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Old 03-26-2005, 04:01 PM   #1
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Epidural?

From someone who's experienced labor could you please advise me on the pro's & cons of epidurals? I was on a baby website checking out a video and it happened to be showing one of a woman who had an epidural. She seemed very comfortable and agreed that the epdidural helped in her being able to enjoy the pregnancy/labor much more. She exclaimed that it took some of the edge off. My mom (of course being my mom) has given me all the negative aspects of it basically because she never had it and pushed me and my 3 brothers out all naturally. However, being that I don't know how I will deal with pain, I'm weighing out all my options and am thinking right now that if I absolutely need it and it eases some of the pain "why not?" I always thought that the reason women endured the pain was because the epidurals were so {{{HORRIBLE}}}. But if anyone can give me a little bit more info. or their experience with an epidural I would greatly appreciate it.

 
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Old 03-26-2005, 05:06 PM   #2
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Re: Epidural?

I had a "walking epidural" with my first baby and it was FANTASTIC! Only the belly is frozen with this type so you can still walk around and go to the washroom. I was able to feel everything (even the need to pee) and so able to experience the entire delivery, but without ANY pain! The only side effect for me was that my belly was itchy like crazy when the drug was finished working.

I just had a baby 6 months ago and had the walking epidural again but this time it didn't work properly. The pain was horrendous so they decided to remove and replace it. There is little pain when getting the epidural itself so I wasn't thrilled about that but it was nothing compared to what was already happening (I was also on a morphine drip which was doing NOTHING). Unfortunately the second epidural attempt also did not work so they ended up giving me other stuff, something they give to put people in comas. I had to have a catheter because I could not feel my legs at all but the pain did stop. Sadly, all the drugs wore off just as I was about to deliver, giving me the worst pain of my life. They didn't even offer me gas!!!!

I believe that this time when I went to give birth they changed something because both experiences were entirely different. I never was given a morphine drip the first time and it was never necessary. This time it was in place even before the epidural -- like they KNEW it wouldn't work!

There are women out there who are determined and have a much higher threshold of pain than I do, and I give them credit. There will be no more children for me anymore but if I had to do it again I would still opt for an epidural. The pain is simply too much for me.

 
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Old 03-26-2005, 05:32 PM   #3
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Re: Epidural?

I would say that you should never say never! When I went into labour with my first child I progressed quite quickly and was in a fair amount of pain when the nurse suggested it. I told her no and she left the room telling me she would let me think about it. When she returned I told her no again to which she seemed confused as to whether I meant "no, I don't want one" or "no, I'm undecided". After speaking to my mother and sister who were in the room I had decided against it because my sister had been experiencing migraines ever since her epidural. When I told the nurse "no, I don't want one" she seemed stunned and gave me a lecture on why I would choose to be in pain when I didn't have to be. I couldn't believe this woman! It was as if she wasn't hearing me. I later learned that the doctor was upset to be woken in the night and did not want to come in and the edidural likely would have slow my labor a little.

Little did anyone know that I would dialate from 1cm to 9 cm within a matter of a couple of hours! Nor did anyone know that I would be pushing for hours! In hindsight I probably should have taken the epidural because I started pushing to soon which caused some of the trouble with baby coming and the epidural probably would have helped ease the urge to push. On the other hand, even if I had asked for it, it probably would have been too late by the time the anestigiologist (sp??) got there and if he did get there in time and I didn't start pushing too soon but the baby was still stuck, I wouldn't have been able to push as well to get him out!

Everything happened in such a rush that I never did find out exactly what happened. I know I was blamed by the nurse for pushing too soon, but my son also had his head turned which is why I couldn't push him out. I also know that the doctor was furious that I had held up his scheduled c-section and that after he yelled at my mom to turn off the camera and he got the foreceps on the baby's head, put his foot up on the delivery table for leverage and began to pull, he yelled at me that I wasn't doing anything. If he had shown up hours earlier when he was called I might have had more energy to put into my pushes! All that mattered in the end was that my baby was born happy, healthy and huge!

Would I change anything with that birth? I wouldn't have had the same doctor, but since everything went so quick I don't think it would have mattered if I wanted the epidural or not.

I do not mean to scare you with my story, only to share my experience. As you will see the birth of my second child was much better.

When I went into labour with my second child I did not even know it. I had mild cramping but noticed after a few hours that it had a pattern to it. I called my mom and told her they were 10 min apart (doc said I should leave for the hospital when they were 20 min apart due to the hour long drive) and lasting for about 1 min, but didn't hurt. She told me to wait another hour to see how I felt but called back 1/2 hour later to tell me I should go to the hospital due to the fact that the last one went so fast.

