taking away the fear

Yesterday was antenatal class day. A day that I had predicted was going to be painfully tedious and awkward and that was a little frightening, as it signifies how close to the end of this journey we are getting (ie: holy crap, we’re actually having a baby – soon!)

Up until this point in my pregnancy, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted my birth to play out.

Healthy baby. Save my vagina. Don’t shit the bed.

I had no grand birth plan or divine script of how I wanted labour to be, except for one thing. Epidural – GET. IN. ME.

medium_3289103242My thoughts on the matter hadn’t come from any research or reading on childbirth. It hadn’t come from any drawn out thought on pros and cons. I think they had come purely from FEAR. The fear of the unknown and the fear of the pain that is obviously going to come with pushing a watermelon out of your body.

Couple that with my allergy to a quite a lot of pain relief and anti nausea drugs, the thought of going epidural from the get go was quite appealing.

Then I did the class.

Now I have a plan. A real plan. One that makes me feel strong and ready and most importantly, prepared for what is going to happen at some point over the coming weeks.

The class was not what I had expected at all. I had gone there thinking it was going to be a huff and puff class. You know the ones, sitting in a circle with your partner learning how to breathe through the process, huffing and puffing as if it was the real thing.

It wasn’t. It was a day full of empowering information about choices and about truly explaining the process my body is about to embark on. It was extremely liberating and calming and to be honest, is probably the most valuable thing I’ve done since being pregnant.

The midwife running the class was neither for nor against drugs or no drugs during labour. She provided equal information about both options and remained extremely vigilant in making sure we knew what our options were and that either way, we would be supported. She made sure that we understood the stages of labour and what our body was going to do.

Most importantly, she reminded me that our bodies are meant to do this. I can do this. I am designed to do this. This is not as scary as I thought.6081060-plan-a-and-plan-b-on-a-blackboard

Now I’m not saying that I’m going all “earth mother” and taking a no drug stance during labour. Not at all. It’s just that my friend the epidural is now a last resort as opposed to a first resort. An “if I need it” rather than an “I’m definitely going to need it”.

Thanks to the education of the lovely midwife Gaye, I now have the right information to make an informed choice. I now know, with some degree of certainty, how I want this labour to play out… it’s simple and short and it goes a little like this…..

  • Stay at home as long as possible (within reason!) by using a Tens machine to distract some of the pain.
  • Once in hospital, pop myself in a nice warm bath in our room and add some gas and air into the mix.
  • If needed, jump on board the pain killer wagon and see how I go. Add in a new anti nausea drug that I have discovered I’m not allergic to (miracle!) and hopefully I am almost ready to meet my little guy.
  • As a LAST resort, an epidural is there as an option.

All sounds a bit more mature and thought about than “don’t shit the bed” right?

The biggest take away from the class for me was options. How empowering it feels to have options presented and to feel informed about something that was previously so unknown. Take away the unknown, take away the fear.

I know it’s going to hurt like a bitch. I know its probably going to be one of the hardest things my body ever has to do. But I know now I can do it. I know I have choices and I know what I can do to help my body do its job.

I have a plan.

A birth plan.

And it feels better.

xx A

(Disclaimer: I’d still like to save my vagina and not shit the bed…. Any tips welcome)

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/darrentunnicliff/3289103242/”>ĐāżŦ {mostly absent}</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

One thought on “taking away the fear

  1. My tips? If you want to save your vagina, listen to the midwives when it’s time to push. Every good midwife prides herself on an intact perineum. As for shitting the bed, forget about it. You will be busy pushing your baby out and if it does happen you won’t even notice. You should look more into dealing with fear, staying calm with things like meditation and visualization. The calmer your mind and body, the better labour can progress. The more tense you are the more you fight your body. Good luck.

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