Giving Birth Isn't as Bad as Everyone Says It Is

#Opinion

Mon, Mar 24th, 2003 04:00 by Lilith DemHareIs ARTICLE

Giving birth isn't as bad as everyone says it is. How do I know? Because I gave birth last year, that's why. After years of falling pregnant and losing babies, I finally had one stick and carry to full term. In fact, she went over term.

Ever see a ten-month-pregnant bunny? Nuthin' but belly.

My obstetrician (the only man other than my husband to stare up my persquattie) looked at my large size and said, "If you don't drop soon, we'll have to induce you."

Okay. Not a problem. I was actually looking forward to giving birth for several reasons.

1. The adventure.
2. I missed my toes.
3. Drugs.4. I'd invested a lot of time, energy and emotional worth into this one.5. Drugs.
6. All those free baby samples.
7. Sleeping on my stomach once again.
8. Drugs.
9. Did I mention drugs?

Normally, I'm a pretty clean person. Don't smoke, don?t drink... Frith, I don't even indulge in a coffee hit in the morning. (Now chocolate is a different matter, but that's another article.) But when it comes to birth, not only can I legally partake in all sorts of fun substances, but they actually *encourage* me to give it a try.

Woo-hoo! I was gonna try it all!

Living in Australia, the maternity system is pretty darn good. 100% of maternity costs are covered, including the hospital stay (as long as it's a public hospital, which are rather decent ones), and any of the peripherals, like, say, drugs.

My obstetrician even signed what's known as a "drug sheet", to give the hospital permission to give me any drug I deemed fit.

I remember when I lost baby bunny number two. That came with all the contractions and everything. They gave me a shot of pethidine and I was soon singing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", and for a few happy hours, I could forget why I was lying alone in hospital overflow ward (the only other place to put me was in maternity with all those successful mothers and their babies. Not good for the psych.) in the middle of the night.

Yup. Pethidine was one to try, but not until I'd tried everything else first. I'm the sort of person who will try one of the new Subway sandwiches, simply because I like variety.

What did I have on offer?
Not all of it was drug-based. I thought I'd start off all natural and the like. I had acupuncture and aromatherapy and a lovely little device called a TENS machine. It had these little sucker pads they stuck on your back, and a little control box. Anytime I felt a contraction start, I'd push a little red button and a jillion volts of transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation would thump across my spine, effectively cancelling any pain I felt.

That worked wonderfully until four in the morning, when, after almost twenty-four hours of labour, I started to feel a little tired.

Then a midwife came in. She said, "You look a little tired. Would you like a hot bath?"

What the...? Here I am in the middle of labour, and she's offering me a soak?

Eh, why not? Off to the hot tub we went.

Never underestimate a good hot soak on labour pains. For a couple of hours I had a lovely long soak, until the midwife told me it was time to get out. No way!

"The doctor's here, and he'll want to see you after he's done with another patient."

Yeah, only that other patient is busy giving birth herself. It's a couple of hours until the doctor gets there. Meanwhile, I'm having no less than four different midwives peering up my persquattie, trying to determine how dilated I am. By the doctor got around, I was sick and tired (mostly tired) and wanted to relax. "Could I have the gas and air now?"

Not a problem. I was given a nitrous oxide hookah to toke on, while the doctor went to aid yet another woman giving birth. (note: it was the night and morning of the full moon, when everyone and their cat seem to give birth. There were more than fifteen babies born from the hour I was induced until I dropped by own litter.) So I sucked on that stuff and did the little figure-eight belly dance we all learned in alternative birthing position class, and enjoyed myself for the next little while.

Doctor comes back in to check me again. "Hmmm... If you don't progress enough, we may need to perform a caesarian. We'd better get you an epidural just in case."

"....skiiiiiiy with diiiah-monds.... Sure, no prob." More drugs, directly injected into the ol' spinal fluid, and topped up anytime I wanted.

I got to keep the hookah. It had become my favourite. I was starting to wonder if it would fit into my hospital bag to go home with me.

Several hours later, I'd failed to progress, so it was the sword. I, naturally, felt nothing until four days later, when they thought it was time to wean me off the drugs.

Ah yes. I could see my feet again, but somehow, I'd acquired this really neat, really loooong, but a tad painful scar. How did that get there? Oh well. The nurse was happy to give me codeine until that healed over, and life was back to normal.

Well, normal for a momma bunny.

Good news is, I?m up the duff again.

Whaddya mean, "So soon?"?!?

Well, naturally. I am a rabbit after all. And I do have that gas and air to look forward to.

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