When we got to the hospital emergency room no one seemed to be in a hurry (probably due to my lack of pain) and after at least a half hour I was taken to L&D. While I was in the bathroom changing my mom came in the room where she was told that I was being sent home. My mom told them that they were not sending me home until they examined me! Can you believe they were going to send me home...I think my contractions were about five minutes apart at this point (and still not painful ). I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and was finally seen by an intern about a half hour later who was confused as to why he could feel the baby's head but not push it back. The nurse checked me and informed me (and the intern) that I was 9cm! The doctor was sent in to break my water and I joked about how an epidural was out of the question now and how I did not want to be pushing for four hours. She assured me that this she wouldn't let that happen. I also joked with her about the fact that everyone was going to miss the birth because they had all gone outside (smoke break) to give me some privacy for the examination.

The doctor was just about to break my water when DH peeked in and I informed him that my mother and sister should hurry up if they wanted to see the birth of this child. My water was broken and I had to get up from the bed so they could put some clean sheets down. Just as I was about to get into the bed I had my first urge to push and was allowed to do so with the support of the bed. I then got up on the bed and blew away the next contraction and heard nothing but complete silence as everyone stared at me. The doctor said "we're waiting for you". I was quite amused, as I had blown away the previous contraction because I didn't think the doctor was ready yet! Two pushes later my daughter was born. I had been in the hospital a total of about 2 hours and it had been about 15 min from the time my water was broken until I gave birth.

My suggestion to you is that you research all of your options. Once you have decided what you would like to do if your birth experience is going as you imagined it would, think of what you would like to do if it isn't going so well. Discuss your plans with your doctor. You may tell everyone that you don't want an epidural but it might be wise to have the nurse to let you know when you are approaching the stage in labour when it will be too late to get an epidural, just so you can make one final decision. You may decide that you want an epidural but you will also want to discuss, with your doctor, what you want to do if an epidural can't be done. You also may want to consider the fact that sometimes, due to complications, they want to do a epidural as a precautionary measure in case of an emergency, but also keep in mind that they may want you to have an epidural in case a situation arises (these are two different situations as one is done because something has already risen a red flag and the other is due to the fact that the baby is fine, but something MAY happen).

Every labour is different and I can say that even if there had have been time to have an epidural (and I was sure I wanted one) with the birth of my daughter, I was never in enough pain to require one. If, while in painful labour with my son, someone would have said "even though you are fully dialated you will be pushing and in pain for four more hours" I would have had one.

I don't know if most of the women who avoid an epidural are afraid of the pain although no one likes needles. I think many women want to prove to themselves and others that they could do it (I dare any man to try it!LOL). I don't know why we feel the need to feel the pain (isn't that a man thing), I mean we carry them in our bodies for 9 months, give birth to them and raise them, what more can you ask for?

Good luck to you on making your decision and also to a happy and healthy baby!!!

 
Old 03-27-2005, 04:39 PM   #4
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Re: Epidural?

Every pregnancy is different but with my first one they gave me a morphine drip which didnt do nothing but made me fell like I was falling out of a bed with rails on both sides. Then when they decided it wasnt to late to give me a epidural it worked a little but manily made my legs numb and I felt everything else. When it was time to have my daughter the epidural had wore off. I still have not decided what I am going to do when I have my son in June. But I wish you good luck in whatever you decide.

 
Old 03-27-2005, 06:53 PM   #5
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PrittyGreenEyez HB User
Re: Epidural?

Thanks ladies for all your info. But now i'm wondering...what are the WORST case scenerios that could arise if given an epidural? Is it just the numbness or does it also pose a risk to my baby and my health as well?

 
Old 03-27-2005, 10:01 PM   #6
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Re: Epidural?

ok---lets put it this way...if you were to be given a prescription for an infection and you KNOW all of the POSSIBLE side effects before you take the first pill...side effects that may or may not occur....would you risk it???

there are medications out there that has ALL KINDS of POSSIBLE side effects...you cannot base your decision solely on how it can or has affected others...as it very well may be different with you. for instance...my father had to use an inhaler...gave him SEVERE side effects....but others use it and has NO problems whatsoever...


my personal experience---2 kids....2 epidurals....wouldnt have had it any other way!

i was terrified of getting the epidural...as i had read/heard about the possible problems/side effects.....i let what i read and heard scare me to death...and yet, i was scared to death of what i was about to go through.....but----i chose to do the epidural anyway...and i have NO regrets.


point is.....decide if YOU want to feel EVERYTHING........or if YOU want to ENJOY the experience of childbirth and not feel the misery of the pain that will be there. only you can decide that. look at it this way....if epidurals caused major problems in alot of women...they would have banned it a long time ago....so that should tell you alot. i would personally leave the option open for the epidural....but get a CLEAR understanding from the doctor BEFORE you go into labor....as to how late during labor that they will give it to you, should you decide to have it, so that BEFORE you reach that point to where it will be too late....you can make up your mind. Good luck--but I truly recommend the epidural. I didnt feel a thing from waist down to my toes with either of my kids...(I did feel pain a couple of times, but they were able to give me more of the dosage, which took effect immediately).....and from what little I did feel during the 8 cm-9 cm....there was no way that I would or could have done it without the epidural.

 
Old 03-28-2005, 07:26 AM   #7
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Re: Epidural?

I agree with the last poster. You have to decide if it's right for you. Personally, I had an epidural with my first. I was having severe contractions 30 seconds apart and was dialated to 7 by the time I got to the hospital (they started out extremely painful and 5 minutes apart), so I felt a lot of my labor with no pain relief. I could not have endured any more pain. I got an epidural and it was a lifesaver. I still felt the contractions, but they were not nearly as painful and the epidural really took the edge off. I could feel when to push, but it was more pressure than pain. With this one, I'm definitely getting an epidural. I'm just concerned that since my last labor started out strong and went quick, that this one will go faster and I might not make it to the hospital in time to get an epidural. That's my bigest fear about labor. I don't recall any side effects with my first and am willing to take my chances for the pain relief the epidural brings. I don't think I could have survived labor without it. Recovery was more painful for me than labor after the epidural. If only it could last for about the first week...LOL!

 
Old 03-28-2005, 09:42 AM   #8
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Re: Epidural?

I have to agree with Ladybug, it is a choice that you have to make by yourself. I went into the hospital not knowing if I was going to have and epi or not. I figured that I didn't need to be a hero, and if it got to bad i would get one. Well I did LOL. The first one they inserted did not work. I labored through most of the night without any relief. Even though I kept telling the nurse that I was still feeling every contraction just like before I had the epi put in. Finally about 5 in the morning she ordered another one. The second worked wonderfully. I couldn't feel anything. I was numb until after my dd was born. They were able to stitch me up and everything. When it comes time to have my second child, i will again opt to have the epidural. I now know what it's like when it is working properly, so there will be no confustion.

Just go with your heart.
Alicia

 
Old 03-28-2005, 09:36 PM   #9
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Re: Epidural?

My experience with epidurals weren't all that great. The reason is because they only worked on me for a short time. With my 1st child........I had my epidural about 6 hours into my labor. I was dilated to 3cm when I got to the hospital....when I received my epidural, I was at 4cm. 7 hours later, I was still at 4cm and my daughter ingested meconium and got sick. My epidural up until that point was great. I had 7 hours of pain free contractions. I didn't feel a thing. When my daughter became sick, I was brought to the OR for a section. About 30 seconds into my c-section, my epidural wore off 100%!!! I felt EVERYTHING!!! My daughter was pretty large (9lbs at 38 weeks gestation) and the position she was in........well, basically she was stuck! I was in so much pain that I ended up being put to sleep because I couldn't handle the pain. So, I missed the birth of my first child because I was knocked out.

My 2nd child, I decided on going for a vaginal birth because I was terrified of having another c-section.........and I wanted the chance to be awake when my child was born. I received my epidural 18 hours into my labor (I was only dilated to 3cm at that point and the pain was killing me because they started me on pitocin 2 hours into my labor because I wasn't progressing at all). I had relief for about 15 minutes if I was lucky before my epidural stopped working. So, they removed it and I had to go through the remainder of my 26 hour labor with no pain relief. I did end up delivery vaginally, which was a walk in the park compared to my section, even with all the pitocin. I also liked being able to feel myself pushing. I felt more in control. I don't know how I would have felt about it if I couldn't feel what I was doing. So, in the end......I'm glad it worked out the way it did, even though I had to deal with the pain. In the end..........the pain didn't even matter because I had another beautiful child.

Having an epidural is strictly your choice. No one can tell you what is right for you. Not having an epidural doesn't make you any more of a hero or anything in my book. We are all giving birth!!!

Last edited by barton93; 03-28-2005 at 09:41 PM.

 
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