Monday, July 19, 2010

And The Fear Starts To Sink In

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you; 
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
~Isaiah 41:10

Lately I find myself repeating this one to myself....over and over.  Until recently, I was confident about my decision to birth at home.  Most of the time I still am.  I adore my midwife and doula.  Together with my husband, I don't think I could have a better team.  My confidence in them remains unshaken.  Buuuuuuut.....then there's me.  Lately, especially at night, doubts and fears have started to creep in.  I wonder if I can really handle it.  "It" being the pain, the fatigue.  The rational me knows that this fear is uncalled for.  Considering all of the pain that I dealt with during and for months after Levi's birth, you'd think I'd have it permanently etched in my mind that I am far more capable than I give myself credit for being.  And, as Stephan puts it, "You don't have a choice, Babe."  Leave it to a man to sum it up so tenderly.  

When I was pregnant with Levi, I spent loads of time trying to ignore my fears.  That go round I didn't have the sense to be scared of my own abilities.  I thought babies were just born and that was that.  Instead, I was terrified of drugs, needles in my spine, an episiotomy, and a c-section.  All but the episiotomy came true.  Levi's birth was probably the scariest time of my life, and so much of it was unnecessary.*  This time, I've done my research.  I haven't walked blindly into this birth, and I've done everything that I know to do to avoid the things I was initially and rightfully terrified of.  In so many ways, this will be like having a baby for the first time.  And, like most first time mamas (really probably most mamas), fear seeps into the cracks.  The knowledge that we aren't as in control as we think we are can shake us....although, in reality, knowing that we aren't the ones in charge should lift us up. 

*Levi, in case you're reading this way down the road, your birth may have been scary, but I'd have done it all over again a hundred more times just to get you.  You were worth it all, and I'm so glad to have you.

P.S. If you don't have something encouraging to say then please hold your tongue...or your keyboard. 


  1. I didn't realize your first ended in a c-section. I'm so sorry for the difficulties you faced.

    My first birth was far from great and I knew my second birth needed to be and could be different.

    I had many doubts creep in during my second pregnancy and my midwife urged me to talk to her about it.

    I believe in you and I know that you can have the birth you see in your mind.


    I'm always here to listen :)

  2. I just read through Levi's birth story... I'm near tears and so angry for you - I'm glad you've gotten past the anger. But I don't blame you for any that you held.
    And you can do this. The first one is so scary anyway, because of the unknowns, but now you have a better idea of what to prepare for. You know that you can face the fears and you've been there before.
    And plus, you've been through almost nine months of being pregnant and chasing around Levi! Your body knows how to deal with fatigue ;)

  3. You can do it. I'll be praying that things go quickly and smoothly. I'd say painlessly but I don't think there is any way to escape that :-) How about mimimal pain?

  4. i think you would be silly or crazy... or something...not to be scared or have a few doubts, it is, after all, child birth! : ) follow your heart and trust in yourself! my hope is that you will have a completely different, wonderful experience this time that ends with a healthy baby!

  5. I think it is normal to be nervous or scared before giving birth. I was. Trust in God and yourself that it will be fine. Pray on it. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!

    And we'll all be praying for you too!

  6. You can do it, absolutely! Yes it will be hard work, but you are capable!

    And have you read Birthing From Within? I can't recommend it highly enough; definitely my favorite book for preparing for labor.

  7. I know this doesn't make sense, but...don't fear the fear! It's okay to worry about things, but you'll do great!

    I had a VBAC, and it was powerful and painful and can do it. Your body can do it :)

  8. You can do it! I can see what a strong woman you are and how you carefully and prayerfully choose what is best for your little ones, your family and you. It won't be easy- but it will be AMAZING! If my little lady didn't have health problems, I would want to have her at home too (a water birth would be so awesome!)- but at least I am going to have a VBAC (hopefully!).

    I understand what you are feeling though. Mostly I feel prepared, ready, and anxious. But sometimes, especially in the wee hours of the night, fear and doubt creeps in (my firstborn was a natural/hospital birth). But this is something that we as women have been designed for! And after you have your baby, and you are curled up in your own bed, with your husband, Levi, and new precious one all there in YOUR HOME, it is going to feel so good and so right. I am quite jealous of you my dear! :)

    Have you read Ina May's guide to childbirth? I've only skimmed through it, but loved what I saw! So encouraging and empowering.

    Anywho, I'll be praying for you!

  9. Hey lady, you're going to do great.

    The fear is natural and totally understandable, and I've absolutely been there myself. Here are a couple of thoughts:

    Have you read Grantly Dick-Read's "Childbirth Without Fear" or "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth"? I read these between my births and found them to be quite helpful. They give great tools for approaching the intensity of labor -- concrete ways to help your body do what it is meant to do without undue anxiety and fear getting in the way. When I experienced my second birth I found Ina May's suggestion to keep my jaw loose and to make "horsey lips" was incredibly powerfully helpful. During my first birth I was genuinely more afraid, my whole body was very tense and clenched, my voice was in my head instead of my gut, and I think that contributed to the pain. Do not underestimate the power of your mind to help your body accomplish this great task!

