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what's it like having an epidural?

(21 Posts)
sotough Mon 15-Nov-10 19:09:05

I'd like to hear people's experiences. the birth of my first child was pretty horrendous - an incredibly long pre-labour and labour; never any urge to push; and finally, an episiotomy and several failed ventouse attempts. fortunately he came out on the last attempt with the ventouse - they were about to try forceps.
i somehow got by on gas and air through the whole awful process (30hrs at least from first contractions to birth) and one dose of pethidine but would not care to repeat the experience.
so i'm thinking of an epidural this time round, unless it turns out to be easier because it's my second child.
am wondering what the process of getting the epidural is like (what happens when they give it to you) and how it affects the overall birth experience and would like your stories, good and bad, please!

LillianGish Mon 15-Nov-10 19:14:21

see here

CrazyPlateLady Mon 15-Nov-10 20:00:49

I had an epidural.

Barely felt it going in, pain went almost straight away and I spent the time falling asleep until I felt the urge to push. Apparently it is quite rare though to feel the urge to push. Generally the MW has to tell you as you don't fell it.

I ended up having a forceps and 3rd degree tear due to DS being in distress. Can't say of any of that was due to an epidural but this time I am going to try and do it without just so I can keep upright and try not to tear again. That is my main risk and I can have a c section of I want this time, but I don't.

I actually really rated an epidural and would recommend them but I have heard of others where it hasn't worked properly and I also don't know if my difficult birth was down to the epidural or not. TBH, I would say it wasn't and it was due to the fact that DS was distressed within 10 minutes of me pushing so they had to get him out quickly. The total lack of pain from contractions was lovely though!

Elsa123 Mon 15-Nov-10 20:14:36

I had an epidural. My labour was incredibly long and the contractions were too random so the mw suggested a syntocinol (sp?) drip, so I elected for an epi as I was very tired and I knew the drip would make my contractions more painful. I was pleased as the force of the contractions became incredible and they were STILL random and inefficent. The process of it being administered was fine. It did not work properly first time, so a small adjustment was made and it worked fine. I didn't get any sleep but thats because I was just physically uncomfortable. It did allow me to rest though as I'd been on my feet for a very very long time!

I could still haul myself about on the bed and was never flat on my back and with effort I could move my legs. I had no ability to pee though, so as and when, they popped in a catheter. I could feel sensation for pushing and I could feel the contractions, but they weren't painful.

It turned out to be a very good thing I had it as the reason for my prolonged labour was DD's head being at a slight angle and she would never have come without help no matter how mobile I was. I was mobile for about 75 hours! That meant when I went into theatre and DDwas in distress, it was quick to administer total spinal block where you really cannot feel a single thing.

I would have one again, no messing around!

muslimah28 Mon 15-Nov-10 20:49:56

i woudln't have one again as it failed for me despite readjustments, and because id had it i was denied gas and air for ages until they realised that it was quite frankly cruel to keep me on a synto drip without any functioning pain relief and finally i got gas and air. i guess what i'm saying is if you can do without, its better, because also you can be more easily mobile without one, and also there is less risk of intervention. however i'm just going by my experience and many people have one without any problems and had a much better birth experience for it.

roundthehouses Mon 15-Nov-10 21:01:26

I had an epidural - the first time I don´t really remember what it was like going in, don´t remember it bothering me particularly, certainly no more than the contractions! Anyway it didn´t work, and by the time they got around to fixing it (quite a few hours later) I was 8cms. That time it was extremely hard to get into the position they wanted me and almost impossible to keep still enough for them to put it in. But I don´t think it hurt, again the contractions were miles worse than a needle in my back!

And ooooooh my god when it worked, how it worked. Instant relief. It was amazing. I even dozed for a few hours until I was ready to push and it then only took 4 pushes to get ds out.

The only slight reservation I have about next time is if it doesn´t work again because I was in a lot of pain for a long time and immobile because of the continuous monitoring etc - it took them AGES to get around to sorting it out. So I will try to get as far as I can without but if I feel i can´t cope I´ll go for it again for sure.

bebejones Mon 15-Nov-10 21:03:33

I had a very long labour with contractions that were doing bugger all. I had an epidural mainly to get some rest. MWs were worried that by the time I got to pushing I'd be too tired and also because I ended up having the Synto drip. It was uncomfortable more than painful going in. The worst bit was the anaesthatist (sp?) trying to find the right place to put it in!

I did end up with a forceps delivery but DD was back to back (MWs & registrar had no idea, but maybe the prolonged labour & horrendous back pain should have rung some bells hmm) and also she had the cord wrapped round her neck 3 times & was in distress. I was pushing well, despite epi, & they couldn't work out why she was getting distressed and not moving down! So really don't think the epidural had any bearing on that at all, and after 56 hours of contractions (by the time I got the epi) I was just so pleased to have some relief!

FWIW, I had written in my birth plan that I didn't want an epidural! But I would definitely have one again if I have another baby & a similar labour!

LittleB Mon 15-Nov-10 21:11:35

I had a long latent stage, several days of irregular contractions and then my waters started leaking so a couple of days later they put me on the synto drip, gas and air made me sick so had pethedine, but still progressing very slowly so they broke my waters, it then got very painful so I elected for an epidural. I didn't like it being done, it made my left leg go very twitchy and tingly, a very odd sensation, so she had to adjust it until my leg stopped twitching, not pleasant. But the pain was much reduced. It didn't work fully as I could still feel along one side and could feel when to push but that probably helped dd to be born. I had to have an episiotomy but she did have her hand on her head which didn't help much! I'm currently 34wks pg and would prefer to avoid another epidural, but I will have one again if I feel I need to.

missorinoco Mon 15-Nov-10 21:14:04

A hundred million times better than labour for me. Didn't notice any discomfort during the epidural. The grey cannula (drip) put in to accompany the epidural for fluids was a little sort, but nothing like the contractions. I was OP though apparently.

Had a second, would have a third if I needed it.

DoodlingPomBear Mon 15-Nov-10 21:18:21

I had an epidural with dd, was amazing after being induced, ended up with a csec although I don't think it was something that could have been avoided!

Had one with ds, worked for about an hour and then only on one side, the other side was hip crushing pain. However I still felt it was a good thing to have both times as it gave me some relief. Luckily I didn't have any recurring problems afterwards.

DoodlingPomBear Mon 15-Nov-10 21:19:35

What I meant to say was that with ds I found it quite difficult to stay still as had contraction whilst it was being put in.

Didn't notice a jot with dd!

Jojay Mon 15-Nov-10 21:26:28

I had one when having DS1. My labour was long and slow and it was heavenly! I did end up having a forceps delivery and episiotomy, though whether that was down to the epiudural, who knows.

With DS2 labour was much quicker - 7 hours from start to finish, and I got by just fine with gas and air.

I wouldn't not have one again, it was great when I was exhausted but second labours are often quicker so you may manage perfectly well without.

TheChewyToffeeMum Mon 15-Nov-10 21:28:46

Seriously though, I did not want one before I went in to labour. Like a couple of posters above, I had a prolonged labour with irregular contractions (49hrs total), OP baby and severe back pain. I couldn't tolerate G+A or diamorphine due to nausea. The epidural was a bit uncomfortable going in but within 10 minutes I was more comfortable than I had been in weeks. I still had awareness of contractions and had the urge to push. I think the epidural (ie effective pain relief) actually helped the labour to progress.

TheChewyToffeeMum Mon 15-Nov-10 21:31:50

Forgot to say ...

Had my labour been over in 29hrs I think I would not have needed the epidural. By that stage I was utterly exhausted.

You can't really decide what is best until you are in the situation. Every labour is different.

1234ThumbScrew Mon 15-Nov-10 21:33:41

Bloody lovely - the way to do it.

I've had three dc's attempted to do it 'naturally' the first time, but had to give in to an epidural which made the whole process a million times better. Babies number two and three with epidurals and great birth experiences.

I did ask DH to hold up a mirror so I could see the babies coming out, not for everyone but it did help with the pushing too.

Elsa123 Mon 15-Nov-10 21:46:33

Just to add my community mw recommended to me when she saw me during my latent phase that if were going on a long time to have an epidural and she was right. Another side effect I did get though was uncontrollable shakes, but that wore off and certainly was not off putting, just annoying!

SoLongAsItsHealthy Mon 15-Nov-10 23:48:27


ReshapeWhileDamp Tue 16-Nov-10 12:35:04

I had one during an induction for hypertension. I was hoping to do without, as my induction was pretty gentle (did without the drip for 7 hours after they ruptured membranes) but when DS went posterior and the MW found I had a cervical lip (that was making me feel pushy but I wasn't ready to yet) I just felt I couldn't go on indefinitely.

I am very needle-adverse grin so was fearing that side of it, but the painful bit (not that painful) was the local going in - like my back had been attacked by several bees! Didn't last long and I had gas and air and the contractions to distract me! I did feel the large needle, then the tube they feed down it, going in, which felt bloody odd but not painful. The drug initially feels like ice water down your spine - they do warn you, and it feels very odd. Then you can't feel anything there at all. I had a lie-down and a bit of a doze. smile

I did have two top-ups. Not sure why now, as I wanted to be able to feel to push. I couldn't feel to push at all, so that was weird, and also not very effective. Basically, I think having the epi allowed me to lie down, but also slowed my labour (there is also a school of thought that says it relaxes your uterine muscles too much and therefore makes contractions less efficient). I had DS by ventouse because the second stage 'was taking too long' hmm and obviously an episiotomy. Missed forceps by skin of my teeth. So for me, I think having an epi set in chain a series of other interventions that might not have happened otherwise. On the other hand, at that point, I really wanted one. grin

Am planning not to have one this time if I can avoid it, as I really think it changed and lengthened my labour and resulted in instrumental delivery.

Notquitegrownup Tue 16-Nov-10 12:41:31

I had one with ds1 and an almost identical birth to you - 30 hours, venteuse delivery. (Poor you! I didn't ask for it until late on - after c 26 hours intense labour, but really appreciated it.)

It went in easily took all pain away, I was very happy.

With ds2 I intended to have one too, but everything progressed too fast. Have to say I was delighted with it first time, but I am glad that I didn't have one second time. The birth was soooo much easier. Yes, pushing and crowning hurt, but nothing like the first time round. Everything inside felt much stretchier, and my contractions were much more productive. I could feel ds2 moving. In addition, I felt so much better the next day, so much clearer headed. Hadn't realised how ill I had felt after my first delivery. I do think that the epidural can make you feel light headed/fuggy for several days, and have compared notes with friends too, who felt the same.

onlyjuststillme Tue 16-Nov-10 12:48:40

I would go with Fab-u-lous!!!!

Admittedly I had some nasty complications (Random, inefficient very frequest contractions but little progress - followed by a shoulder dystocia)to be honest without an epi I think I may have had some PTSD.

When the epi went in (I was about to have synto too) the anesthetinst said I should sit on the edge of the bed and lean over. I knew you had to be very still so I told him to hang on as a contraction was comeing - He said "too late its already in!"


tlise Wed 24-Nov-10 18:11:44

I loved it esp after being in agony so long with my first (he was back to back) and then I had it with my fifth as they got me ready for a c-section as well just in case. The only drawback is catheter and not being able to move round, and they always seem to catch you inside so you bleed slightly and then they make you stay in till its cleared up. But if I need one this time I would still go for it.

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