The Second Birth...

The first time I was pregnant I had no idea what to expect for giving birth.

Somehow I decided (surely influenced by my mother and my friend Jacki's natural births) that I wanted to have my baby as naturally as possible. My mom had told me stories about her three births (one I witnessed as a teenager) and the things she liked and would have done differently if possible (like changing positions, etc). It seemed to me at the time that using a midwife and a birthing center like Jacki had done was the best way to be able to "birth on my own terms". That way I could move around, not feel too pressured to progress faster, get in the tub, not worry about getting an epidural (as none would be available). Most people I'm sure thought I was crazy. But to each their own, right?

Well as it turned out, it was insane. I had read just about every book on birthing and especially birthing naturally I could get my hands on, and taken a class "birthing from within" (based on the book) with my husband that helped teach pain management techniques. I knew that I could not even imagine what it would be like, which was both terrifying and somewhat freeing. In the end being two weeks overdue and successfully birthing my wonderful 10lb 12oz 23" son was beyond horribly difficult, but the most amazing thing I have ever done (Read it here if you like). I still think about the experience on a regular basis, and am still not only proud of myself, but happy I chose to do things the way I did.

My parents however, were not as pleased with the experience. My poor mom spent much of the night in the car outside the birth center, not wanting to disturb us, but thinking that labor was taking way too long and something could be wrong. My dad and step-mom were concerned after hearing of the ordeal, and especially when I was unable to sit for 3 months after giving birth.

This time around, I am on different insurance, and as a result have two options for birth instead of three: hospital or home birth. Last time I really liked being away from the hospital (but still really close if there would have been a problem) and also away from our teeny tiny house. But this time there is no option for a free-standing birth center. And I still have no desire at this point for a home birth. Truthfully there is a third option, and that's the option I have chosen, a "birth center" on one of the floors of the hospital. I do get to use midwives (which I love!) but I worry that it will be similar enough to being in a hospital. I worry that I will have to stay too long (I stayed at the birth center for about 6 hours after having my son) or that I will break down and get some drugs pumped into me. On the plus side, my parents are all overjoyed at the word "hospital" even though my baby and I were just fine last time.

Maybe they are silly things to worry about, because I do know that however my baby girl decides to come out will be fine. I will be so happy to have her safe that it will likely overshadow anything else that happens along the way. I suppose it's partially just my desire to have control that plays into my fears about "how it will be". I also find myself wondering how my labor will be, if it will be just as long and painful, if I will have an abnormally large child again, if I can do it the same way again, if I can do it again at all.

It seems I would just be better off with my thinking from the first time: I have no idea what to expect. And that's ok.

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