I just read a Facebook status update of a friend of mine from high school. She had a baby girl earlier this week. (Yay! Congrats! Everyone is healthy, which is really what matters in the long run.) Her labor was 27 hours long, (that's longer than it takes for Jack Bauer to catch The Bad Guys) and the baby had a 14" head.
And she had no drugs.
When I was young, I had visions of myself doing that. In fact, my original thought about Olivia's delivery was in the peace and quiet of my own home, in the bathtub. I would be so focused on my job (that's why they call it labor) that I would peacefully and calmly push her out into the warm water, where she would enjoy a gradual transition from the womb. We would both cry, and angels would probably sing.
I remember telling these plans to another friend of mine, who now has four children, but was also pregnant at the time. She looked at me like I was crazy. She's a big fan of the epidural and couldn't see why anyone would attempt to welcome a child without the drugs that the Good Lord allowed to be created. In my mind, I judged her. "Wimp," I thought.
Then, on August 28, 2008 at 8am in the morning, my midwife entered my hospital room (that was my compromise: still a midwife, but in the hospital, just in case anything went wrong) and broke my water to induce Olivia's birth. The bath tub was full of warm water for me to labor in. Reza had scripture written on cards that he was going to read to me to get through the contractions. My sister was there, ready to give a massage at any given time. They had the TENS unit on hand, in case I needed it to distract me from the contractions.
Sitting in the water grossed me out.
Reza couldn't read anything aloud through the screaming.
Massage annoyed me.
The TENS unit (a device that sends electrical pulses through your skin at a level of your choosing) only made me hurt from the outside AS WELL AS the inside.
I cried "uncle" at noon. After only four agonizing hours, I was only 4 cm (out of 10) dialated. Turns out, I am a wuss! I could have kissed the anesthesiologist after she gave me that epidural. I have nothing to prove to anyone. God knows I am a wuss. Reza knows I am a wuss. My sister knows, probably best of all actually, that I am a wuss. Still, they all let me try it out.
After the epidural, Reza, my sister and I all had a pleasant afternoon playing UNO until Olivia got here at 5:12pm. It was the best UNO game I can remember in a l-o-n-g time.
This time, there will be no delaying the epidural. In fact, I have a doctor's appointment this coming Tuesday; maybe I'll just ask them to give it to me then for the remaining 16 weeks of my pregnancy.
For you women who can do it: Go YOU! You're awesome. But please don't judge my wussiness.