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Madame Wombella predicts pain in my future

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Editor’s note: Shortly after Gretchen submitted this post, she went into emergency labor. Baby Archer is very sick and is now in the NICU. You may follow Gretchen’s updates on her blog LifeNut. Prayers go out to him and their family.

There is no escape.

Babies who are inside must come out eventually. Thousands of books and entire industries promise ways to help mothers eliminate the pain–or at least keep it under control.

When I was expecting our first baby, my husband and I attended classes at the hospital where we learned to remember to put the good pillowcases on the pillows we toted under our arms from car to classroom. There was something about breathing, too. It was more of a social event with other expecting parents than hard core baby-birthin’ education.

Labor arrived, and I coped by rolling into a silent, tight ball which baffled the nurses. Eventually, I hissed for an epidural.

My next four deliveries were a mishmash of natural and epidural-fueled. I could do it either way, and I did. I expected #6 to go the same way. It didn’t.

I had an emergency run-down-the-hall-to-the-OR style C-section. Delivering my daughter didn’t hurt at all thanks to the already-placed epidural being cranked to “elephant” level. It was odd, slightly uncomfortable, and a bit alarming because 10 minutes earlier I had been watching the weather report on TV. The pain came a day later, when the epidural and other strong drugs began to wear off.

When I read about women expressing a desire to have a C-section to avoid pain, I cringe. They are right about one thing: There is no pain during the actual delivery of the baby.

It’s what hits the next day, week, and month that kills you, and it is far worse than any vaginal delivery.

I find myself contemplating our new son’s birth in the very near future. I am having a repeat C-section. Before my C-section, I would have pictured dizzying contractions, effacement, dilation, stations, socked-feet in stirrups, the ring of fire, a baby warmer in the corner, and a rewarding sandwich after it’s done. I pictured getting to hold our new little one in slightly shaky arms and nursing right away.

Now, I am left with visions of overhead lights, cold air, blue drapes, masks, and the promise of a real meal once I pass gas in a day or two. My husband will be the first to hold the baby, which is fine. I will get to nurse a very hungry baby within a few hours, once I am declared “recovered”.

And there it will be: Another red gash, held shut by layers of stitch and staple which must heal cell by cell.

A door like that is never the easy way out, but sometimes it is the right way out.

Pain is in my future, no matter what.

Author: gretchen

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson January 7, 2009

    If I was a soon-to-be mom or considering getting pregnant, I would run after reading this post. Fast. πŸ™‚

  • comment avatar MindyMom January 7, 2009

    The second out of my four deliveries was by C-section and I much prefer a vaginal delivery! The birth (with epidural) and recovery are less painful! I don’t know why a woman would choose a C unless it was neccessary. Whatever the case our little bundle of joy makes it all worth it.

  • comment avatar Kristy January 7, 2009

    I had a vaginal delivery with the first. I tore a tiny itty bit little bit (because baby was slightly sideways), got one stitch, bled and bled, and ended up in another hospital with heart issues. I was miserable and the recovery was painful and awful.

    With my youngest, I labored for 16 hours, pushed for 2, and, again, the baby was turned backwards a bit and would not come out. Eventually, I had a c-section. The recovery was a breeze.

    I know I’m definitely the exception, and I would avoid a c-section whenever possible, if only for the baby’s sake, but sometimes, c-sections are better recovery-wise than vaginal delivers.

  • comment avatar Terra January 7, 2009

    Oh….No thank you! Loved your post though!

  • comment avatar Born2Shop January 7, 2009

    I delivered our son via Cesarian Express and I have to say, I had an easy recovery. Except when they told me not to lift more then 5 lbs and our son was almost 9. Hmmm… πŸ˜‰

    My thoughts and prayers for baby Archer, Gretchen and her family.

  • comment avatar Terra January 7, 2009

    I am so sad to see the editors note. I am going to follow what I can now. Please keep us posted.