Then one day, I was driving home from an errand and a dark thought hit me like a lightning bolt.
“What if this baby’s birth is like Annie’s?”
I’d been experiencing back labor – where the pain of the contractions starts in the cervix and radiates outwards around your waist to your back – for two days. 18 hours after the first contraction, I was in the birth center for the first time.
“Oh,” said the midwife. “You’re only four centimeters dilated.” She gave me an injection for something she called ‘therapeutic rest’ and sent me home. I slept for almost 12 hours.
Contractions started again the next afternoon and it was exactly like the day before. Horrible, excruciatingly painful contractions that never established a regular pattern. Sometimes I would only have a 10-15 second break before another one started. I screamed like a banshee and devolved into a wild thing. My poor husband was like a deer in headlights, unsure what to do, say or how to help.
This wasn’t like in the dozen childbirth books my exceptionally prepared controlling side made me read. I began to fear that this was my ‘new normal’ and in my exhausted, freaked out state, thought it would never end. The baby would never be born. I was going to be pregnant, in labor, for the rest of my life.
Finally, I insisted to the midwife we were coming in, again, to the birth center. Annie was born less than two hours later, sunny side up and with her hand by her face.
Flash forward two and half years, and like most people, I assumed what happened before would happen again, and I was terrified. Would I feel so completely out of control? Where would I find the strength? Energy? How could I possibly do it again? I was scared to give birth. I needed someone to confide my fears in who would listen without judgement and validate my feelings.