One week and five days until the due date of my fourth child.
Have we been preparing for this?
We've been remodeling and rearranging a house. We've been going back to school. Dealing with a teething almost one year old. Cuddling with the most cuddle-craving two year old I've ever met. Preparing for a birthday party. Trying to nap, rest, just sit down!
Do I have my birthday cake picked out? No.
Do we have names picked out? No.
Do we have the homebirth supplies assembled? No.
Do we have the bassinet set up? Newborn clothes out of the basement? Diapers purchased?
No. No. And no.
This kid better not come early.
But more than not being physically ready, I just don't feel ready.
I've been too busy with life to think about another person joining our family, and when I finally did, all I could think of was the labor and delivery.
I was not afraid going into L's birth. I felt confident in my body and its ability to do what it needed to do. I also felt confident in my midwife and husband, and their abilities to comfort and support me through the labor.
That labor lasted for 21 hours and included lots of back labor.
I was not afraid for Ben's birth. I knew what I had done for L and felt like I could do it again. I also was reassured by the general rule that second labors are shorter than first. And I loved the care I was given by my midwife and her assistants during L's birth. I knew that being at home was a great option and I relished in the care, attention and comfort.
That labor lasted for 17 hours. Pushing was difficult and B's shoulders were stuck after his head was born.
For the first time, I feel nervous about giving birth. I'm a bit scared of another long labor and another big baby. I feel worn out from being the mother of two small kids and when I picture hours of pain I don't know if I can do it. The confidence I once felt in my body's ability to birth naturally - heck to just give birth! - has diminished. I've forgotten how to trust my body. When I think of an epidural (no pain!) I want to go straight to the hospital.
I won't, though. I won't go to the hospital. Because the epidural - which isn't even a 100% guarantee of a painless birth - isn't enough to negate all the perks of a home birth.
Bernice as my midwife.
Not having to fight for what I want.
Being home, in my own bed, cuddling with my whole family.
Smelling my birthday cake as it bakes, knowing it's waiting for me.
No transitioning from home to hospital and back again.
I'm sure to those who have never given birth at home this list seems silly. But I assure you they are not. They are wonderful things. Things that helped make my birthing experiences very good experiences.
But I'm still a little worried about this whole L&D thing.
So do me a favor, would you please? If you are a home (or natural) birther, remind me that I can do it. Cheer me on. And PLEASE pray for a labor that lasts ten hours - at most!
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