Did you have epidural? — The Bump
Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Did you have epidural?

I am 23 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I've always wanted to have vaginal birth with epidural because I think that way I could enjoy the moment even more. But, I know how the epidural is administered (by inserting a large needle in your column), I've seen many times how it is performed and now that I am pregnant, thinking about having that needle inserted in my column is scary, I know this can be safe in the right hands, but is just too scary for me.  So I dediced to go without epidural and my husband is supporting my decision and keep telling me that I am strong enough for standing the pain.   I've seen many women giving birth without epidural and it looks really painful, but they have survived!

Have you gone through vaginal birth without epidural? Would you change that if you could? What techniques did you use to minimize the pain?
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Re: Did you have epidural?

  • I think you need a good book and taking a natural birth class. Also, there is a birth story board on The Bump. You can read some good info there.
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  • I planned to have the epi and I got it. Best decision for me ever!  I labored 2.5 hours naturally and it was so painful.  You won't care about the epidural needle... it's nothing at all compared to the labor pain.  After the epidural.. the next 6 hours of labor were delightful.. i could talk, rest, and somewhat nap.  It was wonderful.  But do what you are comfortable with.  My 2.5 hour of natural labor was intense.. i can't imagine pushing a baby out while having those pains as well.  Overall.. childbirth was amazing for me!  It was not as bad as I expected because the epidural worked so well.
    starr831@hotmail.comroo1oo
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  • it sounds like your fear is the needle and the actual procedure not so much against receiving the medicine for pain relief.  if this is the case i want you to know that when i received my epidural i had initial pinching at the site of my back where they numb the skin first (they use lidocaine - same stuff for when you get numbed for dental work/cavities) and about a half second of tingling sensation down my lef. after that it was all over and i was pain free and HAPPY!  it's the same exact procedure any medical professional would perform if they had to do a spinal tap (or lumbar puncture) to sample the spinal fluid. i wouldn't sweat the procedure too much.

    good luck with what you decide! 

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  • I had an epidural, and didn't feel the needle at all. The only bad part was the cold stuff they put on me. My contractions came on fast and strong at 3 minutes apart, and I labored like that for 5 hours before getting the epi. I don't know how I could push through that pain, so I give a lot of respect to the all natural ladies. Keep in mind about the possible use of pitocin. Towards the end, I had to get pitocin, and even with the epi, I could feel those contractions (nothing terrible), I was always told that pitocin contractions are 10 times worse. If I could feel them with the epi, I can't imagine how bad they could be without it.

    Go with what feels right. If you're unsure, just remember that you can go without the epi for the majority of your labor. They'll let you know your last chance to get the epi. You don't have to make a set decision right now if you don't want to. Good luck!
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  • I was open to having an epidural, but with my first I was 10 cm when I came back to the hospital so I had to start pushing and couldn't get one. They gave me nitrous oxide which helped a little, but if you are in America I hear you guys aren't given that option as only a few hospitals have it. I was also given morphine that did nothing for me. It was 8 hours of back labour.

    With my second I asked for an epidural as I was being induced but I jumped to 7 cm so quickly they didn't think I had time for it, again I had moprhine, nitrous oxide and also then some fentanyl. The fentanyl helped a little, I felt like the gas just made the room brighter and the morphine lasted for like 5 minutes. This one hurt worse as I was induced but only 4 hours long.

    I did it without the epidural both times, but used other pain management options. It was hard but I managed. Being induced made things more painful for me but my labour was so fast it was really just a riding out the clock moment.

    It's really up to you, do what you want and you feel is best. If you feel like you need it, then ask for it. If you can't get one for whatever reason, you will survive!
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  • I did not want an epidural at first because the procedure freaked me out and i didnt want the complications, but after they broke my water the contractions were really painful and I asked for the epi. For me, it didn't work like it was supposed to. The first attempt felt great for me! I did not feel the needle go in and then I felt instant relief from pain. The problem was it jumped my heart rate from 70 to 100 instantly. They did a spinal catheter instead which only worked on the left side of my body. I had extremely painful pelvic bone and hip bone pain for every contraction that the medicine could do nothing to fix. It was just baby's head, so it went away after she arrived. Afterwards, because of the spinal and two punctures, I had a spinal headache for a week after delivery. Not fun.

