Saturday, February 4, 2012

In which I ramble about the elevator story...

Awhile ago now, I shared my elevator story.  It is by far the most entertaining of my birth stories; I always hope for boring births, now!   It was such a long post that I wanted to add my post-elevator thoughts in a second installment.

One time a friend asked me, jokingly, whether now, having experienced both hospital birth and elevator birth, which I preferred. all seriousness, that's a tough one.  See, I'm kind of a crazy crunchy natural birth momma at heart.  Home birth draws me, though I have never done it for various reasons.  I still might someday.  So...the 100% intervention free aspect of the elevator was kind of nice.  No monitors, no IV (I always am GBS+, so I always have the heplock in) wasn't so bad.  Of course, it was cold, and not real clean, and not exactly private...

Nevertheless, I was, for a long time, kind of surprised by the level of sympathy I received from people.  They expected Mark and I to be utterly traumatized by our experience.  Finally, we figured out that there were several factors at play here:

One, I didn't want or expect any pain medication. I think a lot of the "you poor thing!" comments stemmed from an assumption that I would have had an epidural, or at least some analgesics, and would have been traumatized by going through birth without intervention.  On the contrary, I am grateful to God that I have never found myself in need of intervention in my births, and was prepared for a natural birth anyway.

Two, it was our fourth baby.  Mark says that if he had never witnessed birth before he would have been terrified, especially by the grayish color of the baby at the moment of birth.  I would have been much more afraid if I had not had enough experience to know that what I was feeling was within the range of normality - in fast forward!

Three, it just happened so fast.  We both just sat there, thinking, "did that really just happen??" 

On the other hand, there was some lasting effect.  I think the most difficult part of it was that it happened so fast that I didn't get the "brain fog" of labor - that lovely effect that pulls the sting out of the memories.  All my other labors I remember fuzzily - almost like remembering a dream, or like it happened to somebody else, and I heard about it afterward.  From Jonathan's birth, I remember everything very sharply, like any other memory - and that has, probably forever, somewhat altered my feelings about birth.  That's okay.  It's just part of who I am, like all my other births. 

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