Thursday, June 30, 2011

Maybe it's a Powder Day

This baby really could come at any second, and I admit, I am not a big fan of labor. I have not forgotten the pain of the last time I went through it, nor have I forgotten the wonderful end result: my Sam. (For the birth story, read here),

With Sam, I had every intention of having a natural labor and delivery. I ended up with a very different experience and in the situation I was in, I do not regret getting the epidural when I did.

I do find it interesting that either getting an epidural or other drugs, versus having your baby completely naturally, is such a polarizing topic. Being an athlete with nature-girl sensibilities, I always thought I'd have a natural childbirth...but that's just not what happened the first time around. And I'm still on the fence of how I'll approach labor this time.

I've been reading "Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives: A Holistic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth" by Deepak Chopra, in an effort to ease my fears of labor, and to embrace the earthiness of being a pregnant woman (instead of focusing on hating my husband's mountain bike).

I came across a section in the book called, "The Birthing Experience," which laid out the differences between getting an epidural and not like so: "Imagine yourself standing at the bottom of the mountain with two paths to the top. One path takes you to a chairlift that goes up the mountain, while the other path leads to a hiking trail."

At this point in reading, my blood started to boil a little. I read on:

"Both will get you to the top of the mountain, and each provides you with a unique and memorable experience. The chairlift provides an enjoyable and thrilling ride with little effort or pain. On the chairlift, you will be looking down at the experience and enjoying the scenery.

Um...I had an epidural, and I did not simply look down and enjoy the scenery. I put out a lot of effort, was in a lot of pain, and barfed every few minutes for hours.

"The hike up will be strenuous and challenging, as you are involved with every aspect of the journey. Upon reaching the summit, you will experience a sense of accomplishment."

OK. So this is saying that birthing a baby with an epidural does not give a mom a sense of accomplishment? That the only athletic way to approach labor is to deny any drugs?

I am an athlete. I have always chosen to hike a trail, rather than to take a chairlift...for the reasons mentioned. I like strenuous. I like challenging. I choose to be involved with every aspect of my journeys. I dig the sense of accomplishment. This metaphor didn't sit well with me.

I thought about it for a few days, and while the analogy still bugs me, I had a revelation:

The only time I would ever choose to take a chairlift over hiking up a mountain is on a powder day, when getting the first run on a patch of fresh snow on a snowboard is a glorious, wonderful, all-out fantastic end result...totally worth hopping on the chairlift.

And maybe this baby is my powder day.

We'll see. But I don't think women are lesser athletes, or, people, for that matter, whether they get an epidural or not.

* PS. If you're interested, here's the link to the Runner's World blog I wrote three years ago, at this exact stage in pregnancy, with Sam.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Lisa. I read your blog leading up to my daughter's birth in April 2008. My son came along in February 2010.

    With my daughter, I shared your aspiration for a drug-free birth, but was so so so happy to get an epidural. Similarly, I couldn't tell you why natural birth was something I cared about. It was just my default assumption, likely tied to my whole "I've run 10 marathons" mindset.

    With my son, I asked for the epidural as soon as I arrived at the hospital and it was awesome. As much as I had done the whole hypnobirthing, natural, granola, earthy preparation, it felt so great to not feel like a transport truck was driving through my pelvis.

    You'll know what to do when the time comes.

    Some good news for you...I pushed for 2 hours with my daughter and less than 15 minutes with my son. I bet you'll sneeze out this next kiddo.

    Wishing you the very best,