Warning: Some of this post is a little graphic and may be a trigger to some.
Today’s post for the A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter C!
I’m not going to go into the mechanics of it. By now, you should know how it works. If you don’t.. well, I’d say to Google it, but I’m sure you’d come up with some pretty questionable content. Eep! And that’s the last thing you want… to tell an expectant mom (or dad) to just Google it. Ha. I digress…
Regardless of your scientific knowledge, you at least know that the baby comes out. Somehow. Vaginally. C-Section. It WILL come out.
Some women are in labor for 36 hours, some are in labor for 8, some for barely any time at all. I was an 8 hour laborer. Oh man, BabyJ came quickly. Then again, those 5 hours of pushing were ridiculous. I look back on it and, while some of it has softened around the edges and I’m not as much a mess as I was before, the PTSD still rears its ugly head when I think about labor. I envy those women who have had beautiful birth experiences. For those who haven’t read it yet, HERE is my post about the labor. I didn’t include all of the details at the time, but they cover a decent amount.
My advice to those women who are expecting or hope to start a family at some point:
- Be your own advocate.
- Prepare your significant other or helper in the room during birth to be your advocate in case you can’t. If you end up fainting, or having to be put under anesthesia, or something else that prevents you from having a voice in your medical and emotional decisions, having someone you trust in the room with you can make a world of difference. There was a moment during my labor that I remember well – one of the doctors was not listening to my request to tell me prior to conducting a very invasive routine check and went about doing the procedure anyway, eliciting an automatic panic response from me, so Brian spoke up and told the doctor he needed to listen to me and talk me through what was going on instead of just acting. From there, the doctor made an effort to tell me before doing something, which made the experience a little easier.
- Speak up for yourself. You have a voice. Use it.
- Believe in yourself. I’ve included a list of affirmations to the bottom of this post that I wish I had seen prior to giving birth. I came up with some of my own affirmations and goals while I was in labor that helped me get through. Once I hit my last hour of pushing (I was pushing on and off for almost 5 hours.) I decided to use the clock as motivation, counting down each time I pushed, and promising myself BabyJ would be out by a certain time. This helped me make the pain far more manageable and I had a goals to attain, making childbirth a more emotionally attainable action.
- Trust your instincts. I knew I was going to go into labor early. Most of the people I told thought I was just being silly. Well, we know how that turned out.
- Don’t settle on a doctor who is just ok. If you aren’t comfortable with something they’re doing, if you don’t think they’re attentive enough, or if you don’t think they’re taking you seriously – consider changing doctors. My OB has a great reputation and had been my doc for quite some time. My plan the entire time had been to have a natural, drug-free labor. Somewhere in the third trimester he told me that he didn’t think I’d “be able to handle the pain” and that I’d end up getting the epidural. This memory is seared into my brain as the moment I should have realized I wasn’t receiving everything I needed in a doctor. Shortly after that appointment, I went into labor five weeks early, in my many-weeks-long puffed out body, with a terrible case of poison ivy, and extremely heavy medical phobia. The doctors that I had, one in particular, did not take my phobia or anxiety seriously and was “not nice and elbow deep” as I heard one other woman describe their own experience. That’s when I started taking control of my experience, but it was too late. The damage had been done. I wish I could say I had a beautiful experience, that I couldn’t wait to do it again.
Now I’m an advocate for everyone woman who plans to have a child. As I’ve had time to process what happened to me, I can see the moments of beauty. BabyJ was born into this world and is so loved. I learned the strength of my body. I learned that the strongest muscle in a human being is the uterus. I learned that I am so much more incredible than I ever gave myself credit for. I overcame my fears. Sure, I came out with a pretty significant case of PTSD, but I brought a tiny human into this world.