Heidi was born at 40 weeks (which happened to be exactly 37 months ago today), after a Pitocin induction and an epidural. Peter was born at 41 weeks (which was 20 months ago, today), after a Pitocin induction, attempt #1 at a Hypnobabies natural birth, and an epidural. Both were great. I successfully brought a child into the world each time. But natural birth continues to be compelling to me. I’m not concerned about the risks of the epidural, and I have no problem with drugs. I plan on being comfortably medicated after the delivery. Here are my two reasons:
1. This birth, I want to do it myself. I’m thinking of it as my job to give birth to my baby. Not the doctor’s. It’s my doctor’s job to keep me and the baby safe. If I get the epidural, it will limit my ability to do it by myself. I don’t judge women who get c-sections or have instrument-assisted deliveries: I’ve gotten two epidurals myself, and I know that the birth process is unpredictable and the future unforeseeable. But I want to try to do it myself. (I’m thinking about telling myself that I can get an epidural after twelve hours of labor. Neither of my previous deliveries were longer than that. Being in labor for days sounds miserable.)
2. It is an experience I want to have. I want to know what it feels like to give birth to a baby. Every generation of women between Eve and myself successfully delivered their babies, and only the last one or two avoided feeling the full discomfort. My husband is a marathon runner, and I use that analogy to explain it to him. He could either drive a car for 26.2 miles, or he could run as fast as he can. For hours. Enduring pain and fatigue. Just for the experience. Even when modern technology has developed a way to avoid it.
When Eve was choosing to eat the fruit in the Garden of Eden, she chose mortality, pain, and childbirth so that she could have knowledge. Satan said she wouldn’t die and that it (experience?) was desirable. Satan didn’t tell her that she would die physically eventually, and possibly spiritually also if she didn’t repent. He also didn’t tell her that experience is not always sweet. However, he did say that you need to taste pain in order to be able to taste pleasure, and that you need to comprehend sorrow before you comprehend joy.
I think by having this experience of natural childbirth, I will be able to understand joy more fully. This winter as been a tough one for me. My kids have been sick so often, which makes me feel like I should keep them home away from my friends, which kills me. When we do manage to get out, I go through a monstrous ordeal putting on coats on bodies that may or may not want them on, shoes on wiggly feet, and gloves on twenty fingers. I have no guarantee that any of these items will stay on. When I do happen to catch a moment when all articles of clothing are on, it’s like herding cats through three doors, two flights of stairs, and a long walk to the car. Then it’s like wrestling piglets into pajamas to buckle each one in their carseats, especially because I prefer to take off their puffy jackets and put a blanket on over the seatbelt. And then it’s that entire process to come home again. So when last week the birds started singing and when today we went for a walk to the playground, it was one of my “beautiful mornings.”
If it was always summer, we wouldn’t turn our faces up to the sun in joy, and if the birds always sang, we wouldn’t pause and listen to their song.
But who would choose to turn off the sun and the birds? Well, Heavenly Father chose to turn them off for us in the winter, maybe so we would get so much more joy out of his creations. I’m choosing to experience all the sensations of childbirth, and am hoping to comprehend… something… better.
At any rate, it should make a good story.