Pregnancy Questions Answered - Epidural

I've been slackin' on the parenting questions. If you have any questions you'd like to heard other mom's answer-shoot me an email or leave it in a comment below.

I've come to notice that several of my readers are pregnant and I remember always wanting to know what other moms did during different situations.



SO,

Did you have an epidural? Are you happy that you did/didn't? What was your experience like?


I was in a ton of pain with Evan and am definitely NOT a supermom so I asked for the epidural. After a few short minutes, I was feeling REALLY good and was enjoying the last little bit of labor. I still knew when to push and had the urge to do so.

Isabella was pretty much the same way. As soon as he broke my water, extremely strong contractions started. Tears sprang to my eyes and I begged for the epidural. It took my nurse what seemed like forever to get someone in there to do it and I was feeling the urge to push. I would bear down and tremble trying not to push. She didn't believe me because I was just at 6cm before the epidural(about 10 min earlier). I couldn't sit still when he was trying to do the epidural because my contractions were about a minute apart and I kept trembling to make myself stop trying to push. He finally said he was done and I went to lay down hoping for relief. I didn't get much. The epidural only worked on my right leg. She put me on my side hoping that the epidural would kick in-but it never did and I FINALLY got her to check me. She goes "Oh no, there's the baby!" and ran out the door to get my doctor. He came in with just enough time to catch her. It was painful, but I did it and was fine. If I would have labored for several more hours, I would have definitely wanted my epidural to work!

If you've never had en epidural-it makes life all happy. :) Some people say they don't want one because they want to get up and walk around shortly after having the baby. I had an epidural with each kid. I held the baby, my family came back and held the baby- then they took the baby to the nursery. They got me up when they took the baby to the nursery so I could go tinkle. I was able to get up and walk both times with no problems. It doesn't take long for the epidural to wear off when they take it out right after birth.

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43 comments:

Jennifer @ Giveaways and More! said...

Thanks for posting your experiences! I'm not pregnant, but I want to be, so hearing these stories will help when the time comes for me to make a decision regarding an epidural. I'm leaning towards not having one but I'm going to keep my options open for now.

Saving Our Way said...

Oh My - I am glad that you were already delivering with your half epidural & didn't have to suffer with one sided contractions for a long time!

I was definitely hoping to go natural but then ended up with some complications (eclampsia & hospitalized for a month) which caused me to need to be induced. The pitocin was just too much. I made it about 4 hours on it before I was crying "Mercy"! Also - when she broke my water I started with the labor shakes & just couldn't calm my body down enough to relax during my contractions.

Before I was induced I was SO SCARED of the epidural process. At four hours into a pitocin induced labor - didn't care anymore! It helped that the anesthesiologist was very handsome - haha! I just remember praying that I didn't have a contraction while he was putting the epidural in & I don't recall much of the epidural process.

The key I think was that I told him I was scared & asked him to walk me through each step as he went. He did just that & it really helped me. As he inserted the catheter he warned me that I may feel a few zingers & not to worry that it was normal b/c it was very close to my nerves. I did feel two moderate zingers - if he hadn't warned me I would have FREAKED but since I was prepared I was ok. So do ask to be walked through step by step as they go if you are scared - it helps!

Honestly - i've had friends who've gone naturally, i've had friends who've immediately gotten their epidurals and then i've had friends, like myself, who labor for a bit and then get one. Each labor is different but they do a great job of numbing & I don't recall any discomfort really.

:-)

becky said...

It's good to hear some good talk about epidurals. I've heard so many people recently talk about how scared they are of them...and say the same thing that you mentioned that they want to be able to get up and walk around. With my first (and only..number two is on the way :)). I too was able to get up and walk to the shower (with the nurse beside me) and was feeling great in no time. It sure was nice to have the relief and be able to enjoy the birth of my daughter. Thanks for sharing your story!

Momma Chaos said...

