Wednesday, April 11, 2012

So it turns out that the natural childbirth business is going to hurt like holy hell and also, Dear Nick: You have a job to do

Note to reader: If vagina talk and childbirthy stuff and TMI make you twitchy, you should just stop reading now. In fact, you might just want to check back in, oh, June or so. I envision a lot of vagina talk in my near future.

OK. So.

I had a midwife checkup today. All is good. And I'm almost at 38 weeks! Super exciting!

Although she said I should be fully prepared to go to 42 weeks. I should gear up for it, rather than being disappointed to not go into labor two weeks from now.

She did the only cervical check they do until you go into labor. They don't believe in it. Which is fine with me.

In fact, this particular midwife feels very strongly that nothing but a penis should be put in your vagina. No latex gloves, nothing that can introduce bacteria.

Seriously. She's said, "Nothing but a penis!" to me a number of times.

I get her point, but it kind of makes me want to pull things out of my purse and be all, "Not even some sparkly lip gloss?"

Yah, so all was going well and we were having a perfectly nice conversation even though her hand was in my vagina and then all of a sudden she was all, "OK, now, here's what a contraction feels like."

MOTHEROFGOD FUCK FUCK FUCKITY FUCK OW! Is kind of what it felt like.

What I said once I was able to speak was, "Wow, that hurts!"

"Yes. And when you're in labor, that's what you're going to feel every 3-5 minutes."

(Huh. And why didn't I opt for the repeat C-section?)

And then, then she did some other kind of little trick and was all, "Do you feel this? What does that feel like?"

BESIDES JESUSFUCKINGHELL? "Um..." (breathe, Lisa, breathe...) "Full? And burny? And like it's pressing on my butt?"

"Exactly. That's how it feels when the baby is descending."

So we went through this mini-enactment of how it's going to feel to go through contractions and the baby coming down through the birth canal. I knew it was going to hurt...but somehow I thought it would just be like terrible menstrual cramps.

I didn't think about the fact that it would be all stabby and fiery-burny awful inside my tenderest little womanly parts. I don't know why.

And then! Then, as I was recovering from the fisting she said, "Now, you and Nick need to be having sex three to five times a week."

THREE TO FIVE TIMES A WEEK. (Visions of C-section scheduling began to dance in my head.)

I replied in a tiny little voice, "Oh, please don't make me."

"I know it's awful. I know. And it's not going to get better. But you have to. You need to get that cervix-ripening sperm up there."

"We have to?"

"Yes. Nobody thinks it's fun. Maybe you can lie on your side and read a book or make a grocery list. Just tell Nick he has a job to do."

49 comments:

  1. And I'm guessing the midwife doesn't believe in epidurals?

    Oy.

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    1. They are open to using them but not as a matter of course. Like, if you've been in labor forever and need to rest to have strength to go on, then yes. I think particularly for VBAC, they want the no-intervention approach to minimize chance of another C.

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  2. So, I have *heard* that natural childbirth also results in an incredible endorphin high afterward - kind of like it's 50 times harder than the hardest run you've ever done, so you get 50 times the endorphin reward. So, there's that, at least.

    And going to 42 weeks gives you that much more time... ;o)

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    1. I've heard that too! And yes, more time for free-flowing bitchiitude! While I'm afraid of the pain, I'm also really curious about labor. And really opposed to abdominal surgery, if avoidable.

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  3. sweetie, i didn't have a "natural" birth, but i *did* have back labor with five hours of non-epidiural (due to the hospital's wanting to find out *what* was *wrong* with "us" that gave D a 200 bpm heart rate and me a 104 degree fever...) anyhoo, the contraction part SUCKED bigtime, and after the epi, it was...tolerable. do yourself a favor and don't be a martyr; vag birth is cool, but it hurts like a mofo... sorry, all y'all who advocate crazy natural shit- not for me, and not for my imaginary friend lisa!

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    1. I promise, I have nothing to prove in terms of unmedicated birth. And I'm so not an all-natural
      person. I just want to do what I can to not have another C-section. Also, sweetie doesn't bother me at all.

      And back labor sound truly like one of the circles of hell. Ugh.

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  4. sorry i said 'sweetie'; i am usually less condescending! i meant "gurlfriend" or...bitch?

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  5. I am dieing laughing. And then I am dieing thinking of you having to give birth AND having to have sex! Is there any good news you can share? Like, if you do opt to read a book while Nick is having sex with you what book would it be?

    And I repeat Wendy's "Oy"

    btw, when I get where I'm going at the end of my life, I'm finding the guy who invented the bra and killing him and the girl who invented the epidural and kissing her!

