Giving Up Trying to Control the Uncontrollable

The closer I move to our son’s due date, the more frequently I am asked, “How are you feeling about giving birth again?” I do not mind the question since I have been so public about the complication after Cooper’s birth, but my answer seems to depend on the day. Luckily, most days I feel incredibly at peace because of my newly found realization.

I am the type of person who needs to prepare when feeling anxious.  As a student, I only felt confident taking tests if I had put in--what I felt was--an appropriate amount of prep time. Over and over I have “over” thinking what type of preparation I need to feel “ready” for our son’s birth in October. Should I attend birthing classes? Should I hire a doula? Should I practice calming meditative techniques? Should I do all of the above?

I have learned the only way I can prepare for the upcoming event is to accept this truth:  I have absolutely no control over the uncontrollable. This might seem simple, but during this pregnancy I have been tested daily to adopt this philosophy at its deepest level.

When my OBGYN appointments began, I came prepared with a select number of questions, all incredibly situational, of course. I am not sure what I expected. Maybe I wanted my doctor to outline every possible outcome. It didn’t take long for me to realize he was not going to play my “what if” game.

Below are some of the main questions I asked. (Not the totally irrational ones that pop into my head as I toss and turn in the middle of the night.)

Will I hemorrhage? If I do, will medicine make it stop this time?

How long will you wait till you do a hysterectomy?

Will laboring look like it did with Cooper, water breaking, pushing 1.5 hours?

Will I have a big baby, which can increase hemorrhaging?

Would you do a scheduled c-section at any point? At what point? Why?

Can I have a natural labor? Why would you not recommend it?

Over and over again, he told me many of my questions were going to depend on the pregnancy and what is going on in the moment. Occasionally, he would outline around five different situations, just to prove to me he was the highly recommended expert, and I needed to hand over the control to him.

The reality is there are WAY too many unknowns. As much as I try to stop imagining situations that could happen during or after delivery, for someone like me, that is enough to create anxiety on its own.

I have been going to therapy every two weeks. I recently said,

The experience after Cooper’s birth felt like a car accident coming out of nowhere. I got hit, I fought for my life and I survived the crash.

Our son’s birth feels more like a cancer diagnoses. I have time to grieve, worry, and obsess over all the possibilities. The only difference is I DO NOT HAVE CANCER, and there is a 75% chance no car accident will happen, not even a fender bender.

My conclusion:

The only way for me to prepare is to acknowledge I cannot be distracted by the “what if’s” because, by doing so, I will not be present in the moment. Being fully present in the moment is the sole way to be my strongest and most confident self. Being strong and confident is necessary, both physically and mentally, to safely deliver our son.

I was present in the moment with Cooper’s birth, and I give credit to that being one of the reasons I am alive. I dealt with what was happening, I wasn’t paralyzed by fear, I reacted and I survived.

I need to enter our son’s birth by allowing it to be whatever it is supposed to be. He is a different child with a different birth story. I must allow him to be unique by not assuming anything, by being present in the moments leading up to his birth, during his birth, and after his birth.

So what does being present in the moment look like to me RIGHT NOW?

Modified best rest.  

As I mentioned, this is a different pregnancy. Last week at one of my high risk doctors’ appointments, they noticed my cervix is half the size it should be, and I am already effacing, NOT the ideal situation since I am only 29 weeks pregnant.

So no sex, no exercise, no walking long distances, no picking up Cooper. I need to relax as much as possible. Being present in the moment is making sure baby boy stays inside me a lot longer. Since exercise is not a possibility for the rest of pregnancy, I am going to focus my being-present-in-the- moment energy into feeding my body healthy food so that baby and I will get the most nutrition possible to be strong for our big day.

I am grateful for this week’s #bebetter52 challenge because it motivates me to focus more on the food I put into my body and its nutritional properties. I am going to the store today to pick up some turmeric root to try a turmeric drink packed with all good ingredients: a tropical carrot, ginger and turmeric smoothie.