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Does labor hurt even with an epidural?


Forum: Labor and Childbirth

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  #1  
April 1st, 2009, 06:42 PM
glitterii's Avatar Regular
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I thought an epidural makes it so you are not in pain, but then I was watching tlc and the girl had an epidural but she was still screaming in pain. So, I was just wondering what the pain is like after getting an epidural, do the contractions still hurt and does it still hurt to push the baby out?
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  #2  
April 2nd, 2009, 05:27 AM
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Well I'm no help because i had a csection...but i had an epi and i was completey numb...i didnt feel the contractions...and i obviously didnt feel them cut me open...maybe someone can help u on giving a natural birth tho!
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  #3  
April 2nd, 2009, 07:21 AM
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My first labor was with an epidural....then turned into a c-section. My second labor was natural with NO epidural and a vaginal delivery.

Hands down, no doubt I would choose NO epidural again anyday. Sure, it numbs you from the waste down and you can't feel the contractions, so essentially, yes it does take away the pain of the contractions so labor doesn't hurt. BUT....epidurals increase your chance of a c-section by about 60%....and a c-section....heck yes....THAT hurts. Not so much the actual surgery, but the weeks of recovery afterwards....it HURTS. For WEEKS.
So I would take a few hours of contractions over a few weeks of recovery any day of the week.

And honestly, natural labor is not that bad. It hurt less than recovering from the c-section and I actually preferred not having a huge needle in my spine again. It sucks being paralyzed from the waste down. Natural labor is so much easier, so much more....natural and the way things are supposed to be.

There are lots of more natural things you can do during labor to ease pain.....walking, changing positions, showering, swaying, etc.

It's all about your attitude going in. The mind has a pretty powerful control over the body. If you go in with an attitude thinking it's going to hurt bad...then it probably will. If you believe that labor is a natural process and you can do it...then you probably won't see it as that painful. Labor pain is productive pain...it is GOOD pain....it is your body doing what it needs to do to bring your child into the world. Go with it and embrace it, you don't need to ignore your body's messages on when to push...and if you have an epidural, that's exactly what you'll be doing. Epidurals come w/ lots of risk, so no matter what decision you make...just make sure it's an informed one.
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  #4  
April 2nd, 2009, 08:05 AM
Erinmarie83's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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It really sort of peeves me when people say that labor pain is a good pain. Pain tolerance for every woman is very different. I went into my labor with the mindset that I will go as far as a I possibly can without an epidural. That is one thing that really helps prevent a c-section. Getting an epidural too soon can slow things down.

Please DO NOT be afraid to get an epidural. I think far too often women on here sing the praises of natural childbirth and it leaves new mothers terrified or feeling inadeuate if they cant do it. Weigh the risks and make a decision based on what you feel you can handle, not what someone else can handle. If you go all the way naturally, that is great, but dont feel badly if you cant.

It is also important to remember that an epidural eliminates contraction pain, it does not eliminate the PRESSURE you feel when the baby starts to come down. You WILL feel an urge to push once the baby crowns and even before that. While it is different pushing with an epirdural it can be done and many women have an epidural with no complications whatsoever.

The best plan is to have a FLEXIBLE plan. Alot of women go into labor with a SET idea of how they want it to go and sometimes that doesnt always work out. The goal is a HEALTHY baby and healthy mommy.

I say go for it as long as you can but do not hesitate to ask for an epi if you need it. Trust me, you will still feel like you birthed a baby!
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  #5  
April 2nd, 2009, 09:21 AM
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I had an epidural and absolutely loved it, and will be getting one again when/if I have another baby. The instant I got mine, I felt no pain at all. The only thing that I could feel was an intense amount of pressure. I say if you don't want to feel any pain, get an epidural. You won't be any less of a woman for getting an epidural, so don't let people try to put you down because you made a decision to go pain-free.
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  #6  
April 2nd, 2009, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erinmarie83 View Post
It really sort of peeves me when people say that labor pain is a good pain.
Well, excuse me. Let me clarify. What I meant was....when we think of pain, naturally we want to run from it...because, all our lives we've learned that pain means that something is wrong, right? Pain happens when you are hurt, when the body is injured or sick and so we have learned to associate pain with the fact that something is wrong. We look at pain as a negative thing and we have been conditioned to be afraid of pain and turn away from it.

