Your Epidural experience - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, I don't want to start a debate by any means. I am curious for those of you who birthed w/ an epidural (regardless of whether that was your intent or not ) how you felt about it?
***Heres my background (sorry-LONG) I was to birth in a birthing center. I labored at home for the majority of my labor. By the time I got to the center I was at an 8 (this was after about 33-35 hours of labor at home). I was feeling very impowered and ready to have my nautral birth. An hour later I was at a 9 and still feeling very in control. Then transition hit-I needed out of the tub, all I wanted to do was rock on the toilet. 10 hours of this and I was still at a 9. I was transfered to a hospitalk for several reasons (non super major though). I was exhausted, I had been laboring (real labor-not including the early can talk and rest through part of it) for 45 hrs. I was basically told at the hospital that they wanted to give me a c-section due to the length of time I had been laboring and how exhausted I was. I BEGGED them for other options. We agreed on an epidural to see if it would relax me enough and get me some rest till I was a 10cm. They ran it for 15 minutes and shut it off. It did work. The effects of it lasted maybe an hour. I was able to birth my dd in a standing position squatting and could feel the urge of every push. In the end it was a close to the birth I wanted as I could get, and it was beautiful.
**Well here I am getting ready to have another baby and I have conflicting issues about an epi. Prior to my first I was so against it, but now I feel like it wasn't a horrible thing for me.I find myself scared to go through such a hard labor again and feel a weakness to say "just give me an epi" also know every birth can be different.... I feel so conflicted......
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#2 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 03:27 PM
 
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My epidural(s) didn't work well.

I got my first one when I was 6 cm, about 19 hours into labor. It worked for 2 hours, then slowly wore off. There was a lot of fidding and fussing, but they were unable to get the epidural to work at.all. To the point that we (the midwife and I) decided to just pull it out, to give me freedom of movement. I moved into every position imaginable and then some at that point.

Around 9 cm, they tried to replace my epidural. The anesthesiologist tried for over 45 minutes to place it without success. Finally, they called in another anesthesiologist from home, and he had success. That epidural was placed at about hour 33 of labor. I was adamant that it be replaced, because I felt like a c-section was coming, and I wanted to be awake for the surgery.

That epidural worked for about 2 hours. It wore off, and I felt I couldn't take much more. Many other factors went into play, but I ended up with a c-section. After much fiddling and fussing with the epidural, they were able to get the epidural dosed, and I was able to use it for anesthesia during my c-section.
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#3 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 03:43 PM
 
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I had epidurals with my first two births. They worked really, really well.. basically the perfect epidural. They weren't turned off until after the birth, but still I felt an incredible urge to push and felt every sensation except the pain.

For my third, I had a homebirth with a very long early stage where I couldn't get any sleep. I told my midwife in the morning of the third day that if she wasn't born by evening, I was going to go to the hospital for an epidural and pitocin. She was born two hours later.

So, having experienced both.. if I were to get pregnant again, I'd go for another homebirth, with the knowledge that if it got to be too much, I could always just throw in the towel and go get my epidural.

Personally, I don't think epidurals are horrible. They come with risks, but so does everything. I don't see anything wrong with trying to go natural again at the birth center, but giving yourself permission to transfer if you need to. And it might just be that if you give yourself permission, and even a flexible 'deadline' your labor might be easier. I know mine kicked into high gear once I gave the baby her eviction notice.

-Rachel
Mommy to Colwyn, 10/03 ~ Lachlann, 8/05 ~ Fiona, 6/08 ~ Niall, 5/10
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#4 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 03:44 PM
 
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I had one with my first....my labor was pitocin induced, which *almost* anyone who has had a pitocin induced labor (meaning I wasn't in labor at all) will tell is HORRIBLE....after having transition strength contractions for over 5 hrs. and had only gotten to 1 1/2 cm's I was headed for a c-sec. So I asked for an epidural (I was also devestated, I didn't want anything to start out with) and eventhough it caused a few problems (my B/P dropped, as did dd1's heartrate) it did it's job. I went from 1 1/2 cm's to fully dialated in only 6 1/2 hrs. It did start to wear off at the end, so I had a major urge to push and I felt her head being born but other than that I didn't feel too much of anything else.

