Madame Wombella predicts pain in my future
posted by: gretchen
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.