Mar 24, 2010

Painful Ponderances

I am 37 1/2 weeks pregnant. (Actually, tomorrow it'll be 38 even.)
This is boy number four. Pregnancy #4. Birth numero quatro.

A few days ago, I was feeling sorta brave. I had a few ideas about this bambino. See, I keep hearing that the more babies you have, the easier it's supposed to get. Easier and quicker.

I decided this time I'd try to stay home a little longer. Ya know--labor at home instead of at the hospital. Then just show up and pop the kid out. (The hospital is, afterall, literally just across the street from where I'm sitting at this very moment.) Two minutes walking. Three or four waddling. (Maybe six minutes if you factor in the damnable snow falling at the moment.)

So I've, periodically, been telling myself: Be less of a wuss. Labor at home a bit! Spend less time at the hospital begging for an epidural!!! (And oh, how I beg!)

Then I went to my appointment on Tuesday morning.
"The results are back for your GBS test. You're positive. So as soon as you're in labor, come right in. You need to be on antibiotics for at least four hours pre-delivery or the pediatricians get antsy."

Oh fine. There went that plan. Oh well! But this time, really--I'm going to be brave. (I told myself this despite having earlier met with the anesthesiologist and telling her "I'm not brave. Please start my epidural immediately. Today would be great!")

Then came yesterday morning. A contraction woke me up. A real contraction. A painful contraction.
(It would have had to be to get me to open my eyes at the un-godly hour of 6 a.m.)

I lay their moaning trying to shift my position enough to relieve some of the pain. It didn't work. This one really hurt. And it was a long one.

All of the sudden, my modicum of stoicism left me.
The veil was lifted and I remembered the actual, real pain of labor that you forget when you hold your newborn.
I was Eve--thrust out of the Garden into the cold, cruel world.
I was vulnerable.
Nothing about what was happening was bearable in any way, shape, or form.
This was REAL pain.
Vomit inducing pain.
And I didn't like it and I didn't want ANY more of it.

Finally, the contraction ended. Finally, I could fall back asleep. But later that morning I made sure to shave my legs in the shower. Just in case that one contraction was a sign of things to come. (I should be so lucky to be 2 1/2 weeks early...)

But the experience left me contemplative. Why am I such a wuss? Why am I so scared of pain? Why do I have such a low, low pain tolerance? Surely it's all in my mind. Surely my mind is powerful enough to take me to another help me bare pain a little better. (Like Westley in the Pit of Despair.)
Afterall, other people do it all the time! Why can't I do it?!? I CAN do it, it's just that I don't WANT to do it!! (This is the same way I feel about running, btw.)

That's why last night Doug found me researching Hypno-birthing on the Internet. The claim is that it's pain free. That you can experience birth with only a small amount of discomfort.

And HEY, I can HANDLE a small amount of discomfort.
With the help of self-hypnosis, I can do ANYTHING!!!
I'm not inherently inept!
My body is young and capable and strong...ish!
(You can't prove that it's not!)

Unfortunately for me, it's a little too late.

I'm out of time.
I haven't prepared...haven't listened to any tapes or practiced any deep, meditative breathing.
Doug couldn't find any free applicable Podcasts on i-Tunes when he looked, and I'm to cheap and too skeptical to buy something from the Internet "sight-unseen".

And so, history will repeat itself.

My body will start laboring and my mind will start frantically waving a white flag and begging for DRUGS to be administered as soon as possible!

And until they are, (and even after) I'll suffer through the pain (even with epidurals, there is plenty of pain) and just try to make it through to the end, the beautiful little reward I'll hold in my arms. ("Twu Wuv", if you will.)

So it looks like, as Westley says, I'm headed not to the death, but "TO THE PAIN!"

So please wish me luck!

...And a fast acting epidural!!!

Post Script: Wanna know what I think is a tragedy? That after making one of the greatest films known to humankind, Cary Elwes (Westley) and Robin Wright-Penn (Buttercup) didn't go on to super-stardom. Or at the very least make another British romantic comedy together!


Anonymous said...

Wow... you may have had the baby by now. I hope things went well. I hope you went with the drugs.... I never had a chance to have any and I've told Hillari... you can be brave at another time.. be painless enough to enjoy the moment!!!


Melissa Abby said...

Good luck Emily :) Is that really snow in the back of your picture? In March, yuck! Get back to CA already!!!

acte gratuit said...

Claudia, unfortunately I'm not in labor yet. And Melissa, yes that is stinkin' snow in the background. Did I mention both facts are making me a tiny bit cranky!?!?!?