    Also, I have heard amazing things about Hypnobirthing, which I think taps into that mind-body connection to alleviate fear and pain during birth. If I get pregnant again I think I would definitely use that method.

    Just remember your own power and strength. You know you have it in you.

  10. It's easy to fear what's unknown, and no mama really knows how a birth is going to go ... so I get this.

    If I could do it again, I would have had my second baby at home. The ride to the hospital while dilating in active labor was almost too much to bear!

    It's great you have a team of knowledgeable, supportive and loving people around you and your baby!

  11. You can do it! We'll all be behind you and being at home in your own environment you will feel far more relaxed and empowered than you would in hospital.

    I am planning a homebirth this pregnancy and luckily have a supportive midwife.

    You can do this :) xx

  12. I just read Levi's birth story and all I can say is Oh my goodness that's insane. How could they take your babies from you, how is that allowed???? I'm mad just thinking about it. Over here even in hospitals babies are birthed straight onto your chest for skin to skin contact and you are encouraged to let them feed for as long as they want. We were left alone immediately after birth and only bothered once when the midwife popped her head in, apologising for the disturbance, to ask if everything was alright and if we wanted a cup of tea.
    Don't fear the pain but don't ignore it either. I found it helped to concentrate on what was happening to my body as a posed to trying to ignore it. I found myself talking inside my head about what I was feeling and were the pain was. Noticing the details, the sound of my blood rushing through my reins, the feel of the air sucked over my teeth as I breathed deeply through each contraction.
    But the best bit of advice came from my midwife on the last visit before the first birth. She said "Don't pant you could hyperventilate and it sounds dumb but do breath oxygen deprivation increases pain, you'll want to hold your breath but don't" You'll be great I can't wait to see photos of your new little one :-)

  13. I totally understand Madeline. I had a TON of fear going into Alice's birth. There was a lot of the "what if I am not the kind of person who can do this without drugs" kind of fear, mixed with "what if my body is defective and won't go into labor on its own?" fear.

    The only guarantee with birth is that will be different than what you expect and a huge surprise. But that baby will be worth it all!

    I'm excited that we are going through this together. Love to you!

  14. Oh goodness...ditto all those other comments...and I'm not trying to copout.
    You can do it fear of letting go was the hardest hardest thing to do.
    I understand exactly how you are feeling. Strength and love to you. Have faith...( I know you have).x

  15. If I had the time I would read over everyone's comment to make sure that I am not saying the same thing....or preaching to the choir.
    BUT since I don't have that luxury of time, let me just say:

    Having done it, and lived, YOU CAN DO IT TO.
    That's a fact. NOW, to the encouraging part- YOU CAN DO IT AND WILL THRIVE AND GROW FROM THE EXPERIENCE. Not only will you do it, you will with a smile on your face. Pain is only temporary, and will pass. You will feel like a LIONESS, like a beast who kicked serious ass. You will be so proud of yourself. IT will be a REDEMPTION of your prior birth experience. I KNOW IT.

    IF you have a smart and prepared birth team, they will be able to foresee any potential problems early enough to make any decisions to avoid or limit problems. If for some reason the birth doesn't go exactly as perfectly planned, transferring to the hospital is not the end of the world.

    I am really proud of you for doing this and think you will love it, just like I did.

    If you want to read a really encouraging blog on birth, stop by my friend Katie's blog the pepper patch. As a mother of 4 (3 at home, one unassisted) I think she knows what she is talking about!)

    I LOVE YOU M!!!

    you know where to find me if you 'want more where that came from'!! :)

  16. Madeline,

    I can't give you really good, sage advice, as I've never had a natural/home birth, but I feel in my spirit that this was meant for you and this new baby.

    I don't know comforting that will actually be, but this "feels" right --- when I picture you and this new baby, this is what I see. This birthing option.

    It'll be an experience that you'll never forget :)


  17. Madeline, this post is so honest and raw and beautiful. I bet you're going to have an incredible birth, full of peace and power.

    P.S. Your note to Levi was so precious, so thoughtful. You are a great mom!

  18. I like what "This Heavenly Life" said about not fearing the fear. I believe in you, and I'm proud of the preparation and research you've put into this. Wanting a good birth experience is great, but backing the desire with true preparation is greater. You've done both.

    Oh, and fears are worse at night--just like fever! Don't give credence to Fear's tendency toward compounding itself! Love you.

  19. I think it's perfectly normal for you to be feeling this way. I know you will do well, and feel strong and peaceful. It will be so much different than your birth at the hospital and I think after your previous experience this is exactly what you need.

    Believing in you.
    Thinking of you.

    and admiring you.


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