Medicated Labor

My first post was about all-natural labor, and this one will be about my experience with having an epidural for labor and delivery.

While I have experienced a NATURAL LABOR, I will be the first to say, “IT HURT”.  There is no sugar coating what a women experiences to bring a new life into this world.  With that being said, John Bonica is my hero! Who is he you ask? The man who developed the almighty EPIDURAL!

The epidural is a procedure done where pain medicine is infused into the space around the dura matter of the spine.  In a nutshell, you don’t feel any pain below the waist, during labor (when done correctly)

I had 3 epidurals, and all of them were relatively the same.

  • First thing to remember is you have to be EXTREMELY STILL during the insertion.  If not, you run the risk of getting paralyzed (rarely happens, but it is a risk).
  • The nurse will help you get into a sitting position on the side of the bed with you leaning forward, kinda like a fetal position.  This helps open the spinal column to get into the spaces.

 

  • The anesthesiologist will clean your back with a cold brown solution called beta dine to reduce the risk of introducing germs for your skin into you spinal cavity.
  • Then they will cover you a paper drape with a hole for where he will insert the needle
  • Next they will use inject you with a numbing agent a few times to help alleviate the pain of the epidural needle.
  • After this they will remind you again to be EXTREMELY STILL, because the needle is on its way in,  If you are in the middle of a contraction, tell them to wait!
  • The effectiveness and ease of insertion will depend on your size, and the experience of the anesthesiologist.
  • Then they will insert the needle, and once it’s into the epidural space, the needle will be removed and a plastic catheter will be left in place.  They will then tape the catheter to  your back to avoid it coming out.
  • Once inserted, you will be placed kinda leaning to one side, A bolus of medicine will be given to get you pain free, then a continuous infusion will run until its time to push
  • Then my friends, if everything went as planned, you will be in Heaven!
Now once the medicine begins to take effect, you will see the mountains of contractions on the monitor and not feel a thing.
Although, when it’s time to push, you may get a sensation or urge to do a number two.  With all of my kids, I never felt pain, just the urge to push or poop (with 2 of them I did poop!)
Now as for the effects on my baby, my oldest two were premies so they were whisked away.  Therefore, I can’t comment on them. My daughter or youngest son did not appear to be affected whatsoever!  Both latched on without a second thought, neither was drowsy (I know this because I did not get an ounce of sleep and they DID NOT LEAVE MY SIDE).
As far as I was concerned, after I delivered, I was in the shower cleaning up, except with my first son.  With him, it took the anesthesia a little longer to wear off.  With my daughter, I had residual pain at the insertion site for months after delivery.  However, it was not so bothersome where I refused an epidural with my last child.
For me, I do not like pain, especially unnecessary pain.  I do not feel like any less of a woman or mother for getting medication and avoiding that nonsense.  For those who want an all natural birth, I salute you, but me, I tip my hat and applaud John Bonica for his development of the all might epidural and accept it with open arms!

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