J is at a friend's house, TH is off getting a haircut, the baby is sleeping. I'm so totally going to "rest when the baby rests," as soon as I throw a few thoughts out there about the last couple of weeks.
First off, the birth. Or should I say, The Birth. Ever since I posted the words "ALL NATURAL BABY!!" on Facebook everyone I know (and I mean everyone) has been asking me about why and how and when and why?? I decided to do it this time without an epidural. (And let me set the record straight: it wasn't exactly all natural. We kick-started things with Pitocin but that was the only "intervention.") The answer is...I'm not sure. I just wanted to. Over the last couple of months of this pregnancy, I began reviewing my whole birth experience with J, and wondering if everything that happened really needed to happen. I can't say it was a "bad" birth experience - quite the contrary. When I remember back to that day it still feels magical and joyous and ranks up there as one of the Best Days of All Time. But I still had this nagging feeling that as a first-time mom, I was more of a passenger in that ride than the driver. Whatever the doctors recommended, I just shrugged and said, "Sure." Induction because I was 10 days past my due date? Sure. Narcotics to "tide me over" until the anesthesiologist could put in the epidural? Sounds good to me. Epidural before my water even broke? Whatev. Episiotomy? No problem, I'm numb from the waist down anyway. And so it went. And a healthy child was born, and we all lived happily ever after.
I don't know why, but about 2 months ago, I turned to TH while we were laying in bed watching TV, and out of nowhere said, "I don't want the epidural this time. I want to Go Natural. Do you think that's doable?" TH paused for a few minutes, and said, "Sure." That was it. I didn't do any research on natural childbirth, or watch any documentaries made by Ricki Lake, or read up on all the latest literature proving that natural childbirth has some advantage over anesthesia during childbirth. I just decided that I wasn't getting the epidural, unless I absolutely had to, and didn't really spend much time thinking about it otherwise.
Fast forward to September 29. For a variety of reasons including some worrisome blood pressure spikes, we decided to go ahead and induce labor since I was 2 days past my due date and there was no reason not to. Although I didn't research much, I was aware that being induced definitely lowered my chances of an otherwise drug-free birth. I knew from being induced with J that contractions augmented by Pitocin are pretty intense.
And intense they were. We checked into the hospital around 8am, and by noon my water was broken and I was clinging to the side of the bed for dear life, questioning my somewhat irrational decision to forego anesthesia. Thankfully my mom -- who delivered two 7-pound twins and my 8.5 pound little sister without any hint of anesthesia -- turned out to be a phenomenal doula, basically talking me down from the ledge when I really started to freak about the pain. I don't why this embarasses me, but it does: there was definitely freaking out. And yelling. Not screaming, but...yelling. Like how they yell in the movies, you know, "Oh my God, I don't think I can do this!" and "Oh Gooooooooood, pleeeeeeeease let this end" and (according to TH) "Someone kill me." I'm not a super demonstrative person normally, I rarely cry, I hardly ever yell or lose my sh-- in public, so the fact that I was actually yelling and moaning where other people could hear me is a good indicator of just how God-awful the pain was.
Thankfully -- THANKFULLY -- right when things got really hairy and I was this close to begging for the epidural, the nurse turned off the Pitocin because I "didn't really need it." (As it turns out, the real reason was more practical. The L & D ward was extremely busy that day with alot of emergencies, and my dr. had so many c-sections and deliveries that the nurse wanted to slow down my progression so someone other than my mom would be available to catch the baby.) That's when I discovered the HUGE difference between contractions with and without Pitocin. Suddenly, the pain was more manageable. Tough, but doable. Within 2 more hours, I was pushing -- another sensation that I had NO IDEA ABOUT during my first birth. Extremely weird for me. It was so...involuntary.
And then he was out, looking just like his older brother, even weighing the exact same as J. It's probably one of the more surreal moments of my life, like deja vu all over again. Here we were in the same hospital where we had J 3 years ago, and the moment was no different than the first time. Awe. Elation. Disbelief. Feeling like the clouds had opened up and an actual angel had been dropped into our midst. It was like he wasn't real to me until 2:46pm on 9/29/09. I hadn't realized how much I'd been keeping this baby at arm's length in a way, because of our previous losses and the nagging feeling that somehow this was all just a dream, I'd wake up tomorrow and find that I had hallucinated being pregnant again. It's hard to explain. But I can honestly say that all of my fears about not loving this baby as much as J went out the window the minute I looked at him, and the fact that I delivered him "naturally" was the cherry on top. I felt almost euphoric, full of energy -- definitely not the exhaustion I felt after J was born. I was up walking around, eating, calling friends (updating Facebook via my phone) almost immediately, and I couldn't get to sleep until almost 12 hours later at 2am because I was so frigging exhilarated.
So that's the birth story. It was wonderful, but there were moments where the pain was pretty much horrifying. I'm glad that I experienced natural childbirth because I'm fairly sure we won't be doing this again, but I can't fault anyone who wants the epidural -- I didn't use the word "horrifying" on accident. In the end, all that matters is that our new little guy is here, he's healthy, he's gorgeous, and--knock on wood--he's already a MUCH better sleeper than his older brother.
(Everyone on FB knows his name, but for the purposes of this blog, since he's named after TH we'll be calling him "Jr.").
Practice makes perfect
8 years ago