I plan to get an epidural, but I was hoping to wait until 5 or 6 cm if I was going naturally, based on how I'll then be confined to the bed, etc.
However, it's looking more and more that this birth will be going the induction route with pitocin. I've read multiple times that pitocin contractions are no joke. So, I'm unsure of when to ask for the epidural.
If you had a birth with pitocin & an epidural, what was the timing of each, in relation to each other? Did you wish you got the epidural sooner, or later, or did it seemingly work out well?
eggplant / 11861 posts
I got the epi at around 6cm
Then pitocin as it was slowing down and my water had broke 6hrs prior!
I then got to 10cm in about 3 more hrs and labored down for about another hr and pushed for 2 hrs!
nectarine / 2288 posts
Don't despair yet! I was 40 weeks and about 2 cm dilated, as I had been for like 3 weeks. Had a membrane sweep at 40 plus 1 and had my baby girl the next day. And it took like 24 ish hours for anything to happen after the sweep. I also was sure I was going to end up getting induced.
I waited till about 7 cm to get my epi. The last little bit was pretty painful but my memory of the pain isn't so bad. It was way worse on my hubby, he said it felt like forever til I got it.
Either way, good luck! You will rock it. Meeting your baby is an amazing experience!
honeydew / 7230 posts
I had pitocin going for 18 hrs before getting an epidural, but I was only 2-2.5 cm dilated. I barely made any progress all day (and couldn't walk around because they weren't equipped to monitor twins wirelessly). My dr likes to see significant progression before doing an epidural, but I was just worn out from waiting all day, so I asked for it with the hope that I'd get some sleep. As soon as I received the epidural I started dilating fast and furious. I went from 2-2.5 to complete in 3.5 hrs. I still pushed forever, so it was a long time before my babies were born, but it was my daughter's position that caused those problems, not anything to do with the epi.
kiwi / 633 posts
I labored for about 45 minutes with pitocin before I couldn't breathe the pain was so excruciating. I remember the nurse looking terrified when we called her into the room because at that point I was really struggling and scared. Everyone responds differently to pit, for me the contractions went from a 4-5 to the worst pain i'd ever had, and I dilated super quickly. I've also heard of people hardly being affected by it. I had been planning on going natural but ended up being induced due to PROM. I had the epidural placed within a few minutes of asking (thank the good lord) and it was smooth sailing after that.
This time I'm with midwives, keeping pitocin away at all costs, and giving it another go. If I have to be induced again I'll get the epidural as soon as pit is started because I know how strongly I react to it.
ETA: I was put on pit after 5 hours of laboring on cytotec, during which I went from completely closed to 3-4 cm. That part wasn't bad at all.
grapefruit / 4361 posts
@Mamabear87: Thanks for the encouragement! I was 90% effaced but only 1 cm dilated at both my 39 & 40 wk appts. I got a membrane sweep at the 40 wk appt yesterday. My main concern is I haven't had ANY contractions or cramps, ever. Everyone says they start off feeling like period cramps... but here's the thing, I never even get cramps with my period. I feel like my uterus doesn't know what to do
honeydew / 7504 posts
I was about 15 hours into a pit drip and was still only 3cm dilated. I had been up for over 30 hours and was exhausted, so they offered the epi so I could sleep. I got it and slept for about 3 hours. When I woke up, I was still only 3-4cm dilated, so they broke my water. I progressed pretty quickly at that point. Somewhere along the line my epi fell out. Anesthesia replaced it but it never took, so I felt all 3 hours of pushing. It took so long because he couldn't get through the birth canal on his own - he had to be pulled down with vacuum assist and then I was able to push him out.
hostess / wonderful apple seed / 16729 posts
I was on pitocin for 5 hours before I got my epidural. I will say that I felt hardly any pain when I was on pitocin and still didn't feel pain with I got my epi at 6cm. I got the epidural because of my increase risk of having a c-section with twin pregnancy. (I wanted to be awake to hear the babies cries if I needed an emergency c-section.) I did have a failed induction and so a c-section was needed. So I would say my delivery conditions are rare and not typical.
cantaloupe / 6059 posts
Pitocin actually wasn't that bad to me, but I wasn't a first time mom. (Not sure if you are?) it's best to wait as long as you can to get an epidural! I got mine at 9cm and was pushing about 10 minutes later. If anything I wish I hadn't gotten it because it went so fast I didn't really really need it - but it sure was nice! I would probably get one at 7-8 in the future just to be able to enjoy it more. But definitely would wait until in transition!
honeydew / 7283 posts
I've had two pitocin inductions with different epidural timings, although both times it was placed before I was in much pain.
