When Were You Most Frightened?

My most frightening experience was when I was in labor with my son.

I was admitted to the emergency room around 6:30 PM on November 2, 2012. The doctor who performed the internal exam said I was dilated by around 3 cm. They said that the usual rate of cervical dilation was more or less 1 cm per hour. That meant the baby should be ready to come out early the following morning.

It was business as usual at the hospital. Nobody besides me was freaking out. Of course, they had seen it all before. A major, possibly life-and-death event in my life was unfolding on one of their beds as they continued to type away on computers, scribble on pads, take other people’s blood pressure, and squeeze in jokes and gossip every now and then. My case was ordinary and uninteresting and banal.

However, because it was business as usual, I had to fill out some paperwork and walk quite a distance to change into a hospital gown while I was writhing in pain. I couldn’t laugh, but I found that funny.

At one point, I was in so much pain that I tried to yell, but only managed to let out a half-cry. The nurse told me to avoid yelling or crying too much because I had to save my energy for When The Pain Gets Even Worse. That terrified me. I was already in severe pain. The least I wanted to hear was that it was still going to get worse. But I appreciated the honesty.

However, that made me wonder: Do people die because of pain? Is it the acute pain that kills some mothers during childbirth? In the seven hours that I had before delivery, this unbearable pain was still going to escalate.

Good thing that didn’t happen exactly like I feared. My son came out 8:45 PM. The pain I was feeling turned out to be the final-stage pain (for lack of the proper term) already. He also gave me quite a bonus: I didn’t have to push. He did it all by himself in under two minutes without any pain anymore on my end.

So you see, this childbirth story started dreadfully but ended as any mother’s dream delivery. This is why although this experience is still the most frightening one I’ve had, it’s one of my absolute favorites.

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