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  #1  
March 26th, 2010, 08:51 AM
ChicaChels's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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For those of you who had an epidural...

1. What made you decide to get one? Did you know you wanted one before labor started, or was it a decision you made for another reason?

2. How long did you have to wait for the anesthesiologist to come place it?

3. How many tries did it take to get the epidural in place?

4. Was it painful?

5. Did you need a blood patch after?

6. Anything else about your experience you want to share
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  #2  
March 26th, 2010, 09:10 AM
Isaeph's Avatar Jennifer the Momma
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1. What made you decide to get one? Did you know you wanted one before labor started, or was it a decision you made for another reason?
The whole climate at the hospital. Having no support except for dh...and he was drowning just like me in the lack of support from staff and family. I absolutely did NOT want one pre-labor...or even when I got it, or after.

2. How long did you have to wait for the anesthesiologist to come place it?
They had to get one bag of water into me...I think it was like 45 minutes.

3. How many tries did it take to get the epidural in place?
Just once as far as I'm aware.

4. Was it painful?
I honestly can't remember.

5. Did you need a blood patch after?
No.

6. Anything else about your experience you want to share
Just that despite what some doctors say, the epidural DOES have side effects and DOES cross the placenta. That is all...just do your homework before making the decision...I pretty much only knew that I didn't want it...I was unaware that there were side effects...some that both ds and I suffered from...and had I known I think it would have helped me to make a different decision.
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  #3  
March 26th, 2010, 10:33 AM
WhoaMomma!'s Avatar Danielle
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Northern Virginia
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***I want to begin by saying that my experience was a very unfortunate incidence and reflects a minority (20% by the most liberal estimates, 5% by conservative ones) of experiences. If you know you want an epidural and do not want to be unnerved, perhaps you should stop reading now and skip to the next post***

1. What made you decide to get one? Did you know you wanted one before labor started, or was it a decision you made for another reason?

My midwife decided I needed one because I was suffering from hyperstimulation of the uterus and they were hoping the epidural would space out the contractions some to avoid a rupture because nothing else was working. I did NOT want one and refused to sign the consent form initially.


2. How long did you have to wait for the anesthesiologist to come place it?
I didn't have to wait. My midwife had him paged while she was convincing my DH to help her convince me to get it. I was still refusing to sign the consent form when he showed up. At that point, my midwife said that I needed to either get the epidural or she had to transfer me to an OB for a c/s because she didn't know what else to do to avoid a rupture. So I signed it and the next thing I knew he walked in. I didn't realize until afterwards that most people have to wait.

3. How many tries did it take to get the epidural in place?
Only one.

4. Was it painful?
Oh. My. God. It was the worst part of my entire labor. The needle and everything was no big deal - it just pinched and felt like a bachache sorta. But holding still during rapidfire contractions was torture. Then after the initial placement, I had to lie completely flat on my back while the medicine took effect. Most people start to feel relief within a few minutes. It took me 30 minutes before I even started to feel numbness in my toes. It was 45 minutes before the numbness started creeping up my legs, and a solid hour before I got pain relief from the contractions. The entire time I was lying flat on the bed and having hyperstimulated contractions (3 successive 2-minute long contrx, followed by a 30 second break). Moms who have labored without an epidural know that lying down hurts so much more than standing up or sitting. I screamed until my throat was raw and begged someone to sit me up, but they wouldn't (couldn't I guess) help me sit up and I couldn't do it myself. When the pain finally faded, I was left with a "window" - a square on my stomach where sensation wasn't blocked by the epidural. The anesthesiologist wanted to place it again to try and cover the window, but I wouldn't let him touch me. And at that point, I was grateful to be able to still feel the contrx (although since it was only a small spot it was nowhere near as painful as feeling it all over your stomach and back) so I would know when they were happening.

When I was being prepped for an emergency c-section, they originally offered me general anesthesia because there wasn't time to do another epidural - especially given how long it took the first one to take effect. I opted to stay awake since the window wasn't directly over any of the incision lines and I refused to be unconscious for the birth of my daughter after everything I was already missing out on. Feeling the pulling and yanking of a c-section - even if it's not the cutting - was pretty intense and awful. If I had it to do over again, I would have let him attempt a second placement while there was still time. And I would encourage any woman who has a window (or an entire side with feeling like happened to my mom) to let them attempt to fix it in case she ends up needing an emergency cesarean.


5. Did you need a blood patch after?

Nope. My anesthesiologist - despite how much trouble I had - was actually an incredibly skilled man. I had no spinal headache or anything like that and retained enough feeling in my legs before the surgical anethesia took hold to transfer myself from the stretcher to the OR table.


