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The case against Epidurals... - Page 3

post #41 of 92
When I got my epi, I went from 4 to 10 cm in 4 hours. It took 20 to get from 2 to 4. I felt better after I got it and I felt like for the first time, I could actually enjoy it.

BTW, I also got a healthy, alert baby.
post #42 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post
No epi for me. That whole needle near my spine thing was enough to scare me off for good.
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I've had two c-sections under spinal, and most people think I'm nuts, because I actually preferred the emergency ones under general. I hate being numb. I hate having a needle put in my spine. I'm currently freaking out about c-section number five, and the fear is comprised about equally of fear of needle in spine, fear of surgery itself, and fear of the recovery process. I'm not even needle-phobic - never blinked at getting vaxes, having blood draws, or getting IVs - I just hate knowing one is being put in my spine.
post #43 of 92
Yeah, I'm not normally afraid of needles. But my spine? Might as well ask me to put a needle in my heart!! Creeps me out.
post #44 of 92
I think the key is to stop thinking about it as side-effect free, like we are told. I don't think anyone here thinks epidurals are bad, or no one should get them. Some women have great success with them. The problem is the people who think birth is impossible without them and the caregivers who try to convince us that there are no problems associated with them.

For me having had one birth with and one without epidural I would never have one again. DS was crooked a bit his head was sideways. Everything inside of me was telling me to stand up and squat and I couldn't. Not only was this incredibly frustrating but it led to 3 extremely painful hours of pushing. My poor son was born with a huge bruise/scab on the side of his head from pushing against my pubic bone and I felt it for weeks. Because of that bruise he refused to nurse out of my right side for weeks. My supply never caught up on that side. I was blessed to have enough milk on the left to support him.
I also had the temp spike, BP changes etc. that are typical of epidural. The placement was also extremely painful.
post #45 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by super mamabug View Post
The problem is the people who think birth is impossible without them and the caregivers who try to convince us that there are no problems associated with them.

EXACTLY!

When you hear people say, "Natural birth makes as much sense as natural dentistry" you know full well that the average American thinks epis are risk-free and birth without them is insane.

Count me as another lady who has no problems with needles, but doesn't want something in my spine.

Personally, "It's natural" never factored into my decision for no-epi. Lots of things are "natural" & horrible for us (i.e. poison ivy, tsunamis, cancer, mosquitos carrying malaria etc.) Similarly, lots of things are totally not natural, but I embrace... like the internet & keyboard I'm typing on. I'm more than happy to fully utilize modern medicine when appropriate - which is when benefits outweigh risks.

I also didn't want to avoid an epidural because of the effects on the baby. Everything I've read seems like the effects are very minimal & risks to baby are very slight. So that really didn't weigh into my decision, personally.

But I broke down my reasons for no-epi as follows:
1. I don't want to miss out on my birth. I want to experience it - not feel like an inert object from which a baby is extracted. Also don't want to feel out of control of my own body - that idea is horrifying to me.

2. Don't want to deal with the risks of the epi itself (spinal headache that can last MONTH? No thanks!

3. Cascade of interventions the epi can lead to... I've heard it can double your risks of CS and quadruple your risk of needing an instrumental delivery - and I think they often do an episiotomy with a vacuum delivery (at least they did for my SIL) and episiotomy can lead to like a 28-fold increase in the risk of a 4th degree tear! Once again, I say, no thanks!
post #46 of 92
I think Meg Boz said it well. As one of my OB friends says, "there's no prize for doing your birth drug-free - there is no medical reason that a mom shouldn't get an epidural if she decides she wants one". Yes, this is true that from a strictly medical point of view they are not high risk and for many people that means that the benefits (no pain, and from a doc's point of view no patient who is unable to deal with labor in a non-hysterical way) outweigh the risks (outlined multiple times in previous posts).

I think of it like running a marathon, though. For ME personally, I wanted to know that my body IS that strong and that I could do it. I wanted to feel everything. I wanted to have the experience. I DID have a way to deal with labor, and I did not want anyone taking that experience for me. In other words, for me, the risks did NOT outweigh the benefits, which I considered negligible at best.
post #47 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by kltroy View Post
I think of it like running a marathon, though. For ME personally, I wanted to know that my body IS that strong and that I could do it. I wanted to feel everything. I wanted to have the experience. I DID have a way to deal with labor, and I did not want anyone taking that experience for me. In other words, for me, the risks did NOT outweigh the benefits, which I considered negligible at best.
Same here. My first baby, I had an epidural because I was basically told natural birth is impossible, and you don't win anything for doing it, so why even try?... I feel like I missed out somewhat by not going through it all and feeling it all. I did it naturally at home with my second one and absolutely LOVED it. Maybe I'm weird, but I liked going through it and experiencing every part of it. I can't wait until I can experience labor and giving birth again.
post #48 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamasneedlove View Post
2 - At the pushing stage, they turn down the epidural so you can push. Then, mom hasn't built up any level of 'comfort' with her contractions, and they surprise her, and she hasn't been using any techniques to cope (because she didn't really need them) so she's totally unprepared and pushing is excruciating and stalled... snowballing of interventions.
Three births...I've never had my epidural turned down for pushing. In fact, the only time I ever felt contractions was with my second child, and that was because we were waiting for the epidural to be ordered.

