I’m 38 and a half weeks pregnant now, and still waiting to meet my little girl. I’m trying to boost my faith in my body’s ability to do what my brain is scared shitless about with well-researched articles and a mantra of surrender.
This idea of “surrendering” and trusting that the baby will come when she’s ready, that my body will know how to labor, that it’s all part of a natural process that a zillion women do all the fucking time and that’s why there are 6 billion people on earth is the most difficult thing right now. I’m coming to terms with my predicted giant-sized baby and have learned that most complications from presumed large babies come from the unnecessary medical interventions used based on wildly divergent and inaccurate size estimates, especially for non-diabetic mothers. Research demonstrates that the likelihood of my inability to push her shoulders out is somewhere around 0.6%. Fourth degree tearing is much more likely with a vacuum than it is with a large baby (11 times more likely). Science wins, and the satisfaction with my choice for a low-intervention, natural-with-probable-epidural oxymoronic birth is returning.
There is no evidence demonstrating better outcomes for induced or surgically removed babies based on their size. It’s just something that a lot of practices do. Just because something is common practice, doesn’t mean it should be. While I deeply trust in the scientific process, that’s different than trusting all facets of the medical establishment. Hospitals are businesses that benefit tremendously from C-section births: they can turn over delivery rooms faster, charge more money for surgery than for vaginal birth, and they are less likely to be sued if something goes wrong (defensive medicine).
Read this article for more information about why there is no evidence to support benefit for inducing large babies, which helped me tremendously.
It’s taken me two and a half weeks and countless conversations with my midwives, doulas, friends, and husband to screw my head back on the right way and peel the terror-death grip of anxiety off because of all this stuff. But now the “reason” half of my brain, which is actually like 90% of me and how I operate, needs to take a back seat. Now I have to figure out how to let all of this go.
On a related note, I really identify with Krang, the villain from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Remember Krang? He’ s a mighty but vulnerable brain that has to live in a he-man robot suit in order to use his powers. He’s pretty crafty, but without his bodysuit, he’s just a brain in a bucket. I’ve always felt kind of like a brain in a bucket. My brain has always felt like the source of whatever power and strength I have, and it feels disconnected from my body, which is mostly just a haphazard appendage that gets me places and into occasional trouble. It’s generally controlled by the mothership of my brain, and when it does its own thing despite my specific instructions, it’s uncomfortable.
This is not a good setup for labor.
First of all, having never done this before, I have no idea what to expect, how it will feel, or what I’m supposed to be doing. I have no idea what’s going to happen! How am I supposed to provide detailed, type-A, control-freak level instructions to my body on how to push out a giant child when I have no idea what I’m doing?
The answer, I’m told, is that I can’t. For the first time maybe ever, I need to quiet my inner Krang and trust that my body was built to do this. My body knows how to birth this baby, the same way my body knew how to build this baby for the last 9 months. I have to learn how to quiet the panic, trust that I’ve surrounded myself with the right team who can provide the right support, and let go. Let it go.
There is no concept more difficult than surrender at a time when all I want to do is panic and control.
The first step, for me, is to take the induction or C-section off the table (for now). While a specified delivery date would be an excellent brain-calming method for exerting my anxious will over my body’s natural process, there is no reason for it (at this point).
Next, I need to talk about it. I need Kate to tell me that trusting this rickety old body is the best thing I can do for myself and my baby. I need to text my doulas and have them remind me too. I need to cry at every midwife appointment and have them reassure me again and again. I need to remind my husband to remind me that everything will be okay during every onslaught of singing wayfair.com commercials every 4 seconds on the DIY channel. I need support! I need to be reminded 15 times a day that I can do this, and not be embarrassed or ashamed that I need a lot of help. I’m not a superwoman; I’m a weird little brain in an awkward bodysuit that has hopefully been wired properly.
I’m still figuring out the rest of it. Should I read Pema Chodron in the tub? Download some meditation timer apps? Join an online forum?
I’ll probably just try to rest the best way I know how: little naps, walks with my weird dog Donald, delicious salads, iPad time management games (oddly relaxing), and shit-talking home improvement shows on HGTV.
I’m repeating it like a mantra: I can surrender. I can surrender.
I can’t wait to meet you, baby girl.