This one is about epidurals, so you may not want to read it if you feel I should have had a home birth or a drug-free birth, or that I should have frolicked off into the woods to birth my children. Because this post will come just short of worshipping the epidural as a false idol.
Here’s the thing; if you want to do it drug free, or in a tub, or silently Scientology style, I support and encourage you. I have friends who have had drug free births and to me it’s like knowing a real life She-Ra. So cut me some slack. I personally feel like the only ones that should be silent in a birthing room are the people not giving birth or doling out the drugs.
My first daughter had to be coerced out of the womb the way moles need to be forced out of their holes by having water shot down into their tunnels. She adored her life in there, and who could blame her as it was December and that’s a chilly time in the Midwest.
I should know, my feet were so huge that I wore sandals to work and I would have cut anyone that mentioned it to me. So at about 53 weeks pregnant, I finally had to face the dreaded induction. The thoughtful nurses kept putting their hands on my tummy and proclaiming my child would be gargantuan, so I took the epidural as soon as I could, lest I experience birthing a huge toddler sized baby naturally. Plus, throughout my pregnancy I had really begun to notice the size of my husbands head and was considering what it would mean for my birthing experience.
When I received this epi (us cool kids can call them epi’s) I was the Admissions Director for a local private school, and the anesthesiologist questioned me about the school and it’s football team as his son was a prospective student. Because I wanted him to give me the good stuff and at the time I was obsessed with my job, I decided to chat him up about the advantages his son would have if he attended our school. Looking back on this, I think my brain must have temporarily turned into gravy, because seriously? While my spine was on the receiving end of a large needle, I was giving a lecture about diversity statistics and AP classes. Whilst in the middle of all of this, my water broke on the nurses new shoes, which she and I had just talked about a few minutes prior. Anyway, within seconds I was one happy little laboring woman and that epidural took me to the end of a 24 hour labor which yielded a 9lb 10oz baby and I never felt a freaking thing. Until it wore off.
My second daughter was born to a mother who was certain she would again experience a gestational period the length of an elephant’s, and thus had no clue she was in labor pretty much all day. While writhing in pain I just kept thinking, “Damn, these braxton hicks blow!”. I was in a deep denial about being in labor at only 38 weeks, so I spent the day taking my kid to the library and soccer before I finally gave in to lying on the couch. Because I’m not that bright, I still did not grasp that I was in labor.
Now here’s where I just got straight up dumb. I decided to take a sleeping pill so I could get a break from the dastardly braxton hicks contractions. Now I was drugged and in labor. I would fall asleep from sheer exhaustion and every two minutes be startled out of my deep sleep from shooting pain. Finally around 2am I decided that perhaps timing my pain was a good plan and my husband tried to keep it together when he woke up to contractions a minute and a half apart. I like to forget the next part.
I was in some serious pain and I was about 35 minutes away from my hospital and, tragically, even further from my epidural. My husband drove 150 MPH, but by the time we got to the hospital I was sweating buckets from pain. I was also too dehydrated from the day of not taking care of myself as I labored for the nurses to find a decent vein, an intricate part of the epidural process.
This went on so long that I started eyeing up the needle and wondering if I could just grab it and jam it in a vein myself. I was so annoyed, that I wanted to pick up one of the nurses and beat the other nurse with her. Finally they called the anesthesiologist to do everything, including finding a vein for a simple IV line. This apparently offended him to his very core and he proceeded to pout and act as though he was Bill Gates and he’d just been told that he needed to take a technical support call. I could not sit for my contractions at this point and every minute would jump off the bed and wander around like a caged animal. During one of the doctor’s 17 attempts to locate a vein a contraction hit, and I told him I needed to get off the bed. He looked at me like I look at people who scream at their kids in Walmart from their scooter, and snapped, “Fine. I’m just trying to get you to a place where you don’t have this pain but you need to make the choice to HOLD STILL!”
So obviously, this is the part where my eyes bulged out and my head spun around on my neck and I levitated off the bed, while one of the nurses ran to find a priest to perform an exorcism. In the end, I decided to let the doctor live because I was afraid that if I killed him all the hoopla surrounding arresting me would keep them from locating another anesthesiologist for me. Finally, Dr. Jackwagon was able to get the IV going and throw a needle in my spine.
Within minutes I was a different person. I began chatting and laughing and trying to show them how super dee duper I could be. Dr. Jackwagon became my hero and I promised to name our daughter Little Jackwagon. I thought about ordering pizza for everyone. After I had Evelyn (who ended up being a mere 8# 13oz), I thanked the nurse for being so great. She said, “You were actually very nice after your epidural.”
As superb as my epidural from Dr. Jackwagon turned out to be, I still have this great daydream wherein he suffers from a mammoth kidney stone while stuck in a horrific traffic jam, while I sit there whispering in his ear, “Gosh, if only you would just hold still.”
-Amanda, Fond of the Silliness, Curvy Girl Contributor