With my oldest, I was not quite 19 & no way in hell was I doing it with out pain drugs. I was ready for my epidural the minute I walked into the hospital.. Unfortunately, it was turned up soo high that I really couldnt' feel to push and ended up pushing for 5hrs PLUS had to have the vacuum to get her big butt out. #2, I went in saying I'm going to go natural this time.. I dont want to have to push for hours and hours because I have no clue what I'm doing.. He had other ideas though.. Once my water was broken, his heart rate kept going down with contractions.. They ended up pumping a fake water solution back up inside me (talk about fun) to make him happy.. With the threat of c-section looming, I gave in and did another epidural.. This time, it was turned down in time for pushing and I could feel to push.. MUCH better!! #3 was my surrogacy.. I decided to try the epi one more time because I had not only my own husband but the baby's parents in the room too.. I wanted to enjoy the experience and not be miserable the entire time. Let me just say that epidurals have evolved in the 9yrs between #1 & 3.. Not only did it take away the pain but I could Move my legs! I kept picking a leg up and laughing saying LOOK, I can move it! I'm sure everyone thought I was insane.. lol. If I were pregnant again, I'd probably do another epi.. The last experience really sealed the deal for me :)

dannyscotland said...

I Looooooooved my epidural!!!! I am a super-wimp when it comes to pain, and my daughter had, um, a really big head, so I was really glad to have that epidural. The only weird thing was one of my legs went completely to sleep and when they would ask me to move it, I would have to tell them why I couldn't! I will absolutely, definitely, without a doubt do it again when I have a second baby some day. Oh, and the poking part? Barely even hurt at all, this from the aforementioned super-wimp.

♥Cari♥ said...

I loved my epidural. The contractions were taking such a toll on my body...I was continuously puking, for several hours...and I'd had nothing to eat. It was horrible.

Once I had the epi, everything was perfect!

Shell said...

I had nothing with my first(he came too quickly) and some fast acting something or other with my second(also a quick baby) and then an epidural with my third.

My epidural baby was by far my easiest and least stressful delivery.

Dani said...

Thanks for the posting this and all the other comments ladies. I am 6 months prego and struggling with epi or not. I am a pain wimp but also pretty scared of having needles/catheters in my spine. I think your reassuring stories of how much the epidurals helped you has helped me make my decision.

The Beckers said...

I had wanted a natural child birth from the start. If you are thinking about doing it naturally, you have to be really committed! The pain is intense, and unless you are prepared as much as possible, it will be tough to make it through!
We did it without any interventions. I had 4 hours or labor and 7 minutes of pushing. It was very intense (like nothing you can imagine), but is very do-able. I will definitely do it naturally with any subsequent kids we may have. The short labor and delivery alone was worth it in my opinion.

alissa4illustration said...

My oldest was breech. I even tried to get them to turn him from the outside (OUCH!!!!!!!) He wouldn't turn all the way. I was low on fluid. I also have a tilted pelvis, so they questioned if I'd have to have a C-Section anyhow. When he wouldn't turn I opted for a C-Section, I had to really. Then with my youngest I just had a repeated one. With my titled pelvis and scar tissue from the C-Section before I decided it was just best to have another.

The Gosfam said...

I didn't have an epidural with either pregnancy. I did it both times without any kind of drugs. It just happened that way. I would rather deal with the pain then have a giant needle shoved in my spine :) Definitely worth the pain when you have such a great gift at the end of it all.

Dawnette Thomas said...

With my first child, I was determined to go all natural. Around my 65th hour of labor, I caved and asked for an epidural. While I was waiting for the anesthesiologist, I got the urge to push. So no epidural for me. After pushing for 7 1/2 hours, I had to have an emergency C-section. So the next four children came by c-section, not my choice but my bodies choice.

Not Just A Mommy! said...

With my first child, my labor progressed too quickly (shocking for a first-timer) for an epidural. They wouldn't admit me at 4 cm, so while I waited in agony for an hour, I zoomed to 10 cm. They gave me something in my IV to 'take the edge' off. Liars! :)

For the second child, I was much more prepared for what to expect and actually made it to 9 cm, but then didn't progress so they gave me an epidural to relax me. I wanted to kiss my anesthesioloigist I was sooooo relieved, and was able to relax, and pretty much once the meds kicked in, baby came right out.

Every labor story is different, and I always tell my first-time mom friends, listen to your body and what YOU need. If you don't want to be in pain, go for it, it doesn't diminish your ability/love as a mother. And if you want to tough it out without the drugs, good for you! But don't think you can't change your mind. No time for mommy guilt to kick in, you have many years of that.

Anissa said...

