Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Countdown Begins

The moment is sneaking up on me. You know, the whole birth thing. In approximately four weeks our newest family member will exit my womb, one way or another.

In the past I could claim a minor obsession with natural childbirth. I devoured every birth story I could find on the web. Homebirth, hospital birth, even unassisted childbirth. I read it all. I slogged my way through Ina May Gaskin's psychedelic tome, Spiritual Midwifery. I read everything in the homebirth and midwifery section of the library. I formed my own (rather strong) opinions and prepared for my own empowered birth experiences.

This time around I have given the upcoming event very little thought. I'm not exactly sure why. I still strongly believe in natural childbirth and prefer homebirth with a midwife. I've not read any books on the topics of pregnancy or childbirth. I have indulged in Jenni's series of hilarious birth stories. (She is expecting her twelfth any day now.) However, my birth research over these past months has been incredibly limited.

Last week our midwife came over for my 36 week home visit. We talked about preparations for the birth. (A birth that could conceivable happen within the next couple of weeks.) Suddenly, everything became much more real. I realized I need to get ready! I need to prepare myself!

Physically, I feel pretty well set to go. I have washed the baby's clothes, set up the nursery, bought those teeny-tiny newborn diapers and gathered most of my birth supplies. I feel satisfied that everything is checked off my list.

Mentally and emotionally, however, I'm not sure how I feel. I find it hard to fathom the fact we will have a new little person in our family. Even more, I'm not sure how I feel about facing labour one more time. I've sort of pushed it to the back of my mind this pregnancy.

Praise God, I've been blessed with three easy labours and births in the past. (As easy as labour can be.) I've had three normal, natural, uncomplicated experiences. I truly believe God has designed my body to give birth beautifully. I must simply step aside when the time comes and let my body do its thing.

Yet, I'm not as naive as I used to be. All my reading and research and experience has taught me that birth is a wondrously complex process. I also know that a certain level of pain is involved. It just is. Am I ready to face that pain one more time? To be swept along with the waves and to release my body to God and to the miraculous process He designed?

I will be honest. I'm not sure I am ready to do it all again. Part of me wishes I could skip ahead to the point of snuggling my beautiful newborn babe without all the pain and effort. What is my end goal? A healthy newborn baby. This time around I am less interested in how I get there.

And thus, my attitude scares me. Why do I feel so apathetic? This is something I must work out, and soon. I sincerely believe attitude plays an important role in outcome (in birth as in life) and I want to enter into this birth with a positive, God-honouring attitude. I still believe natural, midwife-assisted homebirth is the healthiest option for me and my family. I'm simply not as passionate about it all.

Nevertheless, in a few short weeks I will give birth. One way or another, this baby is coming into the world. I'm praying it will be a beautiful process once again. But most of all, I'm praying for a healthy, wonderful baby.

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