Awhile back I shared 3 Things That Helped Me Conquer My Fear of Childbirth. In that post I mentioned that I had to face my fears, once again, in the delivery room and that I would share that story at another time. Now is the time! I want to share with you about the time my biggest fear came to pass. There’s a couple of reasons that I want to share it now. For one, my son’s first birthday is next month so I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. And two, April is Cesarean Awareness Month (along with basically everything else in the world. Have you noticed that?). I thought sharing my story now would be fitting.
I was adamant on having a natural childbirth. And by natural I mean a no drug vaginal birth. I wanted everything about my labor to be natural. Including letting the baby come in his own time – no induction! At my 39 week appointment, I asked the nurse practitioner what would happen if I came in at 40 weeks still pregnant. I asked if I would be told I had to be induced. She assured me that I would not and that it wouldn’t be suggested until at least 6 days overdue and I wouldn’t be encouraged to have one until 2 weeks.
What a relief! I had gestational diabetes and, though it had been well controlled, I knew that this could be a concern. I should have reminded the nurse that I had gestational diabetes when I brought up induction but since we had discussed that in the appointment, the thought never crossed my mind. The reason I did not want an induction was because I knew that would increase my chances of having a C-Section.
I did not want a C-Section.
I left my appointment, completely satisfied with how it went. The following week, I had not had my baby. I went into my appointment and the second the doctor walked through the door, I was completely blindsided. He barely greeted me (I had never seen him before) before the question, “Has anyone talked to you about being induced” flew out of his mouth. I told him about my conversation the week prior and he told me that she was wrong. He went on to say that I should have been induced at 39 weeks.
This was all news to me. I could feel the tears building up. I did not want to be induced! I tried to explain to the doctor as calmly as a 40 week pregnant woman possibly can, that I did not want to be induced. Of course, he strongly advised me to.
Two other doctors’ opinions later and one day later, I checked in to the hospital. My friend who was my Doula suggested that I ask if I would be allowed to try some natural methods to induce first. They agreed. She came to the hospital and we walked, well to me it felt like running, I bounced on my exercise ball and we convinced the nurses to bring in a breast pump.
That night I was given Cervadil because I did not want Pitocin. I had read that Cervadil was less aggressive. I was certain that Pitocin would lead to an Epidural and eventually I would end up with a C-Section.
I’ll spare you all of the terrible details but another dose of Cervadil (that sent me into labor so hard they ended up removing it), Pitocin, an epidural (that wore off within 20 minutes resulting in an increased dosage) and over 72 hours later I was faced with I still had not given birth.
And, though all of my little fears had already come to pass, I was now face to face with my biggest fear – a C-Section. And to top it off, since the epidural was a bust I had to get a Spinal Tap.
I literally don’t think I could have imagined a worse scenario for my delivery.
Even though “natural” had gone out the window days ago, there were still many reasons for not wanting a C-Section and as I faced this reality, I was afraid.
My son had done remarkably well throughout my labor. His heartbeat was strong and he never went into any type of stress. My C-Section was not an emergency but, due to the fact that I was not progressing and I was physically exhausted, it had to be done. I’m thankful that I wasn’t whisked away for the C-Section. In fact, although it was inevitable, I actually asked for some time to make peace with it before it was scheduled.
Like many women who end up with a C-Section often feel, I felt disappointed. But I knew in my heart that I had done everything I could. What I needed now was to make peace with my fear.
There’s a quote that says, “Fear is not real. It is the product of thoughts you create.” I needed some time to create new thoughts because I had filled my mind with so many negative thoughts about a C-Section – from having a horrible recovery to not properly bonding with my son to developing a chronic illness – these negative thoughts had turned into fear.
And now I had to destroy them.
I pulled out my headphones, listened to my labor playlist and I said a prayer. I did some breathing exercises and told myself that everything was going to be ok. I replaced the negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
Everything would be ok. I would be ok. And, most importantly, my son would be ok.
It’s amazing to me how quickly I was able to overcome a fear that I had for as long as I could remember. All it took was a replacing my thoughts. There was nothing I could do about the circumstances but I had full control over my thoughts… my fears.
How about you? Have your thoughts been creating fear?
Don’t wait until the pressure is on, replace those thoughts now!