I’ve talked to my husband and I’ve talked to a therapist and now I thought I would share my question to see if I could hear from other people who may have been there before or are looking down a similar path. Do you have any coping suggestions for making the OB/midwife (and pregnancy) less scary for a rape survivor?
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.
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.
The morning my wife went into labor, she came to me and shared that she was experiencing period-like cramping. It was still two weeks before our official due date, and this was her first pregnancy, so we reminded ourselves this could go on for weeks and I left for work. I was only at work for around an hour before I got a text from my wife telling me she thought her water had broken. She told me she wasn’t sure and would keep me posted, but there was no way I was going to try and stay at work.
I knew my baby would be born in a hospital before I ever got pregnant. I desperately wanted to have a home birth, but my PPO insurance would only cover a birth in a hospital of their choosing. I couldn’t justify $6000 out of pocket when I would only need to pay $200 for a hospital birth… so to the hospital we went.
I woke up at 6:30 with what felt like menstrual cramps. I don’t know how many times I’ve read that phrase at the beginning of the scores of birth stories I’ve read over the months but it just didn’t seem real now that it was actually happening to me. I knew then that this was definitely labor, but couldn’t imagine I’d have a baby at the end of the day.
Imaginary woman, you are part of a long line of women who have been through this. You are not alone. I hope you have friends who will talk to you about even the ickiest parts. But even if you don’t, or even if they’re all asleep right now, you’re not alone.
“You want to do what?!” “Will there be doctors there?” “Why would you want to do that?” “What about what happened to (insert an unknown to me name here)”? These are just some of the questions and reactions I got when I decided to do a home birth. Some people just could NOT grasp the fact that for me, there was no need to be lying up on a hospital bed, in an unflattering hospital gown, being poked and prodded. I know because I have had that type of experience with my first born.