When I went into labor with my first child, Alison, it was a long process. Almost a full day of labor before I was admitted to the hospital. At that point I was on my second night of no sleep and I was worn out, so when the doctor said it was time to get an epidural I was ecstatic. Once I had the epidural, the pain was completely gone. I was able to take a nap and even watch a movie. After a few hours, the doctor came and and declared that I was ready to push. About a half hour later I was pushing. All seemed like it was going perfectly, until my little one was born. Alison had swallowed fluid during delivery and was rushed to the NICU. I couldn’t walk for about three hours after giving birth so I was not able to even see my little baby. I also contracted a high fever right after the pushing was completed. I was not introduced to alternative healing therapies at that point in my life, so I was at the mercy of the medical field. The medical staff offered no explanation to my spike in fever. However, my intuition said it had something to do with the medication. Within days of giving birth I started to have dull headaches every night. These headaches would work their way up the back of my neck and settle in the front of my forehead. I thought the pain was simply the result of too little sleep accompanied by a fussy baby.
16 months later I was giving birth to my second daughter Sariah. Even though I still did not connect the headaches to my first epidural, I wanted to do something that would not prohibit me from walking afterwards. The doctor recommended a “walking epidural”. I gave it a try. If you are unfamiliar with a walking epidural, they do not last long and are typically administered right before the birthing begins. In the small town hospital we were at, they only had one anesthesiologist and he happened to be on break right when the epidural needed to happen. The baby was coming and I couldn’t wait that long. My doctor let me know that he could do it. At that point, I just wanted the pain to stop, so I agreed. Unfortunately, while the needle was in my back, I had the urge to push and informed the doctor! He told me to hold still, even though I wanted to push. The doctor took out the needle as quickly and carefully as he could. I began pushing without the numbing effect of any drugs, as they hadn’t taken effect yet. After a couple pushes Sariah was born, all before the drugs had kicked in.
I still couldn’t walk after Sariah was born because the anesthesia was just administered and it didn’t help with the pain since my labor was over. I should have just stuck it out! But the worst part of the story came the next day when I was home. I woke with an excruciating headache. It was more pain than the labor. I slowly (because the more I moved the worse it got) went to see the doctor and he informed me that I had a spinal headache caused by the spinal block. He could take some of my blood, insert it back into the spine, and hope it could heal the leaking fluid or I could drink a 2-liter bottle of caffeinated soda to shrink the vessel. I choose the latter. I was tired of doctors messing with my spine. The caffeine reduced most of the pain so that I just ended up with a dull headache everyday, just like the pain I experienced with Alison. Now I knew the headaches from the last year and half must have been from my first epidural.
For six months I endured these dull headaches. At one of the foot zone appointments for Sariah, I asked our foot zoner, Susan, to zone me as well. Susan could feel a “bubble” in my spinal fluid from the epidural and worked it out. Amazingly, after that foot zone I never had a headache like that again. For almost two years I endured daily headaches and one foot zone took them away. As you can imagine, I decided against epidurals for my next two children. With the help of the Bradley Method I thoroughly enjoyed these last two labors (as much as you can enjoy giving birth) without any side effects.