They say nothing can truly prepare a woman for entering labor for the first time, and I think this is pretty much true. I remember taking a childbirth class with my husband when I was pregnant with Elise. Besides getting hyperventilation-inducing breathing tips from our instructor, whose low gravelly voice reminded me of one of Marge Simpson’s chain-smoking sisters (Thelma? Velma?), we were shown a horrific video of women in labor. You know, one of those videos that makes your eyes bug out of your head with fear (and that makes your husband want to pass out or vomit). It was then, sitting in that room, hearing the screams of demonically-possessed laboring women, that I decided, without a doubt, I would be getting an epidural. Like, immediately.
(As an aside, I am completely respectful and partially in awe of women who go the “natural route,” but I’ve never wanted or needed to be one of them.)
The truth is, I am good at lots of things, but pain-bearing is not one of them.
Case in point: shortly after I was admitted to labor and delivery that first time, my husband heard me yell out, “OW!” When he realized this was due to the nurse simply starting my IV in my arm, he knew we were in deep trouble. He had married a wuss.
My first epidural was placed quickly and - DUDE - all that horrible pain was erased! It was apparently an epidural that was just in the right spot. I’ve heard about horror stories about having only one side numb or it not working at all, but my sweet, sweet epidural was money. I felt nothing from the waist down and actually snoozed while doing all the heavy duty dilating and contracting. I knitted, for pete’s sake. It was AWESOME.
My second epidural was more problematic. It took a long time for the anesthesiologist-dude to get to me, and then it took a long time to get it in the right spot. Meanwhile my contractions were getting HAIRY. And close. I remember sitting up, holding onto the tray table with a needle in my back, being told to not move during so many of those awful, awful contractions. By the time it was in and working, I had already almost fully dilated. I was still glad to have pain relief, especially during all that pushing, but I almost labored the whole time without anything. I felt kind of ripped off.
Now, as I wait for this third baby to pop on out, I’m nervous they’ll refuse to give me one since they assume I’ll deliver too quickly for it to be worth it. Listen, I suppose it’ll be a moot point if I walk into the hospital with baby’s head crowning, but barring that…I’ll probably come busting through those hospital doors like the Kool-Aid Man shouting , “GIMME MY EPIDURAL NOW OR ELSE!!!!”
This wuss needs her pain meds.