A Traumatizing Experience
Things quickly took a turn for the worse when it came time to get the epidural. Now, I’m no warrior princess, but I’ve had my share of epidurals prior to this pregnancy — 3 of them. They’re never fun, but after the initial prick of the needle going into my back (coming from a person who abhors needles of all kinds), it was a pretty painless and straight-forward procedure — plus, I considered them a necessary evil, so that I can focus less on the pain and more on the arrival of my little ones (it’s a personal choice, don’t judge me). This time, it was pure hell. The anesthesiologist had to have either been having a really off, or she just graduated from medical school. Either way, it was the most horrific experience of my life. She started by placing me in the right position with help from the nurse — sitting halfway up the bed, far enough back that the inside of my knees cradled it. Then, holding a pillow, keeping myself as tall and still as I could, while rounding out my back. My husband was across the room watching with a sour face. Then, she numbed the area with lidocaine. After that, she waiting a few minutes and started the epidural. I remember feeling the needle go in and stop, only for her to jam it further. I started crying. Then I felt, what I assume to be the catheter go in and get stuck against something to the left of my spine. “Ouch” I said, “it hurts really bad on my left side. “Oh, you shouldn’t feel that” she said. “Well, I do” I replied. “What’s the problem? Is something wrong?” Jordan asked. She jammed it in, then wiggled it around a bit, and I heard her say, “I can’t get the catheter in…hold on I’m going to try again. She pulled it out and tried jamming it in a few more times. Then she pulled the whole thing out and said, “I’m sorry, but the epidural didn’t take, I’m going to have to do it again”.
By now, my husband’s sour face turned to his angry face. Again, he asked her what the problem was, and she started mumbling under her breath. She started all over — positioning, numbing, waiting. Then, she started jamming it in again. “Ouch, I still feel it on the left side” I said. “Hmm” she said. In and out, push, push, push. She attempted with the same catheter two more times. On the third try she forced it in, and proclaimed victory. “This doesn’t feel right”, I said “…only my left side is numb”. She kept telling us it was fine and to have the nurse call her if both sides don’t feel equally numb, in a little while. Less than 5 minutes later, I had a super intense contraction, and I felt every bit of it. Before the nurse could leave, I told her to get me a different anesthesiologist. A couple of minutes later, the same woman came back. Great, I thought. Just fucking great.
I’d had all I could take, and if I’d had feeling on both sides, I probably would’ve slapped her as a natural reflex, but I didn’t because I couldn’t. My husband was so pissed off, I could almost see his ears steaming. Then, another nurse walked in and proceeded to check her text messages, and he started turning red. After several more tries, he anesthesiologist, finally got the catheter in right, and both sides started to go numb.
The Final Stretch