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.