Sunday, December 11, 2011

Murphy's Laws of Childbirth

In the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about women being allowed to eat and drink during labor. Babycenter and Babble frequently mention it. Homebirthers talk about how nice it is to eat their own food in their own homes while they labor. Yet I was told immediately upon entering the L&D unit that I couldn't have anything PO. "Um... I'm not getting induced for 11 hours?" Didn't matter.

I begged DJ to bring me a snack. He refused. I cited studies that showed that it was safe to eat and drink during labor (I had recently read this article). I went about 20 hours without food or drink until my OB came in to check me. I was manipulative in how I phrased my desires.
"Dr. S, what would you recommend I eat right now?"
"I... what? Nothing. You're not supposed to eat."
"Come on. You know, and I know, that I would do better with a few calories in my system. So if I am going to drink something, what should it be?"
"Uh... iced tea?"
DONE! DJ, get me a Brisk iced tea! He reluctantly got it for me, and allowed only small sips. This was just enough to mentally get me through the rest of labor. However...
About thirty minutes after delivering, I felt a sharp, throbbing pain in the scene of the crime. A nurse came in, widened her eyes, and said "Let me get the doctor." The doctor came in and said "Ehh... I've never seen that before." Shortly afterward, I vomited, straight Brisk iced tea, as I was wheeled to emergency surgery. I was so confident that I would not need emergency surgery, that those precautions would not apply to me, and lo and behold! Since I had opted for an epidural, I did not need general anesthesia, but if I hadn't, I would have been the textbook case for not allowing eating or drinking during labor.
Everything about this experience makes me question my crunchier inclinations regarding childbirth. I love the idea of a home birth, but if I had attempted it with Shubu, I would have died. I was certain it was safe for me to eat and drink, but if I hadn't gotten the epidural (and I nearly didn't), it could have further endangered my life during surgery. With my next baby, I am torn between thinking that lightning can't strike twice, and the idea that whatever can happen, will happen to me. Just something else to think about!

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