I got two really good emails from readers that asked if I had two good experiences giving birth, why am I looking to do something that could be considered to be radically different?
And that's actually a really great question.
Anyone who knows me knows I am the furthest thing from a hippie. I enjoy processed foods, I think fresh fruit and vegetables tastes weird, I like pain medication, I think breastfeeding is definitely not for me because I like my sleep and dad should have to do something, and I have given my kids Happy Meals when they were one. Yeah, I gave BOTH of my kids Happy Meals since they were one.
The good news is we're all alive, healthy, and fans of chicken nuggets.
But this time around I watched the documentary The Business of Being Born which is kind of Rikki Lake's baby. Mostly because it was free on Netflix that weekend and I vaguely remember it being kind of taboo at the time and something about seeing Rikki's nipples.
(Side note: you do see Rikki's nipples. They are huge. Good lord.)
So I go into a lot of these hippie things with an open mind but I'm also very practical and I just think there are some people who go the all natural route just so they can lord it over other mom's like they accomplished something far more noble than just birthing relatively pain free. Same with the breastfeeding moms, not all certainly, but there are a few who just inherently think they are better because they do it and are exhausted all of the time. For me, I tried. I tried with Olivia but it became clear that I was going to feel like a dog laying on my side letting a baby have its way with my boob and I would get next to no sleep while Matt sleeps soundly. No, I'd prefer to make him do his duty as well.
So I watched the documentary and surprisingly enough, I really agreed with a lot of the highlights. I'll be honest, I still really feel like I got great care both times I've gone. I have a great OB who answers my questions and I really enjoyed almost all of my nurses and medical staff. I say almost because I totally had a bitchy, awful nurse when I came in for Olivia who was just rude and you could tell I was a pain in her ass at 1 a.m. Like how dare I go into labor. Which, I get it, I also was annoyed because I was tired and I'm not at my best when I'm tired. But overall, I really had positive experiences. Something mentioned in the movie was that no matter what, a woman will never forget her experience while delivering her child(ren), good or bad. And that's so true. I'm 9 and 7 years out and I can remember every detail of both births like it happened yesterday.
But what prompted me to try for something different was the piece about how, while in labor, your body starts delivering oxytocin to your brain and that basically is what signals your mothering instinct, so to speak, but it also gives you this natural high to help get you through the most crucial pushing phase but also this elation at the end.
And I feel a little cheated that I haven't had that.
With Olivia, I got my epidural as soon as I could because I was absolutely certain I was going to die. I had been dilated to 3cm at my last appointment (38 weeks) and I went into labor right at 39 weeks (on Labor Day no less!). So I was pretty excited to know that I didn't have to wait it out, I could get an epidural right away. I also wondered why would anyone willingly go through pain when you can be pain free? I slept through all of my labor, and then I was threatened with Pitocin because the nurse apparently never checked me and assumed that my peaceful sleep meant nothing had happened. Fortunately, Olivia is a champ and this uterus can get things done because she was crowning when they checked me and she was born minutes later. But I had NO idea what I was doing and she was a vacuum assist, and when they handed her to me I just felt... tired. I really just wanted to go back to bed and I wasn't sure why everyone on shows were all teary and emotional. I was just tired and annoyed that it was such a big deal.
I also then had a little more than a year with post-partum depression.
With Jackson, I ended up being induced on my due date with him because he wasn't moving as much as I felt he should (turns out he's just lazy) and they said because this was my second baby, I could just induce. Which was fine by me, I was ready to be done. But being induced is intense and I'll be honest, I would never do that again unless I absolutely had to.Those were hands down, the worst contractions ever. I got an epidural again and it was super. For an hour. Then that somabitch wore off. It wore off.
It wore the fuck off.
I delivered Jackson not longer later with no epidural helping me and I fully understand now when women scream that it burns and I know why there is mention of a "ring of fire" in pregnancy books. Because it honest to god feels like someone has lit your vagina on fire.
But the thing about his birth was that even though I was pretty drugged up, I felt a lot different than I did with Olivia. I was weepy and reluctant to hand him over and I felt like finally- I get, I get these cry babies on these shows because I am a cry baby!
This time my whole premise for going as intervention free as I can is because I really want to feel like I did it. That I told my uterus who is really the boss and feel like I've accomplished something. I want to feel what it's like to be high on love immediately after pushing a little bean of gooey cuteness out.
The only thing I'm really worried about is that the fact I'm already in a hospital will make it easier for me to just scream for an epidural when it gets tough. I really wish I could afford a birth center because I think that would really set me up for success. Sadly, I can't do that and they don't accept payments. I also can't afford to hire a midwife or doula to help me, so I'm stuck with Matt.
So that's my reasoning. It's not that I'm turning into a hippie. Don't worry. I am still going to be that mom who has her husband smuggle in french fries and Pepsi immediately after I give birth, rules be damned. I'm also going to utilize a nursery at night because this chick is already counting down the days of TWO NIGHTS of uninterrupted sleep, meaning I won't hear Matt snoring or have pets sitting on my face, etc. It's like a vacation. I'm so excited just for that. Even if my girl parts are drippy and sore for weeks. I mean, it evens out.