I was induced (by drip) and had a great labour - contractions were very manageable and the fantastic midwife let me be without internals until I requested pain relief. I suddenly felt pressure which made me forget all about the contractions but thought it was too early to push as I had only been in labour for 4 or 5 hours and felt the pressure would be too much for another 5 or 6 hours. When the anesthetist arrived I was being examined, and I was already 6cm and the midwife said I could push - 5 minutes later just before the anesthetist started I was 10cm, but they administered it anyway. I think it gave me a mental boost and although it didn't start working until DD was almost out I *did manage to get my head back together after 5 minutes of madness once transition started and continued to have a great birth.
My story sounds a bit like yours. I had one when I was probably fully dilated - I had been induced as well but as it was only 2.5 hours since they started the drip they didn't think I would be that far along as it was my first baby and the senior anaesthetist was doing them a favour as he was about to go off shift so they didn't want to hold him up. I had it in maybe 15 mins before ds got into trouble and they were about to get me ready to go to theatre when they discovered I was fully dilated - I remember the midwife being completely shocked and asking was the doctor sure . DS was on his way down- so a bit of pushing and forceps and out he came. The doctor who delivered him said how lucky I was noone bothered to check how far on I was as I really wouldn't have wanted an emergency forceps without any pain relief.And she was right.
Was told I could not have an epidural after 8cm dilated, the lovely midwife told the anaesthatist I was "seven and a half" so I got one yipee! Have a few friends who were refused one as were well dilated.
Was my DC1 too, and funnily enough I needed the epidural after delivery anyway because the placenta got stuck, so the surgical team had to come and remove it, so it went much more smoothly because by that stage the epidural had just started working.
I have to day though, the epidural makes no difference to the intensity of the pushing! Maybe because it hadn't started to work but the midwife did say the only way to relieve the pressure of the pushing was just to get the baby out and that pain relief at that stage won't help!
I had my first epidural when DS3 was born in January. I basically ran out of puff having been in pre-labour for days, and though I don't know how dilated I was at the time, from memory I started pushing pretty soon after it took effect. They gave me just enough so there was no more pain, but I could feel when to push, which was perfect and it was a lovely calm birth (the calmest of the three).
I was given the choice at 10cm: I'd been fighting the urge to push since 7cm a losing battle and the anaesthetist kept getting called away. They got another consultant in but did a quick internal and said 'you're 10cm, you can have one now but it'll slow things down and you're more likely to need forceps/ventouse. I think you can do it without.' I agreed, but not entirely sure how fair it is asking a lady that out of it on pain & entonox to make a decision