Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Overcoming The Fear

I'm struggling with overcoming The Fear.  In this instance The Fear comes in the shape of What If of a home birth. 
I had my first doctor's appointment yesterday.  Now, understand that I think I have found what I consider to be the best doctor ever. I heart him. He's been really great about everything we've seen him for. He's been great with Fiona and telling me " You've done this before, you know what you're doing". He was supportive and empathetic when I miscarried earlier this year.  He sees no reason I shouldn't be able to have a 3VBAC with this pregnancy.  The mention of home birth and he runs down the risks of rupture and better to be at the hospital and blah blah blah.  It's to be expected. Honestly I'm not upset with him. It's his job. It's what he's been doing for more years than I've been alive.  What I was not expecting was my reaction.
What if he's right? It's The Fear. The fear of the Unknown. The Uncontrollable. Fuck.
Here's the thing - I know better.  I KNOW better. I know what the risks are. From the most recent published studies.  I know what the latest ACOG recommendations are for VBAC and VBAMC. I know that I can do this. I have done it. I know that my body has the ability. I know it.  But what if something goes wrong?  Will I know that? Just In Case is the reason I went to the hospital with Fiona.  I wasn't feeling right and I went in Just In Case. I have no regrets about my birth experience with her, but there are things I didn't like. They were hospital policy things that I couldn't control. That in itself I didn't like.  I had to explain my allergy to adhesives because of the hep-lock. I couldn't squat to push (and I firmly believe that she would've been born faster had I been allowed to squat, but it wasn't a convenient position for the doctor). I had to pee in front of strangers. I had to beg to go home. Those things I didn't like.
I labored for 5 hours in that hospital from the time my water was broken until that 9lb 7oz baby made her entrance into the world. It was the most amazing, most powerful thing I have ever done.  It is not this pregnancy that I look forward to but the upcoming birth. I want to feel like that again. 
But what if something goes wrong? Something that we can't handle at home? I know that very few things that do happen are instant.  And the ones that do it doesn't matter where you are. I know that an experienced midwife can say "OK, it's time we get some help" long before it gets to critical. I know the risks are minimal. Almost non-existent. Almost.
But how to get over The Fear?  How do I get past it?  And where the hell was this last time? This is mind crippling. This has given me an understanding for those that are scheduling c-sections despite the risks and despite the research.  
The fear has power that I don't know how to shake.  I want a natural birth. I want drug-free, intervention-free, come-when-you're-ready-baby birth. I don't want to be stuck with needles, strapped to machines, told how and when to push (trust me, they don't need to tell you that) and have someone's hand somewhere it very much does not belong!  I want the sounds of my house, not the beep of machines. I want my husband's hands to be the hands that first touch our baby (this is his main reason for wanting a home birth - I can't make this shit up, ladies, I'm not that witty).  I want to not be afraid of what could happen if we aren't in the hospital. 
I've seen your little heart beat, I've seen your hands move and the outline of your little body. I know that my body is that which nurtures you and protects you and gives you life - how can I risk that?
How can I get past The Fear and have faith in my body when it's never betrayed me before?


DeLish said...

I teared up as I read and really can relate! I am a big fan of Bradley mostly because of one single thing I read in my very old and battered copy of "Husband-Coached Childbirth"... Women have been having babies unassisted for centuries.

With medical observation recently, but from the beginning of time mothers have given birth to babies and somehow our species has managed continue without the carefully regulated hospital guidelines. You are the best possible observation and tracking method of your baby's health and well being. You will know even before some beeping machine can tell if there is something amiss. You know that an experienced midwife will not allow you to remain in a potentially dangerous situation and can provide life-saving assistance until you safely arrive at a hospital.

My doula (and very close and trusted friend) delivered her last baby at an alternative birth center that was not too far from her home. She was able to relax comfortably with the whole family in surroundings that felt like home. She was in control of the birth process and called all the shots. She also knew that she had expert medical care should she or the baby require it. Is there maybe something similar you could at least look into just to know it is an option if you decide home is too worrisome?

Of course as your little bean grows, and you are more and more confident that there are no causes for concern, you will be more at ease. No matter what you decide to do, you know your husband will love you and support you and be the most amazing birth partner no matter WHERE this baby is born.

There was a tiny part of me that always kinda hoped I'd be that crazy lady laughing as we pulled up to the hospital because I had happily delivered my newborn in the car on the way just to prove that babies know perfectly well how to get out and mothers can't help but follow what nature is telling them to do!

(Of course poor Ryan would have been scared shitless, hence the laughing!!)

Brandy said...

I wish I could use a birth center. Because of the politics any midwife I use has to be willing to risk her livelihood to be there for us. The malpractice insurances will not cover VBAC in the state of WA. Sad state of affairs.
Thank you for the encouragement. I feel like a crazy person and need all the help I can get right now.