fear of labor and delivery

{the past ten weeks through my instagram}
{what I’m wearing:  Left to Right.
First row: 1&2: Tibi via Rent the Runway // BCBG from Marshalls
Second Row:  PBJ Boutique // forever 21 // Camilyn Beth
Third Row:  All H&M (2011 season)}

this was the chapter in my book this morning.  the one i’ve been avoiding.  but avoiding only works for so long.  tomorrow I will be 6 months preggas!  time to face the music and figure out the birth plan.  even writing this post makes me a bit uneasy … talking about childbirth always ends with an involuntary frown and eyes as big as saucers.  my pulse quickens, i probably have a few beads of sweat pooling on my gigantic forehead. but why?  i have never really put it into words.  how silly.  look at all of the people around me.  somebody somewhere gave birth to them! 

then this morning when I faced my fear // the chapter, I realized I’m not scared of a lot of what they say freaks people out about birth.  i’ve been through some physical pain in life due to my open heart and lung surgeries.  the nurses kept telling me then – “giving birth to you will be easy peasey”. oh sure ladies. but really  physical pain isn’t what freaks me out or causes me rapid awkward breathing.  i’ve had two epidurals before … and they felt like a little finger prick on my spine.  i’m not scared of the epidural (though I have yet to decide).  when the chapter mentioned being afraid of IV’s, I had to giggle.  i had one i lived with for months.  due to my heart issues, i have to be in a hospital as i’ll need extra attention.  so water births around my small town or home births are out of the question for me. 

when i really examined what it is that freaks me out…  it is the shrieks i hear in most labor videos.   i get. incredibly. uncomfortable.  they’re what I think of when I think of birth unfortunately.
 my birth plan might include having someone stick a sock in my mouth.
and then the big one i really didn’t know i had until recently … i’m afraid of a c-section.  which makes me feel oddly vulnerable to admit here.

and yep.  fears.  they stink, huh?  lots of prayers over here are happening, and attempting to meditate (which is sort of a joke with my brain).   trying to get over this fear of labor and delivery.  and in the end, the fact that we get to take home a little 8-or so pounder who i am going to snuggle the tar out of.  how truly amazing. the end justifies whatever means.

and you?  are you like one of those built for childbirth that pops them out, no big?  or do you get all cross eyed like me when someone tells you they were in labor for 2 days hollering throughout? 

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  • Reply Kendra // The Darling Blog

    Girl, I was TERRIFIED of labor & delivery! But I was one of those who was terrified of the epidural needle.. so I didn't have an epidural. I really believe those videos of people screaming are exaggerated. I never heard a single person screaming while I was there. I had my son naturally and not once did I ever really feel the need to even raise my voice.

    You can do it! When you're having a really bad contraction, just focus and keep in mind: "It doesn't last forever. It only last a couple minutes. IT WILL END." Seriously, remembering that helped me so much!

    September 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm
  • Reply Jenni Austria Germany

    isn't there — psychologically speaking — a phase of labor during which the mother loses all modesty and insecurity and just goes into super-mom-mode? that's at least what my sisters tell me…i was in the delivery room for one of my nieces and my sister definitely got to a point where her fears just flew out the window and all that mattered to her was that she was birthing her baby. and hey — you're a professional warrior/hero/superwoman as it is, so i have faith that you'll bring tuck into the world with peace, grace and (dare i say it?) style. πŸ˜‰

    September 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm
  • Reply Linda

    I've been reading your blog for awhile, but this is my first comment! I'm also pregnant with my first child and a lot of what you're writing is what I'm thinking too!

    I think that the fear is of the unknown. In addition to the experience of giving birth, we're also entering into the experience of becoming new parents – talk about a double whammy!

    I keep telling myself that my body is made to do this and that this baby has to come out. I'm trying to block out everyone else's birth stories and experiences because mine is going to be so different.

    Focus on yourself and how you feel because that's what matters most!

    September 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Maria

    While not an L&D nurse, I've spent some time in the unit helping with deliveries. A few women delivered in the squatting position, which is more natural for the body. Almost all of the nurses I spoke with said that while the majority of deliveries are done in the laying down position with knees pulled back, they would prefer to squat as gravity helps move the baby through. Not sure if it makes the pain any easier or if the women who did it just had a higher pain tolerance, but I didn't hear a lot of screaming from those few women. Not sure what I'll do, but that's just a recommendation I was given.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Erika @ ~TiptoeButterfly~

    one of my besties just had her first – and she said it's NOTHING like the movies – she said it was beautiful and she actually got to help pushing her out – i'm TERRIFIED of the process – i've heard some horror stories – i wish u the best tho!

