a nine-month prep course in positive thinking

I can't believe that I am only days from becoming a mother of TWO! Saturday was my due date and I've been having mild contractions, so it could happen any moment.

Some of you may read this and say, "What? I didn't even know you were expecting!" I have written maybe only a couple times about this pregnancy, which has surprised a few people . . . including me.

The truth is, I have spent a great deal of this pregnancy working through some unresolved issues from my previous birth experience. As it turns out, I needed to do so privately.

My previous birth experience was not the lovely, natural process I had planned or hoped for. To make a loooong story short: my water broke on a Monday night, I stayed up all night praying for contractions that never happened, and I was induced with Pitocin on Tuesday morning.

I laboured intensely with drug-induced contractions for eight hours without pain medication, only to have achieved two centimetres dialiation. At that point, I agreed to an epidural so I could "rest." I was intolerant to those drugs and became insanely itchy to the point of scratching my face and chest raw. The pressure of the contractions made it so that I still couldn't achieve the rest I'd hoped for.

By the time I was eight centimetres dialated on Wednesday morning, I had been awake for 56 hours and the baby's heart rate was dropping. This is when a cesarean was suggested for the baby's safety, and I accepted.

I hadn't prepared myself for this possibility, so I didn't know to ask to hold the baby on my chest so I could clearly see his face and connect with him. After I was wheeled into recovery, I was discouraged to hold and nurse my baby right away because my chest and arms were still frozen from the C-section drugs. I didn't get to hold and gaze into my baby's eyes for over two hours, which later led me to imagine we hadn't bonded.

 Expecting a glorious homecoming, I was surprised to find myself depressed after this experience. I mourned the loss of my "dream birth." I wept privately every day for about six weeks. I felt very guilty for feeling this way, and didn't want to admit it to anyone, but couldn't quite lift myself out of the funk. (I now know about these wonderful local resources that offer support and perspective.)

I finally came to terms with the fact that I had become pregnant to have a healthy child in the end, not necessarily to have a lovely birth experience. And, the end result was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined! My son and I developed a great breastfeeding relationship and a very strong bond in spite of all the perceived obstacles.

Now fast forward two years to this pregnancy . . . my initial reaction was to have zero expectations going into this birth.  It was quite easy to distract myself from thinking about the end means for getting our baby until this last trimester. Each time a thought about birth would enter my mind, I would brush it away saying to myself, "You have no control over this, so don't get your hopes up for anything better than what happened last time." 

I wrestled with this for about eight months. Ultimately, this line of thinking just didn't feel right to me. I have never been one to prepare myself by thinking the worst, as to not be disappointed. Why would I start now?

It is crucial for me to go into this birth, as with all things in life, with the most positive attitude that I can have. While it is true that birth is one of those times in life when we cannot control all the scenarios, we can control how we prepare, educate ourselves, enlist support and talk to ourselves before, during and afterward.

In the last month or so, I have re-educated myself about birth. I have prepared myself for a natural vaginal birth after delivery (VBAC) and have hired a doula to support my husband and I through the process. I have been spending considerable time in prayer, research, positive affirmation and visualizations.

It took two-and-a-half years, but I finally feel empowered to birth again with confidence and courage. I trust my body, my instincts and my support team to work together to achieve the best possible outcome for a healthy baby and a healthy me.

So, am I getting my hopes up? You betcha! I am thrilled about the arrival of our second child.

Catch you on the other side!



4 comments


Jenn said...

Laura, I think your story is important. I had my first (a girl)by C-section due to breach and placenta previa. I was prepared ahead of time so my experience was more positive than yours but.... I tell you this because I have gone on to have to healthy beautiful boys (one who was 9lbs 12 oz). From my perspective me Vacs were much harder recovery but worth every minute. The experience was amazing and my doctor and doula helped that be that way. I wish you all the best in this birth and hope for a safe arrival for your new bundle.

Sylvia Chave said...

Oh my, we should have talked Laura! Four babies and not an easy one in the bunch if you could imagine! My doctor even apologized to me after the 4th, I always said I would have died in the cabin back in the day! But you are so right to focus on little J, that's what it's all about and there was no way you weren't going to have a strong bond with your little guy. I have been thinking of you and wondering if you had delivered yet. I am waiting excitedly for my next little fan. Take care and breathe. : )

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the soon to be newest family member. I hope that all goes well with this delivery, you'll get the greatest package at the end after all that hard work.

Viki said...

Lovely post as usual Laura. Thank you for continuing to write honestly and clearly for us to read. That takes a lot of courage! Please keep up the good work. Thinking about you and hoping to hear the good news soon.

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