Your childbirth fears and how to face them

Bbaywavy, I do think pregnancy is amazing - a miracle and a blessing. Every time baby moves in me, I smile and am so grateful and happy. I want this, and I chose this. But I also find it stressful and at times, anxiety-inducing. I can't help how I feel, but I CAN help how I ACT on my feelings and how I deal with them, which is what I'm trying to do.

And I am not in any way concerned about my husband's reaction to weight gain and vaginal tone. I agree with what you said that we are married and he knows I am bearing our child and he would never judge or reject me for that. It's about me and how it makes ME feel and what is important to me, like Munchy said.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











oh and as a totally ridiculous fact, I remember reading up somewhere that the pregnancies you carry and the # of years you nurse all add up to lowering your risk of breast cancer (and possible other types of female cancers just can't remember). Apparently the reduced hormones during that time is a built in safety measure for the femal body.

So there ya go - at least one benefit. You guys are first time birth moms at this point and I can totally see it being hard to see the benefits of pregnancy and having a child but I promise you that you will "get it". So hard to put into words but honestly I've seen almost everyone I know make a change for the better as parents and the ones that didn't were just total deadbeats before having kids anyway. :P
Thanks for sharing, Munchy. I think that was brave of you. Everyone is supposed to think that pregnancy is wonderful and fabulous and very few people really share their negative feelings. But not everyone enjoys it. Some people hate being pregnant, but they still make wonderful mothers.
It's OK to not like it, it's OK to be scared.
You might want to address some of your feelings and fears with your health provider and possibly a counselor. Because the first few months with a mew baby are really really tough, what with the sleep deprivation, the hormones. You want as much help and support as you can get going in.
As far as your vagina never being the same, start doing those Kegels. Do them lots and lots, every day. Ask your provider about their episiotomy rates and what they do to protect the perineum during delivery. Look up perineal massage and start doing it in your last month or so.
As far as being a different person, I am a different person and I am the same person at the same time. I think I am a better person. I don't think you automatically get a sloppy set of sweatpants that you must wear when you become a mom. If something is really important to you, you will find time and make time for it even after you have a baby (maybe not in the first three or 4 months) and if it's not important to you then you won't really miss it.
To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
I was also really worried about stretch marks, loose skin, saggy breasts and a loose vagina....all until I saw those first stretch marks pop up one day and I realized that I really had no control over what my body was going to do. Plus, all of it seems so inconsequential when you have this sweet newborn in your arms. And then you bring him/her home and are struggling with how to figure out breastfeeding and not getting much sleep...and the idea of actually worrying about your stretch marks or vagina is the farthest thing from your mind. Your mindset completely changes once you have a child and the worries that you once had will honestly seem pretty silly when you have this new little helpless baby in your life. You just won't be as selfish as you once were.

Not to say you have to totally let yourself go once you have a baby, but you will have lots of other things to worry about, contemplate, and obsess about. Stretch marks will probably be the least of them.
Thanks for sharing, Munchy. I think that was brave of you. Everyone is supposed to think that pregnancy is wonderful and fabulous and very few people really share their negative feelings. But not everyone enjoys it. Some people hate being pregnant, but they still make wonderful mothers.
It's OK to not like it, it's OK to be scared.
Originally Posted by geeky
Thank you. I contemplated not saying anything, but thought I would share anyway. Thanks for not attacking me - I truly want to love being pregnant but this anxiety is difficult to get over.
Venting turned into a full-fledged emotional outpouring to my boss (who I'm very close to). She has mentioned many of the same issues when she was trying to conceive and some of the individuality concerns I have.

I have asked my midwife for a counselor, made an appointment, then chickened out last minute. I feel bad, but I wasn't ready. When you have body image issues you already place too much emphasis on your looks. It doesn't magically go away when being pregnant, but it can intensify with all of the changes.

Thank you for reminding me of the positive aspects of pregnancy. As little as they seem, they make this a little easier for me.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying being pregnant is all puppies and rainbows. I totally get the feelings of being huge, and uncomfortable, and wanting to be back to your pre-pregnant size. Trust me, I'm feeling so completely irritable and cranky that I want to slap everyone who talks to me, just because.

