My third party take on epidurals - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 08-07-2014, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My third party take on epidurals

First let me say I'm not judging anyone who has or will have one, and I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. I know one person who an epidural really helped, and prevented a CS... I guess I could start with that story.

My SIL was set for a natural hospital birth. Her water broke about a week before her due date and labor started. Her OB would only let her go 18 hours before doing a CS, so after 15 hours of labor she told her an epidural would help her relax (because my SIL was fighting her contractions, I really think a dula would have helped a lot) and keep progressing she was stuck at a 5 or something. Sure enough 2 hours later she gave birth to my nephew.
Where as with my cousin it delayed her labor for 12 hours.

So the idea of being numb anywhere kinda grosses me out. Needle in the spine, no thank you. Not being able to move while in labor, no thank you. Those where my simple reasons for staying away from one the first time.
But after seeing what my friend went threw this past weekend I think I'm scarred for life.
First what they used to numb the site didn't work, so she was in pain the whole time they where putting it in. Then when it started to work she felt as if her bottom half was in an ice bath. She said that was more painful then labor and wanted to stop the epidural, so they gave her more drugs for that pain. When she could finally walk again 8 hours later, she felt sicker then she had been her whole pregnancy. Her head started hurting and would not stop. She kept feeling worse. They gave her caffeine pills but they didn't seem to help. She went to the ER twice. The epidural site started bleeding 3 days after she had it. And had to have a blood patch...I don't know how much of that is normal. But none of it sounds worth it to me.

So I will gladly welcome labor pain, even if it's that lovely back labor again. Because at least there is a simple reason for it, and it ends just when it is supposed to.
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#2 of 11 Old 08-07-2014, 10:49 PM
 
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OklaFarmerMama, I am right there with you. I remember after my son's birth, which was natural, also back labor, long and steady and painful, I said "whoever invented the epidural was a very kind person!!" However, I just cannot imagine a needle sticking in my spine. It makes me really queasy. I suppose it is something of a phobia! But-- I think if I can labor and birth without it, even if it's hard, then why risk potential complications? Most people I know have had epidurals and been fine, but I do have one friend who couldn't walk for a while afterwards and another who had a week-long headache (I believe she also had to have the blood patch you refer to).

All that being said, I do think I might try one if my labor was especially long and arduous and I wasn't getting any sleep...it seems like epidurals can really help people get the rest they need, when they go well.
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#3 of 11 Old 08-08-2014, 09:51 AM
 
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Well, I am full on against them in most circumstances. I had one with my first child. I was twenty. I didn't need it at all. Everything was going fine but it was offered one too many times and no one was reassuring me that what I felt was normal and that I was doing great. A little encouragement and I would have said no. But I got it. My Ex-H vomited because he saw them put the needle in. Anyway, the feeling isn't one of full numbness. The feeling is a creepy, awful kind of paralysis where I wished I could move but couldn't. The rest of my body also hurt from being stuck in one position. I couldn't tell what was happening to my body or if I needed to push so I had to rely on other people to tell me what to do. That was so demeaning. I felt powerless. All these people in the room had to hold my legs apart and they counted down and shouted at me when to push. It still totally bothers me. Nothing peaceful or beautiful about it. I was in bootcamp. I had to recover from that experience and so had a eaceful quiet water birth the second time. I was SO empowered and felt so happy and confident afterward. The process of childbirth is a right of passage that I denied myself when got an epidural the first time. The experience of birth cannot be compared when you drug it away vs. going through the full labor. This is for low-risk, normal labor though. But those are all the people I know who've gotten epidurals. All low risk. Just afraid of pain.

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#4 of 11 Old 08-08-2014, 07:41 PM
 
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Despite everyone's best efforts, I've had 2 c sections. I've always liked the epidural anyways. To me it felt like a warm blanket over me. Also, I could still move, I just felt no pain.

Now. They are not without risks and I can clearly see how they are detrimental to natural labor. But, I would rather have an epidural for a c section than general anesthesia.

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#5 of 11 Old 08-08-2014, 08:14 PM
 
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Everyone (minus 1) I've known personally IRL has had one & no problems. From what I remember complications are overall unlikely.

That said, I do not want one AT ALL. AND I have a cyst on my lower spine that specialists have specifically told me NOT to have one. Which makes the decision easy anyway.

Also, regarding needing a break & sleep during labor, I cannot remember the name of it, but somewhere after 20 hours of labor I was given a drug intravenously to take the edge off so I could sleep for a couple hours. So there are alternatives if someone is against the epidural but needs something.

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#6 of 11 Old 08-09-2014, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a different drug before, that's what they ended up giving my friend to cover the ice bath feeling. Staydole or something like that...sent me on a trip (her too), but I didn't like how it ended. I felt detached from the bed... And looking back I think I asked for it because of my mom. The nurses kept offering an epidural but I was blocking them out to the point I wouldn't have known they ask if someone else hadn't told me later. But at a very emotionally draining point my mother told me I could have one if I needed it. I remember thinking it must have been bad if she was suggesting it. She was the very last person I had expected that from because she had all her kids naturally. In desperation I recalled an earlier offer for "something that would help me rest", so I asked for it.

I totally agree with you xerxella in that situation. My MIL had a spinal block with her first, and she said it was horrible, but better then when they had to knock her out with DH and she didn't even get to see him until after everyone else had because she was still out of it.

I like to see women educated about all of their options, and decide with confidence when they can.
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#7 of 11 Old 08-09-2014, 11:01 PM
 
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As a doula, I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly with epidurals. They are definitely a blessing when needed, but there are many times they are not actually needed by administered anyway and what can result from them is not always the best. I think it all comes down to a time and a place. As a mother, I've never had one and don't ever plan on it (since I'm allergic to the main ingredient in them), but I'm thankful to have had the wonderful unmedicated births that I've had so far.


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#8 of 11 Old 08-14-2014, 09:09 AM
 
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Interesting thoughts ladies. Thanks for sharing . As a first time momma-to-be, I am interested in learning about both sides.

But I do have a question: does having really LOW bp affect labor (how difficult it is) or need for an the epidural? Does anyone know?? I have really low blood pressure and have trouble with most strenuous activities.... hence, this makes me wonder about labor. I fear that I won't be able to do it naturally and will end up with a C-section because I will be too exhausted. Or am I just being crazy?

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#9 of 11 Old 08-14-2014, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know about bp Kita. But it seems that low risk mothers who stay active during their pregnancy tend to handle labor a little better. (We have a nice thread going on exercising) in my mind labor is going to be a marathon so I'd better train for it.
I also I personally believe that your mindset is a huge factor.

But maybe someone can give you a more knowledgable response on the bp factor.
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#10 of 11 Old 08-14-2014, 01:24 PM
 
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Having low blood pressure makes having complications from an epidural more likely, as one of the most common side effects of the epidural is to lower blood pressure. It often does so much that women who have regular blood pressure require medication shortly after the epidural is administered to raise their blood pressure. Having extremely low blood pressure all the time can actually mean you are not a good candidate for an epidural at all because it could actually become dangerous.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/e...cle/007413.htm
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Epidura...deeffects.aspx
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/e...ons/000484.htm


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#11 of 11 Old 08-17-2014, 07:11 PM
 
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Thanks for the info, Ladies . I will talk to my doctor about it (I keep forgetting to)...

Married August 2012 .......    Baby BOY due Jan 6!
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