All my life I’ve been petrified of giving birth. As you may well know, my tolerance for pain is incredibly low. I’m the person who’s on really strong prescription pain killers for most of my period. I just can’t do it. I always joked with my friends that I would be sure to get an epidural at the beginning of the third trimester if I ever had to give birth.
I don’t know when that all changed though. Perhaps during one of my two week waits. Day dreaming about finally carrying a child and in those daydreams, I became obsessed with wanting to feel everything that comes with bringing a child into the world. I wanted to experience the morning sickness, the kicking, the bloating, the “glow”, the throwing up, the heartburn (oh the heartburn), the cravings and most importantly I wanted to feel a real contraction.
As soon as we got the BFP I’ve been able to check off these things on the list which has been magical in itself and now that giving birth is going to happen I’ve had to put in some serious thought about how I want it to go down.
In laying in bed at night thinking excitedly about how I might get to feel a contraction I was also starting to dread feeling a contraction. Dread to the point of not being able to sleep. It’s interesting wanting something so badly yet fearing it with every ounce of your being.
I asked my husband if he thought I could do a pain med free birth and he flat out said no. Not because he’s an asshole but because he’s lived with this drama queen for 7 years. It did sting to hear him say that but I get it. So I asked my mother if she thought I could do it since she did it 3 times. All she said was “Oooh, my child…” and pulled this face.
Again, my mother knows me so I understand. But I still want to try.
So, I asked two of my friends who gave birth with out pain medication if I could do the same and they both said yes. “Yes, you can. It’s going to suck but if you want it you can do it”. They did advise that a birth class would help. A proper birth class with support and proper techniques. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
Luckily I’d been toying with the idea of getting a doula. It started when I was looking at birth photographers. The one I wanted also happened to be a doula. I stalked her profile for a few weeks and it looked like she taught a gentle birth seminar as well. I really got a good feeling about her. After a bit of umm-ing and ahh-ing about the price I sent her and email to set up a meeting. I told her I was interested in using her as a photographer but I also wanted info on her doula services and the class she taught.
We promptly set up a meeting and I know this is going to sound silly but once we sat down with her and she began talking, Lucky Bean started going crazy. I really took it as a sign that she was going to be the one to help me feel the contraction I’ve been daydreaming about for years.
She’s really lovely so we promptly hired her and we also signed up for her gentle birth seminar. She does these prenatal group nights (we have to do 5 before the baby comes) where her and her partner doulas (there are 3 of them altogether) talk about everything in the whole process to all of her clients.
So far we’ve been to part 1 of the seminar and one of the prenatal group nights. There are about 5 to 6 couples. All of them first time parents so it’s a nice group. Her practice is in Rhode Island so we’re the only Massachusetts couple. They’re all giving birth at the same hospital so we don’t have that in common but that’s neither here nor there.
The classes have been good and bad. Good, in that it’s a lot of information and support and she really makes me feel like I can do anything. Bad, because the simple fact that the techniques we’re learning to get through birth, meditation and hypnosis etc., are insane to me. The fact that you need to hypnosis to make it through the pain is frightening. Like how much is this going to hurt that I’m going to need to be on another level of consciousness to get through it? I look around the room at the calm faces and think how are these women not running out of here screaming. How is this not frightening to them? Why are we all doing this??
So I’m in two places right now. On the one hand, I cannot express the gratitude for this little life inside me. I’m so honoured that I’ll have the opportunity to bring him into the world safely with extremely strong support around me (N has completely forgotten that he doesn’t think I can do this and he is 100% on board with my desired birth experience. I love watching him be engaged). I am ready and excited to prove my mettle. I absolutely do not take for granted how lucky I am to be where I am given where I’ve come from so I owe it to everyone and myself to make the most of this. I know that things might happen and I can’t plan anything but the fact that I get to try is a gift that I don’t want to squander.
On the other hand…