***NOTE: This is not recommended reading for first time moms. I NEVER tell first time moms about how much my labor hurt because it really isn't the defining factor of or the most imporant part of childbirth. Also, I think it's shitty to scare first time moms. So, if you don't want to know, stop reading here.
Monday, November 10, 2008
So, I've been thinking about labor a lot lately, and since I've been thinking about it you get to read about it. Not surprising considering I'll be full term in five days. I've been having some Braxton-Hicks contractions, some actual painful contractions, and my lack of continence has caused me to think my water has broken on more than one occasion.
I had Oscar naturally, at home. This means I did not have the option (benefit?) of any medically administered pain relief during my labor. That means no narcotics and no epidural. This was totally my choice and it is a choice that was right for me and a choice that I am glad I made. In fact, that is how we are planning this birth as well.
But, here's the thing. Pregnancy amnesia is a lie. Sorry to break it to folks, but I remember EXACTLY how painful my labor was when I had Oscar 17 short months ago. "Holy fucking shit I though I was dying" doesn't even cover it. Actually, that does about cover it. Sure, you forget for a little while, when you first see your baby. But the next day when your whole body feels like it was smashed with an asphalt roller? You recall.
In the weeks leading up to Oscar's birth I was excited and anxious. Excited to meet my baby at long last and anxious about what labor would bring. Because, really, no one can accurately describe what labor is like; no two people experience it exactly the same way. But, one thing all women who've labored can agree on is that it hurts. A lot.
So, I was preparing for this pain, a pain the most intense pain of my life. And, prior to labor, I'd never really had any painful experiences. Yeah, a minor broken bone, some stitches, a root canal, etc., but nothing MAJOR. I basically just told myself that it was going to hurt and it was going to hurt worse than I could ever imagine, but it wouldn't hurt more than I could bear because my body was designed for this. It would hurt 0nly as much as I could take.
And, the thing is, that was pretty much true. It hurt a lot and it hurt for a long time (I had prolonged labor). And then, I thought I was dying. Seriously. It hurt so bad, I was certain that I would not make it out alive. I was certain there was something wrong, something really, really wrong. I thought there was no way a person could possibly be in as much pain as I was in and survive. I know that sounds quite dramatic, but it really did hurt that bad. And this lasted for a little while, an hour, maybe?
And then, it stopped hurting. Like completely and totally stopped. And then, after the two hardest and most exhausting hours of my life, I was holding Oscar in my arms and ready to do it all over again.