And I understand the fear of not losing weight, or getting back into shape after being pregnant. But most of this other stuff is going to happen. You're probably going to get stretch marks, and your vagina is going to look different, as is most of you - but these are things that you have to condition yourself to be PROUD of. You didn't become this way for nothing. You have these battle scars, and signs of the fact that you've given life to something else.

Men are going to get big bellies, and saggy faces, and lose their hair, and for what? They didn't bear no child!!
~ the artist formerly known as babywavy ~

Please excuse any typos. For the time being, we are blaming it on my computer.
Go see the counselor, sweetie. The worst that will happen is you will have wasted an hour and need never see him/her again. On the other hand, it could really help you feel better and deal with your feelings.
HUGS.
To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
Also wanted to share that I was very heavy before, and I had struggled and lost 50lbs before I started dating my husband. I totally loved my body, and the size I was. When I became pregnant, at the end I weighed exactly what I did when I was my heaviest. After delivery, I had to work on losing 30lbs, and I was so frustrated b/c I felt like I had already done this, and it wasn't fair that I had to go through it again.

Now I'm thinking about how I have to go through it yet AGAIN - but I'm determined to make it work, and at least get close to my pre-preg weight, but I don't expect any miracles.
~ the artist formerly known as babywavy ~

Please excuse any typos. For the time being, we are blaming it on my computer.
Munchy I agree with Geeky - make the appt with the counselor. I think God puts everything in our path for a reason and believe me I worked through a ton of my own issues & crap with the raising of my own kids.

Hope all goes well.
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The childbirth part isn't something I've paid much attention to when thinking about/discussing having children. The thought of the IV terrifies me. I've worried more over the thought of something that size coming out of me than I have the fact that there will be a needle stuck in my arm if I give birth at a hospital. I know that it's not a big deal in the whole scheme of things, but I have an irrational fear over needles. I'm fine with a shot, but once I almost decided not to have surgery done (it was elective) because of general anesthesia (mainly the needle part). I only got to see the needle in my arm for a short time before I was out, but waking up with that needle in my arm was a horrible experience. I'm not a sissy when it comes to pain at all. I often wait out headaches rather than take aspirin. I know the pain isn't comparable, but I can still have drugs without the IV, right?

So, tell me about water births. I have a couple of questions that may sound silly. Is the whole lower half of your body in water? If so, the baby is surfaced immediately so it's not coughing up water, right? I've never heard of water births before. Do birthing centers offer this, or do you go to a special center? Can you have your doctor or OBGYN there? Speaking of that, I have an OBGYN that does my PAP smears. But, I'm more comfortable with my regular MD. The OB is ok, but she delivered a co-worker's granddaughter, and they weren't happy with her (the OB, not the granddaughter). The hospital is known for being pretty crummy, and I'd like to be taken to a hospital in Minneapolis (many people in our town do this). Since my OB and MD both belong to clinics that are a part of the hospital here, would I be able to have one of them with me if I deliver up there? Sorry for the questions, but I'd like to have some of this thought out before actually conceiving.
The thought of the IV terrifies me. I've worried more over the thought of something that size coming out of me than I have the fact that there will be a needle stuck in my arm if I give birth at a hospital. I know that it's not a big deal in the whole scheme of things, but I have an irrational fear over needles. I'm fine with a shot, but once I almost decided not to have surgery done (it was elective) because of general anesthesia (mainly the needle part). I only got to see the needle in my arm for a short time before I was out, but waking up with that needle in my arm was a horrible experience. I'm not a sissy when it comes to pain at all. I often wait out headaches rather than take aspirin. I know the pain isn't comparable, but I can still have drugs without the IV, right?
Originally Posted by CurlyMireya
If you get an epidural you will have to get an IV. I don't know whether or not it's required with narcotic injections, most likely it is. If you give birth in a birthing center or at home without pain meds you will not get an IV. You can also refuse one at the hospital if you deliver without pain meds. Depending on the policies of your hospital and birth attendant, this may be easy or almost impossible to achieve

So, tell me about water births. I have a couple of questions that may sound silly. Is the whole lower half of your body in water? If so, the baby is surfaced immediately so it's not coughing up water, right?
Originally Posted by CurlyMireya
It's in a big bathtub. Depending on how deep the tub is, you might be in the water all the way up to your chest. While the baby is still attached to the umbilical cord, that is how it gets its oxygen. It is in amniotic fluid while it is inside you, so being in water is no different. After the baby comes out and the cord is cut, it starts breathing air.

