Friday, June 15, 2007

Sweet Southern Comfort

Whenever someone asked me what my due date was, I always said June 15, since that was right between the two dates given to me by my OB and midwives. But I never expected to make it that far. Everyone swore to me that second babies came earlier than the first, and since Miss M was only 5 days past 40 weeks, I thought I'd be on target for a 38.5 week delivery, 39 at the most.

What I forgot to take into consideration, however, is The Natural Factor. Granted, I just made it up, but I think it's a solid theory. I've been paying more attention to the natural birthing multi-breeders I know, and I've noticed something strange: unlike our spinal-blocked sisters, the women who went drug-free the first time delivered their second babies later than the first. Anywhere from 8 to 11 days past dates. And I'm unscientifically crediting that to the fact that, whatever may happen between births, as soon as those Braxton Hicks contractions start kicking in, the full memory of labor's intensity emerges from the mental mist. And it's hard to resist the urge to go into lockdown, to obey the voice that says, "Nuh uh! Not again! That sucked!"

I've been trying to dispel these thoughts with the knowledge that there were many factors of my first childbirth that were outside of my control, and that with a better handle on my environment and birth team, some of the most challenging aspects of labor will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. Like the half-hour drive while I was in transition, or the twenty minutes pacing around an empty ER while I was checked into the hospital, or the endless expanse of time during which I was hooked up to a monitor belt. I'm counting on the home field advantage to reduce both the mental and physical aggravation I went through last time. Whenever people ask why I decided on a homebirth, the first thing I say is that everything I didn't like about my first labor occurred after I left the house, so I'm trying to focus on the memories of those first 15 hours, and how the peace and quiet and comfort of home made everything easier to take.

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