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Can anyone bear to talk to me re epidurals etc? - Really emotional and a lot of just general warbling round in circles, sorry.

(27 Posts)
mrsgboring Sun 08-Mar-09 14:17:26

Right, shall try to be as brief as possible, but there is history here - this is birth no.3 and induction no.3 for me.

First birth, I went halfheartedly into labour and went to hospital far too early where they discovered that DD had died in utero, so I delivered her stillborn. As contractions stopped on the news, I was induced by pessary (which I think was absolutely the right course of action BTW, no complaints). I had a five hour labour. Pain relief was diamorphine which did absolutely nothing except make me puke and unable to walk without falling over. I don't know if I asked too early for an epidural or no-one was available, but I didn't get one. The pain was staggering and I had to be ridiculously brave to get through it (this is not boasting; it's relevant)

Second birth, DS was fortunately fine, but I was induced at 38 weeks for my own piece of mind. I needed syntocin to start labour, as gel etc. didn't work. Was monitored with a wireless monitor, but couldn't move round much anyway because we kept losing the trace (midwife was fantastic at trying to help me move). Pain started coming and it really wasn't that bad. I could have coped for ages yet but trying to manage the pain and be stoical brought back awful memories from my first birth and I thought no, I'm damn well not going to be brave again, so instead of dealing with the pain like a grown up I sobbed and hyperventilated instead, even though I could perfectly well cope. Midwife therefore suggested I would need an epidural. I had it and it was absolutely brilliant - total pain relief but I could still feel all the contractions and actually pushed far more effectively than I did with DD because I wasn't in pain.

So, DH says, why on earth wouldn't you just opt immediately for the epidural this time round? (DC3 is high risk and will be induced at 38 weeks again) Well, because I know that I had the absolute perfect epidural experience last time and don't know if I would be so lucky again. On the other side, I really really don't want to be in unbearable pain and find I can't have an epidural.

It's been an exhausting pregnancy for lots of reasons and I just don't know what to do for the best. I know no-one can tell me what to do and I have to make my own mind up, but WWYD?

Also, anyone been induced for the third time and was it any easier? How common/uncommon is it to want an epidural and not be able to get one?

cece Sun 08-Mar-09 14:21:37

I think I would speak with the bereavement midwife at your local hospital for some advice. I have always found them sensitive and practical with their suggestions.

mrsgboring Sun 08-Mar-09 14:27:02

Gosh, I didn't know such a person existed, Cece. Thanks for that.

RubyRioja Sun 08-Mar-09 14:29:11

Sorry for your loss - I think that must affect how you deal with labour - you would be hard not to be affected.

I was induced for the 3rd time (42 weeks) which was smooth and efficient and bloody painful. I believe inductions earlier are not necessarily as efficient.

I wanted an epidural (after perfect experience first labour) but did not get one for 2nd or 3rd.

You asked, so if I were you, I would absolutely request one at the time of induction. I read somewhere that 95% of women having an induction need pain relief.

If a tough pregnancy has followed a tough labour experience, why not have all the support available?

Good luck

SnowlightMcKenzie Sun 08-Mar-09 14:40:52

MrsBoring IMO I didn't get on despite asking for 6 hours.

However, due to that experience I had a meeting with the head of midwifery and made a bit of a fuss about my first experience and pretty much got them to agree to anything I wanted the 2nd time around.

My 1st birth notes followed me around as I kept changing care provider and the head called me just before the birth and after to see how it had gone.

I suppose what I'm trying to say, is that you vastly improve your chances if you make yourself well known to the hcps.

MustHaveaVeryShortMemory Sun 08-Mar-09 14:45:36

The reason I wouldn't have one immediately is that there are risks (albeit very rare) of having an epidural. Nevertheless if I felt like I needed/wanted an epidural I wouldn't hesitate to ask for one. For every 'perfect epidural experience' I hear about I hear of one that didn't completely work or never happened eg the anesthetist was in surgery. Each birth is different this may be easier than your last one.... Or it could be harder. Why don't you wait and see? Or when you are induced ask if one is likely to be available in a few hours if you feel you need one?

MustHaveaVeryShortMemory Sun 08-Mar-09 14:46:46

Meant to say 'Good Luck', when are you being induced?

mrsgboring Sun 08-Mar-09 14:52:11

Thank you Ruby and Snowlight. So it would seem it's not uncommon to be unable to get an epidural when you want one. That scares me tonnes.

