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Why would it hurt to get an epidural?

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
I've heard several times that the epidural is the most painful part of labor. I had a spinal with DS (C-section) and it didn't hurt at all. There was a tiny little sting as the doc gave me a local, then I didn't even feel him put the spinal in. I know I was in labor the night before, but I wasn't in any pain at the time. Is it just that they have to stay curled over? Even then, how long does it take? Mine took all of 3 minutes. So even if I was having contractions and had to stay curled over, 3 minutes is no big deal, right?

I'm confused...
post #2 of 59
Hmm. Thinking back, I don't remember there being any local before they put in the epidural. Maybe not everyone gets that, and that's the difference.

I had an epidural for my C-section, and it was painful for me. In fact, it really messed me up mentally, and, I think, set me up for a lot of the problems I had later. I was told that the epidural would not hurt, and when it did, A LOT, my confidence was totally shaken. I was terrified after that, and didn't believe anything they told me. I was panicky the whole time, and I think it goes back to the worse-than-expected epidural.
post #3 of 59
Hmmmm. I have never heard that. I did not want an epidural because having part of my body numb (even when I have a mole removed or a skin biopsy) makes me feel ill.
Of course, I ended up getting coerced into an unnecessarian by my midwife and her OB for "big baby". My c-section was two years ago today.
I ended up with a spinal, and I don't remember it being particularily unpleasant going in, a pinch and burn. I remember the catheter going in as being horribly unpleasant (then I had to walk to the OR holding my bag of my pee like a purse, how humiliating). The spinal entering was annoying as they had the student anesthesiologist doing it, and it took her several times so I felt the pinch and burn over and over again, and the lean anesthesiologist was giving her directions in Spanish. I can speak Spanish, so I didn't like that at all, I thought she was going to screw up and paralyze me. Finally the kind nurse holding my shoulders asked me "Do you speak Spanish?" and I said "Yes, I wondered if they were speaking in Spanish so that I couldn't understand them." At that point the lead anesthesiologist took over and got it right in. Then the numbness came and I started to panic. At that point no one was paying attention to me or caring though, I kept saying "I can't feel my legs (to which they replied "Good!") and "I can't do this!" which they ignored.
I will say that the spinal headache I got the next day felt like the worst migraine I had ever gotten in my entire life. That was horrible!!!
post #4 of 59
It doesn't hurt as much as the mind makes it out to be. It does however cause problems (back wise) for some people like myself (scoliosis, I had the spinal). If not careful, you can end up with what's called a spinal headache (I had it, I think Epi is the same right?)

It's a massive headaches caused by blood seepage into the spinal fluid if the catheter isn't placed right or slips.
post #5 of 59
Are you kidding?!! A needle in my spinal canal?! NO THANKS! Gives me the creepies just thinking about it. The real 'pain' is the complications it can cause during labor, delivery and afterwards for both mom and baby. I'm glad you had a good experience, but not everyone has.

But, I am not in the C-section boat.
post #6 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwestmeg View Post
Are you kidding?!! A needle in my spinal canal?! NO THANKS! Gives me the creepies just thinking about it. The real 'pain' is the complications it can cause during labor, delivery and afterwards for both mom and baby. I'm glad you had a good experience, but not everyone has.

But, I am not in the C-section boat.
Take care on the perceived tone of your post please. My two c\s were not elective or wanted. Mine were emergency ones. I felt a little defensive about your post but maybe I am perceiving the tone in the wrong light?
post #7 of 59
The spinal was the worst part of my csections. I definitely did not get anything to numb it first.
post #8 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwestmeg View Post
Are you kidding?!! A needle in my spinal canal?! NO THANKS! Gives me the creepies just thinking about it. The real 'pain' is the complications it can cause during labor, delivery and afterwards for both mom and baby. I'm glad you had a good experience, but not everyone has.

But, I am not in the C-section boat.
I'm not asking about complications. I'm not even pregnant and I'm planning UC births for future kids, so I won't be getting one. I was just asking about why it would hurt. Snark is not necessary.
post #9 of 59
My intrathecal was HORRIBLE. They didn't use a local, and the pain of having it inserted was more unbearable than my pit-induced labor. They also missed 3 times, causing pain down my leg and subsequent chronic severe back pain.
post #10 of 59
mine never hurt a bit. the first one I was in the throes of horrendous back labor and would have welcomed anything! The second time I had just given birth. they gave me an epi before D&C (I had placenta acreta) right after my natural VBAC
post #11 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by minkajane View Post
I'm not asking about complications. I'm not even pregnant and I'm planning UC births for future kids, so I won't be getting one. I was just asking about why it would hurt. Snark is not necessary.
never say never. I too, thought I'd have UC births pre kids.
post #12 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwestmeg View Post
Are you kidding?!! A needle in my spinal canal?! NO THANKS! Gives me the creepies just thinking about it. The real 'pain' is the complications it can cause during labor, delivery and afterwards for both mom and baby. I'm glad you had a good experience, but not everyone has.

