Thursday, July 28, 2005

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

We're back home after a week in Wisconsin and Chicago, and never has the climate contrast been starker. Everyone was sweatin' it up back there -- my inlaws decided it was TOO HOT TO GO TO THE BEACH -- but here, I was just out in the night in a knit turtleneck sweater, no coat, and my teeth were literally chattering. Brrr, as Nutmeg would say.

The contrast is stark in mood, too. In the Midwest, we felt full of joy at reuniting Nutmeg with her grandparents, welcoming the adorable Babylu to the world (congratulations, Mike and Kori!), and all kinds of hope at the prospect of new jobs, exploring new neighborhoods, etc. Back here, we're sleepwalking after a late-night arrival and two nights of Nutmeg not sleeping well, and then there's this. No further comment, thanks.

But I have lots of further comment about this: My dear friend Kori, the new patron saint of suffering motherhood, studied her hypnosis like the A+ student she's always been, thought her positive thoughts, wrote her birth plan, bravely relaxed her way through nearly a full calendar day of unmedicated back labor, and pushed for FOUR HOURS -- and still ended up having to endure a C-section. Which leads me to wonder, why is giving birth so effing hard? Don't even get me started about starting breastfeeding, because no matter what people say, for a lot of the women I know, it's also effing hard.

When I was fully wrapped up in the Hypnobabies program (TM), I had to find a reason why each and every birth I heard about was so effing hard (and why everyone I know who gave birth in the last two years, except me -- and just barely except me -- ended up getting cut open). With a couple of friends, it turned out the baby was transverse or some other undeliverable position, so what can you do? With a lot of people, I thought, well, you shouldn't have had that epidural. But since then a study came out saying even having an epidural early in labor doesn't make you more likely to end up with a C section.

Even though using hypnosis was very helpful to me -- and it sounds like it was to my friend too -- I just have to let go of the fantasy that most suffering during childbirth is due to our silly cultural belief that having a baby is going to hurt. Not surprisingly, that concept was pioneered by a dude, one Dr. Grantly Dick-Reed. And I'm not saying that hypnosis doesn't work. When I hear about women who were begging for an epidural, only to be sent home because they were dilated only one centimeter, I thank Hypnobabies with all my heart for helping me labor at home until i was at 5 cm without too much discomfort.

And what's with pushing? Are we doing this wrong, or what? Because I just cannot believe that something we are supposed to do with our bodies for such an important purpose could, again, be so effing hard. Universities, we need some research here. Next time I give birth, I don't want to go to a class telling me to stay vertical to make use of gravity, read a book telling me to "breathe my baby out" (I want a demonstration of this, Hypnobabies lady!) and then go to the hospital and be told the best way is to lie on my left side. There has got to be a statistically most succesful way of pushing. So why is everything we "learn" about this more like folklore than science?

OK, end of rant. Just be sure to get all this cleared up before the next time I have a kid, science people, because I will not be in the mood for all this bs, believe me.


Anonymous said...

You know, it's funny: I just found your blog on google. . .and last night started reading Ina May Gaskin's "Guide to Childbirth". The stories in this book are incredible-- I don't have time to detail right now-- but basically, they've been super positive (to the point of being giddy). Looking forward to reading more of your blog. . ..

Kori said...

I'm a patron saint?!? Wow! That's so cool. I knew that labor experience would get me far. :)

It was so wonderful seeing you guys this week, even though I was a little loopy on pain and pain medication. Hopefully you'll be living near us soon, and we can see each other all the time!