March 2012 Moms

What does an epidural feel like? How numb....

How immobile are you really with an epidural? My plan has always been to get one... but the idea of being numb from the tum down or however it works kinda freaks me out. Like feeling paralyzed.

And what's a walking epidural? I don't hear about those as much and I'm wondering if that's because they aren't offered much.

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Re: What does an epidural feel like? How numb....

  • It actually affects each woman differently.  Some can feel absolutely nothing.  I had sensation in my legs, but no control over them.  It drove me nuts for DH to touch my legs because it felt so funny.  I kept yelling at him because he kept touching them while I was pushing :)  It took a few hours to be able to walk again.  I don't know anything about a walking epidural.  You just need to weigh which you'd rather have- freedom (hopefully from pain) plus not being able to walk versus normal old labor pains.  I'm going to try to do without this time, but am not set on it.  I got it last time because we checked in at 10 or 11pm, my water had been broken (a trickle) for 8 hours, and i was only dilated to 2cm.  They had to give me pitocin because I hadn't progress, so I figured if I was going to have to have an IV, I might as well get the epi, too.  I don't regret the choice one bit, but would like to do without it this time if the circumstances are different.  As it was it took until 5am to start pushing so I am very glad that we were able to sleep from 12-5 (minus the hourly cervix checks).  
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  • I was induced and got one almost right away. I couldn't feel anything or move my legs. At one point they gave me too much and I was laying down to much and all of my body went numb. I was pissed and scared! Especially when they said "oops, you're 10cm, time to push" and I couldn't feel anything! Lol. BUt then when it dd came I didn't feel a thing and to be honest it was SO worth it. Really. I heard a couple "natural" births while I was waiting and I really wish those girls would have gotten an epidural because it sounded like they were in some serious pain.
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  • For me, it took away the pain but not all feeling. I couldn't feel contractions anymore, but I could still very much feel pressure. (Like sitting on a bowling ball.) I knew when I needed to pee and when a bedpan was brought in, I was still able to use my legs to maneuver myself to 'go.' It wasn't numbness like your mouth feels after a shot at the dentist; more like when pain meds kick in and alleviate discomfort. It was bliss.

    Ask your hospital about the walking epidural- I would have loved to get one, but my hospital doesn't offer them.

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  • Mine was initially "light" so I could still feel my legs, but no pain from contractions (couldn't even tell they were happening). Then the line got disconnected somehow and when they reconnected it they topped me up and then I was totally numb and really had no control over my legs. 

    I think the walking epidural is kind of a myth. At least, at my hospital, once you had the epidural you were not allowed out of bed. I'm sure there are crazy liability issues with having half-numb pregnant women wandering the halls. 

    DS 04.25.08 DS 03.14.12 missed m/c 9w1d :: 6.18.10 :: d&c | missed m/c 9w3d :: 11.2.10 :: d&c
  • i've "heard" of a walking epidural, but have no experience and really don't know what it is.

     I was really numb.  I could sort of feel like maybe I was having contractions, but no pain. My epi worked very well!

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  • I asked my nurse and she said you could walk assisted to the wash room and that's about it... You could go small distances, because it takes away sensation but not motor skills, but it feels funny to walk.

     FTM here, so no experience... 

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  • I LOVED my epidural.  They do affect everyone differently, and there are risks involved.  That said, the benefits far outweighed the risks IMO. 

     I couldn't really feel anything, but I did feel pressure and I definitely knew when it was time to push.  It seriously felt like I needed to poop, as my OB put it that was a good thing.  I was not allowed out of bed, but that was fine by me.  I sat back, talked to my visitors, made fun of DH for completing a fantasy football draft during it, and did sudoku puzzles, etc.. while I waited to progress. 

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  • My 1st epidural did not work, so I spent 4 hours laying in bed with no way to physically relieve my pain.  I went through transition during this time.  It was hell to get through it purely mentally.  Absolute hell.  I would have rather never gotten the epidural because then I would have been able to use other physical techniques. 

    My 2nd epidural took away all sensation and movement from the waist down.  I did not like the lack of control.  I could not lift my legs at all.  It feels like they are dead asleep.  My DH and one of the nurses had to hold my legs up while I pushed. 

    Did the 2nd one take away the contraction pain?  Yes.  It made me be able to sleep for an hour before pushing, after being in labor for a long time.  This did allow me to be better rested before pushing, and I was able to push him out in under 20 mins.  

    That said, I am even more set on not getting one this time.  I had some abnormal hip pain beyond the contractions which is what led me to get the 1st epidural.  We are researching techniques to deal with that pain if I have it again. 

     

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  • image Fergie+1:

    For me, it took away the pain but not all feeling. I couldn't feel contractions anymore, but I could still very much feel pressure. (Like sitting on a bowling ball.) I knew when I needed to pee and when a bedpan was brought in, I was still able to use my legs to maneuver myself to 'go.' It wasn't numbness like your mouth feels after a shot at the dentist; more like when pain meds kick in and alleviate discomfort. It was bliss.

    Ask your hospital about the walking epidural- I would have loved to get one, but my hospital doesn't offer them.

    Yeah see this is the kinda thing I was wondering about. And then a later poster said she didn't like the feeling of dead legs.. That kinda freaks me out. Tongue Tied

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  • As several others have already stated it affects each one differently - some still have feeling some plainly do not! As for immobility - now not meaning to scare you; but, I had with my first child both the episiotomy as well as an epidural one which was liken to being paralyzed from my waist to my knees ? no feeling, pain, a complete numbness where I only felt extremely mild, weak contractions and no reason to push; having to rely solely upon my doctor telling me when to push since I had absolutely NO feeling from my waist to my knees. This was not a situation in which to be in when you?re trying to have/push a baby out - since I did not have any feeling baby was born totally without any pain what-so-ever; until the epidural wore off some 3 hours later then for the next 6-8 hours I was in extreme pain as the feeling slowly came back it was like pins and needles sticking in me - tingling from above the waist to my toes ? .

    As for a ?walking epidural? - if I?d gotten up off that bed/table all of me would?ve been sprawled out all over the floor with no way in h**l to get back up.


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  • For me--NOTHING!  And then I was confined to bed.  I didn't know that this was even a possibility so even though it is quite rare for it to happen, I do want to let people know.  After it wasn't do anything, I should have asked them to take it out.  I would definitely suggest that to anyone who has that experience.

    This time, I'm not even trying it.  

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  • image FinallyMrsBMW:

    For me--NOTHING!  And then I was confined to bed.  I didn't know that this was even a possibility so even though it is quite rare for it to happen, I do want to let people know.  After it wasn't do anything, I should have asked them to take it out.  I would definitely suggest that to anyone who has that experience.

    This time, I'm not even trying it.  

    Sounds like we had similar experiences.  

    I believe only the anesthesiologist can take it out.  Once they knew it wasn't working, the anesthesiologist was in surgery... and another one did not arrive for 4 hours.  Fun times.  

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