    That all said, I am very happy to have gotten the epi and I would get it again. I did not feel the pain of pushing which was nice. When you're in pain, the epi procedure doesn't seem so scary.


    Isabella & Julian & and now #3!
  • I had the epi with my first, but not with DS. It was pretty good with DD. It wasn't bad to have put in compared to the labor pain, and I was abme to relax for several hours without feeling much of anything. Then it stopped working on one side so they had to fix it. I couldn't feel the contractions when it came time to push so they had to tell me when. I didn't feel her crown either, just pressure. Labor was 12 hrs start to finish, about 45 min pushing.

    BUT,having a catheter sucked,it really hurt to have put in and was more than awkward having a big pee tube hanging out of me and a collection bag hanging on the bed, it also sucked to get out and then I had residual pain from it for several weeks,which turned out to be completely normal. It was also no fun having to wait for them to remove the epi after labor,and then waiting for the feeling to come back in my legs before they would let me get up to go to the bathroom and clean up. I also had a small sore spot on my back where it had been for a few days. Only mildly annoying though.

    With DS I planned to have an epi again but he came too fast. I woke up from a nap at 5:30, felt some cramps that started to get worse,called the hospital at 6:45 to see if they thought I should come in or not (because it was more like a constant pain) and they told me to. We finished packing up myself and DD but went straight to the hospital instead of dropping her off. DH called my parents feom the hospital at 7:40ish to pick up DD while i was getting changed. The nurse checked me,paged my Dr at his home and DS was in my arms at 9:22. She paged the anesthesiologist but it was too late, they needed to do blood work and have at least one liter of fluid (iI think... maybe it was 2) in via IV before I could get it. I totally panicked when she told me i couldn't get it in time, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I didn't feel crowning any worse than a regular contraction, and it was nice to be able to push and feel like I was doing something to make the pain stop. It was also pretty amazing that the very SECOND DS was out all the pain stopped. I felt freaking fantastic. Even stitching didn't hurt.

    Recovery was a lot faster this time I felt. It was great to be able to get up right away to shower and pee, no catheter, cords or wires.
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    hermanavelasquez
  • I didn't want an epi either. Baby girl's head was sideways and I ended up with the worst back labor. Nothing we practiced was getting me through the pain. It was seriously paralyzing. I made it to 8cm and opted for the epi. No guilt here.

    Getting the epi was easy. I didn't feel a thing and I was able to sleep/rest for a few hours before pushing. I also progressed very quickly. I was a 10 maybe 45 min after they administered the epi.

    Hopefully you are able to go natural. A few pieces of advice.

    -labor at home as long as possible
    -practice as many coping techniques
    -try not to feel guilt if you get it. Healthy baby and mama are #1 priority.

    Good luck!
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    LeeLee86
  • I was not able to deliver either of my kids vaginally, but intended to for both. With DS, I was in labor at the hospital and had always planned on getting an epidural despite my dislike of needles. Once in the hospital, found out DS was breech, so I had a c/s, but I did get the epidural while having contractions/in active labor and I don't remember it hurting at all.

    For DD, we found my fluid was low so I had to have a c/s. No chance for labor and I'll be honest, getting the epi was pretty painful even with the numbing shot you get first, but you know what it feels like?  A strong back contraction. I think this is why I don't remember it hurting the first time. You're already experiencing contractions and coping with that pain that you don't notice the pain from the epi. 