6. Anything else about your experience you want to share

I didn't really have much choice in getting my epidural, so I'm not sure if that's why - but no one told me that 20-30% of women receiving an epidural experience a sudden drop in blood pressure. About half of those cases do not respond to medication to counteract it or position changes. And in a small number of those cases, the blood pressure drops so low that the oxygen flow to the baby is compromised. That's what happened to me and Claire. She experienced fetal hypoxia and her HR dropped suddenly and would not rebound. I ended up with an emergency cesarean to save her life. So I would encourage women to get an epidural if you need or want one. But ask your provider to wait until you ASK for one before administering it, rather than leaving standing orders that you should get one at a certain # of cm dilation. My SIL's doctor - for example - left orders with the nurses that she was to receive an epidural and pitocin augmentation at 5cm dilation regardless of how things had progressed up to that point. That's just HOW they did it. She never complained and loves that she never experienced intense labor pain with either baby. But I just worry that some of his patients might have complications like I did when they might not have ever even asked for one.
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  #4  
March 26th, 2010, 10:41 AM
silverlife's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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1. What made you decide to get one? Did you know you wanted one before labor started, or was it a decision you made for another reason?

With my son, my water broke on its own, but nothing happened. I agreed to pitocin as long as I could have an epidural. I had heard bad things about pitocin contractions and didn't even want to try them!

2. How long did you have to wait for the anesthesiologist to come place it?

I can't remember. Not too long, though.

3. How many tries did it take to get the epidural in place?

Just once.

4. Was it painful?

Nope.

5. Did you need a blood patch after?

Nope.

6. Anything else about your experience you want to share

The epidural worked so well that I had no idea I was having contractions one on top of another. Luckily the nurse was paying attention and was able to turn the pitocin down so that I didn't have any problems from the pitocin.

Most hospitals will want you to have a urinary catheter if you have an epidural since you can't get up to pee and you can't feel the urge to pee. Since they wait for the epidural to take effect, it didn't hurt to have it placed. But I know that something made me sore and bruised down there. It was either my son being in the birth canal for 2.5 hours or the urinary catheter. I didn't have any bruising issues with my daughter--no catheter and only 7 minutes of pushing--so I'm not sure which caused it with my son.

I don't regret the epidural with my son. It was 12 hours from the start of the pitocin to his birth. I was able to sleep (it was the middle of the night) and was awake, alert, and coherent for his birth. Since I had not prepared for NCB with him, I don't think I would have wanted to do it without an epidural. I would have been tired, crabby, and probably mentally exhausted, too.
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  #5  
March 26th, 2010, 03:15 PM
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1. What made you decide to get one? Did you know you wanted one before labor started, or was it a decision you made for another reason?

I knew before going into labor that I did not want an epi, I was going for a natural child birth. I was on Pit for close to 14hrs without pain meds... I ended up getting and epi to keep myself out of a c/section. I had an OB that was causing me stress and I wasn't able to dilate the rest 6cm. I was stalled at 4cm for close to 12hrs. I got the epi, less then 2hrs later I was dilated and the epi shut off. I did not get an epi for the pain... And it didn't help that I was threatened 4 times with a c-section...

2. How long did you have to wait for the anesthesiologist to come place it?
I waited about 30-40 minutes, she was in surgery doing her thing....

3. How many tries did it take to get the epidural in place?
It took one try, although she wasn't sure if she was in the right place. I guess I was suppose to either see halos, hear ringing in the ears, or have a metallic taste in my mouth if she was in the right spot and I didn't have any of them so she was a little unsure if it was placed properly.

4. Was it painful?
No, it wasn't painful. I have a high pain tolerance to begin with and it wasn't a pain but was a pressure... The medication she put in to numb the area was suppose to burn when she injected it but I didn't even feel the burn... Not sure if I didn't feel much of anything with adminstration of the epi due to the contrax kind of masking it or if it was due to my pain tolerance.

5. Did you need a blood patch after?
Nope

6. Anything else about your experience you want to share
I did have lower back spasms for a couple weeks after getting, I would say roughly 4-5 weeks the spasms would lessen, but that was about the worst of it. The nurses also were concerned when the epi kicked it that I was still able to move my right leg, and that it was barely numbed, and that I could feel my left leg slightly but couldn't move it... they did keep me turning from side to side every 15mins. The nurses said that when you get an epi to have it work properly you should keep turning from side to side to help the med even out on both sides and the turning also helps with dilating the cervix and helps with moving the baby to help with dilating. Getting an epi was the HARDEST decision I had to make so far as a mother.
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Last edited by PinkFireFly; March 26th, 2010 at 03:18 PM.
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  #6  
March 26th, 2010, 08:48 PM
rebeccabaltimore and more's Avatar (rebeccabaltimore)
Join Date: Feb 2009
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1. What made you decide to get one? Did you know you wanted one before labor started, or was it a decision you made for another reason?
I knew I wanted pain meds of some kind, and what they gave me was not working

