So here goes. As I thought about my fears for this upcoming birth, trying to articulate to myself the things that I DON'T want to articulate, the things that I am, in fact, avoiding at all costs thinking about, there was one thing that came up right away and filled me with so much anxiety and shame, such weakness and remorse, regret and foreboarding, that I immediately burst out into tears. This might sound worse then it really was so let me take a little drama out of the situation by relating that I ALSO burst out into tears every time the song Josh and I got married to, the song I sang to Zekey on the very day of his birth, comes on. I also burst out into tears with a pitiful "I know I'm getting fat but I'm just so hungry!" a few days ago when Josh saw me eating a breakfast bar and said “Its ok, dinner was only 15 minutes ago after all” (What a newbie move right? Really, he should know better). So yeah, I'm a little emotional at the moment, but still, it was an intense moment and I am so thankful to have had it come to the surface (not the fat moment, the fear release moment, I realize I ramble).
The thing that had come up, though, was a very clear memory of being in labor with Zeke, a little over 24 hours in, when I just completely LOST MY SHIT. Until now I didn't realize how this memory has haunted me, how many times it has played over in my mind, how much it has affected my self esteem, my entire outlook on birth in general and Zeke's birth in particular. I've pushed this memory down, I've ignored it, I've buried it in cliché statements, I've pretended that I dont care, I've tried everything. But in my heart of hearts I still blame myself for that moment. I blame myself for my weakness and I honestly hate myself for that weakness.
Like I said, I was 24 hours into my labor and it was intense, and had been intense for an indeterminate amount of time. I had lost track of how long it had been like this but my contractions were 2 minutes on and 1 minute off, the kind of extra-long contraction that you only really get when induced. I was in the bathtub and actually handling everything beautifully. As beautifully as you can at that point, which is to say that I was silent, in a fetal position in the warm water, unable to talk or open my eyes and imagining punching Josh everything he so much as moved, let alone tried to say something or touch me.
Then it was nurse shift time, which meant the nurses had to come check me again (we had made a deal that progress would only be check at the end of each nurse shift, so every 9 hours or something like that). And it happened. The nurse checked my progress, my progress that I was sure was moving along just fine, and told me I was dilated to a 3. I had been dilated to a 3 for over a month at this point, literally, I was at a 3 the first time I was checked at 36 weeks. I think her exact words were “maybe a 3” and accompanied with such a grimace of disaproval...ah I remember her face so perfectly and it fills my eyes with tears again. And THAT my lovely readers is when I LOST MY SHIT.
All I could imagine was the nurse writing that in her book, that I was unable to have this baby, that I would be transferred to c-section, that this would last forever, and I started to hyperventilate. The nurses immidiatly starting freaking out, made me get out of the water and onto the bed, and shoved an oxegen mask on my face. I was trying to push the mask away, I was panicking, I was suddenly so much more uncomfortable on my back like that, and when I looked at Josh all I saw was the mirror of my own panic.
Within 10 minutes they had convinced me to get an epidural and I cried for maybe the next 3 hours at my failure. I have been, in a way, crying since then.
I felt and feel ashamed. And weak. And I feel even more ashamed and weak that it makes me feel ashamed and weak because I know 90% of you are like “get over it” and “your baby was born healthy so quit your whining” and I've tried that but I cant. So I am trying something new. I am accepting my feelings of shame and weakness, I am OWNING those feelings and they are ok. It's ok to feel that way. And at the same time I am doing something I NEVER EVER do. I am going to blame someone else. Because you know what? That WASNT my failure. That was the failure of my “support team”. Had they given me any reason to believe in myself I would have suceeded. And its ok to say that too.
And I talked to Josh about this, about how I love him but I feel like he failed me in a way. That I need him to be strong when I cant be, even if that's not fair. And I will be talking to midwife about this memory and the fear of it repeating. But I also already know...I just KNOW...that this wont, it cant, be repeated. Because, yes, while maybe I will hit a moment again where I just lose it, where I hyperventilate, where I panic, this time around, THIS time around, I will have the support I need. Josh now knows that in that moment, that temporary moment, that I need him to be strong, even if he has to fake it. And he is prepared. And Cathy is an amazingly experienced midwife and I know that she will not panic right along with me, that she has the ability to stay calm for me. And we will get thru that moment.
Another related and smaller memory came up as well. One that I had completely forgotten. This was earlier in labor. I was at that early stage of labor where you have to breath and close your eyes thru each contraction, concentration on releasing, but in between I was talking with Josh about the baby and laughing and moving around. A nurse came in to check up on me and ask how I was doing and I dont remember my exact words but I said something along the lines of “the contractions are getting much more powerful, I think we're making progress” and then I had a contraction right then, closed my eyes and moaned thru it. And the nurse said to me (again not exactly) “well you cant be making much progress, you smiled thru that contraction” and walked away.
I had forgotten. But now that I think about it, it was after that I started grimacing thru my contractions, I tried to tense up my stomach and make them hurt because that's the way “progress” was made, even though I knew no such thing was true. Maybe progress WASNT being made, obviously, actually it wasnt, since it was hours later that I was still at a 3. But its just a perfect example of the hospital attitude, a pefect example of why I am so happy to be having a home birth. There is no reason on earth why I cant smile thru EVERY contraction.