May 7, 2014

No pain, no gain?

I was determined to have a medicine-free, all-natrural birth. Why? I felt I could handle it, and was scared of the idea of the epidural. I spent some time researching natural birthing, styles, hypno-birth, at-home births, etc. Part of my research included labor and delivery documentaries on Netflix.

Even the Duchess of Cambridge (a woman whom I respect, and we were pregnant at the same time) was rumored to be taking hypno-birth classes, aka, natural birth aka no medicine birth.

One of the documentaries on natural-birthing got me really nervous. I seriously lost a few nights of sleep. I shan't even name it. I am that terrified.

Lesson learned: Don't stay up watching birthing documentaries during your last trimester.

 It was about how the current system in hospitals about giving birth is flawed. Apparently, we're not meant to lay on our backs to give birth. It touted the current labor and delivery processes in hospitals as means to line the pockets of pharmaceutical companies. Scary stuff.

It gave me all sorts of anxiety. I turned to many moms to seek their opinions, asking a simple question: Epidural or not?

I got varied responses. Some said it makes child birth bearable, others favored the feeling of the whole event. Although, more favored epidural.

 My mom wasn't too helpful since the last baby she had was me. So, her advice was a bit dated. She kept saying that she had all of her kids (the three of us) naturally, and if she could do it I could do it. Really though, I don't think she had the options available that we do now. Plus, it was in a third-world country, so definitely epidurals were not offered in the mid-80's.

Mainly, the idea of the needle going in my spine scared me. It just irked me to no end. Plus, now my mom had stepped in and offered a challenge of "if I can, you can."
 Who cares right? I do.  I wanted to make my mom proud of me. I wanted to show her I am equally as strong. I have an innate need to please.

Of course, those five words put more stress on my mind, because I turned it into a competition. I began to think that if I wasn't strong enough to endure the pain, than maybe I wasn't woman enough. I can't say why it was a feeling so intense. It might have been those pesky pregnancy hormones. This really began to weigh me down.  Could I endure the pain millions of women have endured before me? Did I have it in me?

Fast forward to labor room around delivery time. The pain was unlike I have ever felt before. My training fell by the wayside. I was shaking, gripping my bed rails, wailing like a banshee. I tried breathing techniques. I tried listening to calming music. I did everything to relieve the searing pain in my abdomen. But to no avail. This went on until I was ready for delivery. I was so close, but had been having contractions for 8 hours straight!  I began to cry, and looked to my husband. He said, "you don't have to endure this. Modern medicine has come a long way to ease the pain of child-birth. You are not proving yourself to anyone, but yourself. Do what you feel is right."
I was mentally and physically exhausted. I couldn't go on. I could not push without the assistance of medicine.

And you know what?
I have no one to prove myself to, just myself. At that time, that was the right decision for me. It didn't affect woman-kind. Just me.

Less than 15 minutes after,  more than half of the pain melted away. I felt muted versions of gargantuan contractions. My insides rejoiced, and my courage was renewed.  I delivered my baby girl within 2 hours of that time.

Apparently, my mom didn't even flinch when I told her, she was just too excited to meet her granddaughter.

At the end of the day,

I am still a mother, and  I am still a woman regardless of getting an epidural or not. I made the silly mistake to compare the two.

Since then, I have relied on these beautiful words:

"A flower does not think of competing  to the flower next to it, it just blooms" Anon

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