Snowlight, I think I'm pretty well known to the HCPs now - it's been very involved getting the pregnancy to this point and I'm now in total shock because it looks like this will be a normal birth experience (albeit induced) and now I've suddenly got to start thinking about these things.

mrsgboring Sun 08-Mar-09 14:55:06

Hi MustHaveaVeryShortMemory - am being induced because of losing DD at full term and because when I delivered DS at 38 weeks the placenta was already starting to calcify (this didn't actually happen with DS but now nobody, least of all me, wants to take the risk). Apparently, my baby's medical condition wouldn't necessarily warrant induction on its own, but they have notified SCBU of my induction date, so that's probably a factor too.

SnowlightMcKenzie Sun 08-Mar-09 14:55:22

Is there a compromise? If you are progressing steadily, can you request your agreement each time they want to turn up the drip? So you can think about epidural each time and how well you are coping, and assess the availability?

mrsgboring Sun 08-Mar-09 14:56:27

Didn't happen with DD I mean. That doesn't seem to be why she died but I couldn't bear to go overdue ever ever again after losing her. Am v ill with pregnancy anyway, and can't wait for it to be over.

mistlethrush Sun 08-Mar-09 14:57:13

I ended up on Syntocin - wasn't dilating and waters had broken. Coped for 5hrs, but when they said it looked as though it would be another 9 before being able to start pushing (having started the whole thing 20 hrs earlier) I decided that I would have nothing left for pushing and had better have some pain relief - the anaesthatist had 2 goes at an epidural, thought the 2nd one had worked and went out saying that she'd be back in 5mins to check. 3 hours later she returned having been called into emergency surgery - I'd only had gas and air for 3hrs which was hell. She then had to do a spinal block to get an epidural in... It was good when it finally happened!!! So, no, it doesn't always go smoothly...

I hope it goes well for you

Very sorry for the loss of your DD.

I'm sure its different in different hospitals but where I work its uncommon to not get an epidural if you want one. Sometimes women may have to wait a while for one if the Drs are in theatre though, so may have to wait over an hour which can be hard. Sometimes the ward though can be too busy for it to be safe for women to have epidurals. sad

However I think you have a very good case for requesting one and reasons that should be taken into consideration over and above other peoples'. If I were you I'd tell the m/w when you get to hospital thats its something that you're considering and if you need one then these will be the reasons why (psychologial as well as pain relief), but that you'd like to see how things go. I know if you were at my hospitals even if it was really busy the co-ordinator would bend over bacwards no matter how busy it was to make sure you got one. Even if that meant moving midwives around, halting inductions, etc, ie stuff that wouldn't normally be done.

Good luck.

ABetaDad Sun 08-Mar-09 15:05:57

mrsboring - sorry to hear about yoiur awful experiences and the loss of your baby. I cannot answer all of what you are asking but one or two parts I have experience of.

On the issue of asking for an epidural. I would strongly suggest you have your DH be with you at the hospital all the time. When my wife asked for an epidural with DS2 the midwife was reluctant and just said the anaesthetists were 'a bit busy' and she would have to wait for an indeterminate amount of time.

I was not standing for that. I took the midwife to one side and explained in polite but firm tones that 'my wife is also a bit busy' and that 'I expected an epidural to be called for immediatley on request' and that 'the midwife and I should call the consultant and discuss it with him if she had a problem with allowing an epidural on medical grounds'.

My wife was in no fit state to be that assertive and it was only by me being assertive that we got an epidural inside 10 minutes.

On the second issue of whether you should have an epidural at all. This is clearly a very complex question and does not have a yes or no answer. I that know epidurals can have all sorts of effects on the baby and your ability to push, etc. However, a friend of ours was asked if she wanted an epidural before she gave birth and she said no because she was worried about side effects. However, after the first 5 minutes she said the pain was so extreme that she pretty soon changed her mind. You may be the same, or you may be OK. You may feel you want to go without an epidural and but you must still have the absolute right to change your mind if you want to.

In my view, that right to change your mind and being able to assert that right is crucial. No midwife should just block you from having that choice unless on medical grounds of course and then only after discussing it with you and your husband and a consultant.

I hope the birth goes well and I hope what I said above is helpful. Your DH may also feel happier if you decide to go ahead without epidural as long as he knows he can assert your right on your behalf if you want to change your mind.

mrsgboring Sun 08-Mar-09 15:10:16

mistlethrush that's horrible - so sorry to hear you went through that.