BUT eventhough it did what it was supposed to do for me....I really felt like I let myself down. I ended up having severe PPD and PTSD.

So with dd2 I decided that I could do it and I did. Had an easy 4 hr. (6 hrs. if you count the very first measly contraction) labor at a FSBC with a wonderful m/w.

HTH.
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#5 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 03:51 PM
 
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I was planning a natural birth, as well. It didn't happen

I've dealt with my guilt over immediately asking for an epidural after my hospital admission. I didn't get ANY labor support from the OB/GYN practice I used prior to the admission (during 72 hours of prodromal labor at home). It was exhausting - hardly any sleep during those three days. I only had the epidural for maybe two hours when I was offered to continue labor or consent to a cesarean. Guess which one I chose?

After having every intervention imaginable, including the tip of the iceberg, I'm planning the exact opposite for next time. Everyone has their pain limit. No one should be feel ashamed for agreeing to interventions during labor and birth. Of course, I still think to myself "what if I could have held out longer without the epi?" Grrrrr! We are our own worst enemy!
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#6 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 04:51 PM
 
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I had one with my first. After being stuck at 5 cm for 5 hours and also getting a migraine I decided I could do labor or I could do a migraine but I couldn't do both. My midwife suggested the epi to see if it would relax me enough to finish dilating.

Just after the doc walked out (after the 20 minutes of monitoring they do) I had a huge drop in blood pressure. The room exploded with people, I started to black out and just felt like I could drift off - I didn't care what was happening and that was the scariest part.

We dialed down the epi. I hated the way it made my lower half feel. I felt heavy and could not get comfortable. We let it completely wear off before I started pushing - I wanted to be able to feel.

I'm due in August. If I have another migraine (which I figure I will) I've already planned a number of other natural alternatives to deal with it. An epi will be my choice of last resort. I just didn't like the way it felt when I had it and I didn't like the way I felt after.

Each epi affects each mom differently and you have to do what is best for you and your baby. Creating and having the right support system is the first step to a great birth. Support the mom, always!
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#7 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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I was planning a natural birth, but that didn't happen. My water broke at the same time contractions started. I was in labor for 14 hours before I headed to the hospital (I wanted to labor as much as possible at home). At that point, my contractions were 3 minutes apart. So OBVIOUSLY I thought I was 6, 7, or 8 cm dilated by then. Welp, the nurses didn't believe my water broke (since I was a first time mom I'm sure) so they did a swab and it didn't fern. Then they checked me and I was 0, yes ZERO cm dilated. WTF! So, they did another swab and it didn't fern and they sent me back home :.

3 more hours of labor at home, and within those three hours I was in so much pain I couldn't stand it. I also had not been taking care of myself by eating. I was so worried about pooping on the table that I had barely a few crackers and a piece of toast since the beginning of labor. I was hydrated, but not well fed. I could hardly stand, my legs were shaking, I was shivering, and I couldn't find a position that was comfortable. All my labor pains were in my groin, never in my stomach or back or whereever the "normal" labor pains are. I was not expecting that. I felt like I had to poop from the beginning. I was miserable.

So, after three hours of hell, I told my doula and my dh that I was going back to the hospital and they WILL admit me bc this was unbearable. Like a 9+ on the pain scale. I was 99% sure at that point I was gonna opt for drugs. The only way I wouldn't is if I was transitioning already. Maybe?! I sure was in enough pain for it to be that stage of labor.

