The Epidurean and her magic button

In life, when you are tired, in pain or plain sleepy, have you ever thought of turning it all off and escaping by turning a switch or a button? Once, only once have I had that opportunity.

I decided back in 2005 before the babe was born that I will go for ‘natural’ childbirth. Without Epidural that is. At my prenatal class, my husband and I were the only ones choosing this option. Everyone else knew before hand that they would go for the Epidural. But I feast on organic food and home remedies, so I felt otherwise. Plus, so many women do it all over the world without Epidural. Was I really ready to go through labor without labor pain? At my office, everyone advised otherwise. My trusted friend Dimitry and dad of two advised sanely ‘ Would you go through a tooth extraction without an anaesthetic just because thats what people do in many parts of the world?’ Others had similar advice, ‘Why add something else to the troubles of childbirth’, ‘You will have enough pain’. Etc. Etc.

But against all that I decided to be decidedly non Epidurean. My labor stage 1 and two seemed pretty bearable. The delivery room had a chart of faces that moved from a smiley face (0 pain level :)) to a sad face with a downturned lip 🙁 (pain level 10). After every phase of contractions the nurses would ask me to point out which level of pain I felt. They also told me I could ask for Epidural at any point though it would take about 15 minutes for the anesthesiologist to get there. Also, beyond a certain stage, they dont give Epidural, I think its beyond 8 cm, not sure. Anyway the pain of labor itself did not feel too bad to me. In my prenatal class, they had mentioned that anticipate the pain and it will make it easier. That thought helped me a lot. I tried to use the breathing techniques and focusing techniques but that didnt work as well. Also, all my dreams of using massage, music etc just went out of the window. The thing is, I had been in the hospital already for 24 hrs being monitored and the monitoring band around my tummy was the most itchy, irritating thing. Had I been able to walk around or do the other tricks I learnt in my prenatal class, it would have been better. But I digress.

The pain kept increasing, but it was still bearable. But due to my own anatomy, apparently it needed more than one nurse each time to measure how much dilated I was. And this constant series of internal examinations while having contractions was more irritating and painful than labor itself. So I decided to go for it, at 8 cm dilation and get my epidural. But the time the anesthesologist got there I was about at nine cm. She cleaned by back and punctured it and started the epidural. That pain felt nothing compared to the internal exams and labor. She handed me a magic button saying that if the pain gets too much, just click on it and that the whole Epidural will take about 15 minutes to take effect.

 Here I had a little button in my hand, which could stop this pain which I knew was natural. It seemed unbelievable, but it began working soon enough. It was at this point that my labor started feeling like an out of the world experience. Man, I felt powerful. A little button to click and get rid of so much pain and discomfort!

Without the pain, I felt I was not in my body anymore – that I had levitated out of it – out of the intensity and sweat of labor and was coolly watching another woman go through the rigors. And everytime even a tinge of pain would try to come back, I would press my magic button. And those pesky internal exams – well, bring them on nurses. I did not feel them at all.

I was a converted Epidurean. For then.

I again dont know this time if I will get Epidural or not. Because though I obviously loved the painlessness, it did feel a bit like it was not my labor anymore……

But you know what, several times since then at various stages of my life, I have wished I had that little button in my hand which I could press and take away all reality and pain, even if for a few minutes.

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3 Comments

  1. sands

    I guess we all are looking for that button to switch off the negativity and the reality from which we feel like running away many times. Like TV, when you don’t want to watch , just turn it off and all those characters vanish. I had gone all natural too and in the very late stages the doctor asked me to just take it, I agreed but before I could press any button, our daughter was born 🙂

  2. Khushi

    That is funny – that she was born before you got to press the button. It really is a funny experience, just like TV as you say.

  3. joysree

    I am touched by the post. ( pl ignore my previous post)

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