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Epidural or soldier through?

(32 Posts)
MamaDuckling Tue 24-Nov-15 08:25:06

I had a fairly traumatic first birth. Waters went early, horrendous contractions for 30+ hours, pethidine, still only 4cm... Then came the water pool, gas and air, and eventual attempt at pushing some 10 hours later. Then it all stopped, I was 'induced' and ended up in theatre with a ventouse delivery. The epidural was a god send.

Throughout this pregnancy I'd sworn blind I'd opt for epidural at the onset of bigger contractions. MW is very much pushing me to go to MLU as labour ward is next door, but I've heard too many stories of women being 'too late' for an epidural by the time they get over to the labour ward.

Anyone else out there so put off by their attempt at a natural birth that they went straight for the drugs with no.2?

I know there's an increased risk of needing assisted delivery/episiotomy but I suspect I might anyway. Consultant commented last time that there's not much space between my two holes down there!

I also know this baby is back to back at 35 wks, so pain could be even worse?

timeforabrewnow Tue 24-Nov-15 08:34:01

I say go for epidural if that is what you want. I had it for birth no. 2 and it was fantastic. I did need a ventouse but baby was fine and no tears etc. And yes I did have a difficult first delivery before (about 14 months before)

Baby no. 3 I had only gas and air, and that was fine too. Much quicker than the previous 2 labours and a bigger baby.

flowers do what you feel is best for you

MamaDuckling Tue 24-Nov-15 08:42:53

Thanks time.
I think my only hesitation is that MW keeps saying, 'oh but this labour will probably only be 3 hours...'!
How does she know?! It might be, but it could be just as awful, especially if baby stays back to back!

OllyBJolly Tue 24-Nov-15 08:45:55

I was so insistent that my birth was drug free I had a horrendous first time. Awful. 26 hours of labour, hours of pushing, and eventual high cavity forceps delivery. Baby in intensive care for a few days.

I was so insistent on an epidural second time and had it written on top of my notes. As it happened, I went into hospital because my waters broke during the night, labour started while in the car, I was in hospital less than 10 minutes when the baby was born.(20 minute labour altogether). Didn't even get undressed. No time for an epidural and it wasn't needed. (nearly 10lb baby)

I was offered gas and air for stitches but really didn't like it - probably a bit overwhelmed by that time (an hour earlier I'd been asleep!)

Now whenever someone tells me they are not taking drugs for labour I tell them to be open minded. Opt for the epidural and you can always decline at the time if you feel you don't need it.

Good luck second time around x

LumpySpaceCow Tue 24-Nov-15 08:49:08

Go in with an open mind. If you want one then get one. You may be better going straight to medical side though so you could get one quicker if you wanted one.

originalusernamefail Tue 24-Nov-15 08:50:00

I was one of those 'too late' ladies. Actually got the epidural in but on examination it was time to push so never got it started hmm. Knowing then what I know now I would power through as the point I felt I could t do anymore was also the point it was near the end iyswim. Although for me I'd asked for the epidural for a rest rather than the pain was unbearable, I had a long latent phase (not that anyone explained what that was at the time!) and had already been having contractions 3 mins apart for 3 days at that stage, they were starting to get more intense and the MW was fairly sure I had at least another 12 hours of labour ahead of me (turned out to be 2) and I just couldn't go anymore. How I'll be with this baby I don't know although our hospital is a small DGH and only has a labour ward so know MLU so I wouldn't have to transfer to get the epidural if needed.

MamaDuckling Tue 24-Nov-15 08:50:45

Thanks for the advice. I guess the only thing the labour ward is lacking is the lovely big rooms and birthing pools... Decisions decisions! Epidural more tempting though...

MamaDuckling Tue 24-Nov-15 08:51:51

Has anyone started on labour ward and gone to MLU for the final stages??

rosieliveson1 Tue 24-Nov-15 08:52:56

I had an epidural first time as was a long labour. After about 7 hours I couldn't take it anymore and had an epidural. I had a little nap and was far more relaxed for the birth of my son another 7 hours later.
Second time around I kept an open mind. Started on the gas and that was doing ok. However, after about 4 hours I was still only 4cm so opted for the epidural as I didn't want to 'prolong' the labour pains when there was another option.
My opinion is that I wouldn't soldier through dental surgery, an appendectomy or any other painful procedure without anaesthetic so, when I felt I needed it, I took it. No shame in that smile

imwithspud Tue 24-Nov-15 09:00:43

Go in with an open mind because every labour is so different. I had one with my first and it was fantastic, definitely the right decision given the circumstances. With my second I did it without one, although I did keep asking the midwives then changing my mind. In retrospect I'm glad I didn't have one with number 2, it was a completely different experience compared with my first (spontaneous rather than induced for a start). I was up and having a shower within an hour of giving birth which was great.

