This weekend I will be 30-weeks pregnant, and, I won't lie, the thought of having to push another human out of my still-traumatised-from-the-first-time vagina has been playing on mind more and more recently. I remember having Rex vividly, as do I remember saying with complete conviction that I would never do it again.
In all seriousness, maybe nine of the 12 hours I was in labour with Rex weren't actually that bad. I say that, I mean, they certainly weren't fun, but they were manageable, you know? As much as I know lots of people think it's a bit wanky, Eamo and I did a hypnobirthing course (read here for my frank very account of hypnobirthing) and the information acquired and breathing techniques I learnt really got me through it. It was only the last few hours when his massive great swede of a head got stuck that we encountered some, let's say, issues.
While I have no idea what childbirth will be like second time around, I think the fact that I already have some experience with it makes me shit myself all the more (hopefully not literally). Funnily enough when I talk to people about childbirth, this time round they are much more positive. "It's always easier second time round." And: "Your body has already been stretched beyond belief, this one will fly out." Interesting that when it's your second people are much more reassuring, unlike with your first where all everyone wants to do is tell you horror birth stories. You know the ones... "Oh my god, my insides basically fell out of my ass and it went on for DAYS!"
Childbirth: Geriatric mum rules
While people have been keen to reassure me that this time round my body is so fucked from Rex having already paved a bloody great path that it will be a piece of piss, it seems healthcare professionals are a bit more cautious. Because of my age, as well as an extra growth scan at 34 weeks, I also have to see a consultant to discuss the extra risks of being pregnant while old and therefore potentially being induced at 40 weeks.
When I was pregnant with Rex, I hung, quite literally, on every word of every doctor and midwife that I saw. I was so out of my depth, the only sense that I was doing anything right was to do exactly as they said. But as I started to find my way as Rex's mum, I realised a lot of what I was being told was advice, not hard and fast rules. Breastfeeding not being the only way to feed my baby being a prime example.
While I will go into that appointment very open to whatever the doctor has to say, I also know that being induced is ultimately my decision. I wish I'd realised that anything to do with pregnancy and childbirth was my choice the first time around. Looking back I think it would have made a big difference to some of the decisions I made, and maybe, just maybe, led me away from the spiral into postnatal depression.
Childbirth: Worry for the big man
Despite the obvious apprehension for my lady bits, my overwhelming concern about childbirth this time around is Rex. When and where will it happen, will I have to stay in hospital and how will Rex cope? I know this might sound ridiculous, but during this pregnancy I've often felt like I've betrayed Rex in some way. We wanted to make our family bigger for him as much as us, but I have to admit to worrying about how a new baby will change the dynamics in the house, and, being totally overdramatic, whether it will ruin his life.
Like Eamo and I, he will have to adapt to his little sister arriving, I know. I just hope I can navigate that period for him (and me) as easily and smoothly as is possible at any given time.
If I'm completely honest, my biggest anxiety about having another child has always been how I will love another human as much as I love Rex. I just can't imagine having the capacity to love that much (although that sentence could've been very different if written yesterday after he told me to stop talking because my voice was 'just so annoying'). But am reassured by everyone I voice that opinion to saying it's not something you even think about when the baby arrives.
I realise everything almost I have written here is all out of my control, and worrying about it is going to do absolutely nothing but make this geriatric mum age even more. But writing it down is therapeutic, and I live in hope, as always, that other mums out there have felt something similar. Here's hoping, however childbirth goes, Rex's little sister is a little smaller than her 8lb 13oz at birth older brother ;).
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