When I shared Duke's birth story, I said that I was so grateful for having experienced a natural birth and that I learned so much from it. Well, after 6 months of gathering my thoughts, I've finally gotten around to writing about it.
I learned a lot about pain. I now understand what real, excruciating pain feels like. It certainly has made me think twice about stubbing my toe. There are a lot of things that I know I can handle just because I survived giving birth.
I learned a lot about myself. I learned that my body can handle more than I think. My mind can also push me beyond where I thought my limits were. If you want to give birth naturally (and there aren't any emergency complications, of course) then do it. I'm so glad that I trusted my body to do what it was designed to do.
I learned a lot about history. Huh? Yeah, it sounds weird and I'm not even sure how to elaborate without sounding odd. But I'll try. Here we are, in the year 2012, with everything handed to us. We can shop without ever stepping foot in a store. We can rent a movie by the press of a button from our own couch. We can look up any question we could ever think of and find an answer in seconds. We can even give birth without feeling a single contraction. Things are pretty easy. I'm not saying easy is bad. Easy is the result of many technological and medical advances by really intelligent people who have the best intentions to improve things. Easy is great. But by experiencing childbirth naturally, I share something with women that lived in a time when easy was not an option. We have this in common. (That's the part that sounds odd. I'm not saying that I feel "as one with womenkind" ... I'm just saying I get it.)
I learned a lot about my husband. The best phrase to use in describing my feelings about Colt after giving birth is this: I adore him. I think more of him today than I did before I had Duke. Not only did he not eat all day, but he was he up for something like 48 hours straight. He was everything I needed him to be when I was in labor. He sat in the room with me and the second I breathlessly said, "Colt," he was by my side.
"By my side" turned into different things as the contractions got worse. I held onto him the only way that I thought would help and make things better ... bent over, my arms on his, swaying side to side. He was there for every contraction. His arms withstood my squeezing and, eventually, his body withstood the pressure of me pressing him into the wall. He was totally with me in every moment and not one time did he put his needs before mine.
You know, you always see scenes on TV with the wife yelling and screaming at her husband/partner while experiencing painful contractions. While the pain really was that bad, Colt was just perfect. He listened to everything I needed and was ready for anything I asked of him. He saw me through it. He watched how the pain affected me and still supported my desire to keep trying this naturally. I saw things in him that day that I'd never seen before. The gentle way he cared for me, spoke to me, and served me is something I will never forget.
I learned a lot about God. Childbirth really is a gift from God. It didn't necessarily feel like that in the moment because all I could see was what was right in front of me. But it's a journey ... a journey that is long, hard, and painful but one that ends with an amazing gift. This is a journey that God is pretty familiar with. I feel like I understand a bit more about his character through all of this. The great pain of childbirth was followed by an even greater reward ... my precious son, Duke.
Natural childbirth isn't everyone's cup of tea and that's okay. Please remember, I didn't do this to prove how awesome I am. I honestly wanted to experience what it was like. So, for those of you who are ready to get that epidural, that's great. For those of you who are anxious and wanting to try the natural route, you can do it. I promise it's worth it.