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To Cut or Not to Cut

December 13, 2010

In Mommyland, the debate between natural childbirth, epidurals and c-sections can get more heated than Team Edward versus Team-the-other-dude. Despite having only two children, I experienced all three alternatives and let me tell you, there’s something to be said for all of them.

My inner hippie is fairly well hidden, but for my first pregnancy I had very strong ideas of what I wanted. Since I was too late to get a home birth with a midwife (you have to speed dial them within moments of conception and it took me a month to accept the fact that I was actually knocked up), I decided to go with a doula at the hospital. I drew up a birth plan that many women have – no drugs whatsoever, breastfeed immediately, minimal medical intervention, etc.

I gained roughly 4,000 pounds and my doctor repeatedly warned me that I would be having a big baby. I assured her that the creative visualization exercises from the natural childbirth preparation classes at my yoga centre had prepared me well. My doctor simply nodded and left me to my delusions.

When I finally went into labour, I vowed to remain at home with the doula for as long as possible, which turned out to be four days. Any sane woman would’ve capitulated to the Pitocin, but I decided to go for the castor oil, spicy nachos and Raspberry Red Leaf Tea instead. The only thing I had to show for my efforts was raging heartburn. By the time we pulled up to the hospital on day four, I was exhausted and only six centimetres dilated (note to non-preggos: that is sucky progress).

I immediately went all Shirley MacLaine circa Terms of Endearment on the nurses, demanding pain relief for myself. This is where I thought my natural childbirth experience would end, but no: the epidurals (they gave me two) only worked on half of my elephantine body.

I was the Victor/Victoria of birthing women – one half suffered the heat of a thousand white-hot suns while the other flopped there like a beached Beluga. The verdict of drugs vs. natural? It didn’t matter, because once the baby started coming out, I felt e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

The c-section with my daughter was a completely different experience. We showed up at the hospital at an appointed time, the Anaesthesiologist had me safely numb within minutes, a barrier was erected where my midsection used to be and 15 minutes later the doctor pulled a baby from behind it, like a magic trick.

The bonus for me was the extra time in the hospital – as the seasoned mother of a toddler, I knew what kind of chaos awaited me at home. The downside? Stomach muscles are but a distant memory. My muffin top has become an extra-large cheese Danish.

I’ve often compared a natural birth versus c-section to an elaborate church wedding versus eloping in Vegas: there’s a lot more drama and excitement with the former, but there’s also something to be said for the quickie alternative. Now if they could figure out a drive-thru option, I just might be convinced to do it again.

This is my actual pregnant belly. At about 4 months.

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28 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2010 9:22 am

    Whenever I hear of a friend who is pregnant, and she’s making these elaborate birth plans (you know – choosing the music that will be played while the baby is coming out..hahahahahha) I just say – you realize taht the only person with any control here is the baby right? RIGHT? All I wanted was for the baby to be out. I did request some skin to skin immediately (which they made sure happened before he was whisked to the ICU) and for my dad to cut the cord…which he did….i also had immediate beer on there…but I had to send my dad out for that one….

    • December 13, 2010 9:27 am

      OMIGOD I had the music!!!! It was some chanting yoga thing and I looped it for about 45 hours! I swear if the Serb ever hears it again he’ll grab a gun and start shooting…

  2. December 13, 2010 10:00 am

    I went into with all kinds of ideas, but I was too self-conscious to do a lot of planning. My midwife was great at keeping me focused. With my first delivery, by the time I asked for pain medication, I was too far gone to have any.

    I managed three births with no meds. Some of my friends attributed it to some higher ideal. The truth is that my sister warned me of a two week migraine she had after her epidural. I tried to picture myself with a newborn and a two week migraine. Nope.

    But if something had had to change? I would have been okay with it. How can you cover all the possible scenarios with something like that?

  3. December 13, 2010 11:43 am

    OMG, thats a frickin belly! How big was that baby?
    At first I thought I wanted the whole natural birth, no drugs, I was tough and strong and could handle it. After being in labor for a very mild and boring 30 hours my doctors recommended the whole she-bang w/ c section. And I didn’t hesitate.
    Plans for this one: oh yeah, we’re cutting…b/c I too am looking forward to the extra time in the hospital while the husband has some quality time w/ the toddler. yeah me!

    • December 14, 2010 10:08 am

      Ok…maybe it was more than 4 months…maybe it was 8-1/2…still f’ing big though, huh? Enjoy your hotel hospital stay!

  4. TheIdiotSpeaketh permalink
    December 13, 2010 2:26 pm

    Extra large cheese danish huh? 🙂 LMAO!