    Remember, the anesthesiologist is a trained doctor specifically for that purpose, so you shouldn't be concerned about it being "in the right hands."  This is what they are trained to do. 
  • Thank you for all your comments and advices.  After reading your experiences, I'm still going the natural way, but I don't discard the option of asking for epidural if I feel like I really need it in the moment. 

    I do want it natural, but it is not a radical decision, I still don't know if I will need a c-section or how are things going to be, but I want to make sure that things go how I want it if everything goes normally, so to inform to my doctor what I would like for my delivery. I still need to have this discussion with my doctor, as I don't know how it works if one doesn't plan ahead to have an epi and then asks for it during labor, I am not in the US and usually patients don't have the opportunity to choose exactly what they want here.  Fortunately, I am going to deliver in a private clinic, but in a public hospital there is no option for any kind of anesthesia and labor is always treated with oxytocin, no matter if they are progressing normally. 

    If there is no option of asking for epi after deciding to go natural, I will opt by epi right away, as it is my first baby and I don't know if I will desperately ask for it at the end.  I will write an update for you after the appointment with my doctor.

    Thank you!
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  • The contractions were so overwhelmingly painful that I was not the least bit concerned about the epidural procedure. It was nothing. I just wanted relief.
    hermanavelasquezroo1oo
  • I had an epi with babies 1 & 2. DD1 was c-section after my water broke early and I failed to progress with an induction. With DS, I couldn't relax enough to dilate, but did end up with a successful VBAC. I couldn't feel the needle with either one-you're much more worried about the contraction pain. My c-section recovery was really easy. My recovery after DS was a nightmare. I went without the epi with #3. I used hypnobabies and a doula. It was amazing. I basically had no recovery time. It was crazy painful from transition to birth (about 5 hrs for me), but worth the easy recovery.
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  • jenn43jenn43
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    I didn't have an epidural. I did not find labor painful until transition. Pushing didn't hurt at all.

    hermanavelasquez
  • I've had 3 med free births (including a 10 pounder and 9 lb 12 ozer) - so I'd say I'm a big fan!!  Educating yourself about birth is key as is using different positions during labor and pushing.  I think it's also important to remember the epidural has potential side effects for you and baby (and can prolong labor or even lead to the need for other interventions).  Yes, labor hurts but it's not like other pain.

    Do your research and make the decision that's right for you :)
    LeeLee86hermanavelasquezaditigirl
  • No epidural here either time. I loved the birth process, and it's painful but not as bad as people make it seem. I think you have the right attitude. It's the same one I had: I want to do this naturally, but I don't get bonus mommy points for it. There's no shame in admitting I need drugs if I need drugs. In my case, both times I was fine.
    hermanavelasquez
  • Two doses of the epidural and a dose of general anesthesia. I had all the drugs lol. Getting it put in was completely painless. All I felt was a temperature change at the site that lasted a few seconds.
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  • edited June 2014
    I had the epidural.  I am glad I did and I ended up getting a second dose of it later since I ended up pushing for so long.  I will say though that the epidural made it to where I didn't feel contractions, but I definitely still felt all the pushing and everything.  

    Also, getting the epidural didn't hurt me at all.  I just felt a temp change as it went down my back.
  • lorist202lorist202
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    edited July 2014
    I am 23 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I've always wanted to have vaginal birth with epidural because I think that way I could enjoy the moment even more. But, I know how the epidural is administered (by inserting a large needle in your column), I've seen many times how it is performed and now that I am pregnant, thinking about having that needle inserted in my column is scary, I know this can be safe in the right hands, but is just too scary for me.  So I dediced to go without epidural and my husband is supporting my decision and keep telling me that I am strong enough for standing the pain.   I've seen many women giving birth without epidural and it looks really painful, but they have survived!

    Have you gone through vaginal birth without epidural? Would you change that if you could? What techniques did you use to minimize the pain?
    My epidural failed at first.  I labored for approx 12 hours with progressively worse contractions, and i wasdnt dialating as a result of the pain.  I could not see, and I wouldn't let anyone talk.  Even to focus on the Dr. When she came in was very difficult.  Everyone's threshold for pain is different.  I was willing to withstand it until about the final hour, when I told them I was too exhausted and too much in pain to go on.