Jessi said...

I love the Princess Bride references. "To the pain" sums it all up.

Good luck!!!

DianeM said...

Can I just jump on my soap box for a minute?

There is nothing that irritates me more than when people think the only way to have a "real" labor is to do it drug free. WTH?!! The goal of your labor is to have a healthy baby, but I think having a happy mommy is up there in importance too. You don't need all the pain to appreciate the end result. How insulting is that? Go get your drugs, float off to la la land for a while, then fall in love with your baby when he arrives...all PAIN FREE. What a concept. Pretty sure that's why they invented the stuff. They don't give out medals at the end, you have nothing to prove. You think you're a wimp. You're not. You're a normal person who avoids pain when possible. How crazy is that? Good luck, can't wait to meet him. Skype me!!

@lliE from FreshlyCompleted said...

Ah, yes, "to the pain". As I read your blog I think you and I are more similar than I ever knew. I'm a complete wimp, who has been blessed with a skinny body, who refuses to ever exercise, because...who knows why, I suppose lazines+ skinniness = enough excuses not to. But, I'm totally wimpy and I (sometimes) wish I weren't.

annie said...

Emily- You may or may not know I have birthed 7, yes SEVEN children. (Four of them boys, so I know your life!) I did the first six natural, and the last with the blessed drugs. I say go for the drugs! If, (a big IF) we have anymore it will be drugs all the way. I hate labor/delivery more than ANYTHING.

Mel said...

I labored with Landon at home & I had GBS. The lame ass nurses sent me home cause I was not in active labor.(looking back now I should have stayed; I should have put my foot down but I thought the nurses knew best) So I suffered at my mom's on Emma's birthday & then finally I went to the hospital & I was at 10!!!! No time for ANYTHING!! I was cursing at the nurses the whole time!!! He was rushed to NICU right away because his lungs had tiny holes in them & he could not exhale the air. After he was cured of that he had to stay 3 more extra days to check any infections he might have due to the GBS. It sucked!! So I guess what I am saying is, get to the hospital ASAP don't let them send you home if they say you are not in active labor & take all the DRUGS they offer!!!! Landon is fine now & lucky no relapse ever of his condition but I am so thankful I left when I did otherwise there would be no Landon :( Sorry, not trying to bum you out just wanted to tell my story.. I'll be thinking about you! Love ya chickie!!

Anonymous said...

I must chime in and agree with everyone.....sooooooo much!!!! I only had my natural because I had the babies to fast and life was different then. I tell my daughters... you suffered enough being preganet. Heather actually has C-Sections so labor there. I think a tired miserable new mom becuase of labor and all that pain does not give you all the best start you can. Sorry you haven't had your baby... I don't think I would have gone home.... I may have said NO call my doctor... I'm staying.
Hope to hear soon that you have a baby.

Robert and Tannya said...

:) boy #4! You go girl! My friend just had girl #4 maybe you guys could do some type of swap. her husband wants her to try for a boy "1 more time". (Like she hasn't heard that before) Good luck!

Bartimaeus said...

Good rant Di, but she is a wimp and no Em you can't handle any "discomfort".

WOG said...

cant wait untill that soapbox gets put in your mouth, DianeM.

Now go rinse out your mouth you babylon promoter

When HE returns again if your still on that box HE will shove it in your mouth!!

Anonymous said...

Wow... or you could take a few moments and ask God why it's so painful and why He made us this way. Obviously He didn't know what He was doing according to this crowd. Have you ever heard "do not rely in the arm of flesh" or "do not put your trust in man" or "the wise heed God's council"? No? Huh.... You think those drugs don't effect you or baby, then why take them?

mountainmama said...

You look fantastic! I love your belly! I used mental imagery with both of my kids. It helped a little but in the end it hurt like hell. You are not a wuss - you are a Mother which automatically makes you a Superhero (even superheros do not like pain)!

Linz said...

Em - no matter what you say or do during labor doesn't matter. The important thing is that you make it an experience that you can look back on with happiness. If that means drugs - do it. Good luck!!

marissa said...

I hope this baby comes soon for you! By the way, I took hypno birthing classes and it didn't work for me.....and I am way tougher than you :)

DianeM said...

Wow Wog, I can't tell you how you've put a smile on my face today. Nothing makes me laugh more than when someone who reeks of some sort of Christian beliefs and/or upbringing believes that Jesus Christ will use actual violence against me...all for a simple opinion on pain management. As if He really cares. So Classy.