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AIBU re pain relief in childbirth?

(140 Posts)
MogwaiTheGremlin Sat 15-Feb-14 15:34:40

Just been for my booking in appointment at the hospital and one of the questions related to my first labour with ds. They asked what pain relief I had and I said 'oh everything. pethidine, gas & air and then an epidural' to which the midwife replied "oh aren't you the greedy one" shock

I found my first labour horrendous - nowhere near as bad as some of the horror stories I've read on here - but I hated every second of it. ds was back-to-back and I didn't cope with the pain at all well. After failing to progress I was prepped for c section and ended up delivering in theatre via ventouse.

I am terrified of giving birth again and am counting on an epidural to get me through. But attitudes like this really scare me because it feels like pain relief is not as forthcoming as it should be.

This hospital has a reputation for completely natural births so I'm thinking maybe I should switch to somewhere that is more likely to give me the drugs I know I will need.

AIBU to be annoyed by the midwife's comment? Am I overreacting by thinking of switching hospitals?

Bogeyface Sat 15-Feb-14 15:36:53

I think YABU to be so annoyed at her comment, it didnt sound judgmental to me, just jokey. But you YWNBU to change to a hospital that fits more with your birth choices, in the same way as if you wanted a no pain relief birth it wouldnt be a good idea to book at a high tech high intervention hospital.

Finola1step Sat 15-Feb-14 15:38:25

YANBU re the midwife's comment. It was a silly thing to say but not with malicious intent.

YABU to make the big decision to change hospitals because of one small, flippant comment.

Congratulations btw.

BlueFrenchHorn Sat 15-Feb-14 15:39:19

Yanbu you don't get a medal for not having pain relief. I had an epidural with dc1 - brilliant. They refused me one with dc2 as I wasn't in enough pain apparently. Had G&A. Experienced labour with and without an epidural and for me, it was LOADS better with the epidural!

After a couple days no one gives a shit how uou got through the labour anyway.

Have whatever you feel gets you through the labour.

hamptoncourt Sat 15-Feb-14 15:39:49

Oh dear. I think you are overreacting a bit to her comment but she should be aware that some women have horrendous births and are then scared of going through labour again.

I wouldn't switch hospitals over it unless you really want to. And to be honest you cannot possibly know which drugs you will need this time as each pregnancy and birth is different and things may be so different for you this time around.

Can you speak to someone at the hospital about their usual pain relief processes and see if that puts your mind at rest? If it doesn't then at least you can switch hospitals knowing that you aren't just taking one throwaway comment out of context. Don't most hospitals have PALS advisors patients can talk to about this kind of stuff?

I really hope your birth goes smoothly.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 15-Feb-14 15:39:58

I know when i had PFB, once I got to 4cm they said "You can have whatever pain relief you like, do you want an epidural? "

It took the pressure off a bit because I knew that step-by-step I was in control of the pain relief on offer.

(Though IRL, of I'd asked for an epidural, I'll bet that there wouldn't be one available hmm )

The midwife's comment? Meh, I'd let it go over my head TBH. How many people go in and joke that they want "everything" ?

Write in your Birth Plan what you want.

Joysmum Sat 15-Feb-14 15:41:10

I'd talk to your midwife about it as a throwaway comment by one person won't be representative of a whole hospital and you need reassuring about that as strangers on a forum can't.

I remember saying on my birth plan that I 'might have a little gas and air'. Needless to say I ended up having an emergency C section for my smugness! grin

I also specified I wanted DH to be the first to hold our DD and was fobbed off and told this went against policy angry but the C Section meant DH held her first so I got things the way I wanted on that.

circlebeginning Sat 15-Feb-14 15:44:06

I'd ask for an anaesthetist consultation. Let them know you mean business.

Seriously though, anaesthetists know there stuff and I've found their input well worth it. One said to me that he liked the consultations as it meant decisions couldbe made when everyone was relaxed!

Wantsunshine Sat 15-Feb-14 15:46:43

I can see why this comment would worry you. At some hospitals they do delay the drugs and the epidural may be for cost saving, no idea but I would maybe try to speak to anaesthetist

MogwaiTheGremlin Sat 15-Feb-14 15:46:53

You guys have to be unanimous otherwise how can I make a decision?grin

The midwife was lovely in all other respects so i probably am overreacting to her comment.

I guess I'm just sensitive to references about pain relief because I'm v worried about not getting it second time round. But how much sway can i give to hospital heresay? Everyone's experiences are so wildly different.

Is there a website or something that sets out epidural rates?!

Mishmashfamily Sat 15-Feb-14 15:50:52


It staggers me that people are expected to pull them selfs together and try and get through with as little pain relief as possible.

Why? If it was a bloke they would start with the friggin highest dose!

My first labour was piss , four hours long, gas and air.

My second labour was from the depths of hell. I started in pool, it as lush - gas and air.

Then I had failure to progress , the pain was unspeakable. If I had an off switch I could have ended my life there! Ended up with EMC, Then I had a fucking panic attack on the theatre table and tried to sit up and knock the curtain thing over so ended up with general anaesthetic .

It was horrific.

Thankfully all the staff from the midwifes ,consultant, theatre team were amazing and came up to my bed to debrief me.

Never again !!

dramajustfollowsme Sat 15-Feb-14 15:53:54

I am scared about labour after I got a post-dural puncture headache delivering dd. I really don't want an epidural again to avoid that but concerned that I am limiting my pain relief options. The consultant says there is no reason to fear the same thing happening again as it is unlikely but it does go through my mind.
I am trying to ignore the fact that this baby will have to come out somehow!

