I gave birth to my first child two months ago. If you want an epidural but you’re scared, maybe my insight can help ease your mind.
Going in, I was terrified of the epidural and was hoping to not get one. Due to complications with scar tissue I ended up having contractions for almost 24 hours with very little progress. I was in significant pain, every 2-3 minutes, lasting 60-90 seconds for the majority of that time. When I was finally admitted to the hospital, I had changed my mind about the epidural. I wanted to be able to rest before my child was born so I could take in the moment.
Getting the Epidural
I’ve always been terrified of needles. And I’ve heard horror stories about how big the epidural needle is. I can’t tell you if they’re true or not. I didn’t see it. I can tell you that my anesthesiologist was great. He was kind and explained the whole procedure to me before we started. The needle is mainly to get this little thread like tube into the right area to dispense the medication. So it doesn’t stay in you. You bend forward; they numb the area and wait for a contraction to pass. Then, between contractions they insert the needle. I didn’t even feel it, just a little pressure. Once the tube is in place, the needle comes out.
During the Epidural
I was expecting to be completely numb, not feeling anything, and unable to move. This was not my experience.
The epidural works on half of your body at a time, your right side or left side so after you get it, they will have you lay on your side. Every hour or so, the nurse would come in and help me flip to my other side. Whichever side was less medicated at the time, I could feel contractions on. The contractions weren’t painful, and didn’t bother me at all. They just made that side feel heavy. I actually enjoyed being able to tell when I was having a contraction without being in pain. It felt like I was participating still.
I could also feel my legs still and was able to shift from side to side with the help of the nurse. If I was on one side too long, it would start to feel like that half was falling asleep. But I always had some sensation, but no pain.
After the Epidural
They turned my epidural off a little while before it was time to push and helped me turn on my back. Even though I wasn’t getting any more medication, I still was under the effects of the epidural so pushing, though still difficult, wasn’t horribly painful like I had expected. By the end, it had completely worn off. About an hour after my son was born I was able to walk to the bathroom (with assistance) relatively easily.
I had a great experience with the epidural. Once I had it, the child birth process became exciting for me and so much less painful. If you are deciding that you do want an epidural, please make sure you talk with your Dr. so you are aware of all the risks. I had no complications and am glad I got it.