I've been in a bit of a funk lately. I recently had some good friends talk to me about areas in my life where I need to grow up (important conversations, but never fun). Adam and I have been dealing with some work-related stress as well. Generally, I've just been kind of down on myself.
Additionally, for the past several months I've been spending a lot of time participating in some on-line discussions about childbirth. I've realized that I had a number of unresolved issues from the birth of my daughter. Everything seemed a bit out of control to me and I felt forced into some decisions I was uncomfortable having to make. Now that Adam and I are trying to conceive once again, these issues started resurfacing as fears about another birth.
Today, for the first time, I found myself able to write a positive description of my experience. I was responding to a question about Natural Childbirth (NCB) on one of the bulletin boards I frequent. NCB can be described as birth without pain medications or, for some, without any medical intervention. Another poster to the discussion had suggested perhaps women who succeed in having a NCB simply have lower-risk pregnancies. She wondered how many women who had risks higher than those considered acceptable for a birth at home or in an out-of-hospital birth center were really able to achieve NCB.
Here is part of my response to her:
I left my homebirth midwife at about 25 weeks [six months pregnant] because of high blood pressure. I usually say I risked out, but I was the one who made the choice to leave at that point in order to have more time to build a relationship with the midwives in the practice to which I transferred.
My active labor was...20-some hours long. My contractions stopped getting stronger and closer together pretty much from the moment I set foot in the hospital. We tried walking, other means of naturally stimulating contractions, and finally breaking my water. None of it got the contractions moving forward. After I was there for nearly 12 hours, stuck at 5cm [full dilation is 10cm], they started Pitocin. I spent about an hour not thinking I could make it--the Pit-induced contractions were horrible. When I was asked to give my pain level on the 1-10 scale (1 being hardly anything, 10 being the worst pain you've ever been in), I said 12!
But I did it. After the first hour or so, I started listening to my body again and stopped fighting. It still hurt, but I was able to take one contraction at a time. When I quit trying to figure out how I'd deal with all the contractions after the one I was in right then, I found my groove, so to speak. From then on out, I knew I could do it.
Three-and-a-half hours later, my daughter was born. I was amazed at myself, because I really hadn't thought I could do it. And yet, I did. I guess that's what I would have had a hard time with if I'd consented to narcotics or an epidural--I'd have always wondered if I really could have done it if I'd tried.
Some women may never care one way or the other and that's their prerogative, but for me, I wanted to have the lowest-risk, least-interventive birth I could in the circumstances. I was (and am) quite proud of what I accomplished.