Yesterday Jason and I were on a drive and I was reading to him from "Husband-Coached Childbirth" by Dr. Robert Bradley. It is a great book, but Dr. Bradley gets a little long in the tooth at times so I was skimming and reading Jason the important parts and we'd stop and discuss them every now and again.
At one point I put the book down and said, "Do you think we can do this?" Now, my deep down belief is that we can. And by "do this" I mean have this baby without any medication with Jason as my "coach" to get me through the more difficult parts (some refer to these as contractions). The book we were reading is not as good as "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way," because that book is like a very detailed manual and it spells out what is going on in the body during labor and how the woman can relax, breathe normally and let the contractions do their thing. It focuses on body positions to help with labor, the mindset of the mother (fear and anxiety, tensing up make it worse), the stages of labor, how the husband can help and what he should do to coach her along. It is great, so if you are considering natural childbirth, I'd definitely suggest this one.
So despite the knowledge I've gained reading these books and the way I know myself and how I can and will persevere when things get tough, sometimes thinking of bringing this little girl into the world is a bit intimating.
I think of it as very similar to the 50 mile trail run I did a while back. I trained well for that thing, but even my training on our local "mountain" did not prepare me for the course on which I would run the race. It was brutal and by mile 27 I was beaten, bruised, tired and full of doubt. Jason had joined me around mile 20 and so he'd seen the steady decline of my belief that I could finish the race. I was sure I'd get cut and I was too weary at that point to care. I couldn't imagine 25 more miles of that...
And Jason looked me in the eye and said, "You can do this. We will run until we get cut." Then he was all business. He dug out fuel, fresh socks and a fresh tank top from my gear bag and instructed me to eat and change. As my parents helped me do this, he changed his own socks and shoes, refilled our water bottles, and prepared to run the rest of a race for which he had not trained. When we took off, my mind set was entirely different. I didn't feel as tired. I wasn't as discouraged now that I knew I wasn't going to give up. I felt better physically and mentally, and I had Jason by my side until mile 43 when I made him stop before completely totaling his feet (which...was really too late at that point). Jason had gotten me to a place where I knew I could finish the race, and I did. I completed that sucker and I know without a single doubt it would not have happened if Jason hadn't taken charge and told me what I needed to hear at the crucial moment.
The books I've been reading say labor also has that crucial moment. The moment comes when the mother has been working through her contractions and they have gotten more intense with fewer breaks in between. She is tired, and she begins to doubt that she can in fact deliver her baby without the intervention of medicine. This is when the husband steps in (well, he's been in, but this is an important moment all the same) and says, "You can do this. You are almost there. These contractions are merely more of the same and the reason they are so intense is our baby girl is almost here."
So when I asked Jason if we could do this, I was thinking of that crucial moment. And next to me in the car he said we could and we would be able to do it. He reminded me that I was tough. He reminded me that I would have more motivation than simply finishing a race. I'd be doing it for our little girl and my desire for her not to deal with medication given to me. And as we talked and drove, an amazing site was before us. It had apparently rained a short time before and there was the most beautiful, complete rainbow across the sky. I personally felt it was a blessing and a promise. I felt that rainbow was for me. A reminder that not only do I have an amazing husband who has the ability to get me through my most difficult moments, but a God who can do so much more.
And with those two in my corner, what else do I need?