The Drugs of My Labor

1. Fentanyl. If you had never done drugs, and especially hallucinogens I assure you that 9 months pregnant and 14 hours into labor is a poor time to start. Luckily I was prepared and all my years of moderate to serious partying kicked in seconds after I felt the fentanyl enter my blood stream. I looked at the nurse and my cousin and said in a steady voice: 30 seconds from now I will not be able to talk. For the next 90  silent minutes I felt better than I had for previous 10 months. Slowly the pain began to return and the drug receded in waves until I was no longer able to pretend that it was still working.

2. Morphine. No, they couldn’t give me another shot of fentanyl. Fentanyl leaves your system quickly and I wasn’t close to being ready for an epidural. At first when it was offered I refused because I was sure I would have a reaction to it and start itching. When the doctor learned from the nurse that I had declined the morphine she marched into the room and stood over my bed looking down at me. She said in as steady a voice as the one I had used hours early: you need this. You have a long day ahead of you tomorrow and you need to sleep now so that you have energy. She was right on both accounts. My husband crawled into bed next to me and held me gently and my body relaxed. Hours before we became parents we slept together cozy and peaceful. This was the best four hours of my labor, if not my life.

3. Epidural. In the morning I had progressed enough for an epidural. Finally the good, good epidural. Once I truly no longer felt pain and knew I wouldn’t for the rest of the labor my body swung into high gear. My body acquiesced to the work at hand began contracting steadily. The day was spent in a blissful fever in and out of sleep.

4. My daughter. 36 hours after my water broke. 2 hours of pushing. 7.2 pounds and 20 inches long, initials, G.B.N. Healthy, crying and small she came out perfect. At the time I didn’t know at the time she was to be the best drug of all.

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