During my weekend visit to see one of my dearest friends from high school, I learned something SHOCKING.  We had put the kids to bed, and we were sitting in her living room with glasses of wine catching up and talking about life. The conversation eventally turned to childbirth. We discussed natural, medication-free childbirth (she is against it); I pointed out that I was in so much pain the first time around that I feel like I might as well have done it sans epidureal.

She put her glass down. She looked me in the eye. She had something to tell me.

You see, she works in the medical field. She knows things. And apparently, the reason why I was in so much pain when I birthed my son is because …

They turned off my epidureal.

This is when I shrieked “WHAT!!” at the top of my lungs, and probably woke up all three of the sleeping babies.

“WHY?” I asked. “Are they crazy!?? What the F?” And then, more shrieking.

She explained that –apparently — when you’ve told the doctor you would rather not have a C-section, and you’ve had a long labor and it’s apparent that you’re not progressing like you should, the nurse quietly slips her arm over your head and shuts off the epidureal like some sort of medical ninja. They don’t tell you what they’re doing, because then you would freak out.

They do it so you can push more effectively. I get this, and I guess I’m fine with it, but I have been wondering for two years now why I had such a PAINFUL experience and my other epidureal friends didn’t.

I feel validated, I feel conned, I feel like I did something crazy (birthed a baby) without being numbed. It’s quite a lot to process.

3 thoughts on “Duped.

  1. I can assure you I (or any of my co-workers) have NEVER turned anyone's epidural off without their knowledge. I'm not saying that its not possible that it happens, but I would hope that is not common practice where you delivered.

    I do think that turning the epidural off to assist in better pushing (especially to avoid c-section) is a viable option, but I would never do it without discussing it with my patient.

    That really sucks if thats what happened! But … I guess it worked if you were able to avoid the c-section. I can attest to the fact that they probably suck worse. 😦


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