It’s not worth all the fear and anxiety that builds up in your head and takes away from the amazing pregnancy experience:
Ok fine, I get it, it’s bad…like, it really hurts. But, I promise you—you will survive to tell the tale and it won’t be as bad as you’ve built it up to be in your head. Especially if you have an epidural; I have heard that stuff if pure magic. I spent the better part of my pregnancy scared about the inevitable D-Day. I remember I would be sitting in the bath every day, at the end of a long day, thinking about being pregnant and trying to (literally) soak it all in. I would be thinking beautiful thoughts about how awesome it was that I was growing a human and how amazing those little kicks and shifts feel…and then, WHAM-O, all that would be overcome with worry and anxiety–how is this little guy going to come out? I was really scared. I didn’t know what it was going to feel like, I was dreading it. I should have traded in these worries for excitement, joy and healthy anticipation. It wasn’t worth the nine months of worrying. Everyone around me was so excited, as was I, but in a different way. I would talk to my midwife about it and say “How will I know when I will be in labour?”. She would chuckle and say “haha you’ll know”. What did that mean?????? I would read and read and read. I watched YouTube videos of people’s labour stories, I would be like the 10th view. I would watch them, just riveted. I think I watched every video on YouTube, trying to figure out what it would feel like. Silly, I know, but I was desperate to know how bad this was going to be and see what I was in for. I would talk to my friends, my mom, everyone I knew who had a baby. What does it feel like??? I was obsessed, but noone could really explain. In the end, my body raised up to the challenge and performed what I thought was impossible. Remember, your body builds up to it and knows what to do. It will amaze you.
2. Odds are that the healthcare professionals you are working with have delivered babies in way more complicated situations that yours:
I know people who have had some scary experiences. However, that’s not the norm and those people I know who have had terrible experiences, go back and have another. Those people have put their faith in the healthcare professionals that became their unsung heroes, who found a way to deliver their babies. ‘One way or another, that baby is coming out’, was the advice my hubby used to tell me. Whomever is helping you that day; midwife, OB/GYN, labour nurses, paramedics; remember that you will be with people who’s full time job is to safely deliver babies and take care of their terrified mommies. They’ve seen it all and will get you through that day.
3. You’re way tougher than you think:
When the day came, I didn’t even realize it. I had a sore throat and some mild cramps. That was it. I asked my hubby to stay home because I wasn’t sure I could walk our dog that day. I thought I had a cold. Everyone had told me I would be late, so at 4 days early, I didn’t think it could be happening. Or maybe I was in denial. By about 2pm I was feeling some serious pain and cramping, in my back. I had a bath and called my midwife. She said that she suspected I was in early labour and that it could last 12-24 hours. ”Try and get some rest and relax” was her advice. Yeah, right! Relax!? How? This was it; the day I was going to do the impossible. If by “relax” you mean curl up in a ball on the bathroom floor and cry, then OK, I can “relax”. The pain intensified and got worse, so I called her back and since I was still talking through the contractions, we decided that I was still in early labour. ”Do you feel like you’re having a contraction?” she would ask. I had no idea. What is a contraction? What does it feel like? I was speechless. She told me to hang in there. I got off the phone and was overcome with anxiety and fear. I was convinced at this point that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I called her back and said I wasn’t coping well. She told me the pain was going to get worse and my body would figure out ways to cope. We went over some breathing exercises. Thirty minutes later my mom showed up and my husband made me some mac and cheese, my all time favourite comfort food. He knew I was serious pain when I refused it. At this point I could only make groans and moans and couldn’t walk. Looking back on it now I can’t believe I managed through it, I never would have thought I could make it through that day with all the pain and uncertainty, but I did.
