After two days of labor in the hospital my midwife ordered an epidural for me. She said my body was giving out and if things didn’t progress soon I’d need a C-section. And, while I really wanted a natural child birth I wanted to avoid C-section even more. Surgery scares me. At this point I was rejoicing… I was tired and my contractions were happening faster and closer together. I couldn’t wait to get the epidural. But, wait is exactly what I had to do.
After what seemed like a lifetime the anesthesiologist came in. I had to try to hold still through my contractions while she put in my epidural. My husband said that it was a scary needle. I didn’t see it or feel it. At one point the anesthesiologist asked me if it felt like it was in the middle or on the left or right. It felt like she was turning a dial in my back. I answered, “feels like the center.” Then my entire right leg felt like it was on fire. I screamed louder than I had screamed in all my contractions. She said, “well, I’m glad we didn’t put it there because there could have been nerve damage.”
Gee, just what a girl wants to hear.
But, then all of the sudden it was bliss. There was no pain anymore. I felt a little numb and most likely couldn’t stand… but, I could feel my legs and was able to move myself with ease.
I went from tired and in pain to tired and deliriously happy. I joked with the nurses. I called my mom and said, “epidurals are GREAT!” I think I might have even updated my Facebook status. I know I at least checked the feed. My midwife then checked me again and put an internal monitor on my son’s head so that we could better gauge his heart rate (it had been low most of the time at the hospital).
She said that I should rest and told my husband to go get himself something to eat. I loved that she took the time to make sure he was okay as well. We had been laboring in the hospital all day and while we brought snacks for him we didn’t think about entire meals. My midwife said that it would probably be about 5 hours before time to push and that I should get as much rest as possible. She also said that because they gave me an epidural I would need to have pitocin to help my body continue with labor. I didn’t care at this point in the process, but had originally wanted to avoid that route.
The next two hours were sort of a blur. I slept for about half an hour. I couldn’t feel a single contraction. The pitiocin arrived soon after my husband got in with his food and sat down. As they were hanging the bag they told him it would be a few more hours. Then, a minute later, my midwife and a bunch of nurses come charging in saying, “It’s time!”
As my midwife was getting me ready to push she gestured to a team of nurses that came in and said, “They are here for the baby.” I replied, “How about that… I am too!”
Man, the epidural was amazing.
Because I had the epidural I had to give birth lying on my back. I was however able to have the bed angled so that gravity could help. My husband and nurse helped to hold my legs. I thankfully only had to push for 45 minutes. They asked me if I wanted a mirror. “NO!” I could feel my son coming out, but I didn’t have to feel any “ring of fire” or stretching of any kind.
And, then, all of the sudden. He was here. He was on top of me. He was amazing and so expressive. He latched on to nurse without much trouble. And, we were a family.
One of the bigger surprises was how small my son ended up being. Throughout my pregnancy I was told several times that he was a big boy and I’d probably have an 8-9 lb baby on my hands. He was tiny… he just got big really fast after birth!
Later they told me that my body had only needed to relax in order to have the baby. So, I ended up not needing the pitocin (until after birth to avoid hemorrhaging since my labor was so prolonged). Maybe if I had been better about relaxing during contractions I might have avoided the need for an epidural. Maybe if I had rested in between contractions instead of cleaning my house during early labor I could have had a natural birth. Maybe, but maybe not. My nurses were impressed that I did without for as long as I did and they said I’d have no problems during a second childbirth going without the drugs.
After two days of labor, a therapeutic rest and finally an epidural my son was born. He had to have an internal monitor to help better gauge his low heart rate. I only had to push for about 45 minutes! And, in the end… I loved my epidural.