Pain In The

I am going to write this post about preparing for labor. This is not a post where I am posturing, politicizing or opining about birth options. I have long-since learned there is no merit in that. Simply put, a woman has to do what a woman has to do. Still, if these sorts of posts don't sit well with you, I understand. But will you please come back tomorrow?

With my first delivery I opted for that clever needle called an epidural. It was so powerful I spent many hours believing nothing below my torso existed. Several times I checked to make sure my legs were intact because I certainly could not feel them. At one point I hallucinated and thought I sprouted eight legs, and it seemed plausible--I was no longer in control of them anyway. I said to my sister Page, "I feel like an octopus about to give birth."

When people tell me their epidural didn't work I want to give them the cell number of the guy who inserted mine. Man, he was brilliant! When they told me it was time to push, I was completely confused because what was I supposed to push? I didn't have anything below my torso, remember? So I just made a face that looked like I was pushing. And it worked!

It really is quite remarkable. And for my efforts I received a cool little baby who--oh boy--I would turn into Octopus Mom everyday to have placed in my waiting arms again.

(In fact, some mornings I say to Chup, "Will you go and get the baby from the crib and bring him to me like I just gave birth to him?" And as every day goes by that little swaddling baby gets less cooperative about that precious game.)

So I've had that experience--and for my birth plan it was perfectly executed. I know how that delivery felt for me (great! almost like nothing!) And this time around I thought, why not try something new? Which is the blessing I get for being alive when many options are available. Plus, if I don't like the un-medicated route, I can certainly go back to the medicated. I still have the anesthesiologist's cell phone number logged into my phone. Never to part. He was soooo good. Did I mention?

So in trying to be where I need to be to give birth (with a torso), I have asked to be spiritually guided towards certain mental preparations. One of which is the acceptance of pain.

(Oh the things I do to myself for self experimentation. Goodness me.)

I believe I am beginning to understand that pain has a purpose, and if given the right to present itself, it allows for essential inherent bio-feedback. I also believe that if pain is allowed to be heard, it no longer becomes pain, but enlightenment.

(Which is all fine, but how do I remember that when the pounding of birthing cramps come knocking at my weak human frame? Is what I want to know.)

It seems I am learning that the physical pain I feel daily (the charlie horses that wake me up, the nerves being pinched at all directions at all hours, the desire to vomit every time I bend over sensations) pale in comparison to the emotional pain I feel from being human. And I wonder if the key to understanding physical pain is to first come to terms with the emotional.

Which is why perhaps, the more I pray about understanding pain for the purpose of this delivery, the more opportunities to battle emotional pain are sent my way.

The pain of unintentionally hurting feelings.

The pain of public humiliation.

The pain of having to say sorry to friends who I've neglected.

The pain of motherhood guilt.

The pain of feeling jealousy and envy.

The pain of not having enough compassion for someone who needs it.

The pain of thinking about postpartum energy and how it lacks.

The pain of wanting to make everything right for my sister and her children.

The pain of wanting to make everything right for everyone, everywhere.

To mention a few.

Even still, I believe like most Christians, that through the atonement, Jesus Christ took our on pains--emotional and physical--so we would turn to Him for comfort, for survival. Which has made me wonder, how much is pain choice? And how much is it necessary? If we allow pain to help us progress, and ultimately it becomes our teacher, does pain (as we define it) exist at all? Or is it a state of mind?

I am still pondering. It might take a lifetime. In the meantime, I am going to take a breath.

But here is this: today I went to have a check-up with my midwife. Per routine, she weighs me. This is normally done with me standing backwards on the scale so I don't have to witness the scale gradually going up, up, up (up!) to the final number. Of any emotional pain, weight/body image is certainly a top contender in my life. But today, I turned around. I (painfully) faced that number--that outlandish number--and casually shrugged at it.

So I think we're getting somewhere.

On dear c jane:
My stuff from the Fresh Nest photos

Today on c jane's Guide to Provo:
Utah is the second happiest state in the country
here is why I agree.

At My Community:
Mindy sings, I cry, You cry?

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