    So they tried it again and guess what?  It worked!  I felt such relief and even completely dialated instantly.  I had the most amazing, focused birth and I could have never have done it so peacefully without the epi, but that's just me.

    One thing you can do during each contraction is to focus on relaxing your body and releasing the tension.  Also, find a focal point, and fixate your eyes during each contraction.
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    hermanavelasquez
  • I planned on taking the birth as it came and making decisions while it was happening - that way there was no guilt or stress if things didn't happen as I expected.  After my water broke, I was not dialating a pace that my doctor was happy with, so they started me on pitocin.  Word of advice, if they give you pitocin, you are going to WANT an epidural!  The contractions I was experiencing before pitocin were completely manageable, but pitocin puts you into hyperdrive and within minutes of getting the drug my contractions were incredibly sharp and painful.  I went about an hour and a half before I requested the epidural.  Receiving the epidural was not bad at all in terms of pain or sensation. I was still able to feel the contractions which helped in pushing and delivery, but  needed help supporting my legs. I think the worst was how shaky I was after delivering because of the hormones and drugs in my system (oh and the whole just squeezing a baby out of your vagina part!).  

    All being said and done, I wouldn't go in with expectations of how labor and the hospital will be, because (as I'm sure you've heard) everyone is different!  Everyone has a different birth and story.  Do what is best for you and your family.  If the pain is too much to bear, do not hesitate to get that epidural!

    lorist202
  • I had pitocin both times, and it didn't affect the strength of the contractions. It doesn't cause everyone more pain. But I will say again, the best thing is not to have rigid ideas about how your birth "should" be. It will be how it's supposed to be.
  • My plan was to have a natural birth...I was induced on Wednesday morning at 8 am and did not give birth until Friday morning at 4:19.  Needless to say I ended up with an epidural because the hours of labor and the pain that came with that eventually got to be more than my body could handle.  I am glad now that I did because had I went natural I think I would have ended up with a C-section as I would have been too tired to push.
  • I had no epidural. I was against it from day with and never ended up getting it. The needle in my back terrified me as well.

    Mind you. The thought passed through my mind at 10 cm and I was pushing. I was getting tired and DS wasn't coming down. But there was no way to get one so I pushed through it (no pun intended) as I was at a birth Centre and that wasn't available to me.

    If the moment comes that you want one and can have one there is no judgment giving in.

    Since I didn't want one. I prepared myself by acknowledging that not only my body can do it, but it's going to be intense and nothing like I felt before. It will hurt. It will be amazing.

    Regardless though. No matter how you get that baby in your arms, the process ends up being the details are no longer worth worrying about. Good luck!

    hermanavelasquez
  • I would recommend going with your birth plan to not have one, but also knowing that if you need one you are ok with it.  Labor is different for everyone, but with both of my boys I wanted epidural (once I got one and once it was too late).  When you are in pain, the pain of the needle is nothing.  Also remember that sometimes the epidural can help you relax, making the labor and delivery easier (of course there are stories for all different scenarios).  Good luck to you and know that you will do great, whatever decisions you make about your epidural.  
  • fsumomfsumom
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    Yes and thank goodness I did as I had a very bad tear and episiotomy!
    ~Jessica~ 


  • I went in thinking I wasn't going to get the epi because I was scared of the needle. They broke my water at 9 and after the next contraction I was screaming for my epi. Never even felt the needle in my back one time just a little pressure which was nothing compared to my contractions in the middle of it! I never felt one thing. It was perfect! Would do it again but sooner this time. I only really labored for 2 hours.
  • I forgot to say in my post that I did not need or get pitocin and the epidural did not slow down my labor progression. That was one thing I was worried about before everything started. I could still feel the urge to push, too. I think now that every labor is different and everyone had a different pain tolerance and everyone reacts differently to the medication. My baby also was fully alert at birth and had no issues breastfeeding immediately after birth. For me, the epidural was worth it.


