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Pregnancy and Your Newborn

I Refused the Epidural Because I Clearly Hate Myself

I’m begging you to get the epidural if you want it. Don’t mind the push for natural births because those ladies live a different life than we do.

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

It was time for Round 2. Same battle ground, different kid. I entered the hospital for my second induction, as ready as an overdue pregnant woman can be for what’s to come. As the procrastinator that I am, I took no birthing classes. I read zero books. I didn’t practice meditation. All the things I swore I would do after giving birth the first time, because giving birth sucks. Big time.

So, why in the world would I refuse the epidural? This wonderful concoction of medicine that takes away most laboring pains and lets you enjoy bringing your child into the world without too much trauma, and I was like “nah.”

Clearly, because I hate myself.

So, there I sat in my hospital bed, nothing on but a hospital gown and some socks. This time they did let me wear my own socks instead of the weird textured hospital ones, so I did start off feeling pretty special. I was asked one last time: “Are you sure you don’t want the epidural?”

Yes. Totally sure. Clearly a masochist in my off-time.

A few weeks prior, one of the nurses urged me to at least complete the paperwork, just in case I changed my mind. No thanks, I don’t want an easy out. I want to suffer for a bit in case I do decide to make decisions a sane person would.

I was not asked again. I’m one of the lucky ones that didn’t get the chance to reconsider my options.

The medicine to induce was inserted and I was left to await labor. They ask you to stay in the bed for at least the first two hours of this twelve hour treatment, which is easier said than done when contractions aren’t ripping through you. After about 30 minutes I mentioned to my husband that things were rolling, and not long after the contractions were making me squirm. I made it to the 90 minute mark before I begged the nurse to approve getting out of bed. I guess I could have done it regardless, I wasn’t strapped down, but I do like to be cooperative when an IV hook is attached.

The nurse took a look at the contractions lighting up the monitor and gave me the go ahead. I opted for the birth ball and watched as each contraction came and went like waves, about every two minutes. Some were so intense that the graph couldn’t track it. And I continued to bounce along, listening to an intentionally ridiculous playlist that I created to keep my mind off things. I foolishly included items like the Cha Cha Slide in hopes that it would distract me.

Ha. I went for a single walk down the hallway that left me crippled in pain, so back to the birthing ball I went. The walk made me nauseous, but the nurse saved me (and herself from the cleanup) with an alcohol wipe waving in front of my nostrils. Genius.

Instead I bounced along to Miley Cyrus, Spice Girls, and Taylor Swift. My husband giggled and rolled his eyes, but otherwise left me alone. He would assist if needed but for the most part I wanted space. At this point I had been contracting consistently for about an hour and caved to the IV meds. Laying in bed wasn’t ideal but I needed a break. I was 4 cm dilated and with the assistance of this spectacular medicine I felt farther away from the pain. I still felt everything, but I cared less.

My daydreams became a bit bizarre. With each contraction I envisioned someone knocking at the door, but I wouldn’t answer. Obviously in labor here people, and don’t nurses usually let themselves in? As the contractions faded, whomever was knocking would simply walk away. This repeated itself over and over until the knocking became so intense and the person just wouldn’t leave. I remember imagining trying to open the door only to find that it was locked, but the banging on the door continued. They wouldn’t go away! I would have started cursing someone out if I hadn’t lost my mucous plug in that moment, snapping me back to reality.

Welcome to my brain’s interpretation of active labor.

My body took over. About fifteen minutes later, my beautiful boy was born, but every push was agony. There was nothing except pain followed by more pain. I contracted until that child was born, and the only thing that kept me pushing was the wherewithal that each push had me closer to it all being over. I wanted it to be over so badly and if I just pushed one more time maybe it would be over. If I really worked hard in that next push it would be done and I would never have to do it again if I didn’t want to. Followed by thoughts of “I am 100 percent never doing this again. Ever.” Pretty sure I thought that with my first child.

With my first labor I begged for the epidural once it was too late. With my second, the entire experience was only four hours and active labor only equated to one of those. I would consider my second experience much more painful, only because it was so vivid. I knew what was coming for me. And still, I chose to accept it.

Why?

Because I’m way more scared of the epidural than I am of the pain. I’m terrified of the lack of control. Without the epidural, I am miserable and it hurts and I just want it to be over, but at least I’m in control. I’m not stuck to the bed or waiting to feel my legs again. I’m not letting some stranger stick a needle in my back.

It is fear that drives me away from the epidural and most of it isn’t rational. I tell everyone to take the epidural. Modern medicine is incredible and women don’t have to suffer through their bodies being torn apart. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything or that I felt some sort of euphoria with natural birth. I feel like I’m a fool that chose the hard route because I was scared. If I didn’t have short labors, I doubt I would get away with such nonsense.

So, there you have it. Everyone will have their opinions, and this is me being real. The pain I experienced has me seriously questioning anymore kids, despite the option of pain relief. I could do it differently, but I won’t. My decisions aren’t rational, and it is what it is.

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