Back to the hospital we went. They checked me, and I was only 3 cm dilated! Then the nurse said, "Oh, at this rate, you'll be pushing in 8 hours." EIGHT HOURS?! I can't handle EIGHT MORE HOURS of this! So, epi it was. Of course, now I know that the nurse saying "8 hours" was a bunch of BS. You can't predict how long it will take.

But I have to say, it was like night and day. Once that epi started working, I was able to talk and relax and not necessarily enjoy the experience - I was in the hospital after all - but endure it without feeling like I'd rather die.

I had the epi throughout laboring and pushing. It was another 8 hours before I started pushing (much like the nurse predicted, however, my contractions slowed from 1.5 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart; and I'm SURE I would have been pushing well before 8 hours had I not gone with the epi). I didn't feel the contractions at all, except I could tell when one was coming on from my increased heartrate. I had oxygen most of that time because ds's heartrate kept dipping. I had to stay on one side most of those 8 hours of labor because the umbilical cord may have been getting smooshed during the contractions when I was on the other side. Eventually I pushed, and I pushed ds out in 45 minutes, with dh telling me when to push. No pain, except for two weeks after bc of the three hemorrhoids and three slight tears. (I thought "3" was supposed to be a lucky number!)

Even though the epi "saved" me, I think I'd still go for a natural birth if I had a 2nd baby. It's different the 2nd time I hear! And now I know what to do better (eat!) and what to expect.
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#8 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 06:27 PM
 
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I also had a long, painful early labor. Stayed home as long as I could stand it and then went to the midwife-led unit at the hospital and was 3cm. After 36 hours of no sleep I asked for the epi and transferred to the ob unit. I was afraid I wouldn't have anything left when it came time to push. They gave me a very light epidural, it took the pain away completely but I could still feel the pressure of the ctx. I had a lovely nap as did DH and my mom.

It wore off by the time I was 10cm, I pushed for 45 minutes and DD slid right out, tiny tear, 3 stitches. I held her right away and she was nursing within 10 mins of being born. I don't regret having the epi at all but this time around I'm going to try to get through without!
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#9 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 06:35 PM
 
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I had an epi with my first and plan to have one again. I knew the risks going in, but I also knew my body and my limits. I ended up being induced at 38 weeks due to pre-e. They started the induction at 4pm on Thursday and I got the epidural at noon on Friday. I was at 4 cm when I received it and was at 10 at a little after 4pm. I pushed for 15 minutes and out he came. I felt the pressure to push, but no pain. I almost tore. My ob compared it to a scraped knee. She put one stitch in and that was it. All in all, I was and still am very happy with the labor and delivery. I hope the next one goes as well(aside from the induction).
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#10 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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PItocin induction, malpositioned baby, long labor, extreme pain with little to no progress, I got the epidural. It wore off shortly after it was placed. The whole labor sucked, full of interventions that I now think were not needed.

I got my precious little angel out of the deal so I shouldn't say that everything sucked lol.
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#11 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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I had epidurals with my first two births. They worked really, really well.. basically the perfect epidural. They weren't turned off until after the birth, but still I felt an incredible urge to push and felt every sensation except the pain.
Me too. Mine was great - I was aware of contractions but they weren't painful and I did feel the urge to push. I took a light nap mid-labor, which I think was extremely helpful in getting me through the two hours of pushing. I would get one again.

I think a lot of the horror stories you hear have to do with improperly placed or improperly dosed epidurals. If you have a high-quality hospital, it can be a positive experience. I have no regrets.
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#12 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 07:06 PM
 
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Mine were good. Felt to push. Dilated much faster after I got them.

Wasn't my intention to have epis but I don't regret it at all.
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#13 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 07:24 PM
 
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I did not want one, got coerced into one, didn't like it. I didn't like the feeling of being trapped in the bed like a turtle on my back. I didn't like that I was so totally numb. I couldn't feel the urge to push, and I couldn't even feel when I WAS pushing, I had no idea if my body was actually doing anything or not.
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#14 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 07:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mikayla's mama View Post
PItocin induction, malpositioned baby, long labor, extreme pain with little to no progress, I got the epidural. It wore off shortly after it was placed. The whole labor sucked, full of interventions that I now think were not needed.
That's pretty much my epidural experience. My 2nd labor, in which I had IV meds, wasn't that bad. My 4th labor was a homebirth and while the pain was INTENSE towards the end, it was my best birth experience yet.