DD - my platelets were low and dropping so they had to place the epidural before even starting the induction. I don't believe that they started running much medicine through the epidural until labor had progressed a bit though.
DS - epidural was placed about 6 hours in to the induction (can't quite remember how dilated I was). I wasn't having much pain but my OB wanted to break my water and they like the place the epidural before that. Breaking my water really sped things up and and baby was born 6 hours later.
Pain was tolerable and the epidural didn't seem to harm my ability to push in either delivery. I'm a big proponent of epidurals for those who want one and of the fact that inductions don't have to be a bad thing!
pear / 1737 posts
I was induced at 42 weeks with pitocin and had my water broken. I only heard after delivery that pitocin contractions are worse. I don't know if I was just lucky or something, but I felt they weren't that bad. (I did ask for drugs somewhere around 6 cm, but got talked out of them) I have nothing to compare my pitocin contractions to though. I didn't get an epidural, but ended up with a spinal for my csection done after two hours of pushing.
I didn't have any cramps or Braxton hicks or anything leading up to the induction. Hopefully you just start on your own. Good luck!
pomegranate / 3904 posts
Pitocin wasn't that bad for me, although I did get an epidural eventually. My water broke, and I was only 1 cm I think, so they started me on pitocin, I want to say around 9:30 PM. I got the epidural at 4:30ish AM so I could sleep, woke up around 8:00 because I felt pressure, and DD was born at 8:45.
My first baby's labor was much more painful when I had cervadil after my water broke. Those contractions were killer! The pitocin contractions weren't fun, but I felt like they were more manageable. I had no interest in going med free, always planned on getting an epidural, but if I had to, I think I could have held off for longer, but I wanted the drugs so I got them
Eta: since my water broke first, they didn't want to keep checking me, so I have no idea how dilated I was
hostess / papaya / 10219 posts
With DS1 I didn't have any pitocin before the epidural as I went into labor spontaneously at 40+3. I got the epidural at 3.5cm but was having excruciating 2 minute apart contractions. It took forever to get the anesthesiologist, and I wish I could've had it sooner. I progressed slowly until they broke my water and then I went from 4-10cm in less than 2 hours.
DS2, as you know was an induction. The pitocin was fine at low doses until it got to level 14. (Not sure what that level means, just what I remember she upped it to), and then it was unbearable. I was 100%effaced and a loose 4cm with baby's head engaged. The anesthesiologist was thrilled with my progress and said, oh that's great! It'll go quick now! And it did. 1/2 hour later they checked me and I was 7cm. They broke my water then and I progressed steadily snd quickly to 10. I felt like because it was an induction, I was able to get an epidural at exactly the right moment, when it was most beneficial. (If only it hadn't failed during pushing!!)
grape / 95 posts
I really wanted to go epidural free (I was dead set on it, even when I reluctantly was put on pitocin to speed up my labor) and ended up getting one when I was about 5cm. I had been on pitocin for 6 hours, and the pain was furious and intense. Nothing like natural contractions. Despite trying so hard to breathe through them, my body refused to relax so after 27 total hours of labor I got the epidural and an hour later I was 10cm and ready to push. I think the pushing took all of 20 minutes.
I think I would have died from the pain before my body relented to the pitocin. Way too intense! It's hard to tell just based on dilation alone, but don't wait until you can't get through the contractions. I wish I wasn't so stubborn and got the epidural earlier!
cantaloupe / 6397 posts
@DesertDreams88: I never had any cramps or contractions before my water broke! I went into labor at 41+4... I would try to hold out as long as you can, but trust me, I do know how miserable it is!!
pomegranate / 3516 posts
They consistently helped to manage the pitocin to keep me progressing but able to labor without an epidural. I had two doses of stadia around maybe 5cm and 7cm but I was able to avoid the epidural. I almost asked for one but they adjusted the pitocin so I didn't have to (it was up way too high and my life was like one big contraction).
persimmon / 1281 posts
I got pitocin to help DS turn from posterior to anterior because he was having a tough time coming out posterior. When they asked to give me pitocin, I opted to get an epidural as well because I'd been in labor for 26 hours & I was exhausted. I was 9cm dilated. I was trying for. A natural birth so I'm happy with how far I got without intervention.
wonderful clementine / 24134 posts
My pitocin induction didn't really work. I stayed between 1-3 cm dilated for several hours and they kept turning the pit up. I wasn't really feeling anything. They didn't hurt and it obviously wasn't effective. Finally the OB was able to get in there and break my water which immediately jump started things and I progressed quickly from like 4-8cm within a few hours. I finally got the epidural at 8cm, slept for a while and then pushed him out easily.
