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 place...to 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!