by Lisa Fogarty
Sopranos actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler recently said the most refreshing thing I've heard about labor and delivery in a long time. Jamie-Lynn wasn't the least bit afraid of giving birth to her son! Granted, she sings the praises of her doula, whom she credits with calming her nerves. According to Jamie-Lynn, her doula told her to prepare for the level of pain she expected to experience, double that, and then anticipate how she'd react if that happened. Sounds like pretty simple advice, doesn't it? But it worked because the actress' anxieties about birth melted!
You may be asking yourself how on earth this could be possible or questioning this woman's sanity. You may even find yourself disliking her for not doing what most women have been taught to do, which is spend the weeks prior to giving birth frozen in a complete state of fear and then spend a few weeks after birth telling everyone about the great agony you were forced to endure.
I apologize in advance to anyone who really did go through childbirth hell. I know it happens. Often. But in my experience with my firstborn, there were five major things I was terrified of happening that either didn't take place or weren't a big deal when they did.
I thought I would be in agony for 18 hours. In reality, I was in labor for this long, but only felt pain for maybe an hour during the pushing process. I opted to get an epidural, so of course that had everything to do with it. But this isn't a decision I regret. I was able to read magazines and talk to my husband without wanting to kill him.
I thought I'd hear other women screaming. The birthing room was almost as quiet as a tomb. And I think I would have preferred to hear the sounds of women -- which I expected -- instead of the unceasing and scary beep, beep, beeps of the heart monitors.
I feared I wouldn't know when to push. I kept asking the nurses, "Is it time yet?" And they kept insisting I'd know when it's time. And boy, did I. The sudden pressure on my lower abdomen and need to push came on like a tidal wave.
I was scared everyone would see me poop on the bed. I still don't know if this happened because I have an amazing husband who just keeps insisting it didn't. But when you're in the moment -- trust me -- poop will be the last thing on your mind.
I didn't think I could spread my legs far enough to deliver a baby. Yeesh, I could've used a doula to tell me that this is not how women give birth. I had no idea I'd be asked to lift my knees to my chin for an hour and a half. You can bet I'm doing prenatal yoga now to prepare for my second delivery.
Were you pleasantly surprised by anything during childbirth?
Image via koadmunkee/Flickr