On Birthing Third Babies and Facing Fear

posted on: Thursday, July 31, 2014

I am 26 weeks pregnant and I am not sleeping. At night in bed with all the pillows crowded around me I dream and I wake and I toss and I turn and I fret. I am agitated. I am always agitated. I can't even put my finger on why. There is a fear simmering inside of me waiting for attention. Wes starts kindergarten at a new school in three weeks and transitions like this are always hard for me. But I don't know if that's it, because when the worried thoughts come into my head I push them out and I haven't allowed myself much time to dwell on them. He starts school 20 days from now regardless of how I spend the next 20 days. I can spend them full of dread, slowly killing off our last few weeks of summer with nervous anticipation or I can ignore that date that's looming over my head and cross that bridge the day I come to it. So I've been doing the latter and soaking up these last few summer days for all they're worth. The agitation, I suspect, comes with the impending fall season for other reasons.


One more birth. I have still have to go through one more birth before I'm done. I don't have great experiences to look back on. In fact, the days my boys were born were two of the most gut wrenching, terror fraught days of my life. I WANT to remember them with fondness, because after all, they do have a happy ending. I have two beautiful and healthy children as the result, and for that I am so, so grateful. But. They were painful, not just physically, but emotionally unsettling and disturbing. I foolishly thought I could breeze through my first labor with an epidural and when that didn't work out it rocked my world. When the drugs weren't working and Wes was born transverse after intense back labor and no pain relief with the cord wrapped so tightly around his neck that he had to be taken away and resuscitated, I thought that was just a fluke. Surely the next time would be better. Next time I would take more control of the situation. And the next time I studied everything there was to know about laboring drug free. I took classes, I listened to relaxation tapes and practiced deep breathing. I had a birth plan and I was prepared this time. Until, I wasn't.

Until son number two came barreling out faster than I could even comprehend. Until my water broke and it was obvious there was meconium in the fluid. Until there wasn't time for an epidural or deep breathing and I lost complete control of absolutely everything. Until Oren came out blue and limp and unresponsive. But this time he wasn't so easily resuscitated. This time they took him from me in an ambulance to another hospital before I'd even laid eyes on him. Once again I found myself in a hospital bed, tired, wounded and with empty arms. Later they made it clear to me that we were very, very lucky Oren's story had the happy ending that it did. That he only had to be hospitalized for four days and that he suffered no long term effects from his rocky entrance into this world.

So when I think of doing this again, I don't have the na├»ve optimism I once had. I no longer assume that things will work out fine, or that I have any control or choice in the way this birth goes and I am terrified. And so, I ignore it. I haven't done anything to prepare for this birth. I have taken no classes, read no books, formed no plan. I have no idea if I will want to try for pain relief this time or if it will even be an option. I feel lost and anxious and instead of looking to that day with happy anticipation I am dreading it. At this point I no longer expect, nay, even bother hoping for a beautiful, serene birth and a magical moment of meeting my baby and holding them to my chest. Instead I am reduced to the most basic desires. I hope to make it to the hospital and I hope for a breathing baby this time. I am scared even hoping for these most basic things means I am sure not to get them. I worry about giving birth in the car, I worry about breech presentation and emergency C-sections. I worry about blue babies and all the things that could go wrong instead of right.

So, how do I change this? What do I do to let go of all this fear? I am SO excited to finally meet this baby and I feel like I have never wanted a baby more than I want this one, right now. But I just wish there was a way to escape the birth. I wish I could just go to sleep and someone would wake me when it's over. But I can't do that. It's coming for me, no matter how much I try to fight it. And so, I am trying to let go and looking for a way to be able to feel the way Amanda did when she so eloquently wrote, "I feel a calmness, similar to labor, knowing that what is ahead will come regardless of how I respond." I need to find a way to get to that place where I am comfortable handing over any modicum of control. There is a calmness I am so desperately seeking. I just need to find it. I am trying to unstrap this fear from around my heart and breathe, breathe, breathe.

68 Photos of Nashville

posted on: Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Because if there's one thing this blog is good for (?) it's way too many photos. We just got back from Nashville in the wee hours of the morning yesterday, back from visiting my brother and from eating all the food. I miss Ben already. And the food too. I definitely miss the food. It was a good, good weekend. I had a few concerns going in - we were taking the boys and although they're usually really great on car rides, 8.5 hours in one go was the longest we had ever clocked with the two of them in tow. But they did great! Truly, not a peep out of either of them the whole way there and back. ipad for the win! And driving through the night for part of each way helped because they were able to sleep through a few of those long and agonizing hours on the back end.

Also, the weather. I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I planned this weekend other than it was just the only timing that seemed to work for everyone - but Nashville? In July? While 6 months pregnant? H-O-T. I was panicking a little last week when I'd check my weather app for the current temperature in Nashville and it was reporting daily 97, 98 degrees...

But luck was on our side because a little cold front came through and the weather ended up being absolutely perfect. It was still hovering around 80 degrees the whole time we were there, but that's no different than a typical July day here, so it was definitely manageable. We were outdoors almost the whole weekend so the slightly overcast skies helped and we were pretty darn grateful to be so comfortable when we could have easily been so miserable.  

So thanks, Nashville! I knew I liked you!

oh, and here's where all the food pics start ;)

^^^me, lookin super pregnant whilst channeling Johnny Cash + having zero skin color to speak of^^^

the most fun park right downtown with splash pad, killer views and the best part - it was FREE!
Hattie B's hot chicken + popsicles from Las Paletas at Hot & Cold
obligatory southern dinner at Monell's and sunday brunch at Margot. Still dreaming of those blackberry + cornmeal pancakes btw.
Um, a stroganoff burger and german potato salad? Okaaaay, I think I will!

Last time we visited we got to do some of the more grown up activities the city has to offer (like tour the Ryman and see a bluegrass show) but with the boys along for the trip this time we had to find a few kid friendly ways to spend our days. Insert, the botanical gardens.  

This place was SO beautiful. The gardens and grounds were amazing and they have tons of stuff for kids to do. They were running a "big bugs" exhibit with gigantic bug sculptures incorporated into the scenery which the boys completely ate up. They had a tree house, an outdoor toy train exhibit and for the grown ups, an Andy Warhol exhibit inside the old restored mansion turned art gallery on the grounds. There was definitely something for everyone.

Until next time, Nashville! Thanks for treating us so well!

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