    September 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm
  • Reply Gayla

    Your fears are totally normal! My only advice is not to get too set on having it go a certain way. I carried my daughter for 42 weeks! Uhm, that was NOT in my birth plan! Anyways, I had to be induced and had some crazy complications. I wont share them here but I'll tell you that the epidural I hadn't planned on having was the best thing ever! I agree with the first commenter on the screaming, too. I didn't see a need. You'll be fine!

    September 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm
  • Reply Jessica Holly

    The thought of having a c-section really scares me. If I knew that I would deliver vaginally for sure I would look forward to it with nothing but excitement!

    September 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm
  • Reply kelseym

    Totally in the same boat as you. I have even been avoiding classes because I am scared of watching some woman in pain & screaming, which I know I can't do for much longer πŸ™‚ . I don't think I'm even scared of the pain either, slightly frightening of the concept of the epidural (but like you still undecided), so I really do think it is the things I have seen. Also, I have noticed that many friends who have had kids seem to enjoy sharing birth horror stories, not to purposely scare everyone, but it seems like some sort of popular topic. Eek! I know I am not helping you, but I do feel the same way and really need to spend more time in prayer about it, being completely honest before God with my feelings, instead of avoiding it all together. I mean, this baby IS coming out one way or another :). Maybe I'll find a class where I don't have to watch a video too πŸ˜‰

    September 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm
  • Reply Shannon :: The Scribble Pad


    First, you are incredibly strong woman. Know this, take hold of this, and more importantly take hold of the WHO behind your strength. Begin focusing in on verses, songs, quotes that remind you that it is Christ who gives you strength! This will be helpful approaching labor.

    Second, you are six months. yes, it is getting close, but it is still sort of far off. Pregnancy has a way of slowing down time as you approach the moment you meet your baby. And in those finaly weeks and days, things shift (literally and figuratively) and fall into place.

    Finally, all of the wonderful things you always say about JB will multiply by the thousands during child birth. There are things I never would have imagined, never want to remember, and never want to admit my husband heard, saw, and did for me. The adrenaline rushes over you both and you spring into action together.

    Its okay to be afraid. And even with your fears, to know it will be okay.

    (sorry for the lecture-y novel, I am just so excited for you!)

    September 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm
  • Reply pretty little things

    I would love to have children one day, but the actual process of having them totally freaks me out. I always joke around saying, I know I won't be able to actually do it, and everyone always responds with, oh you'll be fine! I think most of the pain is actually in the fear and anticipation of the pain. If you think you can, then you will. Positive thinking! you will do just fine my dear! xo

    September 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm
  • Reply ab-on-wheels

    I'm also pregnant with my first, and like you, have had my fair share of hospital experience. That said, I totally understand what you're saying about your fears. Praying that you find some peace about bringing that little one into this world!

    September 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm
  • Reply Raiana S @ lifeSTYLE

    I thought I was scared and nervous – but when my water broke I felt so calm and at peace.
    I expected labour to be horrible…but I would describe it more as uncomfortable. Contractions are painful but more of an annoying pain – I would never use 'excruciating' to describe labour and delivery as I have always heard from others…
    The epidural was the worst part for me, but I think the anesthesiologist wasn't the greatest, it took her far too long and far too many tries to get it done. It also hurt my back for almost three months after. Though I plan to get one again because I believe it was worth the sleep I was able to get once it kicked in! [i am overdue a week so any second now and ill be experiencing it all over again!]
    Its so true that you forget it all…seconds later it doesnt hurt, and a month later you can barely remember the experience at all and are ready for round two!
    I thought I would scream, you see those videos of women screeching and crying and sweating profusely – so when my doctor told me i had one more push and he was out I was literally laughing – I thought the man was kidding around with me. I didn't once feel the need to yell. I had the whole experience built up in my head to be so insanely painful that I literally thought they were joking and things hadn't even begun yet.

    My biggest insecurity was being so exposed. I am very modest and shy. It was so bizarre for me to have someone 'down there' who wasn't my husband, and i think everytime someone told me to put my legs up I looked at them like they had 5 heads [when we first got the hospital a young male nurse told me to lift my knees, to which i replied 'oh but I am naked under here'..poor guy was just 'um yeah thats kind of the point, you are going to have a baby I need to check your cervix' hahaha. But no one really gives you a choice or even time to feel awkward…which i guess is nice. The lactation consultant literally just grabs your nipple and arranges it in babies mouth – theres no time to even feel weird.

    You will do so great! Don't be nervous!