But, I am not in the C-section boat.

I too felt VERY self riteous just like this before my c/s. I am kind of glad it happened now, if only for the fact that I am not walking around anymore acting/thinking like this!
post #13 of 59
Hi, everyone In an effort to stay within the MDC User Agreement, let's focus on the original post and avoid personally directed comments.

Thanks
post #14 of 59
Hmmmm... I had two spinals during my first birth. The first one did hurt but I don't think it was the procedure as much as everything around it. They used a local numbing agent and the spinal was placed quickly but I was having horrible back labor and the seated/curled over position was terrible...and I had two contractions during the placement. Also the emotional element ("I failed", "I don't want this", "I don't know what is happening") on top of the stress/fear of the moment made it feel worse, if that makes sense? It wasn't what I wanted or expected, I didn't know what it would feel like, I was scared stiff by the thought of having a needle in my spine, etc!

The second spinal (~4 hrs later, placed in the OR prior to the c/s) was again a "pinch/burn" sensation but since I knew what to expect it wasn't as stressful. And I didn't have a contraction during the placement so that helped.

I think that just like anything, the stress/fear/tension/focus/expectation element can make a spinal or epi "feel" different to different people. And the skill of the person placing it has a lot to do with it too.
post #15 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by minkajane View Post
I'm not asking about complications. I'm not even pregnant and I'm planning UC births for future kids, so I won't be getting one. I was just asking about why it would hurt. Snark is not necessary.
I've never had an epi, but both my spinals hurt going in. I wouldn't say they were the worst part of the c-sections, but I really hated them. Mind you, one of the reasons I hate surgery so much is that anesthetic is necessary, and I hate numbness more than I hate pain...

My sister had an epi with her first, and she loved it. However, she also had a very severe backache in that general area for about two weeks after my nephew was born.

ETA: I just remembered that right after my spinal was put in - both times - I got this weird stabbing pain on the right side...about where my kidneys are, I guess. It didn't last long, as I went numb, but it hurt a lot.
post #16 of 59
I had an epidural after 26 hours of back labor, and it was like a mosquito bite compared to the labor pain. However, my DH says that was the worst part of the labor for him! (Epis freak him out.)
post #17 of 59
I had a spinal... they did the surface needle numbing thing first which kind of hurt, but honestly the large gage IV needle that was put into the back of my hand "just in case" by a nurse hurt WAY more than the anesthesiologist doing a spinal.

I would not have one unless there was no way around it, because I know too much about the side effects/chain of interventions not to be terrified, which I know would make it a hundred times more painful than necessary. But to each their own of course. Pain I can handle, but pain + fear I cannot, and I have a huge huge huge white coat anxiety problem.
post #18 of 59
oh I had to come back and talk about a different intervention I almost forgot about that I had given to me by the mw's! sterile water blocks! those hurt WAY worse than the epi!!!! seriously. :
post #19 of 59
my guess is that it depends a bit on the anesthesiologist/circumstances etc. I personally had a spinal with my c/s and while I wouldn't say it was painful per se, it was entirely WEIRD and uncomfortable Anyway I have had clients get an epidural and be screaming the whole time with blood just running down their backs (sorry to be graphic), and I have had clients be completely fine. Epidurals are kind of tricky to place because they go into a 'potential' space where two membranes lay together like two sheets in a ream of paper, they make a space here to administer the medication which is actually a local anesthetic. Also with an epidural, a catheter is placed for continuous administration of the medication. A spinal on the other hand is actually much easier to place. A spinal goes through both of those membranes, rather than having to find the tricky spot between the two. Also, a spinal is one dose of medication, so a catheter is not placed. So even though they are places in the same location, the procedures are actually quite different. At least, this is the way I understand it
post #20 of 59
Well for me the reaction I got from the epidural was a pain, i'd rather have dealt with the contractions than the itching I got from it. That was totally unbearable and made me miserable. Then I think them taking off the tape was the absolute worst! I actually screamed when they did that, I never screamed during a contraction, lol.
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