2. How long did you have to wait for the anesthesiologist to come place it? I can't remember honestly.

3. How many tries did it take to get the epidural in place?
Just one

4. Was it painful?
Nope.

5. Did you need a blood patch after?
No, those aren't particularly common actually.

6. Anything else about your experience you want to share My son was stillborn, so labor started out as a pretty horrible experience. After the epidural, everything was much more peaceful, especially his birth, which made it as positive an experience as is possible in that situation. I was able to focus on meeting my son and saying goodbye, instead of how much pain I was in.

I am due with my second son in 7 weeks, and plan to have an epidural right away!
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  #7  
March 26th, 2010, 10:37 PM
ChicaChels's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebeccabaltimore View Post

1. What made you decide to get one? Did you know you wanted one before labor started, or was it a decision you made for another reason?
I knew I wanted pain meds of some kind, and what they gave me was not working

2. How long did you have to wait for the anesthesiologist to come place it? I can't remember honestly.

3. How many tries did it take to get the epidural in place?
Just one

4. Was it painful?
Nope.

5. Did you need a blood patch after?
No, those aren't particularly common actually.

6. Anything else about your experience you want to share My son was stillborn, so labor started out as a pretty horrible experience. After the epidural, everything was much more peaceful, especially his birth, which made it as positive an experience as is possible in that situation. I was able to focus on meeting my son and saying goodbye, instead of how much pain I was in.

I am due with my second son in 7 weeks, and plan to have an epidural right away!

welcome to the board! I am so sorry to hear about your beautiful baby boy. I have seen you around the TTCMA board I think? You're getting very close! I hope you'll stick around and share your experiences, thoughts, questions and fears with us!

I'm Chelsea, by the way, one of the co-hosts here. Please PM me if you need anything at all!
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  #8  
March 27th, 2010, 07:01 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Feb 2010
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1. What made you decide to get one? Did you know you wanted one before labor started, or was it a decision you made for another reason? I knew I wanted one before I went into labor, but I wanted to put it off for as long as I could stand it. I was in labor 8 hours with Noah, 10 with Nicky, and 3 with Aly before I got the epidural.

2. How long did you have to wait for the anesthesiologist to come place it? About an hour and a half with Noah, an hour with Nicky, and about a half hour with Aly.

3. How many tries did it take to get the epidural in place? Just once each time

4. Was it painful? The first 2 weren't at all, but the one I got with Aly HURT!!

5. Did you need a blood patch after? No.. I didn't have any side effects.

6. Anything else about your experience you want to share? The epidural I had with Noah wore off before the doctor came in to do the forceps delivery.. that sealed it for me.. I would never ever ever deliver without an epidural. Also with Noah, I got some kind of med that would just take the edge off the pain and I never did that again.. I was so out of it and loopy but still felt everything with those meds. I'm really kinda surprised to hear that so many couldn't feel contractions or move their legs at all after getting an epidural. I was still able to feel every contraction, they were just nowhere near as painful as they were before the epidural and I was still able to move my legs slightly. My doctor was always very insistent that if it got to where I wasn't feeling the contractions that I needed to let them know because I needed to feel them so I could work with my body in knowing when to push. Also, with my last 2 babies, within 15 minutes after delivery, I had full sensation back and as soon as I was allowed was able to walk on my own to the bathroom
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Last edited by Mama to 4 Monsters; March 27th, 2010 at 07:05 AM.
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  #9  
March 27th, 2010, 07:04 AM
WhoaMomma!'s Avatar Danielle
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Yes welcome! We love preggos and would very much enjoy counting down the days to your Big Day with you. And I just wanted to add that I love both your darling boys' names.
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  #10  
March 27th, 2010, 10:11 AM
L-SBB's Avatar Bébé Cowgirl
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1. What made you decide to get one? Did you know you wanted one before labor started, or was it a decision you made for another reason? I absolutely didn't want an Epi or any drugs prior to labor...but my induction was difficult and long, and I ended up with epi to deal with incredibly painful back labor

2. How long did you have to wait for the anesthesiologist to come place it? I barely remember, maybe 15 mins? I wanted it earlier but OB wanted to hold off to see if I could dilate another cm on my own so it was probably a couple of hours after I asked for it, but he came promptly once my OB ok'd it

3. How many tries did it take to get the epidural in place?
Just one...he was really very good, especially since I was having really long & strong contractions at the time

