I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, Emaleigh, I decided immediately that I was going to opt for the epidural. When I say immediately, I mean when I was about 3 months pregnant I had already made up my mind. Now, I do not want to turn this into a “mommy wars” argument on what’s right or wrong, that’s just how I felt at the time.
You see, ever since I can remember, I have always questioned my abilities. I get scared. I get nervous. The little person in my head starts reminding me why “I’m not good enough” or that there are so many people out there that are “better than me”.
Anyway, I had Emaleigh with the epidural. Our little 7lb, 6oz baby was here. Wow, that wasn’t so bad.
It wasn’t so bad until I couldn’t even get out of bed. I had to scoot around the hospital room in my seat because I couldn’t even stand up to brush my teeth. When we got home, I could barely even look outside because my constant headache was so unbearable. A week went by and I hadn’t been eating, sleeping and still had an unbelievable headache. Now, this is fairly normal with a newborn baby in the home now, but we knew something wasn’t right. So, my mother in law took me back to the hospital where I found out that I had been leaking spinal fluid. When they performed the epidural, the needle was placed in once, and then taken out because I jerked my back. (Have you seen the size of those things?) Therefore, that tiny hole was leaking spinal fluid. Sigh. Super. It’s not like you can just put a band-aid over that. As if the epidural wasn’t painful enough, I found out that I would need to have a reverse epidural performed that day. So, instead of shooting medication through the needle, they shot air through it to clog up the hole. Yeah, sounds lovely right? But, almost immediately after they did that, my headache was gone and I felt 90% better.
I felt better enough to decide that when we had more kids, I would NEVER have another epidural again. I remember going home and feeling so defeated. I was so mad that I didn’t even give myself the opportunity to prove that I CAN DO IT!
Fast forward 22 months and I was going into labor with Elijah. And, he was coming fast! The contractions were so awful. So awful, that for a brief moment I remember looking at Ray and saying, “I can’t do this, I want the epidural!” He held tighter to my hand and said, “Yes, you can…you can do it!” (Just a few moments later I found out it was time to push so I wouldn’t have had time to get the epidural anyway.)
Believe it or not, I DID do it. I gave birth to our 9lb baby boy…wait, what?? Are you kidding me? Weigh him again. (If anyone was wondering why we call Elijah, “Bubba”, now you know.)
It was this day that I was more proud of myself than I have ever been in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I was still proud of myself when I gave birth to Emaleigh, but with Elijah I pushed myself just a little bit harder…and was that much more proud.
Fast forward 5 years and I was going into labor with Eydan. Might have had to push a little bit harder with him, but nonetheless I did it again with no epidural. Another 7lb 12oz of pure joy had arrived.
Giving birth to all three of my kids was my eye opener. No one else was responsible for it. (Well, Ray was responsible for part of it, but you know what I mean) No one else can take credit for giving birth to them.
I did it. I told myself I couldn’t…yet I did.
My kids are the reason that I try to push myself more and more every day. They are the ones that made me realize that I am much stronger than I have ever given myself credit for. I learned a lot about myself in 2004, 2006 and again in 2011.
I learned that I am capable of many things, whether I believe it or not. I learned that I shouldn’t be afraid to step out of my comfort zone. I learned that if I have support around me, it’s much easier to push myself. I learned that perseverance and determination are much better than dullness and nervousness. I learned that my struggles are never wasted. I might not always get instant gratification like I did with my 3 beautiful babies, but I know there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
Let me encourage you. Whenever you doubt yourself, whatever it may be…push just a little bit harder. You might just surprise yourself.