This was not my first birth. It was not even my first epidural. This was pregnancy number 5 and birth experience number 3. Every pregnancy has been different. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. And so did my third pregnancy. I wanted pregnancy number 5 to end in a pain free birth if at all possible. I thought an epidural was the answer.
Every birth was different. With Aiden, my water broke and I had to be induced. I was determined not to have an epidural because I was more afraid of the epidural than the pain of child birth. After at least half a day of labor and finding out that Aiden was in distress, they stopped my contractions to determine what was wrong. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice. Every contraction caused his heart rate to plummet.
They restarted the induction process and I was exhausted. I was worried that I would be too tired to push and they would end up taking him by c-section. I wanted the epidural to be on my terms. After receiving the epidural, I was able to rest for the afternoon as my labor progressed. No pain after getting the epidural. I was starting to wonder why I waited so long.
It was finally close enough time to push. Aiden was still in distress and he needed to be born as soon as possible. Technically, my body wasn’t quite ready – contractions weren’t close enough together. We did it anyway. He was born. They took him to be evaluated. All was well.
With Lily, my water also broke. I did not want to be induced. Again, I was going to try not to have an epidural. Not because I was afraid of it this time. Just because I didn’t want one. I was having contractions, but the doctor on call wanted to speed things up by inducing. I said no. Let me try on my own. I progressed on my own and started having some really good contractions. They were bearable, but I started to feel like I was going to pass out. I felt like this would be bad for all parties involved, so I decided to get the epidural. Last time they checked I was only a 3, so I figured it would be a while.
Anesthesia did the epidural. However, I was only able to have the initial dose of medicine. They couldn’t hook up the drip for some reason. The anesthesiologist said he would be back with another machine to get it working. He never returned. They checked me again. I was now a 9. I probably could have delivered without the epidural. A short time later, it was time to push. I couldn’t feel the contractions and didn’t feel any urge to push. The epidural did its job. The nurse told me when to push and Lily made her way into the world fairly uneventfully. Her shoulder almost got stuck, so they checked her out to make sure she was okay. All was well.
I thought an epidural would mean a pain free birth
Based on my two previous births, I thought an epidural would mean a pain free birth. Elon’s birth, however, was a whole different story. My water did not break. He was perfectly content inside until 39 weeks and 4 days. I started having some cramping or mild uneven contractions in the afternoon. They weren’t really doing much and had pretty much gone away by bedtime.
In the morning, they started picking up a bit and actually became regular and more intense. I went to the hospital to be checked out. They decided I could stay and see what happens or I could choose to be induced if we wanted to speed things along. I said not yet.
This time I had decided I wanted an epidural. I didn’t feel like being in pain and I also didn’t want to experience the pushing part without an epidural. I asked for the epidural once my contractions picked up. Over 2 hours later, I finally got one. Anesthesia had an emergency, so I had to wait. Finally, I had some relief from the pain.
A short time later, I started to feel contractions again. But only on one side. These were more painful than the contractions earlier. I told my nurse about it and she had me push the button to receive more medicine. That did nothing. She turned me on my side and told me push the button again in 20 minutes (it was really 30 minutes). That helped a little, but I still felt lots of pressure. Anesthesia came back in and gave me more medicine. He thought I was just progressing too fast that the meds couldn’t keep up. Okay. Sure. Just get rid of the pain already.
Now I couldn’t feel the contractions, but the pressure did not go away. I felt the urge to push. It was no where near time, so I had to wait.
Every contraction was painful and my body begged to push.
Finally, my doctor said it was time. I pushed Elon out as quickly as I could. I felt every bit of it and wanted him out as soon as possible. My husband said it was a bit like a TV birth with all of the screaming and crying I did.
Here’s why it was all worth it though.
There was absolutely no point in having the epidural this time around. I had pain relief for maybe an hour and I felt the entire birth. Maybe the epidural took away a little of the pain. If so, I suppose I’m thankful for that. But really? My epidural was worthless and it was definitely not a pain free birth. I think it was made worse by the fact that I was planning on the epidural to take away my pain. With my first two births, I had no such plan. I was prepared for the pain. And yet the epidural took it away.
Did you choose an epidural? Did it work for you?