09 December 2008

Reb. Mary's news sends me into a dither

I hate knowing that someone is in labor. I am a mess until I get the baby report. I keep checking the clock, my stomach is all twisty, I'll even start sweating or breathing shallowly or crying if I think about it too much. I have to force myself not to call the grandma every fifteen minutes to find out if it's over. All I can think is, someone is suffering terribly right now. How can I go about my normal life knowing that something awful is happening? I could never be a doula. I'd spend the whole time hysterical and begging God for mercy. I can't think about my daughters giving birth some day because of the psychosomatic risks. They are five and two, so now is probably a good time to start panicking about it. Must keep typing.

Once I got word of a very bad labor experience which of course got me upset, and I mentioned it to a friend who had never given birth. This person suspected the traumatized mother to be someone on whom I wished some adversity and asked if I were really just sad or if there were some schadenfreude involved. I had to calm myself down by reminding myself that the experience of labor changes one's perception of it drastically. Labor is not a this stinks bad day or a gol-durnit clogged toilet. There is truly not a person in the world on whom I would wish a "bad" labor. They are all bad. It is far too terrible to wish it any worse, and I speak as someone who has never had a complicated delivery. I wish no one had to go through it, especially my favorite person, me.

The scary thing is that I want to say no one deserves to go through childbirth. The truth, ye who think of sin but lightly, is that childbirth is exactly what we deserve.

Anyway. The worse the labor, the worse the fear of going through it again. And that's a fear that just doesn't need to get any worse.


Melanie said...

You know, I actually have a dear friend that "enjoys" labor. Yes, and I have been in her home to witness it. She actually looks forward to it. Yes, she says it hurts, but somehow the experience and miracle of it all must overcome any of the hurt. If you're reading this friend, you're nuts!!! ;)

I on the other hand HATE let me say it again, I HAAATTTTEEE labor. There is truly no pain like it. It's like stubbing your toe, slamming your finger in a car door, being punched repeatedly..all in your belly.

Im glad Im not the only one who detests it this much...I somehow always felt that I needed to be a "good Christian wife" and speak peacefully of labor as a blessing. ha.

Pam said...

Hmmm, having had five 'natural' labors/deliveries, one induced with no pain relief, one induced with pain relief given at the point when it felt like I could die, and one with pain relief given so early I never hurt, I am really not sure just how I would characterize the experience.

But then, I had several years' experience of that type of labor pain, oh, about every month or so, prior to giving birth. So the labor of childbirth was not a totally unfamiliar sensation, it was more the transition and delivery that were scary, and by that time we were pretty much done. Like minutes away from the end of the pain. The more accustomed to the process I got, the more assured I was that when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, we were almost done.

But, lest I get on a roll yet again on this favorite topic of mine, I DO think it's odd for anyone to call the labor pain "discomfort." HA.

And I do feel for others going through this experience, but as I breathe a prayer for that woman and hr baby, I know she will survive and be made stronger for it, just as I have been.

Reb. Mary said...

Thank you, Rebekah. I'm going to be sure my husband reads this post--I believe he thought I was a wee bit over the edge on Saturday :P He's a very understanding gent, and labor is hard on husbands, too, but...it's different. The intensely visceral nature of vicarious labor is difficult to explain to someone who hasn't been through it!

Re: schadenfreude and pregnancy:
I've only one ill-wishing tendency to confess, which is the fact that I have difficulty not wishing at least a couple days of hyperemesis on the women whose "morning sickness" consists of a few days of slight nausea, who think that anyone with real "morning sickness" is exaggerating, not eating properly, whatever. Please note: women who don't get sick but who exhibit a proper degree of empathy or at least acknowledgment of the fact that I don't throw up 10x a day when pregnant because I forgot to eat saltines in the morning escape any such ill-wishes. I may envy them, but I don't resent them :P

MooreMama said...

Is it odd, then, that the first 14 weeks of my pregnancies were much more scary to me than Delivery Day was? Or that the 200-ish monthly blessings were more painful?

Eesh. I don't look forward to either of those again, too bad they're necessary and my particular curse.

MooreMama said...

Reb. Mary - I was sick from morning until night with the pregnancies that I lost. Callie was much nicer to me - I only got sick every time I brushed my teeth and when my blood sugar spiked/got too low. :D

Joy said...

I'm fine with drug-free labor until I get to 8 or 9. Then I lose it, yelping and crying and unable to catch my breath. Birth is far worse than labor for me. I am, as Rebekah said, begging for mercy. The nursing staff and everyone on the floor probably thinks I have no regard for the 2nd commandment. I have the utmost regard for God's names; that's why I called upon so many of them. Beseeching, not blaspheming.

