April 29, 2013

Labor Day


"Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain." 
— Bob Dylan


I'm not usually afraid. I can get shots, blood draws, or IVs all day long and not wince. I've gotten a tattoo and it only made me want more. (Okay, okay, it's a really small tattoo. But it still involved a needle!) But this? This is my Mount Everest.

I was terrified of labor the first time around. Everyone tried to ease my fears by reminding me that many mothers purposefully choose to have more than one child, so it must not be that bad. The problem is, I have an unusually crystal clear memory when it comes to that time between my water breaking and holding Millie for our first meeting...and for me? It was that bad.

My labor was 22 hours long, which feels long to say but really isn't when I compare it with what many other moms I know have gone through. When I met with my doula last month, she asked me if I had had the kind of labor I wanted (which, by the way, sounds like a silly question had I not gone through it, but makes perfect sense now). And I said no. I was doing fine and going slow, and it wasn't fast enough for the hospital. So I was pumped with Pitocin, something I absolutely did not want, and the pain became unbearable. After hours of that pain, I couldn't handle it and begged for an epidural, also something I didn't plan to have. They used a vacuum and forceps at the end. Their idea of cheering me on was to tell me that if the vacuum didn't work by the third try, I would be having a C-section.

That experience was just about the opposite of everything I had written on my birth plan. I wanted things to be as gentle as possible and as natural as possible. Of course, the point of labor is to have a healthy baby, and Millie was 100% perfect. And yes, as soon as I heard her first cry, the pain was irrelevant because I had had my baby and nothing else mattered.

But it matters now. It matters so much that it's honestly hard for me to write this post, because I avoid thinking about the fact that I will have to go through the labor process again. I am scared to death, you guys. Second time moms always seem so confident and assured, but I think I am more afraid this time than I was with Millie because I actually know what to expect. People have tried to calm me by saying after the first baby, labor time can be cut in half, but 11 hours of that kind of pain hardly seems easy. Then there are those people who tell me how their labors really weren't so bad, and all I can think is, "Then you have this baby for me!" I know that pain is so subjective, and there isn't a fair way to compare it, so all I can do is go by my experience- and it was less than pleasant, to put it mildly.

I'm so glad I'll have a doula. I'm glad Sky will be there, and I'm glad my mom could possibly be there as well. All the support in the world can't take the pain away, unfortunately. I can tell myself that it is temporary, and, of course, that the reward is greater than anything, but I'm finding it so hard to brace myself for it. As much as I felt like a superhero in those moments after it was all over, I felt the opposite of that for 22 hours. I don't know how to plan for that again.

10 kind comments from you:

Amanda said...

I'm going to be saying a half dozen extra prayers that when you do go into labor... it is a better experience then the first time around. It's so unfortunate that hospitals have their interests in mind, not the mothers wishes... :(

Kaylee said...

I'll be praying for you! I was nervous each time too. The unknown is always something I struggle with. So glad you'll have so much support.

jax from the harmon squad said...

I think every woman is scared of labor; I know I was with all three! It's not just the pain either, I think part of it is the unknown. You can plan and prepare all you want but ultimately it's out of your hands. I hope this time around is a lot faster for you, and that you can avoid the Pitocin! (I firmly believe Pitocin is the devil) Something I discovered with my second is that laboring in the water is SO helpful. I wasn't able to deliver in the water since it was just a regular sized bath tub, but the relief I felt the instant I hit that hot water is indescribable. So if there's a tub, use it! Unfortunately with my third my bathroom at the hospital only had a shower:( (my first and third deliveries were not so fun, but my second was exactly what I had hoped for. I'm so glad I had that one empowering labor experience!) And don't be afraid to be a pain in the butt to the hospital staff; not all nurses and doctors are equal. As long as the baby is ok don't be afraid to insist on what you want. Ultimately, what got me through it all was knowing it wouldn't last forever. Eventually the baby would be out and it would end. Prayers it happens quickly for you!!!

Poekitten said...

I'm not looking forward to labor again either. For me, in this instance, ignorance was bliss:) Just remember that you can say NO. I'll be praying for you!

Taylor @ DearOlympia.com said...

I'm very nervous too - I don't feel comfortable with a military hospital birth. I will be praying for both of us that we will have peaceful (even if painful) deliveries and not feel under pressure by staff.

Chantal said...

I hope this labor goes how you want it, and that your doula is a good help! I didn't get what I wanted either (from natural birth to c-section) but it is what it is, I guess. I hope the next one goes well... though I'm terrified of it!

greaterexp said...

One good thing is that you now have one labor and delivery under your belt (ha!), and this time you'll have a better idea about what you will and won't want to do. You can have a clearer head from the beginning about the decisions you'll make during labor. Thank God each L & D are different, and this one will be almost assuredly be much quicker. It's shame that the first one went as it did, but fortunately that was THAT one, not this one! You sure have lots of folks loving and praying for you!

Monica said...

I was more scared with my 2nd one too. Just keep the end result in mind!!

Sarah said...

I hope it goes how you want it to this time around. Looking back, I'm not happy that I was induced. I didn't get to really experience the pain of Pitocin because they gave it to me toward the end, after the epidural. BUT I will say that those contractions were so painful...and I feel like it was because they were forcing my body to do something it wasn't ready to just yet. That will be something I want to change next time.

That said, I was in labor for only (haha) 12 hours. When I think about it now, it felt like it went by really fast! I hope that's at least somewhat encouraging to you. :)

Jessica Lynn said...

I mentioned this on Twitter, but I know how you feel. I'm just 2 months pp, but I'm already nervous about the next time I have a baby. It's the fear of the unknown that gets me nervous. I hope everything will go extremely smoothly for you this time around!

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