The Ring of Fire

November 25, 2009

Lately I’ve been reading more than I ever imagined I would about epidurals, pitocin, and natural childbirth. (I know any sense of control I have the day The Olive makes his/her entrance into the world will be largely illusory, but I’d like to have at least some idea of what I’m in for).

The natural childbirth book, Special Delivery, is a hoot. The front cover features two extremely hairy, mostly nude, quintessentially 1970s parents holding a suitably slimy brand-newborn. The profiles in the book describe the joyous home births of children with names like Magnus and Faith Rainbow, accompanied by full-frontal black-and-white photos of (once again, very hairy) 1970s moms in various stages of active labor. It’s intense to say the least.

The book is compelling in that it attempts to fully describe what the progressive stages of labor actually feel like (absent the use of “nips from the epidural tap” so championed by Vicki Iovine). One of the final stages, as the widest part of the baby’s head emerges, is dubbed – for excellent reasons, I’m guessing – “The Ring of Fire.”

I have told Eric that under *no* circumstances is he to break into Johnny Cash in the delivery room, particularly the part about how it burns, burns, burns…the ring of fire…the ring of fire. (Though I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be up for a chorus of Folsom Prison Blues, either.)


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