I went into labor and delivery with pretty laid-back expectations. I wanted to try my hand at medication-free birth, but was more than open to the idea of an epidural. In the end, I wanted to feel empowered to make my own decisions, regardless of whatever those decisions may or may not be. So, after 10 hours of drug-free labor, I asked for that sweet, sweet epidural. It was awesome, minus the cruelest things anyone could do to a mom who had an epidural. Those things, of course, were not awesome at all. They were unusual. They were mean. They should never, ever, happen again.
I was lucky in that I had some incredible people around me when I pushed my son into the world. My team of nurses and doctors were extraordinary; a group of people I had grown to love, admire, and rely on thanks to very difficult, high-risk pregnancy. My partner was attentive, loving, supportive, and nothing short of everything a woman could possibly ask for in a birthing partner. Then I had my two best friends in the delivery room; taking pictures and doing anything and everything I asked of them, including making themselves somewhat invisible when it came time to push. Still, there were things people did — well-meaning people; people I love; people who did whatever they could to be kind to me during something as intense as childbirth — that drove me insane once that needle was inserted into my spine.
It's not their fault. I mean, just like me, they have never experienced labor and delivery before (as an outsider, or personally). Still, a boatload of women would benefit from people refusing to do the following, once that epidural is administered. So, you know, pay attention and stuff.