I’m not opposed to a home birth. Some parts of it sound downright wonderful: admitting that birth is largely a natural and uncomplicated phenomenon, being completely in charge of how I ride the wild pony of transition, and avoiding people, whom, as a group, I largely dislike and don’t do a very job of being polite to. But our house is sooooo small. Where the hell would I put a birthing tub? How would I find a midwife who wasn’t so touchy-feely that I would snap at her repeatedly? Are there enough hours of the day to convince Partner that a hospital isn’t needed? No, the answer to that is no. He loves science and Western medicine even more than I do. He is also far more worried about me than I am – in life, in general. I guess maybe I do keep my nose a little too far into books and daydreams when I should be looking both ways before crossing the street. A fair concern.
I don’t hate hospitals. Doctors and Western medicine are capable of some waaaay cool shit. They have their place. And germs. And people, whom, again, I don’t always get along with. So I will agree to go to the hospital to comfort Partner, to have insurance cover all of it and to avoid sloshing placenta water onto my brand new birch wood floors and good sheets. But I hear that to have this whole hospital OB/GYN thing work out, one should show up armed with a Birth Plan. My organizational skills are superb, but my version of a plan usually involves me just having a general outline in my head and then I am in charge and boss everybody around to my satisfaction. Perhaps I should be more specific ahead of time, for the sake of those who have to tolerate me during labor.
I’m not opposed to an epidural. I know the contractions are going to hurt more than ten paper cuts on the webbing between your toes. They are going to suck. Hardcore. Big time. I’m gonna walk around and roll around and moan as much as I please. I am going to soak in a bathtub and clench things between my bony knuckles. I’m going to make the nurses uncomfortable with my swearing and defensive humor. I’m going to make Partner feel awkward when I want him in the tub with me or naked underneath me bcs there’s nothing more comforting than sniffing his neck. I’ll sneak along my Hitachi Magic Wand and, if it strikes my fancy, plug it in as a bodily distraction – maybe on my back, maybe on the fancier areas. But if all of those coping techniques have passed me by and I am beside myself and drained of all resolve, I will gladly say “Uncle! For the love of everything, did I wait too long? Can I still have the drugs? I love drugs!”
But I don’t want Pitocin or other inducers. To get me to say “Uncle, I agree with your silly assessment that labor should be faster than this,” is going to take a lot more than pain relief. I mean a lot of hours. If after a whole day of slow suffering and little progress, I am exhausted and twenty miles past the epidural, and if Partner has to grab me by the shoulders and tell me to “let the doctors do their job,” then ok. Fine. After twenty-four hours of misery, if my almost equally exhausted Partner begs me to let go of my crunchy, slightly natural ideals, I guess I’ll accept more intervention.
Let’s assume that’s not necessary, though. Let’s assume the Larvae’s head size is just average and the labor length is only ten hours. I’m still not going to agree to sit lay on my back. Not only am I going to pace like a polar bear in the zoo, I am going to openly scoff at the fetal heart monitors and openly refuse to get up in the bed unless I damned well please. Yoga/birth balls sound nice for leaning over and clinging to while demanding a steady rotation of ice water, golden fish crackers and back massages. If I can, I will sneak away and squeeze the little bugger out in the bathtub. Largely unassisted sounds pretty appealing to the independent, know-it-all two-thirds of me.
I guess the birthing class that we should register for someday will help fill in some of these details and suggest ways to avoid screaming “Uuuuuuunnnncle” whilst I climb the curtains and hiss between insults hurled at the defenseless staff and family. But You Tube seems to have it covered so far. Some of those births look pretty cool despite the pain. I can groan with the best of them and kneeling on the floor and letting my massive muscles drop the New Creature onto a soft blanket directly beneath me seems ideal. Do you think that the doctor who is on call when mine goes on vacation will be able to deal with being down on knees? Do you think I will care? Just how polite do I have to be to take advantage of the medical establishment before they dope me and suck the Wee One out with a plunger? The next time I get ten or more paper cuts between my toes I will practice being gentle and thoughtful in the midst of mind-numbing physical trauma. If I bite a nurse, at least they will have lots of vaccinations and salves at their disposal. I may get sued during birth.