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The Epidural

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I had made it through 39 weeks of pregnancy. My water broke and I was in labor. My contractions were painful and consistent. I was ready for pain relief.

Once you are admitted to the hospital, you begin to see pain charts in each room. The chart reads, “What is your pain level?” Ten is the highest and there are small cartoon faces that go with each number. As the numbers increase, the cartoons show increased discomfort and at ten, the cartoon has tears.

“What is your pain level?” my nurse asked me. “It’s ten!” I manage to say as I breathe through another squeezing contraction. “Let’s see how you are progressing,” says the nurse. As she checks me, her smile starts to fade. “You are only dilated to a two. What’s your pain level??” “It’s ten!” I tell her again, feeling a bit annoyed. Selfishly, I am pretty sure that I am in more pain than most women despite how dilated I am. With every contraction, I wonder how women do this all the time and why would they possibly do it more than once. My nurse begins to explain to me how I need to dilate a little more before getting the epidural.

I will admit it. I am weak when it comes to pain. Or at least I WAS, prior to giving birth to my three sons. Giving birth turned me into a stronger person. Now, when faced with a difficult or painful situation, I remind myself that I have gone through labor THREE times. I have pushed a little person out of my body through an opening that doesn’t seem to be possible, THREE TIMES. I am strong and I can work hard. No doubt about it.

Because of my fear of pain, I had a strong interest in the pain relief options that were available during childbirth. After doing some research, I believed that an epidural was the right option for me. My husband was not so sure. He was very concerned about the possible risks and thought that it would be a good idea to take an epidural class so we could be better educated on it. I was happy to take any class that would make him feel better about it because I was determined to get one.

So the time finally comes when the anesthesiologist is called and I just have to wait for my turn.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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