My Epidural Didn’t Ease My Labor Pain

One mama shares how her anesthetic plan went awry.

I knew I was running out of time. My doctor had already mentioned an induction at my 40-week appointment. I really didn’t want to be induced, I knew my body could birth on its own. This was my second pregnancy after all, my body had done it once before.

When I was just over 41 weeks pregnant , I got one last ultrasound. The doctor noticed saw something that concerned him in the placenta and suggested that we induce. So we scheduled our labor and delivery on Thursday. Though I was excited to meet our baby, I was upset that my body hadn’t done what I knew it could do.

My body had two days to finally start labor on its own. I tried everything: bouncing and rocking on an exercise ball, walking (a lot), eating pineapple and, with a little help from Pinterest’s “labor kickstart” boards, made a “labor” cake full of spices. Unfortunately, my body never gave in. So on Thursday, we were ready to be induced.

We arrived at the hospital at 5:30am, and by the time my doctor  arrived, at 6am, I was 3 centimeters dilated and about 50% effaced. I wasn’t having any signs of labor though — I guess my little guy was just too comfortable. My doctor quickly broke my water and, by 6:40 am, gave me pitocin.

At 7 am, my contraction started, and by 8:30 am, I was buzzing the nurse to let her know I was ready for my epidural. At that point, I was so uncomfortable. My back was hurting, and I was stuck in bed, unable to move because I was hooked up to the pressure cuff, which went off every 5 minutes. I also had a monitor to track the baby’s heart rate, a monitor for my contractions and a catheter. There definitely wasn’t any getting up. 

I needed a whole bag of saline before I could get the epidural, which took about 45 minutes to empty. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but with contraction every minute, it was terrible and felt like an eternity.

The anesthesiologist arrived at 9:15 am. At that point, the contractions were painful and came and go every minute — I was in tears. They sent my husband out. Though I knew the nurses were here to support me, I was terrified. How was I going to be able to sit still through intense contractions while getting the epidural without him by my side? Thirty minutes later, the epidural was in, and my husband was able to come back into the room. I was feeling good again, but not for long… My right side was completely numb, but I quickly started to feel sharp contractions on my left side. Perhaps my epidural didn’t work as expected

At 11:10 am, I asked the nurse to prop my left side on a pillow, hoping that it would help even out the epidural — to no avail. At 11:40, my pain was worse. So my husband asked for the nurse to come back. She did a cervical check and informed me that I was 10 centimeters dilated.

Though the pain was excruciating, there was no time for an epidural do-over. It was time to push. I was so nervous about pushing through the pain I was feeling in my left side. I was questioning my own strength, unsure that I could do it. I remember crying, “I quit, I want to go home.” But there was no turning back. This baby had to come out, and he was coming out very soon! I couldn’t wait for it to be over, to finally hold my baby.               

Jaxon was born at 12:31pm. I was in love! I couldn’t believe that I made this beautiful tiny human –with my husband’s help, of course. He was absolutely perfect and looked exactly like his 4-year-old brother. I was, once again, so excited and terrified at the same time: excited to take him home, but terrified to start this new journey as a mom of two.

Jaxon layed on my chest, skin to skin, and we waited until the umbilical cord turned white for my husband to cut it — an exciting way for him to welcome our little guy into this world. Not long after, my placenta was delivered, and it immediately ruptured. The doctor stitched up my tear while Jaxon started to latch on. I was so amazed at how quickly my little boy found the breast that I wasn’t even paying attention to what my doctor was doing. Jaxon is now 4 weeks new and he’s such a sweet and easy-going little guy. Big brother is smitten over him too.

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