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Old 04-04-2007, 12:53 PM   #1
 
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Default Your childbirth fears and how to face them

I can see on the going without meds thread on non-hair that a lot of people are afraid of the pain of labour. Geeky said on the med-free thread here that not being able to move was her greatest fear.

For me, I am not really afraid of the pain at all because I think I have handled strong pain often enough (maybe I'm just in denial?) and while I am a control freak and want to be able to move and so on, not being able to doesn't fill me with fear. MY biggest fear is being touched "down there." I HATE it. I have a lot of trouble with gyn exams and the like, so I really have not been touched there a whole lot, and my doctor (and everyone) keep saying "Just wait until you're having the baby - you'll get over it." But, I don't know if I will. I don't want any objects inside me for any length of time - I guess it's almost a phobia. And everyone else says "It's not a big deal", but it is to me, and it's embarassing because of that!

As it turns out, I MAY need an early C-section due to some potential complications seen on the ultrasound, and although I really want a natural birth (for all the reasons discussed here, plus I figure it means less touching) in some ways I am relieved because then wouldn't it be over and done with quicker and I wouldn't be able to feel it?

For those who were afraid of some aspect of childbirth, how did you face your fears? Any tips?
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:11 PM   #2
 
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Default Re: Your childbirth fears and how to face them

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amneris
"Just wait until you're having the baby - you'll get over it." But, I don't know if I will. I don't want any objects inside me for any length of time - I guess it's almost a phobia. And everyone else says "It's not a big deal", but it is to me, and it's embarassing because of that!
I don't want to minimize your fear, because I know it is valid, but from what I have heard, mot women do get over it when they are in active labor. I think it's a physiological/hormonal thing almost - you really don't care who sees what, you are in an altered state of being. My best friend told me that when she went into labor she was at home with her aunt, who is a nurse. Her aunt offered to check her dilation and at first she was like "No way, you are my aunt - it will be creepy" but a little later she said she did not care anymore and let her aunt check her, and wouldnot have cared if she had done it in front of the whole family.

You can also find a provider that will touch you minimally "down there" The internal exams are mostly pointless anyway. I think doctors do them just because they can and because women sort of expect them to. If you are considering a medically indicated induction and they want to evaluate your Bishop's Score so they can figure out your chances of it succeeding, then an internal exam makes sense. Other than that, it tells you absolutely nothing about how soon you will have your baby. I did not have a single internal exam before I went into labor (cause I did not think I was that close and my midwife did not insist). I had a couple during labor itself - one upon admission, one in the middle, one at the end to confirm that I was fully dilated. Knowing what I know now, I will probably refuse even those in labor next time around. I will know I am fully dilated when I feel the urge to push. So you can absolutely refuse an internal exam, or at least question whether and why it is necessary. You can also indicate that you do not wish to have any residents or unnecessary personnel present.

In general, for me the best way to get over my fears was to get as informed as possible about the things I feared, to find out what my options were and what I could control.
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:36 PM   #3
 
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Default Re: Your childbirth fears and how to face them

Quote:
Originally Posted by geeky

In general, for me the best way to get over my fears was to get as informed as possible about the things I feared, to find out what my options were and what I could control.
This is how it ended up working for me. I was scared in the beginning, but the closer I got to the end of the pregnancy, the more I was convinced that the baby HAD to come out somehow. I planned to go as far as I could without drugs, etc.
We found out ON my due date (with #1) that he was breech. Doctor scheduled my c-section. I think THAT was the very moment that I KNEW I wouldn't be able to control much about my labor/birth experience, and that all along I didn't have much control...if that makes sense. I am a HUGE control freak, so getting to that point was pretty big for me.

I was as informed as possible about NATURAL childbirth, but I failed to get more education about c-sections, as I was THAT convinced that I would NOT be having one. So, I had about a week to learn a bit more about them. It was pretty scary.
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:48 PM   #4
 
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I also forgot to say that working with a provider you genuinely trust and feel comfortable with is really important. I left my original OB because I just did not like his attitude. With the runaround I got from my insurance company (the second I said "midwife" they thought I was having a home birth and that they were not covering it at all, even though it was not a home birth and I had to be covered by law) it took me a while (I was into my second trimester) by the time I got to see my midwifery practice, but it was very much worth it. I trusted their experience and felt that I would be OK with one of them with me, no matter what happened.
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Old 04-04-2007, 02:01 PM   #5
 
