Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Panic Attacks Triggered by Labor Pains

Lately I have been getting more and more nervous about delivering this baby. With my first child, I was very oblivious to what labor was like.

Let me preface by stating that I am a HUGE wuss when it comes to pain. A lot of woman try to be tough when delivering babies and it seems like a contest to see who can go the longest without an epidural. I commend the women who do it naturally. If that works for you than great. I on the other hand, just wanted to survive the experience. Before going to the hospital I had imagined that before any real pain or discomfort started surely in this day and age I would be pumped with pain medications. But while waiting to determine if I was in true active labor, and while waiting for the anesthesiologist to come back to the hospital since they sent him home for the night, I experienced a lot of pain and was very much unprepared for the agony I felt while waiting for an epidural. I have a distinct memory of burying my face into the bed, holding onto the bed rails and kicking my legs, literally writing in pain.

Then after getting my epidural, the rest was a piece of cake. But I learned just how unprepared I was for those first few hours. 

Now that I know better, whenever a small contraction starts I have immediately gone into panic mode.

Yesterday I went to the doctor and they checked me and told me that I could go pretty much anyday. Last night, I had several contractions while trying to go to sleep. I started shaking uncontrollably. I had a hard time catching my breath or my thoughts. I was petrified that I would soon experience the hard excruciating labor pains that I did the first time around.

I realize I am also worried about not being in control of the situation. I tried to schedule an induction because that would help me feel more in control of the when and how, but unfortunately my doctor will only do those after 39 weeks and she doesn't think I will last that long. I scheduled one anyway as a plan B, but I know that I am going to have to figure this out for the surprise middle of the night scenario.

Because I am feeling extreme anticipatory anxiety I know I need to sort out all of my thoughts just like I would for any other trigger and hopefully that will help me. My plan is to research more about breathing techniques (related to labor) that I can use as well as some helpful coping statements I can refer to to help control my thoughts.

I have attached my exercise I did to help address my fears. I plan to print it out and keep it in my hospital bag so I can refer to it when I need it.

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