Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Personal Boundaries and Pregnancy/Birth

I was going to wait for another day or so to write so that I could tell about the ultrasound I'm having tomorrow, but I couldn't wait to get these thoughts on "paper", in hopes that seeing it in black and white will make it more manageable in my mind, and maybe other peoples stories and comments will help too.

I can't remember how much I've related about me personally, but I am a pretty "personal" person. In terms of personal space especially. I do not like to be touched in crowds, and in fact Disney World was one of the worst experiences for me because of how much I detest being crowded! Now in relation to pregnancy- I'm sure you can see where this is headed- the concept of being touched without warning, and by strangers no less, gives me the heebie jeebies, big time! I have thought about this quite a bit, and I have decided for my own sanity I will have to politely step back and decline the touches from anyone I don't feel comfortable with, whether it looks rude or not. The people who know me WILL ask first, if they know me at all, and I'll be more than willing to abide.

The other thing that has come up in the same vein as the touching is the idea of personal boundaries during labour. This is actually even hard for me to talk about, so rather than assure me that "I won't care about this at the time" or "the pain will be a distraction from any other concern" et cetera please just think about it like this.... I still have twentyish weeks to worry about this particular concern, and have never experienced labour and delivery before so I have no idea what to believe will happen during that time regardless of what people assure me.

I think I need to backtrack for a minute and explain that this came up because I happened upon a site for a book I am interested in "Your best birth" and may have watched a video of a woman in labour while the baby was having a hard time crowning. It. Was. A. Bad. Idea. I thought it would be educational, but good grief it was terrifying. The woman had about ten people crowded around her nether region touching her whenever they felt like it... and wherever they felt like it. Now I am not so naive as to think that some touching is not necessary, but it was a shock to my system to see how involved it actually gets! One person practically had their hand in her butt for goodness sakes! Not only that, but her entire vaginal area didn't even look remotely familiar to me, it was swollen and.... different. I'm not judging at all and I must admit it is commendable to have the guts to put a birth video on the internet, but having never seen anything like it before it was pretty alarming.

I need to know that I will have some control over what is going to go on during this experience. I am thinking that it might have been either too soon for me to watch something like that, or that maybe I shouldn't have watched it at all. I think I have to watch more during prenatal classes and I'm even more scared of what is going to happen in those videos!

I should have maybe prefaced this post with the fact that I'm not normally queasy or grossed out easily, but this experience has rocked me to my core, and I'm not even sure I can do this anymore. I was actually looking forward to the experience to some extent to live up to the challenge that is presented to us as women. I felt confident that I could come out of this like a warrior!

I know I'm just talking out loud, but I haven't heard anyone else talk about these fears before and now I feel like I'm the only one. Maybe this will go away as I learn more about the experience, and maybe my discomfort over being "unneccessarily touched" will go away as well. Who knows. All I do know at this point is that my blood pressure is raised every time I even think about that video.

So, I have to stop thinking about it, and on to happier subjects! I have my BIG ultrasound tomorrow and I have decided to bring a small token in for the ultrasound tech in hopes that they will tell me the gender at the time rather than waiting for the stupid report! So wish me luck!


  1. I am definitely not be above bribery either and hopefully your token will work. I can't believe they are going to make you wait.

  2. Considering that woman was willing to have her "area" video taped... she is prob NO WHERE NEAR like you. She prob even had her cousins in that room!
    I would talk to my Dr about how I feel about being touched and how many people are necessary to be in the room at the time of the birth. I'm sure 10 people are not required. Prob the Dr & a nurse or 2 and even then I doubt the nurses would have much reason to be down there. They would prob do more with the IV/monitors & taking care of the baby once it is born so the Dr can concentrate on you. I'm personally uncomfortable with men touching me(excluding my hubby of course) so he will be the ONLY man allowed in when I'm in labor (my OB is a chic)
    If your Dr has a problem with it... get a different one!

  3. Enjoy your BIG ultrasound tomorrow.

    As for the fear of being "on show" I had that too. But really, truly, when you're in the moment you're in pain and you don't notice (much). Also, they see so many nekkid women in there, that it's just business as usual...

  4. What Legalosaur said. :-) Not that I've experienced it yet, but I do totally believe that it won't be as noticeable in the moment...

    I know this isn't really the same, but I had an emergency appendectomy several years ago - there were a *lot* of complications and I ended up in the hospital for 10 days (yes! 10. freaking. days.). Anyway, for the first 5 days or so, I was utterly miserable and just wanted to feel better, and willing to let doctors look at and touch whatever the hell they wanted to to make that happen. I'm normally a *very* private person, but it got to the stage where they'd walk in and I'd just flip up my hospital gown so they could examine my abdomen, not caring who saw my goods lol. So I'm thinking childbirth might be similar to that kind of experience? I could be totally wrong, but that's what I'm hoping for anyway, because I can understand where you're coming from. :-P

  5. OK - I hope I can give you some reassurance. As a woman who has had two children (naturally, no pain meds), one with complications, one without (almost), I have a little insight. I chose to have two people in my room. That's it. My husband and my mom. I kindly declined when my MIL asked if she could be. I just wasn't comfortable (and she had a daughter to experience it with). I also had the doctor and one delivery nurse and one nursery nurse (for the baby). With both children only the doctor and nurse were "up in my space" and only to check how far I was and when it was time for the baby to come out. Even with the complications with my first born (I hemorraged and my son was having a hard time breathing after the cord was wrapped around his neck) I only had those people in the room. And I know you said you have heard that you won't care - and it is true. During the birth (maybe not the labor, but during delivery) you will not care. You will be racked with emotion at the thought of finally meeting your child, whether they are OK, and just wanting them to come out! I personally LOVED delivery. I hated being pregnant, but the delivery just gave me an adrenaline rush! I will admit that I did get nervous a little bit when it was time to deliver my second child, but once it started, the rush came right back! And I have done it twice and would do it again (although we are done at 3 - our oldest was adopted). If you want a real account step-by-step of my labor and delivery (first one lasted 22 hours, 3 hours pushing, 2nd one 5 hours, 15 mins pushing but almost needed a c-section due to baby heartbeat) feel free to email me. I am more than happy to walk you through what it is really like in the delivery room! Trust me - you'll be fine... its what we are built for. Now settle down and relax, because like you said - you have 20 weeks until you HAVE to worry about it (lets put a positive spin).

    BTW - stopping by from SITS.

  6. Stopping by from SITS!

    Gosh, I know exactly how you feel. I am also not an in-your-face-touchy-feely-person, and I popped EARLY in my pregnancy-- like 14 weeks. People were touching me all over the place, telling me at 5 months that I must be "due any day"-- um, no, still have four months to go, but thank you very much for making me feel like an elephant. Personal boundaries, people!!!


  7. Thanks, so much for all your kind and inspiring words ladies! I appreciated your wisdom and the effort you took to make me feel better more than you will ever know! Thankfully I do have twenty more weeks to get over this irrational feeling, and will read these words over when I get overwhelmed! We are lucky to have a support group like this!

  8. Popped in from SITS to say hi! I'm with you--I hate people I don't know touching me.

  9. Having had a baby within the last year - I was panicky at the thought of giving birth, being naked, everyone looking, everyone 'down there'. But like a few other ladies said: when you're there, and labour is happening, you don't really care. And the nurses/doctors will tell you what they are about to do - they never just jump in and start mucking around with your lady bits. :) So you can always tell them you are uncomfortable with something. :)

    Don't panic too much!!