Allright. I’ve been trying, I have. But my pain is not a white ball of healing light. When I open the door and step inside, all I see is the devil laughing at me, welcoming me. Each night, I visualize. I use Bradley tactics to relax every muscle. I prop with pillow after pillow: behind the back. Under the bulging stomach. Bunched up fabric in between and underneath my ginormous, pendulous breasts. Pillows between knees and ankles. I rotate my hips. Bottom hip out, bottom hip in. I consciously relax my shoulders- back, and down, like they taught us in Pilates.
Last night (since I have plenty of time to think at night now) it dawned on me that I cannot physically ramp up for delivery. I am not sleeping. I am in pain for the second half of every single day, no matter what I do, or support I use, or activities I participate in or avoid. How realistic is it then for me to assume that I’m a) going to have the physical and emotional energy to deliver a baby and b) that I am even equipped to deal with that kind of pain? Please, I know the arguments about how labor is a productive pain etc etc. Please understand that late at night when I sob and beg a god I don’t believe in to just give me some relief so that I can sleep-I don’t care about productive vs not. All I can think about is that there is no way I can endure another minute of this, much less three more months of it plus something worse for however many hours. I just can’t. They say you forget labor pain and that’s why you have more babies, but I remember now. I remember my leg, the burning, the searing pain with each contraction and how I couldn’t push because they wouldn’t put my fucking leg down and how nothing, not the epidural or the morphine or the nubane would make that horrible cataclysmic pain in my leg go away. Because now I feel like that every night. And at around 3 a.m. I think to myself “you know what? Fuck it. I’m in labor now. I’m in as much labor as I can stand to be in, and if I can’t handle this, how can I handle a baby” This is where fortunetellers during the TTC phase would have been handy.
And then…..magic. A few hours have gone by! Light through the windows tells me I’ve slept for a while. I wake up pain-free and the blog post I composed in my head last night is gone- silly, frivolous complaining. I can do anything! I can DO THIS. This sunny disposition lasts about 5 hours, and then… I turn the wrong way and catch my breath. I find myself snapping at the baby, and realize it’s because I can’t focus on anything except the white ball of fire in my back. I hear just the tiniest begging tone in my voice when I ask her, for the four hundredth time, to just walk with me for a minute, just look at me so that I can explain that we have to go lay down for a while. At times I am consumed by it. I shake my head clear, realizing that someone is talking to me, needs something, the dishwasher is beeping or is that the microwave, did I forget to drink my tea from this morning again-and it occurs to me that I have been lost in a cloud of pain (for how long?), focused on the next few seconds, where is it, maybe if I push against this doorknob, shift this way or that way, I wonder if I lay semi supine, shifted over- nope, then the leg starts, hmm…
When the sciatica hits at the same time as the spasms, that’s when I begin to fantasize about actually dying from pain, or from the broken heart that pain brings me, nightly. Sciatica on one side. Spasms on the other side, under my shoulder blade. There is nothing to do but stand up; no chair, no birth ball, no leaning forward on hands and knees will relieve me. If I could simply not need to sleep for the next 3 months, I would go without.
“Well”, people say to me. “everyone’s back hurts when they’re pregnant. Welcome to the suck!” they smile cheerfully. I know what they’re thinking. “what a whiner. What does she, think she’s special? That her pregnancy is in some way worse than every other pregnancy ever?” Doesn’t she know there are starving children in china, barren women who would suffer any amount of her pain to be pregnant?”
Yes. And also? Yes. There were 4 car wrecks, one of them while 5 months pregnant, 14 years ago. I can only assume the injuries then affect me still. “They” pronounced my back “spasmatic” and my sciatic nerve “damaged”. “They” suggested no pain management, since I was pregnant. Lots of walking, they advised me, which was easy enough since I was a 40-hour a week third shift waitress at a Denny’s. But I couldn’t sit in a chair for more than 5 minutes, or ride in a car across town without wanting to just impale myself on a streetsign.
It feels luxurious and ridiculous to complain. How can I be sitting here, night after night, cursing the world and my weak body and the baby growing inside of me, wishing for a coma or an accident or at least some caregiver support somewhere that will make this go away? When clearly I a) knew this would happen and b) continued to chase after this baby for months and months and months?
I know. That’s what I say to myself every evening, as I compose post after post in my head. “the internet doesn’t want to read about how miserable your pregnancy is for the next few months, you entitled bitch” I admonish myself. When people out there have real problems. I get it, I do, and so for the last several weeks I’ve held back. But dammit. It’s my journal, and one day I might want to be pregnant again, and I need someone to point me right to this entry when I start that crazy talk.