Saturday, February 26, 2011

To Epidural or to Not Epidural

I have been contemplating the epidural and after talking to a few people I am quite interested in knowing a few things from all of you.

First of all, if you got the epidural, what made you decide to get it? What, do you feel, are the advantages and disadvantages of having it?

Next, if you got the epidural, how was recovery and what was it like?

If you didn't get the epidural, why not? What were some of your techniques for dealing with the pain?

Also, if you did not get the epidural, how was recovery and what was it like?

If you are not comfortable sharing on here, please email me your thoughts at

Thanks for sharing! 


  1. Oh I'll chime in! I had an epideral with all three. Loved it. I didn't mind laying in the bed, while it worked. (I know some people like to walk around, etc. but I found it almost relaxing.) I did find the first push or two tricky, but after the first (who had a HUGE head) had no problems pushing (some said that might be a problem). No issues with it wearing off. By the time baby and I were cleaned off and the baby was off to the nursery I was being helped off to the bathroom and starting to walk already. I never had any side effects from it that I noticed. With my first I labored all night and it was rather nice to be able to doze in there and not be so tired, he had a very big head and pushing was some work. I had some major tearing but I also think I recovered faster because I wasn't so worn out from laboring all night. With my first I also had it lowered so I could push better, but I think he turned it off. My placenta got stuck and (granted, I'd not felt most of my contractions before) for 45 min. we were working to get that out and it HURT. NOT plesent. Kind of sealed the deal to do that for the 2nd. Recovery with 2nd was ok but stitches got infected and that was just bad, but that's another story. For the 3rd I was induced and there was a point where I could really feel the contractions (bearable to breath through, but had to stop talking to breath through them)--and I found out I went from 5 cm to 9 cm during that time (the meds really kicked in). That was when I was REALLY glad I had it. No issues with recovery from him, both in the hospital and the next week...we were at the Christmas Eve service the following week. So I'm all for it. With my 4 sister in laws, I'm the only one who has done it...and I'm ok with that. I'm not a big fan of pain, see no reason to deal with it if they have meds that help. But that's me. :)

  2. (Janna) I also had epidurals with all 4 babies. I was planning on it from the beginning, because I didn't feel like extreme pain was a requirement for childbirth. I don't think my reward was any less for not having gone through the pain. That being said though, with each baby I waited a little longer before getting the epidural. I still wanted to feel what labor felt like (I was induced all 4 times). I really enjoyed my labors and deliveries. They were relaxing! Jonathan and I played games, I knitted, watched TV, etc. When it came time for pushing, I had no trouble, never had to push through more than one or two contractions before baby was out. And my recovery was fine. I was able to get up and walk around within an hour or two. I think the worst part is the actual administration of the epidural, but for me, it was worth it!

  3. Even though I have only had one, I went ahead with the epidural, because I have a VERY low pain tolerance....and it didn't work. I was contracting the entire time that they were trying to stick me with the needle. Stuck me once, didn't get it in right, so they had to do it again.After it kicked in,I was fine;however,when it came time to push, I was in tons of pain, almost like it had worn off or something. I didn't get up to walk until about 2, right before they moved me/us. & the bad thing was that she was barely over 5 lbs. But other than the stitches bugging me, the recovery went really fast; that being said,I was on pain meds the couple days that I was in the hospital so...:)
    So that's one disadvantage, at least in my case.

  4. I'm a little different cause having c-sections I have no choice but to have one. With my first there was no problem but with my second one they had a student attempt (I thought she was watching them!) and she hit something. I now have pain in my back and they're wondering if something was hit that day and I have scar tissue growing or something. I still plan on going through with this 3rd just like normal and I really don't have any anxiety about it as long as those students keep their hands off me!

  5. I had three babies without and one baby with. Surprisingly, my easiest delivery was with my 10lb 6ouncer which was completely natural. The other three I had to have pitocin because my water broke and my labor did not progress. That involved much more pain than a big baby.

    I am way past having anymore babies, but I would certainly be open to having an epidural if I had to have pitocin. Otherwise, I would probably try not to unless the pain lasted too long. This is your second baby so things may go much easier and faster. You can always play it by ear. Looking forward to the big news and praying for a safe and smooth delivery.

