Saturday, December 11, 2010

Labors of Love and the Pain of it all

A friend of mine was "going on" the other day about the difficulties her daughter was experiencing in her first pregnancy. Out of concern, I said I hope there were no complications. "Nothing life threatening. But she just has had extreme weight gain, gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure." I said I was sorry. She continued, "I told her it only would get worse."

(To myself, I thought, the poor daughter did not need to hear about two year old temper tantrums, pre-teen hormones, or teenage rage at a time like this.) "I can remember going two weeks over my due date, being in labor for 12 hours, and the pain, oh the pain." I laughed. Surely she was kidding. "You didn't really tell her that?" "Of course, I did. Everyone goes through that."

Funny, I remember the pain and agony of the tantrums, the hormones, and the rage, however, the pregnancy, labor, and delivery were very easy. Every time we go to see a doctor or a therapist for our youngest daughter, the first question they ask is, "How was your pregnancy, labor, and delivery with her?" When I answer remarkably uneventful, they scribble madly on their pad and look at me with a puzzled expression and mutter, "Hum?" They never elaborate, but I get the distinct impression that is not the answer they expected.

When I found out we were expecting our first child, my Ob-Gyn asked if I wanted natural childbirth. I looked at him like he had lost his mind. "You have got to be kidding. I want green tile, stainless steal, and all the drugs that have been developed." He laughed, "Well, we can give you an epidural if the pain gets bad."

"What happened to gas?" "We haven't used that is years. That can be dangerous for the mother and the child" That's funny, I reminded him that my mother had "gas" with both my brother and me. She remembers going to the hospital and three days later waking up with a healthy bundle of joy and no memory of any pain or agony. And, both of us have all our digits and limbs and never rode the short bus.

He went on, "Many women these days, are going towards having their children in a more 'homey' setting. We have rooms big enough for several family members to comfortably be present." "Look", I told him in disgust, "if you weren't here for conception, I don't want you here for delivery - present company excluded of course." He got the picture.

And the facts are, I have no horror stories to share. I had nine fairly comfortable months with both pregnancies. After five hours of labor, our oldest daughter was born four and a half hours past her due date. (My father never forgave me for this since she was due on his birthday - like I wanted to wait a day.) Our youngest daughter was born two and a half hours past her due date. (She was born in the labor room. Those were the "old" days when you went through labor in the labor room then endured the pain of being moved to the delivery room.) Patience has never been one of her virtues. They both weighed a healthy 7.3 pounds at birth.

For both girls, our rather provincial hospital had made the radical policy change of allowing the baby to stay (as opposed to just "visit") in the mother's room. Given the option, the nurses were a little surprised when I asked that they sleep in the nursery. Hey, I'd been with the baby for nine months and knew we were taking her home. This was my first offer of baby sitting and I wasn't turning it down.

And, as for baby sitting, during my pregnancy and shortly after each of their births, all the friends and relatives came to visit. And, I made a mental note of everyone of those who said, "Just call me, I would love to keep her." Over the course of that first year, I gave them a phone call. After all, they wanted to share our "bundle of joy" and who was I to deny them the pleasure.

The therapist never asked us about "farming our youngest out". Maybe the root of all the issues has been my subliminal desire for gas, my rejection of her that first night in the hospital, and her never experiencing the "comfort" of family and friends around her for birth. Oh, and we don't have the family motion pictures of the event on DVD. All I can say is that if that is the issue, she's got the wrong mother. But then again, she always has said she was either adopted or switched at birth.

No comments: