Let's go back to your birth plan/preferences: You have a list of yesses and no's, you've done your research, your partner and doula are by your side.
But you've been in labor since yesterday afternoon and you're really getting tired. You weren't planning on getting an epidural, but you're really beginning to consider it now. And while epidurals are a widely used method of pain relief, there still are some things to be considered.
Sounds like you have some decisions to make.
What's next? Your doula will remind you and your partner to use your B.R.A.I.N.!
Let's think this through:
What are the BENEFITS of an epidural? Of course, pain relief, right? You'll also be able to relax and maybe even get some sleep!
Have you been informed of the RISKS or side effects? Itching and nausea are two very common side effects, and you'll have very limited use of your legs. How do you feel about that?
What ALTERNATIVES have you considered? Are there other medications available that would still allow you the use of your legs? How will they affect you and your baby?
INTUITION What's your gut feeling? If something doesn't feel right, take some time to reconsider. There's no need to rush your decision.
What if you did NOTHING? What if you didn't get the epidural? Could you handle the contractions at this intensity for awhile longer, possibly for the rest of your labor?
Breaking down the problem into parts makes it so much more manageable than just thinking, "yes or no?" on the spot - that's just too much pressure!
Making a decision that you can feel good about in the birthing room requires information, support, understanding and respect. As doulas, we would never try to talk anyone out of getting pain medication (or into it, for that matter). This is your birth!
How can we support you?