During transition in my last labor, I remember being on my hands and knees on the floor of the hospital and moaning, “I can’t do this...I need an epidural...I want an epidural.”
But I wasn’t serious, and even in those moments of intense discomfort I knew I wasn’t serious. I didn’t really want medicine.
Fortunately, my husband and nurse were completely on board with my all-natural birth preferences and didn’t rush to get me drugs when they heard me asking. However, after reflecting on that birth and looking ahead to my next one, I think there’s a lesson to be learned.
I need to be able to complain. I want my pain and strength to be validated when I am in labor. I realize now that when I asked for an epidural, I was really asking for my pain to be validated and for more support through the process of labor. It was a cry for both praise and help, not for pharmacological pain relief.
So this time, going forward, I’ve decided to designate a “code word” to be used if I need pharmacological pain relief. This will enable me to whine and complain, to ask for drugs or an epidural all I want, but without tempting my husband to call for them. Instead, I will use the “code word” if I begin to suffer and an epidural becomes necessary. Something like “code red!” or “bananas!” so that my labor team will know when I’m not kidding around anymore.
If my labor team hadn’t patiently urged me to keep going without drugs, I may well have ended up with an epidural when I asked for one. I don’t want to risk that again. I want easy access if I need medicinal pain relief, but I don’t want to get it unless I really need it. I think a code word will enable me to do just that.
Did you use a code word for your labor? Would you consider doing so? Share your thoughts with me!