Am I Ready for Labour?

I read a great post recently that talked about some things that were on the mind of a woman one month away from giving birth.  At the top of the list was the labour.

All pregnant woman – no matter how many times you go through it – think about the labour.  It’s an inevitable event and there’s no guarantees on how it will go.

Also, I just Googled ‘birth’ to find a pic to go with this post – and DEAR GOD DO NOT GOOGLE BIRTH IMAGES.  Ugh. Saw some stuff there I’m hoping I can unsee.

Any who, she posted some questions she had and they are questions that all of us ask.  I thought, as part of my prep for the big day, I’d also think about these questions as a way to start visualizing how I want the birth to go and, more importantly, what I will do if things don’t go as planned.

So here goes…

Will it be painful?

I’m not sure how to respond to this one. I can’t say that my first wasn’t painful, but it’s not the word I would use.  Pain = fear and I wasn’t afraid of it.  I let each of the contractions wash over me and I wasn’t afraid.  It was intense.  And I’m expecting it to be intense again. I did feel a moment of pain/fear when he crowned, but this time I know what to expect, I know how to breathe, and I will work through it.  I know what I need to do to ease my discomfort and I will tap into all of those resources.

How long will I be in labour for?

With my first I expected a long labour, because that’s what you hear from people – how many excruciating hours they spent labouring.  But he was actually, surprisingly, quick.  So for this one I think it’s best to expect the worst, and then if it’s shorter – awesome.  Now, easier said than done for me because I have it in my head that she will come even faster than her brother.  This is one of those situations where I’m going to leave what I can’t control at the door and just focus on what I can do.  Take my time.  Let whatever happen happen.  And go with the flow.  And just trust that all will be well.

What if there are complications?

I’m not worried about there being complications with me as I trust my midwives completely to do the right thing, but I do worry about there being complications with the baby.  I really do feel there’s no sense in worrying about this though because there’s nothing I can do about that now.  There’s no prep work I can do.  I can only trust.  And you know, if there are, I trust that the doctors will take good care of all of us. I trust that we will find the strength to handle anything that is thrown at us.

Will I stick to my birth plan?

I don’t have a set in stone birth plan, but I do have birth ideas.  I want to give birth at home.  I want to use the TENS machine and my husbands strong hands to ease the discomfort.  I want to give birth at night while my son is sleeping (haha).  And if shit happens and I have to transfer to the hospital, I will.  If for some reason the TENS machine isn’t doing it for me this time around, then I’ll try something else.  If I go into labour during the day while my son is around, well then my husband will bring him over to his daycare provider.  No biggie.

What if my husband/midwives can’t get to me on time?

This one is a little scary, I have to admit.  The idea of an unassisted birth kind of freaks me out. But I have other people I can call – close neighbourhood friends.  Also, I trust that the first stages will happen gradually (back pain followed by cramping), which will give me lots of time to contact people.  Though most births happen at night, so I’m really hoping that’s the case here.  I’m not going to think too much about having an unassisted birth because I really don’t see this happening.  It would be like me talking about having  a c-section – if it has to happen it will, but I’m not going to put my energy into thinking about it.

Questions she had that I don’t…

  • Will an epidural work? – I don’t plan on having one so this isn’t a concern for me.
  • What if I gain Tokophobia (extreme fear of giving birth)? – I’ve never even heard of this, but with my first I was worried I’d have a panic attack or not be able to breathe and it was the opposite. I felt super calm and I have no fear going into it this time.
  • Will I make it to the hospital in time? – again, not going to the hospital, so no worry for me here.

Questions I have that she didn’t….

I guess my questions are more around logistics and not actual concerns.  Some of these are:

  • Will I birth at home or at the birth centre?  I feel like I’ll decide in the moment. If I want to stay, I’ll stay.  If I want to go, I’ll go.
  • Should we rent a birthing tub?  I gave birth to my son in the water and I don’t want to do that again. I came out of the water basically convulsing I was so chilled (and shocked) and I’d rather stay warm the whole time.  BUT the water helped so much and felt soooo good – which is why I didn’t want to get out before I started pushing.
  • Will I tear? This one is a bit out of my control (a bit) and I didn’t really with my son (two small stitches) – but it is a fear.  The recovery was bad enough, I can’t imagine adding a big tear to it.
  • Will she latch on right away?  I hope so!  We struggled with breastfeeding that first week, so I’m hoping for a smoother experience.
  • Will I have post partum anxiety again?  Ugh.  Big one here. In fact, all of my questions/fears are around the post partum stage.  But I’m working on that…
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