nectarine / 2243 posts
Yeah pit was no joke for me. My ob was really transparent about asking for the epi. He was like " don't get caught up in numbers, just ask for it when the pain is too much or starting to get to be too much, the research shows it only prolongs your labor on avg of 10 min". That gave me a lot of reassurance. They had removed the cervadil, broken my water and then started pit. So then (pretty soon after) I had three big contractions while up trying to get to the bathroom that rendered me immobile and I was like "yep that's it I'm done". Anesthesiologist was there in 5 min and I was happy as a clam right after. I had been induced. I think I had the baby 6 or 7 hours later? I just didn't waver; the pain was intense and I was like, yep it's time!! I'd didn't go into the experience trying to be a hero; I wanted a safe (and enjoyable? Is that weird?) experience and getting pain relief early on 100% accomplished that for me!!
wonderful grape / 20453 posts
With the first, I got an epidural when I was about a 9. I was pushing less than an hour later and pushed for 2.5 hours. I transitioned and my goal was to get it before, but I asked at shift change. Don't do that....
With my second, I was confined to a bed, so I got it as soon as I was able to. I also had high blood pressure and the epidural brings that down, so it was a win. Without being able to move, I was like, fuck this shit, basically. Lol.
kiwi / 560 posts
I was induced with pitocin, started at 3cm and 80% effaced. They were gradually increasing the pitocin and I labored for 5-6 hours fairly easily - obviously contractions and pain but not too bad. Then all of a sudden my contractions went from a 4 to a 10 on the pain scale, and they were so frequent - 30 seconds long, but coming every 45 seconds, so only a 15 second break. It was at that point that I requested the epidural because I could NOT handle and received it about 30 minutes later. They didn't check me often, but based on timing of the whole labor I'd guess I was about 6-7cm when I got the epidural.
kiwi / 560 posts
@BelugaBean: I didn't even know they could turn pitocin down! Makes sense but I hadn't thought about it... My life on pit was also one big contraction and I wonder if they'd bumped it down if my labor could still have progressed but I wouldn't have been wishing my life was over.
wonderful olive / 19353 posts
I was induced and started the Pitocin right away. DS started having heart decels so they turned it off after awhile. They made me get an epidural then because they thought they'd have to do an emergency c-section due to the decels. Fortunately, we figured out the problem was that DS didn't like me lying a certain way. Started the pitocin again and all was well.
While I got the epidural earlier than I would have liked, it did make my L&D super easy and comfortable. No regrets. However, getting the epidural in when I wasn't contracting hurt like mofo! I could feel the needle creeping up each cm in my spine.
cherry / 186 posts
I had no signs of labor until my water broke at 40+1. After my water broke my body was still slow to get things moving. 12 hours after my water broke I went to the hospital and was only at 2 cm. They started pitocin to help me progress and it MAJORLY amped up my contractions to a pain level I couldn't manage. I immediately asked for an epidural. It took awhile to get it though. When I finally got my epidural I was still only at 4cm, but, it allowed me to relax so much that I quickly progressed to 10cm. My epidural placement was great and I could still move my legs(though I wasn't allowed out of bed) and felt enough pressure to know when I needed to push. Even the nurses said it was a great epidural, lol.
wonderful kiwi / 23653 posts
I was induced. Got epidural at 3cm, and then maybe got pitocin like 2-3 hours after? From the time I got epidural till I started pushing was probably another 6+ hours. I think I could've waited a little bit to get epidural since I was still just having bad cramps at that point.
pear / 1580 posts
I was at 37.5 weeks and 4cm dilated when I was told I needed to induce because of preeclampsia and IUGR. So I started pitocin at 6pm and I got the epidural around 10pm. I don't remember how dilated I was at that point. But the contractions really weren't that bad at all (maybe 4 out of 10?) and the decision of when to do the epidural was pretty arbitrary. The nurse was telling me it's best to do it before the contractions get too bad 'cause it would be hard to be in position and still for when the needle goes in. So I said sure, let's do the epidural even though I didn't feel I needed it yet. I'm happy with how it all turned out!
pomegranate / 3516 posts
@Kbee: They told me I could make suggestions and take the lead from the beginning since I was pretty upset about the induction. I told my nurse it was too much so she monitored me and adjusted it. That was a reason they chose pitocin over cytotec, because it could be turned down or stopped.
pomegranate / 3350 posts
I don't remember the exact timing but I think I was on Pitocin about 4 hours before getting the epidural. They checked me right after the epi was placed and I was 6 cm. I was not more than a fingertip dilated before Pitocin and my water was broken at 2 cm. The contractions were manageable up until then. It was maybe an hour from water breaking to epidural and then 2 hours max until he was out.