That Wasn’t In My Birth Plan

I love a good birth story. In fact, I’m obsessed with my own. Ask me about any of my births and you better have some time to listen. They were amazing, mostly.

There is so much emotion in birthing a child. We plan for it to go one way and it often goes another. It can be extremely cathartic if it goes right. And highly traumatic if it goes wrong. To the point that there is a workshop for women to process their birth stories.

I’ve had three babies all with unique birth stories. My last happened to come without an epidural. And when I tell people this, the response is as if I’m somehow better than the mom that got an epidural or had a c-section.

“Wow, that’s amazing. Did it hurt?”

Yes, it hurt. It felt like every bone in my body was breaking at the same time. In fact, the pain was so intense I basically disconnected from my body. And there was vomit. No poop, but vomit.

We love judging moms and this is just one more way we do it. We’ve somehow forgotten that not everyone has the exact same birth experience. I’ve seen women pop out a baby in a few hours and shrug when asked if it hurt. How? I don’t know. Clearly, my huge hips aren’t doing their job.

Likewise, we’ve somehow made it a societal norm for moms to feel like they have to justify why they got an epidural.

Cue any birth story involving an epidural and it involves an apologizing explanation:

“I was in labor for 47 hours and couldn’t take it anymore.”

“My labor stalled and they said the epidural might help me relax and get it going again.”

You don’t have to justify it. How about you got an epidural because it turns out childbirth is way more painful than we can imagine? Why is that not enough?

Most of us plan to try without an epidural. Why? I have no fucking idea.

Perhaps it’s because our moms did it. Yeah, my mom also got her cavities filled without any anesthesia and I wouldn’t voluntarily do that either. Or perhaps it’s because ‘woman have been pushing out babies for thousands of years without epidurals. We were made for it.’ We were also made to invent new technologies and use them.

You know what’s way better than an epidural free birth? A birth that you get to decide what’s best for you. And a doctor or midwife that supports you.

A brief aside that, yes, midwives will support your choice of getting an epidural. Seriously consider a midwife, I got to catch Noa. Betsy caught Atticus. I’m not really sure how Cal came out aside from quickly and painfully.

If you’re like me, and one of the many moms that had an epidural, the next time someone asks about it your response can be, “Hell yeah I got an epidural. I birthed a child and I’m a badass for it.”

Point being, if you get an epidural you sure as fuck shouldn’t have to apologize for it.

The Lucky One

Photo Credit: True Mama Photography

One of the ways I deal with my anxiety is by picking up new hobbies. I’ve dabbled in various hobbies through the years. I crocheted for a week post Noa’s birth. I started a blog several years ago but it faded after a few months. I bake, but this one causes some serious weight gain. I sew. (This one I’ve stuck with.)

Recently, I picked up the hobby of furniture painting. If you’ve read my blog you know I dove head first into it. I was collecting pieces from all over town. And started a little side business. It is currently consuming our entire garage but I’m not solely to blame. Betsy found a few pieces she wanted to redo.

However, whenever I tell people about my new hobby the first response is, ‘Wow, you’re so lucky to have Betsy supporting you with that.’ In my mind it isn’t ‘luck.’ Why is it that people see having a supportive partner as ‘lucky?’ This isn’t about luck. It’s about picking a partner that allows you to be who you are.

Pre-bab(ies) we have lots of hobbies. And then we become a mother for the first time and it’s easy to get lost in that identity. So much energy is consumed learning to care for that child, we forget who we were before. I remember feeling lost in who I was beyond a mother. Eventually I started getting back into reading, writing and other creative outlets. And I had Betsy there to support me all the way.

But I’ve never felt lucky to have support for a passion/hobby from Betsy. In my mind, it’s what we do in a partnership. We encourage our partners to follow their passion. Sometimes that means packing three cake pans when you’re traveling (right, Chelsea?) Or perhaps it’s editing a blog post. In this case, it’s learning how to rebuild a dresser leg.

When people tell me how lucky I am to have Betsy supporting my passions I’m often tempted to respond with, ‘No, you just chose the wrong partner.’

(A note from Betsy: Jordann crocheted for ONE DAY. Not a week. Don’t let her fool you into thinking she had a weeks worth of commitment on that one.)

When To Let Go

Five years ago Betsy and I went on the journey to have children. We decided before we even started that three was our magic number. We weren’t going to ‘see how the first one went.’ We wanted three and we wanted them close in age. And we did. Three in four years, you’d think this next decision would come easy.

As I mentioned in my previous post the picking of a donor is no easy task. At least it wasn’t for us. From day one we wanted the same donor for all our kids. Which required a stock at the local sperm bank. Unless one gets pregnant using fresh sperm, they’re paying for storage at a bank. We were lucky and got pregnant rather easy. We have an excessive number of vials, now stored at the bank. Now the question becomes do we continue to pay for sperm storage for our frozen vials? Three kids, done. The answer should be easy.

But it isn’t, there is a visceral connection to the frozen sperm. My three amazing children were made with it. And yet we’re done having kids. But do I want to make that decision so final? It’s non-reversible. There is no surgery to undo it.

So, do I continue to pay the $400 annual storage fee? Or put the money elsewhere knowing I can’t change my mind? Will it ever be an easy decision? Another small crux in the life of same-sex parents.