Not sure if this should be in Birth and Beyond, Spirituality or here...
I've always wanted lots of children. I come from a family of six--'quiverfull', I suppose, although we didn't use the term--and for a long time was vaguely anti-birth control for religious reasons, although my stance on that has softened somewhat after doing more research. DH and I had our first baby eight months ago... and now I'm terrified of having another one.
Rowan's birth was intended to be a home waterbirth, and turned into a hospital induction due to pre-eclampsia. It could have been a lot worse, technically. They gave me prostoglandin gel and later used AROM, but I didn't have Pitocin. I was racing the clock, though, and it was only the fact that I outwardly seemed to be calm and coping that my midwife let me labour as long as I did without giving me the drugs.
I hated being in the hospital (which incidentally was a construction zone, so there were chainsaws whining and piles of lumber lying around); when the nurse told me I'd have to stay and be induced, I waited until she was out of the room and sobbed my heart out into DH's jacket. After all that research of wanting an empowered birth at home, I felt vulnerable and lonely and scared.
After Rowan was born, my cervix clamped down over the placenta so it couldn't be born, and I ended up having something horrible done with forceps to remove it--a vastly preferable alternative to leaving my newborn to go into surgery, which nearly happened!
DH and I were both shaken by how the birth had turned out. It sounds trite, but I was simply thrown by how much pain
there was! I'd been focussing too much on the Homebirth Experience, so when that was taken away I felt pretty lost; and not focussing enough on the fact that it was going to hurt
, which it did. A lot. I spent a few hours hating myself for wanting to ask for an epidural, while my midwife was commenting on how calm and 'together' I was. I ended up asking for pain relief and using gas, but being kind of out of it by that point I used it wrong. (It was hilarious in hindsight--I'd suck on the gas for a second or two, then think 'Whoa, I'm feeling a little light-headed, better stop!' It didn't occur to me that I was supposed to feel light-headed, that that was the whole point!). So I didn't actually have any pain relief, but I did have the 'I failed at being natural' guilt.
Anyway. Fast-forward eight months. Rowan is a delightful baby who we adore--not high needs, great feeder, beautiful, the whole biz. (See
?) And DH has started to mention having another baby--not right now, but pretty soon. He says, and I agree, that we should TTC before Rowan's too old, so that the children will be close enough in age to be good friends while they're small. (He and I both have close-in-age siblings and love it).
The trouble is, I'm terrified. I didn't particularly like pregnancy with Rowan--pelvic girdle pain, morning sickness, the constant tiredness--and feel distinctly ill at ease at the thought of doing it again with a toddler to boot! But it's mostly the birth I'm scared of. Frankly, I think I've read too many birth horror stories. I keep thinking that as unpleasant as my birth was, there were a lot of bullets I dodged, which I might not dodge next time. What if I tore? Got hemmorhoids? Had pre-eclampsia again and had to have Pitocin? Worst of all, a C-section? I think a C-section would break me. Even 'little' things, like getting worse stretch marks than I have already, freak me out far more than they should. I've never been good about accepting my body or changes to it, and the thought of having it outside my control again scares me.
So... any advice? I do want
to have more children--more biological children, definitely. And a small part of me even wants to birth again, to 'do it right'. But I keep having vaguely nightmarish flashbacks to the hideous fluorescent-lit beige gloom of the birthing suites, and the weird paradox of just wanting the contractions to stop
while the midwife wanted them to intensify, and the sickening smell of lavender oil... I was allowed to labour in the tub for about an hour, but the midwife accidentally tipped in about a teaspoon of lavender oil and it made me nauseated--I think it's put me off the smell for life! I couldn't sleep last night because I was imagining being in early labour, and knowing that I'd suddenly remember the pain. Not that I've forgotten, but I've forgotten the specifics of it, KWIM? And my mother always says that as soon as you feel the first twinges of labour, you go 'Oh, that's right'.
So what do I do? Rowan's almost nine months... it terrifies me to think we could be TTC in six months or a year! I feel like I'm running out of time to just be me again, with my body my own (more or less!). I feel like I've only recently got back on track after Rowan's birth in terms of housework and so on, and that's because she's a good baby-I even spend hours panicking about whether our next baby would be colicky or high-needs or allergic to peanuts or something! I want to get over this. I want to want to have more children. A lot of the Christian quiverfull-type resources have a rather hard-bitten 'Just suck it up and offer your body as a sacrifice to God' attitude, which while theologically sound is hardly helpful on the how
. Anyone BTDT? I'm rapidly developing a mental THING about the subject--even minor annoyances, like people wanting to touch my baby bump, or constantly asking 'When are you due?' week after week, are making me freak out and think 'I do NOT want to go through that again!'
Well, thanks for reading my novel! Here's another photo of Rowan
to cheer me up. She's lovely, no?
See, it seems so churlish not to want another baby when I love Rowan so much, and consider all the pain and indignity worth it... gah.