Having Faith in the Midst of Fear

Having Faith in the Midst of Fear January 12, 2016

By Philippe Alès (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Well, we had an exciting weekend.

On Thursday evening I had a talk with our pediatrician, who was VERY CONCERNED that we were choosing to have the baby at a birth center. Normally I would just brush aside concerns about uterine rupture and oxygen deprivation, not because I’m an idiot or anything, but because I’ve done lots of research and am pretty convinced that healthy, low-risk pregnancies are actually low-risk, and that it isn’t irresponsible (or even much riskier than a hospital birth) to have a baby with competent midwives within minutes of a hospital.

However, she had specific concerns beyond the general “they can’t save you if CATASTROPHE STRIKES”, and valid reasons for her concerns, that made me really listen. When I relayed the conversation to the Ogre, he was also concerned, and urged me to take her seriously and re-think the birth center. True to form, I burst into a puddle of hysterics and would have been put to bed with a hot-water bottle, if my life were a Victorian novel. Alas, it still isn’t, so I put myself to bed with some tea and Rushdie for sympathy.

By morning, I was in full-on breakdown mode. I firmly believe that in the last 2 weeks of pregnancy, no woman should have to make major decisions about anything other than how many scoops of ice cream she wants.  She definitely should not have to re-evaluate absolutely everything about how, where, and when she is going to give birth. But there I was, re-evaluating absolutely everything, and having increasing amounts of Braxton-Hicks all the while.

I kept coming back to the same thing, over and over: I did not want to have the baby in the same hospital where I had Lincoln. It was a bit of a traumatic birth experience, and the four days I spent in the hospital, an hour from my family, while Lincoln was under the bili lights and I was fighting to figure out how to stay in the hospital after they discharged me, fighting to get the nurses to listen to me and not give him formula, fighting to get them to let me even hold him for brief snatches of time…those four days gave me a wicked case of hospital PTSD.

I was unable to move beyond that experience to make a rational decision, and I knew it. So I said, “okay, God. You have to figure this out. It’s extremely unlikely that any OB will take me at 38 weeks, and I refuse to just show up at the hospital and be at the mercy of whoever happens to be on call. Logistically, we can’t afford to pay the OB fees up front, and most OB offices require payment in full before the baby is born. Plus, it’s Friday morning, and I’m not going to spend the weekend having contractions but not knowing where to go if labor really starts. So if you can work everything out in one day, I will trust that this is all for the best.”

It was actually a crap move on my part, because almost every doctor’s office in Naples closes at noon on Friday. I basically put God on a four-hour clock and was like, “Your move.”

But, you know, God. Sometimes I feel like He’s just showing off with all the omnipotence, because 15 minutes later an OB office called me. Our pediatrician had emailed them the night before, the OB was willing to take me as a 38 week transfer, and they had an appointment ready for me that afternoon to get me established as a patient in case I went into labor early. Their billing manager was out of the office for the day, but the office manager said that even though they usually required payment in full before the birth, they were willing to work with me on a payment plan because of the unusual nature of the late transfer.

I dragged the Ogre with me to the appointment, where he made sure that I explained to the very kind doctor just how afraid I was of returning to the hospital for a birth. She was extremely reassuring and promised to do everything in her power to make sure this experience was different. She also said that it seemed unlikely I would need to be induced again, or that I would need any kind of medication, since “it looks like this baby is just gonna slide right out!” I still haven’t decided if I should be relieved or horrified by that, but anything is better than pitocin, so.

By 3 pm, we had officially transferred from the birth center to the OB. The Ogre even went and got my records from the birth center for me, because I was too much of a chicken to face the midwives and tell them I was switching. I can’t say that I’m thrilled with the decision, but to be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the birth center either. At this point, I just want to have the baby in the safest, least stressful way possible, and take him home as soon as I can. And I feel like the rapid, seamless way the transition worked out was a sign that I should take the road that opened up for me. So I did.

The funny thing about acting on faith, though, is that it doesn’t really assuage fear or doubt. I have more trepidation about this birth than I’ve had for any since my first. I’m not convinced I made the right decision, but I had no clear sense of what the right decision was. I only know that I did the best I could, and that no matter how it works out, God will be with little Stormageddon and me.

I guess that’s really all I can hope for, anyway.



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