May 2012 Moms

How well did your epidural work?

If you had one? I'm wondering if epidurals are a myth and a sham in our culture or if I just had a terrible one. After getting it, on the major plus I was able to sleep for a few hours which allowed me to dilate to a 7 from a 4 and get the ball rolling, and I had no pain in my belly and part of my back, but still felt everything from the hips down.

I felt every contraction from start to finish, felt everything while I was pushing, felt myself tearing, felt the local anesthetic for the repairs, and was basically screaming my head off the entire time. I have another friend who said she was also screaming through 7-10 cms with her epidural. So how common is this?

What sucks is my childbirth teacher had stated that if you have an epidural you'll be laughing and chatting through the whole labor, and I've always thought I'd be lucky to be able to move my legs and that it would take away the pain. I feel like that's what most people had told me.

Re: How well did your epidural work?

  • It worked WONDERFULLY! At one point though I did start to feel contractions again so they had to top me up. But that was only thing. I was still able to use birthing ball and squat to push (walking epidural). It was great :)

    ETA: I remember them warning me about the ring of fire coming any second but I never felt it. All I felt during the pushing stage was an intense urge to push (nothing painful).  I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    I am glad I got it done because my pushing stage was from noon-9pm at night (with lots of breaks in between, but I would say about 5 hours of pushing total). I was exhausted. And I can't imagine how much more tired I would have been had I been med free.

  • I had one with DS#2 when I was 7cm.  It worked until I had to push and then I felt everything - pushing, stiches, etc.  When it worked I was able to laugh, talk and even sleep.  I have talked to many other moms since then and they did not have the same experience.  Most say that my initial experience of no pain is what they felt until their LO was born. They also added that they were even told when to push, since they could not feel anything.  Wish that could have been me.  sorry you had such a miserable experience.
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  • Both of mine were awesome. The first time my labor was so long that I think it was starting to wear off towards the end because while I was pushing the pressure I felt was starting to feel a bit painful. By the time I was cleaned up it had completely worn off and I was able to walk.

    The second time I had a much shorter labor and I felt NOTHING! I barely knew when it was time to push because I thought that mayyybe I was feeling pressure but I wasn't sure. I'm glad I said something because when they checked me I was 10 cm. This time it was several hours after delivery before I was able to walk.

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  • I had an epidural when I was 5 cm.  I was in labor for another 6 hours brfore they did an emergency csection and felt no contractions.  They were 2 min apart the whole time and in my back.  I wasn't laughing and joking, but I could rest.
  • I've had 3 epidurals. They were AMAZING. I felt nothing but pressure when it was time to push. With my first my labor was 27 hours and it did start to wear off so they had to up it. But that was the only issue in 3 deliveries.
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  • The first epidural was great.  I got it at 5cm and rested until I got to 10cm.  I didn't feel any pain or pressure while pushing.

    My 2nd epidural was not as good but I got it at 8cm, then shortly after I was at 10cm and had baby just an hour after the epidural was in.  I felt no pain but a TON of pressure while pushing.  Overall, I would say that they were good and I would have a baby any other way.  

  • I had a pretty rough experience like OP.I got mine at 7 cm. My anesthesiologist (sp)  was horrible, took him 8 times to put the catheter in right. (Ouch!!) All the while He had to give me 2 spinal block shots and I was having intense contractions the entire time but had to stay perfectly still.

    My epi was run by a pump that never seemed to send enough drugs to completely block out pain from contractions. I still felt pretty crampy but it took just enough of the edge off so that I could rest. (Not sleep, that was still impossible) I did get relief during the pushing and didn't feel pain just the urge to push. However, once DD made it to my pelvic bone I felt everything! I also felt myself tear, the local anesthetic and stitches even though I kept telling my doc I felt everything and that it hurt she just kept stitching!

    I also ended up with spinal headaches afterwards and I don't doubt that the 8 different catheter holes in my back didn't help matters.

    My experience was pretty rough and I'm considering not even having one with my next kid.

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  • Mine was fabulous! Shortly after they put it in, I started to feel a little crampy on my left side, as I was laying to the right to keep baby's HR up. As soon as I switched sides, the cramping stopped. The nurse said it's because it works with gravity. Maybe yours wasn't put in correctly?
  • I only had an epi with DD1, but it was great! I could feel when it was time to push, and was able to push effectively (well, as effectively as you can with an epi).  No other pressure or pain. 

    I had no epi with DD2, and if we have a third baby, I would probably chose an epi.  The ring of fire is NOT something I EVER want to feel again.

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  • Mine was GREAT. It was instant relief I was the smiling, laughing,chatting person through the labor from the time they gave it to me shortly after we were admitted until it wore off later that day.  I was a loose 3 when we were admitted by the time I woke up after going to sleep I was a tight 9.  I didn't feel anything but pressure when it was time to push.  The only issue I had was not being able to move my legs as well as I wanted to but that wasn't a big deal for me.

    Sorry you didn't have a good experience.  

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  • I got mine at 7cm, and it got rid of the back labor. I felt nothing in my legs, hips, or back, but I still felt contractions painfully in my tummy. That was fine by me since it was the back labor I couldn't handle. I was forced to lie on my left side due to blood pressure issues. 

    About an hour in, the contractions were back full force.they dosed me again and I felt nothing at all! It was like my body was missing. I needed help pushing.  I didn't feel the episiotomy, the stitches or the tearing.