With my first, I pushed for 15 minutes. My second pushed her own way out - I did not push at all. My third came out with two pushes. With the second and third, I did not feel a thing. The first, I felt the "ring of fire", but that's pretty much it.
post #49 of 92
Megmoz put it beautifully. It's not that epidurals are all bad all the time, but that they are far from being risk-free and care providers need to be more honest about the real risks of relying on them.

You know, not a single one of my doula clients who has had an epidural has come away satisfied with the results (and I promise it's THEIR opinion, not me projecting on them). Every one has had some problem or other and I've yet to see one work as flawlessly as they are promised to do by the eager nurses and docs cheering moms on toward numb births.

One client realised her biggest regret was not having been able to actually feel her daughter emerging from her body at all - they kept telling her "oh you'll still feel pressure", but that wasn't true as she went totally numb from the waist down and it lasted for hours after her birth.

Another client had the creeping numbness effect where the meds anesthetize areas above as well as below the waist so she felt like someone was sitting on her chest.

Another only could feel the effects on whatever body part was lowest, so if she was on her left side then her left hip was numb but nowhere else, same if she turned on her other side or her back, but she never got the full effect.

Another the anesthesiologist jabbed the needle in her back FOUR TIMES and all four times punctured a vein but realised before releasing the meds into her blood stream. Four times. Finally he gave up and she went without.

I'm actually still waiting to witness the epidural-savior-of-birthing-womankind scenario to play out in front of me. So far the moms I've worked with have come away saying it wasn't worth it and they would rather do without next time.
post #50 of 92
Just wanted to add I had nubain and it isn't in the same playing field as an epidural. It was like, hmmm, I felt high on crack and super good for a couple minutes and didn't care that I was in pain - just felt all goofy and speedy and then I was back in my world of hurt. Don't know if that is just my experience, but it def wasn't something I could've used to get through labor.

BTW I was induced, after about 3 hrs couldn't handle, got the nubain as a stop gap until the anesthesiologist got there, then got epidural. No side effects from epi as far as long term pain or any headaches, but hated being in bed and numb, hard time nursing, doped up feeling after delivery, 3rd degree tear. Will be homebirthing this time around.
post #51 of 92
post #52 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancindoula View Post
Another client had the creeping numbness effect where the meds anesthetize areas above as well as below the waist so she felt like someone was sitting on her chest.
That happened to me after they adjusted the epidural for my c-section. I seriously could not feel myself breathing and began panicking on the table. It was like I was wrapped in the worlds tighest bear hug and couldn't get any oxygen into my lungs. I tried telling my medwife what was happening but she just told me that my pulse-ox was 99. I honestly believed I was going to die at that point. I was more terrified of an epidural for another c-section than I was of an actual repeat c-section (which, thankfully, I didn't need!).
post #53 of 92
I am all for the option for medical pain relief when nothing else works. But, there are side effects and risks. It seems like you want information, more than anecdotal experiences. If so, here are some articles. Pubmed has lots of others. I would also encourage you to read www.pushedbirth.com and The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth.

The effect of epidural analgesia on labor progress and outcome in nulliparous women.
Quote:
Epidural analgesia in nulliparous parturients increases the risk for labor dystocia and accordingly is an independent risk factor for vacuum extraction. Nevertheless, it does not pose an independent risk for cesarean delivery.
(My comment: An epidural alone may not increase the risk of c-section, but when combined with induction or augmentation with Pitocin research shows it sure does.)


Epidural analgesia in labor: an evaluation of risks and benefits.
Quote:
longer labor, more operative intervention, and increases in cost


Discontinuation of epidural analgesia late in labour for reducing the adverse delivery outcomes associated with epidural analgesia
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Quote:
There is insufficient evidence to support the hypothesis that discontinuing epidural analgesia late in labour reduces the rate of instrumental delivery. There is evidence that it increases the rate of inadequate pain relief in the second stage of labour. The practice of discontinuing epidurals is widespread and the size of the reduction in instrumental delivery rate could be clinically important.
(My quick synopsis: Here is the logic. Some OB's turn down the epi during pushing so women can feel the urge to push. The problem is it hurts worse than it would if all the labor/love hormones were in sync. Women feel all the pain all of a sudden. Pain = no labor/stalled labor/painful labor/tension. Tension = ineffective pushing and instrument delivery. Forceps and vac assisted delivery = episiotomy. Episiotomy = sucks for you.)


Epidural versus non-epidural or no analgesia in labour.

