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My water broke on this day with my last pregnancy; 37w5d.  I’ve been waiting for this day with silly anticipation, knowing the likelihood of a repeat was slim, and yet I feel a little let down today.

The upswing though, since my last post is that a visit to a chiropractor using the Webster method was successful in getting the baby to flip, she’s now vertex. My body continues to prepare for birth  – I have menstrual like cramps daily, which are likely softening my cervix and the Braxton Hick…well they are pretty much constant at this point.

And so we wait.

Yesterday I had my birth plan appointment with my midwife. This is standard procedure for her at all 36 week appointments. A came with me and we didn’t have childcare for Mr. E, so he was in tow as well (always fun…). It was an unusually busy day there, so we had to wait a little while – but not too bad. When Mr. E comes with me, we’ve learned to check my blood pressure at the end, so A can take him out of the room, otherwise hysterics ensue.

In this vain, we went ahead and did the birth plan before my midwife did the regular check up stuff. We talk about atmosphere, who will be attending the birth, positions I want to labor in, our expectations immediately following the birth (i.e. skin to skin, letting the cord pulsate till it stops, refusal of interventions, etc.). I was in a dreamy place as I envisioned birthing again– the only part of pregnancy I like. Seriously, some days when it’s really awful, I think about how amazingly empowering it is to give birth and how much I am looking forward to it.

When we were done talking A took Mr. E out while my BP was checked, all fine. They came back in to hear the baby’s heart, which has become something he really likes to witness. And then the midwife was feeling for baby’s positioning. She was head down at my last appointment – 34 weeks. I asked is she could tell how far down the head was and that is when she began to think the baby had changed positions.

It was about 4:15 and the ultra sound tech, who  is only in office on Wednesdays, was wrapping up with her final patient. So we were rushed back into the waiting room to wait for her. But not before being told one of the back up Obs is really wonderful at performing external versions and that I’d have one next week if baby was not head down.

A very quick ultra sound confirmed that baby is transverse. This is better than being breach, she is closer to getting into position, but we are running out of time. I will be 37 weeks on Sunday. My midwife has always told me she like to see babies head down by 36 weeks- 37 at the latest, so that they can be helped into position, if they haven’t done it themselves. And, let’s not forget my water broke at 37 weeks last time, which has created a certain amount of anxiety for me about going early again this time.

Once home I began reading about external versions and it does not sound pleasant. There are some risks involved, but trying every last effort to avoid a c-section is my plan. The version itself could lead to an emergency c-section, but if I end up there, then I’ll know I did everything I could.

My doula’s (and good friend) husband is a chiropractor and has been very successful at helping babies into position, so I am also going to get in to see him- hopefully tomorrow. Am also reading up on spinningbabies.com. And I could use all your “get the eff head down baby” thoughts that you send my way.

Wouldn’t a c-section just be the cherry on top of this horrible pregnancy?

It’s my “due month.”  Holy crap…and I am so ready!

Eeek!

Dare I say my hormones are a bit more in check than the last time I posted?  I feel as though the black cloud of this pregnancy has lifted and I am finally getting excited to give birth again and to bring a new baby into our family.

Mr. E is absorbing the information about the baby and becoming a big brother.  He’ll casually bring up concepts from the books we’re reading about babies, pregnancy, and becoming a big brother.  He is very proud to show me his belly, and tell me, there’s a baby growing in here.  He points to my expanding belly and tells me, the baby is still growing, then points to my breasts and informs me, there’s the milk.  He dresses and undresses, and changes his baby doll’s diaper.  He points to every baby we see and says, baby came out of mommy’s belly. He tells me he’s excited to meet his sister.  

I don’t think we’ll ever really be ready, it seems a lot harder to set up the baby’s stuff with a curious two year old around to get into everything, but really what do itty bitty babies, needs but love and snuggles and some clothes? It’ll all happen one way or another.

We have noticed some struggles with Mr. E, mostly around sleep.  He’s been amazing at going to bed on his own pretty much from day one.  But in the last few weeks he’s started to get out of bed as soon as we tuck him in.  The first time it happened I assumed he was having insomnia and let him get up.  He hung out for a bit and when he started to show signs of tiredness I put him to bed.  Same thing the next night…

Now I am not one to get into regular power struggles with a two year old.  I pick my battles and if getting out of bed is what he really needs, then so be it, but not every night.  We seem to be getting this under control, but it usually involves me going into his room after A has put him to bed (because he’s gotten up), and laying down the law, so to speak.  So far it’s worked and he stays in bed and goes to sleep.

