Tuesday, 2 July 2013

My epidural experience - Giving birth in Chennai




After the interest I received from my pregnancy weight-loss post, I thought I will write more pregnancy related posts when they are still relatively fresh in memory. When I saw my baby for the first time through my tired eyes, I thought how beautiful she was and willed myself to never forget that moment. But my abysmal memory is already starting to fail me :( I wish they invent some technology similar to Dumbledore’s pensieve

 that can translate our  memories into tangible things we can visit at a later time! Sigh!

I spent a good part of my pregnancy in London working until my 7th month. I was very sure I wanted to be with family back in India for my delivery and for a few months after that as well. So I started frantically researching about pain relief offered in hospitals in Chennai. I was not in the least bit surprised that it was not something widely used in Chennai or talked about on the Internet, unlike in the UK where it is one of the first things you would think about while planning your delivery. I wasn’t yet sure I wanted to opt for it but I definitely wanted to at least have that choice. The thought of a natural birth was quite scary in itself and to have no option of pain killer was terrifying. So I put that question down in my “list of questions for the gynaec” and shot her with it in my first visit. She said they do offer epidural but that I need to tell her in advance if I needed one, since it has to be administered by a qualified anaesthetist and they do not always have one on site. I took less than a second to say “YES I NEED AN EPIDURAL” and then breathed a sigh of relief!!!

Slowly my labour day came around. To the ladies reading this post, were you in a real rush for the baby to come out towards the end or was it just me? I was so restless in the last month and just wanted the baby to come out ASAP, so I could get a good night’s sleep lying on my tummy! I could not have been more wrong ;) OK I have started to digress. On my labour day, my waters broke at around 6:30AM. To my disappointment my gynaec asked me to come to the hospital at 8:30AM, I wanted to scream over the phone that I was in active labour :P I was finally seen at 9AM and was asked to come back in the evening since I had not really dilated. But for some reason I did not want to go back home and wanted to be admitted immediately, the doctor did not protest and put me in a room promptly. At around 11AM my contractions started and  slowly but steadily the pain started building up. I got to the point where I was starting to really dread the next contraction and that is when I first asked for an epidural. The hospital summoned more than one anaesthetist to avoid possible delays. But the traffic gods were not on my side that day. One hour went by, two and three and there was no anaesthetist in sight. One of them was apparently on his way but was delayed by traffic. By the time he came I was in a lot of pain and the contractions were coming by the minute! There was not enough time for me to recover from the first before the next one attacked! I realised I was not in active labour at 6:30AM after all :O

At this point I was taken to the labour room and the anaesthetist asked me to sit in a curled up position so he can administer the drug. When he was just about to poke the needle in I literally shouted “WAIT!!! I am contracting right now, I need a minute”, so dramatic but that’s really what happened. By that time I was in a state of hysteria! Eventually he administered the drug and I literally cannot put the relief I felt in words. The minute I got the shot I was in a land of bliss and immediately announced that I was going to sleep. Sooner than I closed my eyes my doctor was asking me to push! From that moment on I was in ZERO pain but I did feel the urge to push and did so at the right timings. In the next 30 minutes the little one was born and I fell asleep as soon as I saw her. She looked so beautiful even though she was covered in grey goo! And the rest is history :)

Knowledge on epidural is still almost nonexistent in the southern parts of India to the point where a number of my educated friends who recently had babies had not even heard of it. There is a lot of taboo surrounding birthing pain relief in India. One lot thinks it will give you back pains now and forever while another says you will not have the urge to push and will end up having a c-section. There are people who want to experience it all and do it the natural way. Kudos to you! I am no medical practitioner, but believe that if it had such life long side effects it would not be so widely used in the west. I personally do not suffer from any sort of back pain. You do get immediate relief from pain and if you are someone who has a zero pain threshold then I would totally recommend exploring this option. For my next pregnancy I will certainly opt for it and I will make sure I get it sooner instead of just for the last 30 minutes!

If you have any questions for me or have something to share related to this post do leave it in the comments below.

This image was taken from Google images and I do not claim ownership of it.

13 comments:

  1. hi so glad to find info abt epidural. can you tell me which hospital and doc did u consult??

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    1. Hi, how many months along are you? I delivered my baby at Hande hospital in Chennai. My gynaec was Dr Sujatha. She is a fantastic doctor, the choice of hospital was purely based on where she will be comfortable with hospital staff. Good luck with the delivery :)

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    2. hey, im 19 weeks along...im seeing a dr.Ganapriya in ashok nagar. im not sure if they can offer epidural...lets see ..will ask on my next visit. We are considering fortis too...

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    3. Congratulations :) You have some nice pictures on your blog of your trip to Pondy :)

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  2. wow, your account of labour was really described very well. Will keep Dr.Sujatha in mind.

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  3. Please share the cost of dose and anesthetist charges details !!

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    1. It cost just Rs 3000 for the injection and the anaesthetist inclusive.

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  4. Hi Supria, I have heard a lot of pathetic stories about people who used Epidural so never opted for one even when my Gynec gave me an option ! My delivery was good and safe !

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    1. lol! I hope my experience doesn't scare anyone... For me epidural was a total god-send :)

      I saw Neya's pics in some of Archana's wedding pics... She is cute and her outfits were so adorable :D

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  5. I didnt know what to comment in the beginning actually :P
    I am not married or planning for one either soon, so this whole epidural was new to Me :D
    Yet will keep this in my mind, as it might come in use for furture..

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  6. even i have not married and this very interesting.
    apollo hospital chennai provides the best services

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