Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hope Sinks (or I don't do pain)

Warning: This post contains graphic images involving massage oil and stripping. Don't worry. It's not what you think. . .

I've been running off and on (mostly on) for 3 months now. I've had shin troubles off and on (mostly on) for about 3 months now.

On Sunday evening, I began preparing for Monday morning's run. I broke out the massage oil and started to try and break up some of the tissue forming a tight knot on the inside of each of my legs, between my calves and shins.

It's a massage technique called "stripping the muscle" that my chiropractor told me about. (She also told me it would hurt like crazy. Except, come to think of it, she didn't exactly use the word "crazy".)

So. Sunday I massaged my legs. Then I subjected myself to the punishment that is M's brute strength and asked him to strip the muscles on my right leg.

We were sitting in the faux leather office chairs in the office. When the pain hit, my blood pressure immediately spiked, I got all sweaty and hot. As much as I tried to breathe through the pain, it wasn't working. But I managed to get through it.

After a few minutes' rest, I called out "hey! wanna do the other one?" He came traipsing back into the office, all set and ready to do me in. The spiked blood pressure and the sweatiness commenced all over again. My head began to hurt from scrunching up my face and straining against the pain. At which point, I took a mulligan and said "we have to do this where there's a fan. I'm dying over here!"

But even a fan didn't help. It hurt so bad I was writhing in pain on our bed, begging for a break, screaming into my pillow. It was not pretty.

And when he was done, how did I thank him for the newly loosened tissue and for securing my running success the next day? By bursting into to tears, and mumbling something like "I can't do it! I can't have babies!"

Tears were running down my cheeks and the incredulousness with which he was looking at me quickly faded. He walked into the bathroom. I followed, determined to not let him shrug it off, to help him (and myself) understand why I was crying after the hellacious pain I just experienced.

"I always thought I'd be tougher, you know? I mean I know I don't have a high tolerance for pain, but still! I don't think I can do labor! What am I going to do?"

I was suddenly and utterly convinced of my inability to birth a baby. I was heartbroken. And disappointed in myself. And worried. I have always harbored a secret hope that, despite my low pain tolerance, I'd garner some degree of mental strength and bravery against that most infamous and fundamental travail. That hope crumbled feebly under my aching shins that night.

Truthfully, I'm still a little worried. I'm trying to rekindle some shred of hope that my "body will just know what to do". Truthfully, I can't believe I came here to work all this out in my head. It's classic Mars vs. Venus, I suppose. With a little tokophobia mixed in just for fun!


Danielle said...

I've delivered 2 babies naturally-- and I much prefer it that way over numbing drugs. Yet I absolutely refuse to subject myself to the pains of running. (I'll swim, but I won't run.) So I don't think they are related. :)

Besides, running is optional and you can quit once it starts to hurt. (which says a lot to me when people can keep going!) However, once that baby is in there, getting it out somehow is kind of mandatory.

Your posts crack me up. :)

Kimberly said...

I can so identify with that feeling! I had to put labor completely out of my mind when we were trying to get pregnant, otherwise I never would have gone through with it! I have a low pain threshold (at least, I think I do).

The cool thing with having Emma is that while it hurt like mad, I got to have the fun of screaming my head off. I've never been a screamer so boy was that lovely to just shout my head off and not having anyone tell me to shush.

Also, I only remember being in pain for about five minutes. Amnesia rocks.

It's so different for everyone, depending on how your body is built. The fact that you're a runner and in good physical shape will likely make delivery a much smoother process for you. I think modern women have more difficulty because our lives are so much more sedentary.

Way back when, women had much more physically demanding lives. These days, we're boggled by the thought of returning to work in the fields the day after giving birth. Physically I think we're not as strong these days.

So keep running!

And seriously? If I can do it? Me, the wimpiest of the wimpy? It'll be a breeze for you by comparison. ~HUGS~

hayngrl101 said...

Well, luckily, labor doesn't involve any pain in your legs (where you're talking about).

I'm betting you may have had a bad bout of period cramps at least once in your life, no? And, have you ever had that excruciating pain from diarhea cramps? Ok, so you've probably weathered that storm as well. Mix 'em together, and that's what labor was like for me... and my sister... both of us are wimpy, too, so the epidural was a definite yes. You can do it!

Stella said...

I was the same way...pain is not my friend. I've given birth twice. I used the pain meds. I think one commenter put it best, running is voluntary you can stop at any point. They don't let you stop in the whole labor process and the pain is totally worth it!
I felt so weak when I went to get a tattoo after the birth of my second child and I couldn't make it through the whole thing. It's the same thing, I KNEW I could stop that. Birth you can't stop.

It really is not as bad as I had anticipated and the reward at the end is TOTALLY worth it.