Facing a second labor and birth is a lot like rerunning a marathon. Ideally, you’d like to do better than last time; be more physically capable, exercise a greater level of mental stamina, and beat out your personal time record.
Also though, because you already know what to expect, you also know what’s ‘coming’. And that can be daunting.
My labor with my first son was simply awesome (if you choose to focus on the blessings rather than, you know, the pain!), yet as I stand on the precipice of revisiting that experience I find myself stalling.
“Specifically concerning me (and my midwife), is the speed with which my first labor took off at and maintained. Efficient is an understatement.”
In many ways you’d think I’d be more trusting this time around, having done the whole thing once and proving to myself that my body can handle the strains and demands well. Somehow though, almost 2 years later on, I feel as though I might be overstretching myself this time around.
Specifically concerning me (and my midwife), is the speed with which my first labor took off at and maintained. Efficient is an understatement. My whole birthing journey was 4 1/2 hours from start to finish, starting with my waters spontaneously breaking. From there my contractions started immediately, lasting 1-2 minutes and only 2 minutes apart. It was literally go time before I even had a chance to think.
The worry here is that since I live 30 minutes from the birthing center and my husband works an hour away on top of that, that I may find myself in an, erm, ‘compromised’ situation regarding how fast my second labor progresses.
I won’t lie, this has been on my mind since before those 2 pink lines appeared back in November. In fact when I was still in the birthing center after my first was born, the nurses had a running joke that I better live at the hospital next time around. So yeah, those ‘laughs’ stayed with me and have made for a bit of a nervous second time mama.
“I’m not sure that medicalizing the whole process after it already went so swimmingly without any help last time, is really the best way to achieve that goal.Because nothing about induction (or birth!) is ever black and white is it?”
My midwife’s suggestion was to consider all options for gaining some control over this possible scenario, namely an induction by artificial rupturing of the membranes (learn more about common labor interventions here!). She encouraged me to be checked during each weekly visit starting at 36 weeks for dilation and effacement, and should I be progressing nicely around the 38-39 week mark, then I’d be faced with the option to consent to this procedure.
At first I felt like a weight had been lifted.
I assumed that her advice was best, period. And while I’m certain her intentions and outlook are nothing but honorable, the more time the hubster and I have had to think about this option (because I believe dad’s opinion counts too in all this) the more we’ve begun to shy away from it.
You see, my hopes for this birth are for it to go naturally and simply, just like the last one did. And while, sure, I’m worried that it won’t for a variety of reasons (rough second pregnancy, what can I say?) I’m not sure that medicalizing the whole process after it already went so swimmingly without any help last time, is really the best way to achieve that goal.
Because nothing about induction (or birth!) is ever black and white is it?
“I’m going to trust faithfully that my body will select it’s time wisely, that things will fall into place, and that my instincts (and my husband’s) will guide us among all the advice and choices we’ll surely be faced with, while bringing our newest child into this world.”
No one has a crystal ball with which to tell you whether you’ll lose control now, or later, or at all. No one can really say, despite years of experience and education, which intervention could be the right or wrong choice, because no one knows the finite capability of you or your baby. It’s all just stats. Data from which to pull educated guesses that offer no guarantees.
So I’ve decided, worriedly yet optimistically, to avoid too much hands on interfering from my healthcare provider (read about why I’d choose a midwife every time here!) unless disaster strikes on its own. I’m going to trust faithfully that my body will select it’s time wisely, that things will fall into place, and that my instincts (and my husband’s) will guide us among all the advice and choices we’ll surely be faced with, while bringing our newest child into this world.
This is a huge thing for me. I like to prepare. I like to be proactive. I’m not usually one for letting go and letting God without a fight – though I’m certain that if I did that more, I’d find myself a lot happier and a lot better off overall.
Here’s to hoping I can combine all the values to be found in knowing my body and baby, trusting in a positive outcome, and having access to the expertise of my midwife, to ensure a happy and healthy mother and baby at the end of it all.
I truly believe there’s a place for all those elements in the modern birthing system – and I plan to use them all to their full potential while I realize mine.
Wondering what questions you should be asking your midwife or OB? Check out ‘The Ultimate List of Questions for Your Midwife or OB: FREE Printable’!