Thursday, July 20, 2006

Say a Little Prayer

I’m starting to get a little scared. Not of the things I was scared of when I was nearing the end of pregnancy with Julia. What were those things, anyway? Having my water break at the office, or in some other embarrassing situation (I was doing a lot of public speaking back then). Having labor begin and not knowing it until too late (ha! ha ha ha ha!). Not being able to handle the pain of childbirth (even though I planned on, and ultimately received, an epidural). Having labor go so fast I wouldn’t be able to GET an epidural even though I wanted one (HA HA HA HA HA HA!).

No, this time, with all my ongoing pelvic discomfort and Braxton-Hicks contractions, I am scared of going into labor early, before the C-section date, and without anyone here to take care of Julia. I am terrified this baby isn’t going to hold out until the end. Every day I suspect my body of starting some precocious little plan, and I don’t know what to make of any of it. That heavy feeling in my pelvis, different from how I felt at 9 months pregnant with Julia: unpleasant pregnancy side effect, or the baby launching her journey prematurely? Those twinges and tightenings: harmless “practice” contractions, or the start of the real thing? The anxiety is killing me, and only because I’ve already got a child—a very vulnerable, young, timid child—who depends on me, on us, being here for her every hour of the day. If it were just Christopher and me, I wouldn’t care. (Well, come to think of it, if it were just Christopher and me, I wouldn’t have the wisdom and experience to not care. But at least I’d only have my own emotional health to consider, rather than living with the terrible maternal love-pain where you care more about your child than you do about your own self.)

It just seems so unlikely to me that everything will go according to plan, with Christopher and me heading to the hospital in the early dawn of August 25th, my mom safely at our house caring for Julia in her expert way, no desperate middle-of-the-night calls to various friends in an attempt to find a sitter, no heartache over the idea of how scared Julia would be to awaken to find an unfamiliar adult answering her calls rather than Mama or Daddy. [Some background information: we're still new enough in town to not have super-close friends here to count on for emergency babysitting, and the one college-age sitter we have forged a relationship with is traveling in Latin America for the summer.] Maybe the easy execution of the plan seems unlikely because of how NOT according to plan everything went with Julia’s birth—when we weren’t even worried about any of the things that actually ended up happening. (In hindsight: I probably should have paid attention to the part of the childbirth class devoted to back labor.)

(It probably doesn't help that I just finished reading a library book about midwifery, which was fascinating but which showcased several clinical anecdotes involving second labors that whizzed by in, like, 45 minutes start to finish. Nothing like a few dramatic case studies of babies coming at breakneck speed to get a pregnant mama a little worked up about being alone and unprepared.)

I guess I don’t have a whole lot of faith in the system, whatever system it is that is running the show here. Can you blame me?


Jim said...

I seem to remember the story of Mayme, my aunt, who lived out in the boonies getting out on the road and hitching a ride to the hospital in a log truck when she, at home alone her husband being out at a logging camp, decided it was time to have the baby. On the way they might have stopped at the neighbors to have the lady there go and attend to the kids Aunt Mayme left at home. They all survived and lived happily ever after! So will you and Christopher and Julia and little sister!

Jim said...

And by the way you all are in my thoughts every day and I am sure there are many others who hold you dear and you are in their thoughts as well!

Shan said...

Thank you! And...good point (in your first comment)!!! I'll try to remind myself of these calm thoughts.

Donna said...

DITTO on the 'freak out.' Except you know that our concerns are different than yours - laboring too quickly (thank goodness I work next door to the hospital!), going into labor while my OB and pediatrician are out of town, not knowing where we'll be living(!)... We'll just have to hang in there! We're no longer in a race to see who delivers first, but who cuts it closer to getting their plans in place! Hang in there!

Shan said...

You said it, Donna! You hang in there too--what a crazy ride this is!