03 October, 2010

Birth Regrets?

I know that everyone has at least one thing that they would have liked to change about the birth of their child. It could have been something as small and trivial as wearing their own clothing during birth, or as big as having to have an emergency c-section. Every parent goes through the regrets at some point or another, even dads...

So what is my birth regret? Well, when I got pregnant, I wanted to have an epidural. I had said from day one after having Reilly that I would have an epidural for all of my subsequent births because it was just too painful for me to deal with. That mentality lasted all of a week or two after I got my positive pregnancy test. I had decided that I wanted to try to have a natural, drug free birth. It was the way that millions upon millions of women had given birth before me, and hopefully, millions and millions of women will do so after me. I made a choice to do my research, come up with a plan, educate my husband, and have the birth I wanted.

Well, what happened was...

I read book after book after book on how to prepare myself for child birth, what to expect, why it was better for both me, and baby, to have a natural child birth. EVERYTHING. I bought who knows how many books on the subject. Most of which I still have sitting next to my bed. I started labor, and it was easy peasy. Even my "bad" contractions when we got to the hospital weren't THAT bad. I could still handle them. And then I went into transition.

Transition: Transition is the phase of labor just before the pushing stage. At about 6 or 7 centimeters of dilation, some of the symptoms of "transition" appear. During transition, contractions become very strong, and often their duration and frequency are less predictable.

At this stage of labor, the laboring woman may feel confused or even unable to cope at all. Legs and arms may tremble uncontrollably. Belching, hiccuping, feeling nauseated or even vomiting may occur. Most women recall feeling irritable and often become astonishingly rude. The coach will need to be particularly attentive and encouraging at a time when it is not going to be too rewarding to do so. The extreme changes in body temperature will require the obvious treatment of either adding or removing blankets.

Toward the end of this accelerated phase, but often before the cervix is fully dilated, the laboring women may feel the urge to push (or what feels like the need for a bowel movement). A couple of these signs, but especially the urge to push, often indicate transition.

If no examination has taken place within the preceding half hour, the nurse should be notified of the changes. Even if it has been less than the thirty minutes and the urge to push is strong, immediately notify the attending person of this sensation. The coach's presence is most helpful during this difficult time.

And then I asked for an epidural. I told Brad I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't wanna have a baby anymore. I was done. Why I didn't figure out that it was transition is beyond me, or anyone else for that matter. I would think that OB's at least would be able to tell where a woman was in labor by how she was acting. But then again, OB's and turned birth into such a medical procedure instead of something that a woman is born to do that it's kind of amazing that they know how to handle a natural birth to begin with.

When I had dead set decided on getting an epidural, and told the nurse, she made a comment that really bothers me, even now. "So you're done trying to be a hero?" Really? REALLY?! You're kidding me right? I wasn't aware that birth was something that gave you a hero status if you did it naturally. Did women hundreds of years ago get medals or something because they gave birth without drugs? Do they get them now? And if so, where the fuck is mine? I digress. That really struck me in a bad way. I feel guilty for even mentioning the words epidural. I'm irritated and mad at myself for thinking I couldn't do it. Bradford was amazing. He kept trying to encourage me to do it the way we had planned...but in the end, he told me that I could do whatever I want. And so I decided.

Luckily for me, Ocho had different plans. She was fast and furious and wanted to get the fuck out NOW. I appreciate her so much for that. She is the sole reason I got the birth I had intended to have from the very beginning, and if either of us should get a medal for being a hero, it should be her.

I know in theory, I have zero reason to beat myself up about it. I did it naturally, with zero drugs, and the only "intervention" I even had was a fetal heart monitor, which was strapped on with barely enough time to catch Ocho's heart rate. But I still do. And I know I'll continue to do so because it makes me feel like a failure to know that I could have not said anything. I could have kept my mouth shut and just dealt with the pain. I could have kept screaming my little head off to get me through it. But I didn't. I bowed down to "the man" and asked for an epidural.

Not next time. I'll be prepared next time. I'll make it through transition. And then they'll have to give ME the medal for being a hero.

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