Posts tagged birth
Posts tagged birth
As some of you may remember, by 39 weeks I was over being pregnant. My mom came into town for 10 days to help out, and I really wanted to have the baby before she left. I’d been drinking my raspberry leaf tea, dosing myself with evening primrose oil, walking at least a mile each day, bouncing on the birth ball to get the baby to move down into the right position, tempting fate by going to the movies etc—and still, no dice. I tried intoning to myself things like “the baby will be born on his proper birth day” and all sorts of calming phrases that were supposed to produce a zen-like feeling in my soul. None of it really worked.
Still here, still pregnant. As you can see from these photos I took a few days ago, things are getting massive around here. I’m 38 weeks today! Overall, I feel pretty good, but I can’t say that I feel the need to hold onto this pregnancy for too much longer. I’m ready to be done with this stage and meet our new guy, ready to get on with our lives with two boys. I’m not exactly sure how the next few months with a toddler and a newborn are going to go down, but knowing that I have someone like Matt by my side to co-parent with makes me feel confident that we’re going to be fine.
I really thought we might be getting into it on Thursday night. I was having contractions all evening, and then, right before I got into bed, I started feeling a new kind of pain in my lower back. Oh lordy, I thought, is this it? It went on and off all night, but nothing ever came of it, so I suppose it was just the baby in a weird position. Whatever it was, it scared Matt enough that he went into work a few hours late the next morning so he could stay home and clean our bedroom. He changed all the bedding, organized, dusted, vacuumed and switched out the seasonal clothes for storage. “Now,” he told me once he’d finished, “you can have the baby whenever you want.”
I’d like to wait until at least Thursday or Friday since my doula is out of town until Tuesday and my mom is coming into town on Saturday, but I do feel like if it happened tomorrow, I’d be ready. I’ve got a batch of raspberry leaf, nettle, oatstraw and alfalfa tea (mixed with a little linden, camomile and honey for both calming and energy boosting) freezing into ice cube trays right now, along with a tray of coconut water. Once those are fully frozen, I’ll bash them up into ice chips for sucking on during labor. I’ve got all my herbs mixed for post-partum sitz baths and other needs. If I have time this week, I do need to make one more run to the herb store to prepare a batch of post-partum tea, but I can always send Matt or my mom with a list, if need be. I’ve got diapers washed and ready, tiny clothes washed and folded, hospital bag packed, and books loaded onto the Kindle. I have a midwife that I love and trust implicitly to take care of me, a dear friend who’s acting as my doula, and a terrific birthing partner in my husband. You guys, I’m ready to have this baby. I am ready to have my post-birth celebratory cheeseburger (ketchup, mayo, mushrooms, lettuce, pickles) from Five Guys.
Milo is turning four months old this week. I’ve been thinking about how our lives have changed so much in such a short period and how he’s changed too. I was reading this post today and it brought back so many memories of Milo’s birth.
So one of the best things I have ever done for myself and my family was an at home birth with Baby G. Some people think I’m crazy but, after experiencing it I can say it is the best decision of my life I have ever made and I have never had any regrets. Birth is NOT a sickness and you don’t need to…
I didn’t get to have a homebirth because a) I could tell it scared the hell outta Matt and b) homebirth midwives don’t take in-network insurance and we couldn’t afford to pay anything out of pocket. I did, however, find an awesome midwife who helped me to have an amazing medication-free birth in a surprisingly hands-off/mother-baby friendly hospital. We also used a hypno method for birth, although we used Hypnobabies instead of Hypnobirth. While I definitely didn’t have a pain-free birth or some orgasmic birth a la Ina May Garten’s ladies on The Farm, prenatal yoga and the self-hypnosis techniques I learned from the Hypnobabies course helped me to mentally/emotionally prepare and remain at least somewhat calm and panic-free during the pregnancy and birthing process. I had a relatively fast labor - 7 hours from start to finish - and I stayed at home until the last hour and a half. I would love to have a water birth at home if we have another baby.
Throughout my pregnancy, people kept asking me if I was afraid. I never felt afraid of birth because I figured women have been doing it for, you know, a few thousand years now. I was more afraid of the whole I’ve-got-a-baby-now-what-do-I-do aftermath, to be honest (and man, was I right to be…those first few weeks are so daunting). I just figured, well yeah, it’s gonna hurt but it isn’t going to be anything I can’t handle. (Also, I’m too lazy to get worked up about stuff other than music, so that worked in my favor I guess.)
At the birthing class we went to, there was some insanely intense type A woman there who was railing on about how she would NEVER have an epidural because (throwing meaningful glances around the room at other women who’d said they probably would have one) it was so BAD for your baby, etc. “My child is worth the pain; it’s too bad you other ladies are going to be such terrible mothers to your children from day one,” she seemed to imply. Well, eff that. (There were so many cringe-inducing moments from that lady I almost died from irritation and embarrassment for her. Ugh, people are the worst.) I gave myself permission to use an epidural if I ended up having some crazy long/hard/exhausting labor. I wasn’t trying to be a hero or prove a point, I just wanted to see if I could do it without medication and, most of all, I wanted to avoid a medically unnecessary c-section. Honestly, I hate needles, so I feared the epidural more than birthing pain and I was terrified of having a c-section (a valid concern in NYC hospitals if you use an OBGYN instead of a midwife).
I also really, really hate the birthing position they make you take if you get an epidural - that flat on your back, feet up in the stirrups position. Blurgh, gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.
When I think back to our birthing day, I don’t actually remember very much pain. In the beginning when people would ask me about how the birth went, I’d be like, oh it was really easy, not too painful and went really fast. Matt told me he thought I should stop saying that because it sounded like I was selling myself short - he was there and it *was* painful. He’s right, of course, but the best thing about labor pain, for me anyway, is that I honestly don’t remember any of it. (Yay for mother nature!) As soon as Milo was born, I forgot all about the pain and only remembered the amazing, empowering, weirdly euphoric feeling of growing and birthing another human being. I mean, c’mon, it’s a totally nutso thing to create life and then push it out of your body, amirite?
Basically, I’m just echoing the quoted Baby G post here - birth isn’t a sickness and it’s not a medical condition that needs treatment. I mean, it’s no picnic in the park, but at the end of the day, you have a baby! And that’s when the real trouble starts. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go tend to my child who’s just awoken for the 5th time in 90 minutes. You want something to be afraid of? Be afraid of your kid thinking sleep is for suckers.