They say when you lose a child, you lose not only that child, but the hopes and dreams that you held for that child. I didn’t know then just how all-encompassing those hopes and dreams would be. I realized later that I lost not only hopes and dreams we held for Layla, but I lost the hopes I had surrounding her birth, and the births of all my children. Words like ‘natural’, ‘low-intervention’, ‘labor at home’ were scratched from my birth plan the moment I walked into a hospital and learned that item #1 on my plan – deliver baby safely – wasn’t an option. From the immediate induction I faced at 35 weeks, to the 36 hours of labor that followed, to the epidural I never intended to have, nothing was as I wanted it to be. Nothing would ever again be as I wanted it to be.

With my first rainbow, I needed every minute of extra monitoring they would give me. Twice weekly non-stress tests, an induction plan, a promise my OB would be with me when we brought a crying baby into the world. I held my breath and would have stayed on monitors every day of that pregnancy. I knew I’d never be able to labor at home out of fear, and after I showed up at the hospital for an extra NST at 37 weeks, having not slept all night, I wept with gratitude when my OB offered to induce me on the spot. I tried my hardest to reclaim pieces of the birth I had initially wanted – but laboring in the shower meant I had to remove the monitors, and just five minutes into one, I was hit with a panic attack that sent my doula running for a nurse to hook me back up. 20+ hours of induced, anxiety-ridden labor later, another epidural, another birth that didn’t go according to ‘plan’ – but it didn’t matter. My baby was alive and crying and pink and who needed a plan because that’s all the plan I cared about.

But this time – oh how I would love this time to be different. To have even a glimpse of the birth I dreamed of with Layla. That’s why I’m seeing a midwife, why I am hopeful to have this baby at the birth center near my house. How I’ll do everything in my power to avoid a hospital induction. But then… it comes creeping back in. The fear, the anxiety. The need to have my baby in my arms as soon as I can. The knowledge of all the things that can happen.

Head vs. heart. What I want vs. what I need. What I believe vs. what self-doubt tells me. What I think I want vs… what I think I want.

The truth is, the closer we get, the less I know what I want or need. I know I need this baby to live. I know I need to believe I did everything in my power to make that happen. I also know I need to reclaim a little bit of the me that was there before everything changed. And then I look at the calendar and know that I’ll hit 37 weeks and be ready to head in any day and ask them to please bring my baby into the world.

If anyone has had an out of hospital birth with their rainbows, I’d love to hear your story.

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