4. Was it painful? Not compared to the contractions pressure and burning sensation for a couple of mins

5. Did you need a blood patch after?
Nope

6. Anything else about your experience you want to share Despite not wanting an epi prior to labor, I don't regret getting it as it turns out I have a more serious back issue from the pregnancy (not known at the time of my labor) so I really couldn't handle the intense pain from the back labor. What I do regret is allowing them to administer Stadol in the 2 hour window when OB didn't want me to get the Epi yet...I was so set on not having any drugs during pregnancy that I honestly didn't pay as much attention to the info provided about them (including their risks) as I should have. Not only did I have a reaction to the Stadol, but because the labor sped up much faster than the medical staff anticipated once I had the epi & pitocin, we had some scares with the baby during labor and she had to be monitored for a couple hours post birth because she was born more quickly than they anticipated (it is an issue if birth occurs w/in like 4-6 hours of Stadol being administered) so I wasn't able to even hold her until 2+ hours after she was born, which I really, really regret...especially since the Stadol did absolutely nothing for the labor pains. I would encourage any woman - even if you aren't planning on having drugs - to really educate yourself about them...when you're in pain is not the time to try to understand the pros/cons of taking them
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  #11  
March 27th, 2010, 04:49 PM
WhoaMomma!'s Avatar Danielle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L-SBB View Post
I would encourage any woman - even if you aren't planning on having drugs - to really educate yourself about them...when you're in pain is not the time to try to understand the pros/cons of taking them[/COLOR]
Very very well said. I completely agree! I'm a huge proponent of educating yourself on every aspect of pregnancy and childbirth so you can advocate for yourself.
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  #12  
March 28th, 2010, 02:35 AM
KatieMae's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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So, as a woman with naturally low blood pressure (almost always below 90 systolic and 65 diastolic) do they recommend no epidurals then since there is that risk of blood pressure drop? I doubt I'd get one anyway, but it's always good to know what they say as far as when it's a "no-no".
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  #13  
March 28th, 2010, 06:50 AM
WhoaMomma!'s Avatar Danielle
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In general the women who CANNOT receive an epidural are those who are on blood thinners; who have a very low platelet count; have an active infection somewhere on their back or buttocks; are already hemorrhaging or in danger of going into shock; or who have a compromised epidural space due to scoliosis, a skeletal deformity, or extreme obesity.

Epidural induced hypotension is usually about a 25% (or more) drop in bp. So it's not as important what the actual numbers are - but more the percent change. If your body is accustomed to functioning on very low pressure and your baby has developed your entire pregnancy with low pressure, then you could probably have the same bp as a woman with hypotension and be just fine. The problem isn't the total pressure. When your body senses the sudden drop, it clamps down on your major arteries bc it thinks you might be bleeding out. This includes the uterine artery and effectively cuts off oxygen to the baby. If your brain perceives your bp as normal, then you shouldn't have a problem.
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  #14  
March 28th, 2010, 09:54 AM
KatieMae's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Thank you! I'd read it before and I doubt I ever even consider an epidural but it's good to know my risks
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  #15  
March 28th, 2010, 09:59 AM
silverlife's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I always have similarly low blood pressure--except when I'm pregnant. The extra blood volume that your body makes while pregnant is likely to make your blood pressure be more like 100/70 or higher. Mine usually goes up to 105/70 or so and then goes up again in the final month to about 115/80.
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  #16  
March 28th, 2010, 12:40 PM
JulieMc's Avatar Loving my babies. :)
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1. What made you decide to get one? Did you know you wanted one before labor started, or was it a decision you made for another reason?

I went in with the plan to try to go natural, but knew that I would give in if it became too much. Thanks to the pitocin, it did become too much for me, so when it got unbearable, I asked for it.

2. How long did you have to wait for the anesthesiologist to come place it?

He came within about 10 minutes of me asking the nurse.

3. How many tries did it take to get the epidural in place?

He got it in first try.....but man was it hard to stay still through massive contractions.

4. Was it painful?

No. It felt "odd", but not painful, and at that point I was willing to go through pain to get rid of the pain I was feeling.

5. Did you need a blood patch after? No.

6. Anything else about your experience you want to share

I was able to move my legs, and felt just enough to feel the baby, but without pain. And, I was able to get up and walk around within 30 minutes of having him. I delivered him, the placenta, they stitched me up while I tried to BF him, and then I got up to rinse off in the shower. Then....they moved me to the post-partum room... I declined a wheelchair and walked there myself. I was proud of myself for that, and they were surprised... Going in, I thought I wouldn't be able to move my legs or walk for awhile after. Oh yea, and I also declined other pain killers. What's the point if you're getting an epi? You won't feel anything and the pain killers will only make you sick/nauseous and foggy-headed. I will do it the same way this next time.... hold out as long as I can before getting it.
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