As each day gets crossed off of my calendar, my stomach turns and I feel a swarm of butterflies well up inside of me. It’s not like I haven’t done this before, but the words of my 6th grade health teacher still haunt me. “It’s like trying to squeeze a volleyball out of your nose,” she said; as we all gasped at the visual she gave.
Baby 3 (who now has a name—but we aren’t telling!) is officially 34 weeks and 4 days gestation. That means I have approximately 5 weeks until she is due to arrive earth side. So many things are running through my mind and suddenly 5 weeks seems like a very short period of time.
First of all, we aren’t quite prepared for another baby to actually be here. We need to get a car seat and a double stroller among several other smaller things. (Although I know we can survive without most of them if we have to- babies actually need so little.) My house needs to be deep cleaned and since we are having a homebirth, we still need to order our birth supplies and pay off the remaining balance we owe our midwife and our placenta encapsulator. Allister and Baby 3 will share a room (although we plan on co-sleeping with both of them- a continuation with Allister) and it is not quite finished being decorated and needs a little more paint. Would you believe that the only item I have bought for this new baby is one little outfit when I first got my BFP? It’s blatantly a boy outfit. I can’t believe I haven’t gotten her one thing that is her own.
I haven’t done much studying when it comes to childbirth pain management either. I am really REALLY nervous about going through birth again without it. I have never taken a childbirth education course. My mom was an L&D nurse for a long time, and because I had her, I felt like I didn’t need it when I had Zoelie. She ended up being my epidural birth, and so I didn’t really have any pain to manage anyway.
However, when I had Allister, the biggest regret I had with her birth was that I did not know how to manage my fear, and I know that made the pain worse. I went into labor with a totally positive attitude. I had a much empowered “yes I can!!!” mindset and I was very confident in my body’s ability to give birth naturally. I went into it knowing I was going to give birth without pain medications using only water to help cope with the surges. Fast forward to transition and I was screaming “I’m going to die!” and “I can’t do this anymore” and “I want an epidural”. The pain was awful. Thankfully the torture of transition is only a memory. I then successfully birthed my child and it was beyond ethereal. However, the pain was something I don’t ever want to revisit.
This is where my anxiety stems from. When I first found out I was pregnant with Little 3, I immediately knew I wanted a homebirth. There is something about the miracle of birth that allows us to forget how truly scary and painful the experience was the second we get to hold our babies for the first time. I knew right away that I wanted to have another water birth, but this time in my home, with my husband and a midwife. The pain did not even cross my mind. The midwife we decided to hire is amazing and I couldn’t be happier with her. My husband is supportive of our homebirth and believes that I can do it and tells me so. However the closer I get to my guess date, the more worried I am about the pain I will be going through, both through labor and delivery, but also the after pains. This time I don’t have the superwoman attitude. I hear well-meaning friends say that my body is made to give birth and I cringe. I remember what it felt like and the memory makes me tense.
Initially my plan to manage pain was to take the Hypnobabies course. Unfortunately with the 350 dollar price tag and only a few instructors in the state, all with schedules that don’t mesh with ours, we decided to walk away from doing it. My next option was HypnoBirthing. I bought a couple of books and audio tracks and have been working with them. I regret not planning to take the actual class earlier. Despite not being as prepared as I hoped I would be by this point, I am grateful that I will have Colin with me to look me in the eye and tell me he believes in me. My mom will hopefully make it in time to be another support person/doula. Sometime in the next five weeks I am hoping I will find a bit of confidence and a dash of strength. I don’t want to doubt myself anymore. Either way this baby has to come out and I would prefer to give birth without being afraid.
Moms who have been there, done that, what methods did you use to manage your pain during childbirth? Did you find it to be more frightening the second or third time around? I would love your to hear your thoughts and stories!