The Big Push


 Mommy’s Corner is a weekly series exploring our journey in becoming parents, our love for our ShuGar baby, and general topics related to mommyhood.

Alright ShuGar Loves – this is a tough post for me to write. Primarily, it’s challenging because it exposes one of my greatest fears out into the internet world, but it also feels good to put it out there. There might be other mamas-to-be who can relate.

ShuGar Boy is due to arrive in less than a month from now! Wow! I still can’t believe it. Although I am happy, excited, honored etc. for baby to arrive, I am also grappling with a big fear for the labor and delivery process. In my fantasy, all I would have to do to have a baby is press this little love button and….pouf….I have my baby boy in my arms.

So that’s not how it happens?

Oh, darn.

Here’s the thing: I know women literally go through this every second of every day and have beautiful (usually healthy) babies. I am aware that we have made great strides in medicine to really avoid major complications in labor and delivery, in general. I also understand that women continue having babies after their first, so the pain must be worth it.

Yet, none of these things have really done much to calm me because I haven’t gone through it. These women aren’t me. I am not them. ‘Nuff said.

I’ve also hesitated writing about labor and delivery, despite taking four class with Mr. ShuGar, because I don’t want to sound didactic in any way. I am in no way the expert since I’ve never gone through it. I don’t like the idea of me standing on my blog pedestal and saying what any woman should or shouldn’t do. That ain’t me.

My doctor asked me last week to prepare my birthing plan for our next appointment and my mouth literally dropped. This thought immediately ran into my head:

Yikes! I thought I could avoid this topic a little longer. Help!

I realize this next statement might make me sound like a total coward, but here goes. A part of why I avoided having children up until this point was the whole labor ordeal. You see, I have a very low threshold for pain. I cringe every time I have my yearly pap or I break out into a cold sweat when I have my teeth cleaning. Truth be told, I don’t enjoy being in a medical office or around doctors. It’s just not my thing. A part of me doesn’t trust our over-medicated culture, but also I am aware doctors are humans and are fallible. They are not gods.

Regardless, I have never wanted to voluntarily put my body through the level of pain it will be experiencing soon. Yet, here I am staring labor in the face shaking at the knees.

For my birthing plan, I am supposed to tell my doctor what type of medication (if any) I would want, when, how, etc. I also need to indicate other medical involvement with our baby post-delivery. Do I want to go all natural or use narcotics? Will I use an epidural after I am dilated a certain amount of centimeters? Am I adverse to a c-section? These are the type of questions I will be stating in my birth plan.

The hard thing is that I don’t know what I will want because I have no reference to base my decision on. This is actually a contentious topic in mommy world because some women are adamant about not having any medication during the delivery process, whatsoever. It has sort of become a badge of honor. For these same women, a c-section is the thing to avoid as much as possible. Therefore, an epidural is pretty much off the table for them.

I include my mom among this group of warrior women. I have grown up hearing her stories about how she had my sister and I sans drugs of any kind. Keep in mind my mom is not even five feet tall, so that’s pretty bad ass. Does this make me feel any better? Hell no! I am not my mother, so I really can’t put myself in her shoes. I also need to advise her to not try to convince me to choose one way or another, but you know how moms are.

Crazy stat: Both our labor and delivery teacher and my OB told us that over 90% of women have epidurals to aid in delivery! Hmmm…..

As far as me, I really don’t know. All I do know is I want my baby and I to be healthy at the end. There will have to be a level of control I will surrender to the powers that be, which, in this case, will be a higher being and the doctors. I will study the options I have, but really you never know how you will react or what will be needed until you are in the moment. This is the scary part. Letting go. I’ve never been good at that.

Talking to other mothers doesn’t always help either. Some share their birth stories (which will most likely not be mine) or they share their regrets. I had one friend tell me she would have liked to have had her baby at home if she could do it again. It made me think, “Should I have a home birth?” However, she didn’t, so why should I? Why am I even comparing my experience with hers? You find the moment you become pregnant, everyone under the sun and moon starts giving you advice on what they think you should/shouldn’t do.

What I have found thus far, every pregnancy, birth story, and baby are different. There really is no uniform way to do anything. We each have to decide on our own path. This is what motherhood is all about. Making this amazing experience our own story, not replicating someone else’s.

Sweet aside – Mr. ShuGar has been so supportive of my fear of labor. He’s really been a star in my book. He’s tried to ease my anxiety, but, ultimately, this is something I need to come to terms with. The baby will be coming out from me and I need to face that reality, however daunting it may feel. It does provide me a warm blanket of comfort knowing he will be there holding my hand, reminding me of my breathing, and telling me we are doing this all for love.