Do birthing centers offer this, or do you go to a special center? Can you have your doctor or OBGYN there?
Originally Posted by CurlyMireya
Some birthing centers offer this, but not all. Some hospitals offer this also (though it;'s not common). If the hospital where your doctor has privileges offers this and your doctor is OK with the practice then you can have your doctor attend.

Speaking of that, I have an OBGYN that does my PAP smears. But, I'm more comfortable with my regular MD. The OB is ok, but she delivered a co-worker's granddaughter, and they weren't happy with her (the OB, not the granddaughter). The hospital is known for being pretty crummy, and I'd like to be taken to a hospital in Minneapolis (many people in our town do this). Since my OB and MD are both belong to clinics that are a part of the hospital, would I be able to have one of them with me if I deliver up there?
Originally Posted by CurlyMireya
Doctor's can't just go to whatever hospital they want to. Each doctor is affiliated with and has privileges at one or a couple of hospitals. So if you want to be cared for by a particular doctor, you will need to deliver your baby at one of their hospitals. If you want to deliver at a particular hospital, then you need to pick a doctor that delivers at that hospital. Unless your regular MD regularly attends births, they won't be with you when you deliver. I guess it can't hurt to ask whether he or she does attend births, though. You have nothing to lose.
If you are not happy with your OB/GYN by all means find a new one that you are happier with, preferably before you are even pregnant. I think it's best to get all prenatal care from the person who will be delivering the baby, so you get to know each other and build a rapport and get some continuity of care.
To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 943
Thanks for your answers, geeky. It's not that I dislike my OBGYN. She's personable, thorough and makes sure that I'm comfortable during the exam. My co-worker said that she'd given her daughter-in-law inducing drugs and didn't check back with her for a long time. I have no idea how it works, but they were under the assumption that she'd be checked on regularly instead of being left there for hours. I personally don't have any problems with her other than she always seems to be on maternity leave. Her son was 5 months old at my last gyno appt., and she told me she was breast pumping in b/w appointments. I don't know how that works, either, but she was in a real hurry and I could tell was pre-occupied. She's Catholic, from a huge family, and I'm guessing will want more kids since she only has 2 with her current husband (2 with her ex). I have no problem with that, but I hesitate to go through a pregnancy with an OBGYN who has two very young children and appears to be overstressed whenever I see her (granted that is not very much). I've seen another OBGYN in the clinic when she was on maternity leave, and technically I think I'm just a patient of the clinic, not a particular doctor. They ask me if I have a preference on who I want to see when I call for an appt., and I usually say her because that's who I was put with for my first PAP smear. I've done some asking around, and most people prefer her to the others in the clinic. The other OBGYN I went to was gruff and really nervous-acting. I need to find out more about the city hospitals - I used to work with a few people who had their babies there, but have lost contact with them.
My family doctor who does my prenatal care has 4 young children. I don't see it as a bad thing - I think she can relate to pregnant women because she's been through it herself.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











The thought of the IV terrifies me. I've worried more over the thought of something that size coming out of me than I have the fact that there will be a needle stuck in my arm if I give birth at a hospital. I know that it's not a big deal in the whole scheme of things, but I have an irrational fear over needles. I'm fine with a shot, but once I almost decided not to have surgery done (it was elective) because of general anesthesia (mainly the needle part). I only got to see the needle in my arm for a short time before I was out, but waking up with that needle in my arm was a horrible experience. I'm not a sissy when it comes to pain at all. I often wait out headaches rather than take aspirin. I know the pain isn't comparable, but I can still have drugs without the IV, right?
Originally Posted by CurlyMireya
If you get an epidural you will have to get an IV. I don't know whether or not it's required with narcotic injections, most likely it is. If you give birth in a birthing center or at home without pain meds you will not get an IV. You can also refuse one at the hospital if you deliver without pain meds. Depending on the policies of your hospital and birth attendant, this may be easy or almost impossible to achieve
Originally Posted by geeky
Yep, you need an IV with drugs. Epidurals can cause dangerous drops in blood pressure, which can be life threatening, so the IV gives fluids to prevent that.