    September 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm
  • Reply Daniela

    also pregnant with my first and I've loved reading your thoughts. I recently watched a documentary that came recommended (The Business of Being Born). I can't say I would recommend it for you since I don't know you at all and I found it a little scary, but it does show some live births where women aren't screaming at all. It was reassuring for me to see women giving birth in a different way than they do in the movies, ie more or less calm and aware of what was happening to their bodies.
    Just a suggestion but then again, what do I know?

    September 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm
  • Reply Elizabeth

    Giving birth is not something to fear; it's amazing, it's awesome and you and your body can totally do it.

    This is going to sound totally hippy/earthy/crunchy but have you looked into Hypnobirthing? It was the technique I used and it helped me achieve the natural birth I had always envisioned. Even if you're going to go the medical route, it's major helpful in getting moms (and dads) relaxed and ready to take on the best, most intense day of your life.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm
  • Reply Elizabeth

    Oh, and for the record, I was ready to do it all over again, no joke, a couple days later. It is the quickest forgotten pain you will ever experience (and it's not even that bad, for the most part)!

    September 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm
  • Reply Holly

    Although I'm not pregnant, nor have I ever been πŸ™‚ the thought of childbirth scares the crap out of me – like more than anything. Plenty of my friends have gone through it, some of their stories more scary than then next. I would say though, that most of my friends had prepared for the worst and in the end they have all said that it wasn’t as bad as they had expected. I know it’s different for every woman though.

    You are so right about the end justifying any means. Just think what you'll get to take home with you – the most precious gift!

    September 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm
  • Reply Faith

    I've never given birth but I know that I'm going to be the exact same way when I become pregnant in the future. Labor scares me. I am get uncomfortable just thinking about it. But I know that if women all around us can do it, I will and can do it. But it doesn't stop the thoughts.

    September 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm
  • Reply brittany

    oh girl, don't even worry. just get your game face on and go for it! i had a wonderful experience, no lie. i was terrified of a c-section, but i knew i had a doc who wouldn't do one unnecessarily. and you won't shriek! i didn't at least, haha! don't think of the movies or anyone's horror stories. those are dumb. oh and if you don't already have it, ina may's guide to childbirth is a MUST read!! it helped me look forward to it and get my mind in the right place πŸ™‚ it's the coolest experience and you were made to do it! you'll do great! and i totally had an epidural. just throwing that in there.

    September 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm
  • Reply Maggy

    I am SO pleased that you posted this. I have always thought…." where are all the women who are freaked out about the birthing process???" – you will be so graceful and so many prayers will be surrounding you…I am sure of it. Thanks for sharing Sarah.

    September 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm
  • Reply Aspiring Kennedy

    amen! i have some big fears about being sitting there with my who-ha in front of everyone… yikes! it's not something that i think i'll relish and savour like some women, but i'll power through it for those babies. means to an end, I tell you! (and it is completely amazing!)

    September 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm
  • Reply Lea

    First of all CONGRATS to you on your pregnancy. I am 18 weeks pregnant with TWINS! Scary???? Yup! The fact that I have to do whatever twice freaks me out. But I love reading your blog posts and I'm getting some ideas for my babies from you, so THANK YOU. Love the GREEN organic stuff. ( : Take care of yourself. You can do it and you'll be a Fabulous mommy!

    September 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm
  • Reply holtkamp

    after laboring all day they decided i was going to have a C-section and by that point after not being able to eat or drink anything for so long i just wanted the baby to come out!

    it actually wasn't bad and i think i'd like to have a C-section for the next one!

    every mom's experience is different and yours will be a beautiful birth story. best wishes! πŸ™‚

    September 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm
  • Reply Jennifer Sanzo

    I hated being pregnant so much that I couldn't wait to be done… didn't care how lol – for me labor and delivery was cake compared to 9 months of pregnancy and I did both twice πŸ™‚ you'll be fine πŸ™‚

    September 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm
  • Reply Kelsey Elizabeth

    You can do it!! I am the furthest thing from pregnant but I have a very unreasonable fear of IVs which is very ironic because I've been very exposed to the medical field.
    One thing I plan to do is make scripture verses just like the amazing lindsay :

    September 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm
  • Reply Ashley

    I wanted a baby but I cried at the thought of labor (no joke), it's scary! BUT I thought positive and prayed A. LOT. I originally wanted a natural birth but after my labor class I decided that it would best to keep an open mind about those sorts of things. I'm very glad I did because I did need to have an epidural (because the contractions were too strong for me) and I only had 30 minutes of pushing (which isn't a lot). Just remember that many women have gone before you and have done it and that you can do it too! You're stronger than you think you are πŸ˜‰ have faith in yourself and think positive.


