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Author Topic: Sorrow/Pain in Childbirth  (Read 1747 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« on: September 15, 2009, 04:49:10 AM »

As I mentioned in another thread, my first child will be born soon.  An important theological issue I have been wrestling with is whether or not my wife should use an epidural during her delivery.

As many of you probably know, Genesis reads as follows:

Quote from: Genesis 3:16
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

I have been guiding my wife toward a natural childbirth for many reasons, but this is the main reason.  I feel intuitively that to try to avoid the pain of childbirth is to defy God's command in this verse.

However, I ironically tend to view Adam and Eve as mythological archetypes, so in some ways it seems that I'm being too literal in my interpretation here.  To me, the beauty of bringing forth life into the world through great pain and work is an important picture of the intermingling of joys with sorrows in life.  Everything that is worth anything takes effort.  And to me to remove the pain from labor takes away much of its beauty.

But I'm not the one that has to go through it, at least directly, although I will be suffering with her.  Also, on a more practical level, we want to try to avoid a cesarean section at all costs, and my mother who is a newborn nurse of almost 30 years has told us that labor induction and epidurals both increase the risk for the need of a cesarean section, and when used in combination the two have an even greater chance of necessitating one.

So am I being totally ridiculous here, and should I stop caring about it?  Or should I lead my wife to do this naturally?  The whole prospect of labor is terrifying to me, and she has a family history of pregnancy complications, so I don't want to be the source of any physical damage because of foolish superstitions.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 05:02:54 AM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2009, 05:13:10 AM »

I understand your concerns, especially regarding a caesarean section. I know that I drove our OBGYN (who is a great Christian doctor) crazy by constantly telling her that we did not want to have a C-section unless it wa ABSOLUTELY necessary. The unfortunate reality is that many unecessary C-sections are routinely performed for financial profit and mere expediency. But I think if you communicate these concerns very firmly to your doctor, then he/she will not make this mistake (if nothing else they will not want to risk a law suit.)

Regarding the epidural... My wife had our three children naturally. She didn't have the epidural. But with two of the births she had a little bit of Stadal (?), which helped reduce the pain a little bit (but not much).

Again, this is a personal decision between you, your wife, and God. And I'm sure that you and your wife both want to do what's best for her and your baby. So pray about it and reassure your wife that you will be with her every step of the way.

These are exciting times for you! I will keep you in my prayers, and I hope you will keep us apprised of everything.

"Lord have mercy."

Selam,

Gebre Menfes Kidus
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 05:14:29 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2009, 06:49:03 AM »

So am I being totally ridiculous here, and should I stop caring about it? 
Yes.
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2009, 09:51:43 AM »

This is your first child...that explains everything. Tongue
You're a newbie-dad and you are acting foolishly, but in a good and cute way, haha.

Your child is going to have a wonderful dad. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2009, 10:32:02 AM »


As I mentioned in another thread, my first child will be born soon.  An important theological issue I have been wrestling with is whether or not my wife should use an epidural during her delivery.
As many of you probably know, Genesis reads as follows:
Quote from: Genesis 3:16
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
I have been guiding my wife toward a natural childbirth for many reasons, but this is the main reason.  I feel intuitively that to try to avoid the pain of childbirth is to defy God's command in this verse.

I'm not sure what the Fathers had to say in particular about that, so hopefully my own conclusions won't prove heretical. I suspect, especially to a woman, Genesis 3:16 encompasses more than just labor. As you may have noticed in your wife's pregnancy it's not exactly a physically happy time (even though of course there is anticipation and excitement), early on there's morning sickness, later on? Ask your wife if she has a joint that doesn't hurt, see how far she can run before getting out of breath (only really don't), ask her if she enjoys all the foods now that she did before being pregnant. Pregnancy can be very rewarding, but much harder on our wives than most of us men realize. The actual labor itself, while very prolific, is only a comparitively small part; the whole process is tough and physically demanding. But too, for the women there's another part; I'm am sure she cannot help but think of the world she is brining her child into, that very shortly the child won't be within the protective womb- and all of the myriads of other worries and sorrows a mother must face. I suggest that all of these things factor into what God told Eve. To the degree that one factor is felt over the other doesn't lessen the overall experience one way or another; God is merciful, and your wife will have enough other things to worry about (although I have no doubt that you both will be so blessed and rewarded as the Scriptures also say "chilren are a blessing from the Lord"- we've got 5, we know). If she wants the epidural I say go for it.
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2009, 10:53:55 AM »

I would definitely caution you in interpreting this verse too literally or misinterpreting it altogether.  It's not a command, as you say, but more like pointing out the obvious... you will bring forth children in sorrow, not you must bring them forth in sorrow.  Does anyone know what word the Septuagint uses here?  I'm wondering if it has a connotation of pain at all.