ShuGar Baby  – do you hear that? We do it all because we love you.

 Mamas: How did you handle the labor process? Did you have a set birthing plan before or go into it with more of an open plan? 

Mamas-to-be: How do you feel about delivering your baby? Do feel any trepidation or have you made your peace?

Non-Mamas: What is something you have feared for a long time? How have you faced your fears?

See everyone at tomorrow’s All You Need is Love Project!

Photo credit: Heart Button

  • Erin @ Read-at-Home Mama

    My story is different from most because I had an elective C-section. When I shared on Facebook that this was my plan, I caught a LOT of flak from friends and family. They thought I was being lazy and taking the easy way out. To an extent, I saw their point: I, like you, have a really low threshold for pain and I understood how some people saw my decision as a cop-out because of a fear of pushing (and the pain associated with it). However, they didn’t have the whole story behind my decision, which made their snap judgments really offensive. What I didn’t tell them was the “why” behind the C-section: I have a subseptate uterus, which means that my uterus, while shaped like a normal 2-walled uterus, has a third wall which looks like a little finger sticking out of one of the regular walls. The doctor who found it on ultrasound four years ago told me that I would be able to conceive and carry a baby without issues, but that a vaginal delivery could present major complications for baby and I (because the baby’s head and body would have to be pushed past the subseptate, which could rupture and potentially kill me, or the baby could get stuck at the subseptate and go into distress). Right then and there, she told me that C-section would provide the safest means of delivery for any children I carried. I accepted it and that was that. I had a different doctor during my pregnancy, and she told me the subseptate was mild and that everything would be fine at delivery…but my mind was already made up. I was settled and comfortable with my decision, and Joshua was born via C-section shortly thereafter. Having the surgery required a spinal, so I didn’t feel a thing during the surgery itself; it stung a little when the needle entered my back, but the pain was literally momentary. After it was all over, I had the normal aches and pains that every mom feels post-delivery (or post-C-section). For me, the surgery protected my life and my son’s, because I knew beforehand that something could present an issue if I had tried to deliver normally, and I don’t even slightly regret my choice to have the C. You do what you feel is right for you, and we’re all here to support you and answer any questions that you have. 🙂

    • Erin @ Read-at-Home Mama

      Sorry for writing a novel. lol

      • Thank you, sweet Erin. I appreciate so much you sharing your birth story. Sounds like you made the best decision and I am glad you have no regrets. You shouldn’t, really. I don’t like how people pass judgments like that. What do they know? Plus, it can be really hurtful when you are already trying to deal with other uncertainties at that time. Thank goodness Joshua and you came out both healthy. Good to know I am not the only scaredy cat when it comes to pain. I know it’s purely psychological, but it’s who I am. I’m going to weigh all my options and try my best. That’s really all I can do. Of course I would prefer a natural birth, but I have no idea what I will feel and I may turn to meds if the pain is to intolerable. I see now what you say when you describe Joshua as a miracle baby. You are truly blessed.

  • Jennice

    I did not have a birthing plan when I had my daughter. I just winged and listened to my body. Because of familial stress, my baby went into fetal stress and I had no choice but to have an emergency c-section. I cried when the decision was made because I felt like I let myself and my baby down. Before the c-section, the contractions were unomaginably painful.Once I had the epidural, the pain was gone and I was able to relax. I can tolerste pain to a,certain extent, but what I want you to take away from what I’m saying is just do whatever js best for you and your little boy healthwise.Good luck!

    • Thanks for sharing, Jennice. I have heard of women feeling disappointed when they are told they need to have a c-section. Many women have said they were able to relax because of the epidural. Thank you for encouraging me to make my own decision, regardless of all that is out there. I just want both of us to be healthy. I appreciate your support so very much!

  • I love how candid you are about not knowing what you want. I, too, have trouble relinquishing control, which is why I definitely want to have a birth plan. The trouble is, I know that plan must be flexible! I would love to have a natural childbirth, but if I view it as a “badge of honor” or that its somehow a greater accomplishment than having an epidural, I think I would feel like I failed if I ended up needing (or wanting) interventions.
    It’s incredible how much information there is to consider, and how emotional this process can be. I never expected to feel connected to the birthing process itself – I always felt like a healthy baby in the end is what’s important! To me, both experiences are important. I hope I can be grateful and accepting of whatever happens.
    Don’t be afraid, no one that is truly on your side will judge you. “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” You’re going to do so well! 🙂

    Thanks again for commenting on my blog post about birthing! I will definitely work on being flexible. Our baby boys will be in the world in just a few weeks!! 🙂
    xo kristen genevieve

    Sunny With A Chance Of Lemons: Birthing – Natural Birth or Epidural?

