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Epidural or No Epidural? Stories/ experiences welcome!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I am preggo with my first. I have been pondering the idea of going all-natural for childbirth. But sometimes I wonder why should I go through the pain when a little needle and make it go away? Who am I to prove I am GI Jane, either way I am pushing a baby out from a tiny body like mine! Anyway please share your experience with the epidural and if it helped. I have a feeling not feeling anything down there makes there a 100% chance I will poop during labor... ha! thumb.gif

post #2 of 27

I don't do epidural. I like to take the less risky option, and Epidural complications do happen, anything from drowsiness to headache (lasting a day to a year), and rarely permanent nerve damage. there are times when they're helpful, or even necessary, but I'm willing to go through pain for a few hours in order to not put myself or my baby at risk for other complications, even if they're rare, because I don't trust that I won't be the exception. 

post #3 of 27

I don't do epidural, either. At no point during labor did I feel like I would rather have a needle in my spine because the pain was so unbearable, but that may just be me and my fear of needles! Contraction pain comes and goes (alright, at the end it seems like it is always there), and after you deliver, it is over! I loved that during a situation when your body just takes over and does what it needs to do, I had a little control, if that makes sense -- no numbness, no risk of complications from the epidural, and no needles!

 

I recommend reading The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. She presents the information and research about several interventions during labor and delivery, and you can decide what you are comfortable with from there.

post #4 of 27

Along these lines, these are the options that have been offered to me.  Because I am having twins I have been told I can have an epidural placed and not turned on to be used in the event of an emergency c section or I can do nothing and risk having to be put under general anesthesia if I need an emergency c.  I don't react well to anesthesia and it takes me a long time to wake up and I feel lousy for hours-days afterward so I am really scared of the general option but I also am afraid of the epidural needle side effects (nerve damage, HA's etc).  Plus if I have it placed already I think I would be more likely to just have it turned on which I really don't want to do. 

 

As of now we have decided to have the epi placed and not turned on but I am still struggling with that choice.  Any thoughts?

post #5 of 27

I had an epidural with my first - I was induced because of PIH and extreme swelling.  What a disaster.  It left my unable to move my legs yet I had complete feeling in my torso.  It made it worse, the whole experience was terrible. 

After that birth I switched to a midwife and had 2 relatively easy natural births.  FAR less painful, up and walking within an hour, basically zero recovery time.  And it didn't really hurt enough to warrant needle in the spine.  It was intense but the experience was far more enjoyable without it than with it.  I'm not really one for overmedicating and interventions anyways.  You're asking for trouble.

 

Jodi - you should ask that question on the multiples board. 

You have enough time to think it out and see how the twins are positioned closer to the birth. 

post #6 of 27

Some women love their epidurals. There's a reason they're so popular. However for me, I never felt like I needed it. That's not to say I wasn't in pain - labor hurts - but it wasn't so bad that I needed the epi. I did have a doula, which I think is essential for natural birth. A good doula makes labor less painful, less scary, and shorter. A good epidural makes labor much less painful (sometimes pain-free), but a good deal longer. It also increases your risk for c-section.

 

My advice is to get a doula instead of getting an epidural, but in the end it's your call.

post #7 of 27

I had an epidural with my first and I hated it.  DS and I both reacted badly to it and I ended up with a c-section.  I had a natural birth with DD and I hope to do it again with this LO.

 

With that being said that is my own experience.  I have friends who loved their epidurals and plan on having them with subsequent children.  Different strokes for different folks.

post #8 of 27

I had an epidural with my first and second both, but am going to go without one this time I think.  First thing I'll point out is that it is noooot a tiny needle.  Its a HUGE needle, and it hurts getting the epidural (LOTS of pressure in your back).  Also you have to sit perfectly still in the middle of really big contractions, or you could seriously damage your spine.

 

With my first, I was put on Pitocin and was in SERRRRRIOUS pain... like NOT natural childbirth pain.  By the time they finally came in to give me an epidural I was so exhausted from fighting 14 hours with the pitocin that I literally went to sleep during our labor, until about an hour before I gave birth.  Given the option, I would do it again in that situation because I was MISERABLE and the pain was truly awful.  

 

With my second, the doctors wanted to put me on an epidural in case I needed a C-section, because I wasn't responding well to anesthesia (we later learned it was the morphine, not anesthesia that caused that problem, so I don't need to take that option this time).  With this birth, I was handling the pain just fine, even after my water broke, because I wasn't on pitocin, and my body was working with labor just fine.  The pain was there, but it was manageable because it wasn't aggrivated by high doses of pitocin.  It helped too, to know that the pain wasn't something that was hurting me really - it was just my body's way of bringing the baby into the world.  Breathing and squeezing the heck out of my husbands arm really did a lot for me (though I think hubby was glad for the epidural to give his arm a break lol). 

 

This time around, I am going to ask that I don't have pitocin, and that I don't have an epidural.  If the labor is really long or difficult like the first one, I will go with the epi, and I won't feel bad about it.... but I want to try to go without it, because I don't think I really needed it last time.  It sure did make the birth easy though!

post #9 of 27
I will go without the epidural. Not because I don't think labor will hurt, but because I think woman are seriously capable of birthing babies! I will be in a birthing center where various options will be available to me: a birthing tub or a shower, a birthing ball, the option to walk around and lean on people. I will have a doula to provide support and massage.I will also avoid interventions that alter birth from it's natural course and can therefore make it more painful (such as the use of pitocin).

