Friday, May 25, 2012

Ditto the Epidural

Remember how (waaaay) back in April I was bursting at the seams to bust this baby out my lady parts? How I was so bummed that he (she!) hadn’t come out early despite my cervix’s valiant efforts at effacement and dilation? How that crazy-stretchy dress was itself going to burst at the seams itself if I got even one millimeter bigger?

Well…the truth of the matter is that I signed up to get induced two days after my due-date because I COULD NOT WAIT to meet this baby. Also, I COULD NOT BEAR the thought of being pregnant for eight more days (assuming baby #2 was going to follow the same schedule as baby #1) because eighty-two weeks of pregnancy is way too much for me in this lifetime, thank you very much. Also, I wanted to medicalize my birthing experience as much as possible! To stick it to all those “natural” people who shun medication and make the rest of us look bad! To show the world (or anyone in it who could be bothered to pay attention) that a little Pitocin doesn’t make a woman any less a woman! Ditto the epidural!
Seriously, though, I fretted about getting induced at forty weeks and two days because I did not want to be judged by others even though (because?) I could not stop judging myself.

“What will we tell the kid?” I asked Dr. Husband at 3 AM a few days before my induction date. “Mama hated being pregnant so much that she couldn’t stand to gestate you even one more minute?”

“No…” he said, seemingly unperturbed by my jumping into the middle of a conversation in the dead of night. “We’ll just tell him that we were so excited to meet him that we didn’t want to wait any longer. Of all the things you should worry about, this really doesn’t even make the list. You should really get some sleep.”

Then he rolled over and fell immediately back asleep while I racked my brain to come up with all the things I “should” have been worrying about. The epidural not working? Going into spontaneous labor before my induction and not getting to the hospital in time to get an epidural? Something being wrong with the baby? Dying during childbirth? THE BABY dying during childbirth?!? Oh, the options!

In the end it turned out not to matter because—for me at least—it’s all about having a baby, not having a birth—or, more precisely, having a particular birthing experience.

Speaking of, vaginal childbirth with an epidural is actually kind of fun. Yes, I said it. With no pain and everyone telling me I was doing a great job and—this part is key—the whole “pushing” thing only lasting 45 minutes with baby #1 and 15 minutes with baby #2—I enjoyed the experience.

Especially compared to nine months of pregnancy.  Similar to pregnancy, the worst part of childbirth for me is the barfing, which this time freakishly didn’t occur until it was time to push—and then for a few hours afterward. I was all, “Give me that baby—uh—wai—bleggghhhhh—okay, now give me that baby. But just for a second.”

Also, I was super fortunate once again to nap/doze/rest most of the way through active labor. Shoot my spine full of anesthesia when my cervix is three centimeters dilated, and I’m suddenly narcoleptic.

I dozed while Dr. Husband ran—literally—to get himself some dinner. “No rush,” I tried to assure him. “This is going to take a while.”

Being a doctor—and being someone who was present for the birth of our first child, in which I went from 3 centimeters dilated to 10 all within the course of a nap—he was unconvinced. “I’ll be right back,” he swore as he dashed out, returning ten—maybe fifteen?—minutes later, stuffed full of submarine sandwich.

Then suddenly I started barfing, the nurse checked my cervix on a whim, and it was party time.

And fifteen minutes later—voila! I was no longer pregnant.

Oh, and I had this really cute baby (already one month and two days old!):


  1. Wow, you make it look easy!

  2. LOVED the story! And it's inspired me to write one of my own since I didn't write anything about it after Finn. So stay tuned. :)

  3. Yay Yay Yay. Well, minus the vom.

    She's so sleepy and small and sweet - hope you're getting lots of head-sniffing and chest-holding!

  4. I don't think it's about being less of a woman, most women who I know who choose the natural birth route (or attempt to) aren't judgmental about what other mothers do & if they are, that's just not right.

    I'm due in a few months and my mother is a Doula - from everything we've both experienced in the birthing rooms, it's more a question of safety. Stripping membranes, petosin/induction and then the almost inevitable epidural (petosin actually makes birth harder) more often than not, leads to a C section. C sections are incredibly difficult to recover from. And that's really only the beginning - my point is not to judge or be negative, but to say that there are risks.

    It's amazing how far we've come from forced anesthetized births - just the fact that women feel that they have a choice on either side is an incredible thing. Thanks so much for your perspective!!