Labor pain is the ONLY positive pain. It does not mean that you are injured or hurt or sick. It is your body doing what it is meant to do and it is bringing your child into the world the way it knows how. Since the beginning of time, this is the way babies have been born. It's natural, it's normal and it's a POSITIVE pain....we shouldn't be scared of it, we should embrace it. But since we've been so conditioned to "run" from pain, we want to run from labor pain as well.
THAT is what I meant by "good pain".

Quote:
Pain tolerance for every woman is very different.
I agree. But how can a woman judge her tolerance for pain before she ever experiences it? Labor pain is different than any other pain in the world. It cannot be compared to any other kind of pain. And no woman can explain to another woman what that pain feels like. The only way to know is to experience it. So how can anyone say accurately that they can't handle that pain until they are in the moment and experiencing it.
It's so convinient to say "Oh, I have a low pain tolerance...I have to get an epidural"......but there's no way to know what kind of tolerance for labor pain you will have until it happens. Again, it's all about your attitude going in.

Quote:
I went into my labor with the mindset that I will go as far as a I possibly can without an epidural.
I did too. My "goal" wasn't to have natural childbirth. My goal was to have a VBAC. I was not opposed to an epidural if I felt I needed it, but I knew that I would like to try and go as long as I could without it so I could decrease my chances of ending up with another c-section. Turns out, I took it one contraction at a time and the pain of my contractions never got to the point that I thought I couldn't deal with it. I never even considered getting an epidural. It just really wasn't all that bad.


Quote:
Please DO NOT be afraid to get an epidural. I think far too often women on here sing the praises of natural childbirth and it leaves new mothers terrified or feeling inadeuate if they cant do it. Weigh the risks and make a decision based on what you feel you can handle, not what someone else can handle. If you go all the way naturally, that is great, but dont feel badly if you cant.
The only reason I am singing the praises of natural childbirth is because it saves women from being cut open when they don't have to be. So many c-sections....SO SO MANY....are performed every single day in this country that could be prevented. They are done because women choose to be induced and choose to have epidurals, often having NO idea that those decisions will land them in the operating room.
So yeah...don't be afraid to get an epidural if you TRULY NEED IT. But also, don't be afraid to labor without one. Women have been doing it for years and years and I've never heard anyone dying from pain.

Quote:
It is also important to remember that an epidural eliminates contraction pain, it does not eliminate the PRESSURE you feel when the baby starts to come down. You WILL feel an urge to push once the baby crowns and even before that. While it is different pushing with an epirdural it can be done and many women have an epidural with no complications whatsoever.
The difference between pushing with and epidural than without one is that with an epidural, you can't feel your body's natural urges on WHEN and HOW MUCH to push. Often women have to be TOLD when and how to push. This increases the pushing time significantly and increases the chance of needing an episiotomy or tearing.

And with my epidural I got during my first labor, I felt NOTHING. No pain, but also no pressure, no urge to push, nothing at all. I had to be told what to do...and it sucked. And obviously it ended badly because after pushing for over 2 hours....I was being wheeled into the OR because the baby was stuck in my pelvis. (Because of being stuck in bed with an epidural)

So while it's true that many women have epidurals and love them and have no complications....there is also a flipside to that. Some women DO have complications and you can't ignore the facts that epidurals do carry risk. The OP deserves to hear both sides of the coin.
Honestly, I'm just trying to help by telling her what I wish someone had told me before my first labor...maybe I wouldn't have ended up with a c-sec and saved myself some grief. And if that peeves someone off.....not my prob.

