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Giving Birth: A Laughing Matter?

I’m not into pain. Not even a little bit. A fitness trainer once instructed me to push through my searing muscle ache, assuring me that “pain is weakness leaving the body.” My response: “This is me leaving the weight room and signing up for Zumba.”

Life’s full of pain. Why invite more?

It’ll come as no surprise, then, that my position on pain management during childbirth has always been an unequivocal “YES, PLEASE.” Upon arriving at the hospital to deliver my children, I told every human being who would listen, including the valet who took my car out front: “I’m going to need an epidural. A big one. Soon, probably. I’m one of those women. Just so’s ya know.”

I got my epidural — twice. And it even worked — once. The other time it failed and had to be re-administered late in the game. Which is really the only good reason for an anesthesiologist to be holding a long needle inches from a shrieking woman’s spine, instructing her to “hold very still” during body-quaking, soul-rattling contractions. But I digress.

My point is that labor and delivery are brutal. They’re absolute misery; I don’t care what anyone tells you. I did lots of unpleasant and involuntary things in the delivery room. I wept. I vomited. I may have soiled the delivery table; my husband has the good sense to deny it, and I have the good sense not to keep asking.

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