During my blog black-out, I've been conversing with a lady who is set to deliver her first baby any day now. One thing that keeps coming up in our discussion is pain relief during labor. I've had four deliveries resulting in live births (as near to term as I could get). The one common thread, in four very different stories, is that labor hurts. It hurts like hell. The only difference is the manner and location of the pain.
I do know some women who've done pain free births. One such woman reads this blog (Amy) and would probably share her experience with you. Another woman named Erin had a great birth story you should read (maybe she'll pop up and share a link). I know women who've birthed just about everywhere and I hope they'll join the discussion to share what they know.
What I do know is that any religious claim to pain is bull. It's true that the most ardent fundy will claim that labor pain is a woman's duty. But, to them I ask...what about the Biblical promise to Adam. God knows that, to create another, Adam must be put through great pain. To remove the rib from Adam to make Eve, Adam will be subjected to great pain. What does God do? He puts Adam to sleep. Read that again. God puts Adam to asleep to avoid the pain of bringing forth a new human being. Where, exactly, is the religious objection to relieving pain in child birth? I say that they don't have a leg to stand on. If God exists, he/she/it certainly expects us to use our wisdom to alleviate human suffering. If he doesn't, then I expect outrage over the women who get pregnant by non-religious piety in IVF clinics all across the nation. The religious right doesn't seem to object to the interference of man in that case.
Moving along - take the meds if you want them! Don't allow a cleric wearing a dog collar (especially an unmarried cleric) tell you that your fear of pain is proof of your lack of will. Dry that out and you could fertilize a golf course.
"What To Expect", while a wonderful series, has screwed an entire generation of women into thinking that a book can adequately prepare you for what labor will be like for you. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAhahahah-ha-itty-haha! There's nothing that will prepare you for your birth. It is what is it is. Go with it.
Don't buy into the catty, b/s religious crap...
Scientology says "don't scream" or you'll imprint chaos and negativity onto the baby. Let me just roll the ole' oculars. *pause* I've seen men grunt while taking a six oz. shite on the toilet. I've seen a burly, manly-man groan when hefting a ten pound bag of lawn fertilizer up a slight incline. The truth is that humans react to pain by engaging in some noise making. Can you imagine what it would be like to watch a martial arts master blast through an I-block without his "Heeeyaaaaaaaa!"? Shoot. Go out in a blaze of glory, friend! You don't have to swear Kathy Griffin style, but a few "shits" and growls won't damn you to hell. I'd be willing to bet most people can't hoe a garden without a few oral celebrations or utterances...you think it's reasonable to pass a seven pound bundle of bone and muscle through your coocher without making a peep. Me thinks you're a bit to hard on yourself.
Don't fear the pain relief. No one is going to stand at the door to the hospital and demand a drug test before you leave. There's no special parking spot for "morphine moms" or "epidural wussies" at Baby'sRUs. Within ten minutes after birth, I'll guarantee you that no one gives two shoots about what you had to take to deal with your ordeal. They'll be too busy counting toes and asking about the consistency of meconium.
I've had the Douala's. I think they're handy. They're not healing incarnate and they're not a substitute for a husband, mate, or good friend who loves you. But, they'll do. Their sole duty is to hold you hand and cheer lead you on without actually involving Mylar and spanky pants. They move your favorite pillow and give you scalpel massages, totally understanding that that little hair on your head is a mental barrier for your baby's entrance to the world. It's okay!
You're right. Pain is generally there for a reason. That doesn't mean we accept that it needs to hand out for another eight hours to re-remind us that there's a big, wiggly barrel load of baby eyeing your snatch as it's emergency exit. I have yet to hear of a twenty year old who approaches his mom, joint in hand, who says "Yo, Madre! That teensy hit of morphine you hand when I was less than born totally primed my receptors for opiates. I remember how great it felt to be wasted AND wonder why someone was shoving my face into gazongas I'd never seen before." It just doesn't happen. It's no big deal. You'll make mistakes that really count later.
Just sleep well, great white mother. You won't be pregnant forever. :)