That's all.
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  #7  
April 3rd, 2009, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glitterii View Post
I thought an epidural makes it so you are not in pain, but then I was watching tlc and the girl had an epidural but she was still screaming in pain. So, I was just wondering what the pain is like after getting an epidural, do the contractions still hurt and does it still hurt to push the baby out?
I would say that either her epidural did not work or she was just being a drama queen. The baby shows on TLC are not very realistic, LOL.
For most women who get them, the epidural takes away the pain, but you must feel the pressure in order to push the baby out. No, it's not comfortable, but I wouldn't call it 'pain'. If you want the epidural, go ahead and get it...it is great pain relief (so I've heard, I've never had one)...just educate yourself to the risks also.
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  #8  
April 5th, 2009, 06:42 PM
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There are actually more than one type of epidural and you should discuss it with your doctor. A lot of women have the epidural where it numbs you from the waist down and you can't feel anything. But not all are like that. I had an epidural, it was a very low dose, it did not numb my legs or anything. What it did was took away the back labor I was having. However, this type of epidural only lasts 45 minutes to an hour. So eventually you will feel your contractions again. When it was time for me to push I felt the urge and did not need any guidence, the epidural had wore off since then. If you want the "standard" epidural to where it numbs your legs, then you could always use a low dose of another pain medication before hand if its needed, so you don't end up with an c-section. But this all should be discussed with the doctor who will be there in the delivery room, and make a birth plan aswell. You have lots of options. I personally will not use the epidural with my next baby.
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  #9  
April 5th, 2009, 09:23 PM
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cant tell you what epidural feels like, I never had one, and I have very low pain tolerance but needles and especially epidural scared me more than the labour pain, and I agree that it is a good pain, but you have to educate yourself about that before you go into labour, as pp said going into labour thinking it a a bad pain, will make it worse.
and you dont know what it will feel like until you experience it yourself, I had 4 labours so far and my second was pretty much pain free till I dilated to 7cm, so each labour is different, and yours really might not be very painful.
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  #10  
April 11th, 2009, 05:16 PM
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My sister had her first without an epi , and her second with one.

This second one went great.. well she was in pain for the first 4-5 cm that she didnt have the epi... then when she got it, no pain at all. However around 8 cm it wore off or soemthing so she all of a sudden was in excrucuating pain till they topped it off again.

Then her birth went great, she pushed the baby out smiling pretty much.

Not all epi turn out as c sections btw.. most times it works out great... which is why im gettin one this time lol.
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  #11  
April 11th, 2009, 08:15 PM
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I had one with my son, but it wore off by the time I delivered. I am now 30 weeks pregnant and I am going into this one the way I did with my son....if I need one I will get it, but this time I am going to tell them to not allow it to ware off, if I get one. When it worked for the whole 30 minutes it was great!
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  #12  
April 11th, 2009, 09:09 PM
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My advice is that if your labor is as long as mine was (which I hope isn't) and epidural is a choice for you.. I was induced for medical reasons at 39 weeks and my labor lasted 32 hours because they couldn't brake my water due to my daughter not being engaged in the birth canal.. And when your induced the contractions a vary painful and not the same as if you go into labor naturally. I don't think I could have made it that long with out an epidural. I did the first 12 hours with only a few doses of Fentanyl, and the rest with a epidural. I was just minutes a way from a c-section and then my water broke, Adriana came so fast there wasn't time to wait for the epidural to wear off.. I felt nothing and my actural labor was a breeze.. I did not tear, but I think it was due to my daughter being so small..

I'm all for a epidural.. It's a personal choice but it doesn't make your baby any different from a baby born naturally.. Do what's best for you..
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  #13  
April 11th, 2009, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erinmarie83 View Post
It is also important to remember that an epidural eliminates contraction pain, it does not eliminate the PRESSURE you feel when the baby starts to come down. You WILL feel an urge to push once the baby crowns and even before that. While it is different pushing with an epirdural it can be done and many women have an epidural with no complications whatsoever.
This is such a true statement.. I had an epidural for 20 hours and once my daughter started to come down the birth canal, the pressure was intense and it kinda hurt.. I even pushed for more drugs on my epidural.. lol But just minutes later, my daughter was born.. I had no complications form the epidural and I did not tear.. I think I didn't tear because my daughter had a small head..
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  #14  
April 19th, 2009, 07:28 PM
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No one will be able to ever tell you what your L&D will be like. I wanted a natural birth as I know the risks associated with epi's not only cor c-section but it is also associated with a lower success rate of BF.