Wife of one and mom of five, including my HBAC twins!
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#15 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 08:18 PM
 
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I asked for mine 10 hours into a pit induced labor. I liked it for about 15 min. because I could finally relax a bit. Then I hated it almost as much as I hated the contractions. I hadn't planned on either an induction or the epi so that colors my feelings about it.

Mine was a bit lopsided. One side was more numb than the other. I could still feel the contractions and the right side ( I think it was the right?) of my abdomen still hurt a bit, but not bad. What I hated was my helplessness. I hated not being able to use my legs. My mom and DH had to help me reposition in the bed because I couldn't control my left leg at all. I couldn't get comfortable.

Next time, no pit. no epi.

Kristy, wife to Josh proud mama to Katie: since 3/08 and Emma since 8/12.

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#16 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 09:40 PM
 
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My pg stories are similar to yours. DD#1 I labored 45 hours and only got to 7cm. They were starting to talk c-section and above anything else I wanted to avoid that. Three hours of pitocin and an epi and DD was out.

For a long time after the birth I felt conflicted about how it all played out. I'd so badly wanted to go drug free. But I knew that I'd avoided a c-section. As my second labor approached, I felt as though I could do the drug-free thing but that if labor progressed as slowly as the first then I'd be ok with the epi.

Sure enough DD#2 took as long to come out, after 38 hours and me not very dilated, they told me the way to avoid a c-sec was to do the pit and epi to push things along. So we did. This time I don't have the kind of regrets I did with the first one. In the end, I was able to enjoy the birth, the epi wore off before I got to pushing so I felt all the contracting and push urges ... and that was fantastic!

I know on these boards people can get hung up on avoiding all the medical interventions. But despite my strong desire to go drug-free I really do feel that my experience was great. I had circumstances that I feel were reason enough to get the epi. I don't love epidurals, but I didn't have a bad experience.

If I were to have a third child, I'd approach the labor the exact same way as the first two - try to go drug free, but if I labored beyond two nights of no sleep, I'd be willing to do an epi again.
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#17 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 09:43 PM
 
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Mine went well
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#18 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 10:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by YesandNo View Post
I think a lot of the horror stories you hear have to do with improperly placed or improperly dosed epidurals. If you have a high-quality hospital, it can be a positive experience. I have no regrets.
I agree with this. I work in the same hospital I birthed twice in, and I've often heard epidural-placement referred to as an art form. It's very sad to me that with the amount of practice anesthesiologists are able to get, that they can't do a better job of it. And I'm so very grateful to have had competent doctors.

-Rachel
Mommy to Colwyn, 10/03 ~ Lachlann, 8/05 ~ Fiona, 6/08 ~ Niall, 5/10
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#19 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 11:07 PM
 
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I tried an epidural with my 2nd and it was a horrible experience. If I would have had an epi like some have had (where it worked great), I very possibly would have tried again.

It didn't take AT ALL. They kept pumping and pumping it in, increasing the amount and it didn't work at all. Not even my toe was numb!

Then, I don't remember the circumstance, but the anesthesiologist couldn't make it back for awhile so they kept it in me and I had to lay there for hours with it in and they wouldn't let me lay on my back because of it. It was HORRIBLE. My husband finally said, "Somebody get this thing out of her!!" Today I would have handled that totally differently, but 12 years ago I wasn't quite so bold.

