After my post about the horror of childbirth, as portrayed in my birthing class, an anesthesiologist sent me this letter, based on his misadventures in OB. I thought it was pretty darn funny and is meant in good fun. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. (On a side note, there have been some important breakthrough studies on the level of pain in childbirth. Read more here.)
Congratulations! You are about to become mothers. It's a momentous occasion whether it is your first or your fifth child. The challenges and triumphs over the coming years will truly serve as a legacy for your families, and I wish you the best of luck!
Warm congratulatory expressions aside, let's get down to the heart of the matter: you are all completely crazy. The screaming does nothing to help alleviate the pain. The hails of expletives do not speed the process up. And demanding that your husbands fluff your pillows 37 times per hour does not magically roll the clock back 9 months.
Please do not misunderstand me. I can empathize with your situation. (I had to take entire classes on feigning empathy in medical school. And I aced them!) I'm here to help you!
Do you remember the day that epidurals and c-sections were discussed in your birthing class? It was probably right before you decided that you want to have a "natural" birthing experience. You wanted to practice your rhythmic breathing and balance on your birthing ball. You may have discussed having some raspberry tea during labor to help you relax. Your "birthing plan" may also have involved the use of a mirror so as to witness the unspeakable horror associated with your current endeavor. Well, you should have paid more attention to the epidural discussion 6 months ago. As you may be realizing this very minute as you sit on L&D, your birthing plan has just been flushed down the toilet.
I know that things don't always go as planned and you might have some frustration because of that. But here's a concept that you need to warm up to very rapidly: I am the only friend you have right now. Your OB/Gyn is hiding in the lounge waiting until the last possible moment to come into the room to deliver your spawn. Your nurse is out at the nurses' station trying to figure out what kind of concealer and foundation you used to hide your horns, cloven hooves, and forked tongue. And I just saw your husband out in the hall flipping through the yellow pages to find a divorce attorney. I am the only person who can help you.
So I implore you: let me help you!
When you have abandoned your natural birthing plan and beg for an epidural, it wouldn't hurt to be nice to me when I come into your room to place it. Do not blame me that it should have been placed 2 hours ago when you were still refusing modern medicine.
I know that you're uncomfortable. I also know that I didn't show you the giant 6-inch long needle I have to shove into your spine (for this would have made you lose the last ounce of sanity you have), but just try to remember that there are needles involved. Your epidural is not placed using the whiskers of kittens and fluffy piles of goose down. So for the love of all that is good and holy: HOLD STILL. In 2 minutes, you can wiggle and squirm all you want.
In conclusion, just remember that I'm on your team. With just a little bit of cooperation, you'll be poised to enjoy the arrival of your new family addition. You might even want to name your baby after me, but I'll leave that up to your discretion. Congratulations once again--and next time just give me a call and we'll schedule an elective c-section and dispense with all of this in advance.