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epidural at 3cm. Am I a wimp?

(38 Posts)
jujumum78 Wed 08-May-13 13:43:52

DS2 was born last week and I hoped to go natural as far as possible after a difficult induced first labour with DS1. However at 3cm I was bawling my eyes out and asking for epidural. (Unfortunately I ended up with an accidental spinal block instead and lay paralysed from waist down for 4 hours.)

I know we all have different rates of pain endurance but has anyone else caved as quickly as me? My friend got to 9cm before asking for an epidural. Tell me ladies how do you do it????

CoffeePleaseSir Wed 08-May-13 13:46:29

I was 5cm when I caved with my first dc, my pain threshold is zero grin
Dc2 I was to late (quick labour) and didn't get one.

Lottapianos Wed 08-May-13 13:46:41

Ok, I have never given birth but I am begging you to please not get into a competition with yourself or anyone else about this. There are no medals for giving birth in a particular way. You felt you wanted an epidural, you asked for it - that was a smart thing to do as far as I am concerned.

I would probably be asking for an epidural after the first few cramps! You have a beautiful new baby - enjoy him and I hope your recovery is speedy. Well done thanks

DottyDot Wed 08-May-13 13:46:41

Pah! That's nothing - I had mine at less than 2cm.... <competitive>

I was induced, had a huge reaction to it (passed out), then woke up in absolute agony and eventually the consultant agreed to me having an epidural even though I wasn't at all dilated. Just couldn't cope with the pain - although it took about 3 hours for them to agree to it...

So, I don't know how people do it - I get very jealous when I see all the lovely births on OBEM.

DottyDot Wed 08-May-13 13:47:17

ooh - congratulations by the way - didn't see that your ds2 was born last week! grin

ShowOfHands Wed 08-May-13 13:57:04


When I had ds, I had no pain relief at all until a spinal block to perform an emcs. I was in labour for 38 hours and it didn't hurt a bit even with back to back contractions. Completely painless.

Is this anything to do with pain thresholds or how brilliant I am? It's bog all to do with it. It was to do with the position of the baby and the progression of that labour. You can't compare pain thresholds because no other woman had your baby, your body and that positioning.

I have a dd too and I was in such agonising pain at 1cm that I thought I was turning inside out and/or dying. It was unrelenting, white hot, excruciating pain from beginning to end. I was at home so had no pain relief (until I transferred for an emcs after hours of futile pushing) but had I been in a hospital, I would have been offering the baby up to any person who would knock me the feck out. It was awful.

You can't compare. You had the labour you had and you needed that epidural. I battled on at home with no pain relief and instead of enjoying the birth of my dc and enjoying any break from the agony, I just remember the whole thing as a ball of awful pain which it took me years to recover from.

Well done and congratulations and do not for a single second let anybody tell you that you're weak or a wuss or it's anything to do with faulty pain thresholds.

jujumum78 Wed 08-May-13 13:57:41

I think it's impossible not to have an ideal birth scenario in your head, (particularly if you watch OBEM!), as a woman I always wanted to experience giving birth naturally. My baby is beautiful and I do enjoy him every minute. I'm just genuinely fascinated how some women manage the pain and I clearly don't. Though already I feel much better knowing I'm not the only one! I've ended up with 2 c-sections and each time I felt there as a knock on effect of every decision along the way that led up to that.

jujumum78 Wed 08-May-13 14:00:30

showofhands - love your post!

plantsitter Wed 08-May-13 14:06:02

Everyone's different innit? I went from 4cm to fully dilated in about half an hour with both births but it took me ages to get there - so 3cm isn't necessarily early on.

I hate it when people say some people's tolerance of pain is better than others as it's like saying some people are just brave and some people are wussy. Maybe it just actually hurts more!

Jsa1980 Wed 08-May-13 22:15:20

I had an epidural before I let them put the drip to induce me in my arm, I was less than 2cm. I don't feel bad about it, it was what was best for me and my birth. I was absolutely petrified of labour and it calmed me down no end

Caladria Thu 09-May-13 01:01:25

I did the whole thing on paracetamol and ten minutes of gas and air. This had fuck all to do with my capacity to tolerate pain and everything to do with luck - it just didn't hurt all that much. Well, not until transition and by then it was too late. Hate hate hate the dumbass idea that taking fewer painkillers makes you a better person.

StiffyByng Thu 09-May-13 15:18:58

I never got near the point of thinking I wanted an epidural. Gas and air, and the birth pool, was fine for me. I wasn't braver than you, I was luckier, because labour just didn't hurt that much. It's chance, as said upthread. It can be the support you're getting - as I was a HB I had a 1-1 midwife who supported me throughout, and had I had to go for long periods without her reassuring presence, maybe I would have been tenser and less able to cope with the pain. But really I think it was just having less painful contractions. #2 is due any time now so I will be interested to see how a second labour compares. But please don't beat yourself up. You did brilliantly. And loads of the OBEM births are epidurals anyway.

bangersmashandbeans Thu 09-May-13 15:23:58

How many cm you are is irrelevant to the pain as it depends how quickly you got there etc. I was examined with DD and the doc said you're 2 cm but you need an epidural now because this is going to be fast and you won't cope with the pain - pretty much his exact words!