There are plenty of sorrows as well as joy that come from having a child.  Pregnancy is no picnic to begin with, or at least mine haven't been.  The list includes show-stopping morning sickness, swollen extremities, mood swings, heartburn, sciatica, shortness of breath, and the list could go on and on depending on the woman.  Then you get into labor and now we're talking about the kind of pain that makes everything else she went through seem like a far-away dream.  This is the kind of pain that obliterates all other senses to the point that she has no awareness of anything else but the pain and the searing intensity of each contraction (when it's at the high point of labor and they're coming in waves with no let up in between) truly makes you think it would be more pleasant to be cut in half with a butter knife than to endure any longer.  If she's lucky it will be a short labor, but mine was twelve hours and I could only make it through the first five before I was at the point described above.  I've had friends talk about being in labor for 36 hours without pain meds and once the baby is born, yes, mom will forget most of the pain.  I was also induced and had an epidural.  The key to having the two work together without slowing down the labor process is to wait until she's at least 4-5 centimeters dilated.  Epidurals can slow down the contractions, which would also make the dilation slow down as well and once your wife was induced, she really needs to deliver the baby within about 24 hours to reduce the risk of infection.

Just as a suggestion, please leave the decision up to your wife in the end.  I respect your wanting to be a spiritually upstanding man and to honor God through this experience, but for your wife's sake don't rule out pain meds.  If she can handle it without, great, but there's no Super Mom award for birthing without an epidural and I think when you see her going through the blinding pain of labor without anything to ease it, it will break your heart.  Just keep your options open and remember that no matter how hard it is for you, it's not comparable to what she's going through.
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2009, 11:08:00 AM »

Just as a suggestion, please leave the decision up to your wife in the end.

I agree! That's a very good suggestion.
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2009, 11:50:27 AM »

Our sixth child is do anytime.  My advice, support your wife 100% in whatever she wants to do.  FYI, my wife has never wanted or used an epidural, we've had all of them except the first at home, and we are trying a water birth for the first time on this one.

More than anything, she wants to feel safe and supported.  The safer and more secure she feels, the smoother the whole process will go, whatever options she chooses.
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2009, 12:48:13 PM »

As a man who has been in a delivery room, I can attest to you that your wife will not care what any of the Fathers said, because there is no man who has been through what she's going through right now and you had better GET HER THE EPIDURAL!!!

At that point, my suggestion is to do as she commands. Quickly.
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2009, 01:09:45 PM »

Along with EofK and Ironsideroger I would like to point out that "sorrow" doesn't mean just physical pain.  I have written this on the forum before that along with the joy of a birth there is  the sorrow of realizing that the tiny human being that is in your arms and dependent on the parents for everything will still suffer hurt and disease and sadness as she/he grows up and the mother and father cannot prevent some of it from happening. They might be bullied, or have other emotional pain that they can come to their parents for comfort, but the adults can't take it away like washing dirt off their face.  Life is hard and we as parents can't wrap our babies in cotton wool and keep them away from anything that might hurt them, because the child has to grow up and become an adult if it is God's will.  I write that last because there are still some babies who do not live long or children who pass away before they reach maturity.  "No parent should have to bury their child."  But it still happens and that is searing pain.

So there is sorrow in childbearing and childrearing along with the joy, and it's not limited to physical pain. 

Do you trust her doctor(s)?

You can be there supporting her, but it's not the same thing as feeling what she feels in the labour. So her suffering will be different. 

Why would God have permitted human beings to discover anesthetics?

Ebor 


 
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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2009, 05:23:00 PM »

The decision should be made between you and your wife, with the welfare of your child as the first priority. Your wife is not in this situation alone. You conceived your child together, you will raise your child together, and the process of labor and childbirth are to be experienced together. So, these important decisions should not be left completely for your wife alone to decide. Your wishes, fears, and concerns are every bit as important as hers.

"Lord have mercy."

Selam
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« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2009, 05:59:08 PM »

The decision should be made between you and your wife, with the welfare of your child as the first priority. Your wife is not in this situation alone. You conceived your child together, you will raise your child together, and the process of labor and childbirth are to be experienced together. So, these important decisions should not be left completely for your wife alone to decide. Your wishes, fears, and concerns are every bit as important as hers.

"Lord have mercy."

Selam

This is true and I don't mean to sound like I'm discounting the father's role in the delivery room at all, but I just don't believe he has any grasp on what this feels like.  Certainly discuss your birth plans together and consider what options you have; an epidural is just one option among many.  If you're interested, I have some info from my prenatal classes about the pros and cons of various pain management techniques, including med-free delivery.  It's completely up to you and your wife, but at the same time please don't make her feel like she's violating some spiritual statute if she goes for pain meds.  Unneccesary guilt is the last thing she needs while she's going through labor, physical recovery, and the adjustment of raising a little one.
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2009, 10:44:49 PM »


And to me to remove the pain from labor takes away much of its beauty.


Easy for a guy to say! Wink j/k
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2009, 12:12:41 AM »

I have yet to come across any woman, of the current generation, or, indeed, earlier generations, who has given birth who would subscribe to any notion of "beauty" in the pain (nay, agony) of labor. I have also lost count of the number of female friends pregnant for the first time, who muse romantically about the "nobility" of "natural, drug-free" birth. Come crunch time, every single one of them has made it quite clear she "wants the meds", RIGHT FRIGGING NOW!!!

