Labor Intensive

Here’s what I think about pregnant women. (Famous last words, I know.)

Every woman should be given absolute latitude regarding her own pregnancy and the way she wants to deliver her child. Unless there is a medical necessity to opt for one thing over another — induction versus no induction, pain medication versus no pain medication, C-section versus natural birth, hospital versus home birth — these choices should be entirely in the hands of the laboring mother. Her preferences should be honored and her needs should be met without any impediment.

Here’s what I think about one formerly pregnant woman in particular.

Danielle deserves a tremendous amount of credit — and frankly, awe — for the choices she made surrounding her two pregnancies, and the added level of precipitous physical difficulty that resulted from those choices.

First, she boldly opted for a home birth with Greyson. This resulted in a birth experience that was both extraordinarily difficult (32 hours of labor including 5 solid hours of pushing) and extraordinarily rewarding. Danielle has said repeatedly that she would not trade the beauty and profound intimacy of that home birth for anything.

Second, she opted to gut it out and wait for both of our babies (those stubbornly poky little puppies) to emerge in their own time rather than induce labor with pitocin. This led to a 10-day-late and an 8-day-late birth, which adds up to multiple weeks spent in the unenviable position of being 40 and 41+ weeks pregnant. Multiple weeks that were medically avoidable, but which my tenacious wife opted not to medically avoid.

Third and last, Danielle opted against pain medication during both of our children’s births, wanting (both for herself and for our babies) to experience every profound scrap of birth consciousness in all its grueling glory. This is the part that really blows my mind. To know that you’re about to endure a tremendous amount of pain and to calmly accept it, and even embrace it, for the sake of what you perceive to be a greater good.

To me, that is a mark of superlative moral fiber. It is an act of ultimate tenacity. And it is the greatest gift of love I’ve ever witnessed.

My wife is a fierce warrior princess.

Xena’s got nothing on her.


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