I am a fear driven person in many ways. I think that being driven by fear can be positive & negative. Depending on how I harness that fear, I generally think it can be positive.
Recently it occurred to me that the first go around with Matthew, the birthing process was not a fearful thing to me. I remember just thinking I will have a natural birth at the hospital with my husband, our doula and a nurse or two around me. It is will be terrific. I will be listening to the CDs my friend Jen made for me and all will be well at the end of the day. My water will break and we have some funny moments of running around like in the movies and than I would be holding my suckling little baby in my arms. YO, what fantasy world was I living in anyway? How many people can say "oh that was my experience!" I know of exactly ONE person who had this kind of experience not once but twice. Lucky gal from my POV because it is how I wanted my birth to be the 1st time.
I felt like a failure for not having our birth go this way. It shattered my image of the "perfect birth". It literally crushed me for many weeks. Like some women speak about the inability to nurse - not having the birth of our son go the way I wanted it just made me feel like complete and utter shit.
At first when I found I was pregnant with Baby Pancake, I thought 'I am scared shitless this time around!' I thought I was terrified to try to give birth naturally again. Because I know the possibilities. I know how my last one went. I know that most who test Beta strep positive once generally do subsequent times. I know that death during birth is common in much of the world and really you are standing at the precipice of life and death when you give birth. Or at least that is how I felt from the moment I was induced until I sat holding Matthew in my arms.
I have no notion of what it feels like to have my water break unless you count the midwife breaking the amniotic sac with her rubber gloved hands. I do not know what unassisted contractions feel like unless you count the assistance of Cervadil & later other drugs.
I did it all during my labor and subsequent delivery. I tested beta strep positive so I had to be hooked up to that stupid pole the whole time. I ripped the stupid IV line out TWICE and holy shit try getting stabbed by a needle to replace that thing as you are in the throws of labor. It was like a searing hot poker going into my hand. Can you imagine? I could focus best on the IV line being replaced during the midst of my labor?! I wanted to kick that nurse's ass and I liked her!
I was induced and labored naturally for hours. I barfed and pushed on the toilet & in the bathtub. I tried the squat bar and the ball. Good lord baby come out already I remember thinking (SCREAMING?!). Matthew turned somehow at some point without having my labor stall. I ended having an epidural, they used a vacuum and their hands to twist my son around, and eventually I had to have Pitocin to restart my labor. They were prepping me for a c-section and I finally with the fear of god in me about that I gave birth vaginally. There were at least 20 people in the room when I finally had Matthew: 10-12 nurses (I kid you NOT), an Anesthesiologist (he was you know hanging out waiting like a vampire with his needles - "does she need more? can she do this? was seriously the look on his face - I had the epidural at this point and his face is one that I remember clearly), my Midwife, our Douala, our OB physician, my husband and OMG was that an orderly or two?!??! Oh crap did I mention the HUGE mirror they brought in to help me with contractions after the epidural?!?!? TMI?! Sorry.
I know what it feels like to have an epidural. It is calm and quiet. I can be loving to my husband, you know maybe hold his hand and perhaps feel a little less harsh afterward. I could look all pretty with my hair and make up done. It would not likely be the wild ride I just described even if my water did break naturally and I had my very own contractions.
But deep in my heart & soul I know that is not what I will opt for. As much as giving birth to Matthew the way I did hurt me initially I have come to realize how lucky I was. How thrilled I was that I made it through all of that with a healthy happy little human being. And that I was ALIVE (weee) and healthy and I am able to sit here and tell this story! That other women have been through things like this and much much more. I was not alone! How myopic of me to think that I was, I mean really!
It dawned on me recently that I am ready to go. I will make a go of it to try birthing my baby naturally again with the same lack of fear that I had last time but also a little smarter. I am not fearful, in fact I feel quite fearless. I have the same hopes I had last time. Though this time I know that nothing with birth ever happens the way we hope or expect. At least this time I know it and I ready for that too!