Category Archives: Bun in the Oven

39 Weeks Pregnant–Almost There!

I had an appointment today with my midwives. Everything is perfectly normal–baby’s heart rate, my blood pressure, baby’s position (still L.O.A.). I have Braxton-Hicks contractions occasionally, but nothing painful or regular yet. Every night when I go to bed, I wonder, Will tonight be the night contractions start? Obviously, contractions could start during the day, too, but I always think of them as starting at night (maybe because that’s how it happened with D.L.F.).

I think we have everything we need for the birth, which isn’t a lot. If we were having a home birth, we would be responsible to purchase a lot of birth supplies ourselves, but since we are going to a birth center, they have pretty much everything on hand there, and the supplies are just included in the regular fee. We did get eight bottles of Recharge (an all-natural sports drink…like Gatorade, but healthier), so that should help keep me (and Hubby) hydrated. I think I drank about five bottles by myself last time I was in labor! I am preparing a gift basket with snacks inside for each of our three midwives to give them when we get to the birth center…after all, they will be working hard (and round-the-clock) and need nourishment, too! We have a special very pink and girly “first outfit” to bring Baby Girl home in, although I think I will pack a boy outfit, too, just in case! You never know; ultrasounds are not 100% reliable.

We decided our bedroom is too crowded to fit Baby’s crib (we will put the crib in our “office”–office being in quotes because it’s more of a junk room at present–for her naps), so we’re hoping to purchase a small bassinet off Craigslist before Baby comes. Haven’t found a good one yet, but we’ll keep looking. We have all the diapering things we will need, and people have been very kind in giving us lots of girl clothes, so that’s pretty much it!

On Waiting

I remembered as I was trying to get comfortable in bed last night that, at this time in my pregnancy with D.L.F., the weather was in the 90’s and 100’s (it was late August). At least being sticky-sweaty-hot is not something I have had to deal with this time around! The weather has been typical spring weather around here…cloudy, rainy, warm and sunny, hailing, and today I think I even saw a bit of snow mixed in with the rain. I am happy about having a late-spring baby this time, just at the time when flowers begin blooming in earnest and the weather starts warming up. I’m planning to take it easy and rest for the first few weeks after Baby Girl is born, but after that, I’m looking forward to taking D.L.F. and Baby Girl out in our new-to-us double stroller and walking off some of this baby weight!

I keep saying I’m soooo ready to be done with this pregnancy, but this evening I read some words in a book called The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy, by Shonda Parker, that were encouraging and convicting:

“Mental, or emotional, preparation coincides with spiritual preparation. We cannot be emotionally at peace if our focus is not on trusting our Divine Creator in His wisdom and plan for this child, this pregnancy, this birth. We delight in our husband’s washing us with the Word of God, allowing the Scriptures to bring us peace, comfort, and BOLDNESS in the approaching birth. Joy is found in trusting the Lord, sacrificial trusting that surrenders our own plans, even our own hopes, to the Will of God.

“As the time of our birth draws near, may our spirits be cleansed and renewed in our trust in the grace of the Lord, may our hearts be gladdened with the assurance of His mercy, may our bodies open in the fullness of time under His pillar of strength, may our hearts be turned to our babies in the perfection of His love.” [emphasis is the author’s]

And so I wait. It’s hard not knowing exactly when I will go into labor, how long it will take, how hard it will be, or at what moment Baby Girl will take her first breath, but the Lord knows all those details and has a plan and purpose for the way things will unfold.

Miscellaneous

D.L.F. has been going around lately saying, “Hi, Buddy,” “Hi, Honey,” and “Hi, Cutie.” Obviously, he picked up those phrases from me. I’m not sure if he is simply repeating them or if he is using them as names for me. Either way, it’s pretty cute.

