There was a period of time when I was a young ‘n where my family and my Aunt’s family (on my father’s side) visited the water themed amusement park known as Action Park. (In 1998, under new ownership, the name changed to Mountain Park.) Not only was Action Park notorious for its concentration of rednecks, it was also known for its dangerous water slides.
But if there is one thing I remember most about Action Park it’s the fact that many of its patrons spent a lot of time skinning themselves on the alpine slide for not following the rules, consuming so much booze they’d end up in bloody brawls in line for the 18-and-over race track, or dying on one of the new slides that may have sounded like a good idea at the time but proved deadly in the end.
Having watched Cops on more than one occasion, I know that rednecks fear very little. Couple that innate fearlessness with booze, and you have yourself one anarchy ridden water park. I think the only humbling aspect for many of the patrons was the fact that throwing down with a man neighbor wearing nothing more than a bathing suit sat a little too close to gay. I think it was the swim trunks that thwarted more fights from breaking out. But unless threatened with The Gay, rednecks fear very little.
Sadly, as entertaining they may be, the rednecks of Action Park aren’t the reason I’m writing today.
The other group of people who loved Action Park was the kids. Generally speaking, the kids enjoyed the smaller, less deadly of water slides. We enjoyed the tubing ride, the wave pool, the bumper boats, and the fresh mountain air. Usually (especially because of my plethora of ear problems), I stuck to the smaller stuff. But there was this one time my cousins talked me into getting on the underground water slide. They used words like “chicken!” and “bwock bwock bwock!”. The underground water slide was horrifying. Of course the more horrifying the water slide, the longer the line of rednecks. This was a slide where an Action Park employee pulled out a giant hose and doused each person with ice cold water in order to lube up the body for the next 1.5 minutes of pure horror as they flew face/feet/ass/whatever arm down and into complete blackness. And that wasn’t all. At the end of that horrifying decent, the person dropped out of the circular underground tube and free-fell ten feet into an ice-cold mountain spring. Talk about breathlessness. Talk about horror. Talk about pure humiliation.
So, picture this: At least a one-hour line stocked with drunk rednecks. Disgruntled park employees. Hose filled with ice-cold water. Underground water slide. PITCH BLACKNESS. Water up the nose, in the eyes, up the ass. No idea which way you had turned. 10-foot drop into an ice-cold mountain spring as friends, family and total strangers stood on a bridge to watch you fall.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you to know that I came out screaming. And I didn’t come out gracefully either. I had turned every which way but straight. By the time it was my turn to fall, my arms were flailing, my eyes were open, my nose was covered in snot, and I may have even shit myself. I was terrified. And it’s a good thing I fell into water; my tears were given a place to hide.
I’m not a very smart girl and I was an even dumber kid, which is why it probably won’t surprise anyone to know that with another heavy douse of taunting, I got back in line a second time for that very same water slide. It’s just that my cousins were really good at taunting. They could tease me into doing anything. So I got back in line with them and the countless number of rednecks and worked myself into an absolute frenzy. And hour later, when it was finally our turn to drop, I told them to go ahead of me. I told them I needed to make sure my earplugs were in. And then I faced the guy with the hose. He looked at me with unforgiving eyes.
“Hurry up!” He blurted out. “There’s a line.”
“Ummmm” I muttered.
“Come on, kid. I ain’t got all day.”
I remembered what it had been like the first time and asked myself, “What good came come of this?”
The guy became more and more irritated as did the line of hairy, bloated rednecks behind me. “Come on, kid!” He said with a nastier tone.
“NO.” I said. “I’m not gonna do it. I changed my mind.”
“What do you mean you changed your mind? You can’t change your mind! There’s no where else to go!”
“I don’t care. I’m not going.”
“Well, then you have to go back the way you came!”
And so I did. I walked right back through that long line of kids and rednecks, head down, dry as can be. I had changed my mind.
On Tuesday night Tobyjoe and I had our second Lamaze class. It was four hours long. We went over breathing techniques. We went over what will happen that day, labor, and how long each phase of labor can last. We went over pooping during labor, the afterbirth, breastfeeding, and some more breathing techniques. We went over everything having to do with natural childbirth. After we were done listening to the registered nurse, we asked questions. After we were done asking questions, we watched a video featuring several different women going through all three stages of labor. After we watched all three stages of labor, we watched a woman go through natural childbirth. I was in the fetal position sucking my own thumb by the time it was over. Holy shit, people, giving birth appears to be nothing other than terrifying.