Quote:
women who use this form of pain relief are at increased risk of having an instrumental delivery

You can also check out this article, The Epidural Express:
Real Reasons Not to Jump On Board
.
post #54 of 92
with my second child, i had an emergency homebirth transfer to hospital situation-i was out of my mind in agony by the time i got there. u bet i got the epidural. it did work, amazingly well. i had a natural, no drug delivery with my first, and well remember how that felt, so to have the crazy, 10cm, transitional, sunny side up baby contrax just *stop*, well, it was so freakish. a huge relief, too.

i wound up being totally knocked out for a section, but that's nothing to do with the epidural.

it didnt cause my son any damage, and i've had no ill effects from it myself, but it sure was nothing like birthing my dd. he was definitely not wide-open awake like my dd, and that devastated and terrified me. his eyes were jumpy, and unfocused for the first hours that couldve been from the GA also. don't know. anyway, he perked up and woke up just fine in several hrs. he is now 14 months old, talking, running, and hilariously expressive. no problems.


i think it's cool to have experienced both sides of birth, and i would not judge any mama who opted to have the epidural. i would still encourage mamas to learn about the birth process, and to at least try to go it drug free. the feelings you feel after a natural birth, the love, the bonding, the rush. there are no words to describe the POWER you feel, either. dd's birth is still my touchstone of courage, and i will always remember it and feel so proud of myself.

it's very sad to me that so many women never get to feel those things. i feel like it's a very primal part of our womanhood that's being taken from us, our birthing power. i don't judge a mama for opting to get an epidural, not at all, but i do wish that HCP were not so fast to push them, and act like they are super safe and effective all the time.
post #55 of 92
Quote:
the feelings you feel after a natural birth, the love, the bonding, the rush. there are no words to describe the POWER you feel, either.
Quote:
it's very sad to me that so many women never get to feel those things.
You assume that women who have a medicated birth don't feel those things. That is simply not true. You may not have felt them, but that doesn't mean that the majority of women don't. I know that I felt amazing after my birth. I couldn't stop looking at my baby and thinking I did that. My body made this and then brought it into the world. Just because there was pain medicine involved did not change the emotions. Look, I am all for people choosing to birth the way they want and that all of the risks should be evaluated, but what I don't like and will never agree with is the assumption that a medicated birth can not be as spiritual and as rewarding as a non-medicated one. It is insulting and plays down those of who had wonderful medicated births that we are very happy with by saying that it would have been better if we just would have done it the way you would have done it.
post #56 of 92
I actually said yes to get one with DS, because I had no idea that I was already in transition when I arrived at the hospital. They wanted to give me IV fluids for an hour first, and put a urinary catheter in me. By the time that hour was up, I was at 10 cm and ready to push! They took the catheter out for me to push, then put it back IN after he was born because I had to have mag sulfate (preeclampsia) and they needed to monitor my urine output. I am telling you that catheter going in and out hurt worse than contractions! So for me, I would not want one with any future births because of not wanting a big needle in my spine, not wanting a catheter, and because I know already that I have FAST (1 hour) transitions where I go from 4-10cm so I CAN handle it (done it twice!) besides the risks of spinal headache, numbness, pain at injection site, lethargy in baby, difficulties with nursing, etc.
post #57 of 92
Everyone told me I'd "never be able to do it" without an epidural.

Well- nothing could be further from the truth!!! I didn't even know I was really in labor until the very end when I was probably 8 or 9 cm!!

I never laid down, never had an IV, never got my cervix checked, never felt restricted, and I never even THOUGHT about asking for drugs. Like not even in the back of my mind!

I loved the power I felt, too, and I loved that I could birth in any position. I loved having no needles to scare me (I am terrified of needles) and I loved not being checked or told to push... I just did what I needed/wanted.

Now, I know many can and do have positive medicated births- but I am happy with my choice and I respect others' too.
post #58 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by tndixiemom View Post
Look, I am all for people choosing to birth the way they want and that all of the risks should be evaluated, but what I don't like and will never agree with is the assumption that a medicated birth can not be as spiritual and as rewarding as a non-medicated one. It is insulting and plays down those of who had wonderful medicated births that we are very happy with by saying that it would have been better if we just would have done it the way you would have done it.
I hear what you're saying. But since the PP has had both a nonmedicated and medicated birth, I think her opinion is more valid than someone who's either had all non-medicated or all medicated, kwim?
post #59 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShwarmaQueen View Post
I hear what you're saying. But since the PP has had both a nonmedicated and medicated birth, I think her opinion is more valid than someone who's either had all non-medicated or all medicated, kwim?
:

But I am sure there is also a difference between a planned/desired mediated birth and one that is not wanted. If I had been planning a medicated birth with my first baby I probably would not have been traumatized the way I was and would feel very differently about the whole experience.

Peace,
Jen
post #60 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShwarmaQueen View Post
But since the PP has had both a nonmedicated and medicated birth, I think her opinion is more valid than someone who's either had all non-medicated or all medicated, kwim?
Why should any one person's opinion be more valid than another? Just because one poster (the person you were refering to - sorry cannot remember the user name) felt more empowered and spiritual after her unmedicated birth does not mean that that will be true for all women and their birthing experiences. Her having experienced birth from both medicated and unmedicated perspectives also only makes her opinion more valid for herself as no two women will experience birth in the same way.
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