Saturday, 20 August 2016

Natural birth | Life after an epidural

Mummy and Squidge's first photo
Before you have a baby the Drs and midwives talk through your pain relief options as part of your birth plan, you don't have to decide what you want, but it's good to have an idea and prepare yourself mentally.

I'd always been adamant I was going to have a completely natural birth with no pain relief, if my mum could do it, so could I.  But as the pregnancy progressed and with all my health issues (gestational diabetes, asthma, supra ventricular tachycardia, underactive thyroid...) we realised that towards the end of my pregnancy, I was going to be induced.

Typically women who are induced are in labour (the whole process) for a lot longer, so I knew to do this without any pain relief would be crazy, but I was going to try my best.  Well, on the Friday (day 1 of induction) I had some co-codamol, but that's it - I'd been having regular contractions but in dilatation hadn't progressed.

This is the only pain relief I had until I was put on the drip about 7pm on the Sunday night.  After dealing with some pretty awfully painful contractions I asked for gas and air.  This really helped - I was off with the fairies when I was having it, but it didn't stop the pain.  So then I asked for pethidine... this really was amazing.  It gave me my first bit of proper sleep since Thursday night, and boy did I need it!

Later that evening as the pethidine wore off, I asked for an epidural. I knew the risks, they'd been clearly explained, but I didn't care, I knew I was a long way off (only about 2-3cm at this point) and completely exhausted after 3 days of this.  The epidural seemed to go well, but to be honest, it's all a bit of a blur.

At 3:48pm the next day, Squidge was born via venteuse delivery. I remember one of my proudest moments ever was being wheeled from the delivery suite down to the ward with Squidge on my chest. I felt like the proudest person ever, I did it, I gave birth to this perfect little boy. He was lying on my chest looking up at me, nothing could have been more perfect.

Now it's 22 months later, he's a thriving intelligent little boy who does all the normal toddler things like refusing to eat, throwing tantrums because he has paint on his hands. And me? Well I'm trying to lose the weight I've gained since having him, I'm battling pretty severe back pain but all in all I'm ok.

There is one symptom I still have though, something apparently caused by the epidural. That's loss of sensitivity in my bladder. I've had no 'accidents' or anything like that, no leakage, but I only get the 'I have to wee' feeling when my bladder is really full, and if I'm sat down, I don't get it at all. It's not something I ever thought about, not something I thought was even possible. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot that could have gone wrong and I'm truly grateful that I'm a pretty normal functioning person, I guess I just didn't expect to be feeling the side effects of the epidural this far down the line.

Did you have any long-term side effects from your epidural? And if you did, would you have one again?


  1. So interested to read this post - I was induced 6 weeks ago and like you had a long labour so climbed the pain relief ladder until epidural - I had 2 fitted and sadly neither worked! It was agony and eventually I had to have a spinal block anaesthetic as they needed to delivet via forceps. My baby was over 10lbs! I still have numbness in my thigh and definitely have similar bladder issues that are very gradually improving but I also now have oversensitive nerves down below now so the pain continues. I wasn't aware the side effects could last years until afterwards and I certainly didn't anticipate the pain relief aspect failing! Apparently 15% of people have failed epidurals and there's no explanation! Hope your symptoms continue to improve :) xx

    1. My gosh that's a big baby! I didn't know they could fail either... I know mine wasn't perfect, I kept getting a cold foot which concerned them, as I shouldn't have been able to feel it :P They think the epidural moved so wasn't perfectly even. Thanks :) I hope they do too! So far there's no real change, but I'm hopeful :)

  2. I had an epidural and was lucky to not have any long term side effects. I have heard of a few others though that have experienced similar things to yourself xx

    1. Oh that's good :) Huh, nice to know I'm not alone :)

  3. I didn't know about the side effects luckily I didn't need an epidural.

  4. I had no idea side effects could last so long. Thankfully my two labours (one induced) were too short for anything more than gas and air x

  5. Thankfully I didn't have any side effects but it did cause me to have an emergency c section in the end so not sure I'd have one again. Sorry to hear about the problems with your bladder x


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