This last pg (#4) was incredibly painful and I *almost* gave up. I even asked my midwife if it was too late to transer me because I couldn't take it anymore. She said, "Honey, you're fully dilated, all you have to do is push!" lol!!
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#20 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 11:30 PM
 
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I had a really hard time sleeping the last month of pregnancy so I went into labor very sleep deprived. I had contractions 6-8 minutes apart for 36 hours before I began dilating. Then the contractions went to every two minutes and by 40 hours I was 4 cm. By that point I was so tired I could barely walk. I hadn't been able to really eat for the previous 24 hours though I was drinking plenty. I decided that I needed a nap.

So I transfered and begged for an epidural. It was placed well and I blissfully slept. Ok, so I slept on and off for four hours. They woke me every hour to say, "I'm worried that you aren't progressing enough, we want to start pitocin." I told them to check my progress and I began progressing 2cm every hour so they let me keep sleeping with no pitocin. When I was fully dilated I pushed for an hour and made almost no progress and my contractions slowed down to every 8 minutes. That put me at 45 hours of labor. I said fuck it, got the pitocin started and slept for another hour. The nurse called it "laboring down." When I woke up again the head was really far into the birth canal though it took another 2 hours of pushing to finish getting her out. The epidural wore off about the time I woke up from that last nap and I felt the whole last hour and some of pushing.

I'm planning to try again for a homebirth the second time. If I need to transfer again I will but I'm hoping that things go a bit faster. I don't regret my experience or feel bad about it at all. I needed help so I got it. I then pushed out an 8 lb baby with a 95% head.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#21 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 11:45 PM
 
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I think it's great an epidural was able to help make your birth a beautiful experience. They are there for a reason, and just because I believe they get way overused, and have potential dangers, doesn't mean they should NEVER be used.

I would urge you to work through your previous birth and try to get to a place without fear (fear of pain, fear of "giving in", etc) and see what you really want. For the best chances of health for mother and baby, I believe natural childbirth is the best thing to plan (in the absence of need for medical interventions). But medical interventions, including pharmalogical pain medications, are there as backup if they are needed, and there should never be any shame or guilt for using necessary medicines.
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#22 of 74 Old 06-30-2008, 11:54 PM
 
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I think it's great an epidural was able to help make your birth a beautiful experience. They are there for a reason, and just because I believe they get way overused, and have potential dangers, doesn't mean they should NEVER be used.

I would urge you to work through your previous birth and try to get to a place without fear (fear of pain, fear of "giving in", etc) and see what you really want. For the best chances of health for mother and baby, I believe natural childbirth is the best thing to plan (in the absence of need for medical interventions). But medical interventions, including pharmalogical pain medications, are there as backup if they are needed, and there should never be any shame or guilt for using necessary medicines.
Thank you for saying that
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#23 of 74 Old 07-01-2008, 11:53 AM
 
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How cool that you got just the right amount of relief...unfortunately that doesn't happen for most. I got an epi after 6 hours of pit. I think if someone would have said...you are getting close, just a little longer I could have done it but it didn't happen that way so I got a one sided epi (accidentally) and had a baby just about an hour or so later.
Next time, no pit and no epi and hopefully no hospital!
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#24 of 74 Old 07-01-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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That's pretty much my epidural experience. My 2nd labor, in which I had IV meds, wasn't that bad. My 4th labor was a homebirth and while the pain was INTENSE towards the end, it was my best birth experience yet.
I went natural with my second DD, I walked into the hospital about 30 minutes before she was born (I wasn't going to let them force anything on me like they did with my first). They didn't even have time to place an IV. My labor and delivery with her was just amazing, no intervention at all except some minor stitching after she was born.
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#25 of 74 Old 07-01-2008, 01:04 PM
 
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well I was 10 days overdue when my waters broke so I knew I wouldnt be able to have babe in the birthing center as planned as their policy was if you were more then a week o/d, no birthing center. so after a week I was prepafrd for that at least.

