... in the nature of balance, I'm going to "open up" about mine. Yaaay, overshare alert! Don't worry, it's the clean version.
Here's Evan Rachel Wood's story. The actress decided to welcome their son into the world naturally in July at their home in Los Angeles, and revealed her husband, 27, was 'wonderful' during the experience.
The 26-year-old star told Live with Kelly and Michael yesterday: "He was being so good. He was really keeping it together. He'd put on a brave face for me and then I think he'd go and cry in the corner. He was wonderful. He was behind me when I did the final pushes, he was helping me push the baby out."
The actress then opened up about her decision not to undergo an epidural. She said: "Nothing against any woman, if you carried that baby and you get it out safely, you've done an amazing job. Obviously there is no judgement here... It's a personal choice. I saw this documentary that Ricki Lake did called, The Business of Being Born, and I just didn't know I had an option. I honestly thought homebirth was probably illegal until I watched it and I thought, 'Oh, I didn't know it could be like that'."
Lastly, she opened up (why not, it's a theme now) about how she got her post-pregnancy figure: "I'll tell you exactly what I did. I walked every day at least three to five miles while I was pregnant, and even when I was really tired I walked even just a mile, just something every day, and I ate really healthy and I did yoga."
So here's where you can stop reading if you're not interested in the polar opposite experience of the one chronicled above. I tried walking a lot, but around the 6-month-mark it felt like Lara's head was bouncing off my pelvis. Pilates, on the other hand, was very successful. Handy considering all I craved were sausage rolls.
I too wanted to have a natural birth, preferably at home (mainly due to the fear of hospitals; people vomit a lot there and what with me being an emetophobe a hospital naturally scared the bejaysis out of me), but something kept urging me to go down the hospital route, probably because it was my first baby. I got the hypnotherapy CDs, which I listened to daily. I went to active birthing workshops, read the books. I felt, and was, prepared. And then Lara refused to leave. No amount of fit ball bouncing, positive thinking, curries, waddling, raspberry leaf tea quaffing, or pineapple chunks would shift her. So, two weeks after the due date, she was served an eviction notice in Holles Street.
For the record, Unit 3 isn't as hellish as I'd been lead to believe. All the midwives were beyond brilliant. Increasingly long story short, I was in labour for about 10 hours. Because it was an induction, the contractions weren't entirely natural, so - for me, after four hours - "Screw this, I'll be having the epidural please." Breathing was a life saver. All you need to do is shut out everything, and breath. Breathing was especially helpful when Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell came on the radio mid-contraction. I was trying (and failing) to indicate to Mark that it was OK to laugh, but he didn't - so fair play to him.
When the epidural man arrived, I nearly hopped him. As fate would have it, it only worked on one side, which meant - when Lara's heartbeat disappeared off the monitor - that I had to be knocked out. Eight nurses and doctors descended on the delivery room and whisked me off to theatre in a matter of seconds. I was fine, I was being knocked out, I didn't have to deal with anything - my main concerns were Lara, and Mark, who was suddenly left on his todd. Partners aren't allowed into theatre when you have a C-Section under general anesthetic. They used to be permitted - until one dad-to-be fainted at the sight of of his wife being knocked out and sliced open. Bit of an insurance nightmare.
Because I'd had a lorrah lorrah drugs, and the C-Section, I couldn't go up to see her in ICU (routine with some C-section babies). Mark took some photos and a little video, so that tided me over until she was wheeled into us six short hours later. I remember looking at her thinking "Well, you could be anyone's, really." The fact she was wearing someone else's baby grow didn't help matters (no idea where all her carefully wrapped baby clothes went to in the panic). However, after our first few nights together, the bond came with a bang. Without sounding too corney, she's the reason I was put on this planet.
I may not have been awake for our daughter's arrival, we may have missed her first breath, her first cry, and the first time she opened her eyes, but she got here safely and that's the main thing. The experience - or lack thereof - is, for want of a better word, incidental. It's all part of a process. The likes of One Born Every Minute obviously places a lot of stock in said process, but it's the end result that counts - so don't be given yourselves a hard time now, you hear? Just go with what's right for you and your liddler.
No matter what your situation might be, always hope for the best and expect the unexpected. Life loves throwing you curve balls. And, whatever you do, DO. NOT. FORGET. TO. BREATHE. That goes for you too, birthing partner ;)