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anyone had a bad experience with an epidural

(34 Posts)
starshaker Mon 11-Apr-05 14:28:59

every1 is telling me that i should ask for 1 straight away but im not sure just wandered if any1 out there had any bad experiences and could they give some advice please

Fennel Mon 11-Apr-05 14:31:28

you'll probably get lots of responses to this. I had an epidural with my 2nd of 3 births. it wasn't great. it took 3 hours from requesting for the consultant to arrive (middle of night, consultant busy having his break). then it took a further 2 hours for it to work - 4 attempts, with half an hour wait each time to see if it had taken. so 5 hours from requesting to it actually working. really I preferred the gas and air which I had with numbers 1 and 3 - at least you have some control over the pain relief even though it's more painful.

tunise Mon 11-Apr-05 15:03:14

Well, i have mixed feelings about epidurals. In my first labour it was fantastic and just what i needed at the time, i even went to sleep for a couple of hours, completly pain free.
In my second labour i had high hopes but the damn thing didn't work, i was just left with a numb bottom and one leg that didn't move but still lots and lots of back pain and it had no impact on the contractions pain at all.
I wouldn't get one straight away, see how you feel in labour. They can be fantastic and they can be not so great.

morningpaper Mon 11-Apr-05 15:09:44

Didn't work for me either, although the gas and air during the wait was FAB and I wish I'd stuck out a couple more hours on that. Had five or six top-ups and re-sitings but only worked for about 40 minutes (the epidural was being 'played with' for about 10 hours). The rest of the time I could feel contractions but was paralysed from the waist down, so it really restricted movement.

The paralysis took about 12 hours to wear off so I was stranded on the ward afterwards.

I am expecting no. 2 and will try pethidine instead this time I think! And masses of gas and air.

I think the worst thing is to assume that an epidural will provide you with a blissful painfree birth experience - like all forms of pain relief during labour, it might help, or it might not!

motherinferior Mon 11-Apr-05 15:13:04

Mine only worked on one side.

I think you shouldn't rule anything out but shouldn't count on anything either.

morningpaper Mon 11-Apr-05 15:21:11

Good advice MI.

'Only worked on one side'! What's the point of that?! I remember one midwife describing it as just windows of pain - not the kind of consolation they'd give to someone in theatre having their legs removed, is it? "Oh don't worry, it's just windows of pain..."

expatinscotland Mon 11-Apr-05 15:23:06

I had a bad one, but I was having it for a knee surgery rather than childbirth. It didn't take and I wound up having general anesthesia instead.

Had one w/DD and it worked a treat - had it topped up for forceps delivery, however.

starshaker Mon 11-Apr-05 18:35:49

im just worried something goes wrong i know it sounds daft but it would just be my luck. dont want to go in saying im def having 1 but i dont want to be scared to get 1 if i feel i need it

JoolsToo Mon 11-Apr-05 18:36:33

had 2 - brilliant!

throckenholt Mon 11-Apr-05 19:02:21

had 2 - the firstone was good - took away the pain but allowed me to still move around.

second one - not so good - they had problems getting it in, tried 4 times, one of which resulted in a spinal tap - where they pierce the inner membrane of the spine. This meant that the anaesthetic was leaking into the wrong place and was very difficult to control the dose. Ended up being completely numb up to the armpits until about 2 hours after the birth - not ideal when trying to push! The worst bit was that I had a migraine type headache for the following week - whenever I sat or stood up (not easy when trying to care for twin newborns). I had to lay down for most of that week, swigging coke (caffein is supposed to help), and paracetemol and codein.

I think mine was a very rare complication (but you did ask ).

On balance I would try without one and only ask for one if you feel you really can't manage alone. Much better to try and remain mobile.

Hausfrau Mon 11-Apr-05 19:04:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

throckenholt Mon 11-Apr-05 19:14:31

ps - I hate coke with a passion and was heartily sick of it

morningpaper Mon 11-Apr-05 19:32:14

Starshaker: I think that generally with epidurals 'going wrong' just means not working very well. For most people it works fine! I wouldn't hesitate to ask for one if you are at the stage where you think it might help.

katierocket Mon 11-Apr-05 19:41:58

Mine didn't work properly. I would avoid it if poss. Still had pain but couldn't move legs - pretty awful.

lucy5 Mon 11-Apr-05 20:02:00

having the epidural changed my labour around, one minute I couldnt stand it, the next I could have had a cup of tea. They reduced as labour went on as I wanted to feel the birth. My advice is be flexible and see what you can cope with when the time comes.