What I recommend is figuring out all of the ways you can deal with the pain and lessen it. Read as much as you can, learn as many pain techniques as you can...I recommend the book "Birthing from Within". Anyway, just prepare yourself for it- know that it WILL hurt but there are things you can do! If it comes down to it and you feel you need the epidural, that option will be available to you. But I think if you go into it thinking you'll probably need it, you will mostly focus on the fact that it's available and end up wanting it even more.
post #10 of 27

I will say that for the first 14 hours of pitocin-induced labor with my first, taking really hot showers was my saving grace.  It felt SO good to be in the water.  That made more of a difference to my pain level than the IV pain meds that just made me loopy.

post #11 of 27

With my first, I was talked into an epidural after 14 hours without it. I regret it completely in some ways, but if the labor had continued the way it did without the epidural, I would have needed the emergency c-section anyway. With my second, I scheduled a c-section (another regret, but it was a must due to personal reasons) and the anesthesiologist couldn't get the epidural in place - and he tried for over an hour. The verdict (at least from him) was that the spaces between my vertebrae were too tiny and there was too much crushed cartilage from the first epidural 17 months prior to do it. I ended up being put under general anesthesia. This time around... I'd like to do a VBA2C naturally. I'll probably get an opinion about an epidural - just because.

 

Like others have mentioned, there are alternatives to an epidural, like IV drugs. My suggestion is to go as long as you can without it, before making a decision. You might be surprised at yourself. 

post #12 of 27

My third birth was with an epidural and I hated it.  I felt like I couldn't control my own body.  Not being able to pee on your own (having a catheter in), having to ask for help to move from side to side, not being able to feel half my body, not being able to feel when I was needing to push, having to recover for hours because I couldn't walk on my own.  The whole thing was just terrible in my opinion.  I wouldn't take away the way a birth feels for anything, the pain, the pushing, the walking afterward....it's worth it!

post #13 of 27
The risks and side effects of getting an epidural were enough tO keep me from ever having one. I was induced with my first; other than the induction, i was med free. My daughter was completely natural. I used hypnobabies with both. I think it's important to take a birthing class, not just go in without any foreknowledge.
post #14 of 27

I had an epidural with my first and I am really grateful. I had a very strange birth and it allowed me to avoid a csection. I have very intense labor (broken water; posterior babes) and once labor begins i have more or less no breaks in the contractions. I dialated to ten five hours before the baby descended. Had no problems pushing her out. No side effects other than disconnected from body.

 

That being said I didn't want one for my birth. Saw a chiro for breech and pelvis positioning + an accuptunurist. It really helped and I had a 2 hour labor. Ended up with an unassisted/unplanned labor. Same very difficult broken water/posterior/no break in contractions birth. When I finally realized I was going to give birth alone I was RELIEVED becuase I knew it would be over. Awesome birth and recovery.

 

So I don't like epidurals and I don't want one again but I am still grateful I had one for the first birth and "escaped it" with the second.

 

 

post #15 of 27

I had an epidural with my first after nearly 3 hours of constant no break contractions and a posterior baby.  It was quite the relief because I was so tired and so miserable and getting it when I did let me relax and sleep a little bit before pushing.

 

My second birth was epidural free.  My labor was very quick - only 2 hours of active labor before my DD was born - and there really wasn't time for an epidural anyway.  I used midwives and they thought that I was "faking it" because I was having transition symptoms and was only 2 cm dialated.  Turns out all they needed to do was break my water and I went from 2-10 in about 5 minutes (ow).  Two pushes and the baby was out. :)

 

With this third pregnancy, my intention is to have a natural birth.  I would really like to have a water birth, but I'm not sure if my new OB will do a water birth.  She's a very naturally minded practitioner, but I don't know for sure.  If not, I might switch to a Birth Center, but the closest one is almost an hour away. With my fast last labor, the distance is a bit of a concern.  

post #16 of 27

I did not have an epidural when birthing my daughter.  I was given some oxytocin to get contractions going - and then my body took over.  I remember at one point asking the midwife if maybe I should have some sort of pain relief (during a very fast transition stage), I know she had seen my birth plan when she just got right in my face and said 'You can do this' - that's all I needed.  It was a beautiful birth, 12 hours of labor, 1 hour + of pushing. It is amazing what our bodies can do.

I did have two epidurals with knee surgeries, I opted for those instead of general an. (and I was able to watch the surgeries - crazy I know)  The second time the side effects were awful - lots of nausea the next day and I passed out - luckily my roommate was home at the time, so I was rather freaked out at having an even worse reaction if I have an epi for a birth - however the midwives last time said that epidurals these days can be much better, where you still have some feeling etc.....??

post #17 of 27

The thing that concerns me about not getting an epidural is not really the pain, but the fatigue. A friend said she took it because otherwise she would have been too tired to push when the time came. What are your thoughts on that? How do you manage fatigue in labor? Are you able to sleep with the pain?

post #18 of 27

preventing fatigue during labor: exercise during pregnancy, especially endurance training like walking or swimming, get plenty of rest as you approach your due-date, eat and drink during labor, sleep during early labor if you can, conserve energy between contractions. 

post #19 of 27

Sometimes mamas can sleep between contractions, that is what I did for my 1st even though it was the daytime, it really helped me keep rested.  Did you friend have any good labor support?  How long was her labor?  Was she able to move around, eat and drink?  Was it induced?  SOOO many factors come into play with getting fatigued.  Most women get a 2nd wind when they are ready to push, lots of hormones are cooking up and doing wonders for the mama.  Having good labor support, eating and drinking will help you majorly during labor.  As well as poster said with being well rested and also exercising and eating well throughout the entire pregnancy.

post #20 of 27

Regarding fatigue - part of that probably has to do with what time you went into labor.  With my first, I went into labor at about 8pm, and labored another 17 hours, so it was theoretically 2 days without sleep and LOTS of hard work.  I was exhausted.  BUT... if I had just woken up in the morning and gone into labor, the exhaustion may not have been so bad.

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