my waters broke at 1am on the sat night/sun morn. I labored through the night and the next morning. At 2pm on the sunday afternoon, I went to the hospital expecting them to tell me I was at an 8 or something. Er no. I wasnt dilated AT ALL!! I kid you not. this was devestating, but because my waters had broke they decided that it was best to start inducing
so they gave me the cervidil gel, I managed to get to a 2 but that was it. by this time it was 9pm on the sunday night so out comes the pitocin. argh!
at 1am in the morning, she checked me again and i hadnt got past 2 and a half!! I had been laboring for 24 hours now and I just knew in my heart that i would end up getting c/s so I asked for an epidural. And thought the relief was immediate it was a horrible experience!!!:

EPIDURAL EXPERIENCE:
Anasthesiologist came down, I was sat on edge of bed, I was told I would feel electric shocks down one leg while it was being administered (WHAT??) and yes I do but the guy couldnt get it in for some reason, so another guy came down and did it - electric shocks again but they got it in in the end but then the itch started!!! what is with that? My whole body was itching like crazy - it was horrid!! No one told me about electric shocks and itching prior to this!!!

Anyway, at about 3pm on the monday I started feeling sick and my BP dropped along with babys heartbeat, hers dropped to 60!!! everyone starts going crazy and out come the internal fetal monitoring. Oh No, this is everyhting I didnt want!! By 5pm they suggested c/section was best option. well after 41 hours since water broke and after had jsut been through wild horse couldnt have kept me from the operating room just so DD could be born safely. She was, thank goodness even though I was in the op room for nealry an hour - grrrr. Anyway, I had a beautiful healthy little girl at the end of it all and I know thats the main thing but I ceratinly wouldnt wish my birth experience on anyone!!!
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#26 of 74 Old 07-01-2008, 01:18 PM
 
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I had an epi with #5 and #6, both were actually very good experiences... but, neither epidural was in for very long before the baby was born. I think with #5 it was in for about 90 minutes and with the last baby it was less than an hour. So basically I used epis for transition.

I was lucky in that both epis worked well and quickly, were not painful to have inserted, I didn't go too numb (I could still feel the contractions, I just didn't feel pain), my sensation returned quickly after it was turned off, pushing was fast and basically effortless, both babies had good apgars (8 and 9) and were alert.

I did have residual back pain, like a slight bruised feeling, that lingered for a year after epi #1, but I knew this was a risk. So far no residual back pain with epi #2.
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#27 of 74 Old 07-01-2008, 04:57 PM
 
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I was swearing that I should send my anesthesiologist flowers, personally. Horrible back labor with no progression for about ten hours was it for me ... the epi was perfect, I could totally feel the urge to push but no pain, and it let me relax enough that my son was born just an hour or two after getting it.

My only complaint is that because I couldn't feel the pain I also couldn't feel the tearing, so that wound up being pretty ugly ... I don't know if feeling it would have made me more able to regulate pushing to minimize that a little more or not.
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#28 of 74 Old 07-01-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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I had one when I was induced I hated getting it put in, and if I had known how far along I was I wouldn't have done it but it was great while it lasted. I still felt all of pushing since it only lasted an hour. The worst part was the OB treating me like I was still numb and not wanting to believe I wasn't.
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#29 of 74 Old 07-01-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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I had a good experience with my epideral. When I got to the hospital I was 5.5 cm dilated and didn't get the epi until I was almost 7 cm. It worked well- stopped feeling contractions about 10 minutes after it was placed, allowed me to dose off (was in labor all night at home), but I still felt the urge to push. I was fully dilated 2.5 hours after getting it and pushed my son out 2 hours after that. I didn't have any side effects afterwards. Looking back I probably could have finished labor without it but I didn't know any different at the time and don't regret getting it.

Kirsten, mama to Monkey since May 2007 and Bean born 11/7/09
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#30 of 74 Old 07-02-2008, 07:36 AM
 
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:

Any misspellings or grammatical errors in the above statement are intentional;
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
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