Wednesday, February 9, 2011

when babies attack.

i read something somewhere, i think on the little site that updates my facebook page weekly with the baby's progress, that those baby shows that show deliveries should be called "when babies attack," mainly because they are almost always Dramatic. they choose the deliveries that have some sort of crisis or show women moaning and wailing and freaking the fetch out. it's very rare that you see a controlled, deliberate, natural labor, even in the "natural childbirth" scenarios.

case in point: one natural childbirth that i saw on one of those shows had the woman convulsing from anxiety and her husband turning on her, calling her a liar when she said that had never happened to her, reminding her that she always freaks out when she gets upset and citing her throwing their computer the night before as evidence.


so once upon a trimester or so ago, i was hanging out with some friends as we were baking cookies for some people at church. my friend gave birth at the end of the hottest summer on record and had to be induced.  she has been great at telling me whatever i want to know. her husband was there, and his main advice was this: "don't listen to anyone's advice, including ours." i like that.  his secondary advice: "don't watch those baby shows!" he told me that when his wife was pregnant, he would come home and find her sobbing because of a premature baby delivery and he would be like "WHY ARE YOU WATCHING THOSE SHOWS?!?"

this is a really good question, as i probably watch approximately 4 hours of those shows a day. (most of the time i'm also working, so please don't judge me. except that, really, i watch way too much tv.  so maybe judge me a little. sometimes i am sleeping through these shows, especially in the morning, so there's that too.) maybe less, but every day i watch some.  i can't explain it.  it's like they are my particular brand of siren song.  if it's on, i feel compelled to watch it. 

(i swear to you, one is just coming on, and this was the teaser line: "will their love be enough to get them through? the drama of a dangerous delivery on a baby story."  jeez. i'm changing the channel.)

but lately, after i had been watching all of these women barely get through labor with an epidural, i began to think: how on earth am i going to do it without it? doubts began to creep in.  i started asking musicboy "what if i can't do it?" to which, good coach that he is, he replied "you can." but i really started wondering.

and i'm not really surprised, given what is depicted in those shows. i'm not surprised that i began to wonder if i could do anything contrary to what seemed so difficult even with paralyzing pain relief.

and then a couple of things happened.

watching one of those shows, the woman was excited to get to the birthing center to see how far she was dilated. she said "i could be at 2 or i could be at 5--i have no idea." i looked at her face and her demeanor, untouched by medical intervention, and said, out loud to the tv, "you're at 2. you're not even serious yet."

what was she?

a 2.

freakin' heck yes to the bradley research. i can watch labors (the snippets that i get to see) and read the signposts. that is seriously comforting to me.  it means that maybe, somewhere down deep, the information is ingrained enough in me that i'll be able to read the signs in myself as well.

then there was a show today with completely natural labor. she was totally in control. her husband was a rockstar coach. she didn't scream. she didn't freak out. she just did the work. and it was all great.  a 9 pound plus baby, and all was well. 

sometimes, life presents me with hope.  i like that. 

i don't think my worries and doubts are solely the result of my overactive TLC viewing, though it can't help.  i think it's probably just what happens at this stage, when it all gets very real.  when my stomach tightens up, or when i feel a ligament pull, or when i feel the baby move ALL OF THE TIME, i naturally begin to think about what will happen.  i don't think that's abnormal. i think, actually, that's totally normal. 

there's something awesome about the way all of the parts of you begin to prepare for the hardest work you'll ever do in your life.  i think this psychological bucking up, this mental molding and shaping and stretching to begin to believe i can do anything i set my mind to, is just part of it. 


  1. You can do it! Every time I get freaked out about the idea of giving birth sans-epidural (which Bobby really, really wants, since they can be not-so-good for both mom and baby), I think of Mary. Alone, in a stable, with only her husband and no epidural in sight. She gave birth on a stone or dirt floor without (as far as I know) a midwife. Mom and Baby were MORE than okay. God's prepared you for this. He shaped women's bodies to handle childbirth without medicine. Most importantly, He is in control.

    Also: TLC needs to make money and (as reality TV shows us), drama ALWAYS sells. Those women are (in my opinion) hamming it up for the cameras. The husbands, too. Don't be afraid! The Lord's got this one.

  2. I never watched the baby shows before I had James, but now I can't get enough of them! I watch every birth and find myself comparing everything about it to mine :) Anthony and I didn't take a Bradley class but we read a few of the books and bought the class workbook with the exercises from ebay and it was totally helpful! I think I would have been way more anxious at the first stage of labor if I didn't know about all the different positions I could try to make things more comfortable. I really liked kneeling on a birthing ball, it got me through at least a few hours and sitting in the bathtub was awesome too. I am so glad that we didn't go to the hospital too early, I can't imagine doing the same things/positions in the hospital environment.

    Anyhoo, I guess what I have come to realize is that seriously everyone's experience is different. As long as you have the love and support that you need, you can totally handle a natural childbirth if you want to. But, if you end up changing your mind that's okay too. It is your birth, no one elses.

  3. Those commenters up there are smart. :) It's true, YOU CAN DO IT! And, every birth is different, and, if for some reason you end up not doing it, that's okay, too. Don't beat yourself up about it. But really, truly, trust your body. It SO knows how to do this. And it will take over, and you will amaze yourself.