    Isabella & Julian & and now #3!
    bpatrick0809
  • jmcdyer said:

    I forgot to say in my post that I did not need or get pitocin and the epidural did not slow down my labor progression. That was one thing I was worried about before everything started. I could still feel the urge to push, too. I think now that every labor is different and everyone had a different pain tolerance and everyone reacts differently to the medication. My baby also was fully alert at birth and had no issues breastfeeding immediately after birth. For me, the epidural was worth it.

    I second the last part of this. My DS was awake alert and holding his head up looking around 3 hours after birth.

  • I had a long (31 hour) labor with 2 rounds of pitocin. After about 22 hours I was able to get an epi. It was the best thing on earth! The needle was nothing compared to the contractions.

  • norab2684 said:
    I had a long (31 hour) labor with 2 rounds of pitocin. After about 22 hours I was able to get an epi. It was the best thing on earth! The needle was nothing compared to the contractions.
    Wow! That was a really long labor! In my country, after 10 hours doctors will go for c-section!
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  • @hermanavelasquez‌ yeah it was pretty terrible. My water broke but labor stalled and first round of pit didn't work. The finally realized some of my membranes were still intact and once those were gone labor really picked up. By picked up I mean stronger contractions- still took another 14 hours!!
  • QT3.14QT3.14
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    I am extremely scared of needles but I went in with an open mind. I had back labor and it was very painful. I requested the epidural and do not regret it at all.
  • i labored for around 11-12 hours before getting epidural. i had wanted to go drug free but not being able to push since i wasntfully dilated, i didnt think i could take any more, plus it was back labor. it felt like it took them forever to finally do it and it took awhile to kick in but once itdid it was blessed relief! i felt no pain during the needle or when it was finally time to push. i could still feel pressure so forthe most part i could feel when to push. then 2-3 hours after epi my beautiful baby was born alert and healthy from minute 1. no headache or complications thank the LORD.
  • hlm184hlm184
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    I planned on a natural birth, but ended up stalled out at eight, after more than 24 hours of back labor.  Two hours into pitocin, and I needed the epi.  Didn't feel a thing.  Glad I waited so long to get it though, as that really reduced the risk of interventions spiraling out of control.  Labor ended up being 32 hours long all together.
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  • I've done it both ways. I did not have the epi with DS and I did with this one. I have no regrets either way. The reason I had an epi this time is because I had to start pitocin at 3cm (my body did not start into active labor when my water broke). I react strongly to pitocin and was having very strong contractions 1-2 minutes apart with no relief in between. The epi was heaven! It also allowed my body to relax and labor down. I only pushed for three contractions and she was out. Trust me, you do not care about the needle when you are in intense labor. The most painful part of the epi was the injection of the local anesthetic. After that, the hardest part was sitting still enough through contractions.

    With DS, I was induced with cervadil and labored and delivered naturally with him. It was intense and painful. I probably should have let my body labor down more with him, but I was in so much pain that it felt good to push and I ended up pushing for three hours.
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  • I forgot to say in my post that I did not need or get pitocin and the epidural did not slow down my labor progression. That was one thing I was worried about before everything started. I could still feel the urge to push, too. I think now that every labor is different and everyone had a different pain tolerance and everyone reacts differently to the medication. My baby also was fully alert at birth and had no issues breastfeeding immediately after birth. For me, the epidural was worth it.
    I second the last part of this. My DS was awake alert and holding his head up looking around 3 hours after birth.

