But of course that is easier said than done.
I’m sorry that it has been so long since I posted. My little guy finally made his arrival and to be honest I’ve been trying to stay awake and alert enough to be a semi-sane parent let alone put coherent thoughts together for the blog. I’m still drained, but getting into a rhythm.
My little guy’s arrival is precisely what brings me to the subject of fear. However, if you are a young woman who is dreaming of having a natural childbirth in the future, you may either want to avoid reading this post altogether or use it as an example in your mind of what NOT to do.
October 3rd came and I could tell that the contractions I was having were real and was feeling relief. By the end of pregnancy, most women just want it to be OVER and to meet their child(ren). I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and prepared for an easy labor made possible with pain medication. I made dinner for my two year old and wanted to get her into bed before leaving for the hospital. She is certainly a high needs kid and I didn’t want grandma to have to deal with the horror of bedtime without mommy. Not to fear though, my contractions weren’t getting regular yet. Painful yes, regular no. (The doctors always tell you to wait until they have been regularly at least every 5 minutes lasting a minute for at least an hour) I put my two year old to bed and waited for my husband to get home so that we could go calmly to the hospital.
Calm is not how I would describe the actual car ride, however.
By that time the contractions (still irregular) had become so painful that I contacted my doctor and she told me to come in. Sure enough, after the twenty minute car ride and the fifteen minute hospital registration (isn’t that what I was trying to avoid by pre-registering?) I was up in labor and delivery and the worst news I have ever received was given to me: I was fully dilated and could get no pain medication.
And a full blown panic attack ensued.
When the contractions were getting worse and it was getting closer to push I was hysterical. I had made up my mind that I was going to keep the baby in my body forever and he simply was going to live a full life in my womb. I screamed at my doctor to give me a C-section, medication, anything to keep me from pushing this baby out of me. Of course, she must be used to such hysterics and she told me quite bluntly that there would come a time and my body wasn’t going to give me a choice. I’m not sure I could ever adequately describe the fear that pulsed inside of me. Eventually I turned my high pitched “I can’t!” into “I can do this”. I must have looked like a lunatic talking to myself, chanting “I can do this” over and over, but it was the only thing that calmed me down and helped me through the experience.
Sure enough the time came, my little guy was born and he was beautiful. It was one of the best and worst nights of my life.
Looking back on the experience I realize that if I had been able to look past my blinding fear, it would have gone much differently. How easy it is to say that now! Faced with the situation again I’m not sure that I could mentally “get in the game”. If I was able to push aside the fear and tell myself “I can” a little earlier, I’m sure that I could have had the beautiful experience that some women claim to have during a natural birth. I commend those individuals in the world who look past their blinding fear and get through their personal struggle. I only hope that with time I can learn to fortify my mind.
The joy or terror that we experience in any given moment is all about what we tell ourselves. Looks like I need a bit more practice!