    If I had the option, I wouldn't do it again. I much preferred natural medfree delivery. But, I couldn't get up an walk around this time, so that took my ability to manage the pain away.  


  • Mine was awesome. After 5 hours of hard labor after my water was broken (induced labor with pit), I gave in and got the epi at 4cm. Slept a bit and dilated to a 10 in 3 hours (had been in early labor for more than 24).  I could tell when I was having contact during pushing but they didn't hurt.
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  • The two I had were great!! The first I was numb from my nips down. The second I felt pressure but no real pain.

    This lo I had med free but I didn't  scream or anything. 

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  • My was perfect. I didn't feel anything unless I wanted to- which in the end I let it wear down a little so I could feel the contractions just a bit. It made my labor go so smoothly and I was calm and collected through the whole thing. Not one scream or yell or anything.
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  • Awesome! I asked for one at 6cm, and could only feel pressure after that... I knew it was gonna be good when they asked me to lift my legs, and I couldn't...LOL.
    ttc since 10-09 first visit with RE 09-10 ME-everything ok DH- AZOOSPERMIA...biopsy confirmed Sertoli Only Cell syndrome Donor IUI#4 was the charm (8-27-11) with 125iuFollistim/Ovidrel/Endometrin/PIO/vit D beta #1 9/8/11....BFP!!! : ) @ 47.7 beta...#2 9/15/11... 1,998 beta#3 9/22/2011- 27,900 Baby's hb seen @6w2d ! 1-3-2012 20 wk u/s everything lookin' good! Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • My epidural was fantastic. I could not feel a thing, but I could still move my legs. H and I were watching America's Funniest Home Videos and laughing between pushes. Sorry yours sucked. :(
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  • I got the epi at 5 cm because I was having ridiculous back labor. The epi was great. I didn't feel anything! And after what I had endured for the first 4 hours of labor, it was a welcome relief. After I got it I went from 5 cm to 10 cm in an hour and a half and was ready to push. Just felt some pressure pushing but it was not painful. I think it helped that I had an incredibly short labor so there was no chance of the epi wearing off. 

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  • Mine took on the right side of my body almoat immediately but not on the left. I dealt with some cry-worthy contractions on that side for maybe an hour or two beforeanother anesthesiologist cMe in and fixed the position of the needle, which helped. I was feeling fine for a few hours until it wore off on the left side again and by then I was almost fully dilated and had tons of pressure and needed to start pushing. I felt nevery bit of the intlsanely intense pressure and felt myself tear and felt him come out.

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  • I got one at 2cm, I'm a was glorious! I felt absolutely nothing! Had him out in four contractions (12 pushes) :)
  • Mine was fantastic. I did ask for some more "juice" to be added about 5 hours after I initially got it because I was starting to feel every contraction again - but after that, I was fine. I knew when I needed to start pushing (felt the pressure) and felt every contraction come on during the pushing phase. It was a great balance because I didn't have pain but still knew when I needed to push.
  • With both of my daughters (7 years apart & different hospitals) it did not work at all so my experience was very similar to yours.  The doctor said its rare but some people are just "immune" to the medication.  Horrible I know!!


  • With DD1, the epidural almost completely removed feeling.  I could tell a when a contraction hit, but it was sort of like having a hand placed on my abdomen -- no more feeling than that.  I was joking with the nurses, but at the same time, I couldn't move my legs to try different positions, and it was terrible coming off that epidural (itching and shakes).

    This time, the epidural was much "lighter," if that's the right word.  I could still squat and get on my hands and knees to push.  It hurt quite a bit, but was bearable.  For me, it was just the right amount of pain relief, although there was definitely no laughing or chatting!

    Hey, how did you like the fancy new hospital?  I'm going to L&D to pick up a breast pump on Friday... if they let me check out a room, I'm sure I'll be jealous.

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    Lucy 5.15.12

  • image gatogrrl:

    Hey, how did you like the fancy new hospital?  I'm going to L&D to pick up a breast pump on Friday... if they let me check out a room, I'm sure I'll be jealous.


    It was beautiful, really like a hotel. The maternity recovery rooms really are like a hotel, with super soft sheets and the most comfy bed and tvs that go on the internet!

  • I ended up getting one after being in induced labor for 52 hours, and 14 hours of pitocin, and my epidural felt like yours. Actually, I still felt everything in my belly and my back, only part of my leg was numb. I felt everything. It was awful.
  • I was 7cm when I got to the hospital and it was so painful and intense and the midwife had already messed up and changed my birth plan so I got the epi to try and calm down enough to concentrate on what was going on. They gave me a lesser dose and told me that it wasn't going to take the pain to zero, but it would lessen it to about a 3 to 4. Well, not only did it not really bring me to a 3 or 4, it wore off very quickly and I felt everything from that 7 to fully dilated and pushed for an hour without the epi. Finally after the hour of pushing and baby not budging they decided I needed a C section and they gave me the spinal meds and then there was relief! It was pretty terrible. I pretty much breathed, moaned and screamed the whole time I was in the hospital.
    July 16th 2010 - BFP with Kenny, HB seen Aug 16th 2010 Preterm labor started on November 24th, Kenny delivered 310am Thanksgiving morning 2010 at 22w3d. Kenny had a type 2 CCAM. BFP 31sep11 betas: 27.3 @ 13 dpo 467 @ 19 dpo over 10000 @ 31 dpo, HB 169! stick baby, stick!! December 22 2011 - It's a Boy!!! Lilypie First Birthday tickers
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