Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Birth Story, Part II: Pre-Birth Emotional Processing

The next few days I alternated resting and catching up on sleep with doing things I hoped would get labor going again, such as belly binding, sitting/swaying/bouncing on a birth ball, taking walks, doing exercises from Spinning Babies, nipple stimulation and related activities, and so on.  A chunk of mucus plug came out on the morning of June 4.  

June 5 I had a day of big feelings and lots of tears.  I wrote that day: 

Feeling so done being pregnant. Tired of all the twinges and pains and pressure and BH and the need to wonder "is this it?"

Feeling disappointed that labor hasn't continued, feeling like an idiot for not knowing Saturday night wasn't the "real" thing, feeling anxious that baby is in a "bad" (posterior) position, dreading my midwife & OB appointments tomorrow and Thursday, feeling like I can't trust my body and they probably don't trust me either.

Feeling inadequate to mother my 3.5 yo who is getting aggressive lately (C hit another child over the head with a book today when MIL took her to Bible study with her to give me a break), wondering how I'm ever going to handle two, wishing I could go back to C being a baby, my only baby. And at the same time, so desperately wanting to hold this one.

On top of all that, feeling tired, feeling hungry, feeling generally irritable, feeling a bad case of the "shoulds", and feeling defensive and not wanting to talk about all these feelings with anyone for fear that they would discount them or try to quickly to talk me out of them.

That night I had a scary dream about my son dying during or immediately after childbirth.  It was another clue to unworked-through fears/emotions... this was our first home birth and although I knew that hospital birth has its own set of risks, part of me was afraid that if something went wrong at home, then it would be "all my fault" for choosing home birth in the first place.

I consciously chose to replace that imagery with positive thoughts to help me get back to sleep.  I mentally walked through the birth and immediate recovery scenarios my midwife and I had gone over, focusing on the  greater chance of a positive outcome and reminding myself God is in control.

June 7 I had a wicked headache/backache that verged on a full-body migraine, and that night I was kept awake by the most intense contractions so far, but again they fizzled out.  I made a tearful call to my doula and vented my exhaustion and frustration and then finally fell into a deep restful sleep.

After that big emotional release, irregular contractions continued, but I was able to ignore/sleep through them and by June 10, I finally felt like I was caught up on sleep.  

The next day was June 11, my due date.  I decided I would take C to Vacation Bible School and stay and volunteer with her class of 3 & 4 year olds.  I figured at minimum it would take my mind off being pregnant and “overdue,” and possibly the dancing, squatting and stair-climbing involved would help encourage baby to come out and meet the world.

On June 12, contractions picked up to the point where I felt like we had to leave VBS early, but once again faded away.  

At our next appointment on June 13, my main midwife, Ms D, informed me that she was going out of town and that Ms X would be handling my birth and that Ms H would come too since she lived an hour closer.  

This brought into focus my last unaddressed fear: that labor would go so fast that I’d be alone or a key person would miss the birth.  My doula lives 15-20 minutes away. The closest midwife now on call was 45 minutes away, and DH's current job is 1 hour away.  

I began repeating to myself, “The right people will be here for the birth,” releasing the fear that by the time I might realize it was really “it” and make all the necessary phone calls, no one would have time to get to our home.

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