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thinking of an epidural for baby #7

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
I just found out we are expecting our seventh child and I am already thinking of an epidural! I have never had one...all births have been natural (well, my first I had a shot of morphene) and our last birth (just 10 months ago) was a wonderful homebirth. I LOVED the homebirth. My husband LOVED the homebirth. I HATE the pain of labor....thus considering going to a hospital and having an epidural.....what are your opinions? Anyone made a similar choice (had natural births then had an epidural)? Were you happy about your choice after wards? I really am not excited about the prospect of a hospital birth (especially in this city) but I REALLY like the idea of not being in so much pain.....
post #2 of 49
The tricky thing is that with an epidural you're not guaranteed no pain--I'd say most women have some degree of feeling--and often it's right at the end when you're really hoping it isn't. That isn't to say it doesn't lessen the pain, or at least often give you a chance to rest up/sleep/enjoy the majority of your labor.

I don't know what to tell you about the pain difference--only that after the home birth, I can see a hospital being obnoxious, but you're the only one that can say whether or not it'd be more annoying than the pain.
post #3 of 49
I would say that anyone who has had six children knows enough about her own body and the way she copes with labor pain to be more than qualified to choose an epidural for the seventh if she wants one.

No experience myself, but a friend of mine had a terrific natural birth but decided she'd rather skip most of the pain the second time. She was delighted with her epidural birth; I saw the video and I've never seen anyone in labor look happier.
post #4 of 49
I can totally understand where you are coming from, but I have to say the epi is not always all it's cracked up to be.
I had an epi with DS and REALLY regret it. It only worked for an hour (after the first attempt didn't work at all) then for the rest of the labor I was stuck in bed, in agony, with a catheter, IV, and CFM. Basically everything I didn't want.
I would just say be prepared for how you will cope with all those extra interventions if the epi isn't what you hoped it would be.
post #5 of 49
Just make sure to take into account all the possible bad things that can happen when an epi is used. If you find that the risk of that is less than your desire for the epi then you can go in for one with no regrets.
post #6 of 49
it depends....how big are your babies? If you suspect a large or malpositioned baby, don't do the epidural. If you are laboring and progressing well with an average sized baby, it might be ok. I've had 2 epidurals and 2 natural births. My 10.4oz baby would have been a c-section if I had had an epidrual. It really took many positions and finally the birthing stool to get him out. With the epidurals, I had one baby have heartrate decels (not sure if it's related, but the nurse said "don't worry, anything we cause, we can fix) and with the 2nd epidural, my own heartrate went very hight because of it. My first epidural made me itch all over which was aweful! It was because it had morphine in it, I think...if you're considering the epi, ask if it may make you itch. The 2nd epi didn't make me itch at all. It was a walking epidural and wore off at pushing...which was kind of nice, but hurt pretty badly. Also, your dr. might want to give you a catheder with an epidural....it's not necessary and you can refuse it, but they may ask you to prove that you can pee.

So, considering your baby is average sized and positioned nicely, maybe it'll make things nicer for you. I'm not sure if I'm up for natural labor again either, but hopefully won't have to worry about it. I kind of like hospital births. I've had 2 hospital and 2 free-standing birth center. All were nice in their own way. I had planned on homebirth until 2 hours before labor with my last....I just can't relax with company in my house.
post #7 of 49
As a PP said, an epidural doesn't necessarily mean no pain. I previously tried to give birth at a birth center and ended up in transport for a posterior baby and failure to progress. My MW recommended I go get an epidural because I was in so much pain. At that point I was happy to go get an epidural. However, the anesthesiologist said that for a certain percentage, a large number which I don't remember now, the epidural doesn't work for them. I was one of them. I had 30 minutes of pain relief and then it stopped working. It took the edge off the pain.

Also, I knew a women who had an epidural and regretted it because she had horrible headaches for months as a result of the epidural. This is a common side effect for some of receiving the epidural.

Though I can understand not wanting to go through the pain again, there is no guarantee that the epidural will work. You could ask and OB/Gyn about this and then the side effects may not be worth the temporary relief.
post #8 of 49
Have you visited the hospital? I'd say get all the info you can--it's more than just epi or not, you're really choosing between two very different places. That might help you decide.

I had an epi with DD and it worked only on one side, so I agree that you should have some other pain management techniques in mind in case it doesn't work.
post #9 of 49
I had an epi with DS1 and am planning an unmedicated birth for DS2.

