Today marks 36 weeks of pregnancy and the end of our 12-week series of Bradley classes. We've been attending these classes every week since towards the end of July, and it's interesting how much has changed.
Starting with the belly...
From this (the first week of class)
to this (today)...
(Excuse the hair. It was one of those wash-but-do-not-brush days.)
But perhaps what is more interesting is this list of birth fears that I made at the very beginning of the summer:
1) I am scared of the pain.
2) I am scared because I don't know how to relax.
3) I am scared because I don't know how to breathe.
4) I am scared that I really am broken.
5) I am scared of the past coming up again.
6) I am scared of harming my baby or myself.
7) I am scared of ending up with another horrible birth experience.
8) I am scared of another c-section and what it would mean for my health.
Since making that list, every single fear on that list has been addressed and deeply explored. (Well, a lot of exploration was already happening before the classes started, as you all well know.) But I feel pretty damn confident and excited about what's to come. I figure everything we've learned and the depth at which Charlie's birth changed us won't hold us back from having a much better experience this time around.
I have moments of fear, of course, which seem to fade as I talk it out with Roy or someone else I trust. I know the fear will never be completely gone, but I've also decided that fear doesn't have to rule this birth like it ruled Charlie's. I will go ahead and do it afraid, because that is what we do all the time in all things in life. I've put 100% of myself into mentally, emotionally, and physically preparing for this VBAC, and I surrender myself to the experience of birth.
Already I feel powerful, knowing that I've done the absolute best for myself and this baby. I haven't given in to the hype that because I'm pregnant, I get to eat whatever I want and lay around. Instead, I've fully embraced the Brewer pregnancy diet and have remained extremely active. (The whole staying active thing is pretty much a given when you have a toddler to chase.) I take naps every single day because that is what my body tells me to do. As a result, I am not swollen, my aches and pains are minimal, I am well rested, and I feel up to the challenge of giving birth.
(Granted, things aren't perfect. I do feel very pregnant. But I'm not nearly as uncomfortable as I was at this point with Charlie, when my hands and feet hurt constantly because they were so swollen, and I was waddling around and popping Tums all day. And I do very much long to feel cute again.)
Now, as far as being up to the challenge of mothering two boys under two, that's a different post entirely. It's a subject that I'm sure will be explored quite a bit in the future. For now, though, today is one of those overwhelmingly tired days, and I need sleep desperately.