As I've been reliving the previous two births I've experienced and re read some books on the subject I've been thinking about what might happen this time around.
Will it be like the others? Will my body take over and will it just happen like I want it to to with muscle memory because I've been there before?
I don't know. No-one does.
During my first pregnancy I read books and birth stories and accounts and considered what was important to me (us). At that time I had two close friends who already had babies and both of them had experienced fairly traumatic emergency cesareans and hearing their accounts frightened me. Whilst all that mattered was that my friends babies were delivered safely and both Mamas recovered well it brought home to me the reality of what can and does 'go wrong' during birth and how medical intervention saves lives every day. The message I took from speaking to these friends was the lack of control and fear they felt over their birth experiences mixed with relief that they were so closely monitored and that despite the difficulties their babies were safely delivered.
I think that's why when it came to Brodie's birth my aim was to labour at home for as long as possible and go into hospital when I felt I needed the extra support from midwives with the reassurance of giving birth in a modern hospital and all that means.
As someone who definitely inhabits a stance somewhere near the more crunchy end of the spectrum I absolutely believe in the role our mind and thoughts have in the way our bodies respond. As someone with a background in science I became fascinated with the role hormones play in the onset of birth and in preparing mother and baby for the process of birth. The way they interplay and follow a pattern as the stages of a birth plays out - or don't as the case may be. I became convinced that I wanted to avoid disrupting the natural sequence of events by avoiding interventions like synthetic hormones and pain relief which might slow this down. I wanted to feel safe and secure, probably at home. I sensed that becoming frightened of what was happening or feeling out of control would be detrimental but I didn't have any idea of what I was preparing for.
Often when I hear people say 'abandon the birth plan' or 'just go with the flow' I feel it rankle a bit. Of course there are cases where circumstances mean a birth plan seems ridiculous. But I also feel it's important to really think about what you would like to happen. Have it clear in your mind what's important to you, and what you would like to avoid if anything. Speak about it with your partner and talk it through with others if that's helpful. Arm yourself with knowledge of what could or might happen and you'll feel less overwhelmed in the thrust of full on labour which is likely to be unlike anything you've ever experienced. If all goes well you'll be able to have at least some control over the birth of your baby. It certainly helped me to keep calm and to accept what was happening within my body. I'm planning to publish my 'birth stories' in coming days, you might have guessed what I'm currently preoccupied with! I'm interested to hear the thoughts of others as always.