Mishmashfamily Sat 15-Feb-14 15:53:58

If a 16 stone muscle bound rugby player was offered hard core pain killers to set a broke leg, why is it such a battle for women labouring hmm

MogwaiTheGremlin Sat 15-Feb-14 15:54:34

Sorry didn't see other posters when I replied!

I've got an appointment with a midwife supervisor to go through my first labour experience which I'm hoping will help.

I know every labour is different but, for me, the sheer terror of not knowing what/when pain relief will be available is the problem. I am much more scared this time round which won't exactly help when the contractions start!!

I'll look into PALS / anaesthetist consultation thanks.

Mishmashfamily Sat 15-Feb-14 15:55:29

drama my best friend had that flowers she had a water birth the next time, screamed the place down but was ok! grin

verdiletta Sat 15-Feb-14 15:57:36

She was probably just being jokey, but I think midwives in general, and this one in particular, should be sensitive to the fact that for many women childbirth has been a nightmare and they are very worried about going through it again. You're trying to make sure that your next experience is a positive one, and this should be respected and supported by your midwife.
I would be pulling out all the stops to get what I wanted if I were you - I asked for, and got, an elective section for my second after a horrific first birth. An epidural is hardly a big ask!

MogwaiTheGremlin Sat 15-Feb-14 16:01:32

Vediletta that's what I think! My second choice hospital has the highest c section rate in the country so if I went there I reckon they'd be more than happy to give me an epidural as long as I push the bloody thing out grin

MerryMarigold Sat 15-Feb-14 16:02:52

I have to say, labour was hideous. I would warn against a late epidural though. I had one at 9cms (shouldn't have done, bad midwife, long story) and was then left labouring (without pain!) for another 5-6 hours. When the staff changed and the epi was wearing off, tried to push baby out, but couldn't, contractions had waned (having been going full throttle all that time) and I couldn't feel properly to push. Ended up with forceps, a lot of damage to me and ds1. Ds1 has some developmental problems, possibly as a result. So, yes, I do regret my epidural. It sounds like a hospital committed to natural births (NB. not drug free births!) will have midwives who are much more hands-on and helpful. This will make a huge difference.

Mouthfulofquiz Sat 15-Feb-14 16:04:04

I would say that just should just disregard the comment from the midwife entirely. If you have any issues from having pain relief then forget about those too!
You had a successful outcome from your first birth - you and the baby went home healthy which is theist positive thing to concentrate on!
My birth plan always says - do whatever is needed to have a healthy outcome. Will ask for pain relief and expect it if I need it. Will have a Caesarian if needed.
I didn't need much last time but who is to say that it won't be different this time?? If I need all the pain relief in the world then I'll be having it!!!
Have some confidence in asking for what you want and don't let yourself be knocked by a flippant comment.
Best of luck!

eightandthreequarters Sat 15-Feb-14 16:05:18

Just wanted to say that my first labour was a lot like yours... prepped for C-section, late epidural, back-to-back, forceps... it was a nightmare. I needed serious pain relief. I understand how traumatised you must have felt and how scary it is to face the possibility of not having pain relief.

The next was easy as could be... 1/2 an hour of real pain and under 10 minutes of pushing, a couple of half-hearted gulps of gas-and-air were all that I needed.

Make sure you can get the pain relief you may need - that's crucial and will help you prepare mentally. So I think the meetings with the midwife supervisor and anaesthetist are a great idea. If you get the idea they may try to deny you pain relief or talk you out of it... yes, I'd switch hospitals.

But also be aware that this time around will hopefully be a much better, and easier, experience for you and the baby!

Kveta Sat 15-Feb-14 16:07:17

I was absolutely ADAMANT that DC2 would be delivered under the influence of an epidural after a horrendous experience with DC1's birth (in labour for 2 days before they would allow me any pain relief other than fucking paracetamol, eventually got a nice midwife who believed that I was in actual pain, and allowed me an epidural, and after that failed, DH went to find nice midwife as the one in charge of me didn't believe that it had failed - and it had, so had new one sited, then ended up with forceps/tear/episiotomy, and an eventual 72 hour labour).

Anyway, at every single opportunity with my second pg, I said I wanted an early epidural, then once I was actually in labour, reiterated my request approximately every 5 seconds from 4cm onwards (the midwife just LOVED me...). So I then got the epidural as requested, and of course the stupid thing didn't actually numb my pelvis at all, just my legs!! Gas and air got me through to 10cm and an hour of pushing, then they twigged that, like her brother before her, DD was back to back and head presenting wrong, so I ended up with a spinal and high forceps. However, the recovery time from her birth was a couple of weeks compared to about 4 months with DS - and I had a toddler to look after too! So if I had a third, I'd still ask for mega-drugs, because let's face it, the baby has to emerge at some point, and it's way better if you feel like you're in control of it a bit! And for me, labour does not=control, but epidural does.

Just be sure of what you are asking for, and make sure to ask for it at every single opportunity! Good luck smile

lljkk Sat 15-Feb-14 16:07:33

I think you are over-reacting, sorry. It was meant as a joke but sensitive subject for you because of your fears, which I hope anyway are unusual compared to most 2nd time mums. Concentrate on getting your own needs met.

specialsubject Sat 15-Feb-14 16:11:42

it is beyond me why, in 2014, no woman can have all the pain relief she wants in labour. Doesn't the baby count if you don't suffer as much as possible?


ShatzePage Sat 15-Feb-14 16:12:42

You are over reacting-she was probably just making a flippant comment to break the ice. I really don't get the analogy with broken legs/labour either. A broken leg is not natural-labour is. Our bodies are built for labour and thousands of women manage it without pain releif every day.

I am not saying don't have pain relief if you feel you need it btw.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 15-Feb-14 16:14:45

It sounds like a light hearted joke to me.

Maybe a bit tactless though.

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