I'm at our home computer, nursing Baby CL, so I thought I'd start to compile my thoughts of her birth last week. This may be the first in a series of posts :) Lots of childbirth stuff in the coming days, sorry! Eventually, I'll move on to something else, rest assured.
Anyway, all of the nurses at the hospital, and my doctor, were all very interested in the fact that I'd had an epidural with my first birth, and went unmedicated with my second. What they all wanted to know was:
Would I do it completely drug free again?
I thought that was a good starting point for this post. At first, I had to think about that question quite deeply. :) And right after the experience, I wasn't sure if I would again or not. I thought maybe yes, but I wasn't totally sold. 6 days later, the answer is abundantly clear.
YES. In a heartbeat, yes, yes, yes.
I'll briefly describe the two recoveries. With Henry, I needed a lot of assistance walking right after the birth. I was very disoriented and shaky. Due to the required cathetar, I had difficulty urinating for days. One full week later, I was still sitting on an eggcrate every day due to perineal discomfort, and walking with much difficulty. (I had a second degree repaired tear, exact same as I also received last week with Anne). I had major baby blues and cried everyday. I had a serious lack of appetite and lost my pregnancy weight almost unnaturally quickly.
Ok, so fast forward to last Wednesday. I had held Anne right away, until my doctor needed to stitch me. Once that was done, I held her again and nursed her right there. I felt HIGH from all the oxytocin and endorphins in my system, like I was drunk on some really, really awesome wine. :)
After that, Mike retrieved my parents from the waiting room, with a promise not to tell them the baby's gender so that I could do that in person (I figured I deserved that honor :) ). My parents came in, and I can't even tell you how much joy that experience brought me. We all held and cuddled the baby, cried tears of joy, and it was simply magnificent. I know how much it meant to my parents to be there during that special time (and Anne is my mom's middle name) and I wouldn't trade it for anything. My energy level was high and I felt fantastic.
After they left, the nurse assisted me out of the bed and into the shower, and I pretty easily scooted off the bed and into the bathroom. And oh, the shower. The first hot shower after you give birth is an orgasmic experience. :) Especially with those natural hormones running wild in your system. I felt like a million bucks.
The nurse got me all settled, and the pee issue wasn't even an issue. No trouble there. I was wheeled to my room where I ate happily. For the duration of my 2 day stay, I was up and out of bed, getting around easily, no eggcrate necessary. I ate like a champ, and used the loo without trouble. Mere days later, I've been walking the baby through the neighborhood and out and about. My baby weight is coming off easily, but my appetite is awesome. Breastfeeding seriously gets your waist back into shape and your uterus contracting back down (more difficult with second and subsequent births).
Physically, I feel like I could run a marathon. I could have gone to dance class last week! The recovery has been AMAZING. Words cannot express how much better I feel after this birth. There is no comparison. It was tough, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Granted, there are other factors. This labor was half the time of my first. Much easier on my body. (although the epidural CAN make your labor longer, it's true. But first babies just take longer as well). My body really knew what it was doing this time; it was a machine.
The epidural was the right choice for my first birth, which was long and diffcult. But this? This was wonderful. I'm SO glad that I did it.
Ok, and the nitty gritty? How bad was it?
Honestly, it wasn't that bad.
Don't get me wrong; it was BAD.
But it wasn't *that* bad. It was totally manageable, even transition, which I dreaded with everything I had. I remember the Piticon transition contractions from Hank (epidural had worn off) and I felt like I was getting hit by a mack truck. This time? No. Like I said, it really was manageable. The pushing was tough, so, so tough, and getting stitches in your lady parts with no anesthesia is no walk in the park either. But honestly, it's not that bad. One of the most difficult things you'll ever do, but you can do it, and it's worth it.
There is no shame in the epidural, and it can really ease a long and difficult labor. But I'm so glad I made this choice.
Now the baby blues? Unfortunately, I'm just susceptible to those, and here they are. I'm handling them much better this time, and I'll devote a whole post to that. But 80% of women get them, and I'm just one of them, drug-free or not.
So there you have it. I'll post more tomorrow. :) Until then! Just keep me in your prayers. The nights are tough over here, but we're hanging in there.