A lot of things scare me about having a baby. As I progress further through my pregnancy, the obvious issue of childbirth looms in the not-so-distant future. I appreciate it’s the most natural thing in the World. But at the same time, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about it.
Like everything when it comes to being a parent, my fear isn’t really even for me. I know that whatever happens to me, I will have a very important job to do afterwards. I can’t put starting Motherhood on hold for a few days, whilst I recover. When she’s here, she will rely on me for everything. And I can only imagine how overwhelming those first few weeks for us will be. I don’t want a traumatic experience to make that time harder.
And so I worry. What if I can’t do it? Will the pain be too much? What if I don’t have the energy to get it done?
It’s got me thinking. What is my limit? What is the absolute most I can endure? I mean, I’ve traveled by Mega Bus to London. Sat through The Hobbit in the cinema. And once saw the Venga Boys live ‘in concert’.
But what would be a step too far? What has pushed me as close to that edge as I’ve experienced?
Kidney Stone Woes
Having had a kidney stone in recent years, you’d be forgiven for assuming that was my most painful experience. It was no picnic, but one experience stands out as being worse. Worse than the kidney stone, subsequent treatment, past broken bones and anything in living memory.
Lip injections without adequate numbing cream.
No exaggeration the needle was about 2 inches long. And blunt.
On a whim I decided to try lip injections. They’re all the rage at the moment aren’t they? My life would surely be immeasurably better if my lips were slightly bigger (spoiler alert, it was pretty underwhelming). So off to the dentist I popped, where they offered various fillers and injectables.
The Lip Injection Incident
I had numbing cream applied all over my lips and was told to wait for 20 minutes for it to work. My mouth began to numb, but 20 minutes came and went. The dentist had been called to something else and it was an hour before she came back. It didn’t occur to me that the cream would have worn off (although one would hope it would have occurred to her!).
I remember making another pitiful yelp before everything went wobbly. I had fainted.
Sweeney Todd, I mean the dentist, explained that she would be using a cannula as it caused less bruising. Far from the little Botox needle I had seen on TV, this thing was a beast. No exaggeration the needle was about 2 inches long. And blunt. Because that’s how cannulas work.
Now I’m not doubting the relative merits of this method, if the patient was sufficiently numbed. But I can tell you that I felt everything. As it went in, I yelped in pain, but the worst was yet to come. As she pushed the needle from the corner of my mouth up to the top of my cupid’s bow, it felt like the most intense stinging pain I’ve ever experienced. I remember making another pitiful yelp before everything went wobbly. I had fainted.
Thankfully the Juvederm itself numbs once injected, so my lip was at that point numb. After a glucose tablet and a few moments to psyche myself up, we had to continue. It was either that or have half a big lip.
I’d repeat in my head ‘not as bad as lip injections … Not as bad as lip injections’.
A Painful New Benchmark
For anyone reading this who has had them, you might be thinking I’m a total wimp. I had them once more after this -with lots of numbing cream- and I can honestly say I didn’t feel a thing. Just a bit of tugging. When numbed, they really don’t hurt. But I challenge anyone who thinks they’re hard enough to try it without the cream. My lips are recoiling just thinking about it!
I only went back as she heavily discounted it. Realising the first attempt had been less than ideal.
My silly pursuit of vanity made me realise lip fillers aren’t for me. I don’t have any real hangups about my lips or need for them so had forked out for a sadist to stab me in the face. Only to have marginally larger lips for a few months (thanks Kylie Jenner!). But it wasn’t entirely in vain.
That experience has served as a handy benchmark for me when it comes to pain. Throughout my kidney stone stuff, if I had an injection or procedure, I’d repeat in my head ‘not as bad as lip injections … Not as bad as lip injections’. And it honestly never was (or that’s how it felt).
I’ve done this for every knock, every injection or cut I’ve had since. And it really works. Was that the worst pain I’ve ever felt? Almost certainly not. But I’ve reframed it that way.
Once childbirth is out the way I’ll have a new benchmark to go by.
Pain is a complicated thing. What makes one incident worse has a lot to do with the duration, area you feel it over and I guess if it’s expected or unexpected. It stands to reason procedures on your kidneys are more painful than lip injections. I wasn’t offered morphine at the dentist. But not being ready for it had a huge effect.
Clearly fear, expectation, a loss of control and other factors contributed to make that experience worse. Or rather my mental preparation and expectations of the more serious incident helped me manage it.
At the very least, once childbirth is out the way I’ll have a new benchmark to go by. And if not? I’ll be finding a new dentist.
Childbirth & The Positive Birth Book
Jokes aside, I’ve been reading a new book this week on childbirth. The Positive Birth Book (thanks Alice for the recommendation). Which focuses on helping you achieve the birth you want (however that looks). Unlike a lot of parenting books, it’s not judgemental or idealistic. And gives a lot of information without scaring the living daylights out of you.
I’m feeling pretty positive about the whole thing. And my fears are disappearing. I know it will be over relatively quickly and can’t wait to meet my little one. The book does an excellent job of examining how other people’s negativity scares us. Or makes us feel we have to do things a certain way.
I’m now focusing on the positive aspects of childbirth and not dwelling on the pain. Although the same can’t be said for lip injections.