Week 35: The big E

By Published On: March 11th, 2016

Here I am, approximately one month from my due date, […]

FullSizeRenderHere I am, approximately one month from my due date, and believe it or not, things are slowly but surely getting checked off my massive to-do list. Of course, this week being Spring Break certainly helps! My hospital bag is packed (check!) and birth plan is written (double check!). The amount of cooperation Olivia offers in terms of a napping schedule will determine exactly how much more nesting I will accomplish, but at least I feel a smidge more prepared for our little one’s arrival.
Writing my birth plan last night and recent conversations with a few different friends helped me determine the topic for this week’s post. Anyone who has written a birth plan knows that one of the key questions you need to answer is in regards to your wishes about receiving an epidural. During my first pregnancy, I debated, as I’m certain many first-time moms do. I’ve had invasive surgery before with fairly painful recovery, so I am no stranger to pain. But, certainly, less pain is better. So I talked with my friends and family members who had done it both ways.
I have some very strong-minded (and bodied!) friends who knew they didn’t want drugs and went through the whole process naturally—God bless them! I have other friends who raved about the miracle of the epidural. My husband was willing to let me go either way (though he gave me a definite “look” when I said I was contemplating going au naturale). But it was a conversation with my cousin that helped me make my final decision. My cousin’s daughter is 8 months older than Olivia, so in addition to getting to borrow maternity clothes from her, I am also able to borrow experiences and advice! When we talked about her birthing experience, she told me that the big difference the epidural made for her was to ease the tension in the delivery room. Sure, it helped alleviate the pain, but she told me how calm and peaceful her birthing experience was once she had the epidural to help relieve the pain. In fact, she said they even talked Husker football with their doctor between pushes! That calm and peaceful birthing experience was exactly what I wanted for my own delivery—and the type of environment in which I wanted my child to enter the world.
My labor with Olivia was pretty efficient. With the combo of a quick labor and a busy hospital, I only had my epidural for an hour before it was time to push (and it took the first half of the hour for it to kick in!). But the effect was exactly what I had hoped. I relaxed—physically and mentally. It was almost like I could see the tension in the room dissipate. I was able to laugh and joke with my doctor between pushes. And I was given the exact perfect amount of the medicine, so I could push when it was necessary. I could not have been more pleased with my birthing experience (and the lack of pain was certainly welcome, too!).
So, my birth plan for Baby P includes the part about the epidural. Yes, I will take one. And I know that doesn’t make me any better or any worse than any other mother. It just makes me a mother—ready to greet my new son or daughter in the best way I know how. (Just not for another few weeks—I still have boxes to check off!)