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Episode 444

Shannen | Postpartum – Epidural complications, dural headaches, blood patch

In today’s episode Shannen details her long labour which involved a complicated epidural. Her anaesthetist told her she may experience a headache the day after birth but nothing could have prepared her for the intensity of her post dural puncture headache (often compared to a severe migraine), the helplessness of not being able to look after her newborn and the complex feelings about her birth. Post dural puncture headaches can result in hospital admission and may require strong painkillers or a procedure called an epidural blood patch to reverse the symptoms.

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I got to 41 weeks and that’s when my midwife offered me a stretch and sweep and I accepted. The next day I started to lose my mucous plug which was a positive sign. A few days later nothing else had happened so I got another stretch and sweep and we started talking about an induction. I had to surrender to it at that point because previous to that I was adamant I didn’t want it.

The next day I was feeling awful and my mum came to visit and we ran a few errands. I started feeling a bit of tightenings while we were walking around kmart and then later that night I had a bath and felt a ‘pop’ but didn’t really know if it was my waters. I woke at 3am and felt a bit of fluid so called my midwife, she encouraged me to go back to bed for a while and about 45 minutes later I felt another small gush of fluid. I was GBS positive so I woke my husband and we headed into hospital.

The midwife determined that it was my amniotic fluids and she suggested induction but I declined and the obstetrician agreed that it was reasonable. In the meantime they started me on IV antibiotics. I wasn’t dilating much at all so they suggested prostaglandin gel and I was put on the ward where I tried to rest and move. Once the syntocinon drip started I was getting mild cramps within 20 minutes.

I got in the bath and then my contractions ramped up immediately and I couldn’t cope. I got out and was on and off the toilet. After about five hours of labour I requested an epidural and felt that it was the best option for me at the time. It was just before midnight and the anesthetist was in the door within minutes which I thought was a good sign.

Topics Discussed

blood patch, dural headaches, Epidural complications

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