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    1. I have no idea! Maybe I should jump on the 50 Shades of Grey bandwagon? And read it aloud?

      I always viewed bras as ornamental until Jordan. I miss the old boob days

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  6. Yeah, the truth hurts sometimes. You'll do great during labor. I hope it's quick and goes as smooth as possible. Which sounds so la-ti-da, you know it's heartfelt though!

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    1. I do! I know you and exactly how you mean it! Thank you!

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  7. I don't know how to feel about giving birth. Right now I'm more nervous about the post-birth hormone crash (I don't know why, because I'm not crazy hormonal now, nor was I ever pre-baby). I haven't gotten to the worry about delivery yet. I think now I am though :)

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    1. I think it's best to hold off on thinking much about it until you're so ready you don't care if the baby comes out your ear. Seriously!

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  8. (C-section, vaginal, C-section). Hmm, I found labor to be excrutiating, with or without the back part (which I did the first time around), but the actual final contractions and pushing wasn't nearly as bad, and the one I did manage to push out was 9 pounds 5!
    For me, the worst pain ever was the recovery after my first c-section. Nothing beat that. And the thing about vaginal is that when it's over, it's over.
    And just remember that there are no medals given out for not having pain medication.
    Oh and at around 41 weeks you'll be wanting to maim the people who greet you with "Are you still pregnant?"

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    1. My C-section recovery was so terrible, and I still get upset when I think about it. So if I can manage the VBAC, I'll be delighted, whatever the associated pain. Not that it's not daunting--it totally is!

      And I do remember feeling stabby about the Still pregnant??? question.

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  9. I yelled "IS THE BABY COMING OUT MY BUTT?" for pretty much the last 2 hours of my labour. Sorry. I mean. Labour is twinkly fun times!

    Also? Nick's job doesn't sound glamorous but it sounds WAY BETTER than your job.

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    1. Hahahaha! That is really funny. I mean, for sOmeone else.
      And yah, he's gotten the easier end of the bargain the whole way through, no matter how big a pain I can be.

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  10. Too funny. I hope the labor goes fast, and is as painfree as possible!

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  11. Dissenting voice here. I had natural childbirth and a labor lasting about 14 hours, and I didn't experience any pain. I did have some mind-boggling strong contractions, and it was all unlike anything I ever felt before, but there was no pain. I did have the shot to numb me before they cut me as my son was being born, and I expect I'd have experienced incredible pain otherwise, but no pain at all from the labor itself.
    My labor began with contractions five minutes apart, which lasted for 6 hours [and during which I was able to go to the supermarket and help my husband finish putting the doors on the kitchen cabinets]; then the contractions sped up to every three minutes as I ran down the platform to the train. And then things remained pretty steady for a few more hours, until I finally began actually giving birth about fourteen hours later.
    I'm not saying you won't have pain, just that you might not, or might not have much pain, so please don't worry. Remember your breathing.
    And I hate your midwife. Sorry, but I don't like what she's doing to you and I can't remember being told anything about sex during pregnancy except that I could have it if I wanted. I think 'cervix-ripening sperm' exist in her imagination.

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    1. Wow! You are definitely in the minority, but I'm very glad to hear your story. I wonder if you have an extraordinarily high pain threshold and also remain extremely calm in stressful situations? I don't know anyone who was running for a train with contractions three minutes apart. I know that I myself would be freaking out.
      So, I don't really know what to expect. I mean, I do expect it will be painful, at least at points. Mostly I'm very curious to experience all of it, since I didn't experience any the last time.

      And I had a terrible reaction to my midwife when we first met, but now I really like her. She made me laugh today. She's the most hardcore of the four I see, though, for sure. Apparently semen (and Evening Primrose Oil, which they have me taking) both have prostaglandins, which it is believed help thin the cervix. I don't know, but I'm willing to try.

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  12. That lie on your side and read a book advice? It's making me think your midwife is a little loopy. But apart from that, I totally didn't want to have another c-section with my second and that conviction helped me through half of my labor. The other half was spent cursing myself and everyone around me for not scheduling a c-section when I had the chance. Needless to say I got no meds. What I can say is that though you most likely WILL wish you had gotten cut when you had the chance, labor does end sooner or later and you get a baby at the end. Just hang on to that thought, it WILL end! Also, the baby. Cute, snugly baby.

