Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor Day, Without an Epidural

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In honor of labor day, I am sharing one of my four labor stories. The last one. The one without the epidural where my husband chewed hot tamales in my ear and my mom got all up in my personal puking space.


(it's always exciting before the pain begins)


It was time to give the Bradley Method a whirl. I was willing to try anything that might help with breastfeeding. Despite the impression you may have gotten from my drug-filled labor with Elijah, I usually avoid medicine at all costs. I would rather try natural remedies before hitting the pharmacy.

I spoke with my labor-loving friends about their natural birthing experiences. Most of them convincingly talked about epidural-less birth as if it were the greatest experience of their lives. Birds were singing, they felt close to God, and it barely even hurt. I’m not going to call them liars. Because I think delusional might be a better depiction.

I read Dr. Bradley’s Husband-Coached Childbirth and felt confident that Shiloh would make a great(ish) coach. But considering Shiloh had once passed out during a routine physical exam and had nearly dropped dead during an eye exam, I figured I should have some backup. Enter Heather. She had attempted to have her twins without an epidural. She had been in labor for about 4,000 hours when she finally called in the needle man. I figured if she was crazy brave enough to go that far, she would make an excellent coach when Shiloh hit the floor.

(before the pain begin, but you can tell by the look on Shiloh's face that he's gonna cause some trouble)

I was induced with this overdue baby, Jordis. The first part of my labor was pretty smooth. I was able to breathe through my contractions and no one got hurt. I even asked the nurse to pump up the Pitocin dosage. She said that was the first time someone had asked her that. Seemed like a rational request to me; I just wanted to get the whole natural event over with.
By hour six, I was ready to kick Bradley to the curb and hook back up with Mr. Epi. But it was, of course, too late. Rather than scaring boring you with every little detail, let me just tell you about four things that Dr. Bradley left out of his book:

1. While you are in the middle of some of your more intense contractions, be prepared that your “husband coach” may choose to chew hot tamales right next to your ear. This sound will thor- oughly irritate you, but you will be in too much pain to speak. Instead you must violently shift away from him and cover your ear as if to say, “Hey, coach, that’s not okay!” Then your backup coach will give husband coach a dirty look and he will not do this again.

2. Do not be surprised if you have to pee four hundred times in a three-hour time span. Don’t forget to roll your IV stand into the bathroom with you, and be prepared to have painful contractions on your walk to and from the bathroom. As well as during your bathroom usage.

3. You might need to puke during this natural and wonderful birthing experience. Be aware that your mom may stand in your personal space and stare at you as you prepare to upchuck. In this case, simply shout at her, “Mom, don’t watch me throw up!” If she is a good mom, she will scurry to the bathroom and lock herself in it.

4. Toward the end of your labor the pain will be so bad that you may experience involuntary verbal outbursts. You may bust out with uncontrollable sounds like “Ugh! Oh! Haaa!” Your nurse will try to stop you from these shout-outs as they may push out the baby, which is not good when your body is “not ready” and the doctor is not there. Just continually remind your nurse that these wild outbursts are uncontrollable and that the baby is coming! The two of you can argue back and forth until the doctor gets there.

There were no birds singing, and it hurt. Did I feel close to God? Yes, in that I totally understood Genesis 3:16: “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.” The good news is that I upgraded my nickname to Wendy “One Push” Hagen, and I’m now a legend at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek. Well, not really, but it’s fun to write that.
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How was your labor? How did it feel when you pushed out a human being? Or when you were sliced open to pull that bad boy out? Or when you were going through all your adoption preparation? Do you like drugs of the epidural variety? I do.

P.S. This is what came out. Baby Jordis - although you cannot really tell if she is a girl or an old man. Gotta love newborns fresh out of the chute.
If you want to read more of my book go get it on Amazon or directly through me please. Cuz I need to pay for my kids' jacked up teeth. Thanks.
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9 comments:

mama marchand said...

The best part about this post is the stark contrast in your mood (and hair) between the first picture and the last of you. ;)

Nolie said...

I am a firm believe that anyone who volunteers to give birth without my lover the epidural is officially insane. When I met my midwife for this pregnancy she asked what my birth plans were. My only answer was a lover affair with an epidural.

Emily said...

I didn't have an epidural with any of my children - I was too chicken to want them poking a needle in my spine. I did have stadol with my first baby, but nothing with my last 2. I always delivered fast. They'd give me a chance for something and I turned it down the last 2 times and then regret it during transition. :)

L. Shanna said...

You are amazing. Crazy, but amazing.

TDM Wendy said...

mama m - yes, labor really messing up your hair. and other things too.
Nolie - Yes I was officially insane.
Emily - Too chicken? Oh sister, the epidural bring so much love into your life. And that transition phase - holy cow.
L. Shanna - You are too kind.

Wendy said...

WOW...you are brave! As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I told my doc to sign me up for the epidural! Cute Benjamin Button pic of Jordis : )

Kim said...

I had a successful Bradley birth with my first child. It went according to plan and he was out in just a few pushes. However, I would have to agree that it is more pain than "pressure". I'm thankful for the experience, and have friends who have gone on to have all of their children that way and have beautiful natural births. For my second child, I signed up for the epidural waaaay in advance and my labor room was filled with all my female family members and was like a huge party all the way till my daughter arrived. So I've had it both ways - I think women who go with natural births are both strong and inspiring!

Jessica Johnson said...

never trust a guy with two first names.

P.S. i love drugs.

Working Mommy said...

I went Epi with both...no. thank. you. I was also induced with both - that was the planner in me coming out. With my first, I pushed for 15 minutes...AWESOME! With number 2, I pushed for 5 hours and it SUCKED!

WM