An Open Love Letter To My Epidural

Beloved Epidural,

It has been almost six years since we first met, and three since last I was enveloped in your strong and loving embrace. I have been remiss in not writing you sooner, but my thoughts of you are like so many beautiful spring blossoms blowing in a gentle breeze. I grasp at the warm winds to gather them together, but the task, while dreamily pleasant, is often futile. I'm sorry, once again I wax poetic at the thought of you, so I will come to the point: I love you, Epidural.

Before my anesthesiologist ever introduced you to me directly, I'd heard about you, and I was intrigued. You were praised and scorned in equal measure — a compelling and unapologetic bad boy whose true self I couldn't discern through rumors and distance. "Useless!" some would say. "Incredible!" others cried. "Dangerous," hissed more still. While I attempted to heed all advice with an open mind, in my heart and deep in its core, I knew we were meant to be together.

You came into my life during a most painful time. While our initial meeting was not, strictly speaking, enjoyable (I'll admit it: at first you hurt me and made me uncomfortable), I eventually found that you knew exactly what I needed. You helped me overcome all my agonies once I allowed myself to let down my guard and let you in. We were like Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. D'Arcy, finding perfectly matched bliss only after setting aside both pride and prejudice.

You left after my child was born, and for that I cannot blame you. It was for the best. In fact, and if truth be told, I was better equipped to raise him without you there. Still, I thought of you often and fondly. Your being there with me as he entered the world filled that delivery room with light, for you kept the mad howling darkness and pain at bay.

Despite my speaking so highly of you, and so openly, there are those who would talk of our beautiful if short-lived relationship with derision and hate. "The epidural is why you needed a c-section," they'd scoff. I knew they were wrong, but their words left their impression on me (and unlike you, who left me with no long-term side-effects).

When I became pregnant again, those same people urged me not to go running back to you. They called you toxic. They said you would only hurt me again. But how could I explain to those who didn't understand? How could I explain the depth and sincerity of our love? A love so pure and so natural that it knits itself to your soul, becoming indistinguishable from the very fiber of your being.

Can a bird describe flight? A fish swimming? My love for you just is. Not only did I know I would happily welcome you inside of me again, I looked forward to it.

Once again, you greeted me with a kiss to my spine. In an instant, the memories came flooding back, and with them the familiar sense of relief so intense it manifested throughout my body as euphoria. "This was such a good decision," I breathed to my husband. Angel that he is, he did not stand in our way. He understands the powerful connection you and I share, and even encouraged our intimate rendezvous. I think he actually liked to watch us in the throes of our ecstasy.

This second time, you left me sooner than I'd anticipated: just before delivery. I was left to bring my baby into the world without you there. I cried out in pain. I cursed your name.

Why had you abandoned me to the burning agony you knew would follow your departure? Was it your own weakness? Your inability to face the pain of our inevitable and (since this was my last child) permanent parting? Or was it mine? Were you cruel to be kind, knowing that such a hasty and unexpected exit would make your absence more bearable?

Did, perhaps, you desire to show me my own strength, knowing this was your last opportunity to impart wisdom upon me? I'll never know. I don't presume to guess.

Epidural, I know you're not returning to me. I don't expect you to. Maybe I don't even want you to: our love, beautiful though it was (is?) was situational. We found each other, twice, at the perfect time. We parted ways because we knew that we couldn't last. We were meant for one another for a time, and beyond that designated period lies only bitter disintegration of all we treasure in one another. We were two ships passing in the night, but in that moment providing hope where once there was despair, joy where once dwelt only heartsickness. It is therefore, perhaps, unseemly to set down my love for you in something as enduring as a letter, but my nostalgia occasionally requires sacrifices to the altar of permanence. And so it is with a full and thankful heart that I say,

Epidural: from the middle of my spine, to the tips of my toes, from the bottom of my heart to (especially) my entire pelvic region, I love you. Thank you.

Yours forever,