@blade, your description of the epidural was really, really helpful to me. I'm not pregnant yet--still trying to conceive our first--but I just wanted you to know that I really appreciate your detailed explanation. I've read a little bit about all of that before, but never so clear and concise. Thank you.
Thank you alzora-- happy to help!
I took childbirth classes and listened as the other mothers asked questions about epidurals. Many fears or misperceptions were shared amongst multiple women, and they're understandable since it's obviously not something anyone outside the medical field would have any experience with or understanding of. Our instructor was a very nice lady but was not medically qualified (i.e. had not been a nurse or anything) and was having difficulty addressing their concerns. She actually asked me to give a talk about it. :)
Rollo, so sorry. It's not a terribly common problem, but certainly can happen-- the baby/uterus, in late pregnancy, can mechanically squoosh the bowels, causing an obstruction. You can get very sick very fast, as you well know. Adhesions are so nasty and so unfortunate. I assume you've undergone subsequent adhesiolysis?
Childbirth classes are not an option as I don't have $100 to spend on them. I am very familiar with the hospital and birth ward as I've been inside the birth room with my mother and in the after birth suites with several friends.
Blade, as always your response saved the day. I feel much more relaxed and willing to have an epidural. I had no idea what it would be like and was told it was a big needle, but regular needles, while I'm still terrified of them, are easy to deal with when I'm not looking. My friends wouldn't tell me anything about it. That very detailed response makes me feel tons better since now I know exactly what would happen and that nothing bad is going to happen to the baby because of it. I'd also heard that epidurals got to the spine, so obviously the person who told me that was wrong.
I still want to try to keep things natural for as long as possible, but now I don't feel so about about maybe needing it.
On another not to the person who says her friends afraid of shots but has tattoos, there's a big difference between the way the two needles pierce you. A shot needle goes much farther down into your skin and muscle, but a tattoo needle only pierces into the first layer of skin. This was explained to me by the guy who did both mine. The tattoos felt burny and then like I was being colored on by a marker. Needles just hurt.
Thanks again everyone!
I have very low pain tolerance, so I was scared to death that childbirth would kill me but at the same time I wanted to do it as naturally as possible. I didn't take any pain killers at all for the first 8 hours of my labor and all was well I found I was coping with the pain, but after they gave me some pitocin, oh boy I needed something to help with the pain! I ended up having an epidural, that wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. What I didn't like about it was the the catheter, that hurt worse than the epidural did by far. Hell, to me the catheter hurt worse than pushing out the baby.
Somethings that helped me relax were using a visualization technique focusing on the pain leaving my body and bringing my iPod so I could listen to music. I had been thinking I'd listen to classical music or something meant to relax, but I found rock music helped me more in that particular case.
It wouldn't hurt to talk to your doctor about it as well. It's likely if you get an epidural that you'll be attached to continuous fetal monitoring and IV fluids and may get a urinary catheter as well.
I wouldn't think the aversion to needles should be a problem, though. As stated, the actual epidural will be going on behind you and you certainly don't need to watch while they're placing the IV.
And yes, tattoos are pretty shallow in the skin. Not to mention that you're free to eat (and encouraged to) prior to getting tattooed. Blood draws, depending on what it's for, sometimes require fasting. Some hospitals restrict eating/drinking during labor as well. For me, it's not so much a fear of needles or blood, but more that when I have low blood sugar, even minor pain can cause me to faint. It still can be very different psychologically--size of needle, depth of penetration, amount of blood visible, etc.
I will talk to my doctor, probably and me appointment after this one. I'll be 18 weeks at this next appointment and 22 at the next after that so I think that might be a more appropriate time to talk about it.
This hospital encourages you not to eat once you start having contractions, but won't force it. My mom ate before she went to the hospital, and she was pretty far along in her contractions.
Since I have a pretty good pain tolerance so I'd hope I'd be able to handle the contractions, it was mainly the actual pushing that was bothering me. I'm also worried that I might need an episiotomy. I've been told that they just do those sometimes, but I'd love to hold off until absolutely medically necessary.
The visualization may help if I need it, as well as breathing. I would love to listen to my music, but I'd be worried I'd miss something the doctors tried to tell me.
Another question for anyone who cares to chime in (I don't mean to take over your thread, dantea, but this is an interesting topic):
Does the IV have to go in the back of the hand, or can I request (insist) that it be placed elsewhere, somewhere that isn't so boney and sensitive? I know that in the midst of labor I probably won't care about it much at all, but I just see it being a HUGE distraction and source of irritation/disgust if it's in my hand.
No, Alzora, you and everyone else feel free to ask any question you like. You may ask something I didn't think of for myself.
Personally, the IV won't bother me as the only way anyone has managed to take blood from me in the last several years is through the back of my hand :P