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The Birth & the Hospital

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Pregnant mom with toddler in forest

5 Reasons (I Think) I'm Scared About Giving Birth the Second Time.

As I write this, I'm a few days shy from the due date of my second child, and I'm going to be honest: I'm terrified. I'm not scared of having a newborn like I was last time, as I'm obviously far more experienced with babies this time around. I'm not even freaked out about balancing two kids, which I'm sure won't be without its challenges. I'm scared of the actual act of giving birth.

The birth of my first child, my daughter, was by most standards relatively easy, and for lack of a better word, pleasant. She was born naturally after about 14 hours of labor, and I only pushed for an hour. I never felt scared or anxious during the experience, and the staff at the hospital where I delivered was incredibly nice and accommodating.

After my daughter was born, I obviously experienced a degree of uncomfort, but I never thought to myself, "Oh, my god, I could never do that again." So, I'm not 100 percent sure why I'm so freaked out this time. In fact, when I first found out I was pregnant for the second time, I said to my husband, "Weirdly, I'm actually kind of even looking forward to giving birth again."

But now that it could happen any day now? Not so much. In fact, not at all. I'm mostly chalking this fear up to the fact that I'm what feels like 14 months pregnant and my brain is marinating in a concoction of potent hormones, but I also think there are other factors playing in.

Here are five reasons (I think) I'm more freaked out about giving birth for the second time.

  1. I know what to expect.

    As I said, the birth of my daughter was by no means traumatizing. Still, I'm intimately familiar with what it's like to bring a human into this world -- and I wouldn't exactly say it "tickles." I keep telling myself that it's temporary pain for a lifetime of happiness, but the "ouch" factor is a little hard to overlook.

  2. I have a child already.

    Last time around, my water broke around 3 a.m. and my husband and I simply waltzed out of our apartment into the Brooklyn night. Before leaving, we turned lights on, gathered our things, talked at a normal volume, as there was no one else to be concerned with. Things are a little more complicated this time, being that we have a two-and-a-half-year-old. There's childcare to coordinate (and what if said childcare doesn't answer their phone?!); noises to stifle, should I go into labor at night again; and, of course, the worry that the people watching my daughter (her beloved babysitter and my sister) won't do things just so for her, and it'll be meltdown city.

  3. Second babies come faster.

    In theory, this sounds great. Less time spent in labor and pushing, but, as ridiculous as this sounds, I do have the low-grade worry in the back of my mind that I'm going to become a local news headline for delivering my baby in the car because we didn't make it to the hospital in time. I suppose there could be worse things, but, given the choice, I'd pass on that, thanks.

  4. I'm scared something is going to go wrong.

    This thought is something that never entered my mind my first pregnancy -- not even for a second. I was concerned about the pain but never once feared something would go (really) wrong. While I know that odds of something bad happening to my baby or myself are incredibly slim (particularly since this has been an uneventful pregnancy), every once in a while, when I'm lying awake in the middle of the night, the thought makes its way into my head, where it takes up residence for a few hours, and -- need I even say it? -- it's not fun. I chalk this up, again, to the fact that I already have a child, and there seems to be more at stake if something were to happen to me. Talk about an un-fun worry to have.

  5. We've never left our daughter before.

    Over the summer, my husband and I took a quickie "babymoon" trip a few hours away for a night. We saw my daughter the morning before we left and again the next (early) afternoon when we returned. It isn't that we're staunchly against leaving our child, the opportunity just really never presented itself. So, now, in addition to worrying about giving birth, I'm worrying about worrying about my daughter while I'm giving birth since we've never left her before. (I never said I was laid-back, or, you know, "sane" right now.)

I'm hoping that when it's go-time, these fears and anxieties will magically melt away and I'll be "in the moment" (as I should be), and predominantly focused on meeting my sweet little baby.

But until then... help!

Were you more scared the first time or the second time you gave birth?

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