October 7, 2011

doing things the hard way

I have always been a pretty stubborn person ... Just ask my husband and (I'm positive) he'll have many examples at the ready ... So, "planning" for the birth of Malcolm over two years ago was cause for much drama in our house.

I vividly remember shedding tears of frustration during a conversation about how I wanted the birth to go ... My husband just didn't (couldn't) understand that I, in no way, shape, or form (barring an emergency situation), was going to allow an epidural within fifty feet of my body. He didn't understand that the option of receiving an epidural wasn't an option for me.

As far as I was concerned, it didn't even exist.

"Why can't you just say that you'll consider it?" He kept asking. "That you'll get one if things get really bad?"

Really bad. Ha!

(I definitely am familiar with "really bad!")

I know now that his concern was out of worry that he'd be unable to watch me go through the painful lows of labor without any drugs to assist me ... But, even so, I wasn't thinking about my husband or his feelings on the big event at all ... My mind had been set. And when I set my mind to something, I do not change it.

So, Malcolm's birth came and went without the epidural despite intense back labor ... And I suddenly went from feeling like death run over, to being on the top of the world.

Total validation.

It didn't hurt that I immediately became "Superwoman" to many of my family members and friends either ... And, to this day have become the resident question-answerer about how to make it through a natural labor and delivery (in fact, I was called for "advice," earlier this week while my cousin was in labor with her third child).

Natural birth is like a little feather in my cap. A trophy on the shelf. My own personal marathon. I could never (nor would I want to) run 26.2 miles in one day ... But I can push out a baby using my own mental prowess and determination.

"Mind over matter" they always say ...

So, this second time around, I really hope to accomplish the exact same thing (although the absence of back labor would be nice).

Again, barring an emergency situation, I am planning on delivering another human being into the world without numbing my body from the waist down. As with Malcolm, this choice isn't so much about "what's good for my body" or "what's best for the baby" as many types of natural birthing literature would have you believe (although I look at those things as an added benefit) ... It is, somewhat selfishly, more about me. It's about setting my mind to a goal and then going out there and achieving it (pain and suffering be damned).

If I did it once, I can do it again ...

However, one difference this time around, is that I'll be working with a midwife every step along the way.

In fact, my usual OB/GYN (who works in tandem with her, something that is new since my pregnancy with Malcolm) was on vacation during my first prenatal appointment ... So that first visit consisted of my little family (Malcolm included) and the midwife.

I'm very excited to see how this will impact the progression of the pregnancy and the ultimate birth of Baby #2 in March. I may have gone through the motions once before, but I know that there is still a lot to learn. Strange as it sounds, there's a part of me that actually enjoys the experience of birth (pain notwithstanding) and I am so thankful that I am being given the opportunity to go for it all over again!

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