You can see Jackson’s birth story HERE but one thing I didn’t talk much about was my pain management. Since I recently wrote a blog about my complications the second time around, I thought I should also write a blog about my first experience to balance it out.
During my first labor (with Jackson), I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t do much research on pain management because I was afraid of “knowing too much”… I know, not the smartest thing to do, but that was the reality. My mom had all of us naturally, my sister-in-law too… I was feeling a little pressure to go without meds. I WANTED to… but I also knew that every woman’s pain level is different and I wanted to give myself the freedom to make a choice in the moment.
Prior to going into labor, I asked my doctor (Dr. Angela Pratt at Kapiolani Medical Center) one question. “Do you recommend the epidural for your patients and why?” She said that she recommends it because “You’re more in control.” That answer stuck with me.
When I transitioned into active labor with Jackson I was a maniac. The only way for me to get through the labor pains was to violently undulate my entire body while holding onto my husband’s shoulders with a death grip. I was holding a trash bag (in case I threw up) and I had extreme labor pains in my lower back. When I finally got into a triage room at the hospital, they checked me and I was only 4 centimeters dilated!
This was my first baby so I had no idea how long this labor was going to be and how much more pain I could manage. I was exhausted from the last 9 hours of contractions and wanted the option to get an epidural so I had my hubby text my doctor, “Epidural Now!” LOL
I’m happy I asked when I did because all of the anesthesiologists were in C-sections at the time and wouldn’t be available for another 45 minutes, at the earliest. This gave me time to progress in my labor and decide whether or not I wanted to really get the epidural.
I was moved into my labor and delivery room and continued to labor in my out of control, undulating, crazy lady way. That’s when my doctor’s words came into my head, “You’re more in control.” I have an A-type personality and being “in control” is my jam. Clearly, I wasn’t in control of the situation that was unfolding. I couldn’t even imagine giving birth and pushing in the state that I was in. I was a maniac!
Soooooo, when the anesthesiologist arrived, I said “go for it.” This was the hardest part. At Kapiolani, because it’s a surgical procedure, no one else is allowed in the room with you and they asked my husband to leave the room. My support system walked out the door! I was scared but transferred all of my energy and attention over to my nurse.
She let me grab both of her hands (which I squeezed until they were red!). The doctor told me I had to be still while the needle was inserted. I put a c-curve in my spine and held onto my nurses hands. Every time a contraction occurred, I was screaming expletives (in my head). Do you know how hard it is to “stay still” during a contraction?! HARD. At one point my nurse had to release one of my hands to pass the doctor something. That did not make me happy. In my head, I screamed some more.
I don’t remember many details after that but I do remember it kicking in. Soon after getting poked, slowly but surely, I felt less pain. Every time I had a contraction, I could feel the baby pushing farther down the birthing canal. It was uncomfortable, but it didn’t hurt. I could still move my legs and my body. I had to flip from one side to the other every so often to keep the epidural evenly distributed in my body. I was able to do that on my own with minimal help.
The epidural made me VERY cold. I needed socks and extra blankets and I still was shivering under all of the layers. I was told that once I felt like I had to take a big poop, I should let the nurse know. This meant that baby was ready to come out and I was ready to push.
Once this happened I got checked and sure enough I was 10 centimeters dilated and ready to get the show on the road! While I was pushing, I could feel some pain… but it wasn’t excruciating. It was the perfect amount of pain… if that exists. ha ha! Enough feeling to know what was going on and be able to feel what was happening but not so much that I was a complete lunatic. When baby crowned, I definitely felt the “ring of fire” and was pretty upset when my husband hesitated to pull baby out. There’s a baby halfway out of me! Just pull it out! LOL
The epidural wore off about an hour after delivery and my body felt normal – well, as normal as you can feel after having a baby! So there you have it… my epidural experience with Jackson. After this experience, I was not afraid of having an epidural for my next. I thought I would again wait to see what my body felt like in the moment to make a final decision. I ended up going with the pain management and in hindsight I wish I could take it back. Mistakes happen, and unfortunately I was one of those rare statistics this time around. If you want to read about my experience and complications after my intrathecal with my second child, Click HERE.
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