Have you ever cried every day for 90 days straight?
Umm. Me neither.
But *if that did happen, it would be because I was facing a terrifying prospect of inevitable pain and intense suffering in the form of natural, un-medicated childbirth. Let’s just say I was looking forward to it as much as one would their impending execution day.
Scott and I chose to give birth at a birth center because we liked the idea of holistic care and access to midwives throughout pregnancy. Plus the place looked like a spa on the inside and had jacuzzi tubs. And they let you walk around during labor, which appealed to my love of all things free-range.
The whole thing seemed classy and slightly crunchy in the “rich-and-educated-hipster-celebrity” kind of way. Like a birth bed and breakfast.
At the introductory birth class, we were surrounded by beautiful couples with white teeth and tiny baby bumps who had rolled into the parking lot with their nannies and Land Rovers. It was rather idyllic for me, as I live in the delusion that after I have a baby I will become motivated to workout, have a manicure, push my expensive stroller into coffee shops for my afternoon latte, and make homemade organic baby food in my white, marble-covered kitchen that, coincidentially, has no dishes in the sink, ever.
*These* were my people. I was home.
That is until the midwife uttered the words, “so as you all know, we don’t have anesthesiologist on site, so epidurals are not an option here.”
All around me the beautiful people nodded in peaceful acceptance, but I was reeling at this unfortunate turn of events.
How could it be that my birth oasis had suddenly become Hades for my private parts? This *small tidbit* was definitely NOT mentioned on their website.
“What do you mean, no epidural?” I asked before I even realized the words were coming from my mouth. “Like you prefer not to give them?”
“They are of the devil.” the midwife replied. Or at least that’s what the intensely scornful look written on her face communicated to me. All around murmurs of agreement echoed in my ears.
Despite the judgement, I persisted. “So what happens if I come here and give it a shot, but cry uncle halfway through? Can I transfer to the hospital across the street and get some drugs.”
More stares. “Well, if you think that’s going to happen, this probably isn’t the right place for you,” she replied.
Nods of agreement.
I was officially an imposter. A wannabe birth hero who didn’t have the guts to not “tap out” mid-labor. And one who definitely didn’t have the guts to encapsulate my own placenta and then eat it for good measure.
Something in me snapped.
I’d show all those shiney-teeth people what I was really made of. I was going to be the dark horse in today’s society of convenience and give birth to this baby without drugs, come hell or high water.
I’ve got this.
It’s not that I think I’m better than anyone or have the disillusion that I have willpower.
As I write this I’m on my tenth Twizzler and have told myself “just one more” for about the last eight of them.
In fact, when I first made the decision, I was terrified. Cause frankly, I hate
pain any type of mild discomfort.
It’s why I don’t exercise. Or floss regularly.
But just as one has to train for a marathon, I am literally doing EVERYTHING I can to make this situation work out in my favor. I’m reading books, watching movies, talking to those who have gone before. I’m doing squats and kegels and yoga and supplements and prayer and birthing affirmation CDs.
Scott and I have even found ourselves sitting in a trust-circle every Sunday night, learning how to create a “bubble of peace” so I can have a “pain-free, easy childbirth through the power of self-hypnosis.”
I’m no hero. But I’ve got pride, goshdarnit. And that’s gotta count for something.
Especially when push comes to…err..having baby the good old-fashioned way.