It's like this, and like that....
I started this blog in an effort to track my experiences with pregnancy and beyond. Writing is therapeutic. Kind of like talking to myself without the people in WalMart thinking I'm crazy. If you find some entertainment in this along the way, then even better!
This is one woman's journey through unfathomable hunger, vivid sex dreams and a bulging belly...from conception to birth in 9 months or less...
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause; a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering; a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning or exaggerating pain, deprivation, etc
We went to our Child Birth preparation class this weekend, and I took a lot away from it. Of course I learned the process of labour - first stage, second stage, third stage. I learned some tactics for dealing with pain, some relaxation techniques and some detailed information about why women poop when they birth. The hubs learned to not take it personally when I tell him I hate him or smack his hand away from my body. He learned how to best help me, and what he should do if I start to vomit (the answer is, keep my hair out of my face, provide mouth wash and tell me I'm pretty). I learned 3 uses for a can of coke (or your chosen canned beverage) that do not include drinking, I learned how to massage my perineum (not sure I can go there) and why sex can induce labour (it's not just because it rocks your world, it's because of the prostaglandin) .
It was all very useful information...very useful information that we will promptly forget at the first sign of a contraction. And that's ok, because at least we did it. And even knowing what we know now will make us that much more confident, especially in these last 7-9 weeks.
The most important things I took away were a little less technical. I'm going to start with her reminding us that if we choose to try for a natural childbirth, we are not martyrs (and end with how labour is like an erection....see now you have to read on, because you want to know that one).
I found this martyr comment very interesting. As I continue down the path of preparing myself for the birth of our daughter, I can't believe how often I'm made to feel this way. Actually, that's wrong. No one can make me feel anything, but I can't believe how many times I'm faced with someone's snide remarks or backhanded comments about my choices. And frankly, it's pathetic.
I get it. Everyone's reactions of WHY would you CHOOSE to put yourself through all that pain and suffering for no good reason makes sense. Because to them, there is no good reason. And to them, it is pain and suffering.
Don't get me wrong. I am pretty damn sure this whole thing is going to hurt. I've read a lot of stories about women who claim they had pain free childbirth, and I only DREAM I could be one of them. But that takes a certain level of confidence, self trust and focus that I'm not sure I've got in me. But what I'm not so convinced of is the suffering part. I believe that feeling and experiencing this is something I should do to bring my daughter into the world. I believe the birth of your child should be dramatic. It should be memorable, and it should be intense. And granted I am in the 80% of people who have a "normal" child birth, without any major medical interventions or emergencies, I should be able to tolerate it. And if I'm in the other 20%, then I'll deal with that as it comes.
Sure, I know there are a lot of drugs I can take to make the experience less painful. And I may choose to go that route, I'm leaving myself open to that possibility. But just because I KNOW it could be less painful, does not make me a martyr for choosing to try it without the drugs. And frankly, I am sick of the attitudes about people who choose to birth the way they do.
There are a lot of things that aren't necessarily my style. I don't think a home birth is right for us, because I think I would be too worried about the "what ifs" to let go and surrender to the experience. I don't think a lotus birth is right for us, because, well ick. I am sure there are reasons for this, and good ones, but it's just not for me, sorry. I also don't think a scheduled, non-medically required c-section is the way to go for us. But what I DO think, is any woman choosing these things, should be given the opportunity to do so without ridicule from the people around her. Unfortunately, in my experience, this is not always the way.
I do get a lot of support from other people who have managed a natural experience and lived to tell about it. I also get a lot of support from people who went the medicated route, but understand it's an individual choice. However, it's the negative, snide underhanded remarks, to myself and those around me, that start to get to a person. And by get to me, I mean, make me want to scratch some eyes out (what, I never said I wasn't petty).
What makes me a martyr exactly? What's wrong with trying to do it without drugs? Who cares if I read a hypnobirthing book? I just don't understand. Why are my choices up for ridicule and debate? Is it jealousy? Is it anger? Or is it just plain ignorance? I am not pretentious, I don't think I am better than anyone, and I certainly don't think that getting medicated means you're any less of a person. I just know what I want for my personal experience, and I think I've gained the right to focus on that goal.
I'm ranting and not getting anywhere, but this is one of those things that's been irking me for weeks. People have opinions on everything, and they are entitled to them. And I have more than anyone out there. But they are not entitled to tell me about them negatively, and they are not entitled to put their assumptions onto me either.
At the end of the day I'm very thankful for that comment by the instructor. I am happy she put it out there because it means I am not alone. I certainly knew I wasn't the only one contemplating a natural birth, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who hears the comments. But at least I know it's not something exclusively about ME that prompts people to talk so poorly about the choices I'm making for my body, and our birth experience. The fact that she said that means there are a lot of us there, feeling excited about the arrival of our babies, while simultaneously feeling stupid or guilty or ridiculed for the choices we're making.
I wish I was a stronger person. One who didn't care what other people thought, and could just let it roll off her back. And I'm getting better at it. But sometimes, someone shocks you with their true feelings about your birth choices, and well, it shakes you up a little.
But that's enough of that. I am not a martyr, and I am not going to let anyone make me feel like I am from now on. Screw it, I've only got somewhere between 5 and 9 weeks until this baby arrives, and it's time to build my confidence.
So what else did I learn?
Well, I learned that I can do anything for a minute, and that piece of advice I'm going to take to the grave. She did an exercise with an ice cube to simulate the differences between focusing on the pain, using distraction and working with your breathing, and you really could tell. I learned that I like to focus on the countdown, and breathe through it, and that if the Hubs was in labour, he'd choose to simply embrace the feeling and know it would end soon. I'm pretty sure contractions will be harder to tolerate than an ice cube tightly gripped in my palm, but it demonstrated that I can in fact, do anything for a minute.
I learned that the 2 steps forward, 1 step back of baby's exit routine is not some cruel joke designed to punish me for Eve's mistakes (AHAHAHAHA). No, instead it's a favour she is doing for me, so that her dad may in fact get joy out of my body again at some point in life. Nothing like your daughter giving you the gift of an intact vag, and not a tear from hole to hole.
I learned that some people like contractions more than pushing, but that most women find relief in the pushing process (UH YAY! Something to focus on and work towards!).
I learned what a fully grown woman of around 50 years old sounds like when she simulates the different types of contractions, and what that simulation will do to a room full of men.
And finally, I learned that my vaginal opening was designed to stretch to exactly the size of a babies head, and that the stretching itself does not hurt. In fact, it stretches the same percentage as a mans flaccid self (yup, I said flaccid, twice!) stretches when he get's an erection. And since that does not hurt, neither does this. I also learned that I think that comparison is a bit of a stretch.
At the end of the day, I am really glad we did the class. Sure, lots of people told us we didn't need it, and I am sure we would have coped if we hadn't. Like my sister who was in labour during the time her birth class was occurring. However, I think confidence is a big part of this, for both me and the hubs. And I think anything we can do to help us build that confidence, is worth a few hours on a weekend.
Now, I'm off to find something else to be a martyr for........