Anyway...on Sunday I thought I threw my back out..I woke up in low back pain & felt terrible all day with back spasms on & off. I didn't sleep at all that night - I went to the Ob (getting about a 2 hr nap early Mon morning) and he said I may have slipped a disc, but I was dilated to 2 & 80% effaced). So I went home feeling awful & hoping labor would start soon. I was in quite a bit of pain all night & didn't sleep a wink again) and about 4am or so realized my "spasms" were pretty regular...and likely back labor & as soon as I started timing them I was sure of it. I went to the hospital at 5pm on Tues when they were about 2 mins apart...and I was dilated to 3 (UGH) - but definitely in labor. Somewhere around 3-4am I was so exhausted (this was now Weds morning...and I had basically been awake since Sunday other than a 2 hr nap) my Dr talked me into trying an epi so I could get a litlte sleep. He siad he was worried that I wouldn't be able to push from exhaustion. I was so miserable from sleep deprivation I agreed to it. They stuck me 12 times trying to get an epi in AND three more times trying to do some other procedure. There was so much swelling in my joints i couldn't get it. In the end the only thing I regret is trying to get an epi. It screwed my back up for nearly a year (which my Ob confirmed was a direct result of the epi & would eventually go away) not to mention making me more miserable at the time - having them stick me repeatedly for almost an hour total... That was the worst part of my labor. When it came time to push I took about 15-20 mins to push him out...so I wasn't too tired. Also I had him less than 4 hrs after the epi was attempted. If I had known that is all I had left I would have never agreed in the first place. I tore through my rectum, found out later I broke my tailbone (I have an inverted pelvis & knew I would likely have back labor - didn't know I would break my tailbone though) - and I still think it is doable. The pain was intense & perhaps if the epi had been easy & dreamy I would feel differently. I don't know. I can only say from my experience that most women don't have labors as long as I do, most don't have an inverted pelvic bone either...and without those I know I would have never felt I needed an epi. The worst thing for me was the extreme sleep deprivation. I was snoring between pushing (with no drugs). My Ob said it was the only time he had ever seen a woman in full labor falling asleep. LOL

My sister had an epi & it only numbed half her body. They tried it like three times & it never got better.

If you want one or decide you want one you can certainly try it. Just be aware that it isn't a guarantee of anything...and no one else's experiences matters for squat when it comes to what actually will end up happening.

I wish you the bet of luck whatever you decide!

No one will be able to ever tell you what your L&D will be like. I wanted a natural birth as I know the risks associated with epi's not only cor c-section but it is also associated with a lower success rate of BF.

Anyway...on Sunday I thought I threw my back out..I woke up in low back pain & felt terrible all day with back spasms on & off. I didn't sleep at all that night - I went to the Ob (getting about a 2 hr nap early Mon morning) and he said I may have slipped a disc, but I was dilated to 2 & 80% effaced). So I went home feeling awful & hoping labor would start soon. I was in quite a bit of pain all night & didn't sleep a wink again) and about 4am or so realized my "spasms" were pretty regular...and likely back labor & as soon as I started timing them I was sure of it. I went to the hospital at 5pm on Tues when they were about 2 mins apart...and I was dilated to 3 (UGH) - but definitely in labor. Somewhere around 3-4am I was so exhausted (this was now Weds morning...and I had basically been awake since Sunday other than a 2 hr nap) my Dr talked me into trying an epi so I could get a litlte sleep. He siad he was worried that I wouldn't be able to push from exhaustion. I was so miserable from sleep deprivation I agreed to it. They stuck me 12 times trying to get an epi in AND three more times trying to do some other procedure. There was so much swelling in my joints i couldn't get it. In the end the only thing I regret is trying to get an epi. It screwed my back up for nearly a year (which my Ob confirmed was a direct result of the epi & would eventually go away) not to mention making me more miserable at the time - having them stick me repeatedly for almost an hour total... That was the worst part of my labor. When it came time to push I took about 15-20 mins to push him out...so I wasn't too tired. Also I had him less than 4 hrs after the epi was attempted. If I had known that is all I had left I would have never agreed in the first place. I tore through my rectum, found out later I broke my tailbone (I have an inverted pelvis & knew I would likely have back labor - didn't know I would break my tailbone though) - and I still think it is doable. The pain was intense & perhaps if the epi had been easy & dreamy I would feel differently. I don't know. I can only say from my experience that most women don't have labors as long as I do, most don't have an inverted pelvic bone either...and without those I know I would have never felt I needed an epi. The worst thing for me was the extreme sleep deprivation. I was snoring between pushing (with no drugs). My Ob said it was the only time he had ever seen a woman in full labor falling asleep. LOL

