Truthiness Day 22: Pain in the coccyx

Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

I wish I hadn’t given birth while semi-sitting/laying down.

By the end of my labor I was exhausted.  I hadn’t slept more than 3 hours in the last two days (when it all began).  The cervidil- and pitocin-induced contractions were pretty much constant and full force.  Those last few hours I couldn’t even open my eyes.  My OB broke my water at 9cm and I was up on the bar for that last centimeter while pain gripped my belly and shot down my thighs.  I finally had to get on the bed because my legs wouldn’t hold me anymore.  The back of the bed was pushed up so I was semi-sitting while pushing.

I only pushed for 40 minutes before Jack was born, but all my weight and the pressure of Jack’s body as he moved through the birth canal fucked up my tailbone big time.   I couldn’t sit down for weeks – even the pressure of a pillow or a donut hurt my tailbone.  It never got better, despite weeks at the chiropractor.  Four years later and I still can’t sit for long periods without pain.  That totally sucks when you have a desk job!

It was 40 minutes of pushing…40 minutes on my back.  Why didn’t I turn to the side?  Or crouch?  Anything would have been better…

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Next Time Around

I often think about having a second child.  Joe and I talk about it every once in a while.  I was on the fence for a long time but I think we both agree that we will probably have another at some point.  We might try as early as mid-2009, but it will be highly dependent upon our little family dynamic at that time.  Until then, I’ll be rolling this parenting thing around in my mind, analyzing and wondering how things will go with a second child.

In the grand scheme of parenting, birth was not a huge deal for me.  Certainly not as big a deal as I thought it was while pregnant, when it was all I could think about.  Once Jack was here, my labor and his birth faded quickly with the enormity of having a real live person to take care of.  Still, labor and childbirth brought forth a new understanding of my body and my strength as a woman.  It was a big event, an experience that was unique in my life, and looking back it feels as if it was a big test that I feel proud to have passed even if I didn’t get a perfect grade.

I learned a lot in those 39.5 hours, and I have learned even more as I’ve reflected upon everything I went through to get Jack into the world.  I often wonder how things would have gone if events had occured differently.  I read several midwifery blogs and seek out stories of birth at every opportunity.  So obviously while I feel that birth was a relatively small event overall, it was still a very important event that left a lasting impression on my mind.  The events just weren’t as big as the feelings and thoughts that derived from them.

No matter how my opinions of labor and childbirth change, I will carry some satisfaction of Jack’s birth with me.  Not only did I end up with a wonderfully healthy child, but my first birth experience taught me what I will do differently next time:

  • No induction unless there are signs of ill health.  While induction was convenient in some ways, it made for a more difficult birth that was harder on my body.  By the time I was ready to push I didn’t have the energy to position myself optimally.  My tailbone is still not the same.
  • Stay out of the hospital, and birth only with assistants I know and trust.  In the hospital, I had one nurse who that messed up my IV and refused to unhook it between doses of antibiotics because she felt it was too much work to flush it, and another nurse who at one point took over care of my son.  I want to lessen the chance that other people will adversely affect our family’s experience.
  • Use water for pain relief.  The counter-pressure of the shower on my back and belly was amazing pain relief.  Unfortunately, I was not able to use this resource once I was strapped to monitoring devices.

I am really looking forward to another opportunity one day to learn even more about myself and life in general.  What about you?  Would you do anything differently next time?

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