Yesterday, we celebrated 8 months of Samuel. In honor of this milestone, I want to share a story with you. It’s the story of Samuel’s birth. No, I won’t give you all the grimey details that no one wants to hear about! But I do want to talk about birth because it’s something an awful lot of us women subject ourselves to. Everyone talks about how amazing it is and wonderful and beautiful, and don’t worry, you’ll forget all about how painful it was…
I’m just going to come right out and say it: Bull! It wasn’t beautiful, it wasn’t graceful, and eight months later I have not forgotten a single iota of how painful and scary it was, or how debilitated I felt. I don’t want to hear from one single person a scoff or pshaw. I haven’t forgotten now, and I don’t think I’m going to forget in eight more months.
The thing is, though…it was worth it. Yes, my labor took 29 hours and spanned three days. Yes, I was as sick as I think I’ve ever been. Yes, it was incredibly painful and exhausting. But in the end the nurses plopped this beautiful, healthy little boy into my arms and it was love at first sight, for both me and Jeremy. So I suffered through all of that and the payoff…was worth it. If I decided to have another child, it won’t be because I’ve forgotten how much I disliked being pregnant, or how awful labor was. It will be because I’ve decided I want to share my love and my life with two children. It will be because I think it will be worth it.
Ladies, if you’re pregnant or thinking about starting a family, let me share with you some things to make your labor and delivery go easier. I may feel that my Samuel was worth it all, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t change some things for a second go round!
- Love your Doctor! Seriously, you need to love and trust your doctor. If you don’t feel 100% comfortable with him or her, find a new one. Ask lots of questions of the one you have, and if he or she is part of a large practice, find out if your doctor will be doing the delivery, or the doctor on call. If the policy is for the doctor on call, meet as many of the doctors as possible and be honest with yourself–can you trust each and every doctor enough to see you through this? I love my doctor, I love the doctor who delivered Samuel. The doctor I got when I was admitted to the hospital? Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing his shift ended before it was time to deliver.
- Know what you want, and have a birth plan. We had a birth plan, but we didn’t do a very good job of informing our nurses about that plan. Which was fine at first because we weren’t yet exhausted. I think everything went pretty well for us, but thinking back on things now, I’m not sure that everything went quite the way I wanted it to. For instance, Jeremy and I neither one have NO CLUE if the doctors waited for the cord to stop pulsing before cutting it. That was something we both wanted, but after 29 hours and 3 hours of pushing, I was in no position to do anything but cry and sleep, and Jeremy wasn’t much better. If we had done a better job of informing our nurses about the birth plan, those little details would have been attended to without question.
- Take Birthing Classes. Make sure they are GOOD classes too. We had an excellent instructor and awesome students. Tammy prepared us for so many scenarios and many of the realities of birth. Thanks to her, I did not feel stressed when things weren’t going the way I planned. I was stressed for other reasons, but not because my ideal birth went out the window after 20 hours of labor!
- Know the process, and know what you can handle. There are two things I would change about labor and delivery if I did it again. The first would be laboring at home longer. I was a week overdue, so when I had labored at home all night my doctor thought it would be best to send me on down to the hospital and move things along, even though my water had not broken. I don’t think that was necessary, and if I do this again and the same thing happens, I will request to go home and check in frequently. The second thing I’d change would be to avoid the use of Petocin at almost any cost. This synthetic hormone made me so ill, which just exhausted me further, that the medical staff would be hard pressed to convince me to go this route again. Believe it or not, even with a 29 hour labor, I’d attempt to go all natural again, or at least wait as long as possible before using an epidural.
I love my little man. He was worth every hour. But I’m hear to tell you, if I do it again, I’ll do some things differently. And, I’ll do it because I want to, not because I’ve forgotten my experience with the first one!