Oh yes I did just quote Tom Petty. But, seriously. I’ve been on maternity leave for three weeks now. The whole two story townhouse is clean. All laundry has been washed – that’s including baby clothes and sheets. I’ve cooked and frozen several healthy meals for after. The hospital bags are packed. Carseat installed. People lined up with spare keys to check on the cats. I’ve finished the novel I was reading, re-read Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth and Marie Mongan’s HypnoBirthing, practiced my hypnosis and relaxation and affirmations to the point where I can recite them from memory, and made arrangements with the lady who’ll be dehydrating and making capsules from my placenta. (I know, can you get more primal than ingesting your own placenta…?)
I’m bouncing on my ball, taking my borage oil, and I know where the café is in Studio City that serves “The Salad” – I don’t know if I believe a salad can make you go into labor, but I’m not above trying it since my doctor has already mentioned the “i” word and my estimated due date is only tomorrow. Induction. Ugh. I’m not even in the hospital yet, and already I’m on their clock. So it’s just a waiting game now. It’s made me realize that I wish I had more hobbies, which in turn made me realize that once upon a time I used to write a blog. Oh yeah…! So here I am, looking for a way to tie my waiting for “go time” ennui to the primal and natural lifestyle theme of this website.
As soon as I entered my last month of pregnancy the subject of being induced started coming up a lot. It’s a conversation I don’t really like getting into, because it can make me feel like I’m being condescending when I really don’t intend to be. When people ask why I don’t want to be induced, I hate explaining that due dates are just estimates based on whether you can accurately recall the first day of your last period. That those estimates can be wrong. That a lot of research shows that babies shouldn’t be considered overdue until 42 weeks. That accepting that first intervention can put you on a slippery slope of pitocin causing stronger contractions, which can make an epidural inevitable, then the epidural slows labor, which requires more pitocin, and before you know it you’re being prepped for an unwanted c-section. I know that’s a worst-case-scenario, but still.
The biggest reason I don’t like talking about it is because it usually leads to the conversation I hate even more – the “natural birth doesn’t make you a hero” conversation. Which kinda makes me want to punch whoever I’m talking to in the head. And if you’re reading this and realizing that you and I have actually had that conversation, I’m sorry. But yeah, while I was smiling and nodding and saying “Well, we’ll see what happens!” with sort of a fakey laugh, I might have wanted to punch you just a little bit. I still love you, but…yeah.
I’ve heard all the clichés – the aforementioned “natural birth doesn’t make you a hero”, “they don’t give out medals for doing it without drugs”, “doing it naturally doesn’t make you a better mom” and so on. I get it, I do. Childbirth is that thing that all of society has agreed upon as the most painful experience in the whole wide world. Even men, who will never even go through it, agree on this. And who doesn’t like painkillers, right? Before finding out I was pregnant, I had never put any thought into what kind of “birth experience” I would want. Thanks to Hollywood, I naturally assumed it would involve a lot of pain, and screaming, and telling Brad how much I hate him, and demanding drugs, and then after many hours of the same, groggily having my picture taken with an equally groggy looking newborn. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? I won’t go into all the details of HypnoBirthing, because if you really want to know more about it, you can find out here. But I will say that I don’t think it’s unrealistic to believe that the fear of giving birth is what causes pain. We’re taught all our lives to dread this experience, so women fight it – clenching up, closing off, tightening up, and resisting what’s occurring naturally. And if I’m wrong…? Then I’ll scream, tell Brad how much I hate him, demand drugs, the whole nine yards. But what gives anyone the right to tell me that I’m wrong? To tell me that I won’t be able to do it? That I’m crazy to try? That I’ll be begging for an epidural – and try to scare me into it with the warning that by that point it’ll be too late?
Who knows, maybe I won’t have a choice. As I said earlier, my doctor (who seemed to be on the same page with me up until this point…I mean, she’s the one who suggested HypnoBirthing!) is already talking about scheduling an induction if I haven’t made progress by my appointment next week. Nothing to stress out over…yet. I just don’t appreciate feeling like a timer has been set when my estimated due date hasn’t even come and gone yet. Both my wonderful doula, Jaquelin, and HypnoBirthing instructor, Alisha, are sending me suggestions for natural ways of possibly “moving things along”. And I plan to go in next week armed with a lot of questions and research and won’t agree to anything without a good, sound, medical reason behind it. Until then…