Here we are! The baby can pop out at any time and it won’t be weird or dead. Yay! And as far as I go – I’m realizing pregnancy is a hall of fun house mirrors. You spend the majority of your pregnancy feeling big and only a small fraction of your pregnancy actually being big. I was big last month, I am even bigger this month.
The reason that pregnant people can’t tie their shoes or bend over to pick things up is because they have completely lost their waist. Goodbye usable waist! Goodbye ability to sit up in bed without a lot of heave-ho-ing! Oh, have you dropped a cracker on the carpet near your chair? Well too bad 5 second rule, that cracker is lost forever. Let that cracker go.
Every stage of this pregnancy has been very different. First trimester was all about trying not to throw up at work, or knowing when to give up and call in sick. It was about realizing and accepting my own limitations and acknowledging my complete ignorance and lack of control. The second trimester was about expansion, the soreness that came with stretching out my muscles and ligaments, and slowly slowly slowly beginning to not feel like complete and total shit. And the third trimester started out feeling really great. I still feel pretty great, better than I have the whole pregnancy for sure – I would take a whole year of 3rd trimester over a month of first trimester any day. But things have now started to shift.
I can tell that something is on the horizon (and not just because the calendar tells me so). Because pregnancy is ruled by hormones, I’ve become very aware of subtle changes in my body. Like! My hair totally stopped shedding after the first trimester. TOTALLY STOPPED. There are no hairs on my hands after shampooing, I don’t pick hairs off my jackets, nada. But then a week or two ago, my hair started shedding in the shower again, little by little. Other things:
- My exhaustion has lessened, even though I wake up on average 3 times a night every single night to pee and even more than that to roll over etc. I am noticeably not as tired. It’s nice.
- Really sore leg/hip joints. You know the place where your thighs hitch into your hips? That area is sore and stiff. Sometimes I limp when I’ve been sitting at work for awhile. This is due to hormones that make my joints and ligaments separate and spread out.
- I feel like I have to pee all of the time. Initially this increase was due to hormones, not the weight of the baby, but now this is all because the baby is squishing my bladder. Most of the time when I go it is only a little bit and feels very anti-climactic.
- In general, overall, I am feeling my old self returning. It’s strange… pregnancy is a long long time and even though I KNOW how much of a do-er I was before I got pregnant, it seems like she is this other person I only remember through photographs or stories other people tell. But now I am starting to see bits and pieces of her returning. My interests are expanding, the amount I’m able to do during a day or a weekend is growing. There is a certain sharpness to my thinking that is coming back – when you’re in a fog of sickness and exhaustion there is no time for your brain to feel on top of things.
Now then – last weekend we had our hospital visit and tour to see the labor/delivery area and recovery areas. I knew this was important and I would be grateful for the ability to anticipate where all of the BIG STUFF would be taking place, but I was a little apprehensive going into this 2 hour event because I have a pretty major medical phobia. It’s completely irrational and hard to explain, but basically it’s best if I don’t know all of the details. This isn’t to say I’m not prepared. I am prepared. I know lots of things, I just need to know them on my time, in my own house, in my own way, and not in a room full of people, standing, and in front of the bed with the big padded stirrups. So after I got through about half the tour, I peaced out and left Kamel to gather the rest of the deets while I waited outside in the car where I would not pass out in front of a lot of strangers. Every single day I am very thankful their are two of us. I really could never ever ever do this whole thing by myself, and those ladies who have gone through pregnancy and raising kids alone are freaking champions.
Anyways! You guys had asked about our birth plan and how we had gone into figuring out all of those options and details. I wanted to wait until after we had seen the hospital nitty gritty before sharing- I thought maybe I would have extra insight. So here is our situation, in case you are thinking about what options you might want whenever you are thinking about doing this, or just if you’re curious. So much of this stuff is dictated by cost/insurance though – so the amount of choice you have CAN be limited. Like, for us, we can’t really afford a doula. They are not provided by our insurance and it’s not something we can swing even though I think they are awesome. Ok, I digress.
We belong to Kaiser, a group healthcare option where the insurance and the doctors and hospitals and pharmacies are all one in the same. The hospital we chose to have our baby in has the lowest C-section rate in northern California. You can search out these facts via the internets. This fact was very important to me because – though lots of women do this and I realize it’s not a huge deal – c-sections are one of my biggest fears. As someone with medical phobias, being awake while they cut into me and pull out a human is …. horrific. I realize that this isn’t often a choice for people, and I’ll go with whatever happens, but it is comforting to me to know this isn’t pushed for or the “norm” at this hospital.
The hospital also has a team of midwives. The OBs and midwives have a very inclusive/partnership approach to babies and pregnancy and healthcare. Most of the births at this hospital are performed by the midwives, there are only 5 labor/delivery rooms in a very subdued wing of the hospital, and there is no judgement when it comes to pain management options. Babies are encouraged to stay in the room with mom, but a nursery is also available if mom needs a minute to herself. After delivery I’ll be in recovery for 1-3 days. There are lactation specialists on staff who will help me begin breastfeeding. The feeling I got when I walked into the labor/delivery wing was that of peace and calm. It made me look forward to that day even more, knowing that once I enter those doors I will be completely taken care of.
I have absolutely no judgement when it comes to pain management. Here are the things I know for sure:
- I don’t want the narcotic option (works every 4 hours, and attempts to “take the edge off” as was explained to me)
- I would prefer not to be induced, even if baby is taking his sweet time, unless my body or baby is under stress and one of us is in danger.
- I want to see how far I can get into labor without an epidural. I have no experience with what labor will feel like (except for my chronic contractions that started in month 4 and have increased in pain and intensity since then), and I am very open to simply feeling things out.
- I know that it can be easier to push without an epidural.
- I know that sometimes an epidural slows down labor.
- I also know that when mom becomes overly exhausted by pain and the length of time she is in pain, pushing becomes super difficult. So, it’s a balance.
- My biggest plan, which almost sounds like no plan, is to listen to myself and my body. I think that natural birth is an amazing challenge and would be really cool to accomplish – just to see if I could do it – but ultimately pushing a human life out of your own body is pretty crazy in and of itself, so whatever happens I’m going to feel good about it.
- I really do trust my doctors, and even though I have certain wishes, their expertise matters to me. I know that I didn’t pick a hospital that will work to get me out the door as quickly as possible, or try to guilt me into doing things I don’t want to do.
- I have taken Yoga for years (though I did not do prenatal yoga), so I understand the power of breath. I have struggled with really really terrible cramps, and I understand how to work through pain.
- I am not at all afraid of labor. I used to be, but now I am not. I am not afraid of pain. I know it will happen and I know it will end.
If I missed something or if I didn’t answer something you were hoping I would touch on, definitely ask me in comments.