It all started at 12pm on Saturday 23 July. Those little tell-tale twinges in the tummy. They come once (oh it’s just a stomachache), and again (maybe I need the loo again) and again (bah, probably false labour?). Graham was diligently recording the intervals the whole afternoon until we decided at 8pm we should get going to the hospital, just in case…
They popped me in the waiting room to check me and I was already 4cm dilated! So I thought, hey maybe this will be faster than I think. In the delivery room, the contractions gained intensity and I started to breathe the Lamaze way: deep breathing, breathe breathe breathe! At midnight, the gynae asked if we wanted to burst the water bag which will speed up the process and bring on the real pain! But I wasn’t ready for the pain party yet so I said I will wait. At least the contractions will intensify gradually.
I was also holding off the laughing gas until my water bag burst, but by 1am, the breathing became more like gasping, and it was still intact! I sucked in all the gas I could afterward but the effort to stay in control was starting to drive me crazy. And at 3am, after 15 long hours, I finally asked for the epidural. The nurse very solemnly told me that I have made the request at a very bad time (!!!) — I was already 8cm dilated and the anesthetist who was around earlier had gone home so I would have to wait.
Do I choose to hang in there without an epidural and hope the delivery will finish quickly (just 2 more cm to dilate!) or go for it anyway even if I deliver in the next hour? I said YES PLEASE — I couldn’t take this for even another minute. Thankfully the doctor zipped down in 10 minutes. He calmly prepared the injection while I was gasping gustily behind him, and finally the magic began to work. I felt no pain at all! The next few contractions came, and Graham read the monitor which shows they are even more intense than all the contractions before. Still no pain!
For the next 3 hours, I slept, watched Cartoon Network, and chatted with Graham. It was unbelievable how drastic the difference was. Thankfully, the epidural worked like a charm because my labour took five more hours before Jireh was finally delivered at 8am! (Yes, TWENTY hours after the first contraction.)
After I woke up from my post-delivery stupor (I had started jangling like a rattlesnake after delivery and ran a fever), I was still amazed by the difference the epidural made and I was immensely thankful to God that it wasn’t too late to have it. I told Graham that without it, I would have just gave up on breathing, passed out and end up having to go under the knife. So that’s the story of my epic-dural. I am alive!