When it worked, it was great. They also pumped me full of Pitocin and we watched the monitors show outrageous, long, off-the-charts contractions, but that's neither here nor there. In my case, it wore off 2 hours before I started pushing. I ended up having a dose of something - still don't know what it was - in my IV ... that also wore off. I HATED the catheter. The nurses would come in and roll me from side to side every 45 minutes and it took to both sides. I had a pretty big baby (9 pounds, 4 ounces) and pushed him out in less than 20 minutes and with 5 pushes; I didn't have any issues with not being able to feel ... But then again, my pain relief had worn off! (The nurses said that I would be a crappy pusher since it was my first baby. Showed them, ha!)

I think the only thing I would 'warn' you of is that if it wears off, it's GONE. (Or at least in my case.) It wasn't a gradual thing. I was laughing and talking to my husband and best friend, then I was clutching the side of the hospital bed, freaking out because the pain was so intense. GL with your decision, Momma!
post #10 of 49
I had an attempted homebirth with dc#1 that ended in a hospital transfer w/ epidural. With dd, I had a successful homebirth. My homebirth was fantastic, my midwife and doula were fantastic, everything went really well. But I am pregnant now for the third time and planning a hospital birth, and if I have the opportunity to have an epidural I am going to have one.

I can only speak about my first epidural, but the only regrets I had were self-inflicted regrets about being "weak" and "giving in" and things of that sort. Now that I have had a natural birth, and a lot of time to think and grow, I know that I was way too hard on myself! I did not have any negative side effects.

I will say that the exhilaration and adrenalin and "high" feeling after the birth was not there when I had an epidural, but in full force with my med-free one.

That said, I am still hoping for the option this time because overall the pain was just too much for me. It was traumatic. I think that pain relief during labor is an individual choice and very much up to the woman, and that after having six children you know your body, and are certainly well qualified to make a decision about whether you want to have an epidural this time!
post #11 of 49
I would consider the fact that sometimes epidurals leave a pain in the back for quite a while after birth, months or years even. Ask a chiropractor who makes a practice off of women who suffer from damage that epidurals sometimes do. An anesthesiologist or obstetrician will not know about it because they do not deal with it.
post #12 of 49
The pain of pushing while flat on my back was NOT worth diminishing the pain of the contractions. You still have pain. I'd rather be able to move around and get comfortable and squat while pushing (and drink some freaking water...they don't let you do that in the hospital!).
post #13 of 49
If you have had 6 babies one way, and don't want to do it anymore that way, please, by all means, do it another way. I would give you the epidural myself if I could. I have had 2 epidural births and one natural, and were I to do it again I would go right back to the epidural. I felt just pressure- not painful at all. Like someone was firmly squeezing my leg. And then the urge to push was spontaneous but not painful, and the post birth high was a lot higher after the epidural births. No residual trauma from the pain tamping it down. That was really, really nice. I also got up on all fours(with help) to push out my first, posterior baby. None of this flat on your back business.

I don't know if this is kosher to say, since it's not really bashing epidurals, but if you have a decent hospital, it is absolutely untrue that you will probably feel some pain. You will almost certainly feel no pain. And I know a lot of women who have given birth with an epidural, and not one IRL who has had an epidural headache or related backache. My hospital has an excellent anesthesia department, so maybe their statistics are just lower, but these complications, though they certainly happen, are rare. To the point that in hundreds of women who have shared their birth story with me, not one has had them. Somebody had a c-section for fetal distress that might have been trumped up, but that was a first time mom with an already complicated pregnancy.

I want to be clear that I think natural(and especially home) childbirth should be offered to many more women, who have good reasons to want them. I would definitely watch out for over administration of pitocin in a hospital setting. Do you think you might be stressed in a hospital environment? A hospital environment calms me- I feel the people there are smart and looking out for me, and that we have the same goals. If you feel hostile/suspicious towards doctors or hospitals, I would assume that is going to screw up your labor some, and could defintely put you on the c-section train if the labor stalls from your stress. But epidurals are not actually usually that complicated, and they almost always work.
post #14 of 49
Part of me thinks that you would know enough by now to know what you want but then I keep thinking of my epidural - failed the first time, I was in so much pain, it was horrific and then I ended up being stuck on my back, catheterised, being pumped with hormones, sudden drop in blood pressure causing baby to go into distress which meant I was pumped full of fluids, ventouse delivery etc etc etc and my cousins wife who had one, she was paralysed for 3 days after her epidural.

But then, it can work out fine but I seem to hear of more people regretting the epi than not.

If you get a good anesthetist it should be fine, I would request a meeting with anesthetist if at all possible so that you can soeak to him/her beforehand about what to expect.