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    1. She was joking (sort of) and we had a good laugh over it. Although I will admit that when we were going through the months and months of trying to get pregnant, and having sex even though we were both so tired and not into it, I really did wish I could just read a book while Nick got it over with.
      I believe it's true that in difficult moments I'll wonder why I didn't choose the easier path but honestly, the only way I'll elect to have a C-section this time is if the baby's or my health is in danger. I hated that whole experience, don't remember anything about Jordan's birth, was in so much pain afterwards, and my milk took forever to come in. I wouldn't choose it without a very good reason.

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  13. I had an obnoxious labor, but I don't remember the pain as much as the discomfort. The worst part was the heart monitor taped to my leg. (No. The worst part is the seven month old who never sleeps.) Anyway. I don't want to give you advice, because you can do this without my advice, but I will say that you can do it, and you will be able to walk out of the hospital the next day. They'll make you sit in the wheelchair, but you could walk if they didn't. That beats a C-section, hands down.

    I'm hoping to get that endorphin rush with the second one. I was too tired for the first one.

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    1. I never knew how much I valued sleep until I had a kid. And thank you for your input - I do appreciate it. I believe I can do it, and the getting up and walking out the next day rather than still being in bed with a catheter is a huge incentive.

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  14. Holy crap Lisa, I read this twice b/c it was so funny. I've been blog stalking you without commenting b/c I'm always reading on my phone but I just had to tell you how hilarious this post was and how I feel really bad for you on the 3-5 times a week. I'm 36 weeks and there is nothing I want to do less than have sex!! Good luck, maybe it will just take a couple times and your daughter will show up to put you outta your misery!!

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    1. I don't know why blogger won't show my name, but it's Canaan. :) Too funny we are both knocked up at the same time again!

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    2. Canaan! I'm so excited for you! Heather told me - it's such a coincidence we're having babies again at the same time! Big hugs to you!

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  15. Ok you already know my story, and I know I'm in the minority too, having a natural birth that I didn't think was particularly painful...

    Anyway, I read about and talk to a ton of people who have used midwives and have never heard of one trying to show you what a contraction is like. I can't believe what she did could actually feel like a contraction? To me they did feel like bad cramps. And I had no burning when the baby came out.

    Just saying, try not to be scared. Keep telling yourself your body is meant to do this, stress and tension will only make the pain worse. I took an awesome class that showed in graphs how any kind of stress will counteract the natural endorphins and it made perfect sense. Also, have you read The Birth Partner? Was the best thing both of us read to prepare for labor. Good luck!! =)

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    1. You are definitely in the minority. I know you had a good experience, and I'm glad to hear about the no burning. Bad cramps at least are familiar. I mean, I'd forgotten about them, but they're familiar.

      My doula, who is awesome, keeps reminding me of that. This is what your body is meant to do, and it's going to do great.

      No, we haven't, although I think she told us to...perhaps we should get on that...

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  16. I thought it felt like I was pushing the Costco size can of Folgers coffee out of my vagina. You can do it!!

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    1. Hahaha and OWOWOW! Thanks, Jodie!

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  17. Wow - you brought back some interesting memories of sex with another purpose besides fun. I think I probably did read a book or fall asleep. I definitely burped a time or two. You've heard the old joke about how the baby gets its soft spot, I assume? Perhaps it's true.

    Three kids, no drugs. It wasn't any kind of statement or anything to do with principals, god knows, it was pure, unadulterated fear. The idea of the epidural and the headache my sister suffered after hers that kept me from asking for one until it was too late.

    Here's the good thing about the pain, such as it is, it's finite. Either that baby comes out or someone will eventually put you out of your misery (not in the permanent sense).

    Also, the urge to push? It's real.

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    1. I will be so happy to be back in a place in life where sex is for fun and I don't feel like a lumbering cow. It's pretty comical at this point.

      Writing this post and reading comments has both made me think and brought up all kinds of emotion. I feel so bitter about my first experience that while I'm afraid of pain, I have bad epidural memories. They turned it on so they could work my cervix, which clearly wasn't ready. The epidural made me throw up. Then they freaked me out by saying I was definitely going to have a C-section, so I could agree now or wait for my baby to go into distress. I was so fucked up on drugs by the time he came out, I remember almost nothing.

      Also, I want to make sure I feel the urge to push, not be told when to push.

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    2. See, I never had an "urge" to push. My doula told me that my pushes would counter balance the pain of the contractions, which it did, but I never NEEDED to push. Go figure! I had no burning, either. Just a sorta warm feeling down there. No tears, either, which was very good.

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    3. Interesting! My doula did say that your body produces endorphins to deal with the pain, but you need to give it time to ramp up, as each level of pain increases. I picture it like stairs. I find the whole thing so interesting.

