I just Googled “epidural needle” and now I’m filled with regret. My palms are sweating and I keep squinting my eyes every time I look at this image.
I wonder if they have different sized syringes for different sized women the way they have varied speculum depending on the size of your v hole. I just feel that a 5 inch syringe would slide right through my spinal cord into my stomach or other organs. I would research this further, but now I’m afraid to see any other images of giant needles.

Meredith won’t really let me look at pregnancy videos anymore. She used to like watching them with me. Especially the natural home birth videos on youtube. Grainy home video of women squatting in bathtubs or over piles of blankets. But now, even though she still enjoys watching them, she’ll turn the computer screen away and say, “Oh yeah, you don’t want to see this,” and mutes the sound on her laptop.

And, she’s right. I don’t really need visual reminders of women screaming, squatting, bleeding and crying to further scare the shit out of me. Baby labor already terrifies me. And I have absolutely no threshold for enduring pain.

Two months ago, I woke up for work and took a shower. As I was standing there I started to feel that fuzzy, woozy feeling that comes right before fainting. I turned off the water and got out of the heat, sitting on the floor in my towel with my head down. The fainting feeling turned into a pukey feeling so I moved closer to the toilet. Nothing happened so I moved onto the couch, but then the cramping started. It was so severe and so constant I was pretty certain my organs were failing. I kept curled in a ball but when the pangs didn’t subside, I made my way back to the bedroom to wake Meredith.

To avoid an all-day visit to the ER or Urgent Care, I called my primary physician and made an appointment. After a solid 7 minutes of torturous abdominal pain, it was gone. I had been lying in bed sort of writhing around and making pathetic whimpering noises, and then it was over. Meredith confirmed that we should still go see the doctor “just in case.”

As I was sitting there across from my doctor, explaining my morning experience it struck me how close I was to menstruation. I started to dread that question that comes at every doctor’s visit,

“Can you tell me when you had your last period?”

As soon as I heard myself telling the doctor that the period bomb would probably drop within the next few days, I couldn’t help feeling like I was that girl. I was that girl who sought medical help for period cramps.

I tend to do this often. I experience symptoms and ailments that seem completely legitimate, maybe even severe or life-threatening. But, as soon as I get into that exam room and start chatting with the doctor, it becomes apparent nothing is really wrong. It’s an upset stomach or a headache. Nothing major, nothing threatening. Nothing even requiring a prescription. Assuming I’ll be able to have a baby swimming around inside my uterus someday, the visits to the doctor for pangs and pains will only get worse. When it comes time to actually push the thing out, I’m really going to have to make friends with the 5 inch needle and just hope for the best.


  1. Suzanne · · Reply

    I remember dreading the epidural needle when I was preggo with Gavin. Now, it’s the least of my concerns. It really is no big deal. I promise. I’m a huge wimp, too.

    1. I know. You pass out. I will no doubt remain petrified of all things labor related until I’ve left the hospital. But thanks for the vote of confidence.

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