Alveus, let your wife, in conjunction with medical advice, decide. It's not your call. Also, as you have stated that there's a history in her family of difficulties in labor, even more reason to trust the advice of her doctors.
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2009, 12:13:48 AM »

I have yet to come across any woman, of the current generation, or, indeed, earlier generations, who has given birth who would subscribe to any notion of "beauty" in the pain (nay, agony) of labor. I have also lost count of the number of female friends pregnant for the first time, who muse romantically about the "nobility" of "natural, drug-free" birth. Come crunch time, every single one of them has made it quite clear she "wants the meds", RIGHT FRIGGING NOW!!!

Alveus, let your wife, in conjunction with medical advice, decide. It's not your call. Also, as you have stated that there's a history in her family of difficulties in labor, even more reason to trust the advice of her doctors.

Well said.
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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2009, 12:16:41 AM »

I have yet to come across any woman, of the current generation, or, indeed, earlier generations, who has given birth who would subscribe to any notion of "beauty" in the pain (nay, agony) of labor. I have also lost count of the number of female friends pregnant for the first time, who muse romantically about the "nobility" of "natural, drug-free" birth. Come crunch time, every single one of them has made it quite clear she "wants the meds", RIGHT FRIGGING NOW!!!

You haven't met my wife!  Delivered baby #6 tonight, 12lbs! She's never asked for meds, and has never used them for any of our six births.  That's her choice though. It really is a personal decision a man can't really understand.
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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2009, 12:19:35 AM »

livefreeordie, your wife must be one tough and special lady. And congratulations!
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2009, 12:47:15 AM »

I would definitely caution you in interpreting this verse too literally or misinterpreting it altogether. 

Seconded. And yes you are being ridiculous.
In the very next verse, God tells Adam "Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground,". If you apply the same logic to this verse as you are trying to apply to your wife's pregnancy, the only legitimate job for a Christian is farmer. Any job that doesn't involve growing your own food 'by the sweat of your brow' would be defying God's command.

Needless to say, the Fathers have never interpreted these verses in this kind of harsh and overly literal sense--the list of saints who earned their bread through other means than toiling in the fields (or even extensive manual labor) is extremely long, starting with such luminaries as King David, St. John of Damascus, St. John Chrysostom, St. Tikhon, etc, etc, etc.
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« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2009, 12:01:45 PM »


At that point, my suggestion is to do as she commands. Quickly.

As always, thank you for your words of wisdom...  Grin
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« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2009, 12:58:45 PM »

Mr. Y learned well.   Grin
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« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2009, 03:52:25 PM »

This is true and I don't mean to sound like I'm discounting the father's role in the delivery room at all, but I just don't believe he has any grasp on what this feels like.
I've passed a kidney stone before, which I've heard is pretty close. Tongue Tongue Tongue
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« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2009, 04:06:26 PM »

This is true and I don't mean to sound like I'm discounting the father's role in the delivery room at all, but I just don't believe he has any grasp on what this feels like.
I've passed a kidney stone before, which I've heard is pretty close. Tongue Tongue Tongue

I've heard the same, and I imagine it probably is about as close to the sensation as men can get.  My sympathies are with you!  I'd compare it to the intense cramping of food poisoning plus the pain of passing a stone at the same time. 
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« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2009, 06:20:40 PM »

Just as a suggestion, please leave the decision up to your wife in the end.  I respect your wanting to be a spiritually upstanding man and to honor God through this experience, but for your wife's sake don't rule out pain meds.  If she can handle it without, great, but there's no Super Mom award for birthing without an epidural and I think when you see her going through the blinding pain of labor without anything to ease it, it will break your heart.  Just keep your options open and remember that no matter how hard it is for you, it's not comparable to what she's going through.

Amen. 

Alveus, Remember, since this is your first child, there is a good chance that the labor will be long and painful, since the birthing system of the body hasn't been used yet; it's like handing a 12 year-old a 200 lb barbell to start working out!  Go over what each of your expectations are, but I'd advise you as the father to be (a) in tune with what she's going through, and (b) ready to support her at every turn.  The wife and I had gone over a number of times what we were expecting for the delivery - we had agreement in principle on non-use of medications (like pitossin & the epidural), but that those were better than a C-section.  At each stage I was keeping in touch with how she was feeling - when she got to her breaking point (23 1/2 hours to get to 4 cm), we went with plan B (she was at the point where the pain was too much to continue with), went with the Epidural, and finished smoothly (baby came out healthy and happy 9 hours later).  Epidurals, like other medications, vaccines, etc. are products of God-given ingenuity and the desire to have more healthy people in the world; they don't cheat death - just add quality to life, and they don't fully cheat pain, either (epidural or not, recovery will be quite uncomfortable for her).
« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 06:21:04 PM by cleveland » Logged

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