I sat down in a group of women when we hit a lull, and so we started talking about our labors. This seems very typical in a setting of mothers; "Hey, we don't have anything in common, so let's talk about the humans we created!" I began to share my story and started out by saying that I had an epidural with all of my labors. Without hesitation, one of the mothers said, "Oh, so you never actually went through labor," and turned her back on me. Apparently, it was no longer my turn to share. She didn't even give me a chance to explain. She never let me reveal that I didn't get an epidural until I was over six centimeters dilated. She didn't let me tell her that my epidural with my first child didn't even work. She never let me tell her that I got an epidural with my last child about 30 seconds before I started pushing. I never got to tell her that delivering my baby was actually terrible, that it's been five years since I gave birth, and my doctor still remembers delivering my son because of how bad I looked down there.
With my first child, I was five days overdue. I wasn't only done being pregnant, but I also had a strong inclination that my baby was going to be very big. Nobody believed me. The doctors told me that my baby would be six or seven pounds and other people told me how "small" I looked, so there was no way I was going to have a large baby. But I knew he was going to be big.
When I went into the hospital five days overdue, they were hesitant to break my water because I wasn't in labor. But I didn't want him to cook longer, so they did it. My labor started. I went from having no labor or contractions to having contractions at full force! They were strong and consistent, so I asked for an epidural. After about two hours my anesthesiologist came into the room and started my epidural process. I could feel the numbing go into my back, but it didn't feel right. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I started shaking and my lips and breasts went numb. I told them this, but nobody believed me. I told them I could feel each contraction, yet nobody called the anesthesiologist back in. I told them that the baby was going to come, and the nurse walked in to be there for me while I pushed.
I could feel every contraction. I could feel all the pain as I pushed and pushed and pushed. I pushed for an hour and a half trying to get that baby out. I could feel myself ripping and tearing. Every time I pushed, the nurse told me that the baby was going back in. I wanted to give up. I was so out of breath and in so much pain.
Finally, the doctor came in and he positioned himself to catch the baby. But he didn't look happy or at ease. Now that I've had three other deliveries since then, I know when a doctor looks at ease. At that moment, there was pain and anxiety in the doctor's eyes that I remember to this day. He could obviously tell the destruction I was causing on my body. I finally pushed another huge push, and out came the biggest baby. The doctor handed me my sweet boy and I was confused. He was so big! He had such a big head. I looked at the nurse and said, "How big is this baby?" But they continued doing their thing.
The doctor started stitching me up. He had to stitch me up quickly without waiting for any numbing stuff or an epidural. I could feel every stitch for about 10 minutes. I was trying to hold tight onto my baby, but I couldn't hold him safely because I was in so much pain. My son pooped on me twice, so they changed my clothes and wiped all the black tar off of me. I was cleaned up, only for him to poop on me one more time. They took him from me because I couldn't hold him. That's how much pain I was in.
The doctor stitched me up for almost an hour. I'm grateful he was a surgeon, or else I would have had to wait for surgery. That's how bad I was down there. I had so many stitches, and the tear went all the way down. They called that a 4th-degree tear- the worst kind. They even had to put something up my rectum to stop the bleeding because the tear was so bad.
After three massive pushes, my son came out weighing 9lbs 14 oz. I pushed out a baby that was about 10 pounds. His head measured 42 centimeters, too! It was massive! The nurses and doctors were in complete shock. The nurses were then frantically trying to get me some pain medication, diapers filled with ice, and spraying me with tons of numbing spray to try and bring me some comfort.
Recovery was brutal! I bled for about eight weeks straight. I had stitches in for about 10 weeks until they finally dissolved. I constantly felt like the bottom half of me was going to fall out. I couldn't sit on hard chairs or directly on my bottom anywhere for weeks! I went through several jars of numbing spray, about two packs of homemade padsicles that I had made, and used Tux pads like they were going out of style. I knew a lot of mothers who had given birth around the same time as me, but they had recovered a few months before me. Some mothers were off swimming while I still had my stitches in. The doctor had me on tons of pain medication, too. It was terrible all around.
I just had my fourth child, and she was much smaller than my three boys. After my first, my next two children were above nine pounds. When I went into the hospital in labor with my fourth child, the doctor who sewed me up after my first birth looked at me. He then looked at my chart, and then back to me. He said he remembered sewing me up, and he remembered my baby. A doctor who has delivered hundreds of babies in the last five years remembered my birth because I was so destroyed.
So don't you dare for one second belittle me about getting epidurals during my births. Don't you dare tell me that I have never experienced labor. You won't mom-shame me!