Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blessed Relief

During my labor and delivery, I ordered my epidural with a side of baby.


I used to jokingly seriously say that I was going to pitch a tent outside the doors of the hospital just so I didn't miss the "window" I had heard so many people mention. My birth plan could have been summed up in one sentence: When due date approaches, administer epidural. I wanted no part of a natural childbirth and, believe me, I'd done my research. Don't get me wrong, I was terrified of getting it. I'm not a fan of needles and a giant one going into my spine was not something that sounded overly exciting. However, I didn't feel that what is often referred to as the "ring of fire" sounded like a good idea either. No thank you. If, at the end of delivery, I was promised not only a baby but a gold medallion and, say, my own personal yacht, I would have had to reconsider. Alas, I was handed the same thing "natural birth" women get handed. A baby. And I wouldn't change my decision. No way. No how.

To be honest, my epidural was administered when I was dilated to two. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I didn't know they gave them at two either. I'd already been in labor for 18 hours. I'd been awake--for the most part--for 28 hours. I wasn't progressing. The midwife who delivered Garrett walked in, declared that I was still at two, informed me that we were gonna party with some Pitocin, and recommended getting my epidural first. "You can do it at two?" was my shocked reply.

She smiled a smile that suggested that she somehow found my ignorance to be endearing and answered, "Yes. And I would highly recommend it before the Pitocin." I'm glad she knew what she was talking about because it took the anesthesiologist over an hour to finish anesthetizing some woman who'd seen fit to have a Caesarian. That happened to be the hour I clawed at the tile in the shower and wondered how, in the whole wide world, I was only at two. I've since wanted to throw several women into oncoming traffic for walking around at 38 weeks dilated to 4. However, it's been somewhat medically explained to me that when one isn't progressing, in a nutshell, labor sucks. Although, really, I could have written the book on that one. I called my mom, in between contractions, and apologized for being born.

Then he came in. There is no way to describe the anesthesiologist except to say that he had to be an angel sent by God. It's possible that I confessed my undying love for him. I was busy holding myself in the fetal position, with my hind quarters exposed to him and my husband on the other side of the room but I'm sure that proposing marriage to him crossed my mind. That man was about to end the searing pain. And end it he did. Then choirs of angels sang and the world was a better place. Seven painfree hours later, my boy was born.

Dr. John Bonica invented the epidural block in the 1930s. I am surprised that he has not yet been sainted. I adore that man. If I knew where he was buried I might have to visit his grave. I'd put flowers on it and then, oh I don't know, throw myself on top of it in gratitude. See because I wouldn't get dental work done without Novocain. I wouldn't have surgery without general anesthesia. I'm alright with the fact that there are masochists who maybe would have a cavity filled without being numbed, maybe would watch as they had gallbladder surgery without being knocked out, maybe would give birth without an epidural. More power to you. I hope your baby comes out wearing a gold medallion.

But as for me, I'm going to fondly remember my birthing experience. There was no "ring of fire". Thankfully, because, yick. That doesn't sound like any fun. There was no writhing or yelling or screaming or general conjuring of banshee like behavior. It was peaceful. It was calm. It was quiet. Except for the machines that were pumping that glorious medicine straight into my spine.


  1. LOL! You would have LOVED the epidural I had with my daughter. Due to the whole brain aneurysm thing, I was drugged to the GILLS and not allowed to push at all. All I can say is everyone should be allowed to deliver that way. Honestly, the recovery was zilch.

  2. very cute!

    Did all 4 births out of the hospital. I would have traded the baby for an epidural with the last one though. So I can imagine the sweet lifelong of thankfulness for such a service.

  3. : ) did Dooce inspire this entry?

  4. You did remember to ask for a "booster shot" of the stuff to be reserved for your for when the lil' darling becomes a teen?


    Well then, just do your best with the lamaze breathing. Trust times you will be needing it..

    (the word verification is noholdsi. Ha!)

  5. I don't feel its not a natural birth because you have an epidural. A caesarean is not a natural birth for the obvious reasons. But just because you have some pain medicine doesn't suddenly make your birth unnatural.

    The baby is still coming out the way God arranged for it, just minus the pain.