Pregnancy and you blog

What's your birth story?

By Mary M. Murry, R.N., C.N.M. September 28, 2012

I was helping with a labor and birth several years ago. I'll call the couple Adam and Eve. They were working well together. Labor was advancing and the contractions were getting stronger.

It was part of Eve's birth plan to use an epidural for pain management. Between contractions, Eve let me know that she still wanted an epidural — but not quite yet.

Adam was puzzled and asked Eve why she didn't get the epidural now since she knew she wanted it. Eve and I looked at each other and I finally told Adam that he really wouldn't be able to understand it.

Eve had set a goal for herself about when she would get the epidural. She might not have shared that goal with anyone. It was her personal target — what she wanted to achieve during this labor and birth. It was important to her for a reason that she couldn't put into words.

Eve will carry this birth story for the rest of her life. You'll carry your birth story, too. It'll shape you in ways you might not have imagined.

Your birth story will also earn you positive strokes from other women, from grandmothers and aunts to friends and strangers. You'll experience a certain amount of admiration when you describe the 10-pound baby born without an epidural — and an equal amount of sympathy when you tell the tale of the 36-hour labor with an epidural that didn't work followed by a C-section or stitches out the wazoo. And believe me, other women know where the wazoo is!

If you've given birth, you're likely to have an understanding of those things that are unsaid during labor — such as why Eve wanted to wait for her epidural. I don't say this to disrespect men. I believe that sharing in the birth process changes them, too. I'm afraid I just understand women better.

Do you have a birth story you'd like to share? Please tell!

Sep. 28, 2012