Stefani's most-fantastical-reads book montage

Crooked Kingdom
Six of Crows
Yellow Brick War
The Wicked Will Rise
Charm & Strange
Their Fractured Light
These Broken Stars
Big Little Lies
I'll Be There
Red Queen

Stefani's favorite books »

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Buckle up kids... this could be a long one...

For the past 8 hours Derek and I have been sitting in very uncomfortable chairs learning all there is to know about childbirth. I figured this was one of those times where it would be good to sit down, write out what I'm thinking, and get it all out... My jumbled thoughts may not make complete sense to anyone not currently residing in my brain but the purpose of this blog is simply to process all the information that is rattling around in my cranium...

I doubt it comes as a surprise that labor and delivery are weighing heavily on my mind lately. We have somewhere in the ballpark of 13 weeks to go and I really don't have a "plan" in my mind of how I'd like things to happen. Obviously I want to have a safe, short labor and deliver a healthy baby but there is a lot more that goes into it... I have never claimed to be brave enough or strong enough to want a natural birth. Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't handle pain well - I throw up, I pass out, I panic... it's ugly. So, from the beginning, I have wanted pain medication. My problem has come in choosing that particular form of medication. The first "level" of pain meds that are offered are given through an I.V. and are narcotics. I've had enough narcotics in my life to know that they make me feel woozy, sick to my tummy, sleepy, and they really don't do anything to help me deal with pain. Add to that the fact that they make the baby woozy too and you can't have them during the hour before you deliver and it makes narcotics easy to cross off the list. The next step (and the one I wanted all along) is a "walking epidural". It's still a spinal, but it's a lower dose and you can walk and move around during labor. You still have some sensation and feeling but it's cut WAY back. The problem is, after talking with my doctor, that they wear off and sometimes don't work properly so our hospital doesn't do them. That leaves a full epidural as my last option. It would numb me pretty much completely but I would be confined to the bed, on my back, hooked up to a whole host of machines and wires - a blood pressure cuff, oxygen monitor, catheter, uterine monitor, fetal monitor... the list goes on. All of that weighs into my decision but the thing that worries me the most is the feeling of being helpless and paralyzed in the bed. I have anxiety issues (big ones) and I can't imagine feeling okay with the idea that I'm totally at the mercy of strangers (other than Derek) while I'm so vulnerable and exposed. That thought horrifies me almost as much as the idea of natural birth...

Continuing on with horrifying ideas... the idea of having a c-section is the scariest complication about childbirth. With my malformed uterus the chances of baby staying breech or transverse are pretty high. At my last appointment, Dr. H told me that as we got down to the wire we would do an ultrasound to check baby's position. If she's head down, then we're good to go for a vaginal delivery... which is my goal. But if she stays in her current position then we schedule a c-section. I know that there are a lot of scary reasons to have a c-section and that having a scheduled one isn't nearly as bad as some things that could go wrong but I still really, REALLY don't want one. It's not even the fact that it's major surgery - I get that and I understand that I'll be sore and that there are a whole list of complications to go along with it, but that isn't what bothers me about the procedure. It's the idea that my first act of motherhood is something that I am unable to do. It screams "failure" to me. All through high school and college I imagined having kids and secretly prayed for a c-section delivery so I could escape the uncomfortable and unattractive aspects of labor. But now that I'm married and pregnant I want that experience more than anything. I want to feel contractions, to work through it with Derek and have his support, I was us to drive to the hospital on an unexpected day, and I want him to hold my hand as I push her out and bring her into the world - there is nothing I want more than to have that experience. I feel like anything less than that would be cheating me out of my rite of passage into motherhood.

Somehow, if I survive all that - I have the whole idea of postpartum depression... I've dealt with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager and I know that I'm susceptible to have trouble with postpartum. I went off my antidepressants just before getting pregnant and things have gone okay so far but I worry that with stress, lack of sleep, and a brand new baby to take care of that I might get overwhelmed and have to go back onto the meds. I don't have a problem with the meds but I worry that I'll wait too long to go on them and that the first few months of motherhood will be clouded by depression.

I have thought about so much of this - laying awake at night going over every possibility - and I realize that much of it is out of my control and my struggles will be more in responding to these things rather than choosing them. Pregnancy and the idea of birth are so new and unlike anything else I have ever experience and for much of it, I feel like I don't really have anyone who I can confide in who has been through it and understands the fear and apprehension that goes along with so much of it. Derek is the best support person I could ask for and I know that in the end he won't let anything bad happen to me but I hate going into it with so many unknowns. It may not sound like it, but I really do feel more prepared after taking this class and I have a list of things that I need to discuss at my next appointment. Now that I have sprewed all that onto my blog - I'm going to try to make something good for dinner, watch a few episodes of Weeds, and get some sleep... maybe tomorrow I'll have all the answers.

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