Today, for the first time ever he refused to nap.  We tried and tried and tried to get him to go down and it was not happening. So, in picking our battles we conceded and gave up the precious nap, knowing he’d need to go to bed earlier than usual.  I can’t even think about him dropping his nap, not now, not with the baby’s arrival a mere two months away.  But I also refuse to fight him day after day.  He had “quiet time” instead of a nap today and that at least gave us a little down time.

I mentioned to A that maybe some of this sleep control stuff has to do with the arrival of his sister?  Maybe this is how his feelings are playing out?  I don’t know…but it’s all very strange behavior for him.  Any insight from those of you who’ve gone before us, is gratefully accepted.

I am reduced to bullets:

  • Hormones are worse this pregnancy.
  • Already having a child makes bringing another child home so much harder.
  • I am worried about leaving Mr. E while we are at the hospital.
  • I wish we could afford a home birth.
  • A might not spend the nights at the hospital with me.
  • He may need her at home more than I’ll need her there.
  • His needs precede mine.
  • We want what’s best for him, but it’s hard to think about being  there alone.
  • The “H1N1 no children visitors ban” has been lifted, so Mr. E will be able to visit.
  • I am terrified that when he comes to visit he’ll freak out seeing me in the medical setting (currently he becomes hysterical when my midwife takes my blood pressure).
  • I am scared he will have a hard time when it’s time to leave and I won’t be going with him.
  • I feel like I am screwing up his world.
  • I am tired and weepy all the time.
  • Oh, and emotional.

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of having your child attend your birth.  I’ve read accounts of children Mr. E’s age who’ve done just this.  I’ve never considered it for us though because honestly, I believe it would make me attend to him in ways I simple can’t during labor and thus adversely effect my progress (knowing my son, he would not just let me labor, he’d need to be on top of me through the whole thing).  Nonetheless, I still pondered the idea.

Today confirmed that this would not work for us.  Mr. E had a breakdown, complete with tears, when my midwife took my blood pressure!  We managed to calm him down and explained it did not hurt me.  Next was listening to the baby’s heart, which A wanted to hear, we did our best to keep him relaxed so they did not have to leave.  He protested a little, but was caught in awe when he heard the heart and we told him, that’s the baby. Still unsure, he asked me to “close my shirt” which means pull it back down.  And so the heart listening was over.

Any thoughts I ever had of him attending have when squashed.

I compose so many posts in my head.  In the space between showering and laundry, wiping runny noses and cooking, between brushing my teeth and laying my head to rest at night.  There is so much I want to write.  But for some reason, the thought of logging in here and putting fingers to keys seems like too much work.

At twenty-two weeks I am feeling a bit down.  Somewhere around 20 weeks the morning sickness subsided.  Still sometimes I over do it and get knocked down.  I almost got a pregnancy pick me up last week when I start to feel movement.  With an anterior placenta, I have waited longer this time to feel anything.  And even now it’s rare.

Mostly, though, bringing this baby into the world is so preoccupied with the daily care of a two year old, that we often forget that she’s coming in 3 and a half months.  I have yet to take a belly shot, buy anything, or even start to look through what we’ve already got.  We’re blessed, of course to have another baby.  But last time around, well it was just so very different and exciting.  And I feel we’re already treating this one as “the second child.”  I am the second child in my family, I know how crummy it is not to have a baby book, far fewer photographs, and so on.  I swore I wouldn’t be that parent.

With three and a half months, we have yet to decide if we’ll hire a doula this time.  I’ve sort of got one that I’ve verbally asked, but we’re trying to decide if we need her.  My midwife will be with us for the entire labor and will offer labor support.  And has assured me she supports my birth plans.  Paying extra is not really in our budget.  Yet, my doula was my savior last time.  I am certain I would have ended up with a very different birth, full of interventions I did not want, had I not had a doula.

My little Mr. E gets that there’s a baby sister in my belly and that she will some day come out just like he did.  We’ve shown him pictures while pregnant with him and also the pictures of his birth.  He will gently touch my belly, and say “hi sister.”  This is all very new, as just a couple of weeks ago talk of the impending baby brought silence or tears.  He talks about how the baby will have Mommy’s milk, just like he did.  Another huge milestone!