We live a few blocks away from a plant nursery, so sometimes we walk over there when we need an outing but I don’t want to go too far. We went there today. D.L.F. likes to look at flowers and the fish in the pond. He is learning the names of some colors, so I point out the colors of all the flowers we see. It’s cheap entertainment. 🙂

I had a prenatal appointment yesterday. Baby is now in L.O.A. position, which I guess is the “ideal” position for birth, so I hope she stays that way! I mentioned that my lower back was achy, and the supervising midwife rubbed it with arnica oil for me about half an hour! It felt so good and made me extra-happy to be back with my midwives again instead of an OB/GYN.

I am reading a fairly new book called The Big Book of Birth, by Erica Lyon (I was able to get it through my local library). I’m not done yet, but I recommend it. Most books about pregnancy are 90% about getting through your three trimesters, and oh, here’s a chapter about birth at the end. But as the title suggests, this entire book is about birth. It includes lots of information on non-chemical pain coping techniques, and there are women’s personal stories interspersed throughout regarding every stage of labor. It’s still a fairly basic book (it’s not a midwifery manual or anything), but it’s nice to have a concise guide to what labor can be like (I think it would be especially good for a first-time mom who wants to have some idea of what to expect).

Two Pregnancy Haikus (Updated)

1. It’s sandal season
Painting toenails–no small feat
With a large belly

2. Evening spent shopping
Results in swollen ankles
At least toes impress

Almost 38 Weeks and READY TO BE DONE!

I had a routine appointment with my midwives on Monday. Everything looks good! I was measuring right at 37 centimeters. On that day, Baby was in ROT position (right occiput transverse, which means head-down and facing my left side). I hope she will stay in a good position for birth so I won’t have back labor this time around.

(Gripe warning!) I am so ready for her to come out. I am uncomfortable all the time, it’s hard to find a comfortable position to sleep in, and when I finally do get to sleep, I wake up every hour or two to use the bathroom. Plus, my maternity shirts are all too small for me now, so anytime I go anywhere, I have to keep tugging them down to keep my tummy covered. I get fatigued really easily, especially when bending down to do something like pick up toys off the floor or unload the dishwasher. A huge blessing is that people in our church have brought us dinners every night this week, so that has been one less thing to think about.

Hurrah for Midwives

My parents are in town for a couple days, so Mom and Dear Little Fellow and I went shopping today to get a few more things for Baby. I got a call from my midwives saying they are happy to take me back as a client (YAY!). I am so thankful to the Lord, and I’m looking forward to a birth center birth (not so much to the actual pain of labor, but to the restful environment of the birth center and the support and encouragement of my midwives).

Almost Ready for Baby

We got a double stroller, a crib, and a crib mattress off Craigslist tonight. I’m starting to feel like it’s really going to happen…that is, that we are going to have a daughter soon!

Wow!

At my ultrasound appointment today, we found out that the placenta is now approximately three centimeters from my cervix! The doctor said he thinks I should be able to deliver vaginally at the birth center with my midwives, and he is going to write them a letter saying so. I am rejoicing! Please pray with me that the midwives will accept me back as a client.

My Appointment, Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

As a preface to Part 2 of my rant against institutionalized maternity care, I would like to say that I do trust that the Lord is in this situation and that He loves me and my family and will take care of us all, no matter what. However, I also believe it is my responsibility to learn all I can about my options so I can make the best choice for my baby and me. I am sorry if my uncharacteristically cynical tone bothers anybody, but it is helpful to me in processing all this to be very honest with myself and others about my struggles and disappointments. Maybe writing things down will help me figure out a workable solution.

After meeting with the doctor, I asked the receptionist if it would be possible to tour the labor and delivery area. We had seen it very briefly the last time we were at the hospital, but as I had been riding in a wheelchair (it’s a big hospital to get around, and I was still on bedrest), I hadn’t really been able to poke around and see everything I wanted to—in particular, the rumored whirlpool tubs in the bathrooms.

