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My Only Option For Pain Relief Is Epidural - Who Had One & Willing To Share Experience

(42 Posts)
tigerbump Fri 10-Jul-09 19:24:07

In France there is no pain relief except an epidural. With the language barrier here I was hoping someone could talk me through exactly what happens with an epidural e.g. when needle goes in, at what point you felt you needed it, what stays in your back, how often you get drugs etc etc

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

CarGirl Fri 10-Jul-09 19:32:16

TBH despite having 3 epidurals I recall very little of it.

You ask for epidural, you wait for the anethatist (sp?) to turn up (this can take hours). They tell you to hold very still - so you have to get it in between contractions. Didn't really feel anything. They tape the tubes etc down your back and you're hooked up to a drip.

I've had 3 - none of them every worked 100% but they made enough of a difference to cope with the pain.

At my local hospital they now insist on a catheter if you have an epidural so you may want to ask about that too.

Claire2009 Fri 10-Jul-09 19:33:30

There is tigerbump, ask for gas and air, you have to book it in advance. I had 2 dc's in France.

Claire2009 Fri 10-Jul-09 19:35:01

Tigerbump, Ask me anything! I had Dd in Feb 06 and Ds in April 07 so i'm pretty up to date ish with births in France

How far gone are you? Have you seen you're anaesthetist at the hospital yet? That is when you book whatever pain relief you require, epidural is available to all, but g & a need booking in advance, if you want anything else ask then.

tigerbump Fri 10-Jul-09 19:35:25

where in france are you claire2009 as I asked the hospital for gas n air they say NO chance basically. I even got a translator to call up and make the call to make sure they understood. lucky you!

CarGirl Fri 10-Jul-09 19:35:43

gas & air is fab, the key is to inhale lots at the beginning of the contractions so it is working when the pain is at its peak.

Claire2009 Fri 10-Jul-09 19:37:13

Oh, and if you do need the epidural.

MW in/out v v regular throughout contractions, she was asking me if I wanted the epi from 3cms dilation and I wasn't in pain at all. When I did ask for it I was 6cms dilated and it took maybe 4-5 mins to get the anaesthetist down to me, it was administered and I was pain free within 20 mins. grin
It hurt, I'm not going to lie, but I didn't actually see nor feel the needle, just a bit of pain in the spine area, then I was totally pain free!

tigerbump Fri 10-Jul-09 19:38:11

CLAIRE2009 am 35 weeks have had the meeting with anaeshetist but he said no to gas n air, as did midwife and my Gyne (who actually speaks english). they said the hospital just don't support it.

what did you find the aftercare like (so post birth), i know I have to be in 4 days but not sure whether the midwifes are hands on or just leave you to it?

Claire2009 Fri 10-Jul-09 19:38:33

Tigerbump, That's ridiculous! Where are you? I had dd & ds in Quimper, Finistere. I don't live in France anymore, back in the Uk now but was there 5yrs, they def do have g&a so push for it, epidurals are well known for slowing labour down whereas if you can manage on just g&a then great.

Claire2009 Fri 10-Jul-09 19:41:47

Ah thats stupid angry but so be it, if thats how they're running it there's not much that can be done.

I had an emerg section with dd, 2hrs after having the epidural, I don't fault them at all, absolutely fantastic but my labour didn't progress for 2hrs and dd was getting distressed.
Aftercare was amazing, I couldn't lift dd from her plastic cot thingy blush so was buzzing the nurses at all hours to pass me her so I could breastfeed, they were sooooo great in all matters.
I was in 7 days, dd was born saturday and out the following saturday.

Ds, I had to have another section, I discharged myself after 4 days, to which they weren't happy about but I'd recovered fine and just wanted to be at home with him and dd

Claire2009 Fri 10-Jul-09 19:45:37

Mw aren't exactly hands on they mainly come in twice a day to check bp, temp, how you and baby are etc etc but I guess you're left to it 70% of the time..

There are nurses that come in, and another lady, can't think of their correct title but they basically wash (or teach you how to) weight/dress (or help you) baby each morning.
The Paediatrician will come on about day 2/3 and do all the checks, and baby will go off for other tests if you allow it, I can't remember which again but they are on around day 2/3..

Just trying to think of anything else........ grin

KashaSarrasin Fri 10-Jul-09 19:45:55

tiger I had DS1 in France in 2005 and like you it was epidural or nothing, no gas and air at all at my hospital. I had it at about 3cm and it was complete bliss (I think DS1 was back to back as my labour with DS2 (UK, gas and air only) was much less painful). I was quite swollen though and it took the anaethetist over an hour to get it in which wasn't much fun - I had a back like a pincushion afterwards!

