When I was pregnant with my first baby, my birth plan was simple. I wasn’t a mom that came in with a laminated poster or a binder full of detailed instructions — not that there’s anything wrong with that — but my goals were, I felt, realistic. I wanted a ‘natural’ (vaginal), medication-free labour and birth, however I was very aware of the fact that things don’t always go as planned. I wanted to see how I coped with the pain and be open to an epidural, more so than taking narcotics in labour. I wasn’t going to guilt myself if I felt I needed an epidural. I was cognizant that I might end up not giving birth vaginally at all and might need a c-section like two of my sisters-in-law had had. I was open-minded and aware that anything can happen and to just go with the flow of the unknown during labour.
I truly had a picture perfect labour and delivery with our first. We got to the hospital at 2:00 AM and he was born at 7:59 AM and I got the natural and drug-free labour and birth that I had aimed for. However, with our second, I shared when I was 34 weeks pregnant my “fear of the known“. What I meant by that was that I remembered the pain of contractions, I remembered that it was obviously bearable (women have been doing it since the beginning of time!), but obviously it still really freaking hurts! I also had a new worry that since my labour and delivery went pretty darn fast for our first baby, that if the theory of speedier subsequent deliveries is correct — my second baby would come even faster! I didn’t have a precipitous labour with our first, by any means, but would I for the second? Heck, would I even be able to make it to the hospital?
Turns out? I made it just fine.
When I look back and reflect on my second labour and delivery, it went really really well. It truly did, especially if you look at it on paper, or in this case — my blog. It was actually a 2 hour longer labour than my first, with 3.5 hours of active labour total. The big difference, was that I so worried about having a faster labour, I wasn’t even thinking that there was the possibility it could take longer! Everything was happening faster – I was going to give birth to him 3 weeks earlier than when I had my first…so why wouldn’t he be birthed faster? However, when Ethan wasn’t born by the same time as Braden…I was done. Mentally-speaking, anyway.
Ethan’s labour and delivery was absolutely mentally draining on me, and was a huge reason why I was on the fence for so long about even wanting a third baby and going through labour and delivery again. Even though it was safe, pretty darn fast and I got my second natural and drug-free delivery, it really messed with my head. Don’t get me wrong, I know women can labour for hours and hours and even days on end. What I went through was a drop in the bucket, but regardless it was my bucket and all I could relate too.
This pregnancy, really early on, I started having anxiety about labour and delivery. I had memories come flooding back at how mentally draining Ethan’s labour was and all these scenarios started rushing through my head of a 12 hour labour, an 18 hour labour, a 24 hour labour with our third baby. Would I end up with a c-section? Maybe I actually want one, then I don’t have to go through transition stage again. Don’t be silly, Sarah! You don’t purposefully want to wish for major surgery!
I prayed about it, I made myself think rationally about it and just kept thinking of the end result. No matter what I go through with pregnancy and/or labour…the end result — a new baby — is always worth it. My anxiety has dissipated a ton since the first trimester. So what’s my birth plan now that I’m officially in the third trimester?
Be a dummy and pretend like I’ve never had a baby before.
I’m dead serious. Ignorance truly was bliss for me with our first. You don’t know what to expect. I didn’t know better. I rolled with the punches. So, I’m going to go into this labour and delivery pretending like I’ve never done it before. I will NOT compare it to my other two labours when it’s happening, like I made the mistake with Ethan’s labour. As long as me and baby are healthy by the end of the ordeal, that is all that truly matters. I don’t care if it takes 1 hour or 48 hours…I’m going to keep my eye on the prize and just realize that every labour and delivery is different and there are NEVER any guarantees.
Wish me luck!