Wishing for death while giving birth
“Kill me!” my wife shouted. She meant it. I could see it in her face. She truly wanted to die. I’d never seen a human suffer so much.
Her body hurt more than ever. My soul hurt more than ever.
Our son was about to enter this world.
She wanted to exit it.
Anything to stop the pain. Anything.
My wife had leapt from her bed and was jumping up and down, thrashing her limbs, howling — her face contorted in a way I’d never seen and haven’t since. And I never want to. The recent news of a woman who committed suicide in Shaanxi province’s Yulin when childbirth became unbearable brought us back to that moment. It literally hit home. The 26-year-old had originally insisted on a natural birth but began to beg for a C-section when the torment of labor became insufferable.
There are questions about responsibility. The woman’s family and the hospital offer differing accounts as to who refused her request for the procedure.
(Media reports aren’t clear as to whether local or spinal anesthesia was an option — and if not, why not.)
But the point is that painfree childbirth is indeed rare in the country.
It accounts for 5 percent of births nationwide and about 30 percent in Beijing.
The figure is 85 percent in the United States. Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center’s anesthesia department director, Song Xingrong, told China Daily four out of five women who come to the hospital are unaware of it.
We learned it often isn’t even an option — about a week before Sagan’s due date.
The love of my life and I stood outside a public hospital, holding each other and sobbing.
We’d previously arranged for our son to be born at the same private hospital as our daughter. There are various reasons we’d elected against public hospitals.
One is they informed us there probably wouldn’t be an anesthesiologist available.
We knew how excruciating birth could be, having already brought our first child into the world.
The epidural was planned before the pregnancy.
But the private hospital dropped us about two weeks before the birth, citing an unrelated health condition my wife has that would in no way affect pain-free childbirth.
We couldn’t hop on a plane to elsewhere by then.
So, public hospitals seemed our only choice.
We were devastated. Horrified. Desperate.
Some people can endure giving birth without an epidural. My wife knew the stakes.
Fortunately, we found another private hospital that accepted us, last minute. It was expensive. And worth every penny.
We cried again. This time, again, for joy.
About a week later, we were sobbing once more.
This time, because of my wife’s labor pains.
At one point, my wife screamed, “If I had a gun ...” She meant it. I could see it in her face. Fortunately, the anesthesiologist arrived. Quickly.
My wife was able to bear childbirth.
Sagan was born in Beijing on Aug 16, 2015.
We cried a final time. A final time, for joy.
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Erik Nilsson Second Thoughts