    • Thanks so very much, Kristen! It’s reassuring to know I am not the only control freak. You are right – this is a very emotional process and I have had my breakdowns about this whole thing. So much to consider, which may ultimately just go out the door. It’s very daunting when you have a big belly and are trying to study all the narcotics vocabulary the doctors may be referring to. It’s just so much to retain. I respect your desire to have a natural birth so much. I admire your dedication to researching everything. I know you and I will both be fine in the end and our babies will soon be in our arms. I will remember what you said about judgments – those who don’t mind, matter. Must remember than one. You are a great support and friend!

  • Oh Carmen! I love your authenticity here. I was hesitant to comment because I didn’t know if everything I write would sound trite/cliche/insincere since I haven’t experienced pregnancy/birth yet myself, but that second to last paragraph is wonderful and so true! Everyone has their own experiences, and I think you’re right that sometimes talking to other mothers doesn’t help, because mostly what you hear about is the fear and the pain. If you go into the experience with ‘this is going to be painful’ or a similar mindset, then yes, it probably will be. Everyone feels labor differently.
    I know I mentioned this on FB, but Ina May Gaskin deserves a second mention (especially if any other expectant mamas read this!)- she features birth stories in all her books that are so beautiful and inspiring. And I know not everyone’s birth experience can or will be beautiful, but if you’re hearing negative or regretful stories, you may as well hear the positive ones too, right? 🙂 Ina May talks about reframing the birthing experience, because so much of the vocabulary has a negative connotation. She says ‘rushes’ instead of contractions, and ‘intense’ instead of painful, among other things.
    90% is such a high epidural rate! Somewhat surprising, but again, everyone has their own experience. If that is what you feel most comfortable with, then absolutely go for it. I bet the act of making a decision alone will help with your anxiety.
    I wish you peace of mind and a positive attitude (easier said than done, I know!), and a sense of excitement, because soon you will be holding your baby!
    As for me, something I fear is related to this: since I have struggled so much with depression, I have been scared to contemplate becoming a mother, that I might pass this on to my child, or not be able to care for my child if I was too depressed. I don’t know if there is a ‘right’ thing to do, a right decision, but it’s something I have been conflicted with for awhile. I’ll be 32 this year, so I can’t be as back-and-forth about it as I was in my 20s.

    • Thanks, sweet Christy, for taking the time to share your knowledge. You are such a great support! I will definitely have to look into Ina’s book. Sounds like reframing this whole birthing experience can help me get through it. Yes, making this whole process about what I want/need is important and I have to drown out all the noise around me to do that. Yeah, 90% is pretty high and almost every mama I know has had an epidural or some kind of meds, so it seems to support the stats. Regardless, I just want to maintain a positive attitude and practice meditation to mentally prepare me for the physical process. I empathize with your depression fear. I know a few friends who also are scared of passing on certain conditions to their little ones, if they ever had kids. That fear can be really daunting. I guess in life there are no guarantees and no matter how your baby turns out, if you decide to have a child, s/he will have your support and love regardless. Maybe you would be able to support your child even more having lived through it yourself. Thanks, again, for sharing your kindness and knowledge. You really do know a lot!

  • Bev F.

    I just gave birth for the first time in November, so all those feelings you are going through are very fresh in my mind!

    I had a birthing plan, but we only had a few things in it. I think the most important thing going into it is being flexible about what you want (or what you think you want), because the last thing you want is to be highly disappointed by the birthing process and to live with regret. You truly won’t know what you want until you go through it, and in the moment you have to go with what feels right for you. I was quite apprehensive about labor, but I took a Hypnobirthing class that helped me to relax (granted, during labor itself I wasn’t able to really employ most of the relaxation techniques I learned). Really I think trying to do whatever you can to do to allay the fears will help you the most, and having a sense of what you want but being open to other options. Wishing you all the best in these last few weeks of pregnancy and labor!

    • First of all, congrats on giving birth! How exciting for you. I appreciate your insight. I think flexibility is the key to this entire experience. There are no certainties and the ambiguity can drive you crazy. I don’t want to feel a sense of disappointment in such a monumental period in my life. I have heard about hypnobirthing from a few people. I will also look into meditation, too. Anything to keep my mind focused and relaxed. I am studying options so that I can get a better understanding of what I may want, but knowing all along that I have to keep an open mind. Thanks, again, for the preggo love!