Lonelymum Mon 11-Apr-05 20:07:05

I have a very low tolerance of local anaesthetic, by which I mean I need loads before it will take effect. When I had an epidural, I was in such pain from labour I didn't think to mention this and therefore, the local they gave me didn't work and they couldn't get the needle in my back to administer the epidural. Eventually, they "succeeded" but must have misplaced it as only my right thigh was anaesthetised - not much use in labour! I ended up just having the baby with G and A, and in fact, the attempt to insert the epidural needle was the worst part of the whole labour.

But if you can get over that problem, I should think an epidural would be a wonderful relief although I think you should try without one to begin with as the labour may not be as bad as you expect.

Whizzz Mon 11-Apr-05 20:08:48

Mine was fine apart from it was wearing off by the time it came to the birth & had totally worn off when it came to stitches time - nice!
"you shouldn't feel this said the doc"
"But i can" I winced through gritted teeth
Had so much gas & air that by the end I was floating on the ceiling !
Brilliant initially though & would have one again I think

jofeb04 Tue 12-Apr-05 13:54:38

Had one, hoping to have one on my 2nd lol. It was great for me, and as i had high blood pressure, it lowered it for me!!!!!

Fimbo Tue 12-Apr-05 14:00:29

I had the same experience as Throckenholt's 2nd - the pain from the headache was the worst thing I have ever experienced, also ended up having to have 2 blood patches to try to correct "the leak" as well as tests for menigitis.

MUSA Wed 13-Apr-05 18:35:50

It left me with bad back pains, and pins and needles in both hands.

Don't let this put you off, as we are all different.

clarabow Wed 13-Apr-05 23:55:42

I'm an anaesthetist and was convinced that I would never get through birth without an epidural. However when it came to labour the only position that I was comfortable in was on all fours, wiggling my bottom (clue: not possible to insert epidural in this postion, not an attractive sight either )& I didn't have one in the end. I managed fine with excellent midwife, "straightforward" labour and large whack of diamorphine.
I would agree with motherinferior that best plan is to remain flexible and see how you go.Not everybody needs or wants an epidural but they can be handy if labour is slow, needs augmented or the baby is in an awkward position
If you're worried you should ask to speak to an obstetric anaesthetist in the antenatal clinic.They should be able to give you more information and answer any questions you might have. Most are only too happy to do this in a calm environment (?) like the antenatal clinc rather than trying to discuss it with someone who is breakdancing round the delivery room.
The major disadvantages of epidurals are: your blood pressure may drop ( hence the need a drip and BP monitoring), you need CTG monitoring for short while after the epidural inserted ( to ensure the baby isn't affected by any drop in blood pressure), may get heavy legs ( minimised with a "mobile"epidural - even so you probably won't be able to walk around too much), 5% - 10% of epidurals don't work perfectly ( see above) and may need fiddling with or resited, 1% of people get a "dural tap" and bad headache afterwards - this may require another epidural at 48 hours to fix .They may delay the second stage a bit by relaxing pelvic floor and taking away the urge to push . Risk of infection and permanent nerve damage is extremely low ( 1 in 10 0000 or so).
Having said all that, when they work they do look bloody brilliant! Not ruling one out for next labour. Good Luck!

clarabow Thu 14-Apr-05 00:11:28

Sorry last bit should be "1 in 10 000 or so".

throckenholt Thu 14-Apr-05 07:38:58

fimbo - I was lucky I dind't need to have the patches - but it was a hell of a week - by far the worst pain I have felt.

I have never "met" anyone else who had it - nice in a way to know I am not the only one.

Fimbo Fri 15-Apr-05 00:07:47

My thoughts as well Throckenholt. Did it happen to you at the N & N?

starshaker Fri 15-Apr-05 16:04:09

thanx all today is my due date but i dont think it gonna happen today although i wish it would i just want my baby NOW

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