  6. I've had 2 babies and have had the epidural with both. With the 1st baby, no joke, they had to wake me up from a nap to tell me that I was dialated to a 10 to push! Easy pregnancy. Recovery time was fine. I did have preclamsia with both of my pregnancies though, so the epidural was a must for me to help calm me down to help control my blood pressure. The 2nd baby, well, to be completely honest - I had to be stuck 3 times in the back before he got it in the right spot where I was numb on both sides. That part was awful! He was completely stressed out because every delivery room was packed and he was running all over the place. It does feel like a bee sting in the back, but let me tell you, once you have it and it's working right, it's wonderful! I only had it about 30 minutes before baby #2 ended up coming, but I was glad I had it. It's a decision that is entirely up to you - I would keep the option open on your birthing plan at the hospital so the option is there if you would decided to want one. Best of luck!

  7. Oh honey, let me tell you. I had an epidural with Kale and delivery was the easiest thing I have ever done. Then when I got pregnant with Kiana I had some complications and I was not allowed an epidural. I will tell you this the pain was not unbearable but I really wish I had that epidural. I felt like I was so focused on the pain and getting through it that I couldn't concetrate on the joy of having Kiana and with Kale I felt no pain at all and I was able to experience the wonderful joys of delivery.

    After Kale I wasn't able to walk for a few hours and with Kiana I was able to get up and walk but your so tired your not going to want to get up and walk around anyways. Also whenever you get an epidural you have to have a catheter because you can't get up and go to the bathroom but it is not that big of a deal especially compared to natural childbirth.

    You make what ever decision you want to and I wish you so much luck. You will do wonderful.

    Love You,
    Your Cuz Melanie

  8. Hey Krista,
    I am about to have my first baby in June. I will be doing a homebirth, which is mean I will have nothing. I don't think I get an extra badge or anything for doing it without pain meds. I feel that this will give me an opportunity to experience the awesome miracle of my body and baby during childbirth. Our bodies were built for this. That being said I also plan on using techniques that help me focus on anything but the pain. Research shows that a lot labor pain is fear based, if I can wipe out the fear then I focus on other things besides the pain. We will have a doula and a midwife to help us through the tough spots.
    I know you will do great.

  9. I got an epidural with both Brooke and Jake. My one with Brooklyn wore off (because the labor was so long), and when they gave me the second dose it didn't take, so I felt every horrible moment. The people who think pain is necessary for childbirth are nuts. It was absolutely unbearable, and I had to get oxygen because I almost passed out from the pain and my heart rate was dropping like a rock. The recovery wasn't bad at all. I mean, yeah, recovery after having a baby is painful, but with tylenol and those heat packs it wasn't bad. With Jake however, the epidural took and worked AMAZING. Once I got it (at about 6 cm) I fell asleep and didn't wake up until he was crowning and it was time to push. All I felt was a little pressure, and then told the nurse I would do it again! I will say you really can't feel your lower body, but that wore off within 30 mins of giving birth and I was able to walk myself to the bathroom for my bath and everything. Recovery was the same as it was for Brooklyn, although was about a week shorter. I fully recommend an epidural... It was the most wonderful experience I have ever had in a hospital! And was in a MUCH better mood after giving birth!
    Either way, you will do amazing, and are going to have a beautiful baby :)

  10. First of all, I have to say that I love Nicole. lol
    Second, I recommend an epidural. I had one and slept through my contractions afterwards, which was nice.
    However, I would say don't get one until you feel like you need one. I wasn't really in pain yet when I got one (the anesthesiologist was on my floor, so I went for it thinking "Why not?") and it ended up wearing off. They were able to give me a second dose, but by the time I had to have my emergency c-section 20 hours later (which was caused by my baby being 23 inches long and too long to be straight, head-down in the birth canal.), I was in extreme pain. I was just glad I didn't have to be in that much pain the entire time.
    Also, because of my second dose, they had given me too much and I had to be unconscious for my c-section. All that to say that you should make sure you wait for it. Had I waited and not had that second dose, I might have been able to be awake for my son's birth. Hind-sight is 20/20.
    As for recovery, I personally had a great one. It went quick and pain was minimal. But that's just me.
    Whatever you choose will be wonderful. :) Good luck!

