Pregnancy diary 1: Finding trust in birth after loss, when to tell people and choosing a midwife.
I always wanted to be good at writing and journaling through my pregnancies and I am just not very good at getting around to it. So as my belly is now getting rounder and rounder again, I thought I would start out using my blog i.e. ‘work time’, to write a bit about my pregnancy. Would love your comments underneath.
I love being pregnant. I love the feeling of my baby inside me squirming around. I am 28 weeks now, but I would like to tell you a bit about my thoughts and feeling through the first half of this pregnancy.
I have two big kids, 10 and 12 years old, so this is such a different feeling of being pregnant than before. I have loved it every time, but obviously the first time I was reasonably clueless and had much more anxiety. Second time around I felt very comfortable and relaxed and it was very straight forward. I didn’t have that much time to really feel into it though, as my toddler was less than one when I got pregnant again. This time I feel like there is much more space and it is just wonderful to have my big kids enjoy feeling the baby and asking the most weird and wonderful questions.
Two years ago I had a miscarriage and despite that fact that my husband and I normally tell the world about our pregnancies very soon, even after an early miscarriage many years ago, this time we decided not to tell anyone about this pregnancy until much later. I actually do believe it is so important that we share both the good news and the bad with each other, and during my miscarriage last time I was blessed with enormous support because everyone knew. My hubby always struggles to contain himself and wants to tell the whole world immediately, which is just so lovely, but this time I really needed to just have space and time to get used to being pregnant, and feel really ready before I told anyone, including my own kids. I knew if I told them, they’d never be able to contain it.
Having a miscarriage or pregnancy loss is massive and it has such an impact on your emotional well-being when getting pregnant again. A bit like when you have had a really difficult or traumatic birth previously. It is so hard to feel really happy, to trust and settle into the pregnancy, because the fear of losing is always there. My husband was great and when I would get myself totally down in fear and speculations, he would be so rational and remind me that there really was nothing I could do about this. The baby would either be OK and stay, or it wouldn’t So I might as well just relax. Life is rarely as uncomplicated in our heads as that though, but it did really help me not to let myself and my emotions run away with me.
The first three months had me feeling physically pretty off, particularly in the late afternoon and night when I was tired. My husband would be off teaching and I had to sort dinner and kids. Many nights I would be in bed before them and they were really starting to wonder what on earth was going on. I would have liked to feel able to tell them sooner to have minimized that uncertainty for them, but on the other side I also feel proud to have looked after myself and my needs to have that time, even though I respect and understand that that time would have been easier for them had they known.
When I started to feel a bit more certain about this pregnancy, I needed to work out where to birth and with whom. I knew I wanted a homebirth, as to me this is the most likely place for me to birth normally and straight forward. My last birth was a really beautiful homebirth experience. I birthed fairly fast at home. The biggest issue with that pregnancy was that I was very overdue and ended up with enormous pressure to get induced. Because it was such a lovely birth I have never really allowed myself to acknowledge how much that pressure affected me. I nearly lost the support of my midwives, who were being hassled by the hospital for wanting to support me. The day before I gave birth I had told my midwives that I was not going in to be induced as everything pointed towards my baby being fine. She was moving heaps and all medical tests were also saying she was fine, so to me being induced was to add risk. But I also had had to come to terms with the fact that the midwives possibly had to withdraw their support because of this decision. I actually felt very confident and would have birthed on my own if I’d needed to. But this time around I was suddenly faced with a big reaction about losing support and feeling abandoned at a very vulnerable time.
My midwives did come when I rang in labour that night and they were great and the birth was amazing. This time though, when starting to think about the birth and caregivers, I found myself totally obsessing about my due date and about how I was going to find a midwife, who wouldn’t end up in trouble for supporting my decisions to go post-dates if everything feels right. And even though I know many beautiful midwives, I was still struggling with daring to trust anyone and with feelings of anxiety for putting them in really bad situations where their job could be attacked. It took me a few weeks, talking it over in my head again and again, writing about it, talking to my husband, talking to different midwives and crying heaps until I suddenly felt it all starting to lift. I started to really understand why this was so big for me and acknowledge in myself how tense that situation actually had been. I could then more rationally choose the midwife who suits me most and who was OK with my need to grow into trust again.
So I am now set for another home birth if all stays well and reasonably straight forward.