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Fri 10-May-13 06:30:33

I had an epidural with dd1, and I can't have been more than 3cm dilated. I'd been about 3cm for hours as dd move at the last mj ire and was no longer in the right position to push on my cervix.
Straight after I was disappointed that I'd had one, but now looking back I'm glad I had one, and I'm glad that the option was there.

WhispersOfWickedness Fri 10-May-13 06:51:50

I was induced with dc1 and was screaming for an epidural at 5-6 cm, I was in so much pain. When I was pregnant with dc2, I said I wanted to try and manage without one but I really wasn't convinced as I assumed I had a low pain threshold.
I can honestly say I felt no pain with dc2, just a lot of pressure, and the only time an epidural crossed my mind was when I thought 'this is fine, I definitely don't need an epidural this time!'
Given that I am the same person, I can only conclude that the pain i felt was nothing to do with my pain threshold and 'wussiness' and everything to do with having totally different labours.
Besides, it is NOT a competition, it doesn't matter how much pain relief anyone needs compared to anyone else.
Congratulations on your new DS smile

YoniYoniNameLeft Fri 10-May-13 06:54:04

Nope, not a wimp at all. I had two days of excruciating contractions and kept getting turned away from hospital because I "wasn't in labour yet". The next day I went back thinking that I must be really far along - nope, three bloody centimetres! Give me that sodding epidural!

I'm glad I asked for it at 3 cms because it took ages for it to come and I requested it early in the morning and DD1 was only born at 9.14 pm.

It just goes to show that every labour is different. With DD2 the pain was nothing compared to the first time, I didn't need an epidural. I was in less pain at 10 cms, with DD2, than I was at 2 cms with DD1.

Fairylea Fri 10-May-13 06:58:53

Well I guess I win.... I had an elective section with ds after hating the whole birth experience with dd! At least I knew with a section I'd be guaranteed pain free during all procedures and no labour pains! ... and pain managed well afterwards. It was great smile

In all honesty though, there's no such thing as being a wimp. You wouldn't have a tooth out without pain relief. Don't feel bad about wanting it for birth!

BooCanary Fri 10-May-13 07:13:35

Both times I had no pain relief, apart from a few minutes of G&A. Am I brave? Am I hell, I'm just petrified of needles and the idea of an epidural is 100000000000 times more scary than the pain of giving birth. And as for an elective cs <faints> !

SJisontheway Fri 10-May-13 07:18:44

I also think the pain threshold thing is a red herring. Some peoples labour are just more painful. I've heard people describe labour like a bad period pain. Mine was nothing like that. It was pain like I'd never experienced before. I'm not a wimp. I've had appendicitis and broken bones, but labour pain for me was far far worse. I don't regret my epidural with my middle dc. It was absolutely the right decision for me at that time.

iliketea Fri 10-May-13 07:32:52

i had an epidural about 2cm as I was induced and after the agony of "finding someone with small fingers to fit through my cervix" shock and break my waters, I told them here was no chance in hell of them putting syntocinon up without getting me an epidural first.

Pain is influenced by a lot of things, maybe anxiety about your first birth affected your pain levels so you needed an epidural. Either way - they offer pain relief for people to use, having an epidural does not mean you are a wimp in any way, shape or form.

Fairylea Fri 10-May-13 07:37:44

I think it also depends what your contractions are like... everyone kept telling me they'd come and go with a gap or break inbetween... fuck that. Mine were literally non stop. No gap, just relentless pain.

I got to the point I wanted someone to knock me out or shoot me rather than carry on.

When I watch obem and I see people having gaps between contractions it seems really odd as I just didn't have that.

When I had the elective section with ds it was a few mins of pain having the spinal and then pain free really.

Recovery wasn't any worse than recovery from dd which was a ventouse delivery. But I appreciate it's different for different people. The section wasn't without complications either... they found out I had undiagnosed placenta previa and I lost a lot of blood! I don't do pregnancy and birth well ! smile

youaintallthat Fri 10-May-13 19:22:14

i was induced and was actually asking if i could have the epidural before they started lol!! I'm not brave and I'm not going to pretend I am...I don't think it makes you a better or stronger person whether you do it drug free or maxed out on pain meds - I had mine put half way through a 9 hour labour not sure how dilated I was but i was so happy once it was in I got total relief so much so that I fell asleep straight away and then got woke up by the midwife when I was fully dilated!!

DownstairsMixUp Fri 10-May-13 19:37:11

I think everyone is different though so pain is subjective. I asked for an epidural when it was too late but my pain threshold is generally quite high!

jujumum78 Sat 11-May-13 14:31:24

wow i didn't realise my post would get so many responses, thanks everyone. I guess it is just luck at the end of the day. At least if I'm ever crazy enough to have another pregnancy I know it will be a painless elective cs!

AmandaPayneNeedsANap Sat 11-May-13 16:44:44

I hate all this stuff about 'pain thresholds'. Yes, some women are able to cope with more pain, but pain is subjective. Many are just in more pain. And in my case, what I guess was 3cm (no internals so can't be sure) was agony and the last bit, including crowning and pushing (with no drugs at all), was utterly painless. My contractions felt like being kicked in the back by a horse in the earlier stages.

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