The evolution of a labor coach...
I've been married to Mr. P for twenty years this September. Flibby is seventeen years old. Obviously Mr. P and I were mere babes when we had Flibby! We were green, wet behind the ears, novices when it came to all things having to do with babies, parenting, and most especially labor and delivery. I went two weeks late with Flibby and I was induced. This was an anxiety producing moment when I arrived at that hospital and they started sticking me full of IVs, hooking me up to all sorts of monitors and virtually strapping me to a hospital bed while starting me on a medicine that was designed to cause me pain. I might want to mention at this point in the story that I am not now, nor ever have been, a fan of pain! Mr. P however was in no pain and was delighted to be getting the show on the road and he was even more happy and exuberant than usual. Mr. P is the life of every party! He is a lover of all things fun, and his cup is always half full. He is an extrovert!! I, on the other hand, tend to be a tad on the pessimistic side (I generally justify this bad behavior by calling myself a "realist". ~wink~), am more likely to enjoy peace and quiet, and I am just a little bit introverted... just a little bit. These are not things I really knew about myself until Flibby's birth.
Also, being a budding new television director, Mr. P felt he owed it to the world to produce the best birthing documentary ever filmed. He wanted to make Spielberg proud with his close up shots, cut aways showing the equipment, interviews with the nurses, and angled shots showing my point of view. I on the other hand couldn't have cared less about remembering this moment. In the words of a famous movie actress....Mr. DeMile, I was NOT ready for my close up!
Some things Mr. P and I learned about me during that first labor...
~I do not like to be photographed or videotaped EVER when not feeling and/or looking my best.
~I do not like to listen to jokes or be interviewed during contractions.
~Idle conversations amongst people in the room are annoying to me.
~People in the room are annoying to me.
Poor Mr. P... he was so happy and having such a wonderful time and I was a big wet blanket on his joy! But, at the end of it all, we had a beautiful baby and all was right with the world!
Then came Miss Poppins... Mr. P was very in tune to my feelings from Flibby's birth and did so well not to bring photographic equipment into the labor room, he made very few jokes with the doctors and nurses and showed enormous self-control all to accommodate my feelings in that labor room. He was a champ!
Karate Kid posed a whole different set of difficulties. I won't go into to all the horrible details but suffice it to say I had one of the most incompetent patronizing doctors ever to roam the earth. The doctor did not listen to me when I told him it was time for my epidural. I missed getting my epidural. Did I mention that I am NOT a fan of pain? It wasn't pleasant. I wasn't pleasant. Having anyone in the room when I was in that kind of pain... and anger... was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me and poor Mr. P didn't quite know what to do with me!
It was around lunchtime when Karate Kid was born and we had a number of family members waiting for Karate Kid's arrival. Once our first baby boy arrived, one of the family members suggested Mr. P go for some lunch and that they would stay with me. He needed a break, and it was just one person, so he agreed. Well.......this person didn't understand the "rules". Less than an hour after giving birth, my recovery room turned into a party of people wanting to see the baby, hold the baby and talk to me all about the delivery in detail. Normal and joyful things to most people... not to me just after giving birth... especially without an epidural. I didn't look good. I didn't feel good. When Mr. P returned, there were more people in my room than Mormons in Salt Lake! Now, he would normally be overjoyed at the chance to be the life of the party, but he quickly learned that the guest of honor (me) wasn't enjoying the fun (to put it mildly) and cleared the room.
Things Mr. P learned about me during the birth of our first born son...
~Do not leave me alone!
Most people know that parenting is a learning process, but we were beginning to understand that the birth experience had a learning curve. We HAD to keep having children. We still had so much to learn!
By the time Hannah Banana came along, I was getting my feet under me and I would say I was starting to be an experienced child birthing mother. I told the doctors (my current doctors whom I love dearly!!) how I wanted my labor to go. I knew what I wanted and when I wanted it and I was not shy about asking for what I needed. Mr. P knew very well how I would be feeling at each and every stage of the process. He knew I didn't want a room full of people, he ran interference to make sure that didn't happen. He was generous with his attention, quiet, soothing, and knew exactly what to do and when to do it. He was the best! Hannah Banana's birth experience was one of my favorites. It was a thrilling time and that first hour with just us and the baby was a precious time of bonding!
Cindy Lou's birth was even better. Mr. P and I have a rhythm now. We know each other like the backs of our own hands. He anticipated my needs even before I knew them. He went above and beyond the call of duty to provide for my every need... and my every want. They don't make labor coaches... or husbands, for that matter!... any better than Mr. P! He has become a master labor coach, a professional at child birthing, and - most importantly - an expert on me. (I laugh sometimes and tell him he should be teaching the child birth classes with all we have learned.)
We are soon to embark on our sixth birth and our sixth precious labor and delivery. Mr. P is already making his preparations. He is far more organized than I am and he has his bags packed, plan made and lists in place. I, without a doubt, know that he will be my rock during this joyful day! Even after so many babies, heading into child birth always produces a certain level of anxiety. Mr. P will know exactly what to do and exactly what to say to make me feel better and to help me put aside the worry and enjoy each and every moment of the day. It will be over far to fast. I remember that from the five times before. I want to cherish every second of it!
Mr. P will be my labor coach... the perfect labor coach... I couldn't do it without him! Get ready, honey! It won't be long now!