May
30
2009

  Exactly What I Expected, Except For Labor

Someone at the potluck last week asked me if having a baby was what I expected it to be. I only had to think about it a fraction of a second to reply that, yes, it was exactly as I expected, except for labor.

Of course, the whole business of being in the NICU was unexpected, but once we brought William home he behaved just like any other baby. And I've always had a pretty good handle on baby behavior. I never romanticized it in my head, and the last trimester of pregnancy got me used to the physicality of waking up multiple times overnight. Babies eat, sleep, poop, cry, coo. That's about it, that's what I expected, and that's what I've got.

Even things like breastfeeding, while it's difficult to describe just what it feels like, it's pretty much exactly what I expected. If you've never breastfed a baby, imagine how it would feel, and that's it exactly.

The only thing unexpected was the magnitude of the pain and the physical difficulty of labor. I just didn't think it was going to hurt me that much. But I did suspect that I could be wrong about that, and had prepared mentally for how to cope if it was more painful than imagined, which was good since I drew on that while I was in labor. It was totally more painful than I imagined it would be. While I think being physically fit helped me, it was no panacea. When I discussed this with Terry last week, he did say he thought it was curious that I was under the impression that childbirth wouldn't hurt very much for me, specifically. Like I was exempt from the laws of nature, or something. I figure it's just as well I went into labor completely unafraid and undaunted, it's not like there's anything to do about it, other than just bear it and remember it will be over in less than a day.