June 11, 2013

The Before and the After

"Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you. 
They're there to let you know that something is worth it." 

Sky asked me again if I'd written a new blog post lately. I should want to write. I should want to tell the story of these last couple weeks before a newborn moves in. I'm in such a strange place, though, that I don't even know if I want a record of it. And this isn't really the post I want to write tonight. There are so many other things I would rather say to you (and probably so many you would rather read). But this is my heart's resting place right now, so I would be almost dishonest to say anything else.

Going into this pregnancy, I assumed it would be much easier than the first time around. After all, my body's done all of this before, so it should use some muscle memory or something, right? Other than gaining weight again, it'd be business as usual. I even wrote a post several months ago about how the only differences between this time and last time were small. Well...about that...

I've reached 38 weeks, which should mean I'm getting tired of it all. And physically? Sure. I've been done with it for at least half the pregnancy. This time has been harder than the first time, and not because I have a toddler. I didn't have any Braxton Hicks with Millie; in fact, they seemed like some pregnancy fable to me. Turns out, they're not only real, but some of the articles I've read that say they're just a tight-feeling stomach are wrong. They have hurt, and they've mostly felt like the earlier stages of labor. I've had them since 20 weeks or so, and they've only gotten more frequent and more painful by the week.

I think that's just another reason for where I'm at mentally. I still feel like this. I'm not even a millimeter closer to being more comfortable with everything that's about to happen. For something that is supposed to be so natural, it doesn't feel very natural to brace myself for a hospital visit, labor, unknown complications, or whatever else may come. And with every single Braxton Hicks contraction I have, I'm jolted from denial into remembrance of pain. Every day, it's like a miniature preview of what to expect. It scares me every time, too. Late into the night, I've tried looking up techniques and tips to prepare myself for it. But when I read the suggestions, I roll my eyes at most and end up in frustrated tears by the end, because I think about how useless they all would be in real life. Instead of trying to start labor like I did the first time around, I'm doing all I can to prevent it.

The good bit, of course, is what comes after the fear. I'm grateful that I'm able to separate the two parts. All the babies in Target or at church make me pause and smile lately. Millie loses more and more of her babyhood every day- sometimes it only shows up at night, when she is crumbled into a small, wild shape in her big bed, snoring faintly and looking so peaceful. Sky and I sometimes give her another kiss goodnight before we go to bed, passing the dark and empty nursery on the walk back to our room. It's sinking in that it won't be empty much longer.

Some people say that the pain is forgotten as soon as that newborn is placed in their arms. That just isn't true for me. I'm glad, though, that the part about it all being worth it is actually true.

In fact, that's the biggest understatement of all.

6 kind comments from you:

erin said...

I'm a firm believer that for some people, the anticipation of an event is a lot stronger a force and more difficult an experience than the event itself... although circumstances may differ, I can assure you you aren't alone! I also know that, no matter how dreaded or awful you may expect the experience to be, your amazing heart will carry you through. Before you know it, that sweet (ooooh I nearly instinctively said boy, hmm...?) babe will be in your arms and the anticipation will be over. Until then, have you considered hypnotherapy for birth? I didn't use it but read about it, and if I ever get the chance for a second, I'm certainly going to try it. Can't hurt! <3

Mrs. H said...

If you had a traumatic experience before, those are usually hard to forget. I say that because I've been there. I'm scared for my second time around too (my second pregnancy hasn't been so easy either)! But each time I hear Charlie's giggle...I know that I'll be okay once I hold them. It's that end result. You're doing all you can mama :) and seriously, sometimes we just need a hug. It's a scary thing...but baby faces usually make it worth our while :D

greaterexp said...

You have so many people praying for you. I hope that you will feel, more and more, that "knowing" sense of calm and real peace of God's presence.
Your troops are behind you.

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry you're so anxious and fearful of what's to come. I wish there was something I could do! I remember being all but terrified of giving birth before I had Charlotte. I was in tears as we were driving to the hospital for the induction. Thankfully, once I got there and things got started I was less afraid and more excited. (Though obviously not excited about all the pain!) Even 14 months later, I remember the pain (and the heaven-sent epidural), and I'd gladly do it all again. It was definitely not enjoyable, but like you said - totally worth it.

I also think the sometimes the anticipation is the worst part. Like we build it up in our heads to be this awful, terrible experience and that changes our attitudes about whatever it is that's going to happen. I know someone else has mentioned it, but I've also heard pretty good things about "hypnobirthing". I'm not sure it'd work for me, but I know it has for others. MIght be worth a shot. :) Also, you should check out birthwithoutfear.com - it's a blog all about birthing. They're a little on the crunchy side of life (all natural birth, home birth, water birth, etc.) but it's kind of inspiring to read about these women who've birthed in not-so normal ways these days. :) I'm kind of addicted to reading birth stories. Haha!

Mrs.B said...

You are not alone. Honestly, I've pretty much blocked it all out because it makes me so anxious to think about.

Chantal said...

I'm a little terrified to have another, just because I had an unwanted c-section. It was rough. But those moments are fleeting, they are over so soon, and then you're into the fun of having a newborn again.

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