The magic of hormones
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to some friends/colleagues after work, who were questioning me about the bump and the birth. I talked a bit about what a mixed experience the first birth was – I had a blissful epidural for the first 10 hours, but it ran out at the end. I then threw up and passed out when the pain came back, then I lost a litre of blood after Theo was born. Not ideal, I suppose*. They looked fairly shocked – I’ve been back at work for a year, and I do consider them friends and find them very easy to talk to, but I haven’t really talked to them about the birth. I’m not sure if I sold in the whole birth thing as a good idea. But here’s the thing – when they asked me about the next one, I told them the truth: I am really, really looking forward to it.
That’s crazy, isn’t it? But it’s true. Theo’s birth involved forceps and stitches and there was no calming music or warm birth pool. It wasn’t my dream birth at all. I went to some post-natal NCT classes, and basically used them as post-traumatic stress group therapy sessions to work through how I felt about the whole thing.
But as time has passed, I’ve forgotten the pain. Our antenatal NCT classes weren’t the best, but I do remember one thing that the teacher said, and which has stuck with me. It’s impossible to remember what pain feels like. You might be able to remember that you were in a lot of pain, but if you try and summon up those sensations in your body, you can’t do it. All I can remember is that most of the birth was pain-free and happy, with Peter and I chatting to our midwives while we waited for my body to become dilated. And I remember Theo being placed on my chest when he first came out. And I remember feeding him on a wheelchair as they moved me to the recovery ward. And these memories are all incredibly positive. Maybe (/definitely) it’s my pregnancy hormones kicking in, but the knowledge that I gave birth to this baby who is now a little boy with such a strong personality all of his own makes me feel amazing, and proud, and happy, and excited for the next one.
Who knows what will happen this time around. The midwife has warned that my first birth was very quick, and that my second is likely to be quicker, so there may be no time for an epidural. I’ve started listening to hypnotherapy audio tapes as an alternative to help me manage my stress levels when labour kicks in. That may not help whatsoever. I have no idea. I might need to be induced. The labour might be a nightmarish 3 days long. It’s impossible to predict how it will go. But as long as the end result is a mum and child, both intact and reasonably healthy, then I can’t wait for it to happen.
*Understatement! If you want to read the full birth story, I wrote it up for Cathryn, here.