Have you ever felt like you wanted to scream, but couldn’t? Like it was an out of body experience? That’s how the birth of my son went for me. The joy and excitement I hoped to feel when they handed him over to me after 24 hours of labor, three of which I pushed for, didn’t happen.
Instead, I felt numb (mentally and physically) and maxed out. I was happy to have a beautiful and healthy child. But, I felt violated and disrespected in many ways. It was like my birth plan was thrown in the trash and every wish or hope I had for this sacred experience went away. This led to extreme feelings the days and months after his birth.
If I’m being honest, this pregnancy was a total surprise. My husband was undoubtedly happier than I was and told me how our family will be complete sooner and this was a blessing. He helped me calm down and appreciate the surprise. He was right!
With our first, we planned it as best we could. We were trying and I was expecting it. This second time around it felt much less out of my control than before. But, I’m happy. Of course I am, being pregnant is a miracle. I’m grateful.
The biggest reason I felt so overwhelmed is because I knew I wanted this birthing experience to go differently. I thought I’d have more time to get the right team in place to support me even before I got pregnant. But, now I had to pivot, take action, and go with the flow.
My Son’s Birth Story
I have always been inspired by unmedicated births (I’m going to refrain from referring to it as “natural birth” because all birth is natural, in my opinion). Before getting pregnant I knew that going for a least intervention, unmedicated birth would be my ideal situation. I knew from reading and podcasts that midwifery care would be my best option to get this outcome.
Long story short, the birth of my son went the complete opposite of what I wanted it to be like. I had one unnecessary intervention after the other. The provider that was there for the majority of the birth was cold, unsupportive, and degrading. I knew I should have spoken up for myself, but I kept quiet. I had a lot of healing to do after this.
Where I’m Going From Here
I took time sharing my son’s birth story on Facebook; it was surprisingly healing for me hearing how many others had a similar experience. My therapist was helpful in helping me break down the feelings that I had with this experience. Most of all, I was able to realize that I can choose a different team for the next baby.
Here are eight ways my second birth will hopefully be different–what the “plan” is this time!
1. I’ll Hire a Doula
2. I’ll Speak Up
3. I’ll Stay Active
Keeping active is a major priority for me this pregnancy. With my son, it was the COVID lockdown for all of the first two trimesters, so I spent most of my time on the couch. While it’s hard to stay motivated this time around, I know that keeping my strength and stamina up will only help me with labor. I also rely on the workouts my coach Brooke Rozzie schedules for me each week.
On top of my three weekly workouts, I have daily stretches that my doula has given me to prepare for birth. Do I do them every day? No. But most days I do. I feel stronger and way more fit than I did before.
4. I’ll Listen to Positive Birth Stories
Since I have a wild toddler, reading books isn’t an option these days. But, my earpods and podcasts are my best friend. I listen to positive birth stories almost on a daily basis. These different stories give me confidence in myself and the biological process I’m putting my trust in. Some of my favorites are Birth Story Podcast and The Birth Hour Podcast.
I also have mentioned in other blogs that I have left most mom groups on Facebook. I find it extremely helpful without all that noise. Too many posts about labor, inducing labor, and not-so-good birth stories–I don’t have the mental space for that right now.
5. I’ll Keep Things Simple
6. I’ll Believe in Myself
7. I’ll Know That Every Plan Has a “Plan B”
8. Oh, and Just One “Little” Change in the “Plan”
I’ve decided to birth at home this time. While I know this is a very touchy topic with a lot of opinions, I felt very drawn to this option after my 30 week appointment. Everything was going so well, and on the way home, I listened to a podcast about birthing at home. So, I made some calls and hired a home birth midwife. I’ll report back after the baby is born on my experience.
All birth is beautiful and worthy. I find peace knowing that I have the best possible care and support team this time. I’m prioritizing movement and mindfulness. That’s all I can do without making myself crazy.
The last thing I want to add is that all birth is beautiful and valid. I’m coming from my own personal desires. But, I want to honor and recognize that no matter how you bring your baby into this world, it is beautiful.