4. Nature will take over for you and your body knows exactly what to do:
As my midwife promised, somehow my body was coming up with ways to cope. For me it was curling up on the floor and low groans. I was in my most primal state. Nature was at work. It was incredible. This was about 4pm. Little did I know, I was actually in active labour at this point. The hardest part. I thought I was still in early labour and was terrified of what lied ahead. I called my midwife and she told me to meet her at the hospital. It was the longest 20 minute drive ever. About 5 minutes from the hospital, it was an unmistakable feeling, even for a rookie like me—the baby was almost coming out. My mom gave me great advice; every contraction you have is one less you will have. I was hanging off this advice as I felt the contractions come on. I would get breaks in between, but they were getting much shorter. We got into the hospital and they asked me, “Do you feel like you have to push?”. I DON’T KNOW, I wanted to scream, but somehow I meekly responded “I think so”. They told me my midwife was on her way and left my husband and I alone in a triage room. I remember having a moment of clarity throughout it all, looking up at my husband who was surprisingly calm and I thought to myself ‘I guess this is it’. ‘We’re gonna make it’. I am not sure what I thought the other option was, but I was “relatively calm” and ready. I say relatively calm because I have to confess that we left the car running in the parking lot with all the paperwork we needed, leaving my mom to take care of all that, while my husband pushed me through the hospital in a wheelchair with me screaming. It was just like the movies. I was as calm as a woman who is just about to deliver a first time baby could be. On the outside I was freaking out but on the inside my body was progressing, taking all the necessary steps to bring our child into the world. My midwife showed up milliseconds later, checked me and told me I was ready to push the baby out. What?! What about all the crosswords, movies we’d downloaded and snacks we brought? Where were these magical drugs that took the pain away? This was really it. I was in the zone. As much as they tell you things to do to try and control the situation and manage pain and breathing, at this point I was just along for the ride. My body was driving and I was just hanging on for dear life. I had made it through labour which was actually more painful than pushing the baby out in my case. It was a beautiful experience that I will never forget.
5. Every beautiful motherhood cliche you have heard about giving birth is true, which makes it so worth it:
5 intense pushes later, I was holding my baby and every cliche they say is true; I was in love, the pain went away and I was overcome with joy, emotion and happiness. I’m sure it looked like a homicide scene, but I didn’t care. The trauma my body just went through didn’t matter. He. Was. Here. Finally! I DID IT. WE DID IT. MY BODY DID IT. I did the impossible. Yes, I was blessed with a faster labour but make no mistake, it was intense and scary. It was by far, the biggest accomplishment of my life. I didn’t have any drugs or pain medication and I can tell you, the pain was bad, but not unbearable. The recovery was tough too, but every day I felt a little bit less like I’d bit hit by a truck. Your adrenaline is pumping and you’re in survival mode. It’s not as bad as you think. Trust me, you will make it. Stock up on witch hazel and epsen salts and take as many baths as you can fit into your day. That’s how I eased back into life after giving birth. Everything you’ve heard is true and the emotions will overwhelm the you-know-what out of you, but they will also get you through. You will look down at your child and feel love like you’ve never felt. You will feel your heart grow in ways you thought weren’t possible. You will look at your husband in a whole new light. You will appreciate your parents like never before. Your life will be forever changed .
6. It will be the most amazing experience of your life:
I get it now; why people could not tell me what it would feel like. The feeling is indescribable and too profound for words. It’s impossible to explain and for everyone it’s different. You will astound yourself. But after going through it, I have to say, it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. With no pain medication and a labour that intensified rapidly, I made it. I felt like a superhero. I am excited to hopefully do it again one day. I also wish I didn’t spend so much of those precious and exciting pregnancy days worrying about it. So please, don’t be haunted by fears of childbirth and labour, you will be just fine and it’s not as bad as you think it will be. Have faith and enjoy those sleep ins!
Photo credit: Tracey Allison
momstown guest blogger:
ModernMommyCollective.com is a collection for all things mommy-ish. Andrea is a sleep deprived, hip, everyday mommy, wife, friend and everything in between. She uses her blog as a creative outlet to shed a positive light on motherhood and chronicle her experiences in ways that help other mothers. Her blog features sweet personal anecdotes, fun and interesting articles, inspiring messages and chatter amongst moms on the associated Facebook page. The curated content focuses on health and wellness and everyday parenting issues. The content is soul-stirring, uplifting, funny, educational and real. The original content is very relatable, focusing on the journey of being a new mommy.