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Old 02-14-2014, 07:55 PM   #11
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Re: Epi helping a VBAC

I've never had a cesarean, but I can tell you about my epidurals. I had one with each of my seven babies and will have another. I would take hours to get to four, when they would do the epidural, and only progress about one centimeter every two hours. I'd get the epidural, take a nap, and usually wake up ready to push. The only exception was my seventh. I had to sit leaning forward, as well as have an amnioinfusion, to keep his heart rate up. Plus the hospital was insanely busy that night, so they had to call in a back up anesthesiologist. I don't think he was very good and only half my body was getting relief from pain. Soooo....no long nap for me, just cat naps between contractions. I'm definitely getting another this time, since they don't stall or slow down my labor at all, not even the pushing stage.

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Old 02-14-2014, 08:50 PM   #12
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I was Pitocin induced with my c-section baby and went 24-hrs without an epi before having a c-section. I was 6cm, 12-hrs of back-to-back contractions with merely seconds between. This was after being up for over 72-hrs due to being evacuated for fires. No one told me an epi could help you dilate by allowing your body to relax. I had only heard bad things, so epidural and c-section for me.

Fast forward to my vbac baby. After several days in labor, several days of a migraine, and several days of no rest, I agreed to be admitted. This time, I was recommended an epi to allow my body to rest and dilate. Also, if something were to happen, my chance to be awake for a crash section would be higher than not having an epi and needing emergency surgery. I opted for the epi and went from basically nothing (dilation & effacement) to vbac baby in 18-hrs from being admitted! My epi is the reason for my successful vbac.

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Old 02-14-2014, 08:59 PM   #13
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Re: Epi helping a VBAC

My first birth that ended in c-section was the classic tale: OB induced me on my due date because she wanted to deliver somebody's baby while she was on call; I got the epi at 4cm; I got to the pushing stage but could barely feel my legs and nobody helped me change positions. The OB declared me failure to progress and I had a c/s.

So the second time around I was very wary of getting an epi and prepared to go all-natural. However, I have a condition called hyperPOTS that causes me to have problems with my blood pressure and pulse and to go into "fight or flight" mode under duress. I was full of crazy adrenaline and was tensing up and fighting the contractions. I think I needed the epidural to get me to the finish line.

I was walking around at 4cm for over a week. By the way time I went into labor I was practically in transition. We went immediately to the hospital and I was at 8cm. I labored for a couple of hours trying to avoid the epi but it just wasn't in me. Once I asked for it, I was at 10cm with a lip. Then I took a much needed rest for a couple of hours, then pushed for 2.5 hours and had my successful VBAC. The midwife and L&D nurse helped me work around the epidural and get in a variety of positions; she was born with me on my side.

I definitely was disappointed that I "caved" and got the epidural, but now that I know more about my condition, I realize that my body was working against me and I needed help relaxing. So I'm glad I had that tool in my arsenal.

My friend just had her first baby and got the epidural at 10cm (she asked for it earlier but it took 3 hours for them to get to her). So it's definitely not true that it's "too late" to get it at the end. If you really need it, it should be an option at any point.
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:55 PM   #14
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Re: Epi helping a VBAC

My first was a c-sect. I labored with no pain med and got to ten cm. I pushed for 2.5 hours with a posterior baby and the dr wanted to do a c-sect. We said 'no' since baby and I were fine and I pushed for another 2.5-3 hours. The nurses tried to help, but were making the pain worse trying to turn him and not letting me change positions. I was constantly offered an epidural while I was pushing, so yah, there is no such thing as too late, unless you are actually delivering your baby. I think if I had gotten it, it may have helped but I figured it would just lead to a c-sect. I really think if they had helped me change positions, that would have done it. My next two were unmedicated hospital vbacs. I didn't need any help with those two, since I dialate fully on my own and was able to push them out in the side-lie position. I also know if I ever get in a position where I 'actually' stall or get stuck and have tried different positions, I would consider an epi before a c-sect.
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:46 AM   #15
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Re: Epi helping a VBAC

What about other narcotics besides an epi?
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:39 PM   #16
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Re: Epi helping a VBAC

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What about other narcotics besides an epi?
From what I have seen in research, they are worse, because it goes more directly to baby and they make you 'out of it'. But I haven't done a lot of research in that area, since I have always just planned on no drugs of any kind. I am even opting out of the petocin shot they give after delivering this time.
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:43 PM   #17
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Re: Epi helping a VBAC

My cousin (not a VBAC though) has had two kids and stalled in both labours, then decided to get the epidural. After a little rest and being able to relax she dilated quickly to complete and pushed them both out. So while there is definitely a risk of an epi slowing down labour, in some people/cases it does help. Whether it's because it helps you not tense, or lets your body do things on its own, or just gives you a chance to rest, it does seem to work sometimes.

So I would think that if you feel like you're stalling, try it and it just might work. I seem to recall reading somewhere that it is most likely to slow things down in early labour (up to 4 cm?) but of course I can't find that now. Good luck!
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:49 PM   #18
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Re: Epi helping a VBAC

I have gotten the epi all 5 times and don't believe that it stalled labor with any of them.

#1 - my labor stalled at 9 cm for several hours. Getting the epi allowed me to rest and relax and she was born a couple of hours later.

#2 - induced labor, got the epi as soon as it was allowed. My one pain free birth.

#3 - induced labor, held out until about 7-8 cm, then got epi

#4 - induced labor, held out until 7-8 cm, got the epi, got to 10 cm. Turned the epi off and spent the next 2 hours pushing (so it wore off pretty quickly and I was able to try all sorts of positions for pushing). Baby got stuck and we had a c/s.

#5 - VBAC, went into labor on own. At 7 cm when arrived at hospital, got epi after check-in. Less than an hour until I was at 10, but they had me wait another hour for her to descend since I was comfortable. 1.5 pushes and she was out.
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Old 03-01-2014, 07:57 AM   #19
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Re: Epi helping a VBAC

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Originally Posted by bruenderbaby View Post
From what I have seen in research, they are worse, because it goes more directly to baby and they make you 'out of it'. But I haven't done a lot of research in that area, since I have always just planned on no drugs of any kind. I am even opting out of the petocin shot they give after delivering this time.
My midwives suggested me looking them up just in case I do get to the point of wanting drugs.. my plan of course is no drugs. It depends on how far into labor you are on how they affect the baby. My midwives won't give them to me if I am super far along, but if I am stuck at 6 or 7 cm and am just exhausted and in pain, they said they said it would be beneficial just to help me relax and get some rest and regain energy.. But there are benefits, since you will be able to be mobile, they don't last as long as the epi, quick.. etc.
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:03 AM   #20
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#4 - induced labor, held out until 7-8 cm, got the epi, got to 10 cm. Turned the epi off and spent the next 2 hours pushing (so it wore off pretty quickly and I was able to try all sorts of positions for pushing). Baby got stuck and we had a c/s..
^this was intriguing. Didn't realize you could shut it down to facilitate movement later after getting to 10cm. Are you still in bed though?

Every one of these responses makes me more sure of my plan to get a VBA2C. I had no trouble handling contractions right through until 7cm. So I know that I can get labour going well which hopefully reduces the risk of stall. Just need to catch the epidural before the point where I start to tense and not handle contractions well. Midwives are totally supportive of whatever I decide.
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