When I was in the hospital giving birth to our son, I kept thinking of Easter. Easter was the first major holiday that we would get to celebrate with our son. My contractions were less than five minutes apart in the first phase and I was in a significant amount of pain. It was in the middle of the night and each time I drifted off to sleep, another contraction would hit.
My plan was to try to give birth without pain medication. Since my water broke several hours before and I was not dilated enough, I was given Pitocin to help bring stronger and quicker contractions. In my opinion, Pitocin was horrendous and made the contractions unbearable. But still, I declined all pain medicine, as I convinced myself, in my delirium caused by lack of sleep and pain, that medication would hurt the baby.
In that agonizing first phase of labor, I clung to thoughts of Easter. I imagined our Church’s altar, I thought of Jesus Christ himself rising and conquering death. I also imagined how beautiful our Church would be decorated and what outfit our little love would wear. I thought about the fact that our son would be close to three months old at Easter and how his Baptism would most likely occur around the same time.
I held on to these wonderful thoughts, labored for 15 hours without medication and then gave in. I was certain that I was going to die. Sobbing, I begged the nurse to tell me everything she knew about epidurals and to promise me that it wouldn’t hurt the baby. While I did not have the “pain medication free” birth that I had originally wanted (I am so thankful for that epidural!), those wonderful thoughts of Easter brought me through most of the painful aspects of labor.
After getting the epidural, I felt a surge of relief. All the fears we had faced would soon be over. The fear of an increased risk of Down syndrome from the prenatal testing would either be confirmed or denied and the diagnosis of Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) (aka our son was measuring much smaller than he should have) would either cause him to stay in NICU or come home on time. I finally felt relief knowing that pain and suffering, both in my mind and body, would soon be over and the promise of Easter would soon be delivered.
About one hour after the epidural was administered, the nurses rushed my doctor in- it was time to push! Another hour later and our sweet, precious boy made his way into the world!
Holding him in my arms for the first time brought indescribable joy, relief and happiness. Not only was the prenatal test wrong in that he did not have Down syndrome, but he did not have to be admitted to the NICU and his Apgar score was 9 in 10.
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!
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