I am 35 weeks pregnant today with my first baby. I've done everything I possibly can to prepare...took Bradley Classes, exercised and ate right, hired a doula, switched to a midwife, read and practiced hypnobirthing books and techniques, read lots of books, including Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. All of these things made me feel very secure, like I should not fear birth because it is a normal physiological process and I would be fine. I was feeling really good about everything.

On Monday we went on our hospital tour. The people, their answers to my questions and rooms there were nicer/better than I'd expected. But since around then I've been freaking out! Throughout my pregnancy people would tell me things that made me afraid, but I was always able to get back into a calm, positive mindset after giving it some thought or doing some reading. I can't seem to get back to that place now. All of a sudden I feel like a complete basket case and I'm worried that I will be freaking out during labor and the nurses will try extra hard to give me meds to relax me (we are hoping for a natural birth).

Did other people go through this? Any ideas on how I might be able to keep my cool? I am driving my poor husband insane!

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Aw! It's possible that visiting the hospital in combination with you getting closer triggered something. It may have made everything seem more real and eminent. Within a couple months before I had my daughter I was scrambling to read and do everything I could, get the room set up, figure out what we were doing with our dog, and all that sort of stuff. Then around a few weeks before, I settled down and felt emotionally ready for it. It's not the easiest thing to do but you kind of have to surrender. Did you write up a birth plan yet and give it to your midwife/hospital etc? That may make you feel a little more at ease. Give it some time, and as you get closer you may find yourself back in that place again.
My midwife says all the worries and fear we feel during pregnancy are good. You need to break down and deal with those worries and concerns now. That way during labor they won't creep up. Every pregnant woman freaks out about something at some point. Try to look at it as a positive, you are just battling these concerns now. Good luck and I am sure you will get back to your peaceful place!

HTH.
I agree with this, it's not a bad thing to worry, but you do need to process it. Here's some questions to ask your self and work through:

What would you do if this worry/fear actually happened?
What do you imagine your partner (or birth attendant) would do/say?
What would it mean about you (as a mother) if this happened?
How have you faced crisis in the past?
What, if anything, can you do to prepare for, or even prevent, what you are worrying about? What's keeping you from doing it?
If there's nothing you can do to prevent it, how would you like to handle the situation?

these are questions from the book Birthing from Within. Part of preparing for birth is allowing yourself to let go also. Good luck!
I am 36w today! neat!

I was going to go get my Birthing from Within book but Rachel already covered it! (whew! I don't like stairs at this point LOL) THe book also says something to the extent that the women who don't worry enough are as much of a concern as the women who worry too much, You need to worry "the right amount" .

Basically what I like to take from the book is "what is the worst case scenario and how would I deal with it" Think of the different steps, stages, issues that might arise and how would you deal with each one. For example, you are worried that you may freak out. You might, but what exactly does that entail for you and how would you like to deal with it?
Twice for me during the labor with both my dd's, there comes a point where you really DO question if you can continue, and for myself I anticipate it will happen again. How I would like to deal with it this time is similar to how it went the last couple times by accident! What I needed was to breath deeply, focus on my breath, focus on baby moving down and my cervix opening up... and my gut was telling me that I was close, and sure enough I was! This time I want DH to encourage me to breath, remind me to relax XYZ body parts, and focus on breathing deeply 10 times (or whatever)

a birth plan is great, but what if something goes off the plan... the more detailed it is, the more likely that it won't go "according to plan". imho a generic plan - maybe something along the lines of a "no meds offered" sign, moving around as much as possible, shower/bath, massage, cold and heat packs, music etc. ?
This is so funny, and eerily similar to my experience with my first! I was 6 weeks away from giving birth, and I took the hospital tour, and pestered my doctor with birth plans, questions, etc....and I suddenly realized it wasn't going to work for me. Talk about last minute...I switched to a midwife and a home birth, gave up on the hospital idea. I just had this innate sense that my baby and I needed to be in a calm, familiar place, with "just as qualified" experienced birth attendants, and that everything would work out. The MINUTE I switched, I found that peace I'd been searching for! My sister loved her hospital births, but I felt very uncomfortable, even though everyone there was super nice and supportive! I didn't like the bright lights and all the ugly medical equipment, the rules about IVs and no food or drink (I'm a hypoglycemic, and I totally have to eat when I'm doing something tough), and the rules about cutting the cord and bathing the baby so quickly! I wanted to hold my bloody baby until the cord stopped pulsing, and breast feed and bond. I don't like medicine or needles, and I really wanted to pace, used a birth tub, take a shower, and give birth on a stool if I felt like it!
Turns out my mother's instinct was right on. My son was born with a perfect 5 hour labor, with me doing all of the above, and no complications, and if I'd been in a hospital they would have done a c-section- the last bit his heart rate was dropping (about a 10 pound baby squeezing through :), but my midwives and doula knew he was fine. So, so grateful for that inspiration and comfort, and that I followed through and let my little one arrive happily. One hour later I was up and walking around, happy to be pain-free!
Try some relaxation. It is healthy to be nervous... you're embarking on an amazing journey! There are many new things to come. Have faith in your body and your ability to birth. Labor and birth is like running a marathon: it's hard work, but when you cross the finish line you will be in awe of your baby and your body.

