Sunday, April 13, 2008

Of Corks and Coconuts

I am beginning to suspect that this baby will be here sooner rather than later and, at any rate, she is sure to be here in a little over a month. So, I've been reviewing my childbirth books. I'm hoping to go unmedicated. It's not for any particularly "crunchy" reason, I don't think I will be birthing myself as a woman or anything like that. I'm not looking for a feeling of empowerment. But, it does seem to be that you have 3 options about the pain of childbirth. You can frontload it with an unmedicated birth and while the labor and delivery process itself will be more intense you are also less likely to tear, more likely to use your muscles efficiently, and the whole thing is likely to be done faster- including the recovery afterwards. You can spread things out a bit with an epidural but you are likely to have a longer labor and may have more tearing and hemorrhoids and that sort of thing and that may cause the recovery to be somewhat longer. Finally, you can go the c-section route and the actual delivery is a breeze but, for me at least, it took a couple of weeks to really be up and about and much longer than that for my abdominal and back muscles to get back up to functional snuff. Of course, there are those poor souls with back labor, stalled labor, unmedicated for 30 hours and then a c-section labor and for you I offer up a toast and my deepest sympathies. Since I have Charlie to consider, I would really like to make this recovery as quick as possible so, I'm hoping for the unmedicated birth with the quick recovery. But, I also know I'm a bit of a wimp so, if an epidural or c-section are called for, so be it. At the end of the day, I would really like a baby. The rest is mere semantics as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, the popular way of dealing with contractions or, as some books called them, "expansions" (I refuse to even entertain the whole "life surges" terminology) is to visualize being a cork on a wave. While I appreciate the imagery in theory, every time I read it, I wince. It makes me think of rotting corks, corks mangled by corkscrews, cork floors with strong warnings about exposure to wetness, and an ancient pair of cork sole shoes I found that were scuffed and disintegrating. In addition, corks are little and ocean waves are huge. Corks can get lost, pummeled, buffeted, and broken. Charlie could easily break a cork into bits for heavens sake! I have come to the conclusion that I would much rather be a coconut. Coconuts want to wander around on the water. They look at the intense waves and say "Bring it on! I would like to go forth and multiply! I have an entire ocean of island to colonize!" Coconuts are strong and hardy- how many of us have stared at the whole coconut at the store and been tempted to buy but didn't because, for pete's sake, how will you get the thing open? I have no wish to be a wimpy, rotting, bobbing cork, I am much more the firm, stubborn coconut, waiting for the perfect beach.

1 comment:

Medley said...

Very small bit of anecdotal data: there were a few women in my yoga class who'd had kids. Of those, the ones who'd had an epidural pushed (not labored - pushed) for 90 minutes to 2 hours or more. Of those who didn't have an epidural, they pushed for less than 30 minutes.

I found that interesting.