  11. I had an epidural with Melissa (the first), and not with the other two. With Melissa, Will was out of town, and I'm sure that was a factor, but I had planned to wait and see how it went, and then ended up deciding to get it. I did like that getting it put in took some time and gave me something to do for a half hour or so. Unfortunately, it only worked on one side, and so I was still very much in pain, and feeling very strange from being numb on only one side. I didn't have any particular trouble with pushing, it just took me a push or two to get the hang of it since she was the first, and the recovery was fine (I didn't have anything to compare it to).

    I was induced with Natalie and David with pitocin and my body majorly loves pitocin so both labors were super short. Natalie was born 3 1/2 hours after the IV was started, and David was born in under two, so it was not incredibly difficult to skip the epidural for those. I was pretty determined not to get it, because even with insurance we paid something and it didn't even work with Melissa, so it seemed like a waste. I did not notice a difference in recovery after Natalie; after David I did, but I think that was because there was no tearing. Basically the only reason I now aim to not get them is because it didn't work with Melissa. I like the idea fine, and we still get to live with the punishment of Eve because it is still painful somewhat, even with the epidural! :)

  12. I will say one thing, if you get one do NOT lean to either side whatsoever for about the first 30 minutes. Otherwise it will only work on that side which you are leaning on. My first dose with Brooklyn did that because the nurse had not mentioned it to me at all, and I am very much a side sleeper. Feeling contractions on only half your body is weird, and still quite painful!

  13. I had to be induced with Cadence, but I still wanted to wait on the epidural as long as I could (don't know why, looking back :). I was about 4 cm, and could barely stay on top of the pain.
    They gave me the epidural- less painful than I thought (just don't look at the needle- whew!) and within minutes my pain went from an 8 to a 0.
    There is no "wearing off" because its on a drip, so I didn't have to worry about that. The nurse actually turned it down about 30 minutes before I pushed, so I could feel to push. This was actually nice, b/c I was able to get up, and go to the bathroom about 30 minutes after having Cade. I walked around that night no problem. I had no side effects and would do it again with the second, I believe.

  14. I agree with Amanda's comment. It is awesome and amazing to experience birth. You probably know I had my first at the hospital with epi, pit, and stadol. I was blessed to have a normal birth, but I felt like I missed something.

    Through much prayer, I decided to have the next two at home. Surprisingly, I never felt nervous at all about this and did the hypnobabies home course to help teach my body to relax.
    My hospital birth was 8 hours and about 40 minutes of pushing. My second baby was born at home after a 6 hour labor, 20 minutes of pushing.. and my last was at home with a 3 hour labor and 50 minutes of pushing (10 lb, 7 oz baby). And I must say I would do it again. (and believe me I'm not one to take pain too well).

    But I know I wouldn't do as well in the hospital( outside of my home where I feel safe and secure). As soon as I step into a hospital my nerves start getting to me, and I can't relax..which is a big part of giving birth comfortably. I also didn't have the option to walk around, or do a water birth.

    I know it isn't for everyone, but I had missed out on something amazing with my first.

    You may want to watch (if you haven't already), "The Business of Being Born". There is also a forum on natural birth at

    I hope your birth goes well! Can't wait to see your little Elanor =o) God bless your little family!

  15. Here's my mother story - got the epidural. Don't even remember what happened afterwards with how I laid or what it even felt like. All I could feel was my throbbing woman parts.

    I just knew that if I didn't get drugs, I was doomed. I didn't even know that I had the darn thing until 4 days later when Trev peeled off my bandaid.

    My recovery time?! I didn't get one. My nurses sucked. I was out of bed, in my own pj's & out of a hospital gown, showered, & blowdryed 3 hours later. No exaggeration.

    Bottom Line: This is SO your choice. Never let anyone else make you feel bad or like a terrible mother for doing/not doing something. You'll know what's right for you. I support you 110%. Love you.


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