February 13, 2008

Labor: To Epidural or Not to Epidural

So, three posts have drawn my attention to this matter today, and being as it's not sunny & 75* degrees here today, I'm feeling like sitting on the couch and wasting my day away blogging. Before you go on, please refer here, here and here. If, however, you are PREGNANT and HORMONAL (Quart), Clinically depressed or prone to periodic depressive episodes when you read something sad, I BEG of you to NOT, I repeat DO NOT read any more than the post I've linked to on Mrs. Dub's Musings & Misadventures blog. Seriously...Quart, I'm talking to you. Don't, for the love of all that is good, read any further. Please.

Back to the topic at hand: Epidurals. I have VERY strong opinions about this, which I'm sure is a complete shock to you all. Or not, but whatever.

And when I say I have VERY STRONG OPINIONS about this, I mean for ME. Not necessarily for everyone else**, but, when it comes to MY getting an epidural the answer is HELL YES and HOW SOON? Really. It's true. Both times I went to the hospital to have my boys the very first one of the very first things I said was "I want an epidural. How soon can we make that happen?" Really. It's true. And when I finally got my epidural? Oh, Holey Pancakes, people, my cervix did a backflip and dilated INSTANTLY. It's like it was REWARDING me for putting it out of it's misery. Here's how it went down:

Me: Epidural! Epidural! I'm ready! I'm 5 centimeters. These contractions are starting to hurt like a MotherF*cker. Get me the epidural....PLEEEEEEAAAAAASE!!!!!!

My Cervix: Yes! Get us an epidural! Now, PLEEEEEAAAAASE! This stretching hurts like a bitch! I'm not SUPPOSED to get THIS HUGE. It wasn't my decision to get knocked up! WHY, OH WHY am I being punished this way?

Anesthesiologist: Will you both please stop yelling at me? I'm trying to get this needle stuck into your SPINE, so chill out. You're making my hands shake and you DON'T want my hands to shake. May I remind you I'm sticking a NEEDLE INTO YOUR SPINE.

Me & My Cervix, simultaneoulsy: of course. carry on.

Cut to 10 minutes later.

Me: Ahhh....that's SO much better. DJ, why are you holding your hand like that? What the hell happened to you?! You big ninny. I'm the one who's about to PUSH a living HUMAN out of my Ya-hoo.

DJ: You are freakishly strong. I always thought people were exaggerating when they were saying women in labor squeeze your hand really hard. Ouch. (Seriously, that's what he said...he really never BELIEVED that it hurt as much as they made you believe on TV. Gah!)

Me: Bite me.

My Cervix: LaLa Lalaaaaaaaaa. I feel GREAT. And PRETTY and oh, so USEFUL! Finally! I've waited my WHOLE life to feel useful! As a reward, I will dilate IMMEDIATELY! NOW! I MUST! This epidural makes me feel SO ALIVE!

Fast forward 50 more minutes:

Nurse: I'm going to check you to see how you're progressing. Oh, look at that! You're fully dilated and at +1! You're ready to push! Your cervix REALLY IS USEFUL. And, my, don't you look AMAZING for someone just about to have a baby. Really, just amazing. ***

That, my friends, is basically how my labor with Dylan went down. I pushed for 50 minutes and out he came. It was pretty much the same with Zach, except that I was induced and got my epidural, I kid you not, before they really even started me on the drugs. It was AWESOME. I felt nary a contraction, and within a few hours felt "pressure" "down there," got checked and, lo and behold, he was about to fall out. Really. He almost fell out. The Doc came in, gowned up, which shortly thereafter proved to be a REALLY GOOD CALL (which is a REALLY funny, if not totally disgusting story. Unfortunately for you, it's really only funny to HEAR DJ tell it, so I'll spare you. But take my word for it, it's really funny. And sickening at the same time), and told me to push. I pushed a few times and out he came.

