A Living and Loving reader, Janet Hoffman, tells us what it was like to get an epidural and why she thinks it’s a good pain-relief option:
I had an uneventful and easy first pregnancy with no morning sickness and barely any aches or pains – it was pretty much smooth sailing from the beginning.
As my due date drew closer, I considered my options for pain relief and although possible ‘paralysis and death’ from an epidural gone wrong concerned me, I reassured myself that this was the worst case scenario.
At my 37-week check-up I was experiencing bad swelling in my face and ankles and my gynae told me that my amniotic fluid was very low. She decided an induction at just over 38 weeks was best for me and my baby. I still planned on having a natural birth, but I wasn’t averse to a C-Section if push came to shove.
After two epidurals administered in the space of 24 hours (the length of my labour), I was not advancing and the doctor decided I should have an emergency C-Section to avoid sending the baby into distress. So, in a flash, I was wheeled in to the operating room and approximately 45 minutes later I had my beautiful, perfect baby girl in my arms.
The pros of the epidural were that I had an almost pain-free labour – even though it lasted 24 hours – and I was conscious and involved throughout the whole process. The initial insertion was a bit painful, but that’s to be expected.
There was only one con. Owing to the emergency C-Section, I could not have a spinal block to cut off all pain as the medications were contraindicated. That made the C-Section quite painful.
But all’s well that ends well. I believe that those thinking of an epidural over natural pain relief should have it. It definitely put me at ease as it made most of my lengthy birth experience pain-free.
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