Would You Choose a Birth Center That Bans Epidurals?
I've always been an advocate for women doing birth their way.
In my own case, I delivered my first two daughters with a nurse/midwife in a hospital setting with full access to everything medical that my baby and I could need—but still with the luxury of having a care provider who let me labor in a tub, be free of monitors, and eat a light snack when I started to feel nauseous. It was incredibly hard (and painful), but in the end, I was very happy to go the all-natural route. The experience was so intense and life-changing.
And then with my third child, I went in a completely opposite direction and checked myself into the hospital, where I happily indulged in my first-ever epidural. My labor was a mere four hours long, and I enjoyed two hours of it sitting up in bed, chatting and laughing with my husband through contractions. (Sidenote: My husband was amazed that labor could go down as anything that remotely looked like fun.)
Now, pregnant with my fourth child, I'm wondering if I'm ready to change things up again. Part of me is looking for a more natural, holistic, family-friendly approach to this birth, especially because it will most likely be my last—go out with a bang, so to say.
A few days after I found out I was pregnant, I started researching birth centers in my area. A few of the local hospitals near us boasted free-standing, attached birth centers, meaning they have separate birth centers that are actually attached to the hospital in case of an emergency.
It sounded like the best of both worlds until I started reading a little bit more.
For instance, I came across a lovely center not far from me that boasts family involvement, whirlpool-laboring tubs, exemption from IVs … and no epidurals?
This particular birth center actually bans epidurals. As in nada, no go, not going to be an option whatsoever.
Now, call me crazy, but something about the fact that the epidurals are banned seems a little extreme to me. As a labor and delivery nurse, I get it somewhat, because epidurals require an anesthesiologist, special equipment, monitoring tools, and medications. But still, it's not all that hard to do.
It just seems a bit well, final, to lock myself into a delivery route that absolutely bans epidurals. I am thinking that, quite honestly, I would like the option, especially now that I know what it's like to deliver with an epidural vs. the all-natural route.
I'm just not sure. On one hand, I like the options available with the birth center—like the tub and the fact that I wouldn't need an IV—but to know my beloved epidural is gone forever?
I just don't know if it's worth it.
What do you think? Would you deliver at a birth center that bans epidurals?