So, there you go. I heart epidurals. I completely, absolutely, whole-heartedly, 100%, Hell, 10000000000% believe that it was my epidural that hastened my labor and made it, dare I say, pleasant. I was present, comfortable, rested and READY. The boys were both healthy specimens immediately, no ill effects suffered from their drug induced introduction to the world. And, Zach was even 3 full weeks early. Oh, and in case you care and because I've already shared SO much, so why not a little bit more, I didn't need an episiotomy. Which I suppose has nothing to do with my epidural, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway. You're welcome.

*It's ONLY 63 degrees here today. And cloudy, which makes it feel SO MUCH COLDER. Like, 60 or something.
**I do, however, think you are certifiably insane if you choose a birth sans drugs. Really, I do. As I said in my comment to Mrs. Dub, my take on it is this: Yes, women thousands of years ago did not have epidurals and they successfully birthed children without them. But, they also didn't have microwaves to cook with, so should we not use those either? Uh, NO! I don't think so. Why, for the love of cheese, would you CHOOSE to bring a child into this world while in TOTAL & COMPLETE pain if you didn't have to. But, to each his own, I suppose.
***I've taken a few creative liberties here. The nurse didn't ACTUALLY say "your cervix really is useful." But, I like to continue to make it feel useful and productive in the event that I can strong arm trick convince DJ to have another baby. In, like 3 years. Or so.


Anonymous said...

A: epidural cranked ON HIGH and left there for, oh, 6 hours. I didn't feel a single thing until they turned it off and cranked up Pitocin. I pushed for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Tore like cheap fabric, with an episiotomy.
J: walked up the stairs to the New Life Center (BTW, who the f*ck decided that the birthing center be on the second floor???). Told them I wanted an epidural. Then they had to take vitals, then check me, then take vitals again, then give me an entire freaking bag of hydration...and then when the anesthesiologist finally came in, he took one look at me and got the nurse. Ten minutes and I dunno, five pushes later J was born. Not so much as a Tylenol.
Given the choice between the two, I'll go drug-free forevermore. I healed so fast after J. But, it's a moot point, as I am never pushing a human from my va-jay-jay ever again. It now has an "entrance only" sign on it.
Oh, and I think Tom finally has sensation back in his hand. It's only been nearly four years. ; )

Quart said...

Science was invented for a reason. I agree - a couple hundred years ago you got to chew on a leather strap when they were amputating your legs, and I am certain that no one chooses to do it that way anymore!

I'm dying to know: what does your cervix sound like when it talks?

jennifer h said...

Seriously. No one gives you a parade when you leave the hospital if you don't have an epidural or other drugs. What other medical procedure would a person even consider going through without pain relief? I'm with you on this one.

I had an epidural both times. Except with my 2nd child, they had to turn it off for the last hour of pushing, since (unlike yours) it was slowing me down. Not. fun.

HRH said...

This is why I love you. On my third I also got the epidural BEFORE the induction. WOW. It was the best thing ever.

Cathy said...

In birthing class they told us that the epidural would not work for one out of ten people. That would be one of us. It was me. With both boys. Damn it. With Quinn I just dealt with it.
With Liam (second baby) the nurse pretty much insisted that I let the guy put another one to see if it would work. It did work, but I put up with the pain for many hours before letting him have a second stab at my back. After that his second try worked I slept for 2 hours, woke up with an urge to push, and pushed the little guy out in less than 30 minutes.

Jen said...

Girl, I am WITH YOU! Completely. I was telling HRH the other day that I was forced to birth my middle son without an epidural b/c the ob doc was too damn busy to give me one. He came when I was dilated to 9-10 cm and asked if I'd like one then. Um? NO! Let's push this baby out already and end this agony. OH, and THANKS FOR THE BONUS TORTURE YOU APPARENTLY CURSED ME WITH FOR THE PAST 3 HOURS!

I'm 100% FOR epidurals. I can tell you, you cannot enjoy the birth without them. It's pretty sad when my perineum shots felt "good" compared to the pain I'd been experiencing. Sheesh.