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I have not yet met my obstetrician, because all my prenatals are with my family doctor, who will not be delivering me.
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Old 04-04-2007, 02:08 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amneris
I have not yet met my obstetrician, because all my prenatals are with my family doctor, who will not be delivering me.
I really recommend you meet the person that will be delivering you ASAPand start seeing them for appointments (unless it's different in Canada and you can't). You get to know him/her better. And they get to know you, build a rapport with you. Also find out what happens if the person delivering you is not on call when you go into labor. My ideal situation for a practice is a couple of doctors or midwives, you rotate between them for your prenatals so you get to know (and like) all of them, that way one of them is on call at all times and you don't get stuck with a random resident. I realize that's not possible for all people but that is one thing I looked for and will do so again.
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:39 PM   #7
 
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I agree that you should meet your OB ASAP. You really want them to meet you, and get to know you and your situation, so it's a bit more personal.


Also, not trying to minimize you, or anyone elses fears at all, but I didn't have any fears throughout my pregnancy when I thought of going into labor. I thought I would. I totally thought I would feel trapped, like there was only one way for this kid to come out, and I was scared to death of it, but I think the hormones took over, and I wasn't bothered by anything. Sure, I knew it was going to hurt (and it did) but I was expecting that.

By the time I was admitted into the hospital, I was just determined to go through it, and get it done the best I could. I pushed hard, and long, and never said anything like "I can't do this anymore!" or "take it out!"

I think my only fear was getting used to having this teeny tiny infant to take care of and get used to handling - but I also figured that between being in the hospital, and within my first week or so at home, I'd be pretty used to it.


The only thing that I'm nervous about this time has to do w/ my last hospital stay. In my chart w/ my OB I had admitted to previous drug use (recreational and obviously before the pregnancy). My OB was on vacation when I delivered, and a resident was in the room. Although the resident did not utter a word to me the entire time, she went over my chart, and decided to have a hissy fit about it, and ordered drug tests for me. When they asked me if they could drug test me, I said sure, since I knew I wasn't doing any drugs. Well, unbeknownst to me, this means they are allowed to drug test the baby, and it involved "bagging" the baby which in removal was pretty painful to the infant. And they hid it from me, and lied to me the whole time about it. Even though everything came out clean (there was no doubt), they told me they were required to order a social service consult w/ every test. So now I was required to talk to a social worker. Not to mention I had comments made to me from different people that they were under the impression that my husband and I were very young. The whole thing was absolutely obnoxious, and the fact that I was lied to throughout the whole thing made me feel so decieved, that I am a bit apprehensive about the hospital visit this time around.

Moral of the story is: remember growing up how you were always told that you could tell your doctor everything, and it is better to be honest b/c they have to know this stuff for your care? It's crap.
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:46 PM   #8
 
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Ouch, babywavy, that's horrible!

Geeky, the system in Canada allows for people to get their prenatal care with either their OB who will deliver the baby, a midwife, or their family doctor. We have a shortage of family doctors in this country so a lot of people don't have one and therefore have to see an OB. Midwives are hard to get and so are reserved more for high-needs pregnant women from lower socio-economic backgrounds. I've been seeing my family doctor, as seeing an OB earlier on is done more by people at high risk or with some kind of complications, special needs, over 35 etc. I think I will be seeing her in the third tri.

I did get to request who I want as an OB (by asking around/doctor's rec) and have been added to her list, and my doctor has talked to her about me and yes, I asked her to pass on my concerns about minimizing invasive tests, etc. and she said this OB is very good and understands that (I trust my doc.) The OB does work in a rotating practice, so it may not be HER that delivers me, unless I end up having to have the elective C, in which case I could probably schedule it to get her.
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Old 04-04-2007, 07:56 PM   #9
 
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Babywavy (at the hospital, not at you)

I think are required by law to have hissy fits about drugs. My Bradley teacher told us this story:

One of her clients got through a long and difficult labor without any meds. When it was over and she'd had her baby she said, joking "Now I could really go for a sandwich, a beer and a vial of crack". they took her baby away, got a social worker, did drug tests on both. She eventually did get it straightened out and got her baby back, but it was a hassle. So don't even joke about drugs.
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Old 04-04-2007, 08:39 PM   #10
 
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Ya, I learned you can't be as honest w/ medical professionals as I thought.

