Several months prior to birth:
Friend: "I tried to do labor without the epidural, but eventually I gave in and got one."
Me: "Yeah, I know my limitations. I'm getting the epidural the second I walk in the hospital."
Friend: "They may not give it to you right away."
Me: "I don't care. I'll grab an epidural kit out of the supply room as they're wheeling me to my room and put it in myself if I have to."
One month prior to birth:
Me: "Everyone else I know is making a birth plan. Should I make one?"
OB: "Well, what would you put on it?"
Me: "I don't know. I mean, I want all the usual stuff. I want the epidural, whatever. You know, the typical stuff. Whatever everyone else gets, that's what I want."
OB: "I don't think you need to make a birth plan."
Three days prior to birth:
Me: [nudging husband awake] "Hey, I'm having regular contractions, I think."
Husband: "You are??"
Me: "I think so. Sort of. Well, maybe not."
Husband: "Do you want to call the doctor?"
Me: "No, I'm just going to go to work."
Me: "I'll call you if the contractions get worse." [pause] "And maybe you should install the carseat in the car."
Night prior to birth:
I finally crawl into bed, exhausted, after a long day of work.
Me: [thinking] "God, I hope that was my water breaking."
Fifteen minutes later:
Me: [typing away on the computer]
Husband: "What are you doing??? We have to leave for the hospital!!"
Me: "Yeah, I just have to finish up and send out some EMG reports I was working on. And I have to call the chief resident."
Husband: "You're leaking amniotic fluid all over the floor!"
Me: "Hold on, I still need to pack my bag."
Husband: "Why didn't you pack before??"
Me: "Don't worry, there's plenty of time. Chill out."
At the hospital:
Nurse: [after exam confirms rupture of membranes] "Well, looks like you're a keeper."
Me: "Can I have an epidural now?"
Nurse: "No, you're only 2cm dilated."
Me: "But... I want it now."
Nurse: "We have to wait until you're 6cm."
Fifteen minutes later:
[Nurse starts running something into my IV]
Me: "What's that?"
Me: "You're giving me pitocin?! I want an epidural!!"
While I'm in the middle of a contraction, my husband comes to my bedside:
Me: "What's wrong?"
Husband: "I just..."
Husband: "I thought you should know that... I have a little headache."
Husband: "Well, just... if I seem a little out of it, I just want you to know it's because I kind of have a headache..."
Husband: "Okay, I'm going to shut up now."
An hour later:
Nurse: "Your blood pressure is high. We may need to start you on magnesium for pre-eclampsia."
Me: "No! Magnesium can cause pulmonary edema. I don't want it."
Nurse: "You could have a seizure."
Me: "I don't think I have pre-eclampsia. I'm just in pain."
Nurse: "Well, we can try the epidural first and see if that brings down your pressure."
Me: "Yes! Do that!"
Anesthesiologist places my epidural:
Me: [getting nervous] "Hey, if I decide I don't like this, can I ask to turn it off?"
Anesthesiologist: "Yes, you can. But if you do, you will be the first woman ever in all my years of practice who has ever asked to turn it off."
(I didn't ask to turn it off.)
Time to push:
I've let the epidural run down as much as I could stand and I'm feeling every contraction quite strongly. At that point, I followed the advice of my blogger hero Michelle Au and pushed like I was having the biggest BM of my life. And little me pushed that 8 pound baby out in 30 minutes.
OB: "Wow, she was crying before she even came out."
Me: "Uh oh, we're in for it, aren't we?"