      And you are very lucky with the no tears!

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  18. Ha! Mark was less keen on the 9 month pregnancy sex than I was - I think he thought he was gonna poke the baby's head or something!! You have a doula right? I didn't have one first time round and I think they should make it a law or something - WHAT a difference it made!

    Oh also (because everyone has advice!) my doula was a reflexologist and gave me all these pressure points for pressing a week or so before the due date. Ones for opening cervix and making baby descend and stuff. I don't know if they worked but all I know is this time round my labour was waaaay easier. If you're interested I'll FB inbox you. xx

    GOOD LUCK!!

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    1. Yah, this is not a fear of Nick's, but I've heard it's a common one!

      I do have a doula with an amazing reputation. She's helped with a lot of VBACs and is training to be a midwife. AND she works very well with both Nick and me - even though we have such different personalities and very different triggers.

      I dropped you a message - yes, would love to hear the trigger points! My doula has talked a lot about pain management but not induction assistance.

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  19. I had a natural childbirth not by choice - whole labor was 67 minutes long so there was no time - and while the labor hurt like hell, the endorphin high was so so good after. also my first was with an epidural so i've seen both sides. practice your breathing and you'll be fine. keep remembering that it's temporary.

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    1. Wow! 67 minutes! I am so hoping for the endorphin high. And I feel very good about my doula and the midwives. My doula particularly, because she'll be with me the whole time and will help me focus on the breathing etc.

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  20. I didn't want an epidural when I was going for my VBAC because I was so sure that it was going to stall my labor, and I'd end up with another C/S. Turns out, for me the opposite was true. The contractions hurt so much that I was fighting through them and clenching up too much to get through them, and I wasn't progressing. Once I had the epi, I could relax, and my body just opened up. It wore off by the time I was about 8.5 cm, so I felt everything that last hour or so, but by then I had enough strength to manage it.

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    1. These midwives do use epidurals in that scenario. They don't want you to be so worn out that you just can't make it to the end - so if you've been in long labor and need a rest, they use it for that. I'm so glad it worked that way for you.

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  21. I did have that endorphiny rush though, and I think that's why, rather than pushing out a costco can of Folgers, I felt like a goddess creating a mountain!

    I was thinking that if Nick could get into Tantric sex, and not bump around too much, maybe you could write posts to us on your laptop.

    Really, I want to thank you for making me laugh. I can't wait to show Mr. Tamater your post...I mean, really? Not even a sparkly lipgloss? Oh my, oh my, this really hits me funny bone! :-D

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    1. I do think if I manage this I will feel kind of like I'm a goddess as well.

      Poor Nick bore the primary responsibility for trying to get pregnant sex. I would be all, oh for God's sake, let's just get it over with. Which makes nobody's partner all fired up.

      Glad I could make you laugh! :)

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    2. You will DEFINITELY feel like a goddess. It's extremely empowering squeezing an entire person out of you.

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  22. I've had 2 natural childbirths and the pain was tolerable. It's not like that for everyone, but in my opinion being 9 months pregnant is way harder. To put this in perspective I am terrified of needles, internal examinations etc.

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  23. So interesting reading all of the different perspectives. You CAN do this, of that I am sure. I've never doubted your strength. Ever. With my first, I went completely unmedicated. With the twins, an epidural after about 24 hours of labor. With Tobias, an epidural after 20 hours of labor. As another commenter said, I tend to clench up in labor and despite the long hours, would never show cervical progress. Once I got the epidural, everything relaxed and it all progressed quickly. Not all epidurals are created equal, however. With the twins, I got a weak one that took the edge off the discomfort but still allowed me to feel how to push. With Tobias, they dosed me up hard and I felt NOTHING. Which meant I couldnt push effectively. So, I stopped pushing and waited for it to wear off. He was born, then, without the meds and all 9lbs 2oz of him burned like holy hell but it's over in an instant and I was up and out of the bed within an hour or so of having all of them (even the twins) and that makes handling your baby very very easy. One last thing, with all of mine, I found the pushing thing strange. Which always surprised me because I've got great muscle awareness from years as an athlete. The most helpful tip the doula gave me was to push like I'm pooing. Gross but absolutely right on.

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  24. I have heard that natural childbirth can be an amazing thing, that if you can get past the fear, you can get your body to a point where you do not feel the pain. Laura Kaplan Shanley, author of "Unassisted Childbirth" gives great tips on how to do achieve this. There are so many options out there for women these days. Amazing!

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