It shouldn’t be. Seriously. Childbirth is a natural thing… women have been birthing for thousands, if not millions, of years. The medical field of today agrees with a roaring “that’s right, folks!” but their actions say otherwise.
They strap you down to a bed via blood-pressure machines, IV lines, and fetal monitoring devices, rendering you immobile and in the worst possible position for childbirth- your back! For someone with back labor, the pain is so overwhelming that you’re susceptible to the little devil’s advice on your left shoulder as he whispers sweet nothings into your pain-clouded mind. Something about epidurals and how they can make the pain vanish… it’s only a little needle in the back, he says. You want it. You know you do, he says enticingly. You find yourself agreeing begging for the epidural in a language you never knew existed before that last contraction. The anesthesiologist comes in and gives you the drugs.
Ah, sweet relief.
The nurses wait until they see your face relax and your lips curve into the beginnings of a relaxed smile and then WHAM! They start scrambling around and talking in acronyms, causing your pulse to skyrocket because the air has suddenly been filled with EMERGENCY-MODE electricity. They are exuding massive amounts of tension, like a malevolent fog masking a pond. They say your blood pressure dropped due to the epidural, so they shoot you up with epinephrine. They sneak Pitocin on you without your consent, then they squeal that the contractions are so intense that the baby’s pulse has become irregular. The doctor rushes in, speaking in acronyms so, of course, you don’t know what they’re talking about… there is a neon yellow DANGER sign flashing in your head, perspiration dots your brow, and your eyes dart around with fear. Then they haul out the vacuum and proceed to suck your tiny little human out like he’s a mere bug, all the while murmuring about how they must hurry up and get him out because his pulse is irregular and the cord is around his neck.
His pulse more than likely would have been fine had they not snuck the Pitocin in, thereby ramping up the contractions, causing fetal distress.
One intervention (epidural) leads to other interventions… all the while leaving the mother scared out of her mind.
I wasn’t able to calm down until my little bundle of angry joy was screaming mercilessly in my quivering arms… after 40 minutes of not being able to hold him because the nurses thought it was more important to check his vitals and do his screenings than bond with his mother. What a fiasco- but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I had my little guy and some crazy memories to share with him when he grows up. However, if there is ever a next time, I will probably give a birthing center a call instead. Although the hospital said they treat childbirth as a natural occurrence and not an emergency, their actions spoke otherwise, rendering the experience harrowing and not something I’m jumping to repeat any time in the near future.
I will miss that epidural, though.
It was wonderful.
On the other hand, I’m sure my husband wouldn’t mind learning a whole new language…
He was the best thing during my labor. He kept my forehead covered with a cool cloth, kept ice-chips in my dehydrated mouth, kissed my parched and cracking lips, and even nodded sympathetically at each new curse word I invented.
What a perfect man! He still loves me after seeing me akin to a demonic possession.
The doula my husband hired was great as well.
Before heading to the hospital, she came over to our house and helped me with breathing techniques, relaxation, and attempted to get me mentally prepared for it all… but it was all moot once the doctor broke my water in the hospital.
I swear I grew three swivelling heads, each complete with a pair of fangs.
She helped my husband to help me, never once chastising me for my atrocities. I probably would have eaten her and everyone else in my room had she have done so. Alas, it all worked out for the best; I have some not-so-fond memories… but believe it or not, time is turning those memories into more of a rosy color. It gives my husband and I something to laugh maniacally about when the effects of sleep deprivation kick in…