Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Labor is Easy

I cannot believe Alice is 4 weeks old as of yesterday. Wow. Having an infant makes time travel at warp speed. I guess when you can't ever remember what day it is, that makes them run together more than usual. So now that I have a little distance on my labor and delivery, I feel it is my obligation to share my birth experience with others. Before you panic and throw your computer across the room, I want to preface all of this with the following: this will not include details of the ACTUAL labor or anything gross for that matter. It is more of an account of how things happened for me and why I am of the notion that labor is easy.
Before you get angry and start composing a hate email to me about how labor is not easy, it is hard and hurts, blah blah blah, I know that. Don't get me wrong, the physical act of labor is less than pleasant. Let's face it, there are some design flaws in the whole process. Things that are small should be bigger, and things that are bigger should be much smaller. Think mouse in a drain pipe, as opposed to Saint Bernard in a key hole. Get my drift? What I mean by easy is that it is not near as scary and awful as i imagined. I want to be the girl that everyone can say, hey I know a girl that had a super easy labor and no real problems. Please don't see this as me bragging. I am doing a public service for future mothers. The entire time I was pregnant everyone had a friend or an aunt or a cousin or a sister or coworker who had the most awful birth story. I heard about epidurals going the wrong way or not working at all, people going a month over their due date, and women who gained 75 pounds. I heard about babies being born too early and women's water breaking in the grocery store. The world is not lacking in horrifying tales of labor and delivery. Just today I was watching The Baby Story (i am on maternity leave, don't judge me) and this woman was screaming and panting and crying and ended up having a c-section. Recently in the news that crazy lady with 18 kids had her baby super premature with tons of complications. Heck, even when you go to baby class, they show you videos that are like war movies for parents-to-be. After the first class I decided I was in no way interested in going through what I had just watched. This baby was going to stay in forever as far as I was concerned. These "educational" movies were filled with women who were naked (of course I inquired if that was the norm, because i was not down with that) who seemed to be going through the most excruciating experience possible to bring their child into the world. Even the husbands looked like they were in pain, though that was probably because their ears hurt from the screaming and moaning at high decibels. Doctors and nurses were scurrying around and ice chips were being eaten and massaging of the back was happening. So naturally, after being inundated with this type of birth story from all sides, what else could I expect? I thought for sure there would be crying and screaming and some of that heavy pant-blow breathing. So at that point, no hurry to get her out...hwy would I want top put myself through that?
Though I said i wanted her to stay in forever, my tune quickly changed as soon as I got to about a month left. By the end I didn't care if they used a jackhammer to get her out, I just wanted her to vacate my body ASAP. So I waited and I paced and I complained. I bounced on the yoga ball and ate pineapple. I did things I choose not to discuss on my public blog. I did everything, short of castor oil and those weird herbs, to get her out. And then it was time and the day after my due date my water broke (which i was very worried was actually just me wetting my pants. thank god it wasn't). Of course, never being able to be easy, i was not having contractions or dilating or anything that is actually necessary to have a baby. I got an IV of Pitocin which kick started contractions, and can i just say, Ouch. So i then got that magical concoction that goes by the name of Epidural. If you are on the fence about natural childbirth, I would say that is crazy talk. Now, I am not downing anyone who chooses to go natural. It is really admirable and I am in awe of your strength. After two big contractions I was crying like a baby and my labor had just really started at that point. So as you can see, I am not the brave type. I choose comfort over valor every time. But after that epidural, things really were easy. I could feel some sensations but no real pain, just pressure during each contraction. When it was go time, I could tell when it was time to push, but there was none of the screaming and writhing I had come to the hospital expecting. We hung out between pushes and chatted. Anthony had snacks, I drank Gatorade, and we cracked jokes with the midwife. The fact that I was only able to move one of my legs didn't bother me at all. I actually thought it was hilarious when the dead one fell off the bed because the nurse let go of it. And those stirrups we hate and think we don't want to use? They were really helpful. I pushed for an hour and a half and then there was baby Alice and all was right with my world. I would have moved heaven and earth and gone drug free if I had to in order to get her here. But thank god that was not the case.
Again, I am telling my story because I feel like there are not enough positive birth stories floating around out there. I don't want easy labor to a myth or an urban legend. There is nothing less miraculous about birth if you get drugs or have an easy time. It is still a win. We all get to go home with a baby. So spread the word, tell your friends. It is possible for labor to be a positive and easy experience.


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