Dec 082012

“You’re the talk of the L&D unit since you labored and gave birth without an epidural.” – L&D Nurse to mother after birth.

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 December 8, 2012  birth, epidural, L&D Nurse  Add comments

  47 Responses to ““You’re The Talk Of The L&D Unit…””

  1. Uh…erhm… HIPAA violation much?!?

  2. Way to go, OP, show them how it’s done. :)

  3. Sad it’s so rare that it’s something to be talked about

  4. Well, looking at the positive side, I hope they will remember that a birth can easily go like that and take it as a thought inspiration. Whatever makes ignorant staff discuss is good in my book. (Nothing against medically indicated epis, though!)

    • My cynical side says that they were saying stuff like, “Hey, you know the crunchy freak in room 431? Yeah, the one without the epi? Well she went ahead and had the baby. Amazing, I know. SO MUCH could have gone WRONG.”

      What is supposed to go wrong if you don’t get an epidural, anyway? I mean, I heard all about how THE PAIN was the worst thing EVER and it would, I dunno, crunch my brain into tiny pieces if I let myself feel THE PAIN, but is there something else that’s supposed to go wrong besides that?

      • I think the primary thing is that you’re not a nice quiet bedridden little thing for the OB’s convenience.

        I’ve never heard anyone in mainstream obstetrics talk about the MANY side effects of epidural anesthesia. Ever.

        • and even when they do, they only tell you the immediate side effects. they don’t tell you that you’re more likely to end up with an assisted birth or other interventions, and therefore (for example, in my case) damage to your perineum from a vacuum extraction, which became necessary because you were on your back and unable to push effectively because you got an epidural. if they cared – they would try harder to prevent these kind of outcomes by telling women the whole story.

          • Or you are so completely unable to push you end up with an emergency c-section while your doctor yells at you and acts like you’re just to lazy to push, like me. :-(

      • I was thinking that too.

        Did you hear about that crazy woman who didn’t get her epidural? Why wouldn’t you get an epi when there’s one available? Why go through that pain like that? Weird!

      • The reason epidurals are so important is because it’s harder to do CE’s on non-medicated moms because *gasp* you actually have to know what you’re doing and be gentle.
        I’m sorry for the cynicism, but I’ve seen discussions between docs, saying how they like epidural moms because they could spend longer in there and practice. (That’s really what they said. Ew.)
        I know VEs are hard, and being gentle is hard to do when you’re trying to find a posterior cervix, but that’s part of the job.

  5. #hippymama89, I’m not familiar with HIPAA’s details, but we also have something similar and I think it’s not a breach of privacy when they’re just talking about “a patient [anonymized] who presented with [whatever case/procedure/outcome].” Sure, you’re not supposed to spread confident patient data, but realistically, the staff from one ward will know about most of the cases on the ward, since you do stuff like morning, afternoon and evening briefings at staff change, and do the same when the doctors go through shift change and visitations. It would be different if the nurse was posting on facebook what happened, with enough details to identify the person (like including stuff like where, what time, what detailed circumstances, involved staff).

    • If they’re talking amongst each other (i.e. other doctors and nurses) they can even use the name and it’s not a violation since the other nurses also have access to the medical records.

  6. LOL, yeah and all my crunchy granola mama friends were talking about you all too, how that hospital doesnt even know how to deliver babies unless moms have epidurals!

  7. How sad. Hospitals around here have epidural rates in the 80s and 90s.
    You could go to and find the rates for hospitals in your area for this and other medical interventions.

  8. I would take this as a compliment. I don’t see why this is a negative comment

    • I take it as a negative thing, since this implies natural childbirth is so rare at this particular hospital. Kind of sad, really.

      Also, this mom could be an intensely private person, and labor can be very personal. She may not have liked something so personal being talked about by virtual strangers.

      • Why is that sad? Most women want epidurals. Why is it sad if they get them?

        • Because most women wouldn’t really need them if they were informed of alternative pain management techniques, allowed to eat, drink, and move freely in labor, and wouldn’t WANT them if fully informed of all the risks and effects involved.

