Lainie's Birth Story: No Epidural Necessary

One mom uses her natural childbirth experience from her first born to help turn things around for baby number two's arrival. Literally.

Lainie's Birth Story: No Epidural Necessary

I wasn't trying to be a martyr or a saint when I refused an epidural during childbirth with my first son. I am not against necessary drugs given to women while birthing, nor do I look down upon those women who do get an epidural.

Quite simply, I have a weak stomach and absolutely hate doctors, nurses, hospitals and anything pertaining to the medical field. I chose natural childbirth so I wouldn't have to deal with any additional medical intervention. I didn't want a shot in my back or any of the possible complications or side effects that come with an epidural. Females bodies are designed to bear children, so I knew I could get through it. And I learned during natural childbirth that I do have an extremely high threshold for pain (when I need to!).


With my first-born son, I stupidly failed to see all the signs that I was in labor, including the bloody show, nauseau, vomiting and period-like cramps. I was hesitant to go to the hospital because I didn't want it to be a false alarm and be sent home. But when triage examined me, we learned I was already 9.5 CMS dilated and that my son would probably be born in the next few hours.

Still, an epidural would have been possible--it's a myth that you cannot get an epidural when you are this far along. But I was set on delivering naturally.

I really wanted my mom to be in the delivery room, along with my husband, and because everything progressed so quickly, we were afraid she was going to miss it. I can't emphasize what a relief it was when she walked into the delivery room. I had to push for over two hours straight, and each time I did, my son's heartrate dropped so they almost needed to perform an emergency C-section. Thankfully he came out without such intervention, and I delivered him naturally.

I can’t stress enough how much I really did NOT want a C-section. And this rang especially true when it came time for me to have my second baby recently. With a toddler at home in addition to a newborn, I did not want any additional recovery time.

This was a much more complicated pregnancy, and she was still in breech position at 35.5 weeks. I was terrified that a C-section would be in my future. Using Eastern medicine, I was able to remedy that situation. But not before getting a good laugh from my doctor.

After researching a list of ways to turn a breech baby online, I brought it into my doctor’s office. He laughed and asked that I take a picture, or better yet videotape it, if I tried heat or music at the pubic bone. Yet, there was one technique that he wasn’t opposed to (nor laughed at). He said he had heard of some cases where moxibustion--a Traditional Chinese Medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, to facilitate healing and health--had worked, and there were no adverse effects that could result from it. The worst that can happen is I burn my toe.

Moxibustion has been used for healing purposes throughout Asia for thousands of years. The purpose of moxibustion, as with most forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of Qi (energy), and enhance your overall vitality and health.

Among other benefits, a landmark study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that 75.4% of women suffering from breech presentations before childbirth had fetuses that rotated to the normal position after receiving moxibustion at an acupuncture point on the bladder meridian.

I reached out to several acupuncturists I found online who performed moxibustion. I made an appointment with Dr. Ming who I felt reassured about because she had been a medical doctor and acupuncturist since 1982, practicing both Chinese and Western medicine. She is also a member of the faculty at the NYU School of Medicine.

Truthfully, I was nervous and had no idea what to expect. I was also very doubtful that this would work. But I figured it was worth a try and was a lot less scary than the external cephalic version (ECV) procedure I had scheduled for next week if Greenlee hadn’t moved into the head down position by then. ECV would be performed by my ob/gyn in the labor unit of the hospital where he would try to manipulate/turn the baby from the outside. There’s a 60% success rate and it can result in an emergency C-section.

After filling out a form and talking to Dr. Ming, she took my pulse and asked me to stick out my tongue. Then I lied down on the table and she got to work. And guess what? At my 36 week sonogram, Greenlee was NO longer breech! I was seriously in shock that it worked. “The best $150 I ever spent!” said my husband. “What else can she cure?”

When cramps developed the evening I was 37 weeks pregnant, my husband and I knew not to play around--second babies generally come faster, and I was only in labor with Ian (my first) for a total of less than 8 hours. But once again, I prayed it was not a false alarm as we traveled by taxi at 3 am to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital from midtown Manhattan.

The doctor on-call in delivery was really pushing me to get the epidural. My husband firmly responded, "You can break her water to speed things along, but she does not want an epidural." He knew how proud of myself I was for having a natural delivery the first time and I believe Ian was much more alert as a result of it.

When the pain became so unbearable, I pushed the call button. The doctor came in and asked if I wanted him to check on my progress (I had been at about 7 CMS). He matter-of-factly told me I was crowning and it was time to push and deliver my baby girl.

After only three pushes, my darling princess entered the world measuring the same length that her brother did when I delivered him a week and a half later in my first pregnancy, and was only a few ounces smaller than him.

I was able to have natural childbirths, and I believe anyone who wants to should try it. Don't let anyone, particularly the doctors, dissuade you or talk you out of it.

Find out more about Lainie here.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play