Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I know I shouldn’t feel like I have to justify my decision to get an epidural during this upcoming birth, and no one has really specifically made me feel horrible for choosing this path, but I have a lot of friends and family members who have been blessed to be able to give natural child birth and have loved the experience. They seem somewhat disappointed when I say that I’m absolutely planning on receiving pain medication to help me through this process. So, I decided that I’d post a blog about my thoughts on the subject and would share the reasons behind my decision.

There are a lot of people in the world that believe that having an epidural is a selfish decision. I’m subscribed to a pregnancy updater on facebook that I’m fairly certain believes that epidurals are a tool of Satan. I thought I’d share their little quip about epidurals so you can see what I mean:

”In terms of labor and birth, studies show that getting an epidural greatly increases the risk of needing an emergency c-section & can delay labor if given too early on.”

It then continues for several paragraphs about how labor pain is good pain and that women need to embrace it and let their bodies experience this natural process and how fighting the pain goes against nature. This is a short version of the long version of what some people believe about epidurals. I’ve heard some other very scary arguments against them from different sources. I’ve heard that there are risks involved for the mother and that they can cause on-going medical problems if administered incorrectly, they limit your mobility during labor, they slow labor, they cause the baby to come out drugged and unresponsive and unable to breast feed immediately, etc… There are many more.

First, I’d just like to establish that I am in no way trying to argue against these beliefs and studies. I’m sure that all of these things have happened as a result of receiving an epidural during some medicated births. I have nothing but respect for mothers who choose to birth naturally. I admire them and respect their decisions and the reasons behind them. All I’m asking is that they do the same for me.

I’d also like to point out that everyone is different. (Hi, I’m Captain Obvious and I’ll be conducting this portion of the blog) Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Every mother has different pregnancies. Every birth is slightly different. Every mother handles discomfort in their own unique way. Some people (like my Chelsea friend) have a very high threshold for dealing with pain. Some people (like yours truly) have a very low threshold for handling pain.

One last point to make before I explain my decision to receive an epidural: Receiving an epidural does NOT make the process of labor ‘labor free’. There will be a great deal of laboring before the epidural and there will be pain involved (albeit slightly more muted) during the actual delivery and there will be pain involved for weeks after the delivery while I heal. I am not making the decision to get an epidural based on the fact that I have an unhealthy desire to avoid pain. Pain is a part of life. I acknowledge that. I’m not trying to avoid it by receiving medication. I don’t consider receiving an epidural to be ‘chickening out’ or ‘taking the easy way out’. Anyone who believes that the process of having a baby can be made ‘easy’ by being numb for a portion of labor is kidding themselves. I do not believe that getting an epidural will make me less of a woman or will make me numb to the experience. I will still experience contractions that I will have to figure out how to handle and breathe through and labor through until I’m far enough along to get the epidural and AFTER the epidural is administered, I will still have to push the child out of me. Granted, it will be a more muted sensation, but it does not make the process pain-free.

Having discussed these three points, we have now arrived at the moment wherein I will try to explain my reasoning behind my decision to have a medicated birth. The reasons are thusly:


I have never had a high pain tolerance. In fact, I’ve had a very low pain tolerance since I was a wee, tiny child. I don’t see this part of myself changing in the next five weeks. When I experience a great deal of pain, my body tenses, my mind shuts down, I become unable to process ANYTHING around me but the pain that I’m in. My mind zeros in on and focuses unrelentingly on the pain. In high school, I actually developed a phobia about pain and have had therapy specifically to deal with my anxiety surrounding medical procedures. As a result, I am now to a point where I can mentally wrap my mind around the fact that I have to get this child out of my body without experiencing a debilitating amount of fear about it. One of the tools that I have that are keeping me relatively grounded about this upcoming task, is the thought that I will be able to receive an epidural to help me deal with the pain later on in the process.


My mom has had four children. Of the four, three were brought into the world using an epidural. Andrea came too quickly for her to receive one. My mother’s birthing experience with Andrea was horrific for her. The birthing experiences that she enjoyed the most were the ones that she’d been medicated for. She was able to bond with the baby afterwards because she wasn’t overwhelmed with the pain and exhaustion of delivery.

3. 3. SLEEP:

Receiving an epidural will mean that I will be able to sleep during part of my labor, thus enabling me to regain a little strength that will be needed later during the pushing process. (which, for those of you who don’t know, can last for hours. I did not know this prior to being pregnant. It shocked and horrified me. Hehe)


Remember how I said pain makes me tense my body? Guess what the number one thing you’re not supposed to do during labor is? (Okay…other than like…shooting yourself in the face or smoking a doobie or something) Oh yeah, get tense during contractions. It slows the process. There will be a certain amount of time during labor that I’m convinced that I’ll have the mental capacity to stay relaxed and in charge of my body while it’s contracting. But after 6-12 hours of this, my mind will undoubtedly become exhausted and unable to allow my body to cope as well with all of the pain. At that point, I believe it will be beneficial to me to have the epidural so that I can relax and let my body do its thing.

