Finishing Adelaide’s birth story the other day made me feel very introspective on the whole thing. I wanted to write out exactly what I remembered as it happened and as I felt. Looking back over though I kind of sort of hated how many times the word epidural came up and also the theme of fear that ran through it. It makes me want a do-over! Actually, all of my births in one way or another have made me want another chance to “get it right”. Which reveals I might have a hint of unachievable perfectionism hidden away in here, and also perhaps a crazy mindset- since I might actually think there is a “right” way to have a baby. I can’t examine that one too closely because I’d be going around in circles all night. Is there actually a right way? Or is it more of an experiential thing in that the only right thing is having control over the way you do it? Or is it just what it is? lol Now I’m confusing myself. And I kind of think I should insert a firstworldproblems hashtag here.
I overdosed on Ina May when I was pregnant with Justus, and now 3 epidurals later I still can’t shake the guilt. 😉 No matter how much I like the experience of having an epidural, it’s always going to feel a little like cheating.
The fear on the other hand… that was new. And as a believer it does disturb me a little actually. There were prayers being said during my labor, but that out of control pain really overwhelmed me in a way I’ve never experienced. Made me feel animalistic (though my version of animalistic is just not being able to put together a clear thought and very very quietly whimpering). At least… I think I was quiet. Maybe the roar of pain in my ears just drowned out the screaming. 😉
I also felt very alone this time. Which is odd and kind of unfair to say because previously and usually when I am in pain I want everyone to go very far away and don’t even think about touching me. Jon was under strict instructions to just let me handle it. But this time I felt lost and alone and then the midwife took hold of my hands when the epidural process wasn’t going well and I was suddenly grounded again. The wildness in me calmed and I could rise above the pain somehow. That’s what makes me want a do-over this time. I want to sit calmly on the bed holding Jon’s hands and just rise above it all. It’d be perfect of course. I’d be perfect. And all natural. lol seriously. Someone please make sure I don’t get pregnant again just so I can get a better grade on my delivery skills.
Us women are crazy folk.
But wow, on a more serious note… What a part of us these birth stories are, eh? Start talking about birth with any women and we all start talking over each other trying to share ourselves. Whether beautiful or devastating- those moments change us. Someone posted a link to these beautiful photos of birth around the world today on Facebook and I loved this quote from the photographer-
“It’s so interesting to me,” she said. “It’s so exciting to be part of a transformational process; it has a rhythm to it in that there’s a probable series of events … but every time it’s different.”
“The experience is strange and powerful and frightening and it can be really beautiful.”
Transformational. Yes, exactly.
And then this…
“We have ideas about what women’s bodies are for and it’s not this,” she said about American views on birth. “You see a woman naked but her body is performing functions that are intense. Our culture has a weird thing about images of women’s bodies doing this kind of physical work that isn’t young and sexy; birth has elements of struggle, power, transformation and mortality that don’t fit with our ideas about women’s bodies: they’re ok to look at when they’re sexy but when they’re working it’s something else. Birth is uncontrolled and that freaks us out.”
I struggled so much over including that photo of me reaching down for Adelaide. It’s not graphic in the sense that it shows no more than (if not less than!) a bathing suit would, and yet it’s also so intimate. I’m still not sure if I crossed the line in regards to modesty, but I want to mark and remember the incredible work God has created our bodies (my body!) to be capable of doing. I don’t tend to look at photographs of myself and marvel at God’s design, except for those. I can’t help but wonder at the way God allows us to be part of His creating.
And lastly… because this is far longer than I meant it to be… what a precious gift we received early that May morning! Thank you Lord for this new life and the way it is changing and growing our family!