So, I’m writing this today to say that I know I have been standing in line for the past 8 months and I know it sounded exciting at first. But I don’t care how many women have done this before me and how many of those women have gone back for seconds (and more).
What I’m trying to say is, “NO. I’m not gonna do it. I changed my mind.”
You know what, though? You’ll be fine. The thinking about it is way scarier than actually doing it. It’s like having the flu. Sure you feel terrible but just when you think it can’t possibly get any worse, it’s over. Plus the results from birth are way more satisfying than the results from the flu. You can do it!
I love this story—it seems to me like a great analogy. I’ve thought a lot about the “change of mind” thing with pregnancy a million times which is probably why I’m not pregnant yet. How many things in life are absolutely impossible to back out of? I guess it’s childbirth and death. Yikes! No wonder you’re scared! But think of this: that park full of rednecks? They made it through childbirth (6 or 7 times each, probably) so surely you can do it like a champ. Although you won’t be drunk and smoking a cig, so who knows… Thinking about you and crossing fingers that you’ll have an excellent 9th month!
Sure. Tell a story from when you were kid. How about when a fully grown adult you chickened out on your 2nd ride of Mission: Space at Disney World?
Bwack! Bwack! Bwack!
I’d be completely terrified, too. I’m not sure if this is helpful at all, but when I’m having a severe pain flare-up, I try very hard to focus on one good thing – a happy memory of a time or a place or a person. If you have some small tangible reminder of that thing, you might even pack it in your bag for when you go to the hospital, and put it someplace reasonably visible so that when the pain comes, you can focus on that to try and help you through. Of course, I can only imagine that there is going to be so much going on that you might not even remember this. :)
If it helps at all, you know you’ve got a lot of people out here pulling for you.
You know, the nurse gave everyone homework at class. We’re to come up with a “Focal Point”. (I think that was what she called it.) It’s an object we can focus on during labor. I have a few ideas that I’m trying to narrow down. I think I will do that. I’m either thinking a can of Guinness (I have craved dark beer since the beginning) or something numeric in nature. I tend to space out with numbers. When I was running 8 plus miles for that marathon, I used the digital timer to help me along and focus. So I might get something digital.
Or a big, fat plate of raw fish.
Bring Murray and a Swiffer!
Leah, you’re a freaking genius. We thought about bringing Murray, because, in all honesty, he would take my mind off things I think. But cats in a delivery room? They probably wouldn’t allow for it. Sadly. :]
Couple Murray with the swiffer? And oh lordy!
Fear of the unknown. I remember being very nervous prior to the birth of my daughter. Things turned out a lot different than what I had anticipated. I ended up having a c-section after 18 hours of labor. It was a great lesson on being flexible. I tend to be a planner (I think we are alike in this manner) and when you have children there is only so much planning you can do. They have a way of altering your plans quickly. Best of luck.
You’ll be fine. Just take the drugs!! No need to be a hero for anyone!
Bring a picture of Murray to look at if that helps. Kerry and I had a memory of a time in Florida when we were together that was our “happy memory” to focus on during labor to try to achieve some calm. Fear is the biggest enemy during labor. It intensifies pain, leads to hyperventilation and more pain, and distracts you from the real work that you’re supposed to be doing.
Do what you need to do to avoid fear and pain. While Kerry got on that ride 3 times (each time without pain killers), there is no shame in doing what you need to do to make sure you’re not pressed to your limit.
On the other hand, since you only plan to do this once, it may be worth it to see just how much you can take. Either way, the choice is totally up to you guys, and you don’t want to let the sanctimommies of the world guilt you into enduring more pain and discomfort than you need to.
Here’s the only other thing I’ll mention: if you do decide to go the natural, drug-free route, there will come a moment when you REALLY DO feel like you want to get off the ride. You will be CONVINCED that you can’t go on. Contractions hurt, but OHMYGOD THIS IS SERIOUS. This moment is called “transition” when you go from the first stage of labor to the second (contraction & effacement of the cervix to pushing). It is a well-known milepost, and the emotional signal that you have reached it is that you feel panic and intense pain. You really do want to turn around and get off the ride.
