I can’t believe I’m almost half-way through my pregnancy already; it has been all so fast, it feels like a blur. Someone brought it up recently, and when I checked the calendar, I started freaking out.
I better start preparing for labor and I need to start now!
What I mean by preparing is not this: worrying about what I’m going to pack in my hospital bag, whether I should take candles or magazines or swimming trunks for my husband (Yes, I had all of this on my hospital bag with my first pregnancy). What I mean is; I need to mentally, physically and emotionally prepare my body for what it’s going to go through - whatever that might look like this time around.
My two labor experiences have been completely different from each another. The first time around, it was the hardest experience of my life; I had my perfect birth plan ready, I had gone to all the classes, checked all the boxes and made all the arrangements necessary. I knew how everything would go, easy peasy! Everything I needed was in my hospital bag(s) after all.
As soon as I stepped into the hospital, it all went out the door.
My water broke on a Friday night, but I had no contractions. By the time I got to the hospital, my amniotic liquid was running low and the baby needed to be closely monitored. They started induction and after some hours (what seemed like forever) they increased the dosage of Pitocin and that is when things went from bad to worse. The pain was increasing fast, so I asked to get an epidural and epidural it was not my friend. I started getting contractions from the waste up and it was unbearable. By that time, I had been in bed for almost 38 hours. I was swollen, hungry and tired. I finally dilated to 10 cm and I was ready to push. I was extremely exhausted but I still managed to push for almost 4 hours. Toward the end of this ordeal, I was not all there - I was hallucinating and talking nonsense. I had an oxygen mask and was going in and out. Thankfully, I had my husband, my sister, my mom and the best attending with me (she was a Midwife that was coming fresh into the shift and was so patient with me and my whole family). I am so thankful for her - she was the one that got me through the hardest part and made us all feel at ease. Finally, on Sunday afternoon, after 42 hours, my beautiful Krista came into this world. We spent the next 4 days in the hospital; she in the NICU and I being monitored for all my labor complications. My recovery was long and painful, but it was worth it.
As you can imagine, I was not looking forward to labor, or post labor with my second daughter. I wrongfully did nothing beforehand to prepare. I was just too scared to relive my previous experience. My due date came and went and one afternoon after a long walk, I had a conversation with my baby and later that same night, I started feeling some discomfort. I took a nap and a couple of hours later I woke up again with some pain. As the pain increased slowly, I took a bath to get comfortable. To me, the pain wasn’t bad enough for me to think I was going into labor. I thought it was the same Braxton hicks pain I had been feeling lately. That whole night I walked back and forth in my apartment, sat on a yoga ball and did some stretching.
Around 5 am I told my husband, “I think I’m in labor.”
We drove to the hospital and when the nurse examined me, she told me I was 6 cm dilated. I was in shock and I immediately panicked. I asked for the epidural again and again. My doctors sensed the fear in me and tried to get it in me as soon as possible. 30 min went by and finally the anesthesiologist came in. Before he could start, they checked me again and I was 9 cm! Panic turned into horror.
“No epidural? I can’t, I won’t be able to do this, I am going to die,” I thought.
I started crying, yelling, cursing and refusing to cooperate. I even went as far as to hold back when I felt the urge to push. I was just not mentally ready. My entire birth plan spelled out: epidural, epidural, epidural. But Sabina was ready and there was no turning back. Within 40 minutes she was out and I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I felt exhilarated and incredibly empowered. Within a few hours, I was taking a shower and hosting my visitors in the room. The very next morning I was on my way home and ready to celebrate my birthday.
So, just as my third pregnancy has been different, I know my labor will be as well. But this time around, I will mentally prepare for whatever is destined to happen. I will go in with no expectations. I will read, train my body and my mind for that moment.
I’ve come to realize that my body knows exactly what to do, whether my mind wants to cooperate or not. I now know that it can do incredible things. Like the time I ran a 10k after only 8 weeks of training, or the time I did cross fit for 6 weeks straight, or the time I went through a 42-hour labor, or the time I went through natural labor.
All of these experiences have one thing in common - I would constantly tell myself, “NO, I WILL BE NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THAT”.
I know I can now.
It will not be perfect, but at least this time I want to own it. Whatever happens happens, however it may be. I want to know that I did it with intention and that I did the best I could.
My baby deserves a better experience, but most importantly, I deserve a better experience.