Has anyone been refused an epidural?

(85 Posts)
bedtimeyet Wed 06-Feb-13 12:53:07

I am 38 weeks and hoping to get an epidural this time, so just want to know if most people that want one get one, and how many are told "its too early" or "its too late". Or are persuaded not to have one.

recall Sat 16-Feb-13 00:30:43

You see, I'm not so sure that it is always due to circumstances beyond their control. Maybe its because I have seen through the looking glass, and worked in these environments. Sometimes poor practice has nothing to do with lack of resources, and more to do with lack of empathy and compassion.

Perriwinkle Sat 16-Feb-13 00:35:29

Oh, and recall the issue about you being able to have an epidural if you'd needed an emergency c-section doesn't really affect this. The staffing of the obstetric theatre for emergencies takes priority over routine low risk births so of course you would have had one if that circumstance had arisen.

That's exactly what happened to me. All the while I was considered to be in early active labour with a baby who wasn't in distress they were perfectly comfortabale with refusing my request for an epidural, despite it being on my birth plan. Apparently there was not enough staff to monitor me, as other women further on in labour than me aalready had epidurals in place. I was not presenting a problem at that stage in terms of how my labour was progressing.

However, things changed very quickly and an hour or so later, when feotal decelerations were giving so much cause for concern that they couldn't even risk waiting for the results of a blood test to ascertain the baby's oxygen levels, I was whisked straight to theatre and given a spinal block and he was whipped out pronto.

Perriwinkle Sat 16-Feb-13 00:40:48

Well recall I have to take this at face value and believe, as I was told by the Director of Midwifery in her letter to me, that the reason I was refused an epidural was down to lack of resources. Pure and simple.

If I am forced to consider that it was due to lack of empathy and/or compassion I will feel more upset and angry about it than I do already. sad

recall Sat 16-Feb-13 01:30:22

Yes * periwinkle* I can understand that, you have my full empathy regarding this, it is very traumatic, and I can understand your point of view, I don't doubt that in your situation it was due to lack of resources. please don't get upset <<big hug>> I was just thinking about my own experiences, both as a patient and when I was a Nurse, I realise that they aren't necessarily relevant to your situation - sorry.

I just find it unbelievable that women who are rolling around in sheer agony are refused analgesia. I remember shaking like an animal that had been shot or something pleading for help, and people plodding about all normal. Very frightening.

CalamityJ Sat 16-Feb-13 09:37:33

recall I remember shaking like an animal that had been shot or something pleading for help, and people plodding about all normal

That's exactly how I was when my local anaesthetic operation didn't work & all I got was a hand to hold (bloody hard poor nurse!) And as many on this thread had their experiences years ago but can still remember, get upset & are angry I'm interested in knowing what I can do to learn from others experiences to ensure history has the minimum chance of being repeated (never saying never)

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 11:49:41

Recall I suspect you may be right- it's not such a stretch to imagine there might be some midwives, especially those who are very pro NCB and feel there are serious downsides associated with epidurals, to not want their patients to have them. Not out of cruelty, but perhaps a feeling that they're 'saving' women from themselves. And it's true, there are upsides to not having an epidural. I was able to walk, wee, shower, move around and breast feed within six hours of giving birth with no problems, and although I'd still have chosen the epidural, I'm honest enough to admit that it was nice being able to move around easily when looking after my newborn.

But my friend who's an anaesthetist at a different hospital said my case sounded like the midwife looking after me was the one 'blockingg' it, if you like. I waited for three and a half hours but the anaesthetist, when I saw him, said he'd only been called a few minutes earlier. So it can't have been because he was with someone else. And I had a midwife with me throughout the time I was waiting because DD needed continuous foetal monitoring and, shockingly enough, I was finding it rather hard to keep still enough when going from 1 to 9cm in a back to back labour with contractions lasting 90 seconds at a time. So it doesn't sound like it was due to resources necessarily.

recall Sat 16-Feb-13 13:05:15

I noticed on OBEM this week, the midwife told her patient that she couldn't have an epidural for 6 hours. The poor girl was pleading for one. When the next midwife came on duty, she said she could have one, and organised it promptly. WTF ?????? So that girl was at the mercy of the firsts MW who had simply decided not to give her one . WRONG !angry

Perriwinkle Sat 16-Feb-13 13:56:30

I'm sure there's an element of midwives feeling that people are fussing and crying "epidural" too.

The other thing about my situation that I have not yet mentioned is the way I was told I couldn't have an epidural. I was first told by the midwife "looking after me" and I use that term advisedly. At no point did I become abusive or rude towards her, I was simply in despair at the news and very upset and frightened about what was to come. I suppose I came across as a pathetic jibbering wreck really. At no point in the preceding nine months had it ever even remotely crossed my mind that I could be refused an epidural when the time came. No one, medical or non medical, had mentioned that this was something that could possibly happen and I'd never ever heard of it happening to anyone else. This meant I was totally unprepared for what happened to me and I was understandably floored in it. At no point was I offered any or the sort of empathy, care or reassurance that you see depicted on One Born Every Minutewhen the camerasare rolling hmm

Next, a rather stern senior midwife came into the room and told me in a rather patronising way why I was being refused one. She came right up close to my face was calling my name and said "now look at me and listen to me carefully". I was crying and at that point I was offered gas and air as an alternative which they knew was clearly stated on my birth plan as being something I didn't want.

My husband and mother were both with me the whole time and found the whole thing very harrowing too. My mother says she'll never forget me looking at her and saying "mum, please do something to help me" and her feeling of helplessness as a mother.

Horrible, hideous experience from start to finish, albeit with a wonderful outcome. sad

Ushy Sat 16-Feb-13 23:41:44

Perri so sorry to hear what you said "Horrible, hideous experience from start to finish"

Actually, it is just the same of the Mid Staffs issue - incompetent, cruel staff.

Not saying they started off like that, but whatever the NHS machine did to them, they end up behaving no better than sadists.

So sorry and a bit angry on your behalf sad

jellybeans Sat 16-Feb-13 23:43:50

I was refused as there were not enough staff on able to do it. Gutted!

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