With 7 weeks to go until my EDD I’m starting to get a little nervous. We attended our first Birth Preparation Class at Kaiser and have been speaking a lot about our desired birth experience with the doulas we have been interviewing.
I’ve been noticing that when I speak about birth I get very tense and very nervous. I really shut down and turn inward, not even letting Mi.Vida comfort me. I’m not surprised that I’m worried about labor but I am taken aback by the intense physical symptoms I feel when I’m confronted with it. I’m really worried that my fear and anxiety around birth is going to negatively affect my experience, not just in how I feel during birth but in my anxiety actually have physically detrimental effects. I’ve read that women can actually stall or reverse their labor by feeling uncomfortable or afraid and I’m very worried that my fears will prolong my labor and make it more difficult than it need be.
I’m trying to come to terms with my fears, to read books that will empower me and practice relaxation techniques that I can use before and during the big event. I look forward to speaking to my doula about my fears because I’m sure she’ll be able to put them into perspective.
I know it’s normal to be scared of labor. It’s the most intense physical experience that happens naturally to any human being. It will require incredible strength and stamina. I know my body is strong and capable; I’ve run a marathon and ridden many 100+ bike rides and I’ve never lost faith in my body’s ability during any of these events. I also trained for each one of those big physical events – I trained a lot. I ran what amounted to over a hundred miles preparing for my marathon and rode many hundreds of miles for my centuries. Going into each of those events I knew how my body reacted during smaller, training runs. If I could run 18 miles by myself, two weeks in a row, surely I could run 26.2 miles with friends and others in an organized, supported event. If I could ride 75 miles with my parents, up and over mountains, I could ride 100 miles with dozens of other people.
Going into labor there is no training, there is nothing I can do to prepare myself or know how it will feel. In fact, not only can I not prepare myself for it, my body is in the worst shape it’s ever been. I’m 35 pounds heavier than I’m used to (and will probably be even bigger by the time I’m in labor), I’m weaker than I’ve ever been, I’m slow moving and can’t breathe deeply, my hips hurt, my back hurts, my feet and ankles are sore and swollen, I feel totally incapable of mild physical exertion, let alone something totally overwhelming that lasts for hours, maybe days.
I know that billions of women have made it through labor and that many of them had amazing, empowering experiences. I have faith that the female body, my body, can complete this most important of tasks. I do have faith that I can do this, but I’m still scared. I hope that the more I think about it the better I will feel. Then, I when I get closer, I’ll just push all of this aside and concentrate on ways to stay calm and relax. Hopefully by then I will feel more prepared to tackle this most momentous of experiences.
BUENAS NOTICIAS – We found a doula and are very excited to start working with her. I can’t believe our first visit will be about two hours long! That is probably more than all my OBGYN visits combined!