He has no idea how his world is about to crumble around him, and I have no idea how to really prepare him, and I feel pretty rotten about the whole thing. He is, he will always be, very needy, I’ve decided.  He’s gained lots of independence in recent months, but sharing his Mommy and Mama, is still not something that comes easy.

I know our challenge is not new.  I know we’ll all come out on the other side, and we’ll have an amazing family, but in these days of pregnancy, these last months of having one child receiving my undivided attention, it’s hard to imagine how we’ll all change.  And truthfully, I am not just worried about him; I am terrified to be a stay at home mother to two children.  One seems like a piece of cake when I think about adding another.

I’ve got so much more swirling in my head, most of which I don’t want to write about, I am hoping it’s pregnancy hormones and once my body returns to normal, my thoughts will too.

Way back when I was in graduate school I took a feminist research methodologies course. It was an elective course so I took the opportunity to study something other than my graduate focus. I had an interest in pregnancy and childbirth, and particularly the medicalization we’ve come to see so often in US culture. I reviewed oodles of research about the topic and also read many women’s stories about their birth experiences. Many women reported disappointment with how their birth experience played out compared to what they expected or wanted.

The topic fascinated me and even though I was years away from thinking about even trying to get pregnant, I knew it was important for me to educate myself on the subject. And by educate, I mean empower myself through knowledge and to really believe in my body. While pregnant, there were times I feared childbirth, who doesn’t, but I would remind myself, my body was built to do this.

For me, empowering myself meant collecting as much information as possible, having an idea of what I wanted, and being open to the fact that things may turn out drastically different that how I want. In an effort to do all this, A and I were sure to select a child birth class based on reviews. We wanted to know everything – from med free to C-Section. Because we just did not know what could happen. There was never a question about whether or not we’d have a doula. And I can honestly say, second to the costs of getting pregnant, the money we shelled out to pay our doula was the best spent money through out our entire journey.

We began monthly meetings with our Doula last September. She came to our home and the meetings lasted about two hours. She’d check in to see if we had questions and would also come prepared to talk about different aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. We talked extensively about what I wanted in my birth experience. She was accessible to us outside of our meetings (and still is after the birth) via phone and email. (She’s even called just to check in after our pedi visits, as Mr. E’s been battling Jaundice and needed 24 hour light therapy until two days ago.) She also visited us at home after the birth. This was helpful and gave us a chance to check in about breast feeding and also have her answer some questions about the birth.

On the morning of the big event, our Doula was the first phone call I made. Speaking to her calmed me down and helped us focus and put our plans into action. We remained in constant phone communication and it was for us to decide when we wanted her to arrive at the hospital – which was nice, because A and I wanted to spend a good amount of time alone early on. But as mentioned in Mr. E’s birth story, I decided I wanted her there, to help us navigate the medical system when the midwife started pushing induction.

As much as A and I had educated ourselves, I know that it was our doula’s presence that helped us tease out the overly medical approaches which in turn helped us find our comfort level when accepting medical help. Our doula also played a key role in taking care of both A and I while I was laboring. She helped me by suggesting position, helping me to focus my breathing and noise making, and by applying healing touches as needed. She checked in with A to assure her I was okay, and provided her with necessary support. Above all she kept us calm and focused and in the moment. We took each contraction as it came, and made decisions as needed with all the appropriate information.

I can’t say that I wouldn’t have had a similarly amazing birth experience with out a doula. Because, maybe I would have. I sure surprised myself with how well I coped with such a long labor. But I do think it would have been more stressful – for both A and I, and I am not sure I would have known how to most effectively use my breathing and sounds to help move the baby down. After my experience, I would not even consider giving birth again with out a doula.

have opened. It’s 3:50AM. I think my water broke a little before 3:20. I’ve called our Doula and the Midwife on-call. They both think my water broke. I am 37w5d. Not much else to say, we’re off to shower, pack the bag and wait…

My homemade burp cloth project was super easy, and we are still planning to cloth diaper, at least part time, if not more, so now I am thinking about making cloth wipes…and have spent a bunch of time this morning researching making wipes. I have the textiles to do it, but here’s where I am confused – all the websites also provide a recipe for making a solution to wet the wipes with. Is this really necessary? Can’t one just use the wipe, or wet it? Please, enlighten me.

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