Every month I get together with a group of moms for a coffee and a much needed night out. It’s GREAT.
Last night the subject of labour and epidurals came up.
Here’s my take on epidurals.
When I was pregnant, I wanted to try to give birth naturally (i.e. without the drugs). However, I wasn’t going to say absolutely no to an epidural, so I resolved to try my best to go without, but if the need arises, then…”Why of course, I’ll take that needle to the spine right now, nice anesthesiologist lady!”
Now, I’ll preface this by saying that I rarely curse. If I’m telling a story and have to repeat a curse word that someone else said, I’ll either spell it out or whisper it (um, seriously, I do that, just ask Biker). Then I started teaching and got used to the “S-word” being “stupid,” while other “swear words” include: die, hell, and hate.
It’s one of the few good habits that I have. But habits. Were. Meant. To. Be. Broken! (cue haunting suspense music)
Fast forward to July 2010…
When my contractions began in earnest (I say this because they technically began three days ago, albeit sporadically!), it soon became clear that the epidural would be requested. Like, STAT.
It was like I had Tourette’s. The kind where you swear. Every five minutes.
It was as if I had a verbal machine gun and instead of bullets, it was loaded with swear words. At times, however, it was just one prolonged curse word that lasted the span of two minutes or the length of the contraction, whichever was longer.
Don’t even get me started on the meditation exercises that told you to “visualize a flower in bloom.”
It was a bit shocking to Biker to hear me like that, I think. He was very sympathetic throughout, however, I think that after a few hours of this, he became a bit fatigued of it all. Believe me, it took the strength of lions to hold back what I really wanted to say when he said, “I know you’re in pain, honey, but do you think you could be a little quieter? It’s 4am and you might wake the neighbours.”
Needless to say, we were at the hospital shortly after and an epidural was requested immediately after we had registered.
Despite all of that, if I am ever pregnant again, I will try to avoid having the epidural again. Am I crazy? Yes, maybe, but this is mostly because I felt that the recovery took so long (TMI Alert: though it may have also been compounded by the episiotomy, the one thing that I was dreading and praying I wouldn’t need!). I know it can be done, and that most women I’ve talked to who went au naturale said that the recovery really was faster. Also, without the epidural, I can try those other labour pain strategies (maybe not the flower in bloom visualization!) like sitting on the exercise ball, walking around, hot tubbin’….
We’ll see what happens…
P.S. Speaking of natural and safe births…to send an “Ontario Needs Birth Centres” to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, click here. Right now the Liberal government is drafting the next provincial budget (most likely tabled in March 2012). More info at the Ontario Midwives website.