There have only been a handful of defining moments in my life as a new mom when I have truly considered using the Cry It Out (CIO) method. From the bits and pieces that I have read about this method, I have learned that this is an approach towards raising a child where parents try to teach their babies how to self-soothe when they are upset, instead of coddling the babies when they get upset. I always kind of understood this to mean that the baby cries and cries until just passing out from pure exhaustion, but hey, I could have that totally wrong.
So the first time that I wanted to fully utilize the CIO method was when I was in labor.
Oh, so you thought that I was talking about applying CIO to my child? Well now, how’s THAT for a plot twist?
Ahem, as I was saying…. the first time that I wanted to utilize CIO was when I had just gotten to 5 cm dilated, after 20 hours of labor.
My initial birthplan had included a nice, relaxing pain management plan consisting of visualization with soothing background music, a birthball, several hot showers, “talking through it”, and a birthing tub in the hospital that I would be delivering at. I should have called it my birth joke, because, despite all of my valiant efforts to uphold this pathway towards a natural delivery, it just wasn’t what I expected when I was expecting. Especially the part about my water breaking when I was only dilated to 1 cm.
I’m still not completely convinced that it wasn’t an evil practical joke when the nurses told me to “just get some rest” for the next twelve hours, since I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed due to them using prostaglandin versus pitocin to induce me, because it was “less aggressive”. Six hours later, with only slivers of sleep accumulated from my uncomfortable nurse imposed bedrest, I think I had finally had gotten to 2 cm dilated. This was going to take a while.
At about 4 cm was when I hit the whale noises. Fuck the soft music and visualization, I went full blown Finding Nemo Dory. And it seemed to help, until the exhaustion started kicking my butt, and I started fighting the contractions versus “going with the flow”.
I was whale sobbing at this point, because, even though I had stared adoringly at that birth tub in the distance the entire time up to this point, by the time I finally reached 5 cm dilated and would have been able to actually use the damn thing, I was ready to tap out. And a warm bath just didn’t seem like it was going to do the trick.
My attempts at self-soothing while Papa Bear was self-snoozing were not helping in the least. Which is actually better, now that I think about it, because if I HAD gotten to the point where I was crying and crying until I passed out, I don’t think that would have been in my best interest. So, as I attempted to have a cross-eyed, whale noise infested conversation with one of my nurses about what my pain management options were at that point, I decided maybe I should consider the epideral. So the first big lesson that I learned about CIO is that it can sometimes lead to unexpected epiderals. Or should I say, unexpected, it takes the anaesthesiologist three times to get the dang thing right, epideral.
At this point, Papa Bear had tapped out when we started talking epideral needles, and I had to rely on my awesome friend Tra-NayNay to hold me steady while the doctor attempted to get me all epideralled up. Yes, I just made that word up, and no, her real name is not Tra-NayNay.
Two hours after it kicked in, Baby Bear popped out.
What’s funny is that I never screamed like how television portrays a woman going into labor screams. I meditated, paced, tried the hot showers, crawled, whale moaned, sobbed, bounced on a birthing ball, but nope, never a banshee scream was uttered.
And in the end, I had the most beautiful miracle staring up at me in my arms. Totally worth every drop of that awesome epideral juice.