SilverdaleGlen Tue 24-Nov-15 09:50:40

Try practising hypnobirth breathing every single night to the same music. Laid on your left. Pillow between your legs. Breath slowly in imagining a balloon filling your abdomen. Then blow it slowly out through the birth canal and away. Every night until you fall asleep. (Count to 20 in your head in and out).

When labour comes do that and switch off everything else in your mind other than the focus on the music.

I had a traumatic ong first birth. Back to back, 3 day labour, epidural and cut right at the end. Pain for weeks after.

For my second I wanted above all not to panic and feel so out of control again!

That breathing saw me through 2 subsequent labours. One went so smoothly I never made it to the hospital, she was back to back but turned at the last moment and I was expecting such agony again that she flew out on the wander into hospital with me thinking it couldn't be time!

The other stayed back to back and forehead first. She got stuck. I did have intervention BUT because of the breathing I stayed calm and able to communicate my wishes. She did eventually arrive naturally with bo epidural just manual positioning and a cut.

My point being, each labour could be completely different for you. Find ways to try to remain calm and manage the pain then if all goes smoothly hurray! And if it doesn't you can be capable enough to cope and ask for what you want/need. Including the epidural. Rather than feeling you need to make tge decision now before you know how labour will go.

Good luck x

ridingsixwhitehorses Tue 24-Nov-15 09:52:59

Imo one contraction felt is a contraction too many. Had epidurals for all three of mine and so pleased I did. (Almost too late number 2 - 4cm-8cm in an hour, but well worth it for last two hours.)

VocationalGoat Tue 24-Nov-15 09:57:03

Epidural... all day long. There. You got my vote.
But don't 'decide' on the day or you will risk not being able to get one. Go into delivery with a plan you are willing to stick to.
It's ladies like me who get the epidural first because I insist on it from day one. grin
If you wax and wane, you won't get served.

If you have a super fast labour then it's not worth the epidural.

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Tue 24-Nov-15 10:01:34

I'd say so everything you can to prepare yourself for coping without - so try and get baby in a good position beforehand, do lots of research, practice hypnobirthing style breathing, make sure you have good support etc.

Then go in with an open mind, knowing you've done everything you can to help you have a good experience, but if things don't go to plan you can cope with that too.

Imo, the danger of planning to have an epidural is that you'll be mentally unprepared if there's a delay, or if you have a fast labour and there simply isn't time. So it's sensible to be prepared for a natural birth, but not pinning all your hopes on it.

firesidechat Tue 24-Nov-15 10:08:29

I was induced with both of my children - the first involved an epidural, the second was with gas and air. I "enjoyed" the second labour much more and was on a high afterwards.

My daughter had a water birth the first time (back to back presentation) and an epidural with the second. She hated the first and was on a high after her epidural labour.

Basically do what ever feels right to you. No two experiences are ever the same, even for the same mother.

lljkk Tue 24-Nov-15 10:38:48

I think you should go plan to go for epidural, OP. It could mean going to hospital too early, is main inconvenience.

I've never had an epidural myself, btw, so no agenda or vested interest. They just sound lovely most of the time!

MamaDuckling Tue 24-Nov-15 11:15:56

I'm going to go straight to the labour ward I think... If I don't need the epidural that's great but if so then at least I'm there!

jamtartandcustard Tue 24-Nov-15 20:28:26

dc1 I wanted it all natural, only gas and air, ended up with c-section. So second time I demanded an epidural as soon as I was, eventually, admitted. By this point I'd been having contractions every 5-7 minutes for over 36hours and was so exhausted I was initially given pethidine to help me sleep, then they said I could only have the epidural once id emptied my bowels which doesn't happen on demand and I ended up with an enema. Finally got the epidural 8hours after being admitted, as they were putting it in I began bearing down! But it was so worth it as it gave me half hour/hour of rest before I began to push which was well needed. I wanted an epidural straight away with my third but they wouldn't admit me till I was at the point of almost pushing and it was too late for anything other then gas & air. I still feel robbed of my perfect dream birth. That's part of the reason I've opted for a home birth this time. can't be dealing with arguing with whether I'm in labour or not

Dogsmom Tue 24-Nov-15 20:44:09

The MLU probably won't accept you if your baby is back to back.