StripeyKnickers, that is hugely reassuring. Thank you so much for that.

mrsgboring Sun 08-Mar-09 15:13:27

MustHaveaVeryShortMemory, just realised you said "when" not "why" blush 6 weeks time.

mrsgboring Sun 08-Mar-09 15:14:50

ABetaDad, very interesting to have a man's perspective. Thank you for that. There is no circumstance I can think of in which DH will leave my side - we had to argue that one last time round when I was being induced with DS.

mistlethrush Sun 08-Mar-09 16:43:32

[Sorry, I just thought that you needed to hear that it doesn't always go to plan - I'm sure my experience is unusual]

mrsgboring Sun 08-Mar-09 17:41:02

No worries mistlethrush. I already knew it doesn't always go to plan.

Lulumama Sun 08-Mar-09 17:46:55

i would just add, that if there is no aneasthatist available to administer the epidural, due to perhaps being in theatre at a crash section, you do have to wait for your epidural. midwives are not necessarily blocking your way to an epidural, but if there is no -one to give it, there is no-one to give it , regarldess of how much you ask or how assertive you are.

certainly if you want one, then do ask as soon as you are admitted, so if there is a queue, you will get it as soon as possible

wishing you the best of luck for a safe delivery

mrsgboring Sun 08-Mar-09 17:54:45

Thanks, Lulumama. I know that sometimes you have to wait and there's nothing to be done about that. That's why I'm scared of leaving it too late if I do want one (but then asking too early means I might have one I could have done without. That's kind of my dilemma and I guess there's no perfect answer to that). Fingers crossed it all works out on the day/night. 6 weeks to go...

dinkystinky Sun 08-Mar-09 18:13:56

Mrsgboring - I think Cece's suggestion of getting in touch with the hospital bereavement counsellor is a great idea which will hopefully help you distance this birth from your birth experience with your dd. If you know you want to have an epidural - or are likely to want one - you should definitely make that clear to the midwife attending you early on (and perhaps have written down your history so she can read it and understand your concerns without you having to go into it there and then) so she may be able to advise you on timings (e.g. if it is daytime, anaesthetist will have scheduled surgeries so there will be better times than others to try to get them to give you an epdirual) and other ways of trying to cope first/if anaesthetist is busy. I had an epidural when induced with my first child - the first midwife I had was great at encouraging different things to try first which took my mind off things for almost 4 hours. When I eventually asked for an epidural it was arranged really quickly (though it was the middle of the night). Good luck and I hope th ebirth goes smoothly.

dinkystinky Sun 08-Mar-09 18:14:30

Mrsgboring - I think Cece's suggestion of getting in touch with the hospital bereavement counsellor is a great idea which will hopefully help you distance this birth from your birth experience with your dd. If you know you want to have an epidural - or are likely to want one - you should definitely make that clear to the midwife attending you early on (and perhaps have written down your history so she can read it and understand your concerns without you having to go into it there and then) so she may be able to advise you on timings (e.g. if it is daytime, anaesthetist will have scheduled surgeries so there will be better times than others to try to get them to give you an epdirual) and other ways of trying to cope first/if anaesthetist is busy. I had an epidural when induced with my first child - the first midwife I had was great at encouraging different things to try first which took my mind off things for almost 4 hours. When I eventually asked for an epidural it was arranged really quickly (though it was the middle of the night). Good luck and I hope th ebirth goes smoothly.

muppetgirl Sun 08-Mar-09 18:27:00

So sorry to hear of your first labour and the lose of dd...

I haven't had 3, just the 2 (ds 3 is a c-section) but on the subject of epidurals my forst was a godsend after being induced and quite frankly loosing the plot for hours. Dh was assertive also but there really was an emergency c-section at the time (I met her the next day!) Once I did get it it was fab, I returned to a normal human being and ds was delivered by ventouse as he was getting distressed.

I had sever PND after the birth and when I became prgt with ds 2 I was obsessed with having another epidural. I talked to the consultnat who worte on my notes in large letters epidural asap. I went into hospitla after spontaneous labour had started and they were VERY understanding. I explained I was terrified and wanted an epi asap. They checked me and said I would have to get to 3cms before they could as then I would be in established labour. We did and I had the epi but it only worked down one side (which is the risk you take) all through it only worked down one side so I still needed G&A and it was still agony. I ended up in theatre with a spinal block (heaven) and ds 2 was delivered by forceps as he was large and got stuck (yes he could have got stuck as I was flat on my back with an epi, I am very prepared to think my choice of pain relief contributed to this happening but I had lost all trust in my body after ds 1's birth)

Hope all goes well for you x

mrsgboring Mon 09-Mar-09 17:23:19

Thanks, dinkystinky and muppetgirl. Muppetgirl, I'm terrified of epidural only working down one side. I thought they could usually remedy that??

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