My sister had an epi & it only numbed half her body. They tried it like three times & it never got better.

If you want one or decide you want one you can certainly try it. Just be aware that it isn't a guarantee of anything...and no one else's experiences matters for squat when it comes to what actually will end up happening.

I wish you the bet of luck whatever you decide!
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  #15  
April 21st, 2009, 02:10 PM
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I had an epi with my son. I went from whining and crying and blubbering to relaxed and able to sleep. I found the pain of labor to be very stressful and I was very tense. The epi allowed me to relax so that I could dilate.

I had a different epi experience from a lot of women. I was numb everywhere for a couple of hours, but then it started to wear off. At that point, it numbed the pain in my vaginal area, but I still felt the contractions in my uterus. So I was grateful to not feel the "ring of fire" or the episiotomy, but I would have preferred to not have felt any pain at all

You take what you can get, I guess

Bottom line is go into labor with an open mind and do what's right for you.
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  #16  
April 21st, 2009, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maitri View Post
I had an epi with my son. I went from whining and crying and blubbering to relaxed and able to sleep. I found the pain of labor to be very stressful and I was very tense. The epi allowed me to relax so that I could dilate.

I had a different epi experience from a lot of women. I was numb everywhere for a couple of hours, but then it started to wear off. At that point, it numbed the pain in my vaginal area, but I still felt the contractions in my uterus. So I was grateful to not feel the "ring of fire" or the episiotomy, but I would have preferred to not have felt any pain at all

You take what you can get, I guess

Bottom line is go into labor with an open mind and do what's right for you.

Good advice
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  #17  
April 23rd, 2009, 11:25 AM
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I'm having another epi! I had one last time, but it didn't take!!! the positioning wasn't right and the catheter kept coming out, they tried 3 times. I had a horrible labor and wish I'd have had some type of relief. I think it's what led to my PPD and my not bonding with my daughter. I even insisted we'd never do this again, but since I am 37 I didn't have years to get over it, so we TTC again. My labor was 14 hours and the worst pain I could have imagined- I didn't expect it to be that bad (but of course I expected it, you know?). They even tried a spinal tap but something was just not going right. I convulsed, went into shock... not to freak you out, just to say that for me the pain was truly unbearble, and I'm no puss usually. I was induced, too, so the contractions were more intense than normal. I delivered vaginally and will plan for that again. I'm glad I took Lamaze, though, because the breathing did help the first several hours. It was the last few hours that it wasn't helping. I planned on an epi if i couldn't take the pain, and took it one contraction at a time. I took lamaze as a back up cause you never know. Even though it didn't work last time, I'm definately asking this time, too. Every labor is different, and the odds of that again are crazy. I'm also at a diff hospital in a diff city, yay

