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Sometimes the Trite is True

My characters are specifically barred from being subjects of this answer. If I let them have their way, they'd do nothing but blather on about how many horrible things I subject them to for the purpose of the story. That they'd be right is entirely beside the point.

I considered this question for a bit (and found it a little unsettling to realize I had numerous instances to compare and contrast), but concluded that the most accurate answer is also the one most expected, unto the point of cliché, for a mother.


By the sixth month of my pregnancy, my midwife and I knew the birth might not go smoothly. Hip dysplasia does complicate such things, and I was already having trouble walking. Because I carried Dev so low, there was fear I'd deliver too early, and I was placed on modified bed rest. Alas, Dev was two weeks late.

Still, my first desire was for natural, drug-free childbirth. When labor started in earnest, my hips didn't properly spread and relax for the birth even though labor went from zero to fully dilated in about five hours. The contractions kept coming, like sledgehammers on iron doors. I remember my vision going black, then exploding into white light, over and over. I passed out at some point, only to awaken to another contraction and talk of my baby's erratic heartbeat.

The decision was made to prep me for an emergency C-section. The first attempt at an epidural failed. The second attempt worked. Within a few minutes I came back to myself enough to look around the room, tell folks they looked exhausted, and suggest they go get sandwiches or something. I spent about two minutes on the phone with Patricia, who was calling from London to see how things were progressing. I loved my epidural.

Then I told the midwife I could still feel the contractions, but not the horrendous pain, and asked if I could try pushing. Not long after, Dev was born.

I'd been told to expect a great deal of discomfort after childbirth--to have trouble walking, sitting, getting up and down. My experience was quite the opposite. I'd had chronic hip pain for months. Without the pressure of the baby sitting on my pelvic floor, I felt marvelous.

And thus Dev is an only child.

Crossposted here.

For more 30-Day Challenge fun, check out spaceintheway. And if you want to jump in, feel free to start at any point, or just answer the questions that interest you.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 5th, 2013 04:13 pm (UTC)
Wow, it's amazing the difference relieving the pain made!
Jun. 7th, 2013 04:24 am (UTC)
Quite amazing, yes!

I still get teased about offering everyone in the delivery room sandwiches. :)
Jun. 5th, 2013 11:40 pm (UTC)
I'll counter the cliché- my natural childbirth experiences (I've had four) were different so I chose my gall bladder instead. For me labor was certainly painful (though not as much as yours, eek!) but it had a pattern and a purpose and an end in sight. The gall bladder hurt some times and didn't hurt other times. When it hurt, there was nothing I could do to reduce the pain, and I had no idea when the pain might stop, if it would ever stop. When my husband finally dragged me to the emergency room (we had no insurance so I didn't want to go) I was walking around in a tiny circle, pressing my hands to my belly, repeating over and over that it hurt, it really hurt, oh it hurt, make it stop, owwwww.

The instructions for this question are "What is the greatest amount of physical pain you have ever endured" and I think 'endured' is the key word here- it encompasses the perception of pain as much as its experience. The gall bladder pain, empirically, probably wasn't more than childbirth, but I perceived it as far, far worse.
Jun. 7th, 2013 04:27 am (UTC)
Perception is indeed so important to the experience of pain, though there does come a point when reason doesn't matter.

And gall bladder pain is *awful.* Few things compare.

Jun. 6th, 2013 01:21 am (UTC)
Pain Endured
User spaceintheway referenced to your post from Pain Endured saying: [...] I'll try answering this one for my characters (see my comment here [...]
Jun. 6th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
It's funny how something like an epidural makes it suddenly obvious how much brainspace pain takes up.

Apparently it was kind of disturbing to watch me from the outside, as one of the first things that shut down was my interest in bothering to say anything but "ow," and so I looked a whole lot more out of it than I was. I didn't get as far as sparkly vision or anything, though, fortunately.
Jun. 7th, 2013 04:31 am (UTC)
You're right on about the brainspace pain takes up. There was absolutely no other thought in my head but "endure."

Ron (Dev's father, present at the birth from start to finish) said that the sound of my moaning was the most unnerving thing he'd ever heard. He claimed he'd have felt better if I screamed, but I do doubt that.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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