Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Pregnancy Diary: 10/07/12 - Labour - Epidural

Day 5 - 8.30am

So he's done the Epidural now.... It wasn't that painful really, awkward and uncomfy but not painful. My ribs on the other hand.... Want to break!

Now it's not unusual for women to have an Epidural during Labour, 30% of them have one during or after. I however, have had to have it done in an odd way.... there is a theme here, nothing I do is ever normal. I had to have mine done whilst laying in an odd position so it would numb my ribs as well as my lower body. This has worked really well so far as much as it was a little bit of an experiment on the Anaesthetists part. I can still feel my ribs but they are in nowhere near the amount of pain as they were an hour ago....

The epidural has worn off several times and I've had several top ups. But now part of it has worn off and hasn't been topped up. Sometimes part of the body is missed by the epidural top ups. This has taken effect in the lower part of my belly where the pain is no doubt the worst.... TYPICAL!! It bloody hurts!! A LOT!! I can feel the contractions and the gas and air is not even touching the pain but it is making me feel slightly better but it's more of a placebo I think.

After Birth Conclusion!
By the time I finished giving birth I had a whopping 7... yes 7.... top ups! I had the Epidural put in 12 hours before I gave birth. I couldn't feel my legs at all and they were so heavy I had to get others to move them. I was really uncomfy and numb like I'd been sat for too long in one place... mainly because I had been... I felt very uncertain about not having any control of my body too it was quite a scary feeling! It did help my ribs and it did help with the pain until the lower part wore off but I wasn't really that thrilled when I realised I had no control at all... I think I was just freaking out due to the drugs etc.

Here is some info about Epidurals taken from Babycentre.com

What is an epidural?
During an epidural, painkilling drugs are passed into the small of your back via a fine tube. It is a regional anaesthetic, so the drug is injected around the nerves that carry signals from the part of your body that feels pain in labour. It will numb your belly and provide you with very effective pain relief

How is an epidural given?  
An anaesthetist will give an injection in the lower back and then guide a hollow needle between the small bones in the spine. The needle goes into the space between the layers of tissue in the spinal column (the epidural space). A fine tube (catheter) is then passed through the needle and the needle is removed. The tube is taped up your back and over your shoulder.

Injection with top-ups
Painkillers are injected into the tube to numb the lower part of the tummy, and the contractions should no longer be painful. As the epidural begins to wear off, you can have top-ups which last between one hour and two hours.

How does it work?
The anaesthetic deadens the nerves which are carrying pain signals from the uterus (womb) and cervix to the brain. Most hospitals use low-dose epidurals which contain a mixture of painkilling drugs, usually a local anaesthetic, bupivacaine or levobupivacaine, and an opioid (fentanyl). A low-dose epidural may allow the patient to have some sensation in the legs and feet. However, only a mobile epidural, which requires extra staff to monitor, allows the patient to move about.

When should you have it?
You can have an epidural at any point in your labour. Most women request it when their contractions are getting strong, often when their cervix has dilated to about 5cm (2in) or 6cm (2.4in).
You may be offered an epidural if your labour has to be speeded up with a Syntocinon drip. This is a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin, which makes your cervix dilate and your contractions intensify. You may need extra pain relief, because this can make your contractions difficult to cope with.
Once your epidural is in place it can stay in until after your baby is born and your placenta is delivered. It can also provide pain relief after the birth if you need stitches.

How might an epidural affect my baby?
If your blood pressure drops, it may affect the flow of oxygen to your baby. Before starting your epidural a small tube (intravenous cannula) will be inserted into your hand or arm. This is so fluids and drugs can be fed through if your blood pressure falls later on.
Epidural solutions contain the opioid fentanyl, or a similar drug, which can cross the placenta. In larger doses (more than 100 micrograms), these drugs may affect your baby's breathing, or make him drowsy. 

 For more info about the Pros and Cons of Epidurals take a look at the Babycentre website here.

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