True Story: I’m Scared to Give Birth

scaredtobirth

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.

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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!

laney

8 Comments

  1. Joy -  February 26, 2013 - 11:34 am

    I used the bradley birth methoid, and had a doula. walking and counterpresure were my best friends. I also covered all the clocks in the room and no one was aloud to mention it. I consentrated on only one contraction at a time. I have had all of my kids pain med free (3) so for me it has served me well. You have to find out what works for you.

  2. Cyndi -  February 26, 2013 - 12:24 pm

    Laney, I feel like I could have written this myself! I am afraid of having a second natural birth. I had a natural labor and delivery with my son 10 months ago. I read the hypnobirthing book & listened to the guided imagery often times before bed. When it came time I ended up focusing on the word “relax”. And with each surge as I breathed out I would mutter the word relax long and slow until my breath was gone. This gave me what I needed and that was focus until that contraction was over. I never took the class for the same reasons but want you to know it worked for me without the class and it can for you too! I, like your mom, am an L&D nurse. I help people get epidurals daily. My husband is even a nurse anesthestist. So I find myself often wondering why I even consider doing it again without an epidural. But…I remember that moment when it was all over. The love and empowerment feeling. I said just moments after he was out…”It was the hardest thing I’ve EVER done, but I’d do it again without batting an eye because it is SOOO very worth it.” So whenever I’m afraid I just keep that memory close & that reminds me that I can and will be able to do it again. You will do phenomenal!!! I can’t wait to hear your story!! Xoxo

  3. Shelley Payton -  February 26, 2013 - 4:09 pm

    I was terrified to give birth too!

    I think having the freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want will really ease your pain though. Want to labor on the toilet at home? Go right ahead. Want to get on your knees and lean on the couch for support, to relax AND open up your pelvis? Go for it! Want to eat a little? Drink some tea? Please do! You have so much FREEDOM during a home birth that you don’t get in the hospital.

    As for pain management techniques, I recently read that doula’s sometimes to this light tickle sensation on your back and arms… apparently when you get ‘goosebumps’ it actually releases endorphins and helps with pain. Perhaps someone can do that for you if you’re still willing to be touched at that point. Also, I know it probably won’t help when you’re actually IN transition but to ease your fear NOW and up until that point… REMEMBER: when the pain gets so bad it’s unbearable and you feel like you just CANT DO IT… that is when its so close to being over! Once you’ve reached that point you’re just about done anyway. 🙂

    You can do it Laney! <3

  4. Cindy B -  February 27, 2013 - 7:47 pm

    Used the Bradley Method ~ studied a lot the first go round… almost not at all the second time… lots of prayer and a homebirth (second time)… SOOO much easier birth the second time. Little bit faster/intense the second time but nothing that wasn’t manageable… also had two doulas and a midwife… and of course my best friend/husband there. Couldn’t have dreamed it to be any easier. Blessings.

  5. Rebecca -  February 27, 2013 - 9:09 pm

    I am also due in April and planning a water/home birth. My first was also a hospital/epi birth. I was just talking with a friend about going through these emotions. One day I am super pumped and the next I am finding myself dealing with some fear. I just keep reading positive birth stories and imagining everything going well and push those negative thoughts out of my mind. It might be the hardest thing I ever do, but I know it will be worth it. My midwife told me at our last appointment if you keep thinking during the contractions, “This only lasts for a minute…I can make it through a minute…” then that can help you focus. It sounded great to me to have something like that to hold onto. I can’t wait to read your birth story and I wish you a very calm, peaceful, fear-free and beautiful birth!

  6. Erin -  February 28, 2013 - 5:47 pm

    As Ina May Gaskin would say “Let your monkey do it.” Don’t over think things. Be primal and loud if you feel necessary. Be silent and still if that serves you better. I danced and listened to music and just went with it. I had no plans and I don’t again. You will be wonderful!

  7. Melanie -  March 17, 2013 - 8:24 pm

    While I did take a Bradley course to prepare for birth, I threw all of it out the window when I was actually in labor. My bradley coach was my doula, but she didn’t really coach much as I went very primal for the whole experience and just kind of went into myself. I drew a lot of strength from Ina May’s books, especially her “open mouth, open throat, open bottom” mantra and repeated that a lot when I was having 2-3 contractions at a time, as well as saying “I’m ok, I’m ok” over and over. (My entire active labor was like that.) I concentrated on keeping my sounds low, high pitches are wasted energy, and with breathing with my belly, (my life saver) the best thing my doula gave me was the frequent reminders to do this. I found the position that felt the best for me and I didn’t hesitate to tell my husband where to put pressure (my legs) and to reassure myself. I never hit “transition” in the traditional way, but I do remember asking everyone if it was ok if I cried now once I got into the tub and started really pushing. Just try to find your happy place and don’t be afraid to use your husbands strength and faith in you as your guidance through the whole thing. Ross literally held me up while I was pushing and I just remember knowing that he was there and going through it with me and that we were going to get this baby out together. That helped me a lot.

  8. Chelsie -  March 18, 2013 - 2:26 pm

    I used Hypnobabies tracks which I bought on Itunes. I didn’t do them until I was 36 weeks along, but once I started doing them I did them once a day or more if I had time. Release the fear, was my favorite track and has a guided relaxation at the end. I still do them now and my son is 9 months old. I had a very clam homebirth and despite pushing for 5 hours and my son crowning for more than 30 minutes I never once had the feeling that I couldn’t handle the pain. I truly had the amazing, calm, relaxed birth I wanted and it was beautiful.

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