“You dodged a bullet on that one!” the Obstetrician said as he entered the room. He had just reviewed my 30-week ultrasound checking the status of my placenta previa. “Our rule of thumb is the placenta needs to be 2 centimeters away from the cervix for a vaginal delivery. Yours measured 2.1 centimeters.”
“Wonderful!” I said with relief. I was so grateful Jesus had kept Lily safe, and bleeding wasn’t a concern through the final weeks of the pregnancy.
My perspective on facing another labor had shifted from dread to gratitude. I decided to make the most of it and read as many books on childbirth as I could. I wanted to clear my head after my first childbirth, and prepare as best I could for this one. I browsed books on amazon and made a list of those I could get from the library, then started checking out a few at a time.
I read books by obstetricians, midwives, childbirth educators, an obstetric-anesthesiologist, and a labor and delivery nurse. Some writers said childbirth wouldn’t hurt if you weren’t afraid of it. Some said it wouldn’t hurt if you relaxed completely. Some said it would still hurt but you could distract yourself with complex breathing techniques. Some said it would still hurt but you could do it if you believed you could do it and had support. Some said it would still hurt but you could just use pain-relieving medications. Some said it would still hurt but it was supposed to so you could labor responsively. I took pages and pages of notes, typed them up, and filed them in a three-ringed binder like any nerd who is having too much fun would do.
After all my reading, I decided epidurals really weren’t that scary (the obstetric anesthesiologist convinced me of that) and mine probably spared me a C-section (since Brayden and I couldn’t survive infinite labor). And after reading lots of birth stories, I understood this time around that my best might not be enough, there are many factors beyond my control, and help is something to be really grateful for. I also learned a lot about the anatomy and process of labor, and some coping strategies which I typed into a nice long reference list for David.
My confidence in facing another labor was growing (along with the thickness of my glasses), until one last ultrasound showed something that caused me to begin dreading all over again . . .
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