Wednesday, December 18, 2013

fear and childbirth

I'm a fairly crunchy mom. I go to prenatal yoga and put kale in my smoothies. I can find or make a home remedy for almost anything. I believe that God gave our bodies more resilience than we think. I prefer doing things "naturally" when possible, although I'm not dogmatic. Sometimes ya just need a Tylenol. And french fries.

So I found it odd that- soon after N. and I found out I was pregnant again- I felt a panicky need to secure myself an epidural this time. I dreamed about it. I swore up and down I'd never have a "natural" birth experience again. I felt like I was the only "crunchy" mom in the world who wouldn't have described her birth experience as "beautiful" or "peaceful".

No siree. Not this gal. When I think back on Simon's birth story I remember fear, pain and begging N. for an epidural.

I get frustrated, because I had all the right tools in place: I had the best doula in town, a supportive husband, a low interventionist doctor and a Bradley class under my belt. What was I missing?

Why am I so afraid to do this again?

The more I think about and remember my last experience, the more I realize that the fear I'm remembering was the thoughts I built up in my own head. I told myself it would never end. I told myself this was the worst experience of my life. I told myself I absolutely couldn't do it if I didn't get drugs.

I wonder if I could find a way to keep my thought dialogue under control, could I do it again?

So much of what we believe about our reality is because we've convinced ourselves of those things in our very own minds. I think our brains can be breeding grounds for the most debilitating thoughts. And then I think about this verse from Corinthians:

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV

If I take my thoughts captive and filter them through truth, then I think I could do this thing again.

Now the hard part...how? 

This gal has been a tremendous encouragement to me this morning, and she suggests this album along with this book as tools for a fearless birth. It's weird, y'all. I'm not afraid of pain. I'm really just afraid of being scared, panicky, anxious and helpless. I'm believing that this birth will be different. And that I can walk away feeling victorious instead of traumatized.

Any advice from you Mamas out there?

xo, 

B



9 comments:

  1. Mine isn't so much advice...I commend the fact that you birthed Simon without an epidural. Actually it was inspiring to me to read his birth story. It made me feel like I could totally do it without an epidural.

    I had weighed the pros/cons for an epidural and had decided the cons way outweighed the pros for me..(I have a previous back injury, I have family it failed for, I know people that have had long term issues from it, I can't have epinephrine, etc, etc). I too had felt that God designed our bodies to birth babies and therefore I could do it. I ended up caving and getting an epidural (but only after a lot of internal struggle/prayer). After all was said and done and I got together with my doula a few weeks after birth she confirmed that in my situation the epidural was the right route to go. I had been up with contractions for 2 nights (so I was exhausted), my water had already been broken (so I was on a time restraint so to speak), my baby had disengaged and was more posterior (sunny side up) but actually turned toward the side (which was causing extreme hip pain), and I hadn't progressed past a 3-4 after 7 hours (that was only 1-2 cms more than I had been when my water broke). The baby ended up coming out facing sideways (with his hand on his head) and his cord would have been around his neck (but his wrist blocked it) and I had immediate post partum hemorraghing. I also went from a 3-4 to complete in 2 hours from the epidural (because it allowed me to relax).

    Do I wish things had gone differently, well yeah it wasn't my plan. But I do have complete peace about the fact I made the right decision for our situation. My hope is to be able to do it without an epidural for our (hopefully/Lord willing) next baby.

    You got this Brett! You are way stronger than you give yourself credit.

    "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”" ~ Joshua 1:9

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  2. I wish I had some advice, I just popped in to say I find myself in very similar shoes wondering the same things! I'm more scared of being scared and anxious and helpless, too! Glad to know I'm not alone - that right there makes me feel a little better. Prayers for you :)

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  3. I did a lot of work leading up to my birth on believing that I needed to birth with my body, not my mind. I DO remember Knox's birth as "beautiful". It certainly wasn't pain free. But it was beautiful. And my mind mostly stayed out of it. I'm excited about our upcoming birth, but also a little worried that since I don't have a clear memory of the pain, I won't be prepared for it. But I still know that my body knows what to do, even when my mind doesn't. And I absolutely believe that. I highly recommend the book Birthing From Within.

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  4. B, I love reading your blog~ I felt the same way with this second time around, and I have soon realized as well that I m more afraid of the unknow ( although I have done this before), the thought that this one could be worse, than I m of the pain itself. Its like with all hard things in life, we can choose to be victims, or leaders...Let us pray we can be leaders and be the governor over our pain with Christ's help! Through Him all things are possible! ;)

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  5. All of you are amazing. Thank you so much for these words!!! I can't tell you how much I'm encouraged by them.

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  6. Childbirth was so challenging but it increased my faith in ways I could not have anticipated. It was the ugliest worship I have ever been a part of and the most beautiful. I have done natural, epidural, and c-section as they became necessary for the most healthy natural birth (in other words - in order to keep my babies and me alive). None of my births went as planned. None of them had any respect for the research and prep I'd done (so rude!).
    I would say, however, that memorizing scripture and having J remind me of it, good support, and a single focus - Glorify God - even before healthy baby and healthy mom - were all gifts of Godsgrace to me.

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  7. Childbirth was so challenging but it increased my faith in ways I could not have anticipated. It was the ugliest worship I have ever been a part of and the most beautiful. I have done natural, epidural, and c-section as they became necessary for the most healthy natural birth (in other words - in order to keep my babies and me alive). None of my births went as planned. None of them had any respect for the research and prep I'd done (so rude!).
    I would say, however, that memorizing scripture and having J remind me of it, good support, and a single focus - Glorify God - even before healthy baby and healthy mom - were all gifts of Gods Grace to me

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  8. As with most things in life, we can plan all we want, but sometimes you just have to let go and roll with it. If you want an epidural, then have it in your plan! What matters most is not how the baby is born, but that it is born, period.

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  9. Oh, girl, I totally feel you! Asher's birth was the most difficult for me to prepare for, mentally. After Gabriel's birth, I literally forgot everything, but after Hallie's, everything stayed with me. I had no idea how I was going to do it again. It caused me SO MUCH anxiety all through the pregnancy; I dreaded labor like you wouldn't believe. I got to the point where I began to question the possibility of PRE-partum depression! Haha. But you know what? I did it. It was hard but I totally did it.

    And you know what else? It's totally and completely okay to get an epidural. :) I actually considered it for Asher, but decided I was way more afraid of the gigantic needle they stick in your back than the pain of pushing a human out of me. Yeah, I'm crazy. Lol.

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