giving birth

Anonymous Mom: I Had One Baby At Home. And I’m TERRIFIED To Do It Again

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People say that once you hold your baby in your arms you forget the pain. It melts away and nothing matters except for that beautiful creature looking up at you. Let me tell you this is a lie. I remember every vivid, raw second of the pain. The pain is seared across my brain as clearly as cattle are branded.

When I allow myself to think of my labor I see it only in colors. Red and Black. If I had to describe it more I’d say it’s like biting the live end of an electrical wire and being thrashed to and fro like a rag doll, hanging on for dear life. Except you aren’t even hanging on at all but being dragged.  I realize this sounds ridiculous, that millions of women do it, that I wasn’t actually dying or being tortured at war. I’m just a rich American white girl but I am scared shitless nonetheless.

The only thing harder than labor is being pregnant. I lied to myself to get this far. I bought into the conventional wisdom that every pregnancy, like every labor, is different. My second pregnancy is different but different in my case is just as bad. Say my normal baseline is at sea level and labor is a mountain you have to climb. I’m starting in a hole, completely depleted, beaten down, and just plain down. I have a mountain to scale in front of me but I can’t even dig myself out of this hole. Sure I can string together hours or days where I seem so okay that I might actually be okay but if hours of labor can feel suspended in time then 40 plus weeks can feel like an eternity. Pregnancy is the loneliest time. You are just trapped in your body. I could tell you how low I’ve been but it will just make us all sad.

So back to the point of my story- I need to get this baby out of my body and I don’t know how. I don’t want a repeat of my last experience. I don’t want to feel the red and the black. I don’t want someone’s arm up my vagina to her elbow, repeatedly, while others pin me down. I don’t want blood clots or a hematoma. I don’t want a tear that can’t be sewn up because of the hematoma that rips open anew when it’s almost healed. I don’t want to pee in diapers because I can’t walk five feet to the bathroom. I don’t want my husband to cry, not because he’s meeting his son for the first time, but because I pooped after days of agony. I don’t want anyone to hold my hand and tell me they are sorry, that this is not normal.

I guess all I do want is to feel like I can do this again. I want to sleep soundly and once again have faith that it will all be okay. I want to have a positive outlook, a bit of my old confidence. I want to not be jealous of my friends who got epidurals and said their labors were easy and that they could do it again tomorrow if they had to. I don’t want to give up on homebirth, but I don’t want to feel crazy for not giving up. I want to dig deep and find some strength and some courage from somewhere- anywhere- and have a redemptive experience. But that’s a lot to ask so until then I’m just going to eat some more chocolate cake.

(Image: getty images)

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