  5. December 13, 2010 2:40 pm

    I did not plan out anything for the birth of my baby girl… no music, no breathing technics, no special massage… I didn’t even take prep classes on how to deal with baby once home. I just felt that I would deal with everything on the spot. I never felt unprepared, but looking back, I wish I would have done things a little differently.
    I wasn’t against epidural but I refused it the first three times the nurse offered it to me. I ended up taking it when I couldn’t bare the “rectal contractions” anymore… yes, I said rectal! I know it sounds funny but if you never felt that before, it’s like the baby’s trying to come out from the rear end… and it hurts like hell!
    The next time I’m going to give birth, I’ll plan out a few things. And I’ll take more pictures of my newborn, something I didn’t do much of with my girl. I guess I was so busy being a mommy that picture taking was the last thing I was thinking about.

    • December 14, 2010 10:06 am

      I doubt there’s a mother out there who feels it went perfectly according to plan, even if they she didn’t have one…

  6. December 13, 2010 3:15 pm

    I’ve had an induced birth, a natural birth with drugs and a home birth. I have assisted in two births which were both very different. Birth is weird. And amazing. All of which are reasons I aspire to be a Doula someday. I’m done though. My uterus is closed for business.

    • December 14, 2010 10:06 am

      You nailed it – birth. is. weird.

      Good luck with the doula’ing – it takes a special person to put herself in that situation on a regular basis 😀

  7. December 13, 2010 3:31 pm

    I love your style. You are crazy and hilarious. Each time I had my kids, as soon as I walked in I was demanding my epidural! Big Baby here!
    However because you are so funny I will forgive the whole “Team Edward versus Team-the-other-dude”
    The other dude is Jacob and he is wonderful!!

  8. ryoko861 permalink
    December 13, 2010 7:10 pm

    We women are masochists. No matter what nightmare we have during childbirth, we never hesitate (ok, some of us do) to go through it again. After my second, I said no more. I hope this birth goes smoothly for you. You’re a braver person than I.

    • December 14, 2010 10:04 am

      Oh, honey – I am NOT having a baby! This post was just reminiscing on my part! My baby-maker is definitely closed for business…

  9. December 14, 2010 3:49 am

    Listening to other women’s birth/delivery stories is the best anti-conception in the world for me :D.

  10. December 14, 2010 2:10 pm

    Aw, a Vegas birth.

    Now I sort of want to have an Elvis impersonator preside over my next delivery.

  11. December 14, 2010 2:15 pm

    So funny! I just had dinner last night with a friend who is about to have her first. She was telling me all about her birth plans, postpartum plans and how life wasn’t going to change much for her. I just had my third. Needless to say my tongue is hurtin’ today!

    • December 15, 2010 4:53 pm

      It’s so different once you get to the other side…I was your friend…soon she will be like us…

      (if she’s not I may have to shoot her)

  12. December 17, 2010 2:50 pm

    My delusions were almost identical, but I ended up having 2 c-sections. 1 planned and one unplanned. I had 10+ pound babies and I did gain eleventy million pounds. I really wish I could lose that last 15.

    Your writing is hilarious. I must read more. (found you through molly on money)

    • December 17, 2010 6:29 pm

      Ugh. My first was 10 lbs and my 2nd was only 7.5 – unfortunately, the damage was already done…

      I love me some Molly on the Money – thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  13. Dayna permalink
    December 19, 2010 4:32 pm

    Hey Lori – it`s Dayna (Waylett) Steranka. Long time!!! Just reading your blog – hilarious and soooo relatable. I swear we had the exact birthing experiences with our firsts. Still shuddering a little at the memory but so happy not to have had to go through that with my second. I hope you and your family are well. We should organize a mini reunion. I`d love to see you all! Have a happy holiday 🙂

    • December 19, 2010 8:04 pm

      Hey Dayna! Are you in Calgary? I’m there in the summer and if you’re there too, then we definitely should get together!

      L

  14. December 21, 2010 1:42 am

    My first baby was overdue and ended up being breech. Needless to say, I had a scheduled c-section. I woke up, shaved my legs, put on some make-up, got a mani/pedi, and had a baby. It was awesome. I had another c-section, under very different circumstances, but I didn’t mind one bit. They also had to practically kick me out of the hospital. I have some friends who left the next day because they missed their older children so much. This is mind boggling to me. The hospital is a magical place where they feed you, change your baby’s diaper, and bring you extra pillows. It’s practically the Four Seasons compared to my home life.

    • December 21, 2010 8:38 am

      This is hilarious – I, too, was begging to stay. Getting to pee by myself is the Four Seasons for me…so sad…so much to blog about… 😉

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