Sunday, February 10, 2008

That Reminds Me...

A friend of mine is getting ready to have a baby. She told me (emailed me) that she is terrified and excited all at the same time. Yep, that's about right. She also asked me what my labor and delivery was like. Simple question, not so simple answer. So, I started writing her back. I'm debating yet about what exactly I want to tell her. Should I try to keep it short and simple or should I continue the long letter I'm composing which chronicles all of the details?

I don't yet have a whole lot of experience being on the other side of the fence talking to pregnant women about what to expect. It's still kinda fresh for me yet. I'm still not 100 percent over being completely traumatized by the event. I can at least talk about it fondly and without breaking into a puddle of tears, but there are details I still find so horrifying that I'm not sure it would be a good thing to disclose to someone about to embark on the journey of labor and delivery.

What do I say to her? Does she really want to know the truth? Should I give her all the gory details about what it's like to have a Cesarean section? If I tell the truth, women will stop having sex and having babies and the human race will end right?

I guess I just have to trust that people will take certain bits of information and roll with it. I was pretty careful about the things I read before I gave birth. I love to google and research till my eyes bleed but I also read somewhere that you can give yourself a coronary if you're not careful. I learned that lesson when I first found out I was pregnant. I scared myself reading some things when I was looking up a certain pain I was experiencing and from then on I was really careful about which sources I used and what information I chose to read.

While in the midst of composing my letter, I was listening to some relaxing music. A steel guitar was playing and I was instantly taken back to that time of "the waiting" just before giving birth. At that time I remember I was soooooo ready to have the baby and not be pregnant anymore. My fingers and toes felt like sausages. It felt like I was wearing my baby. He was so large and taking up so much of my body that I felt like he was strapped onto me. I just wanted to hold him and meet him so badly. I was so tired and worn out from the massive nerve compression in my leg. Gestational Diabetes made me have to pee every 20 minutes and that was mighty annoying. Needless to say, I did not have an easy pregnancy.

Anyhow, for about a week straight, we sort of camped out in the living room with me laying on the couch ready to pop and watched the Firefly series while we waited for Godot. Yes, the WHOLE series. Every episode on DVD. I'm personally not really into sci-fi, but Hubby loves it. You would have to have seen it to know, but there was this theme music that would play and it had a steel guitar in it. I got sucked into watching it and almost looked forward to watching the plot develop. There was something soothing about the theme music and it got to be something that relaxed me while trying to nap. So now, every single time I hear a steel guitar, I think of Firefly which makes me think of waiting to give birth.

I wonder how it is for other women.
Do you have some memory trigger that makes you think about your pregnancy?
(leave me a comment)


There are certain moisturizing lotions that the smell reminds Hubby and I of the late nights of agony when he would have to massage my leg and back to keep the excruciating pain from making me lose my mind. I remember the pain in my leg being so bad that I wanted to saw it off with a dull nail file in the middle of the night. I still have some of moisturizing lotion left, but I now hesitate to use it because when I have, it reminds me of that uncomfortable time. It's not all bad memories, but mostly it was not a really great time. Hubby smells it and says "ah, smells like pregnancy" and he isn't saying that with a fondness in his tone of voice. So, I guess I'll save it for the next pregnancy if there is one and hope and pray it's different the next time around.

Everyone tells me that each pregnancy and each birthing experience is different. I have to believe in that or else we wouldn't keep the human race going. I have to believe that the next time won't be as bad as the first. I have to have faith that there is a reason the human mind blocks out these memories and represses all of the bad stuff for you. I still remember a lot, but I know I remember it very differently. I think Hubby remembers things more clearly but it's just something we don't discuss much. I know it is still too traumatic for him at times. I don't know that men have that "invasion of the memory snatchers" program that runs on their brains when it comes to childbirth. I feel bad for them in a way.

Sometimes I am tempted to blog about my labor and delivery experience. I just might some day so I have some permanent journal of it just for myself. Maybe when I'm done with my letter to my mother-to-be friend, I'll some how incorporate it into a post. Maybe it will be the therapy I need to resolve some issues I still harbor about the experience.

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