Remember, millions of women have been in your shoes. Millions of women have given birth naturally throughout history. When you're in the middle of labor, take comfort in know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of women around the world, doing the exact same thing you are, at the exact same moment. You are STRONG and you CAN do this!

There is a really great pregnancy meditation CD by Vicki Abrams:
"Relaxing with Your Unborn Baby"
by Vicki Abrams
Relaxation CD for Pregnancy
Cost $15 plus tax and shipping
858 456-9029
Vicki@journeyintobirth.com

I HIGHLY recommend. Sending you peaceful birthing vibes, mama!
Hi Sara - with 5 weeks to go it's very normal to have a case of the wobbles! You're about to have a baby!

I'd be more worried if you weren't having the odd 'off' day. Keep up your hypnobirthing and when you find yourself going off course with thoughts of freaking out choose a different thought....acknowlege the thought and don't go there. It's impossible to just stop thinking a thought because the more you try to NOT think about it the more you do think about it. You have to replace the thought with anything other than what you're focusing on.....but it must be something that makes you feel good (a nice holiday, a special occasion with your husband - it doesn't have to be birth related). Take a few breaths and enjoy these next few weeks - your baby will be here before you know it!

Tracy

http://www.GentleBirthUSA.com
I kind of did the same thing. I read all kinds of books and learned everything I could. Near time to give birth, I started doubting myself and worrying, even though I had been very confident before. I didn't really get over that feeling of doubt before I started labor, but I forgot all about it with the excitement and contractions. Not to mention, I always over think things, and generally they turn out completely different - my birth was no exception!
Don't be scared, birth is not as bad as you may imagine. What got me through was the fact that each contraction is only a minute or so. Then you get a little break. The pain is not constant. I would always remind myself during a tough contraction that it would end, and they did! I asked myself "Can I handle intense pain for a minute?" And my answer was "Yeah, I can do it for a minute at a time." That one simple fact really helped. Your body knows what to do, just go with it! I did it at home in a water birth after watching "The Business of Being Born". If I can do it, you can too! Best of luck to you. Birth has just as much potential to be amazing as it does to be scary. Keep your mind open! xoxo
Towards the end of my pregnancy my husband arranged for me to talk to other woman that had home-births and natural births in the hospital and it really helped assure what I already knew. With this great social network, you've got that right at your fingertips! You're going to do great because you have prepared and educated yourself. I am 21 years old, and I gave birth at home 4 months ago to my first baby weighing 10lbs 3oz, a girl. IT was an amazing, painless experience. When I say painless, I mean really cannot call anything about it painful. Having your leg chopped off would be painful. Childbirth is hard work, strong, and a bit exhausting. I have believe you simply based on the fact that you are intelligent enough to educate yourself and give your baby the most comfortable entrance into this world!
Its easy to feel comfortable about an abstract event. The closer you get the more real, or concrete the event seems. Its normal to feel nervous about the unknown, and even though you are well informed, childbirth is an experience you have never had. I am days from having my 3rd and I am a little nervous. Only I can say, I've done this before, I know what to expect. I can reflect on previous experiences and that brings me comfort and peace. You have alot of unknows and what ifs. Everything you are feeling is normal.

You are well informed. You are well prepared. When you arrive at the hosp remind the nurses that you want a NCB and they are NOT to offer you anything, you know its there if you want it you will ask for it. If they offer you ANY interventions (even if its just ARM) ask for 5 min in private to think about it and discuss it w/husband. Now you have a plan on how to deal w/things that diverge from your birth plan. A plan B if they begin to pressure you. Find some birth affirmations (such as I can do this. My body knows what to do, if I let it. My baby knows how to be born...etc) that really speak to you then repeat them to yourself when you need a calming force.

Above all. Believe in yourself and your body's ability to birth the baby it grew. Good Luck.
I agree it is good to face your fears now...before you go into labor. if you can talk to those who had successful natural births in the hospital. their stories should bring back some confidence. ask questions and do some mental imagery. here is a good article

you will do great!

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