I am sure that there are very well-founded arguments against each and every one of the reasons that I'm deciding to have an epidural...but let's just say that I really don't care. This has been a decision that I've put a lot of thought and prayer in to and I feel good about deciding to take this course of action. Now, I'm aware that birth plans can sometimes be changed. Maybe Luke will decide that he's going to come way faster than anyone is expecting and it'll be too late for me to get an epidural. Maybe I'll go into labor and realize that I really don't NEED one and I'll decide instead to do it naturally. I am open to these possibilities. If it does happen that I don't or can't get an epidural for some reason, I will be okay. I will make it. I will survive. My child will come out just as healthy and happy as he would have with the assistance of the epidural and my body will heal. If I GET the epidural and end up hating it, I will have the option of doing it naturally during my next birth. I'm not against natural birth. I just haven't experienced either and so am trying to make the best decision I can about something I've never experienced.

I'm planning on laboring without the medication for as long as I possibly can. I have a pretty good ability to stretch myself past what I think my limit is. (That's one thing I love about running) So part of me is really excited to see how long I can make myself go without receiving the epidural. That being said; the comfort of knowing that those drugs will be available to me when/if I need them is highly valuable to me and my mental health and I will be clinging to it with a vengeance come my son's birthday.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mickey, Potter and Verizon Wireless

I'm putting Mickey in my son's room. The reasons for this are thusly:

1. I love Mickey. And all things of a Disney nature.
2. The curtains that are going in his room are the perfect Mickey colors.
3. I have a large and in-charge colorful framed painting of Steam Boat Willie that matches the aforementioned curtains. (See picture above. That is the very painting.)
4. I'm determined to brain-wash him from birth to be a Disney lover.

I'll put up pictures when his nursery is finished. P.s. Have I mentioned how flipping excited I am to FINALLY be able to give in to these nesting urges?? Oh man.

On an unrelated note:

Yup. I didn't make it through all seven books before the release. I'm depressed. I'm SO CLOSE! I suppose I could still make it. I mean, it is more than possible...I read number six in seven hours and I've only got another 400 pages in book seven... however, I just don't know if I want to dedicate my entire day to the project and as it's my fourth go-round anyway, it's not at the very tippy-top of my priority list. Despite my unfinished business, I am ridiculously excited for this premier. And I'm ridiculously excited that I'm doing it in Bakersfield with all the people that I've gone to these midnight showings with since the third movie release. It's a good way to say goodbye. There will be much weep-age. Also, stay tuned for pictures of my Potter T-Shirt.

Lastly, but not leastly: Shem started work today! Hip, hip, hooray! He's there RIGHT NOW. I hope things go well and that he comes home pumped up about this new job. I also hope they don't keep him until 7, because we're supposed to be Pottering tonight slash going on a double date with my brother and his girly-friend to Mexican food. =) I miss him. It's been nice having him around. However, I am BEYOND grateful that he's finally starting. What a relief.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Guys, I have an incurable disease.

So, on Sundays I sometimes like to make weekly goals. They're usually something small and very doable that I can work on throughout the week to better myself or fix bad habits or start good ones. Last Sunday, it was to start reading my scriptures every day again. I've neglected that habit for far too long lately which I tend to do when life gets crazy which is completely backwards thinking because scripture study tends to help calm me down a whole lot. But I digress. Back to the story of my incurable illness.

So. Two Sundays ago, I decided that my weekly goal would be to stop worrying. I decided that I need to just hand things to my Father in Heaven and when that familiar panic rises up inside of me, I would stop and say a prayer and ask that He take away that fear and replace it with faith. I think worrying -to a certain degree- displays a lack of faith and I dislike that quality in me.

Well, that first week went rather well, actually. Mostly this was due to the fact that there was little to worry about that week. I mean, it was craziness being as we are in the middle of this huge move and are trying to get things figured out, but things went smoothly in general and were pretty predictable which cuts down my anxiety levels significantly. That being said, however, I will give myself a proverbial pat on the back for my accomplishment that week because I tend to find chaos and confusion in the simplest of situations. So when those moments arose, I really did take some time to just pray and think and be quiet and still and remind myself that my Father in Heaven was watching over me. It was a nice week and good practice. I decided that I needed to continue to practice this goal until I'd perfected it. And then Heavenly Father stepped in. It seems He is going to help me meet this goal. And I'm not loving the process, but I really think that I'm going to love the end result.

This week has been the complete opposite of last week. (Is it really only Tuesday??) NOTHING has gone right. Everything that you could possible think of has gone wrong. I feel tiny and the world feels huge and unconquerable. I feel like I'm running out of time and that deadlines are pressing on me and suffocating me. I feel like my brain is overloaded and I'm bound to neglect something necessary by accident. I feel insignificant to my tasks. I feel alone in having to figure out how to complete these tasks. I feel neglected and abandoned and helpless. And I feel scared because I have a little life who is going to come out and be entirely dependent on this mommy who currently feels like she might as well be four years old.