My dd1 was back to back and I eventually had an epidural after 26 hours, she was born 4 hours later and I really wish I'd had one earlier as I'd been delirious with pain and hated every minute whereas with the epi I loved every minute.

With dd2 I'd made my mind up to ask for one asap, my midwife also said it'd be much quicker and on the day my contractions came out of the blue and were 7 every 10 minutes within an hour so I was convinced she was imminent.
When I got to the hospital I was only 4cm and offered the pool but I said I wanted an epidural, the midwife was fine about it but it was still over 4 hours before I was in the delivery room and it was set up and working.
With that one I controlled it myself and had a button to top it up every 30 minutes if I needed it, it also didn't block the pain completely and I had an area which still hurt but way better than without.
In the end the labour was 15 hours.

If you definitely want one then ask as soon as you get there and keep on asking.

waitingforsomething Tue 24-Nov-15 20:46:35

I had an epidural the first time as very long labour- ended up with a ventouse and a 3rd degree tear. 2nd time my active labour stage was only 4 hours, pushing just 25 minutes (compared to 18 hours then 2 hours pushing!). I 'soldiered on' as you put it and I'm glad I did- I could feel everything much more easily and the pushing was so much easier. I didn't need assistance and my worst injury was a graze! Go in with an open mind, your second experience might be very different

ameliajayne Tue 24-Nov-15 20:55:00

Haven't read all replies but baby can still turn till it engages and with second baby its not uncommon to not engage until very late. Back to back labours are seen as being longer and more painful something to do with angles of baby's skull and female pelvis. Have you been scrubbing floors they say that position more likely to get baby to turn.

I would leave all options open. There nothing wrong with midwife led units and if its literally next door you coupd try it. but ensure you have a reliable birth partner with you who knows your preference and will support you and if you decide you want the epidural will help you get this across to the midwife and ensure you not too late for you to have it.

Every labour is different and generally second time labours are faster and more straightforward. But I found the worst part is you have the first experience and if it wasn't as positive as you would have liked it can cause more worry then first time. If that makes sense. Good luck with your second baby exciting times x

Fugghetaboutit Tue 24-Nov-15 20:58:29

Lots of labour wards have pools and stuff like that now anyway so if you're doing well you won't need the epidural, if it's as bad as last time take if! I got mine at 6cm.

I'm in same situ as you and will be doing this.

mummyagainin2016 Wed 25-Nov-15 11:49:08

My first baby was back-to-back. Labour failed to establish and lasted 83 hrs total, even after drip to augment. I had only gas and air until we moved to theatre for forceps when I had a spinal. For me, despite planning a drug free birth I ended up with many interventions anyway and really wish I'd opted for an epidural. I was physically exhausted in the end and haemorrhaged (most likely due to the drip) and also had retained placenta.
I'm currently expecting baby #2 and am considering an elective c-section this time. I've posted about that here too. If I do go with a natural delivery, I will take an epidural if labour seems not to be progressing, even though I know intervention is more likely with an epi. That's my thinking based on my experience last time. Good luck! Btw chiropractors often have success in turning back-to-back babies. Worth a try, though they can always turn back of course!

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Wed 25-Nov-15 11:51:55

Do check what your hospital's policy on admissions and epidurals is. Sure, you should be able to get one as early as you need. But I knew that in my area it would be an uphill struggle. They weren't keen at all unless you were at least 4cm (and getting to 4cm was the tough bit first time).

Mind you, my epdirual was shit and I swore never again, so what do I know grin

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Wed 25-Nov-15 11:52:50

ps. My first labour was rather like yours. Second was 9 hours. Still back to back, still bloody painful but did it at home with nothing more than the pool. Third was 4 hours, pool and gas and air.

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