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Musings of a First Time NOLA Mom: ‘An epidural saved my life.’

Written by  LaTesha Charbonnet Gonzales
(Coach Heather helping me work through the natural side.) (Coach Heather helping me work through the natural side.)
Editor’s note: LaTesha is the wife of IntheNOLA founder, Jeff Gonzales, and editor of the site. She and Jeff have just had their first child, Gabriel Pierre Gonzales. Join LaTesha as she journeys her way through raising a child IntheNOLA.



So I didn’t do it all natural as I had planned. After some fifteen hours from when labor started, I begged and pleaded for the epidural. No need to smirk and say, “I told you so.” I certainly tried, but ultimately had to change my plans in order to keep my sanity.
 
During my pregnancy, I prepared to have a natural birth (when I say “natural,” I mean without the need for any medical interventions, including pain medication). I took Bradley Method classes, went to yoga, exercised and ate fairly healthy, did tons of research on the labor and delivery process, wrote a bomb-ass birth plan, and waited for my chance to perform in this “athletic event” (as the Bradley Method refers to delivery). And when my chance came, I certainly won with a beautiful baby boy...the process to get that boy was just different from what I had imagined.
This whole story actually begins about a week before Master Gabriel was born. On Wednesday, September 18, I went in for my weekly doctor’s appointment and as in the majority of my appointments during my pregnancy, my blood pressure was high. But this time, it was higher than usual and a great cause of concern for my doctor at 38 weeks pregnant.  I was admitted to Touro immediately to be monitored overnight. Luckily, the blood pressure went down some, so I didn’t have to be induced…but I wasn’t out of the woods yet.
 
My doctor wanted to see me again on Tuesday, September 24 and if my blood pressure was still too high for comfort, I was more than likely going to be induced, which I did NOT want at all. So we prayed, danced, chanted, and everything in between that Master Gabriel would make his appearance on his own time, albeit before September 24, thus thwarting the need for an induction.
 
Well, at 8:00pm on Saturday, September 21, I started having contractions. Not incredibly strong ones, but enough to make me stop and breathe through them. There was no pattern or strengthening and by about 11:00pm, I was able to fall asleep.
 
At 1:00am on Sunday, September 22, I was jolted awake! These contractions were longer and stronger. After laboring in the bed, on the sofa, on the toilet backwards, and on the floor for two hours, it seemed as if this was the real thing! We packed up the car and made our way to the hospital because we were about to have a baby!
 
We arrived at Touro at 3:00am and promptly checked in to the birthing room with the tub (YES!). And the great news…I was at 5cm, so we would definitely be having a baby perhaps by the afternoon! In the meantime, I labored on the bed, on a big birthing ball, and a little bit in the tub (I didn’t care for it too much actually). Hour after hour passed with the contractions getting stronger and closer together. At 6:00am, I had progressed to about 6cm, but the contractions were incredibly painful and I wondered exactly how in the hell I was going to last until 10cm.
 
The hours continued to pass. The contractions continued to come. I started to lose my mind.
 
At 12:00pm after fifteen hours of labor, I had had enough. The contractions were lasting three minutes with no breaks in between. I was exhausted and simply wanted the pain to go away. I needed a break and I needed it NOW.
 
And in walked an angel in scrubs! Even though I’m usually deathly afraid of needles, this needle was the key to my sanity and I welcomed it with open arms. Within minutes, the epidural was done, the pain was gone, and I had my sanity back. I was now ready to have a baby!
 
The hours between 12:30pm and 6:30pm were great. We finished watching the Saints game (which they won), got some sleep, and kept our fingers crossed that this little boy would be coming out before the night was over (his dad really wanted him to come so he could have a Virgo instead of another Libra like his mama :).
 
At about 6:45pm, the doctor came in to see how much I had progressed, which unfortunately still wasn’t all the way. Before recommending that I get Pitocin to induce labor more, she decided to let me push a little bit and thank god she did cuz he started coming! After about fifteen minutes of pushing with the help of our fearless leader on one side and my coach Heather on the other side, Master Gabriel was born at 7:06pm…all 6 pounds and 1 ounce of him!
 
The doctor quickly cleaned him off and put him on my chest. To say that it was “love” at first sight wouldn’t be accurate…it was more like “bewilderment” or “amazement” that this thing just came out of me. I mean, he had fingernails and eyebrows for goodness sake! It’s a little bit crazy to think that all of that was made in me! It makes me wonder why in the hell don’t women rule the world…do you see what we can do?!
 
Although labor and delivery didn’t go exactly as I had planned, the result was still the same, a beautiful and healthy baby boy. Am I still for natural birth? For sure. Do I still think that epidurals are the devil? Absolutely not! For those moms who are able to have their babies without the need for pain medication, that’s great. For those who need the medication immediately or after fifteen hours, go ahead and get it! No matter which route you take, at the end of the day, a baby will be born.
 
I think about what I would do if I were to ever have another baby (don’t worry, Master Gabriel is an excellent form of birth control) and I really don’t know. I was excited to let my body work through the process on its own, but I also know how damn good that epidural felt. And in comparison to how bad the contractions were, that needle going in my back didn't feel like nothing!
 
So, if you’re giving birth in a tub or lying straight on your back, with Pitocin or your natural hormones, in a hospital room or your bedroom, vaginally or with a C-section, you’re a warrior in your own right! It ain’t easy cooking that baby for nine months and then getting him/her the hell outta there. However you do it, know that you are now part of an incredible club of women around the world.


See LaTesha's previous posts, There’s no turning back now!, Why couldn’t we just lay an egg?, I'm doing it ALL natural..., After 8 months, I finally bought maternity clothes, and Gabriel is here!
Last modified on Thursday, 07 November 2013
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