Newest Review: ... had monitors taped on to my back and was hooked up and given a drip. Having the Epidural complicated my delivery so much! But then again ... more
My Epidural Experience.
Member Name: Mama-Q
Advantages: quick pain relief method.
Disadvantages: you are stuck in your bed, they won't allow you to eat after you've had an epidural.
In my Birth Plan (a simple summary of how you want things to go when you're birthing your baby) I stated very clearly that I DID.NOT.WANT.AN.EPIDURAL.
I wanted to go all the way from 1cm dilated to pushing with no drugs involved and using simple breathing techniques I had learned from HypnoBirthing to control any discomfort I would feel from labouring.
And as all best laid plans seem to go off course at one point or another, so did my birthing plan.
I went into labour at 11am on a Monday morning. I remember being on all fours and yelping a little helplessly on mine and my husbands bed when it all started, however I did manage to control my pain levels in the way I wanted too; with breathing techniques.
I had wanted to birth at home, but my husband was against the idea and seeing as I have other health related complications the decision had been made fairly early on in the pregnancy that I birth in the hospital - I made peace with this decision and made a few compromises about how I wanted the birth to be. This including never having the epidural unless we needed it for anything other than pain.
However I did manage to see out a large proportion of the labour at home and was dilated to 4cm when we arrived at the hospital - which was perfect for me because I felt like things were progressing beautifully. The strange thing is that I had built up a lot of anxiety about going to the hospital, but as soon as I got there the fear of giving birth and the pain of what that final push would be like actually dissipated. So much so that I began to wonder if I was actually in labour (I'd had a few pre-term labour scares and had been in on my due date for a "trial run" all to be sent home once examined).
Once I was taken into triage and the necessary checks were done to establish the fact that I was indeed in labour - hooked up to a trace monitor to monitor the intensity and timings of contractions, given a cervical check, blood pressure and temp taken - I seem to recall the midwife disappearing behind a curtain and making a phone call that seemed very excitable. She announced to the Labour Ward that she had a "woman who'd gone into spontaneous labour." Spontaneous? Didn't that mean suddenly, something that came and went all of a sudden and...also; LABOUR?? What the heck!
Even though I'd been contracting for some time, I just didn't connect what I was going through to be labour - as I'd had so many close calls before and had spent 10 months being pregnant I just didn't believe it would all conclude.
Alongside all my other checks they didn't "like" my blood pressure - what had it done to them? - so they asked me to do a urine sample (which took forever because baby was kinda pressing down on my bladder at this stage of the game) and they took some blood from me. The midwife then checked my urine on the spot and didn't like what she could see; "There's some protein in your urine," she announced to me. I knew this could mean pre-eclampsia. I knew this might mean the dreaded "C" - or Caesarean Section.
I was sent down to the Labour Ward and within less than an hour my blood test results came back and revealed I didn't have pre-eclampsia. However my blood pressure wasn't going down, nor was my heart rate. They got worried, but me? I was fine. I breathed through the stronger and stronger contractions and every one said I was dealing so well with the pain that I didn't need anything - which I was perfectly peachy about.
My midwife appeared looking very serious and solemn, checked all the monitors I was hooked up too and said that I may need to start considering the epidural. They were really lovely around this subject and kept quoting my birth plan (I had been told they don't really give two monkeys about the birth plan so I was surprised) throughout. I broke down into tears and asked if it was entirely necessary - she said there were medications they could give me but that the choices were limited and the epidural was faster acting.
I asked to be alone with my Mum (our hospital had a lame policy in which only ONE birthing partner can be present) to make the decision and as she'd had 4 epidurals (and 4 C-sections, yes she is Wonder Woman to me) I honestly couldn't have had anyone better there with me making the decision. She said it was completely up to me and briefly recapped me on her experiences of it and I decided to consent to it.
In marched a charmingly camp Anaesthetist , who strangely reminded me of my cousin, with dark red scrubs and the trolley where all the needles and equipment required to set up the epidural was housed. Behind him was the Consultant Anaesthetist who ran through the procedure step by step and didn't speak in jargon. I was asked to sit up in the bed and face the window - two "assistants" (one was the camp Anaesthetist) wearing dark scrubs faced me and a rather sour-lemon faced woman asked me to put a pillow on my lap and hold onto her arms. My midwife stood to the side of them and spoke gentle, reassuring words to me meanwhile my Mum had turned green at the sight of the needles.
The first thing I remember feeling is a very, very sharp feeling at the base of my spine. Then it felt as though I'd been sleeping the wrong way and it was out of alignment. The Anaesthetist asked me to say in what direction the needle was going and to let him know if I felt it going more left than right and vice versa. He pretty much got it in there first time without much event. He then said I'd feel a very cold sensation run up my spine and that was okay - compared to the rest of the procedure. I'd been told it would take up to 15 minutes to do but it actually felt like seconds.
I couldn't eat once I'd had the epidural and by this point I was feeling no discomfort or any contraction and I really wanted to eat having not ate a thing all day! I didn't feel sick, dizzy or have a sore head as a side effect and managed to cat nap until I hit 10cm dilated.
My epidural wore off once and so they topped up my epidural - I started to feel the edges of pain when it wore off. It wore off again and I was 8cm dilated at this point and was dilating at 1cm every half hour. They didn't want to top it up and insisted I have gas and air at this point - which worked wonders for me!
As the epidural worked quickly for me, so it wore off quickly for me. I felt every jolt of fiery sharpness as my son made his way into the World. I felt every push and shove to get him nearer from my womb into my arms. And this part of the delivery was exactly how I wanted it to be.
After birth I was able to get up to the toilet fairly easily, walk around and use my legs. The midwives were surprised at my recovery and looked frightened when I ventured out of bed for my first pre-birth pee (that hurt like hell!).
I had none of the after effects that I had been warned about; no back pain, no headaches, nothing! Only after effects associated with giving birth to a 10 lb one and a half ounce baby boy!
Summary: I hope to not have it again, but it was necessary at the time.
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