Pain with a Purpose
Childbirth intensity & pain is NOT the same as breaking your arm, stubbing your toe, getting a vaginal exam, or passing kidney stones. When I was pregnant, I was often asked how I reacted to the pain of stubbing my toe – how I coped through such pains. I usually held my breath, yelled and counted to ten. How I responded was supposed to be similar to how I would respond to the intensity of childbirth. Last week when I was dealing with kidney stone pain I discovered that I much preferred childbirth to having a stone move down from my kidney to my bladder.
You Get Breaks
First of all, I had NO breaks – just constant pressure and pain. Childbirth has a more compassionate design. There are wonderful, heavenly breaks between contractions. Breaks where you can chat to loved ones, drink some water or eat a granola bar, or maybe keep breathing and become centered again. (My advice? Take advantage of your breaks! Completely relax all your muscles, starting with your jaw, shoulders and work your way down.)
You Get a Baby!
Secondly, childbirth intensity and pain is bringing you a wonderful baby! Through contractions you may think about your baby, feel his kicks, and loving birth companions may remind you of the reward waiting for you at the end. Kidney stone pain does not have a reward at the end (other than having everything be over!). After all the work of coping with kidney stones, you get nothing. Nada! A baby is so much better.
Thirdly, when in labor there is nothing WRONG with you! What a calming thought as you wonder if you may actually die (I think this thought is pretty common for women in labor. It’s party of the physical and mental surrender that takes place during the transformation from maiden to mother). However, when suffering through kidney stones you might think such rational thoughts like, “did my ovary just burst?”, “is my appendix exploding” or “should I go to the ER?” Childbirth is not an emergency and should not be treated like one. It is a normal physical, emotional and spiritual process that should be enjoyed! Unlike kidney stones.
You Get a Birth High
Lastly, suffering through kidney stones does not trigger the hormone cocktail of oxytocin and endorphines. Oxytocin is often called the LOVE hormone and can give feelings of altruism, as well as cause contractions. Endorphines are a response to oxytocin which can help you cope with the pain almost like an opiate! Let’s just say that kidney stones offer no such help and you are left alone.
Childbirth pain is MUCH better than kidney stone pain. However, I think I prefer passing a stone to pushing out a baby.
ps – I dislike kidney stones!