I had one w/ both of my kids. My first child was induced and let me tell you pitocin really ramps up the intensity of contractions. There was no way I was not getting some sort of relief! Sadly it took over an hour of waiting before I got it (hospital was packed) and by the time they gave it to me; I was having non stop contractions! Moments later it took effect and I didn't care how many pelvic exams etc they wanted to give me ;) I was lucky in that I could still feel the pushes as I know some people have issue w/ that.
My second child was not induced but she was presenting chin to chest so it took 2+ hours of pushing and the epidural kept me sane, though it was a bit odd as when they game it to me I could still feel the contraction but only over my right hip bone. They had me shift on my side and it eventually evened out.

I'm in favor of them, but each preganancy is diferent. Juts know that what you plan doesn't always work so be open to the options. Oh and just because you are okay w/ a big needle in your spine doesn't mean your husband won't nearly faint when he watches (mine needed a walk after seeing it) ;)

Barely Domestic Mama said...

I didn't have an epidural, but that was because I had a planned c-section. With all the information that I now have for the next pregnancy when it happens, I am definitely not planning on getting one if all goes well and I can have a VBAC. Although seeing my sister after she got her epidural before giving birth to my twin nephews was the funniest thing ever! She was so happy!

Midwestern Gone Idahoan said...

Heavens YES!!!!! I didn't have one with my first because I didn't get to the hospital fast enough:) But with my other FOUR!!! I had them!!! 3 of them were great - 1 didn't take so well. Talk about night and day!! If I can say this - once I got one, I enjoyed the birthing of my children!! And EACH labor is different!!! Some are more painful then others!!! Don't be afraid to ask for one or MORE if you need it!!!

Devonay@LumpkinAndMe said...

After 8 hrs of contractions 2 minutes apart, an epidural was a gift from God. Going all natural doesn't make you a better person.

Cjengo said...

Same thing, my epidural took on one side. It wasn't anything I couldn't handle, but it does hurt.

NHmommy said...

the first I got the epi...totally regret it now that I had my second completely drug free. Once I got the epi with #1, I had to have leg compression things, then oxygen, then pitocin, then it took forever to push him out. I hemorrhaged, got some nasty meds for that and felt like complete shit for weeks afterwards.
the second...broken water at 6:40am at home, delivered at 9:17am. NO nothing. I was ready to go and felt great. Now the second baby weight falling off....not so much.

Troy, Sarah and Lucy Sherman said...

I have 2 kids....and have had the epidural administered 7 times. YES you read that right. And the epidural only worked 1 time..on my second child, not my first who was sunny side up. I have scoliosis, which makes it hard for the docs to find the correct spot. My second, who i delivered two weeks ago, the epidural worked however it took them 2 hours and 3 attempts, and they went too far into my spine and took spinal fluid and i ended up with a spinal headache where all I could do was lay down for an entire week after delivery. IT WAS HORRIBLE. EPIDURALS SUCK!

Kim said...

I had an epi with my first and had a wonderful delivery!!!! So great in fact, that I couldn't wait to deliver my 2nd....I was sooo excited. Unfortunately, she came to quickly (one hour & 25 minutes from the time I had my first contraction) and I was FORCED (yes I say forced) to do it with no meds. OUCH!!!!!!!! I don't even have the words to describe the fear & pain! So with my 3rd I decided I had better prepare for a natural birth. I used hypnobabies and was kind of excited to try it out (albeit a little nervous). I labored to an 8 (with very easy contractions) in about an hour & then the contractions got VERY intense....so I wimped out & asked for an epidural.....BUT within 10 minutes I was a 10 & it was too late for any meds. OUCH!!!!!! Again no words. It's just a good thing that my babies practically SHOOT out of me because too much of that pain would kill me. GET THE EPIDURAL!!!! JUST DO IT!

The Jacobsen Family! said...

I had no epidural with my 3 deliveries and I dont plan to with this one either. It was a mixture of reasons for me. I want to do it as God intended (although I also believe he gave men the wisdom of medicine and dont think those who have epidurals are bad! LOL!), I wanted to have complete control of my body, and the needle... Oh the needle. Can't do it. UGH! Totally getting the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.
Fortunately, I have a high pain tolerance and really didn't think going natural with all 3 was bad at all. Even with pitocin with 2 deliveries!

Heidi Jane Blankets said...

