Monday, January 30, 2012

You know what? I loved my epidural

I've often described BG's birth as really easy. And it was. Except for the part where we couldn't figure out how to get to the hospital because the tunnel was closed for construction. And the part where I had to wait in triage for an hour to be checked because all the doctors were in surgery, and turned out to be 8 cm already by the time anyone checked. And the part where DH almost passed out because the nurse-anesthetist couldn't get my epidural in. And the part where I had to push for 2 hours (2 HOURS PEOPLE). And the little meconium problem.

But really, I still consider it an easy birth.

The thing is, by the time they got me in a labor room (and boy, did they move fast once they realized I was already 8 cm), I was in a lot of pain. And I was scared. And I was stressed. I had been tensing up for 3 hours because I was sure that a baby was about ready to fall out of me.

The nurse asked me if I still wanted the epidural even though I was so close.

"I think so, yes," I said in my timid, polite voice.

"You think so? Or yes?"

"Yes, Yes, please."

The nurse anesthetist said she could put in a combo epidural - spinal block, and I thought she was the nicest person I had ever met. After the little incident with the nurses having to get my husband a chair and some smelling salts, I suddenly felt myself able to relax.

The nurse laughed. "Ah, good. Those are real smiles. Those other ones were fake, huh?"

The resident said, "Just let her relax and enjoy her epidural for an hour or so, and then come back." In retrospect, had I listened to that instruction, I might have had a much better time with what followed. But that's okay, you live and learn.

At the time, I remember thinking that I had no regrets about the decision. I know that the pushing would have gone faster without it. But that feeling of calm I got when suddenly I didn't hurt anymore? I wouldn't have given that away for anything.

Here, now, a year later, I second guess myself. I wonder if I could have done without it. If I should have been able to. If I was weak. I hear stories about heroic births and I wonder if I've come up on the wrong side of this issue.

But, no. Labor isn't a time to prove how tough you are. I was happy with my birth experience and thrilled with the outcome. I didn't do a thing wrong. And maybe the decision next time will be different. But if it isn't? That's okay too.


  1. Holy hell girl, don't you dare beat yourself up about it. I went into the whole thing telling myself there was no way I was going to be any sort of a martyr . . . if I needed the drugs by all means give me the drugs.

    Well, Little Miss had an entirely different idea and came so quickly that I had her at home . . . needless to say there were no drugs. It hurt. It hurt like hell. Would I have taken the drugs if I was at the hospital . . I don't know but I have admit that having that option might have been nice.

    I have to be honest with you, about halfway through pushing out my little man . . . who was stuck by the way and I thought was never EVER coming out, I totally regretted by whole "I did it at home once without the drugs I can do it again" bravado because I really didn't know if I could do it again and I really didn't have much of a choice.

    That is really what it is all about . . . choice! Doing what is right for the poor woman squeezing that life-sized watermelon out of her vagina.

  2. No regrets, missy. I did all of my labor in triage (oops? We're out of rooms, hang out here until somebody else pops one out and then we'll get you in a room-nope, never happened) and I pushed for an hour and a half in the OR in between scheduled C-Sections. I arrived at 4cm and I thought I'd wait it out because it didn't hurt that badly, but then they dragged in a bag of pitocin and I said not without my epidural, thanks! In my retrospect, there is NO WAY I could have kept a good attitude about my situation without that thing. Sometimes I also think that I could do the next one drug free, but I'm not making that call until I get a room (or not).

  3. Wow. Comments from Phones need a grammar disclaimer. Forgive me.

  4. I too had an epidural and I'm glad I did. My sister tried to make me feel bad about it. She had completely natural births for both her kids. That worked for her, notme. I think I could have done it without an epidural but I'm glad I had it, even when my blood pressure dropped and they doctor's and nurses started freaking out a bit!

  5. I had the epidural.
    I'll admit it.
    I don't have big balls.
    And God made drugs for a reason.

  6. Someone once said there's no prize if you give birth naturally or not.

    I was like you--I was a 7 before they realized how far along I was (went from a 1 to a 7 in 1.5 hours). And that epidural? Was freaking fantastic. I couldn't even breathe between contractions. It was ugly and awful and I needed relief. Said the girl who's had 4 kidney stones.

  7. I just wrote a whole thing for my blog at psychology today about how I already feel guilty because I will have a hospital birth, not a home birth--my mom gave birth to me at home. I'm not even pregnant yet, as far as I know, and I already feel guilt about *that*.

    And then, there's this: after I thought "oh, that's disappointing" my next thought was "That means I can have an epidural if I want one!" Frankly, that sounded pretty damn exciting.

    I read this great thing on Babble where a maternity ward nurse gave advice to pregnant ladies, and this stuck in my head: "Eyes on the prize, ladies. Your birth plan is just a plan. The prize is the baby. Get that baby out however you have to."

    Babble thing:
    My thing for psych. today:
    Trigger warning: the picture of my mom with me the day she gave birth to me at home might make you want to punch her for having such an easy time. My aunt wanted to punch her when, about ten months later, my cousin was born and it was *not* as easy as my mom made it look. I want to punch her every time she tells me that getting pregnant, being pregnant and giving birth will be totally 100% awesome.