Wednesday, October 1, 2008

6 Births and 1 Epidural Part 5

*I thought a fun way to celebrate my little ones’ birthdays would be to tell the stories of their birth days. Amazingly each was unique and a little funny. I hope you weren’t hoping for suspense on which pregnancy had the epidural, it is the second story I tell*

Before I begin I need to explain my previous experiences. There are two facts that help make sense of my state of mind. First, my last delivery had never hit hard labor, and second, in four deliveries I had never felt false contractions. Of course, I was terrified (and a little hopeful) that I would be doing dishes one day and the baby would just fall out.

The baby. This was the first time we didn’t know the sex of our soon to be child. Pennsylvania had a “great” custom of doing the ultrasound at 12 weeks and then charging $300 to do a later ultrasound to discover the sex of the baby. Since we already had 2 boys and 2 girls, we opted to skip the 2nd ultrasound.

Three times I started contractions. Three times I waited to “make sure.” Twice the contractions didn’t stop until after I went to the hospital. That was a joy. No really, now I was worried the baby would fall out without warning and determined not to go into the hospital unless I was 100% sure I was in labor.

So one morning I woke to contractions again. Ever resolute, I said nothing and went about my daily business. With such a great poker face, my mom (who had flown in to help out hold the baby) knew I was in labor. I’m not sure what tipped her off. Surely not that I stopped every few minutes to breath deeply with my hand on the small of my back. Really, it must have just been inspiration. Well, I waited all day. Until my kids got home from school and my sister arrived from her half hour drive to watch them.

And just my luck, when I arrived at the hospital and got all checked in, I was only dilated to a 3 to 4. I am probably the only woman in the world to be ecstatic to find that, upon arriving at the hospital, I wasn’t progressed very far. If I hadn’t been 9 months pregnant I would have leapt for joy. “Yes! I am only at the beginning of labor. That is awesome!”

You see, I, ever observant, had noticed- during the ritual telling of labor stories required whenever in the presence of someone in their last trimester- that many women’s eyes slightly glazed over during certain parts of the labor story. One day I realized they had no idea what I and others like me were talking about. You mean most other women use pain medication? Twice I had tried and failed at getting an epidural. But determined to see how the other half lives, I wanted to one day make it to the hospital in time to get one. And this rather stubborn and teasing baby had provided the opportunity.

So I got my epidural. Peter was worried about it, and even the doctor double checked with me. “Are you sure? You just seem to be handling the labor really well.” Yeah, I should be punished for a high pain tolerance? Not this time!

And then I read a book. The doctor came in to check and was ready to send me home. After all, I was calmly reading, as were my husband and mother. Until she examined me and I was dilated to an 8. “Don’t worry,” I told her, “I’ll call when I feel like pushing.” And when the feeling came I called, pushed, and had my baby. Did I mention that epidurals are A LOT easier than going natural?

After our baby BOY was born and cleaned and left with us, Peter and I started discussing names. We knew our girl name but had only a narrowed down list of boy names.

“None of those names seem to fit,” I stated.

My husband agreed, “Do you have any names in mind?”

There was one name I kept thinking, but I didn’t want to suggest it because in all our numerous name discussions- for all the children- this name had never been seriously discussed. Ever. But my husband wanted me to start the name game.

“What about Joseph?”

My husband was shocked, “That was the name I kept thinking. I didn’t want to say it because it had never even been considered.” Not even when our 3rd child was born on Joseph Smith’s birthday, and my dad strongly suggested it. So Joseph it was. By the way, he is still stubborn and a tease.

P.S. Trying to get this written in the morning before my preschoolers woke up caused the kids to miss their bus. I hope you appreciate my sacrifice ;o)


  1. That was a great experience. I remember it well. Joseph is such a special child. So himself even in birth. Happy Birthday dear Joseph.

  2. I remember getting the call that you had had lille Joe, (we were lost in the middle of Florida somewhere) and I remember thinking you were "Joeking" about the name!!

  3. I love epidurals. I had 2 that worked. I went natural for the 3rd and for the 4th I got an epidural but it didn't take. It was as bad as the 3rd. Yea for easy deliveries, though...well, mostly.

  4. that is a really cute story! it is crazy that they suggested that you didn't need an epidural.

  5. Hooray for epidurals!! Even though I have incredible guilt for not even considering ever going natural... I am not even going to consider ever going natural.

    The only thing easier than an epidural labor is being totally knocked out and waking up with a baby!

  6. Epidurals are great! Happy Birthday Joseph! Maggie misses you.

  7. What's this? You can have a baby without an epidural? No, that can't be possible. Next thing you're going to try to tell me you can go into labor without pitocin. Nonsense. :-)

  8. I totally appreciate the sacrifice! Birth stories never get old for me...especially to hear from someone that has had 6 that I'm sure were all totally different.
    I once had someone tell me that "you don't get an extra prize for doing it without medicine." I totally appreciate and stand in awe of people that are capable of giving birth without drugs but I'm all for a little numbing to provide me with a great birthing experience! Why can't I keep Joseph and Matthew apart? I don't really just seems like Joseph should be younger (what can you do about that so I can stop mixing them up?)

  9. I'm with Andrea. I have no desire to try to deliver without medication...I loved my epidural. Brenda stole my comment, I was also going to say that I thought you were "JoeKing" when you picked out his name.

  10. I thought you were KiddIng about the name when I first heard it too (you should name your next Kidd Ing!)

  11. I have a very intense fear of not getting to the hospitol in time for an epidoral. I think i might just stop at 2 kids to prevent it from happening.

  12. Thanks for sharing the story. I love to hear them. With Sarah I didn't get a chance to have an epidural because of a mess up at the hospital but opted for Stadol (sp) instead. It was pretty okay so I was going to do it again with Ila. When I went in for Ila I was too far along for Stadol but could go the epidural route (which I did). I really liked both and would do either but Tom is all for the epidural. He says the biggest difference was that with Ila's birth I was able to talk camping with the nurse who said "You just had a contraction." and my reponse being "I did?!". His vote is epidural for Ian. :o)

  13. So now I'm left wondering, why no epidural with Matthew?

    I had my first epidural with my third, and never went back to natural birth. With one of my labors, I sat in a hot tub at the hospital, and honestly couldn't feel contraction pains while I was in the water. It was awesome! I guess no one else bothered to try it out, so they turned it into a storage closet. Too bad.

  14. Mary- I remember when you had that baby, it made all the more anxious to have one with an epidural. I already wrote Matthew's birth story. Read about it here

    Emily- for you I will cryogenicallt freeze Joseph for 3 years, then he will be the youngest and it won't be a problem. Afterall, isn't that the easiest solution?

    Yes, I know everyone is "Joe-King" about his name. We didn't realize the joke until afterwards. Really. We are not that mean. Would you use the name if you knew everyone would be "Joe-King Later" about it?