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with anxiety. It's been a struggle since high school for me to maintain my anxiety levels, but I've done well at training my mind to re-direct in positive ways and have curbed a lot of the side-effects of my anxiety. I haven't had a panic attack in a good two and a half years. I've been able to sleep. Nightmares have subsided. My brain allows me to think through things clearly and reasonably. And I've been, overall, able to live life happily and uninhibited by panic and fear for some time now. Then I got pregnant. I wasn't expecting that. I didn't feel ready for it. It wasn't part of my 'plan'. And so this anxiety thing has started slowly creeping into my brain again. I'd forgotten what it felt like to feel trapped in your mind. I'd forgotten what it felt like to wake up at five in the morning and be unable to go back to sleep because you can't stop your mind from going over and over things for hours until the sun comes up and you finally give up and get out of bed. I'd forgotten how lonely it was to live in constant worry and fear. (Literally, it is constant. It doesn't matter what I'm doing; my heart is beating, my brain is spinning and I'm thinking about a million different things all at once. There is no rest, no break, no time-out...I am in constant panic.) But I'm starting to remember, unfortunately.

It's so frustrating because I feel like I'm doing the same things I was doing last week; stopping, praying, etc, but they aren't having the same effect. No matter how often or how sincerely I ask Heavenly Father to take away this panic and worry, I'm just not giving it to Him. I'm harboring it and stewing in it. I'm not allowing myself to have faith that He is watching me...that He loves me...that He will provide for me. Why? Why do I do this so often? When I have so many life experiences that have shown me that He DOES love me and DOES provide for me. I worry and stew and fear and then time passes and everything works out (usually better than I could have made it work out) and then I go, "Man. I need to stop worrying about stuff. It does no good. Everything always works out. I am so incredibly blessed. Why do I ever worry about things?" And then in another week or so, I begin the vicious cycle of fear all over again.

I'm so done! This is why I set the goal. And by gum, I'm sticking to it! I'm sort of excited that Heavenly Father is helping me with this goal. It makes me think that He believes in my ability to do it. I have to teach myself how to think through these types of things in a completely different way than I ever have. And that's going to take some time. I need to be patient with myself and realize that I'm not going to 'chill out' over night. This is a major part of my personality that I'm trying to change. It's imbedded in my brain and this kind of behavior doesn't go away in one week. So, I'm going to take this little time of stress in my life as a learning opportunity and try to learn and grow from it. I hope that my faith will be strengthened and that I'll remind myself how to rely on my Father in Heaven. I hope that it will strengthen my relationship with Him and that my testimony and understanding of the Atonement will grow as well.

I'll let you know how it goes. Prayers are highly appreciated, byyyy the way. Especially in regards to my figuring out how to get medical care before Luke makes his grand entrance into the world.

Monday, July 11, 2011


I figured this would be a good time for a vent. Because my frustration is currently being fueled by the obnoxious voice on the other end of the phone who comes to me every minute to remind me that they 'apologize for the delay, but are experiencing a high number of calls.' I hate the government. Unfortunately, however, they are paying for my baby to come into the world, so I have to deal with them on a regular basis. I've been on hold for 48 minutes. I'm in the line of the damned. And so, I take this moment to vent because I'm stressin'. STRESSIN, PEOPLE! (Prepare yourself. This is literally just a long, whiny list of complaints that I'm trying to get out of my head lest they drive me mad. Do not proceeded if you prefer to limit your interactions with Debbie Downers.)

I am 34 weeks pregnant. In two weeks, I'm considered full term and can technically go into labor at any point after that 36 week mark is reached. I have no doctor. I have no medical coverage. I've been in the process of applying for medi-cal since April and still have no reached the end goal. On top of the fact that I have no coverage, I've also heard a lot of really exciting rumors that finding a doctor when you're this far along is it's own special circle of Hell. Why doctors don't want to take you when you're just about to pop is beyond me. It seems counter-intuitive that they would deny you medical care when you've never been in more need of just that. On top of all of THAT, I don't even know who the providers are in Bakersfield who accept Medi-Cal so I can't set an appointment with anyone. And that brings us to this point where I've been on hold with them for almost an hour in attempts to talk to a human who will tell me how to get a list of providers so that I can set up an appointment. Assuming I can find a health-care professional who is willing to take me despite my impending due-date.

Also, Shem has a job, but for whatever reason, they keep delaying his start date. So. No money. Also, I haven't heard back from the apartments about our application. No idea if we're moving out tomorrow or not. Again, child coming into the world in 6 weeks. I'd really hoped we would have a house set up for him by now. Also, the government says I owe them 430 dollars for taxes in 2008. What? Also, they want me to renew my registration which includes a smog inspection this time. Goody. Again, no money. So. Right. It's all good. It only feels like the world is falling in on me. I probably shouldn't even be posting this because I realize it's extremely whiny. And this is one of those times that I'll look back on after it's all worked out and I'll think: Why did I stress about all of that stuff? But for right now, I'm sitting in the middle of it and I'm having just the slightest bit of a melt-down. And honestly, that STUPID VOICE ON THE OTHER LINE IS NOT HELPING! Man.

I irrationally hate her.