It's kind of ironic. My mother works in maternity, and she has people come in who have not had one bit of prenatal care, who have other children who have never seen a pediatrician, and they never want their baby out of the nursery the whole time, and nobody says boo. But say that you smoked a joint when you were a teenager, and they call social services on you.

Yes, it was a horrible situation, and it's unfortunate that it's all I think about when I reflect on the birth. Since then I've been married, so my last name changed, and we happened to change insurances. To be on the safe side I changed OB's, and made sure I delivered at a different hospital. And I'm STILL paranoid.
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Old 04-04-2007, 08:58 PM   #11
 
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I am THE most modest person in the world AND I like my personal space. I also had a section. Trust me when I tell you there is a LOT of touching and messing around "down there" even with a section so please don't let that be part of your decision making process. And with a section, you don't have the intensity of the birth to distract you. People are pretty much just there.

I was really afraid of birth but like someone else said, the further along I got the more I figured she had to come out somehow and I was not the first to have a baby...or even the first that day. Also, I watched someone else's home birth and it was like, OH *light blub* - it all just looked so right. And also gross, but still. It just made so much sense how we're put together to do that.

As for the modesty issue, for one thing - you have to just get it in your head that your business is nothing special to them. I have a few friends from HS who are gynos and they ended up in that field mostly because they managed to be good at putting people at ease. It's not like any of them started out wanting to see more lady business. They have seen bigger, smaller, weirder, then anything we have to offer.

Also, I had a great hospital staff. Every single person really respected that while they might have to be (oh how I hate to even talk about this) shaving me in a few minutes or checking down there, I still wanted privacy when it came to changing clothes or moving around. I guess when that's what you do, you get good at reading people. I have not one single complaint. EVERYONE was sooooo great that I did manage to just put everything aside and deal with it - it's their job. Even the after checks which looking back, I can't believe I didn't just DIE on the spot, but they were so matter-of-fact that it was so not a big deal.

I didn't believe anyone when they told me I wouldn't die of mortification but they were all right. While I am still not looking forward to my checkup next week, I am not losing sleep over it. It's their job, I have to go. No big. You just have to keep MAKING yourself not over react.
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Old 04-04-2007, 09:29 PM   #12
 
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CGNYC - that makes sense. It's not really about modesty since I don't care if they SEE me, I just care if they TOUCH me with objects (hands, not so bad.)

I'm not choosing a section because of that - I may HAVE to have one due to potential placenta previa/vasa previa. I would much prefer a vaginal, natural birth if I get the choice.
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Old 04-05-2007, 06:02 AM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geeky
Babywavy (at the hospital, not at you)

I think are required by law to have hissy fits about drugs. My Bradley teacher told us this story:

One of her clients got through a long and difficult labor without any meds. When it was over and she'd had her baby she said, joking "Now I could really go for a sandwich, a beer and a vial of crack". they took her baby away, got a social worker, did drug tests on both. She eventually did get it straightened out and got her baby back, but it was a hassle. So don't even joke about drugs.

That is so scary. And it drives me crazy b/c people can smoke through their whole pregnancy - which WILL have withdrawal effects on the baby - and nobody says anything about it.


As for your feelings of modesty, Amneris - it's possible you won't even be AWARE of people being down there The contraction are very bad, and they pretty much consume all your thoughts and feelings at that time. If you're in between contractions, you're so intent on relaxing for a minute before the next one comes, that you probably won't care if anyone is down there. I had an epidural, so I couldn't feel anything from my waist down, which meant although people were down there, I couldn't feel what was going on.

At that point I was so intent on getting that baby OUT, I didn't care what went on to make it happen.
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:03 AM   #14
 
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WARNING - this is an irrational but honest description of how I feel. I am excited for my child, but these are underlying feelings that I can't shake:

Well, I mentioned on the other thread that my two biggest fears are being pregnant and giving birth. I always wanted to be a mother, and never wanted to grow a child inside of me. Now, I don't really have a choice.

