When I was told that I needed to go through Labor & Delivery, and that I could have any type of pain medication I wanted, I instantly knew that I wanted to feel nothing. The experience was emotionally painful enough without adding physical pain. At the first sign of contractions, I requested an epidural. The anesthesiologist did not insert the epidural correctly, and after several hours of it continually wearing off, a second anesthesiologist came in, took it out, and re-inserted it. I remember thinking “Of course something would be wrong with my epidural. Icing on the cake.” I cried as the needle was inserted into my spine, both in discomfort and because I could not believe it was happening.
Of course I presumed that I would only endure the hell of that type of L&D once. And five months later, it was happening again. Another epidural for another delivery. Had fewer problems initially, but as the hours dragged on it began to wear off. The anesthesiologist was brought back to give me a “boost.” Shortly after he left, I began to feel woozy. I’d never experienced anything like it before, in any of my previous epidurals. I managed to push the nurse call button. Two nurses instantly appeared and noted that my blood pressure had dropped significantly.
I was scared. I did not know what was happening. It was truly the first time that I’d ever feared for my life. Probably unfounded, but without any energy or time to discuss possible outcomes, my mind went to the worst. The nurses bustled around the room and gave me a shot of something to stabilize me. I asked weakly “Am I going to be ok?” The nurse gave me a firm “Yes.” And I was. I recovered from the blood pressure incident. The nurse commented that my color was coming back as I began to feel more normal.
In small consolations, I felt very little of the actual delivery. I was delivering babies that weighed ounces, not pounds, and had the numbness of the epidural. Having only been through c-sections previously, the idea of delivery made me sick with anticipation of not knowing what to expect. It was not what most women experience with delivery, nor anything that I could have conjured in my head, even in a nightmare.
It is National Nurses Day. Nurses were by my side during the scariest and saddest moments of my life. I am grateful for their care.