    September 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm
  • Reply LMT

    I have two beautiful babies – and with them came one horrific birth and one quite lovely. My best advice to you is this, tuck away your fear and your plan too. Plan on doing whatever is best for your baby. Be open minded and remind yourself that the way in which you give birth will not define the type of mother you will be. I had one natural birth and one with a walking epidural and I think, for me, the most noteworthy difference was for the latter, I was fully present and aware for the delivery and that will always remain one of my most precious memories.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm
  • Reply karajean

    I just had my first baby 1 month ago (story on the blog, if you are interested) and while it was a pretty long, painful experience, there was hardly ever a need to actually scream out in pain. And now that it is over? I feel like a complete warrior, and I actually look forward to another labor experience. It's like nothing you have ever experienced before.

    September 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm
  • Reply Brooke

    I was lucky enough to have a really easy childbirth. My mom had a c-section with my sister AND me so I was really nervous it was going to happen to me. Once I was going through it though and it was all happening, it happens super fast and because so much is happening around you, you don't even really notice what's going on until your baby comes out and you start this new life together. g

    I didn't even scream when I gave birth. Sure it really really hurt, but I just pushed and pushed and they gave me some handle bar like things to hold onto so I could push better. Don't be scared because every birth ends with a beautiful gift. You will love it and be so happy when it all begins!

    September 15, 2012 at 12:56 am
  • Reply NosyRosie

    We didn't attend the classes, I lightly skimmed over the chapters, when filling out my paperwork for the hospital when it asked what my birth plan was I answered "please help me through this." I gave complete trust in my nurses, doctor and God. My induction and delivery went smooth. So excited for you, it's getting close!

    September 15, 2012 at 3:19 am
  • Reply Kady

    I've been reading your blog for awhile, but this is my first time commenting! I work in Labor and Delivery and I can promise you, you have nothing to worry about. I've definitely seen both ends of the spectrum, I've had 17 year old patients having their first baby that hardly made a peep (no epidural), and I've had 35 year old patients on their 8th (!!) baby that put on quite a show. When you're in the moment, your body will know exactly what to do and in the end (screaming or not) you will have a perfect little boy! So excited for your family!

    September 15, 2012 at 7:42 am
  • Reply Lottie Simm

    i have the fear with you and put off reading that chapter for so long.

    but then i realised that i just needed to relax and listen to my body when it happens. i have no idea what the pain will be like; if i will be able to cope with it; and how i will react so all i can do is make the best decision at the time.

    the screaming freaks me out too–it makes me think of torture.

    and i realised my biggest fear was not being good enough and being a disappointment–but how will that be when i will give birth to a beautiful baby right πŸ™‚

    September 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm
  • Reply Amanda

    Thanks Sarah for always being so honest with us, your readers.

    Like you, I am afraid of having a c-section. I am not so afraid of the actual surgery but rather whatever complication should arise that would necessitate a c-section. I just don't want to go that route. However, like some of your other readers who mentioned being opened-minded about birth "plans", I feel the most important thing is to always do what's safest for mom and baby to get baby out and if it's c-section so be it.

    As for the shrieking, I was reading about how sometimes grunting and moaning helps the process along! Plus, your brain makes oxytocin in response to any pain and I hear that's the love drug which helps you forget all the pain. It makes your brain kinda fuzzy, so yay for our perfectly-designed bodies!

    Finally, I second reader brittany's book recommendation: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Some of the stories are a little too granola for me, but mostly the birth stories are beautiful.

    You can do it!

    September 16, 2012 at 11:43 pm
  • Reply Bridget

    girl. you can do it. seriously. it's like the best hard work ever cause at the end, you've got like the love of your life in your arms.

    and, i definitely made some weird groaning, but i promise you – in the midst of it, all insecurities are out the window. groaning, hollering, whatever… you just won't care.

    September 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply Caley-Jade Rosenberg

    Sarah, I have to start by saying that will all your blogging support – you have no worries in the world!!

    I also feared the "birth" part of having a baba but in the end it was the easiest part and the one part of the pregnancy that I would do all over again and again!

    I got pre-eclampsia in my last few weeks of pregnancy so I had to have a c-section and it was so super easy… I arrived at the hospital, 'checked in', set up in my room, hooked up a drip, pricked my epidural, cut, pulled and re-stitched and within 40 mins, I was back in my bed with my little princess… It was one of the quickest, non traumatic and easiest experiences I've ever had!

    I also had no pain afterwards, no reactions and minimal discomfort. I also recovered quickly and was driving and back in the gym in no time…

    If I had the choice, I would choose a c-section all over again too!!

    Good luck in making a decision that works for you!