What exactly are you afraid of with the IV? Do you know the needle doesn't stay in your arm the whole time?

Banned
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 943
The thought of the IV terrifies me. I've worried more over the thought of something that size coming out of me than I have the fact that there will be a needle stuck in my arm if I give birth at a hospital. I know that it's not a big deal in the whole scheme of things, but I have an irrational fear over needles. I'm fine with a shot, but once I almost decided not to have surgery done (it was elective) because of general anesthesia (mainly the needle part). I only got to see the needle in my arm for a short time before I was out, but waking up with that needle in my arm was a horrible experience. I'm not a sissy when it comes to pain at all. I often wait out headaches rather than take aspirin. I know the pain isn't comparable, but I can still have drugs without the IV, right?
Originally Posted by CurlyMireya
If you get an epidural you will have to get an IV. I don't know whether or not it's required with narcotic injections, most likely it is. If you give birth in a birthing center or at home without pain meds you will not get an IV. You can also refuse one at the hospital if you deliver without pain meds. Depending on the policies of your hospital and birth attendant, this may be easy or almost impossible to achieve
Originally Posted by geeky
Yep, you need an IV with drugs. Epidurals can cause dangerous drops in blood pressure, which can be life threatening, so the IV gives fluids to prevent that.

What exactly are you afraid of with the IV? Do you know the needle doesn't stay in your arm the whole time?
Originally Posted by iris427
I don't know. It's an irrational fear. It's hard for me to believe that people don't freak out about having a needle stuck in their arm. How long do they keep the needle in during labor? I don't mind a quick shot, but when I was having bloodwork done and the nurse had to fill four vials, I was in tears, and could hardly sit still. If I had to lie there with an IV in my arm, I'd probably pass out. I also don't like the idea of my body being pumped full of drugs. I want to be aware and alert as much as possible.

How much pain relief does the epidural give? During every birth I've witnessed, the woman is screaming in bloody agony. I can only imagine how they'd be without the drugs, but we all have different pain thresholds. People couldn't believe that I had three impacted wisdom teeth pulled, and took no pain meds except Advil. I had a script for Vicodin but didn't want it because pain meds make me nauseous. It hurt like hell the second and third days, but I dealt with it. Women have had babies for centuries without IVs and pain meds, so I feel confident that I can do it, too. I'd feel more comfortable in a hospital, but not if I have to have an epidural.
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So, tell me about water births. I have a couple of questions that may sound silly. Is the whole lower half of your body in water? If so, the baby is surfaced immediately so it's not coughing up water, right? I've never heard of water births before. Do birthing centers offer this, or do you go to a special center? Can you have your doctor or OBGYN there?
Originally Posted by CurlyMireya
if you have cable, there's a show called house of babies on discovery health channel. It's a show about a miami birthing center run by a midwife. They show quite a few waterbirths. It seems like birthing centers have a fancy schmancy jacuzzi or birthing tub. For my home birth I purchased a la bassine tub http://madeinwater.co.uk/pool.html and a new hose. Fiance has an ozonater to help purify the water. Supposedly the "used" birth water is good for fertilizing the garden.

The 2 other people I know who had home births purchased kiddie pools, although both ended up delivering on dry land. What geeky said about the baby not drowning is accurate.

I personally have no preference - water or land. I just want whatever's more comfortable. I think fiance is leaning towards waterbirth though.
My fears:
~Something will be wrong with the baby
~I wont love the baby (which I doubt could happen, but would be the worst thing I can imagine)
~I will poop on the table and I don't want people seeing my poop (which is totally stupid b/c it is no worse than anythign else they will be seeing)
~I wont be able to take the pain and will just pass out
~That the baby will be early and my husband will still be n Iraq and will miss it
~That I will go into labor on the airplane to Japan
A closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose.

"...you could have a turd on your head and no one would notice."~Subbrock

"I had an imaginary puppy, but my grandpa ate him."~Bailey

What exactly are you afraid of with the IV? Do you know the needle doesn't stay in your arm the whole time?
Originally Posted by iris427
I don't know. It's an irrational fear. It's hard for me to believe that people don't freak out about having a needle stuck in their arm. How long do they keep the needle in during labor? I don't mind a quick shot, but when I was having bloodwork done and the nurse had to fill four vials, I was in tears, and could hardly sit still. If I had to lie there with an IV in my arm, I'd probably pass out. I also don't like the idea of my body being pumped full of drugs. I want to be aware and alert as much as possible.

