Thinking about birth

This blog seems to alternate between sleep and birth at the moment as my two top topics. This isn’t deliberate – just that I’m suffering severe sleep deprivation so that is very much on my mind. Plus my sister is about to have her first baby, a little boy who was due last Tuesday and still hasn’t made an appearance. So I’m thinking a fair bit about birth too.

Thinking about birth and having another baby makes me feel pretty nervous. This is despite having had a pretty positive birth experience, at home with the support of two excellent midwives and my partner. Although I was apprehensive before my first birth I didn’t really know what to expect so decided to focus on the positive and do as much preparation as I could. My birth didn’t feel as I expected and didn’t particularly go as I’d expected but luckily all went well. This isn’t necessarily the case for many of my friends and I do consider myself very fortunate – I know that things can go very differently. Preparation is helpful but at the end of the day you can’t know what may happen, how you’ll cope and what assistance you may need.

I had a really bad headache the other day, something that doesn’t often happen to me. I took a couple of paraceptamol, drank some water and went to bed hoping it would clear. As I lay there in bed, in pain, I could do nothing but wait and let my headache run its course. And it took me right back there, right to how I felt during labour. It was really, really strange as clearly a headache is very different to labour. But how I felt, how I physically had to react, was the same. All I could do was wait and let my body deal with it. Just go with the flow, in discomfort and pain, but knowing it would all end. It probably sounds quite trite to compare the two but it really did bring lots of memories flooding back.

The thought of going through birth again, either at home or in a hospital, is pretty scary to me. I wonder if it’s true when they say that your mind forgets what it’s really like so you go through it again? I think I do forget, then things like having my sister give birth or having a headache bring it all flooding back. We’re a long way off even beginning to think about having another baby so I guess I have plenty of time to blur my memories….

Does it feel different as you approach your second labour? More scared about it the second time round? More confident that you can do it? How did you feel?

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5 Responses to “Thinking about birth”

  1. The Contented? Maybe Says:

    I’ve just re-read your birth story, which I’ve found hugely reassuring, as I too am planning a homebirth for my first baby. I realise it was very painful, and you must have been anxious about the need for the episiotomy, but I was just wondering in what way the birth was very different from what you had been expecting? Was it the level of pain, or – as you suggest – the need to give in to your body’s natural processes and trust it would (eventually!) come to an end?
    Do you think you’ll plan for a homebirth second time around?
    I really appreciate blogs like yours; thanks again for sharing your story. I hope others who’ve experienced labour a second time are able to allay your fears.

    • jenmum Says:

      Glad you found my birth story useful – sorry if this post seems a little negative. I’m still a strong supporter of home birth and the right to choose it and would probably opt for home birth again next time around. Having two wonderful midwives all to myself, not having to make the trip into hospital, being in my own environment, not to mention having our first night together as a family in our own home. All reasons why I’m really glad I made the home birth decision.

      In terms of what was different to my expectations…. I was ready to ‘expect the unexpected’ but had prepared for a fairly active birth and envisaged myself being quite physically active during labour, eg yoga, water. I’d imagined being able to be quite mobile between contractions, particularly early on. However Bub was back to back which meant my pain was continuous and all in my lower back (I never had braxton hicks and never once in the whole labour felt a thing in the front of my bump!) It wasn’t as I’d expected and I found I had no inclination to move at all. The pain was difficult but was ultimately manageable with the pain relief I had available. You are right that I had to let my body go with it, it was much easier once I zoned out a bit (during and after the nap I had about 7 hours in.)

      You can see my birth plan here and see that I’d hoped for a water birth, with no episiotomy, and for a natural third stage. Although none of these things happened I wasn’t that bothered either at the time or afterwards. Everything to do with the episiotomy happened so quickly that I didn’t really have time to think about it and didn’t care, I just wanted my son to be born asap. Looking back I am not disappointed about how things went at all, despite previous strong feelings. Shows that you can prepare but ultimately you won’t know how you will feel or how things may go.

      Hope this is helpful – and good luck with your own home birth!

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  3. sheridan Says:

    I had a 36 hour horror story with baby 1, ending in forceps and shoulderstraps, almost a hospital suing. Baby 2 followed 15 months later, and it was so easy I ignored it and played in the sandpit with son until the last minute. Daughter was born 4 minutes after being fireman lifted out of the car into the nearest room, after 2 easy pushes! I had been so terrified about it, after the horrid first experience, I hadn’t really believed i’d been in full labour! I actually almost enjoyed it. (weird)

    • jenmum Says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry to hear about your awful first experience. Thank goodness your second went well. I guess having had one birth in a certain way is no reflection on what may happen the second time – good or bad.

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