*here is a guest post from friend Jenny H… please visit her here.

“I’ve always wanted to deliver without an epidural, but have gotten too scared at the end. Can you help me?” I ask the nurse with Saint for her last name. “Of course I can help you,” she replies. “If that’s what you want.” And I want.

I had grand plans going in the first time around. Then I got scared with warnings of “last call” and “once you pass a certain point, you can’t get any relief.” And I had no idea that when I felt like I was about to burst in two, we were becoming two.

I didn’t know when I thought I was about to die, I was actually giving life.

I never regretted the relief I sought the previous two times. I did what I had to do to chaperon the little one from the inside out. I felt the pangs of childbirth up to a point and at the last minute, I cried for relief. And as quickly as the relief came, so did the child.

“I’ve always wanted to deliver without an epidural, but have gotten too scared at the end” I tell my spiritual father. “Can you help me?” “Of course I can,” he replies. “If that’s what you want.” And I want.

He offers word pictures of Our Lord hanging on the cross and I embellish with scientific facts of the agony one faces being crucified. I read the words of a doctor as he discusses the crucifixion, A Doctor at Calvary: The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ As Described by a Surgeon . I think of the distended limbs and the agonizing gasps for breath.

Let’s talk now about Jesus hanging on the cross. When hanging by their arms, as a crucifixion victim’s body weight sags down, their diaphragm functions like a billows. As the diaphragm drops into the abdomen it pulls in air, so someone hanging on the cross had no difficulty whatsoever pulling air into their lungs. The tough part for people hanging on the cross was breathing out. In order for a crucifixion victim to exhale, they would have to pull up against the spikes with their hands, and push up against the spikes with their feet.

Every time he took a breath, that tattered, lacerated and riddled back was drug and scraped across the splinters and the rough knobs and spikes protruding from the cross. Each time he breathed out, each time he uttered a word, he would have to pull up with his arms and push up with his legs. That’s why I want to remind you just how precious Jesus’ words from the cross were. That’s why he couldn’t say more than three or four words at a time. Because when you talk, you only talk as you breathe out, not as you breathe in. Every word Jesus spoke on the cross was spoken as he was pulling up against the nails and dragging his back across the cross.
~Dr Keith Maxwell

With each contraction I struggle, whispering the sacred name, “Jesus.” I offer my breath, some 2000 years later to the One who struggled for breath, yet managed to speak.

And she comes, the smallest one, at eight pounds one ounce, and the hardest one…and I felt every glorious minute of it. I would have two more without the needle, only prayer and meditation. The last one, well, I could never find my “sweet spot” for union with God. And I begged for the pain relief only the needle could provide as I ushered another soul into the world.

Question for you:
What means do you seek for pain relief in labor and delivery?