This is pregnancy #3 for me. I should be an old pro by now, right? Perhaps that is true in certain regards, but in other ways, I’m not sure any woman will ever feel like a pro when it comes to birth. Even after labor and delivery twice before, and having two pretty ideal experiences, I still have a few fears. What’s the biggest one? That my luck has run out.
I know they say the third time is the charm, but with kids, anything goes. Before even becoming pregnant with this one, I wondered if I would be pressing my luck with another delivery. I’ve experienced two natural births that have been quite low on interventions. And I’m very pleased with that fact. Still I can’t help but wonder how this one will go. Will I be able to once again avoid the interventions I fear? Will I make it through this delivery without a c-section?
Part of my fear comes from #2’s positioning. I had horrendous back labor because she was sunnyside up until minutes before crowning. Thankfully my midwife knew a move that corrected her position. Back labor ended and she was born. I know that once a woman labors with a baby in that position, her likelihood of that happening again increases. If so, I hope that same maneuver convinces this one to flip as well. But who knows; this one might never be in that position. This one might be ready for an even speedier exit than #2…an exit that nearly happened before my midwife made it to the hospital. Which brings me to fear #2.
What if this one comes too quickly? With #1, my labor stalled the minute I walked through the hospital doors. Now I have a better understanding of the progression of labor and the sphincter law (as Ina May Gaskin calls it), which is why I waited to go to the hospital with #2. I know the longer a woman labors in a hospital, the more likely interventions will be. So, when hard labor started, I got out the exercise ball and bounced through them in the comfort of my living room. When the breaks between contractions were becoming non-existent, we left for the hospital. It’s a good thing we didn’t wait any longer; she was born within an hour from the time we entered the hospital.
Having experienced back labor with both kids, my midwife says that if this one is in a good position, I might not have back labor. And then I might not even know I’m in actual labor. While I do enjoy the thought of not experiencing that horrible back pain, I’m not sure how I feel about an unexpected home…or car…birth. Perhaps my husband should start looking into birthing techniques.
So what do I do about these fears? The only thing I know to do. Read and research. Throughout the years I’ve taken in a plethora of birth stories, talked to doulas and midwives, listened to countless podcasts, read a fair amount of books and attended a birthing class. I’ve come up with my personal birth philosophy thanks to the knowledge I’ve collected, so perhaps the most important thing I’ve done was to find a care provider that will respect that. I have a midwife I know and admire. I have confidence in her abilities. But more important than her abilities are my own. I know I’ve done this twice before. I know things can always happen or go wrong. Twists in the journey can pop up unexpectedly, but I believe self-confidence goes a long ways.
So tell us, what birth fears do you (or did you) have?