Have you considered a UC, with my UC last year (unplanned) it went totally against my previous 2 births. I usually have 12 hour labours, LONG, EXCRUCIATING pushing stage etc but with my unplanned UC, it was over and done with in 6 hours and really wasn't too bad pain wise. It was just completely different to the births where I had been attended and poked and prodded and watched all the time.

I think you should do what you want to do really. Hell, if you aren't comfortable doing it the usual way, do it another.
post #15 of 49
We had a thread going recently for beautiful epidural births. I posted my story there because I just loved every aspect of my birth experience. I felt no pain whatsoever, was easily able to push my son out in 4 pushes, and experienced no unpleasant side effects. The "birth high" afterwards was the most amazing thing--I'm so excited to do it all over again in 12 weeks, and I hope it goes exactly the same way as my first birth.

Link to beautiful epidural birth stories: http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1116542

Good luck to you, whatever you decide! As many pp have said, you sound highly qualified to decide after 6 births if you want to try something different for the 7th.
post #16 of 49
I am as pro-natural as the next gal. I am hopefully having a homebirth for the first time with my 4th baby. I think you can do what you like.

I've had 2 births with epis and they went just fine. I had no pain, enough sensation to push, no tearing, no pit (for one , the other was an induction)

I won't say this out loud, so between you and me, I felt *much better* after the epi births. I didn't feel so exhausted.

Again, I have disclaimered myself at the beginning of this post. But I think after 7 homebirths, you are certainly qualified to judge. I have a feeling that you will do great no matter what you decide. Maybe the hospital stay will give you a certain one on one time with the seventh babe...
post #17 of 49
Originally Posted by bandgeek View Post
The pain of pushing while flat on my back was NOT worth diminishing the pain of the contractions. You still have pain. I'd rather be able to move around and get comfortable and squat while pushing (and drink some freaking water...they don't let you do that in the hospital!).
I had a hospital birth, they provided plenty of water, juice and ice while I was in labor. I had an epidural and tried the squat bar and plenty of positions other than flat on my back.
post #18 of 49
I think you should be able to do whatever you want, as well. It's your decision. As long as you are empowered by your choice, go for it.

I'm a little surprised, though, that no one is talking about the baby here. Does the baby get a choice to be born without drugs? Please don't interpret this to mean that I think you are being selfish--not at all! But, I just think about that sometimes, because the birth should be as gentle as possible for the baby. Babies have a consciousness and an awareness that we are only starting to realize. Besides that are the physical effects that we are only just starting to realize (troubles w/ breathing, breastfeeding, and the possibility of future addictions). Might be total speculation, I know, but worth thinking about.

I do understand the desire to have a different experience--otherwise, you will always wonder, "What if I had had the epidural??"
post #19 of 49
I agree with all the PP- after 6 kids, you should know if you need it or not, and it's definitely up to you, but there are risks as well as benefits, which I'm sure you know.

My thought is- you just found out you're expecting again. My first thought when I found out was "oh no! Not again! Please not again!" And considered for a few days a hospital and an epidural and just getting the baby OUT, no pain, no effort.

Which is funny since I loved my homebirth (except the midwives were annoying, lol) the contractions weren't really all that bad and while it hurt I've definitely experienced things that hurt more.

It's just the thought of doing it AGAIN that can be so demoralizing. And there's a chance that with time to adjust to the idea and get over the shock it might be different.

I'm of course just speaking from my perspective- and maybe you're not shocked at all and don't need to adjust - but I know for me I just hated the idea of labour and delivery until I got my head around it.
post #20 of 49
Originally Posted by hempmama View Post
But epidurals are not actually usually that complicated, and they almost always work.

I don't have a huge family or really big circle of friends, but even in my own personal little network, I've heard more than once of epis either not working altogether or only working on one side.

I read here on MDC that the epi failure rate is 15%. Not sure the source of that stat. Of course, with a lot of the stories, they just do it over if it doesn't work the first time, so maybe it's 15% failure rate for the first attempt only? Which would explain why, eventually, most women do get effective pain relief as a result.

I agree with tireesix that meeting with the anaesthologist in advance would be best.

Originally Posted by bandgeek View Post
(and drink some freaking water...they don't let you do that in the hospital!).
This would drive me batty. Dry mouth, ick! I drink water constantly.

But... psyschologically other people being in control of my body would be extremely upsetting & even traumatic for me. I certainly can understand though how the pain of natural birth can be traumatic & the epi the better choice for man.

I don't think you have options of "refusing" things like cEFM & an IV if you want an epidural in most American hospitals. You may also need the catheder since a full bladder could impede the baby's descent & without sensation you may not be able to release the urethral sphincter.
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