Wether it's unmedicated, medicated, an emergency or scheduled c-section, at a birthing center, hospital, or home birth; childbirth requires a level of strength, resilience, and concentration you're hard-pressed to experience in any another situation. In other words, it's easy to get annoyed by anything that makes the superhuman thing you're currently attempting to accomplish, more difficult. If you choose to go the medicated birth route, there's likely to be more than a few infuriating things your partner will do when you're getting an epidural because, well, needles.
I've had two epidurals, and while my husband wasn't as bad as some of the other partners I've heard stories about, I was definitely hyper-aware that he was in the room and extremely uncomfortable. He has a huge needle phobia, so while he did his best to be supportive during the entire need-being-inserted-into-my-spine process, I was just waiting for him to pass out or puke or something. In fact, I think I was more worried about how he would react to the giant needle, than the actual giant needle.
A calm, distraction-free experience is absolutely necessary when someone is putting something sharp into your spine. You have to be as relaxed as possible when they place your epidural, and any muscle tension or flinching can make the process much more painful than it needs to be. So, in the interest of mamas-to-be everywhere, here is a list of things you should definitely not do while your partner is having an epidural placed, unless you want to feel the fury of a thousand suns (or whatever).
If you are anything like me, you were already afraid of that needle before someone even brought it into the room. So having an audible reminder of the fact that you're about to be speared in the spinal column is totally unnecessary.
They'll Comment On The Size Of The Needle
Yes, honey, we know. It's big. Please, for the love of God, keep it to yourself. I'm not looking at the freakin' thing for a reason, and that reason definitely isn't so you can describe it to me.
When I was getting my epidural, I was in the middle of a super intense contraction and everything anyone did was magnified by 100 percent. Every movement, every whisper, every anything absolutely pissed me off. If my husband had started pacing, I think I may have lost my sh*t on him.
They'll Walk Out
If your partner has a needle aversion, it's probably best for them to leave the room before the procedure starts. If they walk out while the anesthesiologist is doing his or her thing, it'll be unbelievably distracting for all involved. You're either in or you're out, partners. Pick a place and stay there.
They'll Pass Out
Don't even think about passing out. I mean, I get that it's usually a pretty involuntary thing, but if you truly don't think you can physically handle being in the presence of that needle, excuse yourself.
However, if you decide to stay to watch me have a needle shoved into my back, the least you can do is stay on your damn feet. Just sayin'.
If the epidural makes you queazy, I think it's safe to say you're going to have issues for the remainder of the labor and delivery process. You're about to see some far more graphic sh*t than this epidural, partners. Keep it together, will ya?
They'll Ask For A Play-By-Play From The Anesthesiologist
While some people are pretty terrified of needles, others find them fascinating. There's honestly nothing worse than finding out your partner secret wishes they were a doctor, the moment someone is putting a needle in your spin. This isn't an episode of Grey's Anatomy, people.
Even if you're curious about what's happening, don't ask. You can Google it later.
They'll Talk. Like, A Lot.
You may feel inclined to chit chat with the anesthesia team. Stifle that. Stuff it way deep down and let them concentrate on your pregnant partner and the giant needle they're using to take her pain away. This isn't about you, partners who aren't about to push a human being into the world. No need for small talk.
They'll Take Pictures
Yeah, this is a memory. It's a part of our birth experience, but not necessarily one I'd like to relive when I flip through your phone looking at baby pictures.
They'll Text Someone
Do not, under any circumstances, respond to that text message right now. In fact, why in the ever-loving hell is your phone even on at this particular moment in time? Get your head in the game, champ. We're having a baby right now, if you haven't noticed.