I’ve been absent from writing again. It seems like now that we are about a month away from BBv2.0 time has flown too quickly, and all the things I wish were done for his preparation are nowhere near completion. It’s harder to get things accomplished when your husband has some difficult work deadlines and you have an energetic toddler that is pretty demanding of your time. And the hour or two respite I might get in the middle of the day if she takes a good nap is usually then spent by me resting so I can keep up with her antics for the rest of the day. (Curse you, third trimester insomnia and fatigue!)
Honestly, I have spent a lot of time internalizing things. Being alone with your thoughts and a toddler most days seems to do that. Some of it are logistical questions—who are we comfortable enough with to ask to watch Evelyn while her brother is being born? (Especially if it’s 3 AM and turns out to be a false alarm… Oops, sorry!) Or if it’s during the day and takes a while, who will give the doggies and chickies some extra TLC?
A lot of the questions are the What Ifs.
There is so much I wish I could change about Evelyn’s birth. The longer I have had to think about that experience, the angrier I become with that doctor and hospital. ANGRY. They broke my trust in so many ways. I thought I was covered with a birth plan. I thought I was safer because I had a doula. Truth is, I should have stood up for myself more, and I didn’t think I could. I did in many important ways; at least I was well-read, and had good techniques, and was able to be coherent enough to recognize certain signs, but it wasn’t enough. I trusted the doctor, nurses, hospital to treat me and my family in our best interest and health, but I think my doctor was hoping for a better payout from us (C-Section), and some of the nurses were truly awful.
And there was so much I didn’t realize! Like the fact that using pictocin made it so I had to be on an IV and have continuous monitoring. (That didn’t work well; it rarely caught a contraction, and if I moved at all, as one would expect to do to try and find comfort from a contraction, it was harder to monitor Evelyn. Then they started to give me a hard time on that when really, she was just moving around as I was trying to do and the monitors were worthless.) Did you know your water breaks, you can actually still some time without labor starting; days, even, especially when you don’t have GBS. Yet that 24 hour limit has caused problems for numerous people. And I still remember Evelyn’s little heels, bloodied from all the pricks to check her blood sugar. We had to argue with the nurses and doctors that it was their imposed schedule (not to feed her on demand, but wait until the next text) and a bad nurse that caused her blood sugar to be so low and that if we could just feed her when she was hungry, we could keep her out of the NICU.
Less than a month ago, I came across this article on traumatic birth on one of my favorite sites. While The Leaky Boob focuses more on breastfeeding (if you couldn’t tell by the name!) , they often touch on other aspects of early motherhood too. “Traumatic Birth: Resources for Healing and Protecting Breastfeeding” resonated with me. Suddenly, much of my long recovery after Evelyn’s birth made so much more sense. It took 5-6 days before my milk actually came in. I had horrible anxiety and post-partum depression, mixed with Evelyn’s GERD and irritability, that made it months and months before I felt like I could get more than a hour or two of sleep at a time. Some of the physical healing took months, too, though I will spare you those details.
And the worst part was that I felt like I was ungrateful, that nobody would understand. I don’t think I can count how many times I heard “The most important thing is that the baby is okay.” But I wasn’t okay for long time. (Another great post on this alone can be found here. Seriously, check it out before you say “All that matters is a healthy baby” to a new mom, especially if you don’t know if she’s struggling or not.)
We are going a completely different direction with Baby Boy’s birth, and I’m both excited and nervous, because I feel like this is still our first time. I still don’t know what it might be like to go into labor naturally, or to be able to move around more freely without being strapped to a bed, or being told that I would just have to wait for a doctor to show up before I could push because the nurses didn’t want to do the paperwork. But I feel that at least I have a fighting chance, because I really enjoy the midwives and the birthing center that we’ve been attending for most of this pregnancy. (This time, I wasn’t afraid to “shop around”. I know some people thought I was high maintenance for looking at multiple doctors and midwives, but I wanted to make sure both Jared and I felt really comfortable with how we would all be treated through this experience.) And yes, we are very close to a hospital for transport in the unfortunate chance that there may be an emergency.
I feel much more at peace overall with this decision, whereas with my doctor around 30 weeks in I started wishing I could go elsewhere. Oh, how I wish I had. Even with knowing this is a better decision, the anxiety and worry and unhappiness from the first time has not disappeared, and I just hope that I will be able to let go of that experience enough to make this time the best it can be.
If you are interested in some resources I have found helpful, I would recommend some of the following:
Fun article that I mostly agree with (feel free to ask me what I would change or asterisk): “Dear Friend, Birth Doesn’t Have To Suck”
Book: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin (Skip all the happy-go-lucky stories to the second half of the book where she gets into how childbirth works and some interesting historical facts about how birth has become what it is now)
For supporting nearly all kinds of birth experiences, Birth Without Fear has a great collection of home births to cesarean sections stories and support.
For Breastfeeding: The Leaky Boob. Seriously. Ignore the name if it bothers you, but I have found some amazing things on here that have helped me so much with Evelyn.