          • And how do you know that?

          • I’m going to ignore the confrontational tone of your posts and try to answer the question politely. Countless studies have shown that women who are able to follow their bodies cues during labor (i.e. Move freely, eat, drink, rest, not feel rushed) have less stressful, less complicated, less painful experiences. Hypnobirthing, bradley method, and dozens of other labor techniques have proven time and time again to be superior to the hospital “baby assembly line” where they treat labor and birth as a condition to be managed rather than a natural process that women have been doing for thousands of years. And as far as the second part of my statement, not many mothers I’ve encountered knew that mother and baby death, leaking the fliud surrounding the

          • …brain and protecting it, difficulty breastfeeding, increased risk of c-section, slowing or stalling labor or chronic spinal headaches were side effects and were shocked to see how often side-effects actually occur.

          • Actually, although more and more women are attempting birth sans epidural these days, I take leave to doubt that *most* women would go without an epidural if they were fully informed of everything. I have tried educating women on the topic and their response is “I don’t want to deal with the pain at all.”

            I would like to see a study that shows how many women who previously wanted an epidural changed their minds when presented with alternative pain management techniques and the risks involved with an epidural.

          • Here’s an “alternative” pain management technique that would practically guarantee that most women giving birth in the hospital went without an epidural: gas and air. It’s almost impossible to find gas and air in U.S. L&D suites, but it’s so much simpler and so much less likely to cause complications that I don’t understand why it’s so rare.

            One of the many reasons I chose not to use an epidural was the mind-boggling logistics of trying to bend double in mid-contraction and hold the position while somebody tapped my spinal column. I attempted the position while enduring menstrual cramps and ended up flat on the couch panting with pain. If I had just been able to grab a cone, or point to a face mask, and get a hit of fast-acting, short-term pain relief, then there were definitely periods during each of my labors when I would have taken gas and air.

          • It is cheap and effective, that’s why we can’t have it in the US. It is the same reason why we use erythromycin instead of povidone iodine to prevent std related blindness in newborns. Our system is not set up to provide the best care, it is set up to provide the most expensive care.

          • That sentence (i don’t want to/can’t deal with the pain) infuriates me when I hear it from moms to be. Even when they’re informed of the risk of DEATH to mother or baby and permanent paralysis they risk all of that because they’re afraid of pain. In ANY other situation where a mother took a risk like that we’d declare her insane and take the kid away, but it’s suddenly ok in the delivery room?

          • Wow that is really not fair. By your standards, any woman who ever drives her children around in a vehicle should be declared insane and have her kids taken away because the risk of paralysis and/or death via wreck. She should just stay home and not risk her kids! Or only go places without her kids!

            You have NO idea what any given person’s pain threshold is, what they can or cannot deal with, or whether they have psychological issues that would preclude a painful labor. YOU DON’T GET TO JUDGE THAT. Seriously. My last labor, I was FULLY aware of the risks and after a short time in pure agony I asked for an epidural. Turns out I was in transition at 5cm but nobody, even myself thought I would fly to 10cm and crowning within 20 minutes flat. All I could think was that I simply could not deal with such incredible pain for another (I thought) several hours. I never did end up with that epidural. But don’t you DARE tell me that when I couldn’t *deal* with the pain that it was not all right for me to request and receive an epidural, that I should be declared insane and have my children taken away.

            Educating is one thing. Sweeping, harsh judgment is another.

          • My apologies for not being more clear. I understand medical needs for pain relief and pain thresholds. My beef is the mothers who walk in to the hospital and expect “their”epidurals without even feeling contractions yet who refuse to hear the risks. I’m sorry to offend you by my lack of clairity

          • Ash, don’t forget incontinence from the rough handling your Foley might get. Anecdotal of course, but if I had been informed of the risks I would have turned down the Pitocin, the epidural and the episiotomy. So here’s one.

          • I originally thought I would get an epidural but in my first trimester I watched the documentary The Business of Being Born and after seeing the side effects and risks I decided to have an all natural Bradley Method birth. So here’s another one!

