It was not an easy pregnancy. While the pregnancies of our older son (8) and of our daughter (2) were harder on me emotionally, this time it was the opposite – emotionally I seemed to be at my best, but physically not so much. I won’t go into detail, but I will give an example to illustrate.
When I was about three months pregnant I woke up in the middle of the night bleeding heavily, and when I got to the bathroom the entire floor was soon covered with blood. We rushed to the hospital thinking I was having a miscarriage, but the ultrasound showed the baby was (thank God!) 100% fine. I had been having excruciating abdominal pain for the previous three days – first suspected to be appendicitis and then a plethora of other maladies – and to this day I have no idea what caused the pain or the bleeding.
And so it went. Every week there was a different problem, the fortunate constant being that the baby was always fine. I tried alternative and allopathic doctors and treatments and spent a small fortune on professionals that were not covered by our health insurance. In the end nothing really worked, and I just prayed I would be feeling well at least on the day I went into labor.
I also began to seek out psychological and spiritual help and finally, after a family constellation and a few sessions of acupuncture (or perhaps because of the sum of everything I had tried before), I had about three weeks of peace before the baby was born, where all I felt was extreme fatigue.
I don’t know if it was because of all of the health problems I underwent or for some other secret emotional reason, but even though this was the third time I was having a baby, it was also the time I was feeling most scared.
Scared, in fact, is an understatement. I was absolutely terrified. As the delivery date approached, I would wake up in the middle of the night afraid to get up and go to the bathroom thinking my water would break, which is how all of my labor processes began.
The funny thing was that the fear was of the pain. That had not been a major issue in the past. Of course there is always fear of the pain, but in my other pregnancies my greatest fears were of tearing, having to go to the hospital, being put on stirrups, etc. (our son was born of an emergency C-section after an attempted homebirth, while our daughter was born at home, in a wonderful water birth).
In practice, this is what happened. I was at home one Friday afternoon with our two kids when I realized I was probably losing my mucous plug. I called my husband and the midwife, but I didn’t really think it would be that day.
Several days before I had decided to set up an altar of sorts next to our bathtub, where I expected to labor. Everyone contributed with something, and in the end there was a panel with our names, prayers and other texts of several origins – from catholic to shamanic, inspiring images , a figurine of Our Lady of Good Birth and so on. The most interesting contribution was that of our son – after a lot of thought he brought me a rune (Thurisaz) that he had received during a special activity at school.
Our son, who knows quite a bit about birthing for his age, overhead me talking to my husband about the mucous plug and became ecstatic with the possibility of his awaited baby brother being born soon (he has been asking for a baby brother since he was three!). That night our daughter didn’t give me much trouble to sleep, and shortly after our son and I were reading together. Our reading session, however, didn’t last long. The girl woke up crying and asking to breastfeed –she rarely woke up like that anymore, especially so early in the night.
It’s funny how kids often give us little signs. This happened very often with our son when I was pregnant with our daughter. First it seemed like he knew I was pregnant before I myself did and on the day I ended up going into labor he (who is not the kind of kid who makes me drawings) handed me a drawing of myself naked with my arms and legs stretched as if about to give someone a huge hug.
This time, earlier that day our daughter had poked me several times in the afternoon to show me how she was scrunching up her face, closing her fists and making an “umpf!!!” sound, as if pushing. However, differently from our son, she is only two and had never seen or knew much about babies being born.
Breastfeeding her had become more and more uncomfortable over the past three months because of the increasingly painful contractions it caused. Fortunately she fed two or three times at night, at most, and once during the day before her nap. This time I felt no contractions, but something else happened. While I was lying with her in bed my water broke. I looked at the clock – 8:52 p.m.
I don’t remember another time in my life when I had felt so much panic. A fear so irrational took over me it felt like I had become another person.
Can you recall how you dealt with fear while pregnant? And, look out for the next part of my Brazilian birth story on World Moms Blog!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor in Brazil, Ecoziva.
Photo credit to Digital Dei. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.