Pregnant - looking for labour advice

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Pregnant - looking for labour advice

Postby hlm286 » Sat May 15, 2010 5:28 am

I'm pregnant and due in about 5 weeks with my second child. With my first, I had a 40 hour back labour and went with the epidural. It definitely made a world of difference and my experience was much more pleasant.

My dilemma now is this... When I had my initial MS attack before diagnosis, it was pretty bad. I was numb from the neck down, needed a catheter, couldn't walk, the whole bit. I just remember when the numbess started, I felt just like I did in the hospital when I had the epidural.

Luckily, I've made a pretty much full recovery from that attack and have been feeling great my entire pregnancy so far. Now, I'm just scared to have another epidural because I don't want to feel the way I felt when I had my attack ever again. I don't want another catheter because I've had bladder problems already ever since my attack and it's hard enough controlling sensation down there. I don't want another needle in my spine because I also had to have a spinal tap when I was diagnosed and it makes me sick thinking of being poked around in there again.

My neurologist assured me that epidurals are OK and that the stress from labour is a "good" stress because it's something joyous happening in life, not the same as normal stress causing your symptoms to get worse. My husband tells me that if I think the feeling won't come back after the epidural, I'm being silly. I just don't want to feel that way again. I think I'd rather feel pain than nothing at all. I'm just scared that if I have another labour like my first, I won't be able to take it. Which do you think would be worse for my MS - getting the epidural or the stress from labour? I want to try my absolute best to go without the epidural but I also don't want to put myself through too much stress that it ends up being worse for me than the needle.

Does anyone else have experience with having an epidural after diagnosis? Does anyone have a labour story to share and how you felt after the birth?

I'm just getting scared as it's getting closer and looking for some help...

Thank you. :)
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Postby Wonderfulworld » Sat May 15, 2010 8:02 am

I too had back labour and had 2 epidurals. I had to have a second because weirdly, the epidural effect wore off on the right side of my body but not the left, so I was having pain on one side only.

I think the stress of labour without an epidural, if it was prolonged back labour again, would be worse than having another epidural.

I too was paralysed 12 years ago, and had a catheter at that time. I have ongoing bladder issues. The feeling of numbness with the epi wasn't like MS numbness or weakness and it is only temporary. It also did not feel as bad as a spinal tap - I had 2 of them in the past too.

I did not have a relapse after giving birth until 6 months later. I discovered that my Vit D levels were low and I hadn't got them up to a normal range after the birth. Perhaps that contributed, or exhaustion, I don't know.
HOpe it all goes ok for you.
Concussus Resurgo
RR-MS dx 1998 and Coeliac dx 2003
Tecfidera, Cymbalta, Baclofen.
EPO, Fish Oils, Vitamin D3 2000 IU, Magnesium, Multivitamin/mineral, Co-Enzyme Q10, Probiotics, Milk Thistle, Melatonin.
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Postby msgator » Sat May 15, 2010 7:11 pm

I had both my kids post diagnosis and with no pain meds. When I was first diagnosed in 1999 they were not recommending epidurals for MS patients, now they say they are okay. I just choose not to mess with my spine if not necessary.

I do have to say, that I had reasonable fast deliveries. My first arrived 4 hours after 4 hours in the hospital (I went from 3.5 cm dilation to 10 cm in 2 1/5 hours). My second took longer to progress and that time I actually understood why people need pain meds.

But, this is a highly personal decision. Every person is different in their tolerance of pain and labor experience. I would say, don't rule anything out, do what you feel is right, and I just kept telling myself that women have been having babies for thousand of years and it has only been the last 30 or 40 that pain meds have been available and I was at least as tough as the women who came before.

Best of luck!!!

always look on the bright side of life

Veins opened 10/15/10. RIJV still on the small side. Feeling much better.
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Postby hlm286 » Sat May 15, 2010 9:56 pm

Thank you both for your responses. Any feedback is truly helpful and I feel better just talking to people who understand. :)
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Postby ILoveHim » Sun May 16, 2010 11:52 am

I don't have MS but I am a neonatal nurse and I have 2 babies.

I had a horrible experience with epidural anesthesia with my 1st. I ended up with a c/s after 4 hrs of pushing.

With my 2nd, I did hypnobirthing. I did not want the same bad experience with an epidural like I did with my first. I almost had a uterine rupture and needed an emergency c/s. I am convinced that not having an epidural saved me and my baby's life because I was so in tune with what was going on with my body.

Moral of the story, hypnobirthing taught me to view labor in a different light. Embrace and welcome every contraction because each one will bring you closer and closer to meeting your beautiful baby. Look up don't have alot of time to prepare but it's another alternative to an epidural.

Best advice, don't make a hard and fast decision now...go with the flow and decide as you go along.

Best wishes for an easy labor and healthy mom and baby =)
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Postby mrsjitters » Mon May 17, 2010 12:07 pm

I was the same. When I had my baby, I was against having an epidural for the same reason. I had numbness all over my body during my first MS attack and I didnt wanna feel that again just like you. AND i was scared my sensation wouldn't come back. I did it without the epidural for awhile but ended up having to have an emergency c-section, & got the epidural. everything turned out okay though. I still have my feeling. I'm sure you'll be alright too!

Good luck and congrats! :)
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Postby Chris55 » Mon May 17, 2010 1:19 pm

My adughter JUST went though this very same thing! This was her first and she was ADAMANT that she was not going to have an epidural! They induced, she got her first contraction and said, "That's it!" LOL They gave her the epidural, the nurse checked her and then cartwheeled out of the room...the baby was BORN 15 mins. after the epidural! It didn't even have a chance to take effect.

She had no problems and she and baby Annie are doing GREAT!
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Postby JenniferF » Tue May 18, 2010 9:38 pm

I have four vaginal deliveries, no pain meds. 3 of the labors were fairly textbook. One of the four almost certainly would have gone to a c-section if I had not been able move around, try alternate positions, etc. So, ironically it was the hardest labor of the 4 -- the one where pain meds would have provided the most comfort -- that pain meds would have also caused the most complications.

My personal approach is this: Does the benefit outweigh the risk? (I also recognize that for the risk/benefit equation is a very personal decision, and that giving birth isn't an endurance contest.)

Keep in mind there are a few situations where, in a vaginal delivery, an epidural can actually reduce your risk. (Maternal exhaustion is one of them -- if the labor is both long and painful, and the sleep deprivation gets to a point where it is truly a hazard, an epidural can allow the mom to get the rest she needs to continue with a healthy delivery after a bit of sleep.)

--> So, even though *in general* using an epidural is riskier than giving birth unmedicated, I would encourage you not to entirely rule out the possiblity. What you definitely do not want to do is set yourself up to feel like a failure (or, just feel very shocked and scared) in the unlikely but still possible event that you truly need an epidural.


I certainly encourage anyone who is considering unmedicated / low-intervention childbirth to give it a try. For the vast majority of births, it is the safest route and entirely doable -- though not necessarily easy! (Mine all hurt. Very much. But once the baby was born, it was over.) But in doing so, I'd encourage you to learn a bit about how unmedicated birth works, what your options are, and how to build a supportive environment.

My favorite childbirth book (perhaps I date myself) is _The Birth Partner_ by Penny Simkin.

Good luck, and congratulations on your little bundle, no matter which way the two of you end up finally meeting each other face to face. In the end, anything that results in a baby-in-arms is a good enough way.

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