This is Toby’s turn to remind you that you’re ALMOST THERE!! That fear? It’s the milepost in the process. It means it’s almost time to push. This is the moment when everyone who is around you will reassure you of what a great job you’re doing, that you CAN do it.
Oh, and by the way … by the time you hit transition, it’s too late for drugs. No turning back now, sister.
The emotional reaction to transition is well known. It’s documented in the Bradley Method, and I’ve witnessed it 3 times (and heard about it from everyone who also went through Bradley and knew to look for it). Of all the things I did as coach/advocate/husband during Kerry’s labors, I have to say that recognizing and talking Kerry through those periods of transition felt the most useful.
Oh, and cutting the cord? Ick. I hate doing that. I feel squeamish just thinking about it. Don’t make Toby do that if he doesn’t want to. By that moment he will have gone through enough, man of delicate sensibilities that he is. (you heard about the shitting, right?)
Tobyjoe isn’t going near the cord. Nope. And I told him I’d divorce him if he looked down there during the delivery. I said that that had to be held sacred. No ifs ands or buts about it. He’s a curious creature, which is why I threatened him with divorce and the NEVER EVER SEEING his child again if he even thinks about peeking.
So, there will be no umbilical cord cutting either.
Oh, and he may say we’re doing this once, but I want two babies. I decided that. So if he’s not gonna help me out, I’ll find someone who will! Just kidding. :] We’ll see how one goes.
There’s no glory in needless suffering babe. It won’t make you a better mom or more of a woman.
I’ve been reading a book about The Bradley Method because I want to be prepared- in case the epidural doesn’t take, in case things go really fast. You know, just in case. If I get into the thick of it and feel like I can handle the pain, the I’ll give it a whirl.
If not, I’m getting an epidural. Period.
I respect women that do it naturally, hell my mom did it twice. I also respect women who say, “This is too painful, I need some help please.”.
I remember feeling the same way after some of my prenatal classes. The feeling usually subsided before the next class ;)
There was a moment during labour that I wanted to stop. It was when my daughter was crowning. It burned so bad (sorry, not trying to scare you but it does burn) I started to think “I can’t” and then the urge to push was so great that it turned into “I can’t stop”. I was pushing because my body knew that it had to, it wasn’t a conscious thought anymore. It is amazing that your body kind of takes over.
I was reading about pain control options during labor on the Internet the other morning when my husband walked into the room and found me crying. He asked what was wrong and I said, “I’m scared of labor! It sounds like REALLY hurts!” I asked my best friend for advice the same day and she said, “My philosophy was I wanted all the drugs and as soon as possible.” I’ll drink to that! (Though she had a c-section so it was moot anyway.)
Actually, while I don’t know that I’ll get all the drugs ASAP, I did promise my husband I wouldn’t try to go all natural the first time around. I’ve heard gradually increasing until you get the epidural is a good strategy.
I shared this one with Toby the other day. I painstakingly combed through all of my photos for the perfect picture of the south of france. I think there was wine on the table – a good incentive. I spent 8 hours of hard labor looking at a serial number on the pipe of the delivery spot light. Dont remember the number it was just something above my head that I could see. Trust me I would have kicked Brian’s teeth down his throat if he put that photo in front of me at any point during labor. I am sure he wanted to escape there.
[oldest of six]
aw. you’ll be ok!
i too had an awful water slide experience. i stopped myself with my legs midway down the slide and some very large kid came down crashing into me. i almost died.
but, i survived having a baby. you can do it too!
i loved action park. and all those similar parks. i wasn’t there for the water slides though, but more for the alpine slide. i loved that thing.
tien, I loved that thing too. So fun. I wish they still had something like that.
OMG … I just realized that I’ve BEEN to Action Park in Vernon Valley. That was like, almost 30 years ago! My school went in 7th and 8th grade and it rained both times we went.
I hear you loud and clear. I wanted to back out in the WORST WORST way. I was waiting for there to be a magical way to extract a baby. I can tell you it was fine in the end, but a million people could tell you that and it probably wouldn’t help.