I'm definitely pro epidurals, some mothers I've read recently are pretty adamant on how epidurals make labor not as 'beautiful'or what ever you want to call it. I have to totally disagree. I LOVE giving birth. I think it was a great invention, just like vaccines, for a good cause :). I am very glad to see this post. I have had 2 very beautiful births and am pregnant with #3 and plan on getting a third epidural!

Sarah Halstead said...

The 1st I had a scheduled C-section and had a spinal.

My 2nd was a VBAC and I did not have an epidural (I did not want another needle shoved in my back). I also didn't want to go through having a needle in my back and it not work or make me really sick. The way I looked at it was, it was only going to be painful for a little while, I could deal with the pain. I am glad I didn't get it. I was also scared about being paralyzed. Also since it was a VBAC I wanted to be able to feel everything in case my uterus started to rupture. The contractions during pushing were not painful at all. It was actually a relief to push.

S Club Mama said...

With Tristan I'd been having contractions since 7am and so around 11 I asked for an epidural. They had to shut it off when I started pushing bc I couldn't feel well enough to push. And they aren't kidding with that ring of fire crap.
I was fine without an epidural with Isaac until they moved me to kick start things & I started to have contractions in my butt/lower back. Holy crapola. That hurt so I asked for an epidural. I also got something else (??) to take the edge off before my lovely anesthesiologist could get there. Good thing bc they again had to shut the darn epidural off and whatever it was they gave me helped take the edge off enough that this labor was smooth.

So if I have another kid, will I get an epidural? I won't say yes or no but I will try to go as long as possible without (if they're just going to turn it off what's the point) but I will at least ask for whatever they gave me with Isaac. Although whatever it was, I'm pretty sure got to him too because he slept for 6 hours after he got out.

Kelli @ RTSM said...

I had an epidural with my first...I was in labor forever and finally ended up having a c-section. With my second and third, I had spinals because they were both scheduled c-sections. I never once considered not getting an epidural though. Why be in pain when you don't have to was my motto:)

Heather M said...

I had my epidural for all of 2 hours. When I went to push I couldn't feel, so they shut it off. I delivered her drug free. After they shut it off, we waited an hour and then I pushed and she was out 38 minutes later. It was natural and with the next one, I'm going to try drug free and we'll see. However, I think that Epidural really sped up my labor. I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 AM at a 4. When I got the epidural at 10:52 I was a 6. When They turned it off at about 12 I was a 10. So that really helped. We'll see with the next one though!

sharonjo said...

Interesting reading others' experience with (or without!) the epidural. I had both my boys without any pain medication, other than local for the episiotomy and repair. I was lucky to have very "good" labor and delivery experiences both times though. If I had it to do again and they offered the epidural, I'd definitely consider it.

Heather said...

When we went to the hospital for our childbirth class the nurse told us that there's no prize for giving birth without an epidural, or something like that. I have had both and epi and a spinal.

With my son, the first epi didn't work, so they had to do it again. The second time, that one worked great! Long story short, after being induced I ended up having a c-section.

With our daughter, my husband got convinced by somebody that I should have a spinal, I don't even totally remember agreeing with this, but it was what my husband and the anesthesiologist wanted.

After the epidural I ended up with a bumpy, itchy rash on my back and I was itching like crazy for days afterwords. They gave me medicine to stop the itching, but even after I went home, my back still itched. It took the rash on my back about a month to clear up, no, it didn't itch for that long, thank goodness.

With the spinal, I didn't have any itching, but a few weeks after I came home and ever since then, ever so often I have had tingling in my hands, wrists, and up to my elbows. This has decreased with time, but when it happens, it's really annoying and not comfortable.

So there are negatives and positives with both! C-sections are easy. Recovering from them is hard. Even after you go home you need to take care of yourself. If you have stairs in your house, don't go up them until at least a week and a half or more after your c-section. We have 6 stairs that lead up to our den, I should not have been going up and down them so soon. But, you learn what to do and what not to do, very quickly.

The Baldree Family said...

LOVED my epidural. I am getting one in a few weeks when we have our next little one and would never do it without it. It was so much more enjoyable after I had it. It is amazing!!!

Misfit Momma aka Missy said...

I had the opposite opinion of my epidural babies...I had one with my first two, then had my two youngest without it and it was so much easier (and faster healing time) without the epidural for me.

Ana B said...

