Second Time a Charm?

About a week ago, I pulled my shiny, puffy maternity winter coat out of the closet where it’s waited through two winters to be useful again.  Despite nearly three years since my last pregnancy, it felt immediately normal to be in it again, as if no time had passed since the last time I’d worn it, waddling into the hospital to deliver my son.

The morning sickness has been basically the same- the duration and the symptoms- the clothes, all saved for this much anticipated second round, even the gender of this baby, all so familiar.  Everything is the same and I’m planning on doing everything different.

Long time readers will know that I suffered through a sad and frightening postpartum experience after Luka’s birth.  I’ve written about it and thought a lot about it in the years since.   It remains to be seen if I respond to the hormonal upheaval that comes after birth the same way again, and sadly, it may very well be nothing I can control or change.  Or maybe I can?  I’m determined to try.  My plan is simple:  If I change or undo everything that occurred during my first birth, perhaps, perhaps….I can root out the culprit. Maybe changing just one thing…

I realize it could be a long shot, but it is worth a shot.

Here’s how I’m flipping the script:

Using a Midwife.

I’m not doing a Home Birth, my ‘medical’ doctor husband is firmly against the idea of that, and honestly, I doubt I could do it either.  Being pregnant is hard on me.  I don’t enjoy it.  It’s pretty clear that it flat out wants to kill me.  I’m emotional, anxious…. really, really anxious.  I feel invaded.  My OB/GYN once told me that there are two types of pregnant women, the ones that feel like their babies are safe and protected inside their bellies, and the ones that are filled with fear because they can’t know exactly what’s happening in there at any moment.  Take a guess which I am.

I love my obstetrician, I really do.  She is sweet and kind and very cautious, which is just fine with me.  However, the nature of her practice prevents her from spending much more than 20 minutes with me at any appointment.  The midwife comes to your home, where you are comfortable and not wearing a paper dress.  She stays for an HOUR.  At my first appt. with her, I cried.  I cried!  And it wasn’t even pregnancy related.  Still, I had time to talk, just endlessly jabber on about everything that scared, angered, saddened, and excited me about my pregnancy.  I like, and I think I personally need, the extra time and attention.  I’m still using my OB for the birth, but I’m using both for prenatal care and the Midwife will act as a Doula, or a birth coach during labor and delivery.

No * expletive* Pitocin!

This one will be difficult.  Pitocin is the hormone, yeah, another hormone, used to induce birth.  The immediate effect of no longer being pregnant, essentially the effect of the immediate change in hormone levels in my body, was to want to slaughter everyone in the delivery room.  I was irr. i. tat. ed.  I’m thinking having that extra load of powerful Pitocin was not helping.  Looking back on Luka’s birth, I’m not certain why the hell I was induced in the first place, and my plan is to have a stronger voice for myself.  The problem is, I’m not certain I’ll do very well.  If they tell me they need to get my baby out, I’ll probably cave.  I have to prepare myself emotionally for this one, because of all the possible culprits, this seems the most likely to have had a real effect.

No Episiotomy

Don’t even think about it!  Keep the scalpel away from my business, Thank You.   My Midwife had some good news about that.  According to her, being upright, walking etc.. during early labor, allows gravity to naturally ‘ open ‘ things.  Midwifes never give episiotomies, or very rarely.  Something to think about.  Problem is, if you are hooked up to an epidural, you can’t move, you can’t walk, you can only lay on your back.  So……

No Epidural

I don’t expect to succeed.   I’m not anti-epidural, and I’m not out to prove anything.  If the pain becomes more than I can bear or frankly, want to bear, I’ll yell uncle.  My goal is really to stay off it longer this time, to let the aforementioned gravitational effects prepare me better for delivery.  Having the Midwife with me will be essential.  I’m kind of excited to see how I’ll do….


Hospital staff, you are on notice.  Deny me ESSENTIAL energy providing calories all you want.  When you leave the room, it’s gonna be like Thanksgiving in there.  Food! Precious, necessary food.  My Midwife told me that they routinely sneak food to the patients they attend to in hospitals.  With Luka, I arrived at the hospital at 5:00 in the evening for a scheduled induction the next morning.  I was denied food, other than popsicles until he arrived at 12:43 the next afternoon.  That?  Is fucked up.  You wouldn’t find a Dr.  suggesting you workout for 30 mins without having plenty of food in your belly, but undergo the most intense, exhausting physical endeavor you can probably ever expect to experience and nothing?  Not this time.  This baby is arriving while Mama chaws on a turkey leg.

The Village

This one I figured out about three weeks after Luka came home.  This time, help will be waiting for me.  I’ll pay for help, my mother-in-law can come if she wants, relatives, neighbors, refrigerator repairmen, whoEVER.  I will accept help in any form, from whoever is kind enough to offer it.  It really does take a village.  Any of you out there who are still punishing yourselves under the draconian notion that a  “good mother” does it all on her own?  Stop It.  Really.  It’s so unnecessary, and they are never going to give out awards for it.

That’s the plan so far.  I’m feeling optimistic, but nervous.  Did I really just say I’m not going to have an epidural?



Heather Bogolyubova

About Heather Bogolyubova

Heather Bogolyubova has an un-pronouncable last name. A Maine native, she's returned to the Pine Tree state after several years in New York. Now, she's a newlywed, has a new baby, a new job, and lots of fancy shoes she can never wear in the snow. The job: Stay-at- home mother and wife. Its hard. She's going to tell you all.