The receptionist called over to let the staff know we were on our way, and Hubby and I made the long trek over to the maternity ward. The nurse who showed us around was actually pleasant and kind, but it was obvious she still had to bow to procedures and policies. For example, when I asked her if it was all right to labor and give birth in any position I wanted to, she hesitated and said, “Well…you’ll really have to talk to your doctor about that.” She seemed excited to show off all their new high-tech monitoring equipment. “There’s a computer right here in your room, so your nurse will be able to see how you and baby are doing at all times. Plus, of course, your information will be displayed on the screens in the nurses’ station as well.” Great, so they can monitor and analyze every blip and bleep and tell me that my baby is “in distress” if her heart rate decelerates during a contraction.

The nurse also seemed proud of the “warming unit” for the baby right in the room. Yeah, right, I thought. As if that plastic box could do a better job keeping my baby warm than I could, with her on my chest and covered with blankets.

We peeked in the bathroom and saw that the whirlpool tub looks half decent. It’s not as big as the tubs at the birth center, but it is deeper than a normal tub. I asked if it was permitted to give birth in the water. “Oh, no,” the nurse said. “If everything is going normally, you can labor in the tub, but you have to get out toward the end.” Why? I thought. It was so nice to be in the water when I was on my hands and knees pushing out D.L.F., and I can’t imagine not having the option, at least. If midwives can kneel beside the tub and catch the baby from behind, why can’t a doctor?

The only real bed in the room is an insanely uncomfortable twin bed with rails on both sides and a crack in the middle so the head can be raised or lowered. Oh, yes, and fold-out stirrups at the foot. When Hubby and I got out to the parking lot, I told him, “There is no way I will be on my back for one second during labor, and if they think I’m going to stick my feet in stirrups for the doctor’s convenience, they’d better think again.”

I hate being treated like a high-risk patient when I don’t feel like one. I still trust my body to birth naturally. If I had to give birth in a hospital, I would feel like I constantly have to be on top of things to the point where I wouldn’t be able to relax or get halfway comfortable (No, I don’t want anything for the pain…. Okay, that’s enough monitoring. Baby and I are fine. I’m taking off these straps now…. No, I don’t want you to check my cervix again…. No, I am not going to sit up in bed to push…. DO NOT put my baby in that warmer…. DO NOT give my baby a hepatitis B shot or eye ointment….on and on and on.) In addition, I just don’t feel like doctors are as committed to the well-being of the women in the care as midwives. For example, in my readings about C-sections lately, I came across a statistic showing that teaching hospitals, which have obstetricians and anesthesiologists on duty 24/7, have a lower C-section rate than regular community hospitals with doctors typically on-duty during daylight hours, indicating that if a woman’s labor is progressing too slowly, a doctor in a regular hospital just might be quicker to tell her she needs a C-section, so he can get home.

I’ve already called my midwives to ask how far away my placenta would have to get from my cervix for them to take me back on as a client. The supervising midwife is out of town right now, but she’s supposed to get back to me by the beginning of next week. I have another ultrasound tomorrow, so I’ll find out the status of the placenta then.

My Appointment, Part 1

I don’t think I can give birth in a hospital. After meeting with the OB/GYN again yesterday, touring the labor and delivery area, and asking lots of questions, I was disappointed, discouraged, and even angry. A prenatal appointment at the hospital is so hurried, impersonal, and intimidating compared to a visit with my midwives.

When I went to the desk to check in, the receptionist was on the phone. Finally, she hung up, looked at me without a smile, and waited for me to say something. I told her my name, and she handed me a label. I must have looked puzzled, because she said, “For the bathroom.” I was still confused. “I’ve only been here once before….” I said. Then she explained that every time I come for an appointment, I am supposed to get a label, go to the bathroom, and leave a urine sample with the label affixed to it. So I did, but it bothered me to not know the results. At the birth center, the midwives trust their clients to test their own urine. You’re only supposed to show them the test stick if anything looks abnormal when you hold it up to the chart on the container that the sticks come in.

