Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Scared of Delivery

My dad is a college professor and as kids we used to love going to his office with him. Next to his office was a big lecture hall with elevated seating, chalkboards on tracks that moved, and overhead projectors to play with. We loved getting to run wild in that room on the rare times we were there after regular office hours.

One evening when I was about 8, we went up to campus with dad fully expecting to get to play in that room. Instead some sort of EMT class was going on and they were showing a birthing video. Normally if a class was going on, we had to sit quietly in my dad's office waiting for him to finish up his work. That night we got to sit in on the COLLEGE class. We thought we were big stuff. Looking back, I kind of wonder if the single father of 2 girls knew that class was going on and figured it would be a way for him to avoid the uncomfortable facts of life talk later on. Anyway, I still remember that video and seeing the baby being born, and I have been scared of childbirth ever since.

Before getting pregnant I joked with friends that I would adopt my children just to avoid having to give birth. After experiencing the physical pain of my miscarriage, my fear of the pain of delivering a full term baby has intensified. If a less than 1 ounce baby hurt that much, how much does a 6-8 pound baby hurt?

The expectant friend I'm not excited for recently reminded me of the 3 people we know who have delivered in the past 2 years who have had epidural troubles. The most recent had nerve damage and despite delivering in July, just recently was allowed to return to work although she is on restrictions due to nerve damage from the epidural. Yes, I know this is rare, but I didn't need the reminder.

Last night I was reading in my pregnancy books about pain management during labor and about the alternatives to the epidural, but none sound great. I really don't want to be in pain, but I am scared of the process used to help with the pain. I was in tears telling M how scared I was. Granted, pregnancy hormones mean I cry about everything, but it had been at least 24 hours since I cried last.

This morning M sent me an e-mail that the wife of his coworker had delivered a baby boy last night. She was scheduled for a c-section next week, about 2 weeks prior to her due date. Apparently Monday night the baby had gotten up onto her lungs and was causing her to vomit. The mother and baby are both OK now, but the husband was pretty scared for awhile. Now I have another thing to worry about.

My fear probably has more to do with lack of education than anything else. I see my OB on Friday so I'll talk to her about my fears then. I know that there are ways to manage the pain, and she can help me decide the best way. I also know that the chances of me having problems are probably minimal. I guess I just need to hope for the best.


Sarah said...

are you planning to take childbirth classes at your hospital? i know they're not for everyone, but the ones at the hospital seem to at least give you a very good idea of what you might expect. or maybe if your fears feel a bit overwhelming you might want to consider private classes with an independent childbirth instructor who can focus on your specific concerns. seeing that video at age 8 would have freaked me out too!

Geohde said...

It is true that the more you know, the less fear you have,

everybody deals with pain differently. You can only make the best decision for you,


kiLikiNa said...

i have been watching birth programmes on tv and i felt that they helped me a lot to understand the choices i have. i've decided since a long time ago that i just want to do it the natural way... no epidural and etc. but, we'll see as i'm petite and my OB says he needs to see how big the baby will be by the time of delivery.

Kate said...

Yes, definitely talk to your OB about this. I think that there is no right or wrong answer. And the thing is, you can always change your mind.

I, too, have been terrified of childbirth ever since I was little. So when I had Child, I decided to get an epidural not so much for pain management--but for fear management. Fear fights labor, my childbirth instructor repeated many times. I didn't want my fear to be the reason my labor stalled, so I chose epidural.

There are lots of horrible birth stories--and those are the ones we tend to remember. But I had an great birth experience with Child, despite the fact that he was 9.5 lbs. Epidural took care of the pain and the fear for me--and that's what worked for me. But as I said, it is different for everyone.