It was just wearing off by the time I got to the pushing stage but I couldn't feel the contractions at all and the MW had to tell me when to push. Watch out, because I was pushing like crazy when she suddenly called out "poussez plus!" and by the time my drug addled brain had translated this into "STOP pushing!" it was too late and I had a 2nd degree tear Oh, and like CarGirl I was catheterised.

Good luck!

Claire2009 Fri 10-Jul-09 19:46:19

Do you know all about registering the babys birth afterwards?

LilianGish Fri 10-Jul-09 19:46:56

Both my babies were born in France and like you Tiger I was very apprehensive about the epidural option. I too remember being laughed at by the anaesthetist when I inquired about gas and air - "Like your Queen Victoria" he replied! I ended up having two fabulous births - the first was so good I wouldn't have had the second anywhere else. I had an epidural quite early on and can only describe my labour as extremely enjoyable. I could feel the contractions, but had no pain. I had been very worried about an epidural slowing down my labour - I was seven-and-a-half hours with dd, five-and-a-half with ds. I could feel to push, but again had no pain. I was up and about a few hours later and having a shower. French approach is very medicalised - on your back and legs in stirrups to push. Was terrified as had only read English books which advise against this, but decided in the end to go with the flow and do as I was told as I didn't think I'd be in any position to argue. In the end I actually found having to speak in French a great help as it gave me something else to think about iyswim. Good luck - in opinion you are in the best place. When asked for my opionion on birth options I usually reply "Have it in France!"

Claire2009 Fri 10-Jul-09 19:47:16

Yes, I had a catheter also.

CarGirl Fri 10-Jul-09 19:49:28

I was never catheterised as I had mine before they brought the rule but because it wasn't 100% effective I knew when I needed to wee and felt enough to push which I think was an advantage tbh

I had my 4th on gas & air alone and it was easy, I really enjoyed it - the main difference was that I was really relaxed about the whole thing whereas previously I had been traumatised at the thought of going into hospital & being induced etc (4th was induced too)

State of mind is a huge factor in how you cope IMO.

LilianGish Fri 10-Jul-09 19:50:20

Where are you booked in Tiger? Mine were both born in St Vincent de Paul in Paris 14th arrondisment. They have only single rooms and I found the midwives were lovely and very supportive. Enjoyed my stay there so much that I found myself saying "When I was in the hotel with dd - I mean hospital!"

jabberwocky Fri 10-Jul-09 19:50:51

I was really nervous about having mine but it wasn't bad at all. With the first one an evil midwife put the catheter in first shock If anyone tries that on you just politely (or not as the case may be) tell them "No thank you, I'll have it after".

KashaSarrasin Fri 10-Jul-09 19:50:57

Another thing, generally in France the breastfeeding support is non-existent so if you're planning to bf it might be good to get as much information together in advance as possible. There are several English-speaking La Leche League groups in France so it's worth checking if there's one near you.

Claire2009 Fri 10-Jul-09 19:53:27

KS, I wish I knew that blush I had no support at all in terms of is the latch correct, is he taking enough etc etc etc I was left to it with regards to breastfeeding. They assumed because Ds was big born I wouldn't breastfeed him so while I was in recovery they gave him a bottle, they were rather shocked when I said "Well actually I am breastfeeding!" grin

He was 4.150kg & 54.5cms born, the average in France is 3.300kg ish if I remember correctly..

Dd was 3.750kg and 51.5cms and I was told from 20-full term I was carrying a very large baby hmm

LilianGish Fri 10-Jul-09 19:55:59

My experience was that very few women breast feed, but midwives and paediatrician were veryu encouraging and i got lots of help and support while I was in hospital (the minimum five days with both).

Claire2009 Fri 10-Jul-09 19:57:24

Do you find the French are very, upfront with things? I put on quite a bit of weight on both preg's and one Mw at the end of ds' pregnancy said to me "Why have you put on so much?" blush ....
I know it's not much but it was pretty embarrassing and I didn't eat that much!!! hmm

LilianGish Fri 10-Jul-09 19:59:45

Obsessed with weight gain and they have no problem saying you are too fat (or your children for that matter when they go to the paediatrician). I some ways though I am grateful for it as the less you pile on before the easier it is to shape up afterwards!

Claire2009 Fri 10-Jul-09 20:01:45

Yes thats true, the paed came in when Ds was 3 days old and said "You're baby is very fat" hmm Thanks....hmm

Dd, start preg 57kg, end preg 84kg shock

Ds, start preg 67kg, end preg 83g shock

LilianGish Fri 10-Jul-09 20:04:09

They don't have any of those "heavy-boned" euphemisms either - they just tell it like it is!

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