I’m sort of overwhelmed as how to write this post.
Just the same, a little bit of anxiety has never stopped me from blabbing my mouth.
Months ago I wrote this post about my fears surrounding THE EPIDURAL (dum dum dum). I was so nervous about it mostly because it seemed inevitable and because the idea of having a needle stuck in your back freaked the crap out of me.
In the wake of this article I received a lot of advice on the subject. I also saw hugely differing opinions on the matter while reading and researching and asking what labor would in fact be like.
I seemed to get extremes.
People either liked the epidural so much that they would never imagine giving birth without it or they were extremely prideful about the fact that they gave birth naturally.
I’m not saying that there were not people in the middle. I’m just saying that over all, this is the kind of thing I saw.
Today I want to defend both sides of the birthing seesaw.
Let me say this: I was lucky. And by lucky I don’t mean lucky to have a drug free labor I mean lucky to have the labor experience I wanted…which just happened to be drug free.
I will be the first to let my pride down and say that it was not me who did natural labor…it was my husband and my nurses and God. I actually asked for pain relief when I was going through transition. I was desperate. I couldn’t make it. I needed help.
I thought it was all about inner strength and determination. It isn’t really.
My sister-in-law, Andrea, is one of the most driven and determined people I know and she had an epidural with both her children and I have to say that I admire her for it. She knew what she wanted/needed and she has two incredible little boys because of it. She is great mother…the epidural didn’t effect that.
It’s not like YOU yourself really go through natural labor anyway. It’s not like you (your mind) does anything. It’s your body that does it whether you like it or not.
To be honest I find that most women who had epidurals are much less snobby about their birth experience. They knew their limitations and this is so valuable as a mother. Isn’t it? Friends who had the epidural said that it helped them do what they needed to do. It helped them be a good mom from the start.
Who knows…the epidural could be the redemption of the fall, where it is said that because of sin women will experience pain in childbirth…who knew Christ came and took our sins away and in addition gave us the epidural. (just kidding)
Women DIED in childbirth because the pain and the bleeding and so on. I would have died from hemorrhaging…so in a way… even though I had a natural childbirth experience I was still in need of modern medicine to help me.
The point also needs to be made that pain and I have a little love affair. It’s a long story but I’m not really afraid of pain. What I am afraid of is being out of control. So the pain of labor was actually interesting to me…all the way through to the end. What scared the shiitake out of me was the unpredictable nature of labor. I felt totally out of control.
I was lucky to have a supportive husband (many women don’t), lucky to be unintimidated by pain and lucky to have wide hips…seriously!
Now that I’ve defended my epidural peeps I would like to defend drug free (I don’t like natural).
I’m the kind of person that wants to experience everything she can in life. Sometimes it doesn’t work out for me. For example climbing a mountain. I actually physically could not do that. But I want to experience all the depths of my humanity. So numbing pain during labor didn’t seem right to me.
Andrew and I had a discussion about death a few months ago wherein I told him that I wanted to be present when I died…I know…right? Obviously Val!
No I mean I want to experience death – I want to be conscious. Who’s to say that death is all that bad. Has anyone ever told you? No. It’s a mystery and one I want to experience to the fullest.
So labor – a type of death in a way – was something I wanted to experience fully…every single twinge.
And it was incredible.
Everyone should at least try for a drug free birth…I beg you. At least try for it. Broaden your human experience. Now that I’ve experienced it I wouldn’t do it any other way.
Each woman is an individual. Each pregnancy is different but I would like to call women to stop talking about the natural birth club like it makes them better and to not automatically ask for an epidural “on the rocks” when they get to the hospital.
Know yourself. Love yourself and your baby and do what is best for the two of you. Our birth stories are all incredible no matter how we get there.
In other parts of my world: masons are reconstructing a new stone walkway across the street…big excitement in the neighborhood. Who knows maybe 10 cars will drive down the street.