Monday, October 11, 2010

Not quite Superwoman.

It occurs to me that I have gotten away with making it appear that I had a natural child delivery. Let me just assure you that it was not [entirely] my intention to deceive. [Although it was really nice to look like Superwoman for the last month.] It has simply taken me this long to get over the trauma of the experience enough to talk about it.

I wanted to deliver naturally. It was my intention this time. I had too many friends praising the virtues of anesthesia-free birth. And, well, I wanted the post-delivery adrenaline surge. And a pain free recovery. And bragging rights.

That doesn't mean I did anything about it. Brad reminded me, in triage, that most people prepare for natural childbirth. They take a class. Choose a method. I told him I'd read a hypnobirthing book. Three years ago. I was going to be fine.

But I wasn't so much. Turns out I didn't remember anything.

Here's how it went (as always, read at your own risk. I will not be held responsible for trauma induced by reading):
  •  Induction. Castor oil. Yes. It tasted bad. Yes. It flushed my system. Yes. I am insane. But I really  needed to deliver over labor day weekend. It was very important at the time. And very stupid. Not recommended.
  • Water breaking. Apparently, caster oil is really excellent at making painful, consistent contractions. Not so good at actually doing anything. So in order to actually start dilation, my midwife grabbed a very long plastic crochet hook and broke my water.
  • Massage. If it could be called that. Every two minutes (at the start of every contraction) Brad dug his thumbs into my back as hard as he could. At about midnight Brad started asking if maybe I wanted an epidural. He told me he was tired. I refrained from comment.
  • Bath. They told me the bath would ease my back labor. I was desperate. I hadn't brought any bath appropriate clothing. But, you know, at that point I didn't really care. I got into the tub. Yelled "Thumbs!" (to cue Brad) every two minutes and groaned loudly.
  • Medicine. After being in the tub for two hours with unbearable back labor, I begged for an epidural. I may or may not have been blubbering at the time. Too bad the nurse anesthetist and my midwife were in the middle of a c-section. So my nurse gave me a single dose of fentanyl. It was supposed to dull the pain until I could get an epidural. And it did. For two contractions. After that, all it successfully did was make me fall asleep between contractions. Which, in the tub, you know, was really awesome. Falling asleep made me drop my head and inhale water.
  • Epidural [oh, just kidding.] They got me out of the tub to prep me for the epidural. Until I started pushing uncontrollably. And then I cried when they told me it was too late to get it. 
  • Pushing. Terrifying. Thought I might actually die there on the hospital bed. Also. There was lots of yelling. I think it was me.
Conclusion: Did I get what I wanted out of "natural" (okay--almost) delivery?
  • Post-adrenaline surge. Check. But not really fun. Just made me shake. I thought I might drop Weston when they handed him to me.
  • Pain-free recovery. Um, no. In addition to my back being black and blue from Brad's massage, this recovery was significantly worse than my last.
  • Bragging rights. Sort of screwed those up with the fentanyl. Which I would like to emphasize didn't seem to help. And also wore off before delivery. Yes. I am trying to preserve bragging rights anyway. Is it working?
All I have to say is. Sheesh. I am a wimp. Kudos to those of you who are real superwomen.


  1. You totally deserve bragging rights. I had five and never made it naturally (not that I really tried), so I think you get props.

    And if some random lady you don't know could say that, I'm sure all your friends would too.

  2. Your friends do say that (and I vouch for Maleen's opinion)! I would never even dare TRY natural; I know I would never make it. Just like the powers that Be know that I would never make it through 40 full weeks of pregnancy, so my big ol' boys come early!

  3. Superwoman is highly overrated. I liked Elise much better.

  4. any women who can survive pregnancy/birth/motherhood and live to blog about it is a superwoman.

  5. I agree. You're superwoman just for being a mom.

  6. You still deserve the bragging rights. Totally. Back labor is crazy painful. I had horrific back labor with Kate and I was desperate for an epidural as soon as I got to the hospital. I had also planned on a natural birth. You sound like superwoman to me.

  7. LOL...ok I hate laughing at your expense, but this was funny to read. I loved the part that you didn't take any classes! I went natural with Hayleigh until it was time to push (Long story), NOT BECAUSE I WANTED TOO! But I remember the nurse yelling at me because I didn't take any classes. If I was thinking at all of going natural with this one, believe me you changed my mind. THANK YOU! I still think your super women though.

  8. elise, a shot of something is irrelevant. you felt that thing come out. and that's "natural." scream it from the rooftops. (and get some good therapy so that the nightmares stop.)

    that said, a class probably would have helped. :)

  9. Like others have said here, good for you for even having the desire to try. And then trying. And then doing it. You totally did it.
    I didn't even want to try. So I didn't. But there will always be that part of me that will wonder if I could've done it. Oh well. I'm over it. In the long run, it doesn't matter. As far as I'm concerned, pregnancy and childbirth is the absolute EASIEST part of motherhood.

  10. This is my favorite post ever.

    I love you for writing this (not that it means I will ever go through it, but kudos to you for "feeling everything")

  11. Yo.

    No epidural = natural delivery.



  12. Gosh Elise...reading this makes me miss you so much! I love your always makes me happy.

    Hey, and to me, a natural delivery is a vaginal delivery...someday...

  13. Loved this post - first things first:
    1) I have heard HORROR stories about Castor Oil. That makes you superwoman right there.
    2) I have heard even WORSE stories about back labor. I have had a natural delivery but I am telling you in no mincing terms that I would absolutely get an epidural if I had back labor. No question. There again, you're superwoman.
    3) Just to make you feel better, I was all about the bathtub with my last delivery...and I too did not have any "bathtub appropriate" clothing. Funny what labor will do to you.
    4) There is no way that I could have gone naturally if I couldn't be in any position that I wanted to be in. No bones about that one, just wouldn't/couldn't have done it.

    Basically, I think all of this here states that you ARE in fact superwoman! Who cares about a little fentanyl? Seriously. Epidurals numb entirely. That is very different than having the edge taken off a few contractions. Heck, that's what the bathtub did for me, and I still say I had a natural delivery! I wouldn't even mention it when you tell people how you had a natural delivery, totally an unnecessary detail. =)

    Oh, and agreed, any mom is superwoman, really, right?

    Thanks for the story! It was awesome (for those of us not experiencing it... =)

  14. You're totally superwoman in my eyes. Only with out those stupid tights. Seriously? Can't we fight crime fully clothed. I think you proved we can. I adore your writing, Elise. MORE MORE MORE.

  15. SO this is probably stalkerish that I came back and found this birth story. And shame on me for not commenting when you originally posted it! You go girl! Anyway, your post on facebook about hypnobabies made me curious and that's why I came to your blog. I'm sure Brad is pleased with your desire to take a class. Kevin and Brad must be kindred spirits. I didn't do a class or really prepare either and I had Jenna without an epidural. It was the most intense experience of my life. And that was without back labor. My jaw dropped when I read that and it's still open. I can't wait to hear more about your preparations this time and how well they help. Love you! And again, forgive me for being a stalker!

  16. Everybody's labor is totally different! Any woman who brings a child into this world is super woman in my opinion! And yes I just stalked a good portion of your blog during Clara's nap...not to be creepy or anything. I love your writing! (This is Tay's sister btw)