    I also second this. DD was more awake than DS was. The epi doesn't really get to the baby. It is an anesthetic that bathes the nerves in your spinal column. It's not going into your bloodstream. I must say that my recovery has been a lot easier this time (with the epi). I didn't tear and my pelvic floor muscles are still intact. I believe a lot of that has to do with being able to labor down for about an hour after I was at a ten. I could also see where an epi could stall labor for some women and require the use of pitocin to get things going again, but I was already on the pit.
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  • I just had my first baby in June. My water broke at 10pm on Monday night (went into hospital at 5:00 am) and I had my son Tuesday at 3:25 pm. I went through it without pain meds. For me I knew I was going to need to be walking around and moving so an epi. wasn't really in the cards. If you have a tub available, my hospital room had a nice big one, that was great towards the end to help relax, a stress ball (I used my hubbys thumb haha) to rub during contractions to help focus on breathing. Breathing was the biggest thing for me - contractions, for me, worked in a wave so they would get gradually stronger and climax then come back down, if you can breathe through the hardest part, keep your shoulders down and relaxed, as much as possible it really is manageable. Having someone to support you is also really helpful. Also for me I had to keep telling myself that my body was made to do this and it wouldn't last forever. I know many women choose to use pain meds but I know for me I really felt a sense of accomplishment for making it through, and my husband thought I was a total badass :)
    waldothewiener1
  • I was very hesitant to get the epidural but decided I would keep my options open and see how things went.  I went into labor at 4am, labored at home until 6am when we went to the hospital, and finally decided to get the epidural at 2pm.  There was a bit of pressure when they put the needle in but it wasn't painful at all.  The relief was amazing, and I was able to relax, nap, and just enjoy the experience much more than I had when I was in a ton of pain.  I ended up being in labor for a total of 24 hours, and I cannot imagine going that long without pain relief.  I would have been exhausted by the time I had to push her out!  I would say to keep an open mind, and if you decide you want it then go for it.  I would do it again in a heartbeat!
  • I always knew I wanted kids, and seeing all the glamor of Hollywood movie pregnancies, I also knew I wanted an epidural and it did not matter to me how it was administered. I have had 2 beautiful children luckily a boy and a girl. My son being first was the smoothest pregnancy I ever thought was possible. I had a couple hours worth of pain before getting my epidural but once I got it smooth sailing I felt nada, I was told when to push and did fine no more tears no more discomfort no more pain. I never even had to click the button to release an extra dose of the medicine. Now, with my daughter, I got the epidural and had the same relief... for a few hours. Slowly but surely the ache came back not so much across my abdomen but my pelvic area and it got worse as time went on. I felt so much more with my last pregnancy which makes me appreciate my kids more, this was our last one. Just goes to show that all pregnancies are different whether you choose to have and epidural or not it might be the answer to your prayers or you may still have some feeling of what's going on, either way the end result takes all that away.
  • I went epi free and delivered an almost 9 pound baby girl, who decided to come out with her elbow up against her face. My labor was 11 hours long. During the first part I would just hold my husband and sway around the room. I spent very little time in bed. The last 4 hours I got to endure back labor. I stood in the shower for most of the back labor with hot water just pouring down my back. Honestly, if you set your mind to do it you can. I did not take any courses - just did some reading online.

    That One Gal From Alaska :)

     

     

  • I was induced at 41wks 6days and I planned on going natural, but as soon as the pitocin hit I was crying and begging for the epidural. They finally gave it to me (along with some iv benadryl to calm me down) right before she broke my water and I have to say... Best decision I could have made. I was in labor for 30 hours (partially because they had to take me off the pitocin for 6 hours because my oxygen dropped) and 25 of them I felt absolutely nothing... So was laughing at me because I'd watch the monitor and go "oh look I'm having a contraction... Oooo and it's a big one!"

    If I didn't get the epidural it would not have been a pleasant experience for me and I probably would have ended up with a c-section because I don't do well with pain (and she was threatening me with a c-section)

    Imho the pros outweigh the risks.
    Supermom to my beautiful boys Troy Marshall and Griffin Xander 

     Living the dream with my wonderful man :)
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