Thanks for sharing! I am not scared of epidurals, I am a wimp when it comes to pain. But I wanted a natural birth and nothing injected into me and my baby, I was determined to say the least. After 12 hours of labor, 2.5 hours of pushing, it was all worth it! Completely drug free, just like my mom, grandma, great grandma, and all the ones before did it ;)

whocg23 said...

I thought that maybe I would just go with IV help. Well, my LJ had other plans. He came too fast and I couldn't even get an IV while in the hospital. I went drug free by force but it was nice. I know I can do that now. It was an experience I won't forget. I do look forward to maybe get some kind of relief with this next child though. :) But I have to wait and see what this one plans for labor and delivery. lol

Buki Family said...

i had one with my first which was a godsend because my water broke in the evening but contractions did not start till early early morning... and i could not sleep the whole time since i was so excited. by the time i got the epidural mid-day, it gave me a chance to rest a little before I started pushing.

LambAround said...

As someone who has never had a baby, I've never understood why there are so many women against having an epidural. Other than the thought of the ginormous needle, of course!

Jennifer-Eighty MPH Mom said...

Great topic Dee! My first child came so quickly that I didn't have time. It hurt but luckily after 4 pushes he was out. With my daughter I chose to have an epidural and it was wonderful. I couldn't feel the contractions and they had to tell me when to push. She was delivered in about 3 pushes. The only downside for me was that they wouldn't let me leave the delivery room for a regular room until I could tinkle. That took FOREVER! I couldn't walk for a bit either.

I would say definitely go for the epidural. Childbirth can be so incredibly painful - why suffer when you don't need to? We have come a long way, and I am grateful we have options!

Tamara B. said...

I have had eight of them and they worked great but later on now my back gives me problems. Were I was enjected it is sore and stiff.

Joy said...

I'm going to have the unpopular opinion on epidurals based on the comments here, ha ha. I had an epidural with my first two. With my third I decided it was time to do things differently and I had her naturally.

I cannot tell you the high I felt when I gave birth without an epidural, without an IV, without bands suffocating my belly. I was just a woman doing the most natural thing in the world, free to push how I wanted and when I wanted.

Did it hurt? Yes but the pain was temporary. My husband was absolutely amazed and in awe of what I had done. And I still couldn't believe it. I kept saying in my mind, "It's not too late to get one... not too late!"

I wish I would've skipped the epi with my first two daughters. There are some not-so-great side effects and risks (including to the baby) so I'm not the person that is telling women they just have to have it. I want my baby to arrive as safely as possible even if it means discomfort for me. But I'm also not someone who likes to even take pain pills or meds anyway.

Kimbuckjr said...

Yup, I most certainly had an epidural, I wouldn't of had it any other way! I don't do well with pain and labor pains are pain cubed! I don't know how these women who have babies without any pain killers do it, let alone survive. I must be a wimp cuz there is no way I could of done it without the epidural. Women who don't have pain meds are super hereos!
Also, I've heard that babies that are born to mother's who have an epidural during child birth come out with some sort of drug side effect, or something like that, but my daughter is fine today and was fine when she was born 6 and a half years ago.
Thank you for posting this post, I enjoyed reading your thoughts.
Kim B.

kelllilee said...

I've never had an epidural with any of my 3 kiddos. And barring medical reasons I would never get one. Too many risks and side-effects involved for my comfort. I enjoyed every one of my births. My first was in a hospital, second at a free-standing birth center, and third was at home (as will all future children).

I'm not anti-epi in that I believe every woman has the right to choose what they do and don't want from their birth experience. I do, however, believe that women should be fully educated on all the risks and benefits of ALL labor interventions. And sadly, most aren't.

I'm glad you had good experiences with your labors :)

Betty N said...

On my second one---yes, and I would have had one on any other future children we might have had

Jeanie said...

I know 2 moms who chose not to have epidurals during their labor, and I applaud them. People say that giving birth is the most immense pain a person can feel. I don't know how I'd be able to do it when I eventually get pregnant, but I'm going to try to not have an epidural when I'm in labor. I might, however, request to have it ready just in case. =)

dozenroses13 said...

I don't have kids yet, but I thought they gave you a catheder (sp?) so I'm kinda surprised they got you right up to tinkle.... Am I wrong about this?

I've also heard if you have a back tattoo (I don't) and they won't give you an epidural - have you heard this? I'm always telling people I know not to get back tattoos because I wouldn't want to give up the epidural option....

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