Since the age of 9, I have been terrified of giving birth.
It was one of those things that sounded horrible to me. Why would anyone in
her right mind want to push a baby out of a tiny hole in their body? Men
didn't do it. Maybe they are smarter than we give them credit for. My mom
assured me I could get rid of the pain with a very large needle in my spine (a
wonderful image for a 9-year-old).
Nonetheless, pregnancy sounded like the
easy part. Labor would be the nightmare.
As I moved from puberty into my teen years and through
college, I continued to think that childbirth was not for me. How could women
feel empowered by endless hours of excruciating pain? Or risk having their
water break anywhere and everywhere like it did on TV? It
sounded messy and unnecessary. If I really wanted to have kids, I could adopt.
Why go through all that?
Then, it happened. My husband and I decided to have
a baby together. I was freaked out from the moment those two pink lines showed
up. How could this have happened? (Obviously I know how. We even
planned for it.) How would I handle being in panic mode for nine months only to
have it end with countless hours of labor — all so I could pop a human out into
the world that I knew nothing about and really wasn't sure I could raise? These thoughts go through a mom's head, you know—even the most prepared ones.
Let's make something clear right now: I was not a glowing,
happy pregnant woman. I found little joy in actually being pregnant. I was
thrilled to be having my little boy, but there was nothing fun about getting
blood drawn multiple times, peeing in a cup at least once a month (a skill I
never mastered even after two kids), acid reflux and an ever-expanding waistline and rib cage that may or may not
ever go back down to its original size (it hasn't).
Nine months of pregnancy can feel like an eternity, especially around the sixth month. Give me labor any day. It's an endless pregnancy that now has me terrified.
Labor was the easy part. I was prepped to be induced, which happened to trigger my labor and was given the epidural immediately after that. Within 30 minutes, I went from no contractions to contractions
every 30 seconds. Once that epidural was in, I was just fine. I felt great. I
chatted with the nurses and my husband. We just needed to sit and wait. In less
than 10 hours, I was holding my baby boy.
The same happened with my next son. In less than seven hours, I was holding my little boy. I got the epidural as soon as we arrived at the
hospital with my contractions three minutes apart. My husband and I texted
friends and family to let them know what was going on. We played gin rummy.
It was a piece of cake.
Want to know what wasn't a piece of cake? Those nine months of pregnancy
with my second son, when my acid reflux came back full force in my first
trimester. I suffered from prenatal depression (I had no idea that was even a
thing!), and my iron levels dropped double the amount they had with my first
son. My panic levels weren't as bad as my first pregnancy, when everything was
new and I was terrified every day of giving birth. With my second son, I
just counted down the days until I could get my epidural and give birth. Labor
was the easy part. It was those nine months that I thought would take me down.
Oh, how little I knew back then.
I no longer fear labor and delivery. Pregnancy will always
be the most miserable part of having kids. Labor isn't exactly a piece of cake,
especially if you opt for the natural route with no epidural, but at least the
end is in sight. Nine months of pregnancy can feel like an eternity, especially
around the sixth month.
Give me labor any day. It's an endless pregnancy that
now has me terrified.