So that's my story! This is my opinion on it. It really is a personal choice. When I asked for it, my nurse said ok. I felt bad and she said not to, she said you don't get a medal trying to go though unnecessary pain. This is so true. For me, I'm thinking why not use technology? Why do it like those many generations ago or even now who live in areas where advanced medicine isn't available? I do respect the choice, though. SOme women have easy labors or tolerate pain better. Some have more intense pain than others. It's all different, so really only the one going through it can decide what is best for themselves. Good luck, hon! I hope you have a wonderful birth!
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  #18  
April 24th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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Having an epidural is a personal choice. Many first time moms, myself included, go into labor thinking that they are going to do it without any pain relief. I was induced and I did well coping with the contractions until they broke my water. From that point on, I could no longer find that focus I needed to work on my breathing. Within an hour of them breaking my water, I got my epidural. I have always had an issue with pain medication, so for me, the epidural helped for about 2 hours and then stopped working. They redid the epidural and again i got comfortable for 2 hours and then was in agony again. At that point, they checked me and I was 6cm. Within 15 minutes, I felt a strong urge to push and I was grunting. At that point, I was fully dilated. 15 minutes later, my son was born. I felt EVERYTHING!!!!!!! Even with a good working epidural, most women still feel the pressure as the baby descends in the pelvis. A lot of times, that intense pressure can be mistaken for pain. So yes, the epidural gets rid of the "pain" of labor, but you will still feel pressure.

With all that said, if I had it to do all over again, I still would have attempted the epidural. Yes, there are some studies that have shown a correlation between the epidural and an increased risk of c-section. However, there are many circumstances where an epidural actually speeds up labor. Many times, if there is someone laboring without an epidural and they are "stuck" at a certain dilatation, an epidural will actually help them to relax and they will deliver shortly after. Do not be afraid to getting an epidural. What you need to remember is that there are risks involved in ANYTHING you do, including just the act of delivering a baby. My suggestion is to see how you feel. If you are able to tolerate the pain, then go without. If you need the epidural, don't let anyone make you feel like you are less of a woman or less of a mother by needing one. Someone once said to me something that stuck out to me.... they said, "Would you go to the dentist to get your teeth drilled and NOT get Novicaine? Then why torture yourself during labor?" That comment has stayed with me for many years. I hope that whatever you choose is the right decision for you!
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  #19  
April 24th, 2009, 03:37 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 12,330
I just wanted to update because it dawned on me that I have the pictures of when they unsuccessfully tried to give me an epi... (please really do count those scabs....there were 15 attempts)



as I think a picture is worth a thousand words. As you read here - you will see so many different experiences..hence why I said no matter HOW many stories you gather, they can never tell you what YOUR L&D will be like. I am SUPER grateful that I prepared for natural childbirth. My biggest concern when planning for an epi is that even when you want one you can't always get one & they don't always work. I think it is healthiest for everyone to go in planning for a natural delivery & being well aware of your options & expectations on other procedures (such as c-section) so that if something comes up you aren't at a loss for what to basically expect. Plus if you plan for natural you have a set of tools to use in coping. I never took Lamaze as so many didn't find it helpful, I took the Bradley Method & really other than sleep deprivation I think I could have made it without even considering meds...but I was awake basically from Sunday morning until Weds morning when he was born...and I did end up doing it all without pain meds....AND it as okay - it was just really really exhausting.

I would never ever ever ever let them attempt an epi on me again...all it did was make it MUCH worse to be poked that many times & I had back problems for a LONG time after.

I don't want ANYONE to be afraid - I want them to be empowered with what CAN & DOES happen & to choose to prep themselves accordingly no matter what you are planning.
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We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet





Last edited by beck12; April 24th, 2009 at 03:41 PM.
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  #20  
April 25th, 2009, 03:56 AM
lmunoz8517's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bossier City, LA
Posts: 5,060
I had an epi with both births. The first worked wonderfully. . .I could not of asked for things to get better. I didnt get it until 7 cm and at the point contractions were not bad kinda just like a bad cramp that takes your breath away for a moment. Once I got the epi I slept until time to deliver.

The second time I got my epi at 5 cm. My contractions were horrible and I was in tears. It only took on half my body but it was much better than nothing.

they say epis slow down labor but with my first I went from 7 to 10 in about 3 hours and with my second I went from 5 to 10 in 30 minutes so I did not experience a problem with it.
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