I'm 38 weeks pregnant on Sunday and the past few days have found myself getting really anxious about the birth. Originally always wanted a water birth but then changed my mind after watching too many episodes if OBEM and decided an epidural because I just think ill be awful with the pain and won't cope and will make a fool of myself which won't be good for baby. However a good friend recently had a water birth which she said she would recommend to anyone now I'm thinking I might want to try that ... But is the pain just unbearable?? Is it silly to go through all that pain when I could have an epidural ? But is the recovery time with an epidural much longer? Someone please help, I haven't been sleeping lately anyway and was awake most if just night worrying, feel like I'm going to burst into tears at the thought of it! I just would like someone to tell me what to do.
I had an epi the first time and although great for contractions, was not great for the pushing stage. You have to force the pushes with the midwife getting terribly energetic 'go on, you can do it - just one more push'. I felt like thumping her and almost gave up before being threatened with the forceps. Second time, had natural birth and no gas - I was pleased as I decided beforehand I didn't want the distraction of inhaling the gas and then possibly feeling sick on it. The pushing stage was MUCH better - made little pushes about three per contraction. Much quicker. I could also move into a great position for the pushing - with epis you're obliged to lie down.
The second went really well I think because of good baby position etc but also because I was really calm beforehand - almost serene about the impending birth. I can't explain it as I was worrying a lot about how I would cope at 7 months (I'm a total woss with pain). I looked forward to the pain as this is a sign that the body is working as it should and started thinking about the pain releasing endomorphins into the bloodstream. Like you, I had asked all the questions about when I could ask to have the epi etc so planning for the eventuality that I couldn't cope with the pain. This helped too. I felt very much in control and this contributed to helping me cope.
WRt OBEM, I heard another lady giving birth just after me - screaming blue murder - sounded excrutiating. I realised this is just what I had done but the sounds that had come out of me were more a physiological response than pain response iyswim. It didn't feel nearly as bad as it probably sounded .