Friday, September 16, 2011

Childbirth Was Easier Than This

I just finished watching Bachelor Pad. Yes, I know. It's trashy television and I might have lost brain cells. Whatevs. Y'all, I need this getaway from my real life sometimes. In the last episode, one of the competitors was talking about how scared she was to walk against a vertical wall while suspended on cables. Her quote was, "This is the scariest thing I've ever done. Childbirth was easier than this."

And then the BLM in me busts out.

Childbirth is not hard. Relative to other life experiences like losing a child and actually having to physically birth your child within hours of finding out they would never, ever be going home with you and instead is currently turning progressively more purple inside of you-- now that's hard. I remember my own mother and my MIL telling me that you forget the pain of childbirth because of how rich in love the experience is. Bringing a child into the world erases all the pain you endure. I'd like to say I understand that reality. I don't. Pain is, in many ways, mental. My dad always told me this as a child when he'd dare me to pinch him as hard as possible (or maybe I was daring myself and he didn't really want it? Hah) and that it didn't hurt because he didn't allow it to hurt. He was near bleeding at times when I'd dig my little, grimy nails into his palm so I'd somehow end victorious in causing him pain. {What a jerk! Bah.} Some of my fellow BLM friends birthed their still babies without medication. I did not choose that route, although I was just a couple hours from pushing and already 4cm dilated when I received medication. I felt the pain. It wasn't pretty, but I'd handle that pain without a thought if. Some of my friends commented on how they wanted to feel the physical pain, as they were already in the most emotional turmoil they'd ever experienced. What does it matter, anyway?

What it all boils down to is that emotional pain outweighs physical pain. I'm sure some of my readers will disagree with this sentiment, but I can say that for me, contractions were practically painless when compared to the emotional heartbreak and endless duration of this earth-shattering reality.

Childbirth is difficult. Roofing a house, difficult. Trying to find that single sock lost on laundry day, difficult.

But birthing a child who isn't alive is impossible. It's not just difficult. I hope to God it doesn't strip away the magic of childbirth for any of our future children, but it will probably be a difficult second go around from what I can imagine right this moment.

Renel posted today about this green sign and how we're achieving the impossible. Not in a summit Mt. Everest kind of way, but a get out of bed each day and choose life kind of way.

We can't do this. But we have no choice but to do it anyway. Difficult doesn't even begin to explain it.


Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

Well said. I keep trying to write something more brilliant than that, but I can't. You said it perfectly.

sarah said... [Reply to comment]

Yep, like Kelly said - you said it perfectly.

I want to scream when I hear people talking (like on Bachelor Pad which duh OF COURSE I also watch) about "the hardest (or scariest) thing" they've ever had to do, and it's something like scaling a wall so that they can bring home the $250,000 grand prize or whatever. Blech. Try birthing your lifeless baby. Or taking him off life support when you realize he's not going to live, after having endured 72 hours of labor.

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, should have to live through what we've had to live through.

(I loved the card Renel posted as well - it captures it all too perfectly.)

Renel said... [Reply to comment]

I guess we are all watching the same crap TV. I remember when she said that climbing the wall was more difficult than childbirth...GUFAW as if...BLM mamas were united in our eye rolling, head shaking, fist waving...YA~ Well try, JUST try and birth a dead baby. I lost a little piece of my mind that day. I birthed my first son without drugs or intervention. I got an epidural with Camille. There was no way I could do the pain of labor and cope with the overwhelming emotional turmoil of the fact that my baby was dead. VOMIT~seriously it is just way to hard to even comprehend.

Jessica said... [Reply to comment]

So well said!

That green sign us exactly how I have been feeling the last two days and need to be frequently reminded. Thank you for sharing it!!!

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I too chose to get the epidural. Before we learned Cale died, back when I was all naive and happy, I thought I would attempt a natural birth. As soon as I learned he had died, I wanted as much drugs as I could get. granted it still hurt, but the emotional pain was far, far, far worse.

Birthing Finn was difficult as it did bring back a lot of emotions (and fears). But it was also WONDERFUL, exciting and really genuinely happy for me. I want nothing more than for you to have that experience too. You certainly deserve it.

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

I totally need that sign up in every room of my house, as well as my car and my office.

And I completely agree with you and wish that you had a radio talk show on which you shared your wisdom with the rest of the world. I would listen on my commute and sometimes I would call in to comment.

Tiffany said... [Reply to comment]

I can't imagine the pain of having to birth a child that you know won't go home with you. It's not fair (btw- fair isn't even a good enough word for this but I can't think of a more appropriate one...) to have been robbed of the joy of that moment. I'm so sorry you didn't get it with your little guy.
Sometimes I laugh at what people complain about or think is hard- like getting a flat tire or having the wrong dinner brought to you at a restaurant should qualify as difficult! I will definitely be pinning this sign to my pinterest account. It couldn't be more true!

Addi's mom said... [Reply to comment]

I remember after Addi was born thinking wow, that hurt, but it was WAY easier than I thought it would be. I wonder if the next time around it will feel so "easy" I know I was so taken over by the emotional aspect that I didn't care about the physical part...either way the actual giving birth part isn't scary to me it's wondering if I will ever get to have a LIVE birth that terrifies me.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I wish I could just wear that sign around my neck to give people some indication that yes, it's still hard, every day. Getting out of bed, choosing life- it kind of shocks me that I've chosen to do those things, that any of us in the BLM community have. Thank you for writing this. You've said it all so much better than I ever could. I think of you often and I pray it gets better- for all of us. xoxo

lissasue3 said... [Reply to comment]

I got the epidural too. I found that my emotional pain was amplifying my physical pain, and there was no reason for me to go be experiencing both. The epidural and the anesthesiologist were amazing. I felt nothing physically so I could focus 100% on my emotions.

Well said, Ii is an impossible concept to grasp -- giving birth to your angel baby. Even now, having done it 10 months ago I find it impossible to consider having to do it again. It's always a possibility that I have in my mind, I know what it was like, and to think of doing it again makes me want to run screaming to a padded room. No mother should even have to consider it. Impossible indeed.

Kristin said... [Reply to comment]

Omg, every single time I hear a story of "did you hear that so and do was in labor for 50 hours?? That must be the most difficult thing ever!" I want to scream. Sure, I bet it wasn't physically pleasant, but so and so go a freaking LIVE BABY at the end of those 50 hours. She had the excitement of knowing she was able to meet her LIVE baby during those 50 hours. I only labored for 20, but I garuntee (I will never learn how to spell that word) my 20 hours was immeasurably more difficult than so and so's 50 hours. Sometimes I honestly forget I actually had to give birth to my dead baby. It seems to wrong I can't even comprehend I did it and somehow am still here, at least semi-sane.

katie illingworth said... [Reply to comment]

Brandy I have thought this so many times myself. Back when (silly me) I thought I would bring my baby home alive, I was terrified of it. When we were in the hospital I remember asking the nurse how in the world I was supposed to birth my dead child. When I was in the midst of it, the physical pain was nothing. Now the hard part is getting out of bed each morning, or rather, opening my eyes and realizing the same reality again and again.

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

I have a hard time thinking of something worse than losing our babies. When people tell me about something that was "the worst thing ever" I instantly think about how much worse my bag of shit is, you know?

And I totally caught that on BP (not that I watch that filth... um, yes), too.

Stupid Ella

Natasha said... [Reply to comment]

I'm always amazed at what people think is hard. When they share their stories of an oh so rough life it's hard not to scream. You don't even know hard sister (cause yeah it's usually a women sharing these stories with me).

Getting out of bed each day and living our lives despite our pain is an amazing accomplishment.