{I Am Strong} Making Peace with the Epidural

I wanted to share with you, the story of the birth of my second daughter, which was at 3:43 am on January 10th.

Let’s go back three years, when I gave birth to my first: induced by cervadil, 14 and a half hour labor, and an epidural at 5-6 centimeters where I had lost control and couldn’t gain my focus back. She weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces and was a week early! I pushed for well over an hour, and ended up having to have super pubic pressure performed by the nurses to finish birthing my baby. I swore I’d never “lose it” again and I’d never use another epidural.

Let’s jump forward, to Friday morning. I woke up at 3:30 am with mild contractions (hitting 41 weeks pregnant). After arriving at L&D triage, I was told I would be sent home due to lack of cervical change.

Apparently, baby had other thoughts because she became non-reactive and they immediately admitted me and started pitocin (something I was deathly scared of, due to the fact I was striving for an ALL natural birth).

The first stage was fantastic. I labored in different positions, walked, got on all fours. After they broke my water at 4cm, everything spiraled. I requested IV drugs to “take the edge off” but little did I know  the “edge” was nothing compared to pitocin-induced contractions. Still, I powered through because “Hey, my body was made for this, right?!”

Not even an hour later, I made my second request: nitrous gas to further “take that edge off.” I remember losing it, feeling like I wasn’t even in my own body, and that something else had taken over. Pain and fear (LOTS of fear!). The nitrous did nothing, but made me feel lost and even more unpresent in the birth of my daughter

My mother was in the room with me, and she was able to get me to find myself in her eyes (something I am beyond grateful for). I figured it would only be a matter of time before it was over, until I was checked and informed that I was “still barely a seven” and I lost it even more.

I was terrified of the pain, and it had completely taken me over. The LAST thing I wanted was an epidural, yet, not to much surprise, “Epidural!” was my next request.

My requests were becoming much more like demands, and I recall apologizing in between attacks on my support team and nurses. I felt horrible that I could not control myself. The epidural took centuries to start working (only 10 minutes) and I finally had peace… I was back!

My boyfriend and I (BLESS his heart) decided we’d take a short nap to rest up for the next few hours of labor, only to be awakened 15 minutes later by a nurse to set my catheter. In doing so, she discovered I was 10 centimeters!! I gave a light push and she felt baby come down! So at 3:30am exactly, I began pushing.

I felt relief, I felt empowerment, I did NOT feel pain! Thirteen minutes and just three pushes later, my 7 lb 6 oz baby was born, with zero complications.

Kaitlyn Medford

My story is long, but it is empowering to me. Yes, I got an epidural. Yes, I went against what I said I wanted the entire pregnancy. But with the point I was at, it was what both my baby and I needed! We needed a quick breath and a power nap so we could work together.

I faced my biggest fear, which wasn’t a natural child birth, but a drug induced child birth and the use of an epidural.

So for that, I am proud. I am strong.

{Submitted by Kaitlyn Medford}


  • Meghan Burford

    Thank you for this. I’m right there with you. Wanted all natural, 9 hours later I accepted the epidural. Best decision of my life. I am no longer afraid to have the rest of my children, even WANT to go through the possibly horrible horrible pregnancy (my first was 100% illness :(. I was DANCING after giving birth because I was feeling better than I had [I felt at that moment] in my life!) 26 hours of labor & I had my beautiful boy and the warm love of motherhood…
    I am SO happy to read this!

  • Sarah

    Thanks for sharing your story. I birthed my first baby last summer after planning for a home birth and ending up in the hospital induced on pitocin. After months of working out, etc I was standing in the bathroom when the contractions hit and I remember looking at the shower and thinking, “There is no way in hell a candle, massage oil, or a shower is going to help me right now.” I then called my nurse over and said something to the effect of GIVE ME DRUGS NOW possibly with a few swear words thrown in.

    The relief I felt gave me the strength to push out my nine pound baby girl and I don’t regret asking for an epidural. I realised that I needed to be okay with what my body was asking for in the moment and not feel weak or wimpy. Letting go of my plans and expectations and being fully in the moment was the most empowering thing I have done for myself.

  • faith weber

    Reading this birth story is like reading my own birth story. I too planned the entire 9 months to have a new free birth. Everything went different. From having pitocin and trying to power they it, to finally getting an epidural after losing all control. I don’t regret anything. Thank you,get posting your birth story.

  • Cody

    thank you for sharing your story. I’m going for my third in just over a month and know that I will eventually be requesting an epidural as I have “lost it” in my last two births. Please know you have encouraged me greatly ?

  • Ashley Williams

    Good on you, mama! You are amazing and strong! I had a very similar experience with my youngest. It was a VBAC and I was so afraid of the epidural. I felt like it was the easy way out. But I’m so glad I got it. I completely lost myself in the pain of the contractions, and having the epidural brought me back to my daughter’s birth. Which I am so thankful for.