I am afraid that I will be someone else. I see so many mothers turn into "moms" with no independence from their child. They dress differently than they did before children, they act differently, etc. That really bugs me out. Who will I become if I'm not who I've known forever?
I am afraid of losing attractiveness. I don't want to be fat, I don't want stretch marks, and I don't want to be selfish about it either. It's so hard, because as someone who has battled weight her whole life, I am expected to gain weight over a short period of time and just be happy. Well, I can't. I never saw pregnant women and thought "aww" like many others do. I just don't have interest in pregnancy and labor.
I am afraid of the pain of labor. I don't want to do it at all. I secretly hope that I don't have to go through labor, and that I will need to have a c-section. I am also afraid and embarassed to have so many people looking at me in such a vulnerable state. I don't like people looking at my legs or feet, and it bothers me more than them seeing my vagina.
I am afraid that my vagina will never go back to the way it was. It will be stretched out and loose, and I will not be desired by my partner anymore.
I am afraid that I will be loose and flabby all over after having the child, and that I will never get back the body that I had. I will never be "hot" again, even if I try my hardest.
Most of all, I'm afraid that my post-pregnancy body will trigger a depression that leads to me being a bad mom.
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:08 AM   #15
 
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Munchy... since we're being honest, I also fear issues of weight gain, flab, stretch marks, stretched out vagina, loss of attractiveness etc. Especially since external looks are important in my line of work. I feel like my whole career will be on hold until I am back to my ideal weight.

I also fear becoming a different person and losing track of the things that are important to me.

I didn't even include those in my OP because I can't imagine that anyone DOES have solutions to them. I've been lucky on the weight gain thing - I'm eating well and exercising so I am only up 9 lbs 25 weeks in, but even those are torture!
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:15 AM   #16
 
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With my first child, I was terrified of the pain. It was emotionally overwhelming. I wish I had done more research and been better prepared. The OB sent us to Lamaze classes and they were USELESS.

With my second child, I read everything I could get my hands on. I had began meditating before that pregnancy, so I had a strong foundation to help me focus my mind and emotions. With this delivery, I got sick really fast. My blood pressure shot up really high and for reasons they still don't understand, my liver shut down. My body was becoming toxic for me and the baby, so they had to induce labor. I was afraid of dying and taking my baby with me. I was terrified of leaving my 9 year daughter with no mother (my father died when I was 2 - so I have issues!)

Read everything you can about every type of delivery there is. Knowledge is power and that power can help you overcome your fears. Get to know your OB who'll be delivering the baby. Talk with him or her about your expectations and fears. The doctor who started my delivery process I had never seen before!!! It was unnerving. I was glad when a doctor I knew showed up and took over. I was much more relaxed with her.
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:28 AM   #17
 
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I agree with Golden, knowledge is power and ignorance fuels fear. I'm a researcher by nature so my reaction to the multitude of fears regarding childbearing was to read up and find answers. To look beyond the usual pat answers given by OBs and get REAL answers.

As far as your fears regarding weight issues. I can't help but feel sad that you guys are carrying that burden during a time that really is pretty amazing. Many hugs sent your way and please find someone like a counselor or trusted mentor to talk to. There are so many benefits to the stage you're going through right now that are being clouded by your fears regarding body issues. It definitely could lead to an issue with PPD if you guys ignore it. Please work through it now, because once the baby gets here there will not be an overabundance of time.

Just realize though that pregnancy alone is not what makes people less youthful and beautiful. Age alone does that (both in regards to physical beauty and emotional changes).
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:53 AM   #18
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marielle448
I agree with Golden, knowledge is power and ignorance fuels fear. I'm a researcher by nature so my reaction to the multitude of fears regarding childbearing was to read up and find answers. To look beyond the usual pat answers given by OBs and get REAL answers.

As far as your fears regarding weight issues. I can't help but feel sad that you guys are carrying that burden during a time that really is pretty amazing. Many hugs sent your way and please find someone like a counselor or trusted mentor to talk to. There are so many benefits to the stage you're going through right now that are being clouded by your fears regarding body issues. It definitely could lead to an issue with PPD if you guys ignore it. Please work through it now, because once the baby gets here there will not be an overabundance of time.
Just realize though that pregnancy alone is not what makes people less youthful and beautiful. Age alone does that (both in regards to physical beauty and emotional changes).

I agree. I'm finding it very hard to not comment on those previously mentioned fears. I'm sorry ahead of time b/c I know anything I say is going to sound completely insensitive, but I'm 8 months pregnant and *****y, so I'm not doing well at holding back.

