Photo credit: Sublime Photo Art

My births are inherently medical. I didn’t choose this, but I’m okay with it. There are a lot of ways to birth and to want to birth. Sometimes they can start out with a certain intention or plan and then change a little or a lot, depending on what happens with mom or baby(ies) or both.

With my first, I went to a prenatal appointment not knowing that less than 12 hours later I would be giving birth to my stillborn son. I was induced, I labored, I had an epidural. I actually asked, in my overwhelming fear and uncontrollable whole-body shaking, to be knocked out completely. But they said no and I’m glad for that now. I wanted whatever I could have to try to feel less physical pain. Given the amount of Pitocin that was administered due to the severity of the situation and how quickly it worked, though, in hindsight I probably could have skipped the epidural. It took seven tries and I was closer to giving birth than I realized.

I was 24 weeks, I didn’t have a birth plan or even birth wishes. I hadn’t quite planned that far ahead yet. He was breech. I was terrified but somehow out of a series of ‘none of the above are great choices’ choices, my husband Matt and I managed to choose the ones we felt best about and still do today. An induced delivery. Holding him afterwards. An autopsy on our son’s tiny body and pathology of my placenta. Cremation.

With my rainbow I was high risk and induced again, somewhat urgently after what was going to be a routine 36-week appointment and being kept overnight for 24 hours of monitoring. My baby and I were both heavily monitored throughout the induction, labor and delivery. I had a doula this time, who was amazing. And my daughter was born living – something I did not take for granted. With every hospital and high-risk protocol followed, I trusted my medical team with our lives and started to trust my own body as well.

I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant with baby number three and I’m getting VERY close to my first planned C-section. I had a uterus surgery last year which puts me at risk of uterine rupture. The final countdown is here.

There will be no birthing center, there will be no different levels of natural versus traditional versus ‘do what you need to do.’ There will pretty much only be ‘do what you need to do’ and I’m choosing to feel comfort within that. I have accepted and embraced it. I have a short visual birth plan with a few requests for my team as long as things are going smoothly. Skin-to-skin as soon as possible, as I loved the immediate contact I had with my daughter when she was born. Staples because I’m allergic to dissolving sutures as I learned after my uterus surgery. Prioritizing exclusive nursing.

After the birth experiences I have had and the nerves that follow suit, I just desire to get to the other side, the part where I’m cuddling a sweet baby. Whatever it takes, however we get there, get us both safely to the other side of this birth and I will be forever grateful.

I know what it feels like to be in so much pain and then for it to seemingly disappear when that baby is placed in my arms. Twice. Once with a tiny, perfectly formed, 1 pound 3 ounces sleeping angel wrapped in a hand-knit hat and blanket. And again, with a barely full-term baby, vibrant with life at 6 pounds 14 ounces. With my first, a sense of pride mixed with deep sorrow. With my second, a sense of pride mixed with pure relief.

So I am anxiously looking ahead. I have every reason to trust my medical team. I have many reasons to trust that my body can make it through this birth while continuing to give my baby life. But, maybe most importantly, I also have two reasons, my first son and my rainbow daughter, to help me know and trust that there is the other side. All the nerves in the world cannot argue with that.

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