Wednesday, January 27, 2010
"There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity".
- Washington Irving
I had an induced delivery with Ben, I also did not have any drugs for pain with this experience. This is not common as by all accounts, personal and professional they are more intense, painful and unnatural contractions. I did not choose this route because I am especially brave; three cities over could hear about my desire for pain relief at the time, however I had refused last call before the anesthesiologist went to surgery and lost my opportunity.
The nurse, in trying to convince me to get the epidural before I couldn't, explained that in pain studies done, this degree of pain is rated one of the highest. I would regret not getting the epidural.
I was stubborn.
I regretted it.
I don't know at the time why I was so committed to not having any pain relief. In the final moments however before Benjamin was born when I realized in full force as contraction after excruciating contraction fell in continuous waves over me and I begged for something, anything that would end it. I could not do this. This was impossible to bear for one more moment. Of course, the situation being what it was- there was no turning back.
I had to do this.
Somewhere deep in myself, there lay untapped strength and perseverance.
There are very few times in a woman's life that these stores needed to be called on. Inherited from all the woman who had gone before. It needed to be called on. Now was one of those times. This was asking the impossible. I couldn't do it, I couldn't do it.
I had to do this.
The nurse grabbed my shoulders firmly. Inches from my face she looked intently at me-
"You CAN do this"!
And I did.
It was an indescribable feeling. I did the impossible. It was agonizing, torturous and amazing. I was holding the product of what I was capable of. The proof in his 9 pound body. There is no feeling comparable to the moments after such a delivery in my mind; a high constructed of a concoction of hormones not easily replicated. I wanted to hold this baby above my head and yell at top of my lungs-
"LOOK WHAT I DID!!!"
It was incredible.
I walked out of the hospital a new woman. Literally and instantly transformed by a profound birth experience. I had a foundation of motherhood build on previously untapped strength and power. I had the confidence to enter this new and terrifying phase of life and womanhood with a knowledge of what lay inside me in the moments I needed it most. I was a Mother, I was a Woman and I could do this, because I had just done what I knew I could not. If I could do this, I could do anything.
When I told other woman of my experience many stared, shocked at my choice. But "WHY?" they asked. It is not common to find woman who had not received pain relief, I was in the minority, if only by accident.
I felt like I had a secret to be shared; Don't give away this experience. It can be spectacular!
Not all births allow for this of course, but if at all possible I wanted to encourage those who had the choice to embrace it. Welcome this unique experience which is exactly as it is suppose to be. There is nothing that requires more strength; emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually than becoming a mother. I was grateful for my condensed introduction into the strength needed on every level and my ability to overcome it, regardless of how unappealing it may have seemed to those in wittiness to it.
I couldn't wait to do it again.
shocking, I know.
I was blessed again with this choice. I was able to be more present for Jacob's completly drug free birth and relished the moment where that strength is summoned. You are never more in the moment than this, where nothing else matters but this life being welcomed through a process that is just as it is for so many reasons. This pain is important. It is, my Mother calls is; an "exquisite agony" necessary for the transition between one person and two.
In a safe environment surrounded by those I trusted I was free to let my body do what it needed to. I trusted absolutely that it could complete the final lap of this miraculous 9 months with little intervention from me or anyone else.
In that final moment as my body grieved his exit I found that strength again. With that incomparable rush I held my new son delivered immediately onto my chest tightly with shaking arms. The exhilaration returned.
"LOOK WHAT I DID"!
The opportunity for natural birth is not always possible and with that we are grateful for life saving technologies that can intervene when a perfect process that has significance in every moment is tainted by an imperfect world and circumstance. For these Mothers it is sadly not a choice, but the priority is outcome over process then. This though is not the norm. For those who do have the choice for natural birth I would urge them to take it. This is not to say that a birth resulting from intervention or pain releif is any less of an achomplishment or experiance than one without, it is simply to say that we are capable of it all, it was a revealing insight into the depth of my capabilities and one I wouldn't want to assume I couldn't handle before trying.
It is an experience to be cherished.
***Photo by Verity Anne Dokter