    September 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply Julia D.

    I don't have much to say since this really isn't something I know a whole lot about or have any experience with, but I will say these two things. One, my prayers are with you. Two, this verse is probably one of my favourites (and definitely very popular): Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Hope that offers you a small bit of reassurance/encouragement. We never experience our fears alone.

    September 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm
  • Reply DiamondsandTulle

    Hi Sarah!

    I know I wrote you personally awhile back, and just wanted to officially let you know that I'm pregnant now too! πŸ™‚ Just thought I should update you! πŸ˜‰

    And about the fear of labor? Oh girl you have no idea! I've always had a fear of that pain. from all the movies and horror stories we've been told over and over! I've always said I wish they could just put us out for the labor, and wake us up when it's over! I'm just hoping tons of classes will get me over the fear! That and an epi for sure!

    xx Vivian @

    September 18, 2012 at 12:44 am
  • Reply Lauren

    This is my first comment on your blog! I'm pregnant and due TODAY (no signs of labor yet though, so we'll have a late little girl on our hands). I, for some reason, am not scared of the pain/process. I went the opposite route and read so much, and watched so many videos that I think I de-sensitized myself to it. The first time I watched a birth video I cringed, but after seeing a few more you just get used to it…that has helped me.

    I asked my husband to watch the online videos too (baby center) and he (very politely) declined saying he was not grossed out and would be fine. I wanted to de-sensitize him too so he woudn't be shocked by what he saw in the delivery room with his wife. We saw several videos at the childbirth class, all of which were not bad and showed natural birth as something you can DO. (And hubby was right – he wasn't too grossed out, and we both got emotional/teary watching them actually.) I'm going to give it a try without the epi, though totally reserving the right to ask for one if I need to!

    So – would you consider facing the fears head on, and watching some vids to de-sensitize yourself? Or would that just be unnecessary self-torture? I will say the one thing I'm "scared of"/not looking forward to is how loooooong the birth day seems to be. Just waiting around for hours, being awake for over 24 hours…it just seems so long and exhausting, especially for a high-strung impatient person like me πŸ™‚

    Sorry for the novel. 9 month preggo lady here on her due date…I can't think about much else!

    September 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm
  • Reply Ahn

    if you have an epidural you probs won't make weird loud noises. i mean, the noise you make would be the same as a noise heard from someone trying to push out a super big poop. gross, but so is childbirth.

    and you'll probably poop a little then too.

    hope this was encouraging.

    September 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm
  • Reply Leah

    Umm… the comment above just kind of scared me. I also do not want to be one of those who is yelling and screaming. I have been thinking a lot about having a baby lately and I think you just have to pray that God will give you the strength. Even if you have to scream your way through it. You'll do great. Prayers will be happening for you.

    September 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm
  • Reply christine donee

    you have so much love surrounding you and so many prayers being lifted up for you and little Tuck.

    no doubt in my mind you're going to do fabulously.

    but if you need someone to get the sock for you, let me know. i'll be your girl.

    September 20, 2012 at 3:29 am
  • Reply Al

    You are so adorable, I have been reading your blog for a while now and I have to say that you just seem like the nicest, happiest, fun person! A million times congratulations on your baby, you are going to have so much fun- cant wait to see all of the adorable pictures you are going to post!!

    September 20, 2012 at 9:43 pm
  • Reply Life in Transition

    My mother told me that having the four of us was no more difficult that sneezing.
    Something tells me she was lying, although I have yet to test the idea!

    September 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm
  • Reply Laurel Hammond

    Thank you for taking the time to label the dresses!

    September 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm
  • Reply Katie Wilkes

    "look at all of the people around me. somebody somewhere gave birth to them!" – I was on the bus yesterday and just had this EXACT same thought. It's kind of amazing, isn't it?

    September 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Hi, I just found your blog and love it, love the title too! I had the same fear when I had my first, but the part that REALLY freaked me out about a potential c-section was that drape that they have to put in front of your face, I have major claustrophobic issues and just thinking about it makes my heart race! That and it takes me weeks to heal from a paper cut, how am I supposed to heal from major surgery…luckily I didn't have to go that route. I thought going into the delivery room with no birth plan was best, I always hear these stories where people have such high expectations of what it's going to be like, and then are disappointed when it does go exactly how their "birth plan" was set up. So just go with the flow and know that right after birth your mind "forgets" the pain, else no one would have multiple kids! As a side note: I totally thought I would be that lady screaming in the hallway and cursing out my husband, but in reality I was the silent type and kept saying…this is only going to last a minute, I can do a minute of anything…and then it was over…you can do this!

    September 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm
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