Wednesday, 10 June 2009

the text was fed to us

I have recently given much thought to my pregnancy with LQ, in particular the actual birth.

Don't worry, I am not going to give you a birth story. The only people who deserve to be put through a birth story are the ones that ask for it AND any new mother to be. I was inundated with birth stories when I was pregnant with LQ, so I believe it is now my turn. Retribution.

But I digress.

Because I had a slight temperature, the people in charge of getting the little lump out of me (I couldn't tell you if they were doctors, interns or midwives) suggested I be induced.

I had read a bit about being induced including a rather annoying book that pretty much stated that ANY intervention from the outside world should be seen as VERY dangerous for both child and mother. Of course the book went on to site varied horror stories about when the medical profession becomes involved in the birthing process. Whilst reading this book, I was able to keep an objective opinion and came away feeling angry that the authors of this book had the hide to even let it out into the public domain. The least they could have done was find a few success stories of intervention, but then I guess that wouldn't have served their purpose - which was to denounce all of the medical profession.

I digress again.

I hadn't read anything too terrible about being induced and because the people who had done this thing many more times than me seemed to think it a good idea, I went along with it.

I had a few gizmo's attached to my stomach to make sure the contractions were going as planned. The problem with that was the machine seemed to be lying to the midwife. I went from zero contractions to laying-on-the-floor-dying contractions within an hour. But the midwife kept telling me that they were little contractions and that I still had MANY hours to go. Not something a girl wants to hear when she is passing out from the pain. I am lucky that I had my mum there. She leaned over and quietly whispered "I think you are a lot closer than the midwife is telling you." If only mum had left before she made her follow up comment regarding my wails of pain - "It must be the italian in her." What THE? I thought EVERYONE cries out when their body is being ripped in two.

I promise, I am getting to the point of my story.

I managed to get through the birth with a shot of pethadine and that lovely, darling, wonderful, magical GAS. It only lasted three hours, so I wondered how some women can go for longer and sometimes without any pain relief. It just didn't seem physically possible.

And then earlier this year, my SIL mentioned that she had been reading about hypno-birthing. Apparently the book that she had been reading declared that pain during birth was the fault of the mother. According to the book, if you don't know what is going on with your body, then you are fighting the process, hence the pain. Which makes sense to a certain point. But honestly -- I just don't think all those women passing out from pain are going to appreciate that they are being blamed for the pain that they are feeling. That just made me angry. Can I just add that there seems to be a LOT of stupid books in circulation.

This concept got me thinking. I like to think that I knew what was going to happen (up to a point). I knew what a contraction was and that it started at the top and went all the way to the bottom of the uterus. I knew all those breathing techniques. Dal and I had some great relaxation ideas. But those ideas don't work when your body gets surprised by the BIG I.N.D.U.C.T.I.O.N. I wanted to know if the pain experienced after being induced is in fact worse than normal.

It turns out that they are. WARNING: Being induced brings on harder and faster contractions before your body has had enough time to produce its own endorphins to combat the pain. Therefore the pain is felt more thoroughly by one being induced. I will certainly think twice about saying yes to that awful drug again.

HOWEVER... this is not the point to my story. Here it is.

Being a first time mother is daunting at the best of times. The fact that there are so many "expert" opinions out there each claiming that they are correct makes me angry. Any woman who tells a new mother to be a list of opinions stating them as facts makes me even angrier. If there is one thing I have learned it is that every woman is different. I am sure that if my mother-in-law had not had epidurals she probably would have died from the pain. As it was, she went through one birth of her 11 pound son whose shoulders were so wide they had to be broken in order for him to make it out. For someone (or a book) to tell her that she was endangering her child by having an epidural or that the pain she felt was all because she didn't know how to handle it is just insulting.

Let women come together and embrace each other's differences. Let us STOP competing and start burning those dumb books!!!


Amelia and Elliott Smith said...

I agree! I think it's great to have different options to research but when opinions are stated as facts it's annoying. Or when people think others are less than because they didn’t go natural. I was induced AND had the epidural (gasp) and surprisingly Audrey didn't end up with a 3rd eye. Audrey ended up being sunny side up, and I had to have an episiotomy. I would have been in excruciating pain had I gone natural. If somebody wants to have their child at home with a midwife more power to ya, doesn’t mean you’re any more of a woman than I am.

Mattias, Karissa & Enzo said...

I totally agree! There is way too much information out there these days and a lot of telling people how they should do things: give birth, raise children etc. I believe we all do our least I hope so.
No matter if you take an epidural during delivery, have a cesearen or go "all" natural the end result is a baby and you become a mother. The other stuff shouldn't really matter.

DeNae said...

You are so right, Helen. You're so fragile in that first experience, you'll believe anything. I had a student nurse walk into my room, toss off a comment about what she was certain would be my inability to nurse my kids, and walk out. In ten seconds she completely undid what little confidence I had, and I didn't even nurse until my third child.

Women need to be so much more careful with each other, and writers need to remember their audience is real women, not just money in their bank acounts.

Anonymous said...

oh dear, I guess I will never be forgiven for the italian joke in the birthing suite! Which reminds me I had better get in touch with jess and tell her to ignore the background comment about having the baby in the bath at home during todays 'where to have the baby' conversation. I was really joking but does she know that?
And my little first baby birthing story - the Dr. is doing an episiotomy and the nurse says " oh, you cut that way do you doctor " and i'm thinking 'eek, what is going on down there' Mum