Special Delivery: Narcotics-free childbirth
Childbirth without narcotics, painkillers or opioids? If you're a mom who's been through it, you may be in disbelief.
But a doctor at the South Bend Clinic in Granger has been offering it to his pregnant moms for the last five years.
Fourteen-month-old Oaklee Powell is going to be a big sister soon. She happily went along with her mom, Mallory, to have a checkup with her doctor, OB/GYN Dr. Enrique Infante, who considers his practice "narcotics-free."
This will be the second such delivery for Mallory.
Infante explains why he thinks a narcotics-free delivery is best for both mom and baby. "After the delivery or the C-section, the importance is to be mothering with their child and not be suffering from the effects of narcotics. One of the big issues was that morphine was used a lot. Long-acting morphine was used for C-sections, so they were itchy, and having nausea and vomiting was a problem. If we can eliminate that or lesson it to minimal or none, that would be the goal."
Mallory will have a repeat cesarean section and admits she was first a little leery of a narcotics-free delivery. She says after she and her husband discussed it with Infante, they decided they wanted to give it a try.
Infante explains that they discuss the procedure in detail. "We come to an agreement to how true is the pain, how comfortable can a pain be tolerated to minimize the use of the narcotic."
Mallory says she didn't want to feel drugged up as many moms do. "I wanted to try pain-free, and mentally I was just pretending this is not going to hurt, I have to recover from this quickly because I have a baby to take care of. So I wanted to be there for her and be my best."
Infante says many women will get a non-narcotic epidural, which is safe, and then after childbirth, a product called the On-Q pump delivers a non-narcotic pain killer over a 48-hour period.
Mallory, who goes in for her second C-section on December 27, says she is grateful Infante introduced her to this new way of having a baby. "It was wonderful, it was the best experience ever. I had my C-section, they told me, of course, it's going to be sore afterwards, and they put in the pump and I felt amazing. I didn't even feel like I had surgery."
After Oaklee was born, she was able to immediately breastfeed without the fear of narcotics getting into her daughter's system.
She went home the next day and only needed a couple ibuprofens. "I was ready to take on motherhood."
Her cousin, who had a traditional C-section, had a much different experience. Mallory explains, "The doctor did not have any knowledge about the pain pump and they didn't use them, and she was quite envious. She said she hated me."
Fourteen months later, Mallory is getting ready for another special delivery. "I don't regret a thing, yes, 14 months later and now we have a baby boy and I am looking forward to it."
Infante says if his patients get home and feel they need something stronger for pain, he might prescribe a mild pain killer, but he says that is extremely rare. He says he truly believes that a narcotics-free delivery is better for mom and baby and enables them to bond faster.
He says his moms agree.