After waiting several minutes in the waiting room, a nurse came for Hubby and me, and took me to a scale. I stepped on and the scale registered my weight. I made some comment about “numbers that I don’t want to see,” and the nurse just looked at me. With my midwives, if I ever made a joke or comment about my pregnancy weight gain, they were quick to assure me that it’s normal and healthy to gain more than the doctor-recommended 20-30 pounds, that weight gain is necessary for a healthy baby, that I am gaining the right amount for my baby, etc.

Then the nurse led us to the (tiny) appointment room. There were only two places to sit—a wooden chair next to the door for Hubby, and the hospital bed with the roll of white paper on it for me. Compare this with the birth center, where we had our choice of seats—chairs, a cushy loveseat, a queen-sized bed with half-a-dozen pillows on it. Another indication of being a “patient” rather than a “client.” The nurse took my blood pressure. Then she made me lay down on my back on the bed (ouchouchouch! Where are my half-dozen pillows?) and listened to the baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler. She started to hand me a paper drape and told me I could undress from the waist down so the doctor could perform a Group B Strep test (which I had requested last time I was there, simply for the reason that I didn’t want anyone to look at my chart while I was in labor and say, “Oh, you never had a GBS test? We’ll have to pump you with antibiotics just in case”).

“Can I do the test myself?” I asked. When I was pregnant with D.L.F., I had done the test myself, and for the life of me, I couldn’t think of any good reason why the doctor was more qualified than I to stick a cotton swab in my private areas. The nurse looked a little surprised, but she agreed and handed me a tube with the swab in it. She said the doctor would be in shortly.

After a wait of fifteen or twenty minutes, the doctor arrived. I don’t remember him asking me how I was feeling. My midwives took time to find out how I was doing, both physically and emotionally. They would ask how various body parts were feeling and how various systems were functioning. They would ask me things like what I’d been doing lately, what I’d been eating, how I was doing with taking care of D.L.F., if I was dealing with anything stressful in my life. We would just chat for a while. Sometimes they would tell me stories about their own children or funny or interesting things about being a midwife. And they always gave me a back massage or foot rub with lotions or oils. The doctor, on the other hand, just asked if I’ve had any more bleeding (which I have not). Then he said he needed to get his schedule, left the room, and returned with a clipboard. He said something about it being convenient for him if I would go into labor on April 18, because he wouldn’t have much going on that day. I know he was joking, and I chuckled politely, but it rubbed me the wrong way. Then he said, “Well, if you haven’t gone into labor by 39 weeks, we’ll probably have you come in and induce you to get things started. If your placenta has moved any more, I might be okay with letting you go even a week after your due date—but probably none of my colleagues would do that.” It irritated me to hear him talk so casually about inducing, and a week before the baby is even due! Doesn’t he care that using pitocin almost always necessitates other interventions? And what if my baby isn’t ready to come out when it’s convenient for the doctor? He said himself that if my placenta gets two or more centimeters away from my cervix (it was 1.5 centimeters away when we had an ultrasound almost two weeks ago), then the risk of bleeding will be very minimal.

And to hear him say the words “I might let you…” really made me seethe, although outwardly I maintained a pleasant smile. I figured we’d better wait and see what the ultrasound shows this Thursday before I start getting assertive. The thing is, he and everyone in his office have the mentality that HE is in charge of getting this baby out of me, and I feel that it is MY responsibility. I don’t worship doctors. In fact, I don’t even trust them, as a group. I haven’t known this particular OB/GYN to long enough to find out if I trust him or not, but I’m leaning toward “not really.” I guess I would trust him to keep my baby and me alive in a dire emergency, but I don’t trust that he really cares about my long-term emotional and mental health or that how he treats me in this pregnancy (including whether or not he recommends a C-section) will affect any future pregnancies and births I may have.

Read Part 2 here.