I gave birth to my first three children without pain medication. My first labor lasted 27 hours, so by the time I could push, I was utterly exhausted. No matter how prepared I thought I was for the process of labor, there was no way to fully know what I was getting into. However, somehow I remained very calm through the process–I even slept during the majority of transition, sometimes only waking as the contractions subsided. Even though I was in a hospital in case things went wrong, I believed all I needed was moral support and the ability to listen to my body.
When it came time to have my second baby, my husband and I felt confident I could do it again. Although my pregnancy had its challenges, I was in better physical shape. Our second daughter was born after just 12 hours, 4 of which I would call “hard” labor. A completely different experience, I didn’t have time to meditate between contractions. Instead I hung onto the side-rail of the bed with all my might. Relaxing was not an option. This girl was making her way into the world hard and fast!
Nearly four years later, baby number three was on his way. I won’t go into all the details, but this pregnancy and labor were by far the best. My only regret was not waiting longer to go to the hospital. I could have rested, ate, and visiting with family for hours before checking in. Regardless, after 14 hours of labor, and a slightly more difficult time pushing due to my son’s fat head, I successfully birthed our third child without pain medication.
I have had two more babies (yes that is five in all), but my labors with both were induced and I opted for an epidural for various reasons.
So why am I comparing childbirth to writing a novel? Because this process of rewriting and editing my first book feels like having my first baby! I feel like no matter how much I prepare, or how hard I focus, there is going to be a tough road ahead. I want it to be great, amazing, inspiring, and a true reflection of the kind of writer, and person, I am.
Yet, every time I reach for a resource to help me along, I feel like I am reaching for a drug, something to numb the pain and take my mind of the work I must do by myself. Is the final product really going to be mine if I allow all the opinions and advice out there dictate my story? Or am I just going to be making things harder on me in the long run, when so many others have found success by taking the help they need?
When I got my first epidural, I looked at my husband and laughed! “So this is what all the fuss is about?” It was amazing. Yet, I would not have appreciated it as much if I had not first experienced labor and birth without it.
Knowing this, I wrote stories for years without a bit of help from outside sources. Whatever I had on my heart, I wrote without consideration for style, grammar, character development, or accurate details. I miss the innocence and the ignorance of those days. I had no idea what writing a novel suitable for publication would entail. Yet, those stories are still on my heart to tell. And the labor pangs are coming close enough now that I can no longer ignore them.
Do I think my first labor would have been shorter if I had opted for pain management? Maybe. But in the end, my beautiful baby girl would have still been a blue-eyed red-head with a mind of her own and an attitude that wouldn’t let anyone stop her.
The way I have heard it, most first labors are long, regardless of intervention. Yes, there are those rare occasions where women experience labor like minor gas pains, and pop out a baby in a couple of hours. Just the same, there are those authors who punch out a best seller like they are writing a grocery list.
Obviously, I am not one of them! So I am opting for help, from the best there is. I am finding inspiration to be the best author I can be from a variety of sources. Social networking is becoming a great asset, and I am finally getting the hang of Twitter (I think).
Okay, here I go. Deep breath. Focal point. Push!