Well Rounded Birth Prep

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

36 week pregnancy affirmations

Nowadays when I leave the house, strangers say things like,

  • "You look like you're ready to go any minute now!"
  • "You mean they're going to 'LET' you go that long???"
  • "Are you sure that's your due date?"
  • "You look really uncomfortable."
  • "HOW much longer???"
Pregnancy (for me, anyway) is uncomfortable enough without strangers rubbing it in, reminding me, bringing me down, and/or discouraging me. See related post "Wide variety of healthy and normal in pregnancy."

These are things I tell myself to counter the negative things people say:
  • It's easier to take care of baby now, inside of me, than it will be once he's here.
  • He's growing on his timetable, getting exactly what he needs. It doesn't matter if he goes past my due date because a 40+ weeker is often more neurologically mature, a better nurser, cries less, easier to comfort, etc. than a 37 weeker. (I realize there are exceptions to this. Let me reiterate, these are things I tell myself to comfort myself since I know that I will almost certainly go past 40 weeks and I'm committed to allowing him to choose his own birthday, barring medical problems.)
  • My body is well designed and knows exactly what it's doing. I'm healthy (in spite of my heartburn, SPD, and waddle). My baby is healthy. My body has grown my baby from the size of a mustard seed to 7, 8, or 9+ lb without any input from me, and my body is smart enough, capable enough, and competent enough to continue its important work for this upcoming last month. My body knows when to go into labor, and what kind of labor this baby needs for his timing and positioning. 
  • My body also knows how to nurse this baby. What a sweet reward that will be for my labor!
  • As we count down days to my due date on a paper chain, the chain starts looking a lot smaller, while the list of nesting that needs done before his arrival keeps getting longer! There's no need to wish away these last few weeks when I need every minute of that to prepare our home, as well as prepare my body and mind for greeting this baby.
  • It won't be much longer, and I won't be pregnant any more. This *might* be my last pregnancy. In spite of all the discomforts, pregnancy is still a miracle. It's still thrilling and amazing to feel his every move inside of me, in spite of the fact that this is my 6th pregnancy and 5th live baby. I know I'll miss feeling him squirm inside of me. I'm trying to treasure that now.
  • The minute that labor is over with and he's in my arms, my round-the-clock heartburn and reflux will be OVER!!! Like MAGIC!!!! Another sweet reward for labor!
  • Yes, I'm a public spectacle when I go out in public with my children, ages 9, 7, 5, and 3--with an obvious 3rd trimester baby bump. Oh well. Who cares. My children are well behaved, and I have nothing to be ashamed of. My children are a blessing!
  • The next few weeks will be a great time to work in a few last one-on-one activities with my first four children. There's no use in wishing baby would hurry up when I haven't completed these quality time activities with my kids!
  • Friends gave us a Chili's restaurant gift card, Starbucks gift card, and offered to watch our kids so that my husband and I can have a special date together, stress-free and guilt-free, before baby comes. There's no use in wishing baby would hurry up when we haven't even gotten to claim our date yet!
  • A friend gifted me with money for a pedicure before baby comes, and offered to go with me to get it done. There's no use in wishing baby would hurry up when I haven't gotten my pedicure yet!
  • Some time ago, I bartered a childbirth class with a friend who is a massage therapist and promised me a massage. I haven't claimed that massage yet, and she encouraged me to find a time that she can give me a massage before baby arrives. How welcome that massage will be for my poor aching pregnant body! There's no use in wishing baby would hurry up when I haven't gotten my pedicure yet!
  • In summary: there's no use in wishing baby would hurry up! All in good time.
What positive thoughts or phrases helped you survive the last few weeks or months of pregnancy?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Belly shot at 32 weeks along

The info on this photo says it was taken Oct. 30. I've lost track. I think I was 32 weeks? I'm behind on posting stuff. I still haven't even posted my 20 week ultrasound pictures! I don't have a scanner, so it would entail taking good photos of the physical paper ultrasound images (without glare), then straightening and cropping and uploading. 

I'm feeling... well... 8 months pregnant, I guess, is the most fair and honest way to say it without complaining too much. I realize I'm blessed to be healthy and not to have any health problems or complications, and we're blessed that baby is healthy and growing on pace. I'm aware that there are many moms who would gladly trade me places if they could, even with all the pregnancy discomforts and inconveniences. If I'm going to be honest, though, I'll confess I'm pretty uncomfortable a majority of the time. I know I'm in the home stretch, though. I know I'll feel better right away as soon as this baby is out of me.

With preparation for Thanksgiving and then Christmas coming up, I'm sure the last few weeks will go pretty quickly. I'm glad to have a lot of distractions.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Guest post: plans for hospital VBA2C change to repeat cesarean

Well Rounded reader Sarah shared her birth story in her own words. Thank you for sharing, Sarah.


I’ve had three cesareans.  The first one was not by choice.  The second one was a decision based on lies.  The third was part of the big picture, not mine, but part of a plan, nonetheless.  
When I was pregnant with our first child, I had never even considered going to a birthing center or a midwife.  I went to a practice of obstetricians that had three male doctors.  I went to a birthing class given by the hospital.  Wasn’t that what all pregnant women did?  
Around month 7, I noticed a very hard lump under my rib cage.  I kept asking the doctor if this perhaps could be my son’s head.  He kept reassuring me that he could feel the head “down there”.  My husband even voiced his concerns and again the doctor said it was all fine.  At week 40, my cervix was 85% effaced, but I hadn’t dilated at all.  My official OB was in Paris on vacation, so I saw another doctor from the practice.  He immediately ordered an ultrasound to determine the baby’s position.  Breech.  He said, “You are going in tomorrow morning for a C-section.”  I cried.  It didn’t even occur to me to question this decision that was made for us.  Our birth story was forever altered by a stranger.  
There was never any mention of exercises to correct a breech presentation.  There was never any mention of attempting aversion.  There was never any mention of attempting labor to see if the child might flip over during contractions.  They didn’t cover cesareans in the ill-informative birthing class.
When I became pregnant with our second child, I inquired about attempting a VBAC.  My OB immediately shot my request down.  “Why would you want to do that?”  Also, he said that the rate of uterine rupture was much higher than they originally thought.  He said the risk of rupture was over 30%. [Well Rounded Birth Prep adds: The actual statistics for uterine rupture for VBAC range from 0.7% to 0.9%.]  Who would want to take that risk?  My husband and I immediately scheduled the repeat cesarean.  It never occurred to us to check those statistics out on our own.  Why would our doctor lie to us???
I was all set to have my third cesarean with our third pregnancy.  But, I had met some other women who had stories to tell.  I felt that God was urging me in another direction.  Believe me; I didn’t want to go there.  Who is crazy enough to attempt a VBAC after two C-sections?  How misinformed I was!  After much prayer, my husband and I decided to go for a VBA2C.  We hired a doula and educated ourselves with informative, private birthing classes.  What an eye-opener.  Why was this information not presented in a doctor’s office or a hospital-sanctioned birth class?  We prepared to deliver our third child naturally, but in a hospital setting.  
At week 41, I finally went into labor on a Wednesday.  I was still having consistent and stronger contractions on Thursday.  By the time Friday rolled around, I was having pretty strong contractions like clockwork, every 4 minutes and 60 seconds long.  We decided Friday evening to go to the hospital.  
Within an hour upon arrival, the high-risk doctor came in to tell us our baby was in distress and we needed to immediately go to surgery.  My husband kicked everyone out of the room and we prayed together.  The baby’s heart rate instantly dropped to normal.  This would be just one out of many urgings from the many doctors we saw to have a C-section.  The fear of uterine rupture from the staff was palpable.  We ignored them.  I found out that there had never been a VBA2C in that hospital before, according to our labor nurse of 30 years in that facility.  I think the staff thought we were complete freaks, but we were given our space to labor alone.  
Saturday morning, I was still laboring naturally.  My husband and I were having an extremely emotional, intimately bonding experience, even in the hospital.  It was very spiritual with our praying and quoting scripture and breathing through contractions.  We made the decision to not use our doula; it was that special for us both.  We were walking and eating and drinking.  I was taking hot showers.  Basically, we were doing everything the hospital said I shouldn’t/couldn’t do.  
Around 3 pm on Saturday, the baby went into distress for the second time.  The doctor suspected meconium in the amniotic fluid.  So, I agreed to let him break the water to check.  It was tainted.  The doctor strongly urged us to have a C-section.  Again we requested to be alone and prayed and the baby’s heart rate returned to normal.  I continued to labor for the next five hours until we had a cesarean Saturday evening.  
I am not privy to the big picture.  I totally felt God’s presence through this entire experience.  I had wanted to have a vaginal birth and felt that God had opened us to this idea.  Lots of people had questions as to why didn’t we do this or why did we do that.   I can’t answer that.  I know God’s hand was in the entire experience and delivered us through it safely.  It was an incredible birth.
My husband and I, as well as so many friends and family, had prayed fervently to have a labor-friendly nurse and OB on call when I went into labor.  I definitely feel so blessed to have had that particular doctor on call that Saturday.  He was very honest and up front about not doing anything we didn’t agree to do.  He even stayed past his designated shift because he felt that he couldn’t leave us with the next on-call doc.  Our labor nurse told us directly that she could only recommend something, that she couldn’t enforce anything.  I highly respect these individuals and am not in any way trying to bash medical professionals.  The key in this was our vocalization.  My husband was the voice.  He said “No!” on more than one occasion.    
What I do know is that I have choices.  It is up to you to inform yourself about birth.  Don’t let someone else decide for you.  I fully believe cesareans are a necessary surgery when it is necessary.  I am not anti-cesarean at all.  I just believe all women should be informed about the “typical” birth in this country.  That is what I take from this experience.  I will educate my daughters (and son, for that matter) to be their own advocates.  They will have choices that I never knew I had.  They will get to write their own birth stories, I hope and pray.