          • I completely agree with what you’re saying. Carolyn is being a tad annoying. It’s logical to believe that is women truly knew the risks of epidurals and the vast benefits without them then they would not want them.

          • How did I annoy you?

          • Maybe she meant Gaevren? And even then I’m not sure where the annoying part is…

          • I assumed she meant suzanne with her combative tone.

          • I’m pretty damn glad I had an epidural. I could feel things, but not the pain that was killing me and stalling labor because I was so anxious. Without it I think I could have had a C-section as my baby sure wasn’t wanting to come out.

            I find it sad everyone complains about epidurals and how they are some horrible, evil thing. It’s pain meds. Don’t you take Midol/ibuprofen/whatever for your cramps? Tylenol for a nasty headache? Pepto to help with the horrible pain of a stomach ache? Pain killers after surgery? I don’t see why women complain so much about other women getting epidurals.

            I didn’t originally want one, but I’m glad I got it.

          • I don’t think it’s about getting an epidural so much as being treated as if not getting one is bad. A few women in my Bradley birth class ended up getting epidurals because of the way their labor went but they were fully aware of the risks and were able to make an informed decision. I completely respect their choice and yours the same way I hope my choice not to get an epidural is respected.

        • If a woman truly wants an epidural, and has made an informed choice to get one its not sad. If instead, she’s coerced into it by being lied to about risks (I was told that there were no risks with my first child, and did not have to sign a separate consent form- this was 17 years ago though) or if she is given Pitocin as a routine measure rather than due to some medical need for augmentation making labor more difficult, or if she’s not allowed out of the bed or in a different position to cope with labor. Then, its sad.

          • When that happens, I believe a woman does not choose an epidural so much as she resorts to it. The hospital protocols often make labor harder than it has to be, and then the woman can’t cope with the pain any longer and opts for relief. She should have what she chooses, but I’m not sure we’re not setting up a situation where a woman is forced to seek relief for a pain the various hospital protcols made bigger.

  9. Similar to every nurse on my floor coming to see the ENORMOUSLY HUGE baby I had.

    9lbs 8oz.

    Yeah. He was SOOOOOOOOOOO BIIIIIIIIIG. *eye roll*

  10. Not mine, but could’ve been. 97% epidural rate at the hospital where I delivered DS. Several nurses and nursing students came by to say hello–but they were nice. Most of them were just sort of surprised/intrigued, stating they’d never seen a birth without an epidural before.

    Suzanne–there is nothing wrong with epidurals or when fully informed moms choose to get them, nothing at all. I for one am glad they are available, especially for necessary c-sections or long rounds of labor on Pitocin or to let a really tired mom get rest enough to push out her baby. But to choose one without doing some study on risks vs. benefits seems a bit irresponsible to me, especially when many moms try to avoid drugs/certain foods during pregnancy so strongly. Actually, I apply the adage of ‘please tell me the risks vs. benefits’ to about anything in medicine, and only twice do I feel like I probably made the wrong decision (not starting a debate here, so if you want to know what those were, let me know in email). But they were *my* informed decisions, at least.

  11. I just don’t see how this is bad. I’d be honored and elated if that was said to me.

    • I had an epidural but the nurses were impressed I lasted until 8cm. Most women get it when they come in. Mostly, I was the talk of my OB’s office because I had a 24 hour labor and no C-section, after 4 hours of pushing. Most women, they all said, would have opted for the C-section much earlier! I felt pretty cool knowing they were talking about how awesome I was. lol

  12. If i had known that 15 minutes after getting the epidural my DD would be delivered….yeah never would have gotten it. I made it through all but 15 minutes of a pitocin induction….and suffered in extreme pain for the next 3 months constantly at the epidural site in my back.

    15 months later, just the other day, DH hugged me hitting that spot and the pain flared right back up. Never happening again.

  13. I know this one! I had nurses barging into my room all day to ask if someone my age (20) really gave birth vaginally to an 8lb baby without an epidural during an induction. They wanted to know if it was an accident, if I regretted it, all kinds of gems. They said ‘well I bet you won’t make that mistake again’. Seriously, people?

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