  • Tania Franco

    I was one of those warrior women, but if I had to do it all over again I would have the Epi! I passed out from the pain a few times, and remember glimpses of my labor, on top of that I looked like a train reck. :(( Mind you, I have a high tolerance for pain. I also had a birthing coach, and believe in mind over matter. I used visualization techniques I was taught, which went something like–picturing the baby coming out of a long tunnel. Yes, this technique helped me the most. I do however remember the most important part! My babies face when I saw him for the first time is something I will cherish forever. Also, this is only a speck in time…reminding yourself it’s not permanent helps tons!

    Best of Luck,

    • Oh my gosh…you passed out? Holy moly! And you have a high tolerance for pain? This is great to know because I have absolutely no tolerance whatsoever. I do believe our mind is powerful and we have to conquer things a lot of times with our mindset. I will have to look up visualization techniques because so far all I know is about breathing techniques. This will definitely help! That is the part I just can’t wait for! It’s going to be surreal to see him for the first time. Aaahhh!!!! True about the fleeting nature of labor. It may seem like forever, but it’s a good reminder that it is only a small portion of the beauty of motherhood. Thanks for all the great advice!

  • Julie

    When my husband and I had my first baby, we weren’t sure what we wanted to do and what we filled about an epidural. We just told our doctor that it was a possibility and that we weren’t quite sure. I went to the hospital in the afternoon to get induced. I had an iv in me. I was able to do most of the contractions on my own without an epidural. The breathing exercises helped. It got to a point for me that I knew I was ready for an epidural. I got it and was able to rest for a half hour. Then I could feel my baby starting to push, so I had to call the doctor in. Then about an hour later, Katie was born. Let me know if you have any other questions. I would love to answer your questions.

    • It’s amazing how much breathing actually helps! It blows my mind that with an epi you are actually able to relax. I wonder how it will feel when I feel him ready to come out. Incredible! Such a miraculous experience altogether. I appreciate all your support. It really is so kind of you to offer any tips. I used your advice and started packing the hospital bag with your suggestions. Sounds like being flexible is the best advice. Thanks, Julie, for being so sweet!

      • Julie

        You’re welcome! I’m happy to share any advice/tips for a soon-to-be mama. I want to help things for you to be as smooth as possible. 🙂

  • La Maman Heureuse

    One of the biggest lessons in being a mama has been letting go. Letting go of your body as your own when you grow a tiny human being inside. Letting go when you give birth and as they grow up and reach little milestones. It’s been a hard lesson sometimes, but we mamas can do a lot.

    The same goes for giving birth. Each story is different and none of us can tell you the right way to decide how to do this. Basically it just happens and you get with it along the way.

    Here in Belgium we don’t have such a thing as a birth plan. You either give birth naturally (with or without epi) or you have a c-section. Most people here take an epi, but I have to admit after getting the details on our hospital tour, I was terrified. I ended up giving birth without it. The funny thing is that when my contractions were so bad and I really wanted one, I was already 9cm dilated and there was no way I would get an epi.

    Did it hurt? Yes LOL but pain is so different times. For instance I’d rather give birth again than go to the dentist (so scared of that)

    But that day (almost four years ago) is still one of the most beautiful days of my life, it’s amazing what your body is capable of and it was such an adrenaline shot and natural high that I don’t know how to top that again (maybe have another baby or run a marathon LOL)

    Don’t be scared, you’ll be fine, it’s what we’re meant to do and our body knows that too 🙂 But I also had the best midwives who really pulled me through the entire thing and they saved me in more ways than one.

    Keeping you in my thoughts, sweet and strond mama!

    • Oh, yes, the letting go. A lesson I remind myself of every day because it’s so very hard, isn’t it? I can imagine as we see these little people grow we have to let go little by little. Oh, so difficult. Regarding giving birth, you are right. Every person and story are different. That’s why it’s hard sometimes to hear people say you should do this or they think it best if you do this because everyone is different.

      So nice you don’t have a birthing plan in a way! Less pressure. It has its pros and cons for sure. I am actually hoping I have your same experience and try to hold off as long as I can and then an epi is no longer possible. However, the more I think about it the more I still want the flexibility to use it if need be.

      You are speaking my language when you say about the dentist….I’m mortified of going there and having anything done! So funny!

      What I love to hear is that what you remember most if meeting your little love for the first time and how amazing that experience is. It sounds like it is all just worth it. You are right that we were built for this….literally. I am counting on Mr. ShuGar and my mama to coach me through this. They know me best. Thanks, always, for all your love! You are wonderful and I treasure you <3