Pam is right. It has changed me. I'm stronger than I was before. And it's affected my parenting, because I've learned that when I'm absolutely positive I have nothing more to give, I actually have quite a bit left.

Gauntlets said...

Greater love hath no man than this, I suppose. L&D is like being caught in a Hellesponter regardless of who's on the table: can't go back, but forward is really, really going to bite.

Reb. Mary: You're the only other person I know for whom starvation is a very real issue throughout pregnancy. This means you have to be my friend forever. ;D

Mossback Meadow said...

All my labors at home have been so different: one textbook, one quick and easy, one long and puzzling but not super uncomfortable, and the last one was excruciating ( due to baby's tilted head). I vowed I would never do that again, and here I am 6 mos pregnant.

"In pain will you bring forth children, yet your desire will be for your husband." Ain't THAT the truth!

Early on, I had some panic attacks in the night thinking about delivering again. Mothering hormones have kicked in and I know that weird position probably won't happen again but I'm still afraid.

I didn't mean for this to be all about me, but every time I say it, I feel a little better.

Good luck Mary!

Melanie said...

Mossback, I had that same thing happen with my most recent birth.

And after more thought I have to agree that it's not labor I hate, it's birth. The first 7 or 8 cm I'm usually going with the flow and not hating it all too badly. The first 7 cm to me was more of an intense workout (can you tell I used to run cross country?-psycho!) but once you reach 8 I start "calling on the name of the Lord" too :D

Anyhow, after 9 hrs of labor it was discovered that my son did not have his chin tucked, but was looking back. He was completely stuck. For the next 2 hrs I had to have my rear in the air to disengage him and then start all over with his descending down. Now THAT was pure torture.

Thankfully things like that usually dont happen twice in a row.

Thanks for the reminder of how much I am NOT ready to have another one! :p

Congrats Reb. Mary!

Rebekah said...

(Just to clarify--RM's an aunt, not a mom again. I was sympathizing with her sympathizing.)

This also reminds me that I owe some apologies for failing to spread my own news promptly when our last baby was born. I just didn't feel like talking to anybody, darnit.

Joy said...

I find your empathy inspiring. Honestly. You can be my doula.

There's a reason scripture says women will be saved through childbirth. I don't know what that reason is, and I certainly don't want to undermine Christ's work on the cross. But whenever you sisters figure it out, blog it.

Reb. Mary said...

Joy, I did blog about it that verse. But not because I had it figured out :) http://concordiansisters.blogspot.com/2008/07/pop-exegesis.html

Reb. Mary said...

I did have some bad moments on your behalf last time around due to the email delay :) But apology is certainly accepted and even unnecessary. I never feel like talking to anyone either. If Dad doesn't make the post-baby calls, they generally don't get made!

Gauntlets: What I really don't get is how I can be malnourished and even still losing weight starting the second tri, and finish the deal with an impressive weight gain. Where is justice?!?!

Sir Cuthbert said...

My mother read this post and insisted on writing a response. She doesn't have a Blogger account, so I'm posting it on her behalf.

My years of bearing children are behind me, but I remember the desire, even the need, to discuss childbirth with other women. Yes, it is painful and most women have their own tales of misery about it. Go ahead and discuss it with your women friends. But, please, never tell your children how miserable you were during pregnancy or childbirth or you will scare them away from ever wanting to become parents.
This is true for both sons and daughters. What girl will want to volunteer for such agony? And what man would want to put his wife through such a bloody, painful experience? God made it plain to women, and still does, that children will be brought forth in pain. Nothing more need be said about it before children. The focus should be on the wonderful gift that you hold in your arms when it is all over, that you would never not go through it and miss the joy that each child brings to your life.
Pain is temporary. The memory of it fades. And, eventually, you will learn that heartache over your children far surpasses physical pain. I don't know how many children you ladies have, but I have had 5 pregnancies yielding 4 live births. I would consider myself blessed to suffer childbirth another 5 times to experience the joys and blessings of raising children that much longer in my life.

Gauntlets said...

Sir Cuthbert's Mom: Hi there! Thanks for the gentle reminder. :) You're right--kids only need to know so much. Lucky for the CSPP children, their mothers are all far too prudish to discuss such things in their presence. :D

Rebekah: Get the news out early all the time. For instance, don't wait an entire trimester before letting me start in on the feverish prayers. :)

Reb. Mary: Oof. For me, it's like, "MUST STORE ENERGY! NEVER KNOW WHEN MEAN SICK WILL HIT AGAIN!" Then there it sits. Stored.