So this is a tough one to write, and probably a long one, but it’s necessary to get this off my chest.
Over the period of my pregnancy I’ve had people ask me if I would be getting an epidural. As an honest and open person, I’ve told them how I feel on the subject. I don’t want medicine if I don’t have to have it. I would like to do this as naturally as possible. I don’t like needles and I don’t like the idea of one being inserted into my spine. I don’t take anything more than Tylenol on a normal, unpregnant day, or smoke a joint when shits unbearable (but I quit when I realized I might be pregnant as well as quit cigarettes a month and a half prior to finding out). Hate me for it if you will. I need more haters.
My choice to do this without medicine if I’m capable has gotten me so much backlash and hate. “You’re gonna want the drugs as soon as you’re in pain.” I’ve heard so much bullshit about all of this and I’ve had a total of 3 people to tell me “You’re strong, I believe in you. You’ve got this.” Those three people have been my fiancé, my granny, and my cousin.
First of all, last February (2018) I cut off the end of my left middle finger on a meat slicer at Macados. I picked up the end of my own fucking finger off the meat slicer and told my manager, who proceeded to freak out and had me hold it under HOT water. (Does anybody realize HOT water makes you bleed MORE?) I was bleeding everywhere and he was rummaging through the first aid kit. He starts to panic about it and I’m like, “hey, just do what you need to, I’m okay, but I’m gonna sit down for a minute, I’m a little light headed.” So, I sit down, he calms down enough to find what he’s looking for. I tell him, “I’m okay but I can’t look at it right now.” So he wraps it up and NOBODY is willing to take me to the hospital. So I called the guy I was with at the time who lived an HOUR away to come get me and take me to the hospital (which is not even 10 minutes from my workplace). He gets there and takes me. So far, I’ve cut off the end of my finger and waited an hour for a ride because my workplace wouldn’t take me, ate some crackers and had some Dr Pepper to keep my sugar up. I’ve taken first aid classes, so I kind of know what I need to do until someone with a license can help me.
Then, we get to the hospital and I sit in the waiting room for 3 and a half FUCKING hours before they try to take me back for an x Ray. I showed the guy getting ready to do the x Ray the end of my finger and explained I don’t need an x Ray, I’m gonna have to pay for this myself anyway because I work fast food and smoke weed. (If you work fast food and don’t smoke weed or have babies at home, I don’t know how the fuck you get up and go to work every day). Workers compensation won’t pay for it. He’s cool about it, agrees with me, and takes me back to the front. I wait a while longer and get fed up. Everyone in the waiting room has cleared out. It’s just me. And I’m still fucking waiting. So I walk out. I leave. I go to the family dollar and get gauze and peroxide and bandaids. My cousin (aforementioned) gave me some iodine solution because she had just done almost the same thing 3 months prior, but she smashed hers off at the middle knuckle in a car door. Fun shit, right?
I got back to my apartment with my ex and I went to unwrap my finger. HE almost passed out. I hadn’t even unwrapped it yet. I had just begun. Fine. I’ll do it my damn self. I unwrapped, cleaned, and re-bandaged the shit myself. I kept it clean and healed it myself over a 3 month period. Now I have a scar and it’s finally healed fully. The nerve grew back really close to my fingertip so it still hurts when I knock it on shit, but I did it. Through the nightmares about having no fingers. Through the nightmares about being pulled into the meat slicer and dying. Through the trauma. I did it. Myself. No medicine. Just some weed to calm the fuck down when I couldn’t take it anymore at night when I’d wake up alone.
My manager wanted to ask me (2 months later) if I was high when I cut my fingertip off. It was my second day on the job and I was unfamiliar with the machinery, left unattended, got everything done, and was cleaning the damned thing. I wasn’t high. I was stone cold sober. And NEW at the job. Training was ONE DAY.
Anyway, the point is, I’ve been through a lot of shit and bounced back without too much effort. I skateboard. I’ve gotten pretty beat up doing that. I’ve poured fryer grease down my leg and didn’t bat an eye at it, though I went to my manager and told her, went to the bathroom and checked it out. It was blistering, but I finished my shift, no tears, no complaints. The guy who saw me do it goes “you’re a little dangerous, aren’t you?” I’ve had tattoo artists tell me I’m one of their best customers because I sit so still through the tattoo. I use physical pain to cope with other pains I suppose. Maybe that’s not healthy, or maybe that’s the raw truth, or perhaps it’s both, but that’s human nature.
Physical pain doesn’t affect me the way it does other people. Yet here I am, still being mocked and laughed at for my choice. “You’ll change your mind about that epidural.”
Why? Because you can’t do it means I’m incapable? You don’t think you could go through that and be okay? That’s fine. Don’t push that on me. Don’t make your pain tolerance mine. Don’t assume that just because you can’t imagine being in pain like that means I can’t tolerate it. Women have been doing this SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME or WE WOULD NOT BE HERE.
“Medicine has changed and evolved and you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself.”
It’s not because I want to be hard on myself. I am fully aware that child birth is not painless. I’m fully aware that there are medicines to help with the pain. There are also people out here who don’t need those things. I’m not saying that if I go in and I’m in unbearable pain that I won’t take something. I’m not saying that if it comes does to it I won’t go in for a c section. I’m just saying that maybe we should be a little more supportive and uplifting rather than telling each other we can’t, we won’t.
But do you know what hurts the worst?
When the person you call best friend laughs at you and tells you “you’re gonna change your mind.” The one person you should be able to get support and backup from. The one person you’d trust to say “you got this.”
I didn’t really know how to deal with this, but I’ve decided maybe it’s just time to move forward. If the people around me aren’t going to support me or back me up, maybe I’ve not been wise with who I’ve surrounded myself with. Perhaps the common ground we once shared that made us best friends is part of the past, part of our story, but perhaps it’s time to move forward, to the next chapter. Maybe my chapter is having a baby and her story will never have a chapter like that, so the connection we once had is fading.
Maybe it’s time to move forward and become who I’m supposed to be. Maybe it’s time to stop letting anyone and everyone impose their self doubts on me and my life. Perhaps it’s time to move forward.
Until next time friend…