Scary stories from a lovely place

Bearing down on a train smash

Silas x2 is due to make his or her appearance in just over 3 months. Now that I have a burgeoning belly I am much more aware of the little person. And of course the wonderfully bizarre feeling of the baby moving inside my stomach is with me pretty constantly now.

Today I contacted a friend to say hi. I knew the birth of her firstborn son was imminent. She replied – “sometime today. At hospital now”. I forgave her brusqueness, wondering how she had time to be smsing me. Throughout the day I have been thinking of her and hoping that she was doing okay through the madness of labour.

Childbirth is a strange thing to look forward to. It is exciting – because it’s the precursor to meeting your baby, this person that you have thought about for 9 months and probably more. But it’s also scary and daunting – because even if you’ve never experienced it everyone knows that labour is supposed to be horribly painful, requiring huge reserves of emotional and physical strength and courage. And it is horribly painful. It’s weird to look forward to pain. No one looks forward to being run over by a car or hit in the head with a cricket ball, but such incidences are usually unexpected anyway. Perhaps if labour and childbirth didn’t have such bad reputations expectant mothers could feel more positive about childbirth. But, no matter how positive an experience, it is still painful.

In the lead up to Silas’ birth I/we made the decision to pursue natural childbirth and not use drugs (I say we, but really Stephen would have gone along with whatever I had concluded). We didn’t discuss much about potential unnatural pain relief with Ntombi our midwife. She said that she would administer it, except for an epidural, that had to be done by an anaesthetist. Silas was born at Genesis Clinic, a natural birthing centre that is heavy on midwives, incense, breastfeeding and waterbirths but not too keen on medical intervention (though they have all the necessary stuff in case). I knew that Ntombi and the clinic would honour my wishes to have a natural delivery, because it’s what they were all about too. It’s good to be on the same page as your health care provider, rather than tussling to and fro.

After Silas was born Stephen asked me if I had wanted to ask for pain relief at anytime during the labour. In all honesty, it didn’t occur to me. If you have read Silas’ birth story you’ll know that I didn’t have much time. By the time we arrived at the clinic I was pretty focussed on getting through each contraction with sheer will and then it all happened so quickly. The best thing for pain relief was the bath. I don’t know how I would have done it out of the water.

This time I want to do it the same way. We will, Home Affairs willing, be in Australia not South Africa for the birth, so unfortunately I can’t deliver Silas x2 at Genesis Clinic. I am looking forward to the (free!) public system in Australia – and I hope I can have another water birth. I do want to do it again without drugs.

I am not, however, feeling good about the potential for birth injury – a.k.a perineal tearing. Last time it was second degree. Bad. I wanted all the drugs in the world to take that post-delivery pain away. If I were having the baby here and paying for it, thus able to dictate how it happened, I would seriously consider a caesarean. I know that the recovery from those can be hard too, but I’ve seen people manage it pretty well, and they are still intact in other bodily areas. If Silas x2 causes similar damage (I am predicting this will happen) I will seriously consider a caeasrean for any future babies.

I used to hate it when people said that labour is fine because it’s good pain. But it’s true. It’s useful pain, purposeful pain. It’s not due to an injury or neglect or violence. It’s the pain of producing a cute baby. People also say stupid things like ‘when I saw how beautiful my baby was I forgot all the pain’. That’s nonsense. You don’t forget an ordeal like labour. But it’s true that it is worth it.

Before - Walking in the park about 5 hours into labour

After - see, worth it


4 comments on “Bearing down on a train smash

  1. Hannah
    March 29, 2011

    Hi Kim!
    Your honesty is so interesting to me – somehow I was so convinced by the NCB propaganda everywhere that I feel I can’t express the fact that the recovery was awful without letting the side down. My son had two nuchal hands (one right up and one over his ear) and subsequently caused a rather complicated 2nd degree tear that we had to transfer to the hospital to have dealt with, even though he came at home. It only stopped hurting when he was about 4 months. It really helped me to speak to my midwife about it, as she said that even if I was unfortunate enough to have a second baby with its hands up it would never be as bad again. Which gives me hope!
    I also intend to pray much more specifically about it next time. Last time my prayers were more general, although God still graciously answered them. I also think I will plan to stay at home again, despite everything, especially if we still live 3 mins from the hospital like we do at the moment.
    I have been thinking about your guest post idea. I think it would help with “closure” if I write it all down and if I am happy with it I will send it to you. Is that ok?
    ps also appreciated the Silas sleeping post 🙂

    • kimlovesjozi
      March 29, 2011

      Yeah Silas did that too – with the hands! I will talk to my midwife in Australia about it. I’m prepared for it to be bad again though. At least I know what to expect this time. I didn’t even consider the potential for birth injury with Silas. Mine hurt for ages too. Just the other day I stood up from the ground and could feel it. Nasty.

      I am intrigued by your home delivery. I hope if you do write your story you will let me read it, even if it’s not published.

  2. Pingback: Tears for tears « Midwife Mum

  3. Pingback: Looking down the barrel of a loaded gun « Kimlovesjozi

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This entry was posted on March 29, 2011 by in Baby, Home and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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