Birth

E- Epidurals

Epidurals, should you have one or shouldn’t you? I am most likely to annoy someone here now, but I don’t like epidurals. I don’t like the idea of one, the risks of one, and how they can affect your labour. But that’s just me. And you know me by now, I don’t like a lot of things, and I like to be controversial! Hahaha!

An epidural is a local anaesthetic inserted via injection into a space in the spinal colomn that numbs the whole lower part of your body. It takes around 20 minuted to set up by an anaesthetist and you will have a fine tube coming from your back, to ‘top-it-up’ when it  starts to wears off.

The idea of an epidural is that if it works properly you can enjoy a more or less pain-free labour. Although you wont be able to walk, so you will have to labor on the bed and as you are totally numb you wont be able to move around during labour. You will be also have to be attached to a fetal heart monitor throughout. There is a raised risk (quite a lot raised in fact) need for other interventions during your labour such as vetouse, forceps or even a c-section. Enough to make my eyes water already! These interventions are often needed because it is harder to push effectively when you can’t feel what is going on down below and you can’t feel your contractions. And from what I learnt quickly during my labour was: It bloody hurts down there, therefore I want this over quickly and I shall push like hell to get it over with. And that worked perfectly for me!

I knew from the beginning that I did not want an epidural. I didn’t want to raise any risks during my delivery (even more so when it was expected for me to have a hard labour due to my condition) and, call me mental, But I wanted to feel my body doing its job. Its not very often you get to do this amazing thing, and I wanted to be part of my body in doing it. I must be mental to want to feel every contraction, the ‘ring of fire’ and that weird slippery feeling you get when baby (and placenta) come sliding out! I didn’t like the idea of being immobile during labour, And I knew I did not want a catheter fitted… something that is routinely done with an epidural as you cannot hold bladder control when you are numb.

I had to go for several scans during my third trimester due to my KTW Syndrome, which had left me in hospital for the majority of my last 12 weeks. These CT’s were carried out just to check that should I need a spinal for any reason or If i needed a section at anytime, my spine was safe to work around. It turned out it wasn’t as they found a few little lumps running down my spinal column that would make fitting any kind of spinal near impossible and extremely dangerous. The anesthetists own words were “I would not like to go 100 meters near your spine with a needle” GULP! All of a sudden I started to think ‘What if I now change my mind, what if I want an epidural… in fact I KNOW I want one now!’ I was just being silly though. I knew I didn’t want one really and this was Gods way of backing that up even more so. I knew from day 1 that I did not want one and this was the guarantee that I wasn’t to have one!

Would you ever have an epidural? Or have you had an epidural? What  was the experience like for you?

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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4 Comments

  1. Mharii says:

    I have had all 4 of my children completely drug free, this time though I’m having a c -section due to the size of baby and difficulties with my last labour. The only part that scares me about this is having the spinal block done!

  2. clarice Boldon says:

    Its one of them horrible subjects….I have had 3 kids. My first I didnt know what to expect and had pethadine. The other two were completely natural. Tho I labour VERY quickly and can deal with the pain well until just before are about to
    crown…then I completely loose the plot, and demand everything going….id take anything they gave me. But thankfully by this stage im done and the babies are very very quck seconds from crowning to birth, so even if I wanted it there would be no chance. In my opinion birth has been taken out of our hands completelwe have lost all trust in our own bodies and trust somebody else knows better…..dont get me started on purple pushing! We are made to labour and all this negativity we see constantly in regards to birth completely undermies us as women. we need empowering. On our last birth I used hypnobirthing, had already started educating myself on birth choice….delayed cord clamping, physiological third stage….and made it clear that it was my birth. I didnt need top be told how or what to do. Once you know ctors and midwifes arnt in charge of your body or baby you gain massive confidence. No more strapping down on your back for me after my first! You really need to read some Ina May Gaskin 😉

  3. Annmarie Lawless says:

    I had my first son Ollie with an epidural. I was 21 and I had been in labour for about 6 hours but just couldn’t take the pain. I was in the room with the babies father and. Y mother. I can remember pain of the injection more than the labour pains now but it was really uncomfitable.

    They continued to monitor me but suddenly his heart rate dropped and I have never seen a room fill as fast. The whole time, although in pain I can remember thinking ‘there is my dignity gone out of the window’ they rushed around and kept pulling in all this different equipment in to the room, after 5 minutes I was petrified. My legs were put up and there was a sucktion tool coming towards me. Ventouse delivery it’s called. Very fast indeed. When Ollie arrived he had the typical cone head that goes with this birth. By this point I was pleased that I had the epidural, the only issue now was that I wanted a fat and couldn’t walk.

    I would have it again but I do get problems with my back now, 14 years later.

  4. Emily Dellar says:

    I never had an epidural with either of my two children. I made it very clear to the midwifes at the beginning of labour that they were to refuse me one even if I started begging for one (which I did both times!). I remember screaming for an epidural and telling the midwife I had changed my mind and didn’t realise that when she said yes the doctor would be coming soon she was secretly winking at my boyfriend knowing full well what I had made her promise. I must be MAD!!! Any my reasons for not having an epidural were pretty much the same as yours and did not want to put myself or my babies at any risk. I also wanted to be mobile after the birth and able to drive etc. After both births I was up and walking around a lot quicker than a lot of other mum’s.

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