    • Courtney

      THIS THIS THIS! “I completely lost myself in the pain of the contractions…” absolutely. I went in with a pretty open mind but I was hoping that I could do it all on my own. Pitocin was more powerful than I imagined, and all I can remember of the few hours I labored on Pitocin without any pain medication is a few blurry bouts of anger wherein I just cursed my choice to have a child over and over. I finally asked the nurse for the epidural. She asked me three times if I was sure (it was kind of her to check!), and once I felt that relief hit, my first words were, “Oh my word. It’s MAGIC.” I was back to myself. I laughed. I smiled. I felt no fear. I was excited to meet my baby. I laughed the whole time I pushed. The nurses told me I was the first person they’d ever met who’d “laughed her baby out.” I took that as a great compliment! In the end I had a wonderful experience because I could be totally mentally and emotionally present.

  • Kathryn

    Thank you for this article! I am 30 weeks pregnant, expecting my first child in August, and I only seem to hear about epidural horror stories… not unlike your first birth experience. It seems like a lot of people judge mothers who end up using pain medication to manage. I too would like to have an all natural birth – but still have some fear of “what if I can’t do it!?” No one is given a 1st place ribbon for suffering through birth and I appreciate you reminding me of this.

    • Courtney

      Kathryn, read my comment above. Epidural SAVED my birth experience. I found it to be freeing and empowering. It’s not even a matter of can or can’t (of course you can, your body is made for it!), it’s a matter of “what’s good for ME and my family right at this moment in time.” If you are there, focused, relaxed, feeling good… then you are in an awesome place to do it med-free! And if you are scared, feeling out of sorts, unable to focus, feeling hopeless… then you are in really, really good company. Don’t feel bad about the choices you make for you or your baby. Sending well wishes for a happy, healthy labor and baby! Congratulations!

  • Katie

    What a beautiful, beautiful story! I feel so connected to you just knowing this is your story. My son’s birth two years ago began as a nightmare and ended with a heavenly epidural. The PERFECT quote above: “An epidural saved my birth experience.” I couldn’t agree more. Long story short, I had unmedicated prodromal labor at home with a midwife for three days before chickening out (how it felt then…and I have had to do a lot of de-programming to change that opinion of myself) and asking to be taken to the hospital. My midwife tried to talk me out of it. But I had been in uninterrupted, excruciating pain for days and an epidural was the only redemption in my son’s birth story. I was miserable. There was no hope, there was no excitement. I felt like I was dying!

    Anyway, I’m expecting my second son this September and I am happily planning an epidural. I am so thankful we have this choice. It was magical for me, as well!

  • Amanda

    This is such a reassuring thing for me to read! I’m going on my third song, like any day now. Weigh my first I had a partial epidural, which was amazing! The pain wasn’t entirely gone, but I loved that I had control of my legs and felt super energetic. Giving birth to my second son was a nightmare. I was given pitocin, and the epidural struck a nerve. The anesthesiologist yelled at me and slammed his tools down. I told him to leave and he screamed, “you’re just going to call me back anyway!” I did not call him back. I had natural birth to an 8 pound 11 ounce baby with pitocin pumping through my body. Needless to say, I’m terrified about giving birth this time around. But if u can avoid the pitocin, I’m thinking maybe it won’t be as traumatizing as last time? It feels good to know I made it through all of that. Although I plan on getting an epidural again, I’m still a little nervous about whether or not it will work. This time though, I feel like I might be able to handle it either way.

  • Amanda

    Thank you and congratulations!!!

    Your birth sounds a lot like mine except I left my request for an Epidural too late and we ended up needing a caesarean as we both went into distress. Next time I will ask for one much earlier; particularly if they pump me full of Pitocin again…that was some seriously nasty stuff!! After 7 hours of Pitocin induced contractions I lost my ability to stay focussed or even find a position I could be in where I could push. I am yet to find peace with my birth but have faith that next time may be a little bit better. It is not lost on me however how lucky me and my baby are to both be here together.

  • Kaitlyn Medford

    Thank you ALL for your kind words! Baby girl is almost a year old now and I am so thankful that I have this to look back on, considering it was written about two hours after her birth! I would do it all over in a heartbeat! ❤️❤️

  • Sara

    This is so encouraging! Me and my husband are 37+5 today with our first and we are so excited for her to get here! I’m nervous about labor but I feel like I’m prepared for it as much as I can be and I know I will be asking for an epidural,I’m planning to go as far as I can and as far as they will let me go without it so I know it will last through to the end but I’m so ready to hold our little girl for the first time! Congratulations on your baby! She is beautiful! That picture is so sweet! God bless you and your family!

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