Susan's Blog

Thursday, March 8, 2007


In pain shall youse give birth.
Archie Bunker

Spending the night with a tennis ball
is a phrase that can evoke the biggest smiles from Ned and me. This phrase will always mean the night leading to Max’s birth day. I was having back labor, and our childbirth class coach had instructed Ned to use a tennis ball, to apply a firm counter pressure to the area where it hurt the most, the small of my back. Every few hours, and then minutes, I would wake up with my pains, and he would hold me or get the ball. At one point he took me into the shower and we stood there in the delicious heat, holding on to each other while the pain washed over me with the water.

This, we both feel, was one of the best nights of our lives, despite my physical pain. We got into a pattern of dozing, waking up, holding, and falling back asleep. I remember feeling that blazing golden excitement that screams This is It, when you know that after all this you will have a new baby.

We waited for Laura and John to arrive so that we could go to the hospital. They were taking care of little Nat. When they arrived, joking and laughing as always, it was funny to see them sober up as they took in my state. Serious labor.

We continued our holding-and-tennis-ball technique until we got in the car. At the hospital, I was not quite as ready as I had imagined. It is so hard to believe you are going to be feeling even more pain than you are at those moments, but hard labor is simply unbelievable. So much so, that we don’t even remember just how bad it is.

My particular birth horror story for Max is that I started feeling fiery, pounding pains again sometime after the epidural had been applied. By the time they rolled me over to check on what I was whining about, I was at eight or nine centimeters; the requisite pushing number is, of course, ten. Turns out the epidural needle had indeed fallen out.

“Too late,” my doctor said. “You just have to blow through it.”
And no tennis ball was going to help me now. Except, perhaps if I could have walloped her with one.

To be Continued…


Not fun to lose the epidural.

(Not fun to be told you can’t have one, either, when you’re being induced.)

— added by Julia on Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Ah, yes. My wife’s epidural wore off, and the second needle wouldn’t stick. She just had to “blow through it”, too.

We’re going to a different hospital the next time.

— added by Mike on Friday, March 9, 2007 at 5:50 am