How much pain relief does the epidural give? During every birth I've witnessed, the woman is screaming in bloody agony. I can only imagine how they'd be without the drugs, but we all have different pain thresholds. People couldn't believe that I had three impacted wisdom teeth pulled, and took no pain meds except Advil. I had a script for Vicodin but didn't want it because pain meds make me nauseous. It hurt like hell the second and third days, but I dealt with it. Women have had babies for centuries without IVs and pain meds, so I feel confident that I can do it, too. I'd feel more comfortable in a hospital, but not if I have to have an epidural.
Originally Posted by CurlyMireya
Let me explain how IVs and epidurals work. When you get blood drawn, they keep the needle in the whole time and it's painful. An IV is not like that.

With an IV, they put a needle in your vein and use that to put a small tube into your vein. Then they take the needle out and tape the tube down to your skin. You shouldn't feel it after that. The medicine goes in through the tube and the amount can be easily adjusted. Also, if they have to give you additional meds later, they don't have to stick you again--it just goes in the IV tube. You are not sitting around with a needle in your arm.

Epidurals work the same way, except it goes into your spine, not your vein.

Pain relief depends. Some women don't feel anything with an epidural. Some women still experience a fair amount of pain. Sometimes they will be numb in some areas and not in others. And epidurals don't get rid of pressure, which can be quite intense as the baby moves down.

Also, most of the labors and deliveries I've been present for did not involve any screaming. Including unmedicated ones.

I did a lot of moaning and groaning before my epi - but I was too early to be screaming in pain. Screaming in pain doesn't get you anywhere no matter what point of labor you're at. If you plan on doing it w/o drugs, you really need to center yourself to a point where you can focus on something else, b/c screaming, tensing up, and trying to move away from the pain is going to make it worse.

And yes, I did feel that if that many women did it before me w/o meds, than I could do. I changed my tune once I was admitted in there!

The IV and Epidural? What IV and Epidural? Honestly, there is SO much going on in so many other places, the IV and the EPI were the LAST things I felt. I don't even think I remember feeling him put it in, but I know I didn't feel it after it was in. I don't even remember getting, or having the IV, although I do know I had one.

The Epi made me totally numb from the waist down. I had absolutely no feeling. I couldn't feel my butt, so it felt like I was sitting on an air cushion. At one point I dropped my hand down, and felt it hit something, and I was like 'what was that?', so I had to check under my blanket, and it was my leg.

Even though I didn't feel any pain, I could still feel twinges, and pressure of contractions. I still felt the pressure and urge to push, so I was in control of that, and I felt her pop out of my pelvis. They shut off the epi right before you deliver, so I laid there a little over an hour before they let me get up and go to the bathroom.

Oh, another fyi for you first timers. After you deliver, some weird stuff is going to be falling out of you. I'm talking some big weird stuff. At one point I said to the nurse "I have some pretty big clots coming out of me, I suppose that's normal huh?" and she said "how big, like fist sized?" I was like, holy crap, if I had a fist sized clot fall out of my I'd have a friggin heart attack - but I guess it's not unusual. There was also some *ahem* tissue of some sort that expelled from that area a couple of days after I got home. It was quite unpleasant, and totally freaked me out, but I guess that was normal as well.
~ the artist formerly known as babywavy ~

Please excuse any typos. For the time being, we are blaming it on my computer.
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Iris - I know how it works. I've had an IV before. I think of the tube and needle as the same thing. It's the object in my arm that matters more to me than the needle itself. What I want to know is, how long do they keep it in your arm (the whole business)? Because I was under the impression that they kept the tube in the whole time. No nevermind, I don't want to know. Talking about this is making me ill! Things affect different people in different ways. I hate hospitals and a hospital birth does not appeal to me at all, personally - I don't think of birth as a surgical procedure, and having a baby outside of the hospital setting just sounds more natural. If I can have my doctor/OBGYN there, and keep in mind that I will be taken to the hospital if need be, I'll feel much more comfortable.

WJ - Thanks, that show sounds really cool! I'm going to check it out.

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