If you have never had a child, nothing prepares you for what your body goes through. Unless someone tells you. And even then, everyone is different. There is no guarantee that your experience is the same as anyone else’s. Just like being pregnant.
But I still feel like everyone that goes through a pregnancy has a model that they think they need to fit into…
In the days past my due date we had tried pretty much every home remedy natural induction technique. Evening primrose oil, raspberry leaf tea, walking, pineapple, sex, chocolate cake, yoga ball, acupressure, Chinese food but nothing had worked. I had made the choice through my pregnancy not to have any cervical checks so I had no idea how “ready” my body was getting, apart from lots of Braxton Hicks and prodromal labor, although the Doctor had concerns that I may not dilate properly due to a previous LEEP surgery.
For a few hours I tried to get comfortable through the contractions — moving in different positions, trying to lay down, taking a bath, etc. I thought, I MUST be dilated more, I MUST! Let’s go back to the hospital!
I became pregnant with my seventh baby at the age of 44 — after my husband, Michael, had undergone cancer treatment for Stage 3 colorectal cancer two years prior. To say that this pregnancy was a surprise would be quite an understatement; my age alone made it seem somewhat unlikely, and we were under the impression that his cancer treatment had left him sterile. Our family felt complete with six kids, and we were thankful that Michael’s cancer was in remission, so the idea that we would have no more children was fine with us.
I knew almost immediately that the class was not what I was expecting it to be. I expected my husband to be a little resistant, but I also expected to feel like I should defend the class. I couldn’t. He said he hated how it all felt like a sales pitch for itself, that it tried to tell us, “Yes, you CAN have an unmedicated birth, but only with US!” and I agreed with him. He hated the format of the class, too — the instructor read us questions straight out of the workbook and we wrote down the answers. Not a good learning style for either of us. I don’t know how much of this is related to the method, and how much was our particular instructor. I know Bradley classes are great for some people. They just weren’t right for us.
My son Max was born on September 18, 2012 with several other first-born baby boys. According to the nurses, the days leading up to severe thunder storms tend to bring in lots of first-time births where the expectant mom’s water breaks. The day before, I had decided to work late in order to finish as much as I could, just in case baby came early.
When my call got answered, it turned out there were no rooms available at my nearby hospital other than the intake rooms (smaller, no gas and air on tap, uncomfortable beds). The midwife offered to ring around the other hospitals in Stockholm (which would later turn out to also be full), but in the end thinking that there was a good few hours left to go I said I’d stay home, take a bath and call back later.
Childbirth can feel like it’s going to be a train coming through your body. If you’re a parent-to-be, you already know you’re getting ready for what some consider one of life’s big journeys — as in childbirth first, motherhood second. That’s the order you think in if you’re like me and didn’t grow up around a lot of kids. The real journey is being a parent, but you don’t realize it. At least I didn’t, at first.