Maybe we have different ideas on what our bodies were meant for, but I can tell you it's not to be a vaginally perfect play thing for some man. What you are going through is what your body was designed for. You are creating another life. I mean, it is an incredibly amazing experience to know that you and someone else has come together to make another person together. This being inside of you is made up of two people put into one. To me that's just beyond words. Some people are never able to experience something so amazingly wonderful, and they would do anything to have the weight gain, stretch marks, and other war wounds that come with having a child.

I can tell you that my vagina does not look anything like it did before having a child. I can also tell you that I do have stretch marks, extra padding in some areas - not to mention my face just looks older, and more worn than it did before pregnancy. I am no longer a child, I am a woman. But I would never fear that my husband would not find me attractive after that. I would know that he would have the common sense, and appreciation to know that all of that has come from the miracle of life that we created - and I wouldn't have married someone who thought otherwise.

And for me, personally, yes I have lost all of my pre child independence, I totally dress differently, take care of myself differently, and act differently than I did before. I am a MOTHER now. I am not the flighty, single, self absorbed girl I was when I was 22. I am a strong woman who has bore, and birthed a child (children) - I have the responsibility and gift of bringing up these wonderful little people that I and my husband created. I can't think of a more important and beautiful thing I have done in my life.

Although I am sometimes nostalgic, and notice the fact that I look older, and different, and that I don't have the carefree life I did before children, I am in no way missing it. I already experienced that part of life, and now I've moved on to the next chapter, and am experiencing a whole new part of life.
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:55 AM   #19
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marielle448
I
As far as your fears regarding weight issues. I can't help but feel sad that you guys are carrying that burden during a time that really is pretty amazing. Many hugs sent your way and please find someone like a counselor or trusted mentor to talk to. There are so many benefits to the stage you're going through right now that are being clouded by your fears regarding body issues. It definitely could lead to an issue with PPD if you guys ignore it. Please work through it now, because once the baby gets here there will not be an overabundance of time.
Marielle, can you expand on these two sentences? I have a hard time grasping the thought of "pregnancy being amazing," and I'm not sure why. I don't feel amazing, and I feel pretty much like myself. Very little difference.

Also, what are the benefits that I'm going through? Perhaps focusing on positive aspects of pregnancy will make me feel more "proud" of being in this situation.

ETA, Babywavy, I am more afraid about being unattractive to me, not to my partner. That is what scares me. I don't want to look in the mirror and hate myself - I spent many years doing that and I'm afraid that these body changes will trigger self-destructive thoughts and behaviors that I am trying to abandon. Like I said in the first post, I know they are irrational thoughts, but they're there and I'm trying to find positivity in this experience.
Depression and the return of severe body image issues will ultimately lead me to being a bad mom and that's why I'm trying so hard to battle them daily.
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Old 04-05-2007, 09:17 AM   #20
 
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Munchy as far as the actual pregnancy maybe I'm a bit hokey but I felt pretty darn amazing even though I wasn't crazy about the waddling LOL. The fact that I was doing something that so many other women had done before me, to actually nurture a child in your womb that would forever be connected to your and your SO was an amazing feat in itself. I wasn't in love with my child just yet (for #1, #2 DEFINITELY yes) but just the process of pregnancy and knowing that my body was BUILT for this and I was totally competent was an empowering thing.

Yes, my body is not the same it was pre-pregnancy but my husband found my body attractive during pregnancy, after pregnancy and still does. I have to say that it definitely helped a lot. I'm sure your SOs are not like this but I heard of women who's husbands kept hinting when they would be back to their prepregnancy shapes and I couldn't help thinking, "what an arse!" How about you take this baby and be a father so that you have better things to think about then when my abs will be tight as a drum 'kay?

Once the baby is born you'll commence the "falling in love" period with your newborn. That's why I'd love to see you guys find a trusted person with which to work through the body image issues. When you're starting to care for the baby, slowly over a period of time you will begin to bond and attach to your child. Any issues of worry or depression will cloud that severely and even if treated later on you'll always look back on the newborn period with your kiddo and feel a bit cheated that you weren't able to enjoy it more.

That relationship with your child and your unfolding role as a mom is a pretty amazing thing as well. Doesn't mean you shove your old self away completely but that your old self suddenly finds strength in ways you never imagined when it comes to feeling protective about your child and taking care of their needs.

Amneris, as far as the previa most cases do resolve themselves as the placenta moves up the uterine wall consuming the nutrients in the uterine lining. I also had a low lying placenta with Ryan that at the 20 week appt was a bit concerning.
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