy.

Julie said...

what a beautiful post stephanie. i SO ADMIRE and RESPECT your decision to go all natural and pray for a peaceful, Spirit-driven delivery.

i wish i could do that with our fourth... but with hubby being a anesthesiologist and all... we like to go the other route : )

hugs to you and prayers for a restful home stretch...

Anonymous said...

I've had three babies, all were induced. I can take physical pain very well, especially when it comes to my own babies being born. I wanted to go as far natural as I could with all three, but ended up with epidurals for two. Being induced creates unnaturally strong contrations, and it's not the same as natural labor would be. To me it also depended a lot of how big the baby is, and also if they were face up, meaning that they're head is not as compressed and is not moving along in the right motions so to speak. Some babies are breach. Some women dilate without any major pains, and then push a few times and whola' here's the baby. Others have horrible pains from the very begining, and have to push for hours. I feel great about all my deliveries, wether I had drugs or not. No one knows the pain I endured with each one. I bonded just fine with all three, I felt plenty of pain!! I would not choose drugs just for the fun of it or because I just feel like I wanted it. I eventually needed it! I took the epidural because the pain got to be absolutley unbearable and I was completley exhausted as one delivery took 23 hours with horrible pains from the very beginning. We are all wonderful and brave women for bringing children into the world. I'm not posting this part for you Stephanie, I know you know plenty about childbirth.. I just felt like some women here who manage to go natural don't realize how painful it can be for some women who do choose and need drugs. Applause goes to all of us..

Best of luck Stephanie! Wether you need drugs or not I am sure it will be a wonderful and meaningful delivery. I hope you will go into labor naturally and that it will happen soon for you!

-Melanie

Anonymous said...

Oh, how we women love to share our birth stories! I have eight children. The epidural was marvelous with my first; with the second it did OK (at least I didn't feel the epesiotomy!). With the next five the epdural didn't work at all--I thought. So I went natural with number eight. It turns out that the epidurals actually did help with the back labor. But with number eight I KNEW when to push (the dr. and nurses didn't have to tell me to push), and that baby came quick! And I healed up so much faster--like someone else here said, you feel almost 100% better as soon as the baby's delivered.
I don't know that I'd recommend either with or without drugs, but you're not asking anyway. ;)
Good luck with that little boy!

Mimi's Toes said...

This has been so neat being on this journey with you, reading about your soon to be son because my new grand-son is due around the time you are due. My son & daugther-in-law are anxious and they haven't decided on a name yet. It seems like yesterday that you announced that you were expecting. I pray that you will get your prayer answered and you won't be induced and no pain meds.

Jan S said...

Steph- you are more spiritually in-tuned than just about anyone I know! I know if your husband gives you a blessing and you pray beforehand, you will have a birth experience exactly as it should be; whether that's with pain meds or not. Either way, I know it will be an incredible experience for you. And I'm sure Camille will be holding little Noble's hand right up until he grasps for yours!

Fun Times With The Chidesters said...

My son was born on my birthday in February. I was so thankful to go into labor on my own, but I am incredibly slow to dilate, so I was given pitocin after 10 hours, and then 10 hours after that, I decided I needed a break and got the epidural. It was worn off by the time I went into transition, and I was in more pain than I have ever been in my life. For 2 hours I felt like I was going to die. I almost had an out-of-body experience. But he was born with 1.5 pushes, and I have a greater bond with him than I felt after giving birth the two other times. You can do it, Stephanie! It hurts, but if you close your eyes and concentrate on relaxing and breathing through the pain. :)