During my second trimester, I had a sudden (albeit obvious) revelation that I should probably start thinking about labour.
I knew I wanted an epidural. I kept an open mind though and looked into all the options available. I even took a hypnobirthing class and read a hypnobirthing book. Nevertheless, I wanted an epidural. There are positives and negatives to all the options, so do your own research.
Having made this decision though, I struggled to find positive stories that involved an epidural, much less both an induction and epidural. I even went on one of the mum Facebook groups asking if anyone had a positive epidural labour story. A couple of people responded with good stories but a lot of people still replied and said things like, “it was horrible, don’t do it.”
This annoyed me for two reasons: first, I was looking for positive stories. Labour is hard and different pain relief options have their benefits and risks. Labour is also completely different for different people, so some people have positive experiences with an epidural or just gas and air, and others don’t. Saying “don’t do it” is just unhelpful.
Second, the internet is so prejudiced against epidurals and biased toward “natural” labour – whatever that even means. This alone makes me want to get an epidural. But what if I wanted complete pain relief? What if I really needed an epidural? If an epidural is the only option or is the option she wants, why spread fear by sharing only horror stories of epidurals and wondrous and empowering stories of “natural” labour? There are loads of horror stories for people who go the non epidural route too. No one gets a gold star for going “natural.”
So this is for the mums who are looking for positive stories involving an epidural and an induction.
At about 40 weeks, I felt like my baby was moving less then he used to (reduced fetal movement) so they sent me to the hospital to get checked. He was fine, but since I was 40 weeks pregnant, they offered to induce my labour. At this point, I was over being pregnant and wanted to get things going (and I wanted to stop worrying about my baby’s movements) so I agreed to get it. I got a sweep then and there but not much happened.
I went back to the hospital the next day to get an induction. I was given an option to use either the balloon or pessary. I opted for the balloon (to be fair, they were pushing that option more as it was more “natural” in that it was a mechanical process rather than chemical). The first fifteen minutes were agony. I was getting contractions every few minutes but my cervix wasn’t opening up yet.
They gave me paracetamol first, which was completely useless. Then they gave me something else – also useless. The last option was to give me morphine – that was bliss. I slept through it all, but my husband said I was funny loopy.
I had to stay in the hospital because of the reduced fetal movement thing. There was some movement after about 24 hours – my cervix was thinner. But it wasn’t wide enough to break my waters. So I was given a pessary and had to wait another 12 hours. I can’t remember if I needed just that or needed another pessary. In any event, I was ready by then.
However, the labour ward was full and busy so I had to wait nearly two days before I was finally brought down. I feel like this was the hardest bit of my labour. I couldn’t go home and my husband could only come visit certain hours of the day. He thankfully brought excellent meals for me so at least I had really good food. It was sunny and warm as well so I was able to go out for walks around the hospital.
At about 2am, I finally got word that they’d take me down to the labour ward.