42 Weeks Poll – Epidural: Your Story

The birth stories last week described one woman’s experience of choosing an epidural for her first birth and then opting not to have an epidural for her second birth. We’re interested to hear if you opted for an epidural, or not and we’re interested to know whether you plan to opt for one during your labour, or not.

Please leave comments below the poll and let us know why you chose, or you are choosing, an epidural or why you decided not to opt for an epidural. If you opted for other pain relief instead (including things like medication, hypnobirthing, warm compress, acupuncture or nothing at all!), please feel free to outline what you used and whether you found it effective, or not.

Looking forward to hearing your stories!



7 thoughts on “42 Weeks Poll – Epidural: Your Story

  1. I have an 11 month old and I had no intention of getting the epidural, it might sound like a silly reason but I don’t like not being in control of my body and I didn’t like the idea of not actually feeling what was happening. I did not use gas and air or any type of pain relief and I believe the pain in itself acted as a drug, even though I felt the pain I had very little recollection of it very soon after the birth. I am 13 weeks pregnant now and intend on going through this labour much the same way, fingers crossed.

  2. I am a first time mother, I gave birth 5 months ago, I was induced at 41 and a half weeks I asked for an epidural. The epidural worked but I suffered from side effects. I had extreme pain across my shoulders and down my neck which made it very difficult to push. I also did not like the feeling of not knowing when I was having contractions, not being able to feel the benefit of pushing, I found it very frustrating. The worst was yet to come, a few hours after giving birth to my darling daughter I started getting the most awful headache. It was very difficult to get comfortable, I complained several times about this headache during that first night. It wasn’t until the next morning when my husband came back to the hospital, that I felt able to get out of my bed to take a shower, within seconds of standing up I knew something was very wrong and this was no ordinary headache. This was an extreme pressure headache, I could barely sit up, let alone stand, I felt weak and shaky. I was finally diagnosed with an epidural headache, was booked in for a blood patch. I had to wait several hours before I was seen. This headache made breastfeeding very difficult, I found it very painful to lie on my side or sit up to feed my baby but I tried my best. Eventually I was taken for my blood patch, this made me very nervous as it comes with all the same possible side effects. I then had to lie completely flat for two hours an my baby wasn’t allowed to come with me. Afterwards my husband brought her to me and we tried feeding again, the blood patch didn’t take immediate effect and I was till in a lot of pain. I was also exhausted at this point I had not had any sleep for 48 hours or more and very little to eat. It was then that I regrettably decided that I couldn’t cope with breastfeeding. I gave her formula and on one hand I felt relieved I wasn’t in as much pain and on the other I was very emotional. I really wanted to breastfeed and I felt like a failure. Everyone around me tried to reassure me that I had tried my best and it was okay to give her formula and at least she had the colostrum, so I told myself I had made the right decision. The next morning I felt better and I was allowed to go home. I went about my mothering duties, trying to settle in at home with my baby, all was going well. The early hours of the next morning everything fell apart, the headache was back and was a lot worse. I had to leave my baby again and go back to the hospital by ambulance, which meant I had to wait n a&e. I explained countless times that I had an epidural headache, nobody in a&e seemed to know what I was talking about and they did many tests to find out what was wrong, they eventually rang the anesthetists and it was confirmed but I still had to wait until one was free to come and see me. When they eventually came they explained that if I wanted another blood patch I would have to wait until there was free bed in post-natal ward, that I could bring my baby in but I wasn’t willing to expose her to the germs of a&e, so they gave me painkillers and sent me home. Four days later I was called to see my GP and she sent me back to A&E for another agonizing 6 hours without my baby, this time the anesthetists advised against another blood patch and simply gave me more painkillers. It was another two days before I felt better, for that first 7 days of my babies life I couldn’t do anything with my baby but cuddle her. They were the hardest days of my life so far. I will definitely not get an epidural again.

  3. I had an epidural for my first baby 10 mths ago,for some reason it didn’t work so even after the pain of getting it done I still felt every bit of the labour!am 4 mths preg with my second now and after mths of research have decided to have a homebirth for this one. I felt my feelings and choices in the hospital were ignored,I was given oxytocin but it was never explained to me what for or why,my feet swelled up huge after the epidural,again that was never explained to me and I was scolded by the nurse when I looked for pain relief for them,I felt like a small child in the hosp and couldn’t wait to get home!fingers crossed my homebirth will go as planned in feb!

  4. My first birth, eight years ago….I was 23, being induced, I was told induction can be long and hard (more painful) especially on first baby…so I said yes to epidural (said no to other pain relief beforehand). I found the epidural to be fine, didn’t feel contractions & pushed baby out very quickly. No problems.

    My 2nd birth (just over a year ago)…I was induced again…was throwing up so refused gas & air…asked for the epidural when I felt I wasn’t able to handle the pain an hour after they broke my waters…every contraction came on top of another one, no break…I was told the anaesthetist was on his way to give it to me…2 hours later I rang the bell & was promised he would come…another hour passed, thought I’d die!! No sign of him & I felt the urge to push…baby came quickly, no problems (bar extensive stitching needed).

    I had nightmares for a long time after that 2nd birth, as silly as that sounds! But I had my waters broken and put on the drip to stimulate stronger contractions…and left in the room alone with my partner for the next 3 hours, nobody checked in on me (except for the time I asked again about the epidural) When I got the urge to push I was so scared (& felt so out of it with the pain) that I curled up & tried to ignore the pressure, hoping nobody would notice (as silly as that sounds too!) When I started making louder noises two midwives came into the room & one gave out to the other for not turning my drip down ages ago “like she told her” (I think she was annoyed because my baby’s head was nearly out & they weren’t there…who knows!)

    Anyway I think I would have handled the birth better if someone was with me…and I think if they hadn’t fobbed me off with the epidural & I had gotton one at least someone would have stayed with me to monitor the baby & me….and just given me a bit of support when I thought I was going to pass out from pain. (BTW I normally think I have a very high pain threshold!)

    I am expecting my 3rd baby soon & am in two minds about the epidural (I am definitely saying yes to gas & air this time, even if I am sick!! Just in case I get nothing else)
    I am hoping not to be induced this time, so I am hoping not to need the epidural. But I have spoken with a midwife about it & she said it is nearly unheard of for an induction to happen & no epidural to be given, as they are aware labour is more intense on that drip after waters are broken……soooo….I am better educated this time around!! 🙂

    What I have learnt is to speak up a bit more, wish I had done that before!!

  5. I will skip past the utter horror that was my first hospital birth other than to say that it took me over a year to recover from the effects of the epidural and my back is still weak from it nearly 3 years later.

    I wanted to have as natural/normal a birth as possible with my second, but I was repeatedly told that I was “high risk” because of what happened with my first (all of the issues were directly caused by a consultant) and told that they wouldn’t let me go to term, that I was to be induced at 37 weeks or I could opt for a planned section, also at 37 weeks. I managed to hold out to 39 weeks but under considerable pressure. I managed to get through 5 hours of late night augmented labour with breathing and birth affirmations but I’d been in the hospital for over 48 hours with zero sleep and was starting to run out of energy so I asked for a low-dose epidural, the anaesthesiologist was great, by then the contractions were VERY close together and because of the syntocinon drip they were also very long and strong, but he just asked me to tell him as soon as one had finished.

    I could still feel the contractions, and had full power over my legs, none of that horrible sensation of being suddenly cut in half that I had on my first – exactly what I wanted. The slight reduction in the level of pain was perfect for me, I still felt in control of the labour and my body and it was the most amazing feeling in the world when about 30 minutes later, now lying on my side, I felt my sons head moving down through the birth canal, a little further on each contraction with his little feet pushing against my diaphragm. The midwife nearly missed the birth as she was convinced there was still a very long way to go.

    If we can ever bring ourselves to endure another HSE/maternity hospital managed birth again I will be doing everything possible to avoid Induction/augmentation of labour as I know that I would not have needed either epidural without the other intervention.

  6. I had an epidural for all three births – I planned to try to avoid it, particularly the second and third times, as I’d heard that it shouldn’t be necessary after a first birth. And I always thought I had a pretty high pain threshold. But the pain, Oh My God the pain – I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t do it. I still wonder about it – I wonder if we all experience pain different ways. I really didn’t expect to need an epi when so many don’t – I’m never sick, I’ve a strong constitution so to speak, I’m walking around right now with a badly healed broken finger because I didn’t get it seen to! So I really thought I’d be one of the many people who manage without an epi. But I couldn’t do it. It still bugs me.

  7. I had an epidural with my first, I never planned for one but was told that the anaethatist on call was from Kildare town, I was in Dublin and that if I didn’t get one while he was in the hospital, then it would no longer be an option. I was pretty much told, the pain would get at least 100% worse, if not more and I would need an epidural. The epidural turned out to be horrific. The anaethatist was so arrogant and rude and unprofessional I ended up throwing him out. He was not willing to wait for a nurse to be present to help him, so he had my partner handing him the equipment as he needed them. Then he ended up yelling at me because I was not keeping still, I was having contractions in my back and had no control of the movements. This resulted in him nicking a nerve instead of administering the epidural correctly. Meanwhile a nurse re entered and assissted with the second attempt. Where he still yelled at me for not keeping still and the nurse actually told him to stop and that they were contractions. At this point I had had enough and threw him out. The epidural never worked, I had full feeling and movement. I ended up with pins and needles down one leg for 6 months because of his unprofessionalism. After that experience and the fact the epidural never worked, I never even thought about an epidural on my next 2 pregnancies, pregnacy number 2 was completely drug free and number 3 was a half dose of pethadine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s