Monday, November 16, 2009


Everyone has fantasies. It's part of being human to imagine better things than one has, or just imagine things working out the way you want them to. It's just natural, although I'm sure some people fantasize more than others, we all know men too well to not know that.

My mom, growing up as an orphan, fantasized about what having a mother would be like. She imagined a best friend relationship between mother and daughter. And because she had a mom until she was 7 she had memories of the good times. I stood no chance in hell of living up to her fantasies. Even if I wasn't a stubborn, independent American kid, I could never be her best friend. Most kids aren't and shouldn't be their parent's best friends. She didn't hold my brother to that standard so she and he had a better relationship. I knew I was a failure in her eyes, or at least a disappointment, from early on.

She now has a fantasy that her new living place will be the place she belongs. Already, however, she is disillusioned. Already she is complaining about the food, the move, the people. Whatever.

My current fantasy is about childbirth. After my hellish c-section I mourned a positive birthing situation. I thought I had missed my only chance to have such a thing, I was stuck with this horrible memory and no breast feeding to boot. But then I got knocked up again magically. Here's my chance. I have been cleared for a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and so there's nothing to prevent a fresh new positive birthing experience.

But am I expecting too much? I am hoping to go all natural, but I will have restrictions. Because of the possibility of complications I am not allowed to labor at home at all. I will be monitored continuously, and if the kid doesn't come out by 42 weeks, its over, c-section is necessary, because they can't or wont stimulate labor for a VBAC. Too much risk of uterine rupture. (TMI I know, sorry.) So there is a possibility I wont get to do this my way. There will be some fighting I have to do to maintain control and keep the worriers at bay until I really need medical intervention, but I'm up for that.

But otherwise, if the kid comes on time, I'm free to do what I want. No meds? I'm crazy enough to hope for that. You hear all this positive about the euphoria of the natural hormones that get released when you do it without an epidural. And my last epidural was no walk in the park anyway, so I'd love to avoid that sucker. So I dream that I might be one of those strong people who can mentally tough it out through labor and find that dream like ending where you hold the baby in your arms and feel incredible and powerful and connected and so on and so forth. Am I fantasizing outside of the realm of possibility?

Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Maybe these stories of euphoria are from crazy ladies who do yoga and breathing exercises for a living and only eat organic whole raw foods and live green and compost in their back yards and raise worms in their garages and stuff? Do I stand a chance when I don't have a spare minute to even do the yoga part? And I am so not raising worms people. Don't care if I could save the world.

I haven't got my ego riding on not getting an epidural, but I've read it's better for the kid. I do have my ego riding on how tough I am though. I worry that I'll crack immediately under the pain. I worry that I'll break and then regret it later realizing I could have made it. I wish I could have some sort of birthing coach but that's a tough area. My hospital has banned doulas because they were interfering by giving medical advice. And I'm also insecure that once I get a birthing coach she may push me too hard to stay natural when I've decided I'm over it. How do I get one who is fine if I change my mind and chicken out? How do I get one that is allowed in by the hospital? Is it really necessary to have this person or can I just make my husband give me what I need?

It's not that I think the husband is incapable, but it's his first birth too. An experienced voice in the room who can tell me I'm doing well, where I am in the process, help me focus and reassure me that I'm making the right choices when faced by problems, seems like a good idea.

Anyway, I digress. I am most concerned that I'm setting myself up for disappointment again. The first few months of motherhood as a rule contain lots of "you're not perfect" moments already. I don't need to feel like my birthing process itself was a failure again. I want to give this kid the experience the first three didn't get. I want that good story. How do I keep my expectations grounded in reality rather than lost in fantasy? Anyone got a good book for me to read about that?


  1. I think you know where I stand on this one. While it's always nice when things go according to plan, the human body evolved by nearly accidental means over a few million years.

    No one would ever claim that our sinuses or our backs are perfect and can do whatever we want them to--why do we claim that our uteri are?

    Head size grew, and pelvic outlets shrank as we adopted upright posture. Sometimes, the babies spurt out without problems. Sometimes, they don't.

    I don't think anyone should get all upset if they had to have a section--they should be grateful the technology exists and their kids are healthy. Although I have nothing against the natural childbirth movement, I think they have gone too far, and encourage women to feel like failures if they have to have a section.

    So, by all means, give a VBAC a try. But if it doesn't work out, remind yourself that, unlike me, you will likely not have to have two or three surgeries to fix the damage from the vaginal deliveries.

    Wow, you are going to have your hands full, aren't you? I have four, too, but mine are nicely spaced at 2-3 years apart. Good luck with that.

  2. having 2 adopted kids I have no experience in this matter and can't advise either way,but I'm hoping that you have the baby before 42 weeks so that you can have more choice in how you have him/her rather than have to automatically have a C-section


  3. I had a successful VBAC 7 weeks ago. It IS possible to induce a VBAC, if you Dr agrees. They can use a catheter to start dialating your cervix, then break your water. No meds required. (sorry if TMI). I know this because this is what they did for me. I was 41 weeks, and baby wasn't coming on her own! I also managed to labour and deliver totally drug free! No labour coach, and hubby sat in a chair playing "tetris" most of the time! lol! AND, I am NOT a crazy yoga organic lady!
    I do not think you are setting your sights too high. Sometimes you have to push for what you want (literally - HAHA!), but also try to be prepared for the opposite to happen!
    Good luck! :)

  4. When pg w/ODD I had this amazing birthing plan all drawn up, trying for as all-natural as possible. Gave copies of it to the OB and the RN, and things went as planned for a while. But then they didn't, and I ended up w/an epidural, episiotomy, and a vacuum/forceps delivery. Moments later this warm, soft, beautiful person was in my arms, and not one bit of that birthing plan gone awry mattered. Things happen that you have little to no control over, and that stinks, but when all is said and done, all that really matters is that little person in your arms. Wishing you a safe, healthy delivery!

  5. It seems like you are on the right path of thinking so far. Aim for what you want, make a plan for it, but accept that things might not work out. The only part of this path you still need to walk is being OKAY mentally with the fact that things might not work as you plan. Keep your eyes on the ultimate prize: a beautiful healthy baby.

  6. Girl, I wanted the same thing and I am such a nerd so I read a TON of books. I have them and you can borrow them. (I know I know- I had no time or energy to read either, but I was scared so I read). The best thing I read was books with birth stories written by midwives. They are a bit repetitive, but it just tells you over and over that every birth is different and gives you a real life account of the entire process. My takeaway from all of those stories is that it is possible and people do it every day. I also wanted to go to a class with yoga and massage moves that you can do to ease labor pains. Two of my very yoga very bendy friends recommended it and I thought- no way, not for me. But then one of my totally not bendy, totally cynical friends also recommended it and said it was the only class she dragged her husband to because it taught him ways to help her that were not only about lamaze breathing. I was too late at this point to attend a class, but I had the teacher come to our house to give us a private lesson. Can I just say I wish I had taken the class in my first trimester so that my husband could have helped my back and hips with the massage pressure points during my entire pregnancy?! It is such a simple thing, but it literally made me feel like I had no more belly, no more weight on my hips or back. It was awesome. And I did not want to hire a doula because I just was not into it- felt like it would be me trying to listen to a stranger. Turns out my labor was so fast I didn't need either thing. I have lots of tips, but don't want to overwhelm you. Let me know if you want these books or if you want to meet for coffee sometime. Maybe I can bring you coffee.