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Monday, January 08, 2007

Wading through a flood

Thanks for the congrats, mamas. Yeah, we are pretty thrilled. Meghan - there's still time! January is a great month to get knocked up. Hee hee hee . . .

So, it's interesting. Like I mentioned yesterday, the very moment I discovered I was pregnant, I instantly began mulling over delivery options in my mind. Mmmm, maybe "mulling" isn't the best word. Let's call it what it is - obsessing.

And so I hauled newly pregnant booty to the library and checked out every book I could on birthing after cesarean. While that was probably not the best approach to take (it was certainly the most overwhelming), I kept coming across statements in each book where the author wrote about VBAC mothers needing to be at peace with their c/s experiences to improve their chances of a safe and healthy vaginal delivery. At first I skimmed over this, because I thought I was at peace with my c/s. But the more I read, the more it dawned on me that it my intentional lack of information and education about birthing really pretty much set me up for an operating room delivery.

We did not take childbirth classes. I was convinced I would "have" to have an epidural because I don't handle pain well, so I wasn't the least bit interested in anything other than signing off on having taken the epidural "class" the hospital requires (10 minutes with the anesthesiologist) and that was about it. Like many American women, the only labors and deliveries I had born witness to were on The Baby Story. I saw what unmedicated birth looked like - it was scary, it was undignified, and it was certainly not classy. When I heard a veteran mom comment that she wouldn't have a root canal with no medication, so why would she birth a child without it? - I felt confident I was making the right decision on that.

I did at least realize that there would be some "discomfort" in weathering the contractions leading up to the time I could get the epi, so I flipped through a friend's copy of the Bradley Book and promptly became even more terrified by what I saw there. The very few things I picked up from my scant reading about relaxing, letting your body go limp and allowing the contractions to work for you . . . all of that was out the window when labor set in. It hurt and I was scared. I had no one there to talk me through what was happening. My husband was scared, too. He certainly didn't know what to say, other than "when can you get the epidural?"

So there was a lot of fear. A lot, a lot of fear. Tomorrow, I will share more on how fear mixed with ignorance led us straight to the OR.