Did epidural help?

posted 12 months ago in Pregnancy
Post # 16
620 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’ve had two babies and two epidurals! I’m expecting again this summer and will do it again. Epidurals do ease the pain – but as in all medical procedures, it isn’t foolproof. My first time, the epidural only worked on my right side. So I felt quite a lot on my left side during the pushing. The second time, it worked well, though it was turned down signifcantly when it was time to push, so that I COULD feel the contractions and push accordingly. Feeling the contractions and pushing at hte same time is what gets that baby out! Now, both times (with two different anesthesiologists) took 3 tries to get the epidural in – that’s 3 different needle pricks. It was uncomfortable, but in the end, I still think worth it. You are also sore on your spine for about a week  – but maybe that’s because I was pricked so many times. Who knows. Ultimately, you do what you want! Some women want no medication, and some doe. Either way is fine!

Post # 17
379 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I’ll report in next month (if I end up getting one!), haha.  In our childbirth class the teacher said that by the time you get to pushing the pain kind of turns into a pressure feeling instead, and that the epidural doesn’t really touch that feeling of pressure.  Before that, though, it can be wonderful.  A good friend of mine loved hers and said it made all the difference.

Post # 18
543 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I was another who went without due to speed. I got induced and went from minor cramping ‘was that a contraction’ to very intense real contractions every 1.5 min the second my water broke. After about an hour I asked for the epidural and they started me on fluids to prep. I tried the gas but it just made me feel sick. Then I felt like I had to push and it was go time. At the time I declared I would for sure get an epidural if there was a next time, but now that ~6 months have passed I feel like I could do it again without. But anyway I’d say it’s a good idea to be ready with some other pain management methods. I just used very deep breathing and counted the breaths. I found it helped to know how many breaths left until the pain started to get better (not sure near the end when they were back to back but earlier on it was 7 breaths per contraction and 4 til the pain started subsiding 😂)

Post # 19
81 posts
Worker bee

I had 3 babies and 2 epidural. There are pros and cons to both, to be honest! It really will depend on your pain tolerance and how labor is progressing. They say unless you are 100% committed to going without that you”‘ll probably end up with one. I think if you need Pitocin you should get it automatically. It does help but it is not a perfect thing and there often is not a right or wrong answer. I feel like I didnt need it and should not have gotten it with my third and had some complications from it but it was such a relief with my first. I always suggest to go in with an open mind and let it be a game time decision.

Post # 20
4983 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

Great thread! Going for my induction tomorrow morning and good to read that epidurals help quite a bit!

Post # 21
1420 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I’ve delivered three babies, one with epidural and two without. I had an epidural during my first labour and it left a big window of pain on my left hip but otherwise did the job and gave me some much needed relief during my two day intervention filled labour (pitocin, antibiotics, episiotomy and ventouse delivery). Having said all that, my recovery sucked and that was one of the main reasons that I chose to have my second and third children “naturally”. My next two labour’s were much shorter (twelve and six hours respectively) with just gas and air for pain relief and the recovery was 1000% better and totally worth the pain! My second baby was also 9lb12oz and my midwife is pretty sure that having an epidural would’ve rendered me unable to deliver him vaginally.

I’m certainly not anti the epidural but having birthed both ways is still choose to go “naturally”.

Post # 22
2063 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

Ha as someone who is terrified of needles, I’d be aiming for as natural birth as possible. But who knows!! 

Like pp said, every birth is different.

My sister planned a natural home birth and then ended up with an epidural and emergency C section at the hospital after a 24 hour labour.

Post # 23
1618 posts
Bumble bee

I’m only halfway thru my pregnancy but sign me up. I’ve only heard good things from the women in my life who had them.

Post # 24
9555 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

sparklesbelle :  I could definitely still feel pressure with the epidural, but there was zero pain associated with it. I was probably “ready to push” for at least 45 minutes, but I opted to just wait and labor down since I couldn’t feel the contractions anyway. I ended up pushing like maybe 10 minutes max.

Also the “ring of fire” is a real thing lol. Your instructor is crazy if she’s telling you the pain goes away haha.

Post # 25
202 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

With my first I got an epidural after 20hrs of labouring. I was only 3cm dilated and they wanted to give me pitocin since my waters had been broken for many hours and I was GBS+. It took about 10 minutes and was a simple process. I was nervous about the needle but it was really nothing. After it kicked in I was able to rest for about 3 hours. I didn’t feel any contractions. By that point I was 10 cm dilated and ready to push. They turned down/off the meds so I could start to mildly feel my contractions. When it came to pushing I felt everything. It was quite painful and I had to push for 2.5hrs since my baby was face up. I think the epi was great for the rest before pushing. I’m pretty sure I would have passed out from exhaustion during pushing without it. I’m 36 weeks with my second and I will try again without the epi but if I feel like I need it im totally okay with it. 

Post # 26
9216 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

i had epidurals with both of my births.  i didn’t want them.  my first was induced at 36 weeks.  with the induction, they automatically gave me an epidural, i didn’t know i could have declined it.  i could feel contractions and i knew when to push but they were very manageable.  my baby was immediately taken to the nicu and i told the nurse i could walk and wanted to see my baby right away.

#2 was induced at 40+6.  i labored on pitocin but it was very painful.  i wasn’t progressing and didn’t know how long i could have endured that.  when they turned off the pitocin to do the epidural, the contractions were like nothing.  then they never turned the pitocin back on and i was really mad i had the epidural.  the contractions on pitocin were worse than actually pushing the baby out. 

i’ve never experience natural (non-induction) so i can’t compare.  but if you get induced, you will most likely want the epidural.

Post # 27
10027 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

I specified specifically that I wanted “ALL THE DRUGS”. That was really the only thing on my labor checklist I brought to the hospital. 

First they gave me something fun in an IV that the nice nurse said was like drinking an entire gallon of margaritas. I  don’t drink so I had no idea what that meant (and told her so) but once it hit it was WONDERFUL!! I was floating through colors and shapes and felt like I was flying. Then when it wore off she wanted to give me the epidural (I asked for more margarita drugs cause I was having a blast but they said no).

Then they came and did my epidural and that was less wonderful because I was lucid now minus I couldn’t feel my bottom half or move my legs. My daughter was very particular during my pregnancy that she didn’t like when I laid on my left side and about an hour after my epidural when they rolled me to the left they realized her heart rate and blood pressure dropped low on that side anytime they rolled me to the left. So then I spent the rest of my labor on my right side to keep her out of distress which meant my epidural kind of “settled” more towards one side. My left side was still kind of numb but not as totally numb as my right side. 

On the bright side, having that little bit of feeling on my left helped me realize when she was ready to come because I could feel the pressure. I didn’t have any pain at all with my delivery and ended up pushing about 30mins before she was fully out. It was really great! 

10/10 fantastic labor, would do again. 

ETA: I was induced so my timeline went like this: 7am water manually broken (the only thing that hurt cause I had zero pain meds for that), 8am margarita drug, everything gets hazy for a while after that but I think around 10:30/11:00 I had my epidural, 7ish dialated to a 10 and started pushing, 7:36 baby is born. 

Post # 28
379 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Westwood :  oh, no, she talked about the ring of fire (and showed us how dialated the cervix is at that point, haha) but said that’s a relatively quick (though painful) part of the process and if you can get through that then youre hopefully close to the end. She wasn’t anti epidural, but the class spent a fair amount of time talking about pros and cons.

Post # 29
8246 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Westwood :  I had an unmedicated birth and didn’t experience the “ring of fire”. I think it’s luck of the draw. The worst part of labor for me was transition (which I got to experience in the car with all the lovely bumps and curves of Storrow Drive in Boston lol) but pushing wasn’t as bad. I actually would give birth a zillion times over if they all go like my first one did. But then I remember the newborn phase – that I can only do one more time …..maybeee 2. Maybe. 

Post # 30
9820 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

ajillity81 :  my first was induced with pitocin and my second was a spontaneous (no pitocin) delivery.  I would say in the end the contractions feel the same but the pitocin contractions hurt MUCH WORSE, MUCH EARLIER than the non-pitocin ones.  Thta’s why I ended up with my epidural at 2cm with my induction and at 6cm with my spontaneous delivery.  Oddly enough, my second labor/delivery lasted an hour longer than my first.  I also think part of why is that they broke my water when they started pitocin and then there is no buffer for those contractions.  

I had asked my (first) OB about contractions being worse on pitocin and she just said basically 
“contractions are contractions, they all hurt”.  But I agree, pitocin makes it worse – at least earlier than it needs to be.

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