Thursday, May 22, 2008

Midwife visit - 24 weeks

All is well. We saw the midwife yesterday. Heartbeat is in the 140s-150s. I gave her my updated weight and a printout of the blood sugar readings I've taken in May along with a copy of the guidelines I've been using. She was pleased with my numbers and with the guidelines. I think bringing her this simple piece of paper did a lot to establish trust with our midwife-client relationship.

So far, I've only gained 3 lbs. My blood pressure was a healthy 112/76. I'm back at the acupuncturist next week - hopefully we can keep a lid on the blood pressure. I think it didn't start to go up in my last pregnancy until I was 34 weeks or so.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another Birth Dream and Putting Things in Boxes

I dreamt last night that we were visiting the midwife at her clinic - I had never been to this particular place before and there were tons of people around. I was in labour and I think I had gone to the clinic to get IV antibiotics for testing positive for Group B strep (I was positive in my last pregnancy and suspect I will be for this one, too).

Soulmate was with me, but disappeared somewhere. The midwife from my last pregnancy was seeing me but had to go see other clients. I was walking around trying to have a baby. I kept trying to push while standing up, but nothing was happening, so I went into another room to try to find something to hang from while squatting. I squatted and pushed for a while and finally decided to see if I could reach the baby's head. I could and was able to feel the head move forward as I pushed. I stopped and she slid back. I pushed again and her head came out. I checked to see if the cord was around her neck - it wasn't. I pushed again and her shoulders started to emerge. At this point I felt she was stuck and I called for someone to help me.

A young guy who worked at the clinic came over (I was in a room out of the main area, but the door was open and people were milling about). I told him the baby was stuck. He stood in the doorway and looked at me. I asked him if he was going to help me. He replied that I was capable of handling the situation myself. Sure enough, I was able to hook my thumbs under her armpits and pull her out.

She was quite long, had lots of dark hair, and seemed to have a skin condition (we have a friend whose toddler has eczema all over his body - this is what she looked like). She seemed happy and I estimated her weight to be "8 lbs and change". She opened her eyes and smiled at me. I fed her and then decided I wanted a shower. I found the semi-private showers at the clinic and kept trying to shower, but a bunch of people kept walking in and I couldn't wash what needed to be washed... I had set the baby on a towel next to me. The dream either ended here or I woke up - I don't remember anything else.

I find it interesting that this is the second dream I've had where I gave birth pretty much alone. Of course it didn't hurt - I've never felt contractions other than Braxton-Hicks, so I guess my brain didn't know how to fill in the blanks.

I have a feeling (perhaps a naive and optimistic one) that I won't have a lot of pain and my labour will go pretty quickly, but so quickly that neither my husband nor my midwife will have time to get here? It could happen, I suppose.

I never dream that I'm trying to escape while giving birth, even though this is one of my real-life fears. I've mentioned here before that I spend sleepless nights figuring out escape routes should we end up in the hospital.

I'm trying to figure out what to do with these thoughts. I don't think they are especially productive, but somehow I feel the need to Be Prepared for any eventuality. I think it's sabotaging my ability and my need to gestate in peace. I'm toying with the idea of writing a birth plan where we end up in the hospital. Then, I'll put it in a box on the top shelf of my closet and think no more about the hospital. I'll focus on birthing at home.

Yet, I wonder if I need to face my hospital fears. Is it healthy and productive to wrap them up and put them away? I'm just not sure.

In the mean time, I have to go turn down the radio before the Hippo gets woken up from his nap.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


This post is more for me than for you (I guess the rest of this blog is, too). I finally borrowed a copy of Birthing From Within by Pam England.

I've been feeling for some time that I had done all I could on paper to prepare for this birth. I interviewed and found a supportive midwife. I hired a doula. I'm getting regular chiropractic care and going for prophylactic acupuncture lest my blood pressure decided to creep up. I'm taking vitamins and eating more protein and vegetables. I'm eating less sugar and white flour/rice/pasta.

I mentally quarterback countless situations - I imagine myself giving birth in each room of my house; I plan what to say to a pushy nurse if I end up in the hospital; I wonder if the hospital bathrooms have locks on the doors so no one can force me into anything. I also try out different birthing positions - squatting, sitting, standing leaning on the stove and the counter.

I didn't do any of this imagining when pregnant with the Hippo. I'm not sure, but I think I was too scared that something would go haywire if I thought about it too much. Lo and behold, something did go haywire and I was woefully under-prepared. It's almost as though I knew throughout my pregnancy that I would end up with a c-section, even though I desperately didn't want one. I didn't know how to save myself and I depended on other people to save me. I didn't even depend on G-d to save me from my ignorance. I don't recall praying at all during that pregnancy, though I must have from time to time.

Here I am now trying to figure out how to will myself into a homebirth. I pray nearly every day that my baby be born healthy and vaginally here at home. As I mentioned above, on paper, I'm ready to go. I don't think I've consciously examined my fears, though. Fear is driving me at this point. I'm afraid:

* that I'll lose control and allow others to make decisions for me that I wouldn't have made for myself
* that I'll somehow fail physically
* that I'll disappoint myself and my husband (even though I know he would never be disappointed)
* that I'll disappoint my children ("my mom couldn't give birth - she had all her babies by c-section")
* that I'll never experience the primal experience of giving birth
* that I won't be able to cope if I have another c-section
* that I'll realize after the fact that any medical interventions were unnecessary

Most of my fears are related to losing control. I recently discussed with my husband that I want to wait to call the midwife until labour is well-established and I'm progressing (I'll do my own cervical checks assuming I can still reach...). This strikes me as dishonest and maybe the plan will become clearer as time goes on. Perhaps the midwife will only want a call to let her know I'm in labour and then I'll get to decide when to call her to come.

I can't remember if I already posted this and I'm too lazy to go look. A few months ago I dreamt that my water broke. I wasn't having any contractions and I started to panic that I would be put on the infamous 24-hour timeline. I decided to try pushing to see what happened. I reached down and felt just a lip of cervix over the baby's head. I pushed it back and my daughter fell out into my hands. I called for my husband - wherever we were it was just the two of us. I don't remember his reaction. I vaguely remember thinking - no one will believe me because no one was here to see it!

This was an important dream for me. I had contemplated asking my former midwife (the one of the pair that I like and respect - who was genuinely sad and sorry after the fact) to be the back-up midwife for my current mw (who doesn't have a set back-up). Then I realized that by "inviting" her to my birth, I was turning it into a show - a feat of strength. "See? I can do this and you didn't believe me."

I realized this was dangerous to what I wanted for my birth - a healthy baby, peace, and a vaginal delivery. The dream gave me this insight. It also helped nourish my inner hope that I'm secretly a birthing powerhouse - babies just fall out of me big and healthy and plump - if I'm left alone. I try to focus on this image. Nevertheless, I know it's important to recognize my fears and find a way through them. Odds are my baby won't just fall out like in the dream and I will experience at least some discomfort. Strangely, the pain doesn't phase me. Thank G-d I've never experienced severe pain so I have absolutely NO idea what I'm in for. That said, I have faith that my body was designed to give birth and can handle the pain involved.

Whew. I guess that's enough introspection for one night.