When I fell pregnant for the first time, I went to yoga classes religiously throughout my second trimester. My morning sickness had subsided and I had more energy. Then when I got to the third trimester, driving the 15 miles in rush hour traffic got too much and I gave up.
I remembered some stretches and breathing techniques from the classes and that information was invaluable when I was in labour. My first labour was and birth experience was pretty straight forward but it was very long. I can’t help but think it may have been slightly less long had I stuck at yoga to the end.
I’m lucky enough to say that this time around there is a pre-natal yoga class around the corner from my house every Saturday morning. The welcome is always warm and the class is always exceptionally relaxing given that I’m a working mum with a very energetic three year old.
I look forward to those 75 minutes all to myself each week and hope to continue right up until my due date. I might even take up a second class mid-week when I’ve finished work.
For anyone that doesn’t or hasn’t ever practised yoga, most people have what is called a Sankalpa.
A Sankalpa is a short, positive phrase or sentence that you repeat to yourself in your head whilst taking full and cleansing breaths. This sounds cheesy but I find it immensely empowering.
I’m not sure that your Sankalpa is something you should share with others but I don’t mind sharing with you, dear reader.
“My body can do this again…”
And the reason I say this is because, although I birthed my first baby safely, the labour and birth experience for us (both my husband and I) was a little more ‘full on’ then we’d expected but we survived and got a healthy baby at the end of it. Although like I said earlier everything was pretty straight forward.
I’m not really anxious about being diabetic again. I have now had two Glucose Tolerance Tests (GTT) during this second pregnancy and they have both come back as normal. But to be honest looking back, Gestational Diabetes is more of an inconvenience than it is scary (in my opinion anyhow). I managed my own blood sugars with diet and exercise and did my own blood monitoring. If anything the condition gained me extra care and attention and extra scans. I view all of these things as positives… the five finger pricks per day were a bit of a bind though.
Nor is the pain of labour something I’m anxious about. I did the majority of it last time with gas and air and know I can cope as long as I keep focused. Don’t get me wrong – it hurts… a little less than gallstones though. So I know I can cope.
And this time I’d really love to be able to get into the birthing pool as a form of pain relief. But that said…
These are the things I’m most scared of giving birth again:
1 – The Duration
I really don’t want to have another labour lasting days rather than hours. The sleep deprivation got to me at pushing stage. I’d like to stay at home as long as possible and breath through labour myself, only leaving for hospital when I feel I need the pain relief or extra care.
2 – Not Being in Control
Control freak? Moi?
Last time, mainly because I was high risk due to gestational diabetes, once I was fully dilated and ready to push I was slung on to a bed with my legs in stirrups. I personally can’t think of a worse position to give birth in. This time I want to be up and about and hope I have the courage to tell the midwife what I want.
I’ve written about this before, here because this was also prominent in my anxieties about having my gallbladder surgery last year.
When I was in labour the first time, I had to be hooked up to several medicines. When the midwife was putting the kanula into my wrist she missed (she used the term ’tissued the vein’) three times. It was painful. There was blood everywhere. And I vomited. Not an experience I wish to repeat.
I’ll ask for any direct lines to my blood stream to put into the back of my hand rather than my wrist but will try to avoid needing one at all.
4 – The Third Stage of Labour
This is when the new mum passes the placenta. I was given an injection to help me along with this last time, but my body had other ideas. I’m not 100% certain why – I was distracted by the gorgeous, tiny human in my arms – but I needed a helping hand (in that the consultant dragged the placenta out of me), hence the placenta was fragmented. This meant that I bled more than is usual. Just shy of two litres of blood so luckily I didn’t need a blood transfusion. But I did need a hefty prescription of iron tablets when we were discharged for home.
5 – Iron Tablets
Don’t take them and feel tired, run down, heavy and generally unwell. Do take them and feel bloated and constipated… always fun when you’ve got brand new piles from pushing a baby out and second degree tears. If I do need extra iron this time, I’m hoping there is an alternative to 90 days of being bunged up.
6 – Complications and Blood Transfusions
Thus far (as I mentioned earlier) I have had two Glucose Tolerance Tests to ensure that I have not developed gestational diabetes for a second time. The results from both of these tests have come back completely normal so I’m hoping this time around the birthing process will be smoother, I won’t need to be induced or hooked up to any drips and I’ll have a little more freedom.
But I am still worried about bleeding again and it being worse this time over.
7 – Tearing
Although I did find labour to be painful I found it to be manageable pain. I managed on gas and air and had one dose of diamorphine about 32 hours in. I found ‘the ring of fire’ to be horrendous like most women do, but it really was the worst part of labour for me.
What I’m worried about is tearing again. Last time I had 2nd degree tears. I recovered completely and have no problem with these now but I can’t help remember how my nether regions didn’t feel like my own for about three weeks at least after giving birth and how horrid the stitches were.
I’m hoping an active labour and upright birth will remedy this second time around.
7.5 – Panicking
I’d totally forgotten about this part until someone mentioned it a few weeks back, but when you are fully dilated the human body is so clever it knows exactly what to do. My body involuntarily starting to push baby down. This didn’t hurt in any way but it completely freaked me out because the reflex that I didn’t know had was so powerful. I completely panicked and forgot everything that was in my birth plan.
Maybe experience is the key here – but I’m relying on my other half to speak for me again should I freak out